News Archive 2009-2018

Bowdoin Professors Offer 28 New Courses This Semester Archives

The following is a complete list of new Bowdoin classes as they’re described in the course catalog. In a related story, several Bowdoin professors comment on what motivated them to offer their new courses and what they hope students will gain from them.

Art History 2190: Culture and Crisis in Modern and Contemporary Japanese Art
Assistant Professor of Art History and Asian Studies Peggy Wang

In the late 19th through 20th century, as Japan transitioned from a feudal society to a modern nation-state, Japanese art was mobilized by avant-gardes and the government alike. Examines the wide variety of formats and mediums encompassed in competing claims for modernization, including ink painting, oil painting, photography, ceramics, woodblock prints, and performance art. Interrogates art’s complicit role in ultra-nationalism, Pan-Asianism, Oriental Orientalism, colonial ambitions, US military occupation, and Post-War reconstruction. Themes to be covered include: reinventions of tradition, East-West relations, colonialism, trauma, and renewal. (Same as Asian Studies 2330.)

Art History 2450: America by Design
Assistant Professor of Art History Dana E. Byrd

A scholarly inquiry into furniture produced and used in the United States from the 17th century through the 20th century. Through hands-on examination of American furniture in local collections, students will develop the language, methodology, and interpretive skills for object analysis. Through studies of major artisans, designers, and manufacturers, questions of stylistic evaluation and significance will be examined alongside of distinctions in function. Both typical and exceptional forms of furniture from each era will be studied and historicized, including those for domestic, ecclesiastical, and presentation purposes. Discussion also centers on the critical issue of revivalism, and the consequent discourse between copy and fake; cross-cultural influences; the tension between industrialization and hand-craftsmanship; the popularization of furniture forms and designs through new marketing techniques, including the growth of trade fairs and commercial trade catalogues; and the emerging movement to create a national style that surfaced as an element of design reform.

Asian Studies 1020: Japanese Animation — History, Culture, Society
Associate Professor of Asian Studies Vyjayanthi Selinger

Animation is a dominant cultural force in Japan, and perhaps its most important cultural export. This class will examine the ways in Japanese animation represents Japan’s history and society and the diverse ways in which it is consumed abroad. How does animation showcase Japanese views of childhood, sexuality, national identity, and gender roles? How does its mode of story-telling build upon traditional pictorial forms in Japan? Focusing on the aesthetic, thematic, social and historical characteristics of Japanese animation films, this course will provide a broad survey of the place of animation in 20 century Japan. Films will include Grave of Fireflies, Spirited Away, Ghost in the Shell, Akira, and Princess Kaguya.

Chemistry 1091: Introductory Chemistry and Quantitative Reasoning I
Lecturer in Chemistry Michael P. Danahy

The first course in a two-semester introductory college chemistry sequence covering the same content as Chemistry 1101/1102 with additional instruction focused on developing quantitative reasoning and problem-solving skills in the context of learning chemistry. Topics include the properties of matter, atomic and molecular structure, quantum and periodic trends, chemical bonding, intermolecular forces, stoichiometry, and aqueous solutions. Three hours of lecture, mandatory one-hour problem-solving session and three hours of laboratory work per week. To ensure proper placement, students must take the chemistry placement examination prior to registration and must be recommended for placement in Chemistry 1091. Not open to students who have taken Chemistry 1101, 1102, or 1109. Students continuing in chemistry will take Chemistry 1092 as their next chemistry course.

CSCI 3455: Machine Learning
Visiting Associate Professor of Computer Science Clare Congdon

Machine learning is the study of computer programs that are able to improve their performance with experience. The term refers to programs that infer patterns in data (often called data mining), as well as programs that adapt over time (such as non-player characters in a video game). Primarily addresses the data mining paradigm and explores a variety of machine learning approaches. Briefly surveys a number of these approaches (incorporating hands-on experience) and provides in-depth programming and investigatory experiences. Emphasis is on machine learning as an experimental science, and on learning to conduct research in machine learning. Students not only write and run programs, but also learn to ask meaningful questions about how to compare two systems, how to process simple statistics that enable useful comparisons of the performance of different systems on the same task, and how to report results to others. As a final project, students investigate a realistic research problem using the machine learning approach of their choosing.

Economics 2304: Economics of the European Union
Assistant Professor of Economics Gonca Senel

Focuses on the core economic aspects of the EU integration while taking into account historical and political influences. Major contemporary macroeconomic issues like monetary unification, fiscal policy in a monetary union, theory of customs unions, labor markets and migration, financial markets and EU crisis will be analyzed with the help of theoretical approach and empirical evidence. Prerequisite: Economics 1101 and 1102.

English 1005: Victorian Monstrosity
Professor of English and Cinema Studies Aviva Briefel

Examines various monsters and creatures that emerge from the pages of Victorian narratives. What do these strange beings tell us about literary form, cultural fantasies and anxieties, or about conceptions of selfhood and the body? How do they embody (or disembody) identities that subvert sexual, racial, and gendered norms? Authors may include Lewis Carroll, Richard Marsh, Robert Louis Stevenson, Bram Stoker, and H.G. Wells. (Same as Gay and Lesbian Studies 1005.)

English 1007: Joan of Arc
Assistant Professor of English Emma Maggie Solberg

Explores the cultural history of Joan of Arc—heretic, witch, martyr, and saint—beginning with the historical records of her trial and execution and then moving through the many lies and legends that proliferated about her in the centuries after her death. Compares and contrasts the drastically different representations of Joan in texts, films, paintings, and songs ranging from the medieval to the modern.

English 1034: America in the World
Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in English Morten Hansen

Examines America as it is seen in literature from home and abroad. How have American authors described America’s place in the world? How has America’s role as the sole global superpower affected how we view its past? What does America look like today from the perspective of the third world? Explores the way literature represents space and time, from current events to world history. Authors include Henry James, Ernest Hemingway, James Baldwin, Laila Lalami, Michelle Cliff, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

English 1115: Shakespeare on Film
Associate Professor of English Aaron Kitch

Considers some of Shakespeare’s major plays in conjunction with their cinematic representation. How does film as a medium transform Shakespearean drama? What aesthetic decisions shape the translation into film? How does the technology of moving images help to redefine Shakespeare for a modern age? Topics include film form, historical and political context of both staged and screened productions, and the role that Shakespeare played in the development of the American film industry. Plays include Romeo and Juliet, Titus Andronicus, Richard III, 1 Henry IV, Henry V, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, King Lear and The Tempest. Films include the work of Lawrence Olivier, Kenneth Branagh, Trevor Nunn, Baz Lhurmann, and Julie Taymor. Students are discouraged from enrolling in this course concurrently with English 1003 Shakespeare’s Afterlives.(Same as Cinema Studies 1115.)

English 2011: Science and Art of the Sex Photograph
Harrison King McCann Professor of English Marilyn Reizbaum

Seminar. An exploration of the way in which late nineteenth and early 20th century scientific uses of the photograph to configure sexuality and gender were adjusted by modern visual arts and literary photographs (prose works using photographs and/or photographic techniques to construct character). Texts considered: Scientific studies by Francis Galton, Magnus Hirschfeld, and Alfred Kinsey; Contemporary theory of photography by Roland Barthes, Pierre Bourdieu, Susan Sontag; photography by Andre Kertesz, Man Ray, Claude Cahun, Cindy Sherman; film by Michelangelo Antonioni (Blowup); prose works by Virginia Woolf (Orlando), W.G. Sebald (The Emigrants), Claude Cahun (Disavowals). (Same as Gay and Lesbian Studies 2011 and Gender and Women’s Studies 2602.)

English 2505: American Literature to 1865
Associate Professor of Africana Studies and English Tess Chakkalakal

Surveys American literature from the colonial period to the Civil War. We will read accounts of early contact, narratives of captivity and slavery, sermons, autobiographies, poems, and novels. Authors will include Winthrop, Rowlandson, Franklin, Douglass, Hawthorne, Melville, Stowe, Thoreau, Whitman, and Dickinson.
Note: Fulfills the pre-1800 requirement for English majors.

English 2546: American Frontiers
Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in English Morten Hansen Morten Hansen

“The frontiers are not east or west, north or south,” Henry David Thoreau wrote, “but wherever a man fronts a fact.” Examines the cultural and political history of the American frontier from the 19th century through the present. What is it about the American wilderness that has so fascinated artists through the centuries? Why does the American frontier play such an important role in the nation’s cultural history, even in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries? Explores literary representations of space, the intersections between literature and geopolitics, and environmental literary criticism. Includes texts by Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Willa Cather, Gary Snyder, Cormac McCarthy, Toni Morrison and films by John Ford and Quentin Tarantino. (Same as Environmental Studies 2446.)

Government 2053: Black Politics
CFD Postdoctoral Fellow in Government And Legal Studies Cory C. Gooding

Traces and examines the political efforts of Black Americans to gain full and equitable inclusion into the American polity. Key topics include identity, ideology, movement politics, electoral participation, institutions and public policy. (Same as Africana Studies 2053.)

History 1041: Congo in Word and Image
Professor of History David Gordon

Introduces Congo as part of a global discussion about humanity through text, film, music, and art. We read novels that condemned colonial and post-colonial exploitation of Congolese resources, appreciate staggering Congo art that inspired European artists, analyze Congo politics that produced liberators and dictators, and listen to Congo rhythms that danced across the continent. Concludes by considering ongoing humanitarian interventions in Congo against child soldiering, genocide, and rape. By placing words and images developed by outsiders alongside those of Congolese peoples, the course explores both the Congo and how the Congo has been conjured as a subject of a global imagination. (Same as Africana Studies 1041.)

History 2420: Pacific Passages: Japan in the Early Modern World, 1500-1800
Assistant Professor of History and Asian Studies Sakura Christmas

In 1635, the shogun of Japan closed off the country so no foreigner could enter, nor could any Japanese leave, on penalty of death. Save for a few ports, Japan retreated from a world becoming rapidly connected through commerce and colonialism. Or so it seemed. This course situates Japan in the Pacific, as the flow of ideas, people, and goods between continents increased. How did Japan interact with this early modern world? How did it imagine itself in these turbulent times? Focusing on networks, be it commodity flows of silver and seals, or migratory patterns of pirates and priests, lectures emphasize the significance of the Pacific in shaping Japan as it emerged out of the medieval age. (Same as Asian Studies 2252.)

History 2890: Japanese Empire and World War II
Assistant Professor of History and Asian Studies Sakura Christmas

Seminar. Charts the sudden rise and demise of the Japanese empire in the making of modern East Asia. Once stretching from the Mongolian steppe to the South Seas mandate, the Japanese empire continues to evoke controversy to this day. Discussions call attention to competing imperial visions, which challenged the coherence of the project as a whole. Our primary sources take us through the lived experience of various individuals—emperors and coolies alike—who both conquered and capitulated to the imperial regime. Topics covered include settler colonialism, independence movements, transnational labor, fascist ideology, environmental warfare, the conundrum of collaboration, and war trials. (Same as Asian Studies 2310.)

Interdisciplinary Studies: Introduction to Digital and Computational Studies
Associate Professor of Digital and Computational Studies Crystal Hall and Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Digital and Computational Studies Mohammad Irfan

How are digital tools and computational methods being applied and studied in different fields? How are they catalyzing changes in our daily lives? We will use two case studies to introduce these new tools and methods, and to analyze and evaluate their scholarly and practical applications. The first case study is based on Bowdoin’s own history: how can we use new methods to recreate what Joshua Chamberlain could see at the battle of Gettysburg, and thus better understand the battle and his decisions? Next, we turn to the contemporary, and ask what is identity in the era of social media and algorithms? Students will learn the basics of the Python programming language, introductory spatial analysis with ArcGIS, elementary text and social network analysis, and basic environmental modeling. Assumes no prior knowledge of a programming language.

Music 1016: Genius, Tragedy, Sentiment — The Musical Biopic
A. LeRoy Greason Professor of Music Mary Hunter

Biopics (biographical movies) of musicians usually bear a complicated relation to the documented historical truth of a musician’s life. We look at films from about 1960 onwards about both classical and popular musicians, composers and performers, men and women, and compare these to the documentable biographical facts about these musicians. This comparison allows us to consider the films’ depictions of genius, their sense of the place of the musician in society, the narrative arc of an artist’s life, and the nature of truth in biography. Films considered may include Amadeus (Mozart), Impromptu (Chopin), What’s Love Got to Do With It (Tina Turner), and Ray (Ray Charles). (Same as Cinema Studies 1005.)

Music 2294: Issues in Hip Hop II
Assistant Professor of Music Tracy McMullen

Traces the history of hip hop culture (with a focus on rap music) from the 1990s to the present day. Explores how ideas of race, gender, class, and sexuality are constructed and maintained in hip hop’s production, promotion, and consumption, and how these constructions have changed and/or coalesced over time. Investigates hip hop as a global phenomenon and the strategies and practices of hip hop artists outside of the United States. Artists investigated range from Azalea to Jay-Z, Miz Korona to Ibn Thabit. (Same as Africana Studies 2294 and Gender and Women’s Studies 2294.)

Music 3104: Music and Philosophy
Assistant Professor of Music Tracy McMullen

An advanced seminar that applies critical and cultural theory to music with special emphasis on Psychoanalysis, Phenomenology, Critical Theory, Improvisation, and Music and Subjectivity. Five thinkers will be examined in depth. Philosophers discussed may include: Adorno, Agamben, Barthes, Baudrillard, Butler, Derrida, Kristeva, Jankélévitch, Nancy, Plato, and Pythagoras. Various genres of music will be considered. Prerequisite: one of: Music 2101, 2281 (same as Africana Studies 2281), 2293, 2301, 2303, 3101, 3103 (same as Gender and Women’s Studies 3103), 3260, 3356 or English 2428 (same as Cinema Studies 2428) or English 2841.

Philosophy 1042: Crime and Punishment
Assistant Professor of Philosophy Kristi A. Olson.

Examines philosophical issues raised by the criminal law including the moral justification of punishment, the proper subject matter of criminal law (that is, what should be a crime?), ethical issues in law enforcement, and the theoretical underpinnings of different criminal defenses.

Philosophy 2431: Philosophy of Perception
Professor of Philosophy Matthew Stuart

Explores philosophical questions about sensation. Do we perceive public physical objects directly, or by perceiving items in our minds? What are colors, sounds, odors? Are some sensible qualities objective and others subjective? Is seeing believing? Do the blind have the same ideas of shapes as the sighted? Can we justify the claim that our senses are reliable? Readings from historical and contemporary sources.

Physics 2410: Accident Reconstruction
Professor of Physics Dale Syphers

Introduces the applications of physics pertinent to accident reconstruction and analyze three complex cases that were criminal prosecutions. The first case will be analyzed by the instructor to show how the physics is applied, the second will be done in tandem with the students, and the third will be mostly analyzed by the students using what they have learned. The report on this third case will be the final project for the course. While Physics 1130 is the only prerequisite for the course, familiarity with vectors and matrices, or a desire to learn how to use them, is necessary. Prerequisite: Physics 1130.

Psychology 2025: Abnormal Psychology
Assistant Professor of Psychology Hannah E. Reese

An introduction to the phenomenology, etiology, and treatment of mental disorders. Major topics will include depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and personality disorders. Current paradigms for understanding psychopathology, diagnosis and assessment, and research methods specific to clinical psychology will also be discussed. Prerequisite: Psychology 1101 or placement above Psychology 1101.

Psychology 3025: Psychotherapy and Behavior Change
Assistant Professor of Psychology Hannah E. Reese

An in-depth study of the theory, research, and practice of contemporary psychotherapy. Major topics may include theoretical approaches to therapy, methods for studying its efficacy, processes of change, the role of the client-therapist relationship, and challenges to disseminating effective psychological treatments to the general public. Readings and discussion will be supplemented with video of psychotherapy sessions. Prerequisite: Psychology 2510, 2520, and either Psychology 2020 or 2725.

Religion 2230: Human Sacrifice
Assistant Professor of Religion Todd Berzon

Uses the practice of human sacrifice to investigate the relationship between religion and violence. As an act of choreographed devotion, sacrifice implicates notions of debt, transformation, exchange, purification, sacredness, death, and rebirth. It is a ritual designed to destroy for an effect, for an explicit if often intangible gain. On the one hand, human sacrifice involves all of these same issues and yet, on the other hand, it magnifies them by thrusting issues of agency, autonomy, and choice into the mixture. Must a sacrificial victim go peaceably? Otherwise, would the act simply be murder? Investigates the logic of human sacrifice. How have religions across history conceptualized and rationalized the role and status of the human victim? Considers a diverse range of examples from the Hebrew Bible, Greek tragedies, the New Testament, science fiction, epics, missionary journals and travelogues, horror films, and war diaries.

English 2802: Writing about the Coastal Environment
Visiting Writer in Residence Russell Rymer

A creative writing course whose subject is environmental science. Students will spend a month in a concentrated writing program involving intensive reading and composition. The reading will emphasize the work of science journalists and of scientists writing for lay publications. We will use the readings to explore what makes a worthy (or flawed) translation of complicated science concepts into layman’s language. Considerations of accuracy, complexity, readability and style will be applied directly to students’ writing projects, which will include daily blog posts, short assignments, and a longer opus requiring more extensive research and reporting, whose final form will incorporate all aspects of long-form science writing. Writing assignments are designed to help students bridge between their scientific research and the larger public world that their research involves and affects. To that end, stories may dovetail with lab work students have been pursuing during the semester. Taught in residence at the Bowdoin Marine Laboratory, English 2802 is a course-module in the Bowdoin Marine Science Semester. Taught in residence at the Bowdoin Marine Laboratory, Biology 2232/Environmental Studies 2232 is a course-module in the Bowdoin Marine Science Semester. Biology 2501 (same as Environmental Studies 2231), Biology 2330 (same as Environmental Studies 2233), and English 2802 (same as Environmental Studies 2802) are co-requisites of this course.