March 4, 2011

Fall 2019 Courses

All courses taught by Robinson Professors are open to anyone meeting department prerequisites.
Spencer CrewSteven Pearlstein | Laurie Robinson | James Trefil

 

Spencer Crew

HNRS 240:002 Reading the Past

The definition of family and the role of each member of that unit have evolved over the years.  Often the changes are related to economic circumstances and the social mores of the society.  This course will primarily examine the way the American family has changed since colonial days.  In the process we will study how the responsibilities of women, children, and men have altered and why.  We also will compare this with views of family operation in other selected societies such as Rome, India, China, and Japan.

In addition, the class will acquire basic skills in oral history so they can interview family members or close associates to better understand their own family history or the experiences of others growing up.

(TR 10:30 – 11:45 AM)

HIST 300:001 Introduction to Historical Methods – Underground Railroad and Abolition

The course will introduce students to the theory and practice of history.  It will use the Underground Railroad and its connections to slavery and abolition as the vehicle for teaching skills in historical thinking, research, and writing.  The Underground Railroad was a loose network of individuals dedicated to undermining the institution of slavery and gaining freedom for African Americans enslaved by the institution.  Studying it will provide an opportunity for using historical skills and methodology to separate myth from truth in the process writing a research paper.

(T 1:30 – 4:20pm)

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Steven Pearlstein

GOVT 367:001 Issues in Government and Politics:  Money, Markets and Economic Policy

No prerequisite. Applies basic economic concepts to an examination of fundamental issues facing the U.S. and global economies. Explores the way markets work, the reasons they sometimes fail and the role of government policy. Topics include productivity and economic growth, taxes, health care, globalization, income distribution and financial crises, with an emphasis on market structure, social institutions and the not-always rational behavior of investors and consumers.

Over the last decade, economics has moved from the periphery of the political conversation to its white hot center. This course will provide a familiarity with the fundamental issues facing the U.S. and global economies, along with an understanding of the economic principles that underlie them. The course is aimed at non-economics majors seeking the economic literacy necessary to do their jobs, manage their lives and participate intelligently as citizens in a democracy.  It is taught by a prize-winning journalist with a knack for demystifying complex economic ideas and policy choices and translating them into conversational English. There are no prerequisites and the course involves very little math. Critical thinkers with curious minds are strongly encouraged to enroll. (MW 1:30 – 2:45 pm)

HNRS 131:005 Contemporary Society in Multiple Perspectives: Wealth and Poverty

In this seminar, we will explore wealth and poverty through different disciplines (literature, economics, politics, sociology, philosophy), different media (biography, non-fiction essays, journalism, novels, plays, movies) and the experience of different countries (England, Russia, the United States).  How are the wealthy different from the rest of us? Why are the poor poor, and how do we explain the persistence of poverty even in wealthy societies? Through history, how have the poor viewed the rich and the rich view the poor? What is the moral justification for great differences in wealth? How have views of social class changed?  Students will be required to write an essay answering one such question, drawing on the course readings as well as their own research and experiences.  Readings include Brideshead Revisited (Waugh), Evicted (Desmond), Behind the Beautiful Forevers (Boo), Nickel and Dimed (Ehrenreich), Andrew Carnegie (Nasaw), Scratch Beginnings (Shepard), Hillbilly Elegy (Vance) and Bonfire of the Vanities (Wolfe).  Movies include “Remains of the Day, “The Cherry Orchard,” “There Will Be Blood,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” and “Wall Street.”

(TR 10:30-11:45am)

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Laurie Robinson

HNRS 353:002 Effective responses to crime: policies and strategies

While the violent crime rate in the U.S. today is some  75% lower than 20 years ago — and is far closer to rates in the 1960s — the nation continues to face challenges in areas such as gun violence, gang crime, domestic violence and high rates of incarceration, and there is clear concern about how fairly the criminal justice system responds to racial and ethnic minorities, as events over the past 18 months in Ferguson, Missouri and numerous other jurisdictions have highlighted.  In the 1960s, a Presidential Commission appointed by Lyndon B. Johnson issued a landmark report that comprehensively looked at all facets of the criminal justice system and set out a blueprint for reform.  No single document in criminal justice since that time has been so influential.

In this seminar, Honors College students will act as members of a criminal justice commission to look at key aspects of the crime problem in the United States and what solutions are — or could be — used to address them effectively.  They will examine issues around policing, prisons and sentencing, juvenile justice, substance abuse, courts and (more broadly) innovation and hold “hearings” at which they can question expert guest witnesses (for example, frontline criminal justice practitioners, such as police chiefs) and explore evidence-based approaches that are being, and should be, taken to address problems.  Students will serve on subject area task forces and develop reports on their topics.

The work will culminate in the students presenting their policy-oriented research reports in class at the end of the semester.

This seminar is suitable for any student interested in public policy, government, technology, communications, criminology, political science, conflict resolution, or economics. (TR 1:30-2:45 pm)

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James Trefil

PHYS 122:002 Inside Relativity

Introductory course describing Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity intended for majors and nonmajors.

(Aug 25-Oct 13 TR 9:00am-10:15am)

PHYS 123:002 Inside the Quantum World

Introductory course describing quantum theory intended for majors and nonmajors.

(Oct 14-Dec 17 TR 9:00am-10:15am)

HNRS 240:001 The History of Science

This course will trace the development of science from the construction of monuments like Stonehenge to the latest ideas about the Large Hadron Collider and the Multiverse. No previous scientific knowledge will be presumed, and the major ideas of science will be developed in their historical context. The course will include readings from important historical texts, and students will be asked to dvelop and present biographies of major scientific figures.

(M 4:30-7:10 pm)

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