Summer 2013 Special Topics
This course examines the impact of computers on culture and situates the current ubiquity of computers in everyday life within larger histories of technological and scientific change. Using a range of texts from the humanities and social sciences, as well as work by filmmakers and visual artists, the course provides an overview of key aspects of computer-mediated life in our digital age. In addition to working toward a deep understanding of our required texts, the course also examines other topics, including new media art practices, debates about the real and the virtual, media convergence, surveillance, open source culture, activism and social networking. Central to our efforts will be a consistent examination of the ways social identities, as informed by gender, race, class, sexuality and other vectors of difference, shape and are shaped by media, science, and technology.
This course will cover the events of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Empire, focusing on the French attempts to found a new government based on the principles of popular sovereignty and the rights of man. Particular attention will also be paid to the issues raised by the Revolution, including questions of representative democracy, human rights, the relation between warfare and politics, changes in political culture, revolutionary violence, and the legacy of the Revolution.
Sports play an enormous role in culture, and this course examines sports ranging from highly visible professional and collegiate games to uncovered recreational sports. Students will learn to cover games as they unfold and to write feature articles. They will learn to use the vast realm of data available. And they will discuss and learn to write about racial and sexual issues in the sports world, the growing role of sports in globalization, sports medicine, sports law and the business and economics of sports.
The “Psychology of the Jury” course will be taught by Dr. Richard Roth, an eminent jury consultant who has been frequently quoted in The Wall Street Journal, and appeared on CBS Television commenting on jury cases. This course will explore the dynamics of the jury process, including juror behavior and jury decision-making leading to verdict. Psychological theories underlying the jury process will be examined.
Reference will be made to landmark cases in the areas of employment discrimination, environmental pollution, contracts, and policy brutality and media relations. Students will be challenged to develop their own definition of “fairness” in our jury system.
A standard textbook will be assigned, and videotapes of actual trials will be studied.
This course will examine how the Internet and its related new information and communication technologies has transformed society with particular emphasis on issues of (1) access and inequality (the "digital divide"), (2) political participation and civil society (the "dictator's dilemma"), (3) freedom of speech, e-commerce, intellectual property, and the telecommunications industry ("net neutrality"), (4) social interaction and virtual communities, and (5) culture, creativity, and entertainment. While the emergence of the Internet may seem uniquely revolutionary in how it alters social life, each previous innovation in information and communication technology during the 20th century (telephone, radio, film, and television) also changed society in fundamental ways. We will view the emergence of the Internet as part of that history.