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New Courses!


Each semester, the Bryn Mawr Curriculum Committee and Bryn Mawr Faculty create and approve new courses to add to the curriculum.  Check back prior to each semester for the latest list of new courses.

Additional course details include enrollment limits, requirements or approaches met, and meeting times are available in the TriCo catalog.

[Skip to Spring 2015 Courses]

Fall 2014

Archaeology of Early Farmers, Agriculture, and Social Change (ANTH B244)

Professor Casey Barrier

Throughout most of human history our ancestors practiced lifestyles focused upon the gathering and hunting of wild plants and animals. Today, however, a globalized agricultural economy supports a population of over seven billion individuals. This course utilizes information produced by archaeologists to examine this major historical transition while asking big questions like: What impact did the adoption of agriculture have on communities in the past, and how does the current farming system influence our own society? How does farming still affects our lives today, and how the history of agricultural change continues into the future. Prerequisite: ANTH B101, or permission of instructor.

Political Anthropology (ANTH B294)

Professor Susanna Fioratta

This course provides an overview of theoretical approaches and thematic concerns in political anthropology. Drawing on both classic and contemporary ethnographic studies, we will examine how anthropological understandings of political formations have changed over time and in relation to different world regions. Topics will include political systems, the state, nationalism, ethnicity, citizenship, violence, rumor, and neoliberal forms of global governance. Prerequisite: ANTH 102 or permission of the instructor.

Cleopatra (ARCH B254)

Professor Evrydiki Tasopoulou

This course examines the life and rule of Cleopatra VII, the last queen of Ptolemaic Egypt, and the reception of her legacy in the Early Roman Empire and the western world from the Renaissance to modern times. The first part of the course explores extant literary evidence regarding the upbringing, education, and rule of Cleopatra within the contexts of Egyptian and Ptolemaic cultures, her relationships with Julius Caesar and Marc Antony, her conflict with Octavian, and her death by suicide in 30 BCE. The second part examines constructions of Cleopatra in Roman literature, her iconography in surviving art, and her contributions to and influence on both Ptolemaic and Roman art. A detailed account is also provided of the afterlife of Cleopatra in the literature, visual arts, scholarship, and film of both Europe and the United States, extending from the papal courts of Renaissance Italy and Shakespearean drama, to Thomas Jefferson’s art collection at Monticello and Joseph Mankiewicz’s 1963 epic film, Cleopatra.

Archaeology and Nationalism (ARCH B329)

Professor Evrydiki Tasopoulou

This course explores the link between archaeology, antiquity and the national imagination in modern Greece from the establishment of the Greek state in the early nineteenth century to present times. Drawing from a variety of disciplines, including history, archaeology, art history, sociology, anthropology, ethnography, and political science, the course examines the pivotal role of archaeology and the classical past in the construction of national Greek identity. Special emphasis is placed on the concepts of Hellenism and nationalism, the European rediscovery of Greece in the Romantic era, and the connection between classical archaeology and Philhellenism from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. Additional topics of study include the presence of foreign archaeological schools in Greece, the Greek perception of archaeology, the politics of display in Greek museums, and the importance and power of specific ancient sites, monuments, and events, such as the Athenian Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the Olympic Games, in the construction and preservation of Greek national identity.

Computational Geometry (CMSC B310)

Professor Dianna Xu

A study of algorithms and mathematical theories that focus on solving geometric problems in computing, which arise naturally from a variety of disciplines such as Computer Graphics, Computer Aided Geometric Design, Computer Vision, Robotics and Visualization. The materials covered sit at the intersection of pure Mathematics and application-driven Computer Science and efforts will be made to accommodate Math majors and Computer Science majors of varying math/computational backgrounds. Topics include: graph theory, triangulation, convex hulls, geometric structures such as Voronoi diagrams and Delaunay triangulations, as well as curves and polyhedra surface topology. Prerequisite: CMSC B231/ MATH B231.

Underworlds in Virgil and After (CSTS B237)

Professor Benjamin Stevens

What is a 'literary tradition', and what sense may we make of one? In this course we focus on an influential episode in the Western literary tradition: the hero's journey into the underworld in Virgil's epic poem, the Aeneid. Keeping in mind a master metaphor by which 'underworld' stands for 'afterlife', we consider that perilous 'journey below' on its own, in context of the complete poem, and in contexts provided by other authors' visions of 'what lies beneath', including Homer (Odyssey), Ovid (Metamorphoses), Dante (Inferno), Milton (Paradise Lost), Shakespeare (The Tempest), Jules Verne (Journey to the Center of the Earth), Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness), J. R. R. Tolkien (The Hobbit), and the nameless author of the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Topics in Chinese Film: The Films of Wong Kar-wai (EAST B240)

Professor Shiamin Kwa

This is a topics course. Course content varies. Prerequisite: At least one course approved as an EAST core course or permission of instructor.  Current topic description: Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige - This semester we will be examining films and related literature of two directors from the Peoples' Republic of China. We will consider representative works that extend from the 1980's to the present day.

Focus: Les vies de Boris Vian (FREN B242)

Professor: Pim Higginson

This half semester course focus course. This course will introduce students to the extraordinary writer, thinker, musician, poet, literary and musical critic, party host, and prankster, Boris Vian (1920-1959). Though largely ignored as an author during his lifetime, the student movement of the 1960s made of Boris Vian a household name. A generation tired of the stiffness and snobbery of its parents found in Vian an irreverent antidote to everything they were fighting against. His highly creative use of language, his anti-militarism, his appreciation for the energy and enthusiasm of youth and its music, all earned him a broad and enthusiastic readership which persists in France to this day. Through selected readings across the various genres in which he worked we will get a better sense of Vian's contradictions, his striking linguistic creativity, and the ways in which he inaugurated a new playful modality of writing. Further, though largely unread in the United States, Boris Vian not only merits attention in his own right, but also opens up a larger window to the Saint-Germain-des-Près scene that immediately followed the end of the German occupation and that centered around philosophers and authors Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoire--both Vian's close friends--at least for a while.


Rousseau Polémiste (FREN B356)

Professor: Rudy Le Menthéour

This course will explore Rousseau’s work not as a closed system, but as a polemical reaction to major trends of the French Enlightenment. Although he was denying any taste for polemics, Rousseau fought intellectual battles most of his life. The author of the ultimate best-seller of the 18th century, he harshly criticized novels. He also opposed theatre, established a new form of pedagogy, and undermined the foundations of the Western political theory by stating that men are not political animals. We will thus consider Rousseau not only as a philosopher, but also as one of the most brilliant polemicists of his time.

Topics in Chinese Art: Art and Propoganda in Modern China (HART B274)

Professor Michelle Wang

This is a topics course. Course content varies.  Current topic description: Focuses on 20th to 21st century Chinese visual culture, and it will be organized around four phases of art production during the past hundred or so years: 1) the major transition from the imperial Qing dynasty to the tumultuous Republican period in 1911, 2) art production after Mao Zedong's famous Talks on Literature and Art in 1942, 3) visual objects produced during and shortly after the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), and 4) contemporary art in China in the last three decades.

An Introduction to Middle Eastern History (HIST B234)

Profesor Ari Ariel

The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to the history of the Middle East from the late 18th century until the present. From the late Ottoman period onward, we will consider the impact of a series of events and transformations – the rise of European power (as exemplified in Napoleon’s invasion of 1798), the incorporation of the Ottoman Empire into a global economic system, the Ottoman Tanzimat movement, and the rise of ethnic and national politics. After WWI and the dissolution of the Empire, we will consider the mandate system, the emergence of the modern system of states, the impact of WWII, independence movements, the Cold War, and finally collapse of Soviet power. We will conclude with the Gulf Wars and the Arab Spring.

Memories, Memorials, and Representationals of World War I (HIST B218)

Professor Anita Kurimay

The first World War was a cataclysmic event that took millions of lives, shifted national boundaries, established new nations, and negatively-impacted others. After its conclusion, the events of the War became personally and nationally memorialized across Europe -- a process that continues to this day. The course explores the various social, cultural, and historical factors that influence how (and when) the events and impacts of the war are remembered in modern Europe.

Food in Italy (ITAL B229)

Professor Norman Rusin

A profile of Italian literature/culture/cinema obtained through an analysis of gastronomic documents, film, and literary texts. This interdisciplinary course explores the art of cuisine through the analysis of literary texts, culture, and films from the early modern period to the 21st century. We will conclude with a discussion of the Slow Food Revolution, a movement initiated in Italy in 1980 and now with a world-wide following, and its social, economic, ecological, aesthetic, and cultural impact to counteract fast food and to promote local food traditions. Prerequisite: ITAL 102

Art of Italian Unification (ITAL B340)

Professor Alexander Harper

Following Italian unification (1815-1871), the statesman, novelist, and painter Massimo d’Azeglio remarked, “Italy has been made; now it remains to make Italians.” This course examines the art and architectural movements of the roughly 100 years between the uprisings of 1848 and the beginning of the Second World War, a critical period for defining Italiantà. Subjects include the paintings of the Macchiaioli, reactionaries to the 1848 uprisings and the Italian Independence Wars, the politics of nineteenth-century architectural restoration in Italy, the re-urbanization of Italy’s new capital Rome, Fascist architecture and urbanism, and the architecture of Italy’s African colonies.


Comparative Political Philosophy (PHIL B224/POLS B224)

Professor Stephen Salkever

An introduction to the dialogic construction of comparative political philosophy, using texts from several cultures or worlds of thought: ancient and modern China, ancient Greece, and the modern West. The course will have three parts. First, a consideration of the synchronous emergence of philosophy in ancient (Axial Age) China and Greece; second, the 19th century invention of the modern "West" and Chinese responses to this development; and third, the current discussions and debates about globalization, democracy, and human rights now going on in China and the West. Prerequisite: At least one course in either Philosophy, Political Theory, or East Asian Studies, or consent of the instructor.

China and the World: Implications of China's Rise (POLS B367)

Professor Seung-Youn Oh

In the 20th Century, China’s rise has been one of the most distinctive political affairs changing the landscape of regional and world politics. Especially, China’s breathtaking growth has challenged the foundations and limits of the market economy and political liberalization theoretically and empirically. This course examines the Chinese economic and political development and its implications for other Asian countries and the world. This course has three aims: 1) to facilitate an in-depth understanding of the Chinese Economic development model in comparison to other development models, 2) to conduct a comprehensive analysis of political and socio-economic exchanges of China and its relations with other major countries in East Asia, and 3) to construct a thorough understanding of challenges and opportunities for China from its extraordinary economic growth. Prerequisite: junior or senior.

Health Psychology (PSYC B231)

Professor Laurel Peterson

This course will provide an overview of the field of health psychology using lecture, exams, videos, assignments, and an article critique. We will examine the current definition of health psychology, as well as the theories and research behind many areas in health psychology (both historical and contemporary). The course will focus on specific health and social psychological theories, empirical research, and applying the theory and research to real world situations. Prerequisite: Introductory Psychology (PSYC B105) or Foundations of Psychology (PSYC H100)

Sociology of Harry Potter (SOCL B130)

Professor Bridget Nolan

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is a worldwide phenomenon that has sold hundreds of millions of books and been translated into dozens of languages. Over the last decade, academic studies of Harry Potter have taken root in English and Theology departments, but very few sociologists have taken a scholarly look at the rich society Rowling has created. This course will introduce students to the fundamental concepts of sociology using the lens of the Harry Potter series. We will explore questions of hierarchy, inequality, terrorism, consumption, race, class, and gender, and we will discuss the ways in which stratification in the wizarding world compares and contrasts to similar issues in the Muggle world. Class discussions and exercises will assume that students have read all seven Harry Potter books.

Sociology of Terror and Counterterrorism (SOCL B313)

Professor Bridget Nolan

Terrorism -- the use or threat of violence to achieve political, religious, or social goals -- is a centuries-old phenomenon, but terrorism has become a distressing feature of social life during the last three decades in particular. Since the early 1980s, the world has seen over 10,000 separate acts of terror that have caused thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in damage. This seminar, taught by a former CIA counterterrorism officer, will give students a sociological perspective on terrorism, including the ways in which the threat of terrorism has changed over time, the motivations of different terrorist groups, and the circumstances under which terrorism succeeds and fails. We will also explore America’s counterterrorism efforts and grapple with some of the most challenging questions facing the U.S. intelligence community today: what are the best ways to combat terrorism? How do we define and recognize success and failure in the War on Terror?


Spring 2015

Chinese Culture and Society (ANTH B238)

Professor Casey Miller

This course encourages students to think critically about major developments in Chinese culture and society that have occurred during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with an emphasis on understanding both cultural change and continuity in China. Drawing on ethnographic material and case studies from rural and urban China over the traditional, revolutionary, and reform periods, this course examines a variety of topics including family and kinship; marriage, reproduction, and death; popular religion; women and gender; the Cultural Revolution; social and economic reforms and development; gift exchange and guanxi networks; changing perceptions of space and place; as well as globalization and modernity. Prerequisite: ANTH102 or permission of instructor

Creative Nonfiction II (ARTW B365)

Professor Dan Torday

An exploration of approaches to writing personal essays and lyric essays designed to strengthen skills of experienced student essayists as practitioners and critics. Requires writing at least five pages each week, workshopping student essays, and reading texts ranging from long personal essays to book-length essays, to explore how writers can work within the broader parameters of the long essay. Suggested Preparation: ARTW B265 or work demonstrating equivalent expertise in writing personal and lyric essays. Students without the ARTW B265, must submit a writing sample of 10-15 pages in length (nonfiction prose) to the Creative Writing Program during the preregistration period to be considered for this course.

Classical Traditionals & Science Fictions (CSTS B238)

Professor Benjamin Stevens

What might ancient classics say about the modern world? In this course we explore intersections between ancient, Greco-Roman texts and the genre that is most characteristic of the modern, technoscientific world, science fiction. Raising questions about genres and traditions; the role of the 'humanities' in relation to 'technology'; and ways of discovering and evaluating 'knowledge', we consider the possibility that, although antiquity and the present day differ, at base ancient literature has given science fiction its profound sense of wonder about the world. Texts from authors such as Sappho, Sophocles, and Plato; Lucretius, Ovid, and Apuleius; Shelley, Borges, Dick, and Eco; Le Guin, Morrison, Atwood, and Edson; Cameron, Cronenberg, and Demme; and Benjamin, Baudrillard, Haraway, and Hayles.

Topics in East Asian Culture: Everything but the table, food and culture in East Asia (EAST B345)

Professor Shiamin Kwa

This is a topics course. Course contents vary. Prerequisite: At least one course approved as an EAST core course and sophomore standing.  This advanced-level seminar explores how East Asian culture has been defined at home and abroad through the medium of food. We will think about food and food practices from different and interdisciplinary perspectives.

Pirates in the Popular Imagination (ENGL B232)

Professor Raymond Ricketts

This course will explore popular representations of pirates from the seventeenth century to the present, in memoirs, first-hand and fictional accounts (including children's literature), and films. The context will be global, with an emphasis on the transatlantic world. Topics will include slavery, gender/sexuality, captivity, class, race, and imperialism/colonialism.

Medievalisms (ENGL B347/ HIST B347)

Professors Elly Truitt & Jamie Taylor

This course assesses how the "Middle Ages" has been and continues to be constructed as a period of history, an object of inquiry, and a category of analysis. It considers how the past is formulated and called upon to conduct the ideological and cultural work of the present, and it reads historical documents and literary texts in dialogue with one another. Prerequisites: At least one 200-level course in any area of medieval studies (although more than one course is preferred), or by permission of the instructors. Additionally, this course is not open to students who took ENG/HIST 246 in 2013.

Multiculturalism in Medieval Italy (ITAL B219)

Professor Alexander Harper

This course examines cross-cultural interactions in medieval Italy played out through the patronage, production, and reception of works of art and architecture. Sites of patronage and production include the cities of Venice, Palermo, and Pisa. Media examined include buildings, mosaics, ivories, and textiles.

Power and Resistance (POLS B290)

Professor Joel Schlosser

What more is there to politics than power? What is the force of the “political” for specifying power as a practice or institutional form? What distinguishes power from authority, violence, coercion, and domination? How is power embedded in and generated by cultural practices, institutional arrangements, and processes of normalization? This course seeks to address questions of power and politics in the context of domination, oppression, and the arts of resistance. Our general topics will include authority, the moralization of politics, the dimensions of power, the politics of violence (and the violence of politics), language, sovereignty, emancipation, revolution, domination, normalization, governmentality, genealogy, and democratic power. Writing projects will seek to integrate analytical and reflective analyses as we pursue these questions in common.

Physics and Music (PHYS B106 Lab/B156 Lecture Only)

Professor Hyewon Pechkis

The course is intended for non-science majors and will explore the deep connection between physics and music. Basic principles of physics and scientific reasoning will be taught in the context of the production and perception of music, emphasizing the historic and scientific interplay between physics and music. No previous knowledge of physics or music is assumed. Through learning the physical concepts used to describe music, students will be able to extend their understanding to additional examples of physical phenomena. Lecture three hours, laboratory two hours, per week. Also see PHYS156 for the lecture only course.

Computational Methods in the Physical Sciences (PHYS B350)

Professor Mark Matlin

This course provides an introduction to a variety of computational tools and programming techniques that physical science graduates might encounter in graduate work or employment in STEM-related fields. Tools explored will include both command-line and GUI programming environments, both scripting and scientific programming languages, basic programming concepts such as loops and function calls, and key scientific programming applications such as integration, finding of roots and minima/maxima, least-square fitting, solution of differential equations, boundary-value problems, finite-element analysis, Fourier analysis, matrix operations, Monte Carlo techniques, and possibly neural networks. Where possible, examples will be taken from multiple scientific disciplines, in addition to physics. This course is intended for second semester sophomores, juniors and seniors. Co-requisite: MATH B203 and three units of science (Biology, Physics, Chemistry or Geology)

José Mari y el equilibrio mundial (SPAN B242)

Professor Enrique Sacerio-Gari

An introductory course to the work of José Martín. Starting with his texts in La Edad de Oro, a magazine for children the course will study his essays on the arts, the U.S., indigenous America, political struggle, independence and mutual respect. Prerequisite: SPAN 120 or 110.