Each semester HUHC offers exciting educational opportunities in varying disciplines. HUHC seminars are small, discussion based courses, taught by professors from around the university, who are invited to come teach their dream course. Like Culture & Expression, these seminars often tend toward either greater multidisciplinary or greater particularity in the definition of the topic (see listings and descriptions of recent and future seminars below.) With class sizes limited to no more than 20 students, they are special opportunities to learn by sharing the enthusiasm of professors who are working on well-defined topics in their areas of expertise. In some instances seminar credit may count toward a major or minor with departmental approval.
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Previous Semesters | Summer Seminar 2013
Fall 2013 Seminars
HUHC 20A (H1) Literature, Psychoanalysis, and Narrative Medicine
Professor Shari Zimmerman, English
This seminar explores the intersecting fields of literature, psychoanalysis, and narrative medicine by taking up a series of questions posed by and to each: questions about memory and mourning, trauma and transference, evenly hovering attention and negative capability, the education and authority of the physician, the language of the unconscious, as well as the over-determined position of—and variously formulated relation between—doctor and patient, analyst and analysand, interpreter and text. We approach these and other questions through a creative engagement with literary works as varied as Donne’s Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions (selections) and Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”; formulations, advanced over the last century, by psychoanalytic theorists and clinicians ranging from (say) Freud and Ferenczi to Ferro and Laplanche; as well as texts composed by medical doctors (many of whom are also writers and/or analysts) such as Williams, Griffin or Charon. Informing our study throughout will also be selected materials (from films to case studies to popular culture), that students will be invited to explore, along with several assigned critical essays—from the 2008 collection Psychoanalysis and Narrative Medicine—essays composed by literary scholars, psychoanalysts, and physicians whose parallel, cross-fertilizing, and at times competing discourses take up related ideas, problems, and concerns.
Given its focus, this course welcomes students majoring in the humanities, social sciences, as well as sciences (including those students who consider themselves pre-med); and it will strongly encourage the pursuit of individual passions and research interests.
(The chair of the English department has indicated this course may be counted as a departmental elective toward the completion of requirements for majors or minors.)
HUHC 20B (H1) Gender Bending in French Literature
Professor David Powell, Romance Languages
“The most far-reaching contribution [of feminist theory] is, of course,” AnnLouise Keating states on the site glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, & queer culture,, “feminists’ analysis of the social construction of gender. Often thought of as a recent phenomenon, transgressive images of gender identity can be found in literary texts from the Middle Ages to the present. In the French literary tradition, there are several important texts from the 13th and 14th centuries that explore possibilities of gender manipulation. There are several examples in the 19th century in France as well as in the 20th and 21st centuries in France and Québec. An examination of these texts through a lens of queer and feminist theory will encourage students to engage in literary texts past and present with critical methodologies that will allow them to investigate the multi-layered structures of literary texts alongside sexual politics.
Texts to be studied in this course are: Silence, Tristan de Nanteuil, and la Chanson d’Yde et Olive, all from the 13th century. Portions of the philosophical treatise De planctu Naturae by Alain de Lille (12th c.) will serve as a background to the medieval texts. Mademoiselle de Maupin (Théophile Gautier) and Gabriel (George Sand) will take the genderfuck into the 19th century, followed by The Sand Child (Tahar Ben Jelloun) and Sex of the Stars (Monique Proulx) go into the late 20th century, in Morocco and Québec. Comparative Literature, 50:4 (Autumn 1998): 265–285.
HUHC 20C (H1) Growing Up in Suburbia: Media Images
Professor Carol T. Fletcher, Journalism, Media Studies, and Public Relations
This course will compare media representations of suburban childhood from the 1905s to present with the realities uncovered by investigative journalists and expressed in youth media projects.
Students will read such writers as William Finnegan (“Cold New World”), Amy Harmon (“Autistic and Seeking a Place in the Adult World”), Jonathan Kozol (“Savage Inequalities”) and John Palfrey (“Born Digital”), as well as participate in a service learning project involving work with Long Island youth.
Students will then produce a multimedia journalism project on an issue facing at-risk children on Long Island, drawing on resources from the Long Island Index and National Center for Suburban Studies, as well as reporting skills developed in class.
HUHC 20D (H1) Creativity and Innovation in New York Culture
Professor Victor Corona, Sociology
The course will trace how networks of social relationships that originated in 1960s downtown New York have continued to thread their way through cultural currents active in New York today. Focusing on three generations of underground performance artists, club personas, and stars of the city’s art world, course participants will examine distinct approaches to fame and creative expression. Studying these strategies will focus on how different waves of cultural producers tried to construct and sustain some experience capable of transcending mundane and oppressive strictures of modern life.
(The chair of the Sociology department has indicated this course may be counted as a departmental elective toward the completion of requirements for majors or minors.)
HUHC 20E (H1) Religion, Entrepreneurship, and Community: Building for the Next Generation
Professor Hussein Rashid
The new global economies of the 21st century demand high cultural literacy, including an understanding of religion’s role in society. In this course, we look at how ever changing religious attitudes and practices are shaping social justice thinking, business and community life. In addition to a discussion of academic studies, we will meet with social entrepreneurs, community organizers and business leaders who will talk about the realities of their projects, and the training they needed to be successful. Students with interests in social entrepreneurship, business, health sciences, global studies and sustainability are especially encouraged to enroll.
(The chair of the Religion department has indicated this course may be counted as a departmental elective toward the completion of requirements for majors or minors.)
HUHC 20F (H1) Are We All Alone?: Exoplanets, Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life
Professor Stephen Lawrence, Physics and Astronomy
Are the Earth and our Solar System unique, or do other planets like ours exist? How did life originate here on Earth? Has life evolved elsewhere in our Galaxy? Can we detect and communicate with an alien civilization? Although NASA has identified the search for exoplanets and extra-terrestrial life as key goals for the coming century, astrobiology is still a very young and rapidly developing scientific discipline with many open-ended questions. This course will sample a range of topics from exoplanetary science and astrobiology, including: the study of planets around other stars, the origin and evolution of life on Earth, the search for life on Mars and other Solar System bodies, and the search for signals from extra-terrestrial intelligences. In addition to astronomy, select concepts from biology, chemistry, anthropology, and information processing will be included. Students should be very fluent with high-school-level algebra; prerequisite of MATH 050 or better, or consent of the instructor.
HUHC 20H (H1) Embodiment and the Creative Process
Professor Robin Becker, Dance
In this course we will explore the relationship of the body in movement to the creative processes of thought and perception. We will be working with the somatic practice of Continuum Movement and with texts that support an inquiry into the role and meaning of the body. In this time of technological advancement and great speed, there is a tendency to disassociate from the slower sensory intelligence of the body. Western culture often views the body as a form to objectify in ways that are similar to how machines are viewed and understood. Continuum Movement challenges that perspective and views the body as an unfolding creative process that is in a dynamic exchange and communication with all life forms. The body is primarily water, and at its essence, Continuum Movement is an exploration of the properties and movement of fluid systems as they shape and form life both within the body and throughout the larger world.
Possible texts for the course will be Engaging the Movement of Life by Bonnie Gintis, DO, A General Theory of Love by Thomas Lewis, M.D., Fari Amini, M.D., and Richard Lannon, M.D., and How Life Moves by Caryn McHose and Kevin Frank. The course will also include DVDs documenting current research on movement and perception.
The practice of Continuum Movement in no way resembles a dance or movement class in which one is asked to learn a prescribed set of movements. No prior movement experience is required for this course. Instead, this course will offer a process of engaging one’s own personal exploration of movement with the goal of becoming more conscious of the sensation of life as it unfolds into our awareness through the communication and expression of movement.
HUHC 20I (H1) Who Are You?: A Critical Look at How the Media Views Your Generation
Professor Ellen Frisina, Journalism, Media Studies, and Public Relations
Generation Z? Millenials? Echo Boomers? Internet Generation? Trophy Kids? Boomerang Generation? Peter Pan Generation?
Do you recognize yourself in any of these terms? Each has been used in the media to describe your generation. Each carries with it a weighty set of stereotypes that may or may not be true. Each portrays a way that others view you – your attitudes, your accomplishments, your missteps, your future. The media is powerful – capable of making or breaking reputations and personalities, capable of setting the record straight or totally botching a situation. And when that reputation is yours, and that situation is your future, it’s important to be able to understand the power of the media and its reach. By critically analyzing the media’s view of your generation, we will use media literacy and media analysis skills to explore how these generalizations and categories affect how you see yourself; how your generation places itself in the global environment; how your opinions impact the future. We will explore how your generation is perceived in all media and look critically at what journalists, columnists, essayists, pundits, and “experts” have to say about your generation. Are they spot on or dead wrong when they categorize the trends, fads, technologies, philosophies, music and cultural icons that define your generation? And how does what they say impact what you think and how you achieve?
HUHC 21A (H1) What Everyone Needs To Know About Business
Professor Simon Jawitz, Finance
This course is designed to provide students who have no prior exposure to business the tools they need to understand the business world from the inside. It begins with the assumption that to make sense of our very complex world everyone needs basic information about how businesses come to be and function in relation to one another. To that end, it will provide a basic understanding of corporate finance, accounting, the debt and equity capital markets and the central role that financial analysis and decision making play in our integrated global economy. Students will learn about how corporations are created and organized, the respective roles and duties of boards of directors, management and shareholders and how conflicts arise and may be resolved. Students will begin to develop the ability to read and understand financial statements and gain some familiarity with the basic tools used in valuing a business. Students will explore in some depth the concepts of risk and return and learn the fundamentals and key drivers of financial analysis. Real world examples will be used to illustrate these concepts as we develop them throughout the semester.
The objective of the course is not to encourage students to pursue careers in business. Nor is it intended as a substitute for courses offered in the Zarb School of Business. While students considering studies in accounting or finance may wish to take this course as an introduction, the purpose of this course is to provide students with information and analytical skills that they will be able to apply in any career.