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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 Bionic and on the TriCo catalog.


Fall 2015

Africa in the World (ANTH B202)
Instructor: Fioratta

In this course, we will approach Africa with an emphasis on the many interconnections that link the continent with the rest of the world, through both time and space. Much popular talk about Africa in the U.S. is overwhelmingly negative—focusing on poverty, violence, and failed states—and often portrays Africa as something “other,” both different from and unrelated to the United States and much of the rest of the world. But such preconceptions blatantly overlook what we know about historical and contemporary movements of people, ideas, materials, and money around the globe. Rather than regarding Africa as separate or apart, in this course we will examine the centrality of African engagements with these global movements. Rather than attempting a survey of particular, bounded African “peoples” or “cultures,” we will explore complex issues and processes through interconnected topics including colonial and postcolonial politics, urban life, gender and sexuality, religion, economic networks, development, and transnational migration. We will use these themes as guides for exploring larger, interlinked questions of social life in Africa and around the world. Prerequisite: ANTH 102 or permission of the instructor.

Anthropology of Globalization (ANTH B301)

Instructor: Fioratta

This course explores economic globalization from an anthropological perspective. With a focus on the social, cultural, and historical aspects of global connections, we seek to understand not only large-scale change in the world, but also how the growing integration of different countries and economic systems shapes everyday life experience. Conversely, we will also explore how individuals actively engage with, and sometimes help shape, changing global processes. We will examine the meanings and motivations that guide some people to accumulate capital, and we will consider the structural inequalities and barriers that prevent others from doing so. We will study the paths of mobile individuals around the world—those who cross borders “legally” as well as those whose movements are deemed “illegal”—and think critically about what exclusion and forced immobility means for people socially as well as economically. Finally, we will investigate patterns of economic, political, and social insecurity that often accompany processes of globalization. Working through a series of ethnographic analyses and conducting our own research, we will gain a better understanding of how people around the world experience and actively make “the global.” Prerequisite: ANTH 102 or permission of the instructor.

Mobility, Movement, Migration (ANTH B325)
Instructor: Barrier

The movement of human social groups across landscapes, borders, and boundaries is a dominant feature of today's world as well as of the recent historic past. Archaeological research has demonstrated that migration, movement, and mobility were also common features of human life in the more distant past. From examining cases of small-scale groups that were largely defined by constant movements across their social landscapes, to the study of the spread of complex societies and early political states, this course will consider the role of migration in the formation, reproduction, and alteration of human societies. Attention will be paid to how archaeologists recognize and study movement, as well as to how knowledge of the past contributes to a broader anthropological understanding of human migration. Prerequisite: ANTH B101, or permission of instructor.

Archaeological Conservation (ARCH B137)

Instructor: Lindenlauf and Weldon

This half-unit introductory course provides insights into the fundamentals of the practices of archaeological preservation and conservation and enhances the understanding of their significance in the archaeological process. This half-course deals exclusively with excavated materials that are still on-site or have been moved to a storage facility or a museum. Materials considered in this course include architecture, textiles, and portable objects made of clay, stone, and metal. While most of the finds are from land sites, occasional references to marine material are made. Most of the material used in the hands-on sessions comes from the Special Collections. Suggested preparation: basic understanding of chemistry is helpful.

Archaeology of Greek Religion (ARCH B304)

Instructor: Tasopoulou

This course approaches the topic of ancient Greek religion by focusing on surviving archaeological, architectural, epigraphical, artistic and literary evidence that dates from the Archaic and Classical periods.  By examining a wealth of diverse evidence that ranges, for example, from temple architecture, and feasting and banqueting equipment to inscriptions, statues, vase paintings, and descriptive texts, the course enables the participants to analyze the value and complexity of the archaeology of Greek religion and to recognize its significance for the reconstruction of daily life in ancient Greece.   Special emphasis is placed on subjects such as the duties of priests and priestesses, the violence of animal sacrifice, the function of cult statues and votive offerings and also the important position of festivals and hero and mystery cults in ancient Greek religious thought and experience.

Food/Drink Ancient World (CSTS B230)

Instructor: Baertschi

This course explores practices of eating and drinking in the ancient Mediterranean world both from a socio-cultural and environmental perspective. Since we are not only what we eat, but also where, when, why, with whom, and how we eat, we will examine the wider implications of patterns of food production, preparation, consumption, availability, and taboos, considering issues like gender, health, financial situation, geographical variability, and political status. Anthropological, archaeological, literary, and art historical approaches will be used to analyze the evidence and shed light on the role of food and drink in ancient culture and society. In addition, we will discuss how this affects our contemporary customs and practices and how our identity is still shaped by what we eat.

Cognitives Science: Intro to Cognitive Modeling (CMSC B271) **360 Students ONLY**

Instructor: Blank

Cognitive Science is the study of mind and mental phenomenon, both natural and artificial. It is an interdisciplinary field of study encompassing psychology, philosophy, computer science, neuroscience, and linguistics. Specific topics to be explored in this course include the nature and definition of mind, memory, perception, emotions, morality, intelligence, and consciousness. No prior knowledge or experience with any of the subfields is assumed or necessary.

Women on Top: Gender & Power in Renaissance Drama (ENGL B301)

Instructor: Weissbourd

From virtuous queens to scheming adulteresses and cross-dressed "Roaring Girls," powerful female characters are at the center of a number of Renaissance plays. This class will explore how playwrights such as Shakespeare, Webster and Dekker represent both fantasies and anxieties about tough women who take charge of their destinies. We will read these plays first in the context of the historical position of women in early modern England, and then turn to gender theory (e.g. Butler, Sedgwick, Rubin) to examine constructions of gender identity and female agency.

Philadelphia Freedom: Slavery, Liberty, Literature 1682-1899 (ENGL B307)

Instructor: Schneider

Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, a space of religious diversity, the hotbed of the American Revolution, the first large "free" city north of the slave states, a major center of free Black culture. In this course we will examine literature written in and about Philadelphia before the Civil War, exploring how and why Philadelphians engaged questions of freedom and non-freedom. Beginning with William Penn and the colonial city, moving through the literatures of Revolution and the Civil War, we will conclude with W. E. B. DuBois' The Philadelphia Negro. We will take two field trips to the city and students will be expected to pursue city-based research projects.

Unsettling Literacy (EDUC B344)

Instructor: Cohen & Dalke

Taught, by teachers in the Education Program and English Department, each instructor is serving a “term professorship” at Bryn Mawr College, while doing long(er) term instruction at Riverside Correctional Facility in North Philadelphia. We will offer these two “walled communities” as comparative contexts for experiences and reflections on what it means to “learn our letters”: What gives us access, to texts and selves? What are the outcomes of such educational processes? Do we imagine “letters,” in Frederick Douglas’s words, as providing “the pathway from slavery to freedom,” and/or (as claimed by a contemporary criminologist) as “training good workers for a problematic system”? Does becoming “lettered” enable learners to fill roles in stratified, normalizing institutions, and/or give us increased leeway in living our lives, perhaps even opening up what educator Jean Anyon calls “radical possibilities”?

Minds and Machines (PHIL B271) **360 Students Only**

Instructor: Prettyman

What is the relationship between the mind and the body? What is consciousness? Is your mind like a computer, or do some aspects of the mind resist this analogy? Is it possible to build an artificial mind? In this course, we'll explore these questions and more, drawing on perspectives from philosophy, psychology and cognitive neuroscience. We will consider the viability of different ways of understanding the relationship between mind and body as a framework for studying the mind, as well as the distinctive issues that arise in connection with the phenomenon of consciousness. No prior knowledge or experience with any of the subfields is assumed or necessary.

Global Climate Politics (POLS B256)
This course will introduce students to important political issues raised by climate change locally, nationally, and internationally, paying particular attention to the global implications of actions at the national and subnational levels.  It will focus not only on specific problems, but also on solutions; students will learn about some of the technological and policy innovations that are being developed worldwide in response to the challenges of climate change.

Democracy: Theory and Praxis (POLS B272)

Instructor: Schlosser

We often invoke “democracy” as the very ground of political legitimacy, but there is very little agreement on what democracy means, why we might desire it, or how state institutions, law, and political culture might embody it. In this seminar we will grapple with some recent and influential accounts of democratic governance and democratic movements today. Our objective will be to develop a critical vocabulary for understanding what democracy might mean, what conditions it requires, and what “best practices” citizens committed to democracy might enlist to confront political challenges such as the structural divisions that persist among class, gender, and race; persistent inequality and influence of money and corporations; and the potential for democratic, grass-roots power as a vital ingredient to democratic flourishing.

How to Build a Mind: An Intro to Cognitive Science (PSYC B271) **360 Students Only**

Instructor: Thapar

Cognitive Science is the study of mind and mental phenomenon, both natural and artificial. It is an interdisciplinary field of study encompassing psychology, philosophy, computer science, neuroscience, and linguistics. Specific topics to be explored in this course include the nature and definition of mind, memory, perception, emotions, morality, intelligence, and consciousness. No prior knowledge or experience with any of the subfields is assumed or necessary.  Prerequisites: PSYC B105, CMSC B110, PHIL B101 or B102.

Research Methods in Cognition (PSYC B282)

Instructor: Thaper

This laboratory course will provide hands-on experience in designing and conducting research in cognitive psychology, with an emphasis on the study of memory and cognition. Over the semester, students will have the opportunity to develop specific research skills, such as understanding how to design a study appropriate to a research question, collecting data, conducting and interpreting statistical analyses, writing about research, etc. Other goals include practicing and further developing critical thinking skills and communicating research ideas and results both verbally and in writing. Students will be exposed to behavioral and electrophysiological (EEG, ERP) techniques to study memory and cognition. The course will culminate with a final project in which students design and conduct a novel experiment, analyze the data, and prepare an APA style research report. This class is a writing intensive class and, as a .5 unit class, is designed to meet half of the writing requirement in the major. Suggested Preparation: Past or concurrent enrollment in Statistics (PSYC B205 or equivalent).

Lab in Health Psychology (PSYC B284)

Instructor: Peterson

This seminar will be devoted to a discussion of theory and research in health psychology. We will investigate both historical and contemporary perspectives on the psychology of wellness and illness. We will begin with a consideration of how psychosocial forces influence health cognitions, behaviors, and physiological processes. The second half of the course will focus on contextual factors, interventions, and emerging topics in research. We will debate the question of whether/how psychological forces influence health outcomes. Prerequisite: PSYC B105 and PSYC B231.

Neurobiology of Anxiety (PSYC B355)

Instructor: Thomas

A seminar course examining the neurobiological basis of fear and anxiety and the stress that is often associated with these emotions. We will also consider anxiety and stress disorders including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, specific phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Implications for various forms of therapy for anxiety disorders, including psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy, will be addressed. Prerequisite: PSYC B218, PSYC B209, or permission of instructor.

Mexican-American Communities (SOCL B235)

Instructor: Montes

This course is an introduction to the study of Mexican-American communities that provides comparative analysis of major social issues confronting Mexican-Americans. Encompassing the varied experiences of Mexican-Americans, the course examines a broad range of topics- community, migration, race and ethnicity, and identities - as well as what it means to be Mexican-American and what that teaches us about American society.

Latin American Films (SPAN B252)

Instructor: Gaspar

Stereotypically, Latin Americans are viewed as “emotional people”—often a euphemism to mean irrational, impulsive, wildly heroic, fickle. This course takes this expression at face value to ask: Are there particular emotions that identify Latin Americans? And, conversely, do these “people” become such because they share certain emotions? Can we find a correlation between emotions and political trajectories? To answer these questions, we will explore three types of films that seem to have, at different times, taken hold of the Latin American imagination and feelings: melodramas (1950s-1960s), documentaries (1970s-1990s), and “low-key” comedies (since 2000s.)

Translation Theory & Practice (SPAN B326)

Instructor: Gaspar

Translation has been argued to be both impossible and inevitable. Theoretically impossible, because no two languages are perfectly equivalent; practically inevitable, because cultures, and human beings, are constantly interpreting one another—and understanding themselves in the process. This course is an introduction to translation as a practice with linguistic, literary, and cultural implications. It is organized in three steps. We will begin by exploring the linguistic aspect of translation: the theories (and myths) about language difference and equivalence, and how they can be put into practice. Then we will focus on translating literary texts of different genres (from canonical epics to film, from poems to short stories and proverbs), and we will simultaneously examine how the various types of texts have spurred very different opinions about what is a good or bad translation, what is desirable, and what is not. Finally, we will trace the role of translation in cultural exchanges, as well as its defining presence in contemporary debates on “world literature.” Prerequisite: At least one 200 level Spanish course.

Spring 2016

Early Complex Societies (ANTH B259)
In the last 10,000 years, humans around the world have transitioned from organizing themselves through small, egalitarian social networks to living within large and socially complex societies.  This archaeology course takes an anthropological perspective to seek to understand the ways that human groups created these complex societies.  We will explore the archaeological evidence for the development of complexity in the past, including the development of villages and early cities, the institutionalization of social and political-economic inequalities, and the rise of states and empires.  Alongside discussion of current theoretical ideas about complexity, the course will compare and contrast the evolutionary trajectories of complex societies in different world regions.  Case studies will emphasize the pre-Columbian histories of complex societies in the Americas as well as some of the early complex societies of the Old World.   Prerequisite: ANTH B101, or permission of instructor.

Archaeology of the Precolumbian Southeastern United States (ANTH B305)

Instructor: Barrier

The history of Native American occupation of the southeastern United States is one that is long, rich, and varied. This rich history stretches back to the earliest colonization of the region during the late Pleistocene period more than 12,000 years ago, and continues on today. The course will serve two main purposes. First, students will gain knowledge of the culture history and archaeology of the pre-Columbian Southeast. Second, students will be exposed to problem-oriented research in anthropological archaeology. Each semester the course will examine recent archaeological studies from the region that are situated within the broad scope of current anthropological inquiry. Potential topics might include the archaeology of hunter-gatherer social complexity, the development of towns and proto-urban settlements, gender and identity, ideology and religion, culture-contact, and early Native-European relations. Prerequisite: ANTH B101, or permission of the instructor.

Animals in Ancient Greece (ARCH B204)
This course focuses on perceptions of animals in ancient Greece from the Geometric to the Classical periods.  It examines representations of animals in painting, sculpture, and the minor arts, the treatment of animals as attested in the archaeological record, and how these types of evidence relate to the featuring of animals in contemporary poetry, tragedy, comedy, and medical and philosophical writings.  By analyzing this rich body of evidence, the course develops a context in which participants gain insight into the ways ancient Greeks perceived, represented, and treated animals.  Juxtaposing the importance of animals in modern society, as attested, for example, by their roles as pets, agents of healing, diplomatic gifts, and even as subjects of specialized studies such as animal law and animal geographies, the course also serves to expand awareness of attitudes towards animals in our own society as well as that of ancient Greece.

Forming the Classics (CSTS B310)
This course will trace the constitution of Classics as a discipline in both its intellectual and its material aspects, and will examine how the works of classical antiquity were read, interpreted, and preserved from the late Roman empire to the early modern period.   The chronological range will extend from late antquity to the early modern period; topics will include the material production and dissemination of texts, the conceptual organization of codices (e.g. punctuation, rubrication, indexing), and audiences and readers (including annotation, marginalia, and commentary). Students will also learn practical techniques for approaching these texts, such as palaeography and the expansion of abbreviations. The course will culminate in student research projects using manuscripts and early printed books from Bryn Mawr's exceptional collections.  Prerequisite: a 200 level course in Greek, Latin, or Classical Studies.

Romance to Bromance (ENGL B206)
This course examines the ongoing popularity of romance, examining the genre from the Middle Ages to contemporary romantic comedies.  In doing so, we will pay particular attention to the gender politics romance produces, supports, and challenges, exploring how various historical moments and media conceptualize love, desire, sex, and marriage.  Texts will include Chaucer's _Troilus and Criseyde_, Marlowe's _Hero and Leander_, Richard Hurd's eighteenth-century _Letters on Chivalry and Romance_, and nineteenth-century bodice rippers.  We will also discuss the ongoing publication of Harlequin romances, the popularity of romantic comedy in film (from the 1930s to now) as well as the reimagining of romance tropes and male intimacy in films like "Brokeback Mountain" and buddy comedies.

Eating Empire (ENGL B207) **Part of a 360**

Instructor: Thomas

This class will explore British culinary culture across the long nineteenth century, focusing on how food culture was used in the ordering and Othering of the world and its populations.  Our lens is the relationship of food to nineteenth-century colonial and imperial discourse and we will analyze how food both traced and guided global networks of power, politics and trade. We will be particularly interested in theorizing the paradox that the trademark English comestibles – the sweet cup of tea, the curry – are colonial imports, and we will also construct a history of the industrialization of food that facilitated exportation.  As we are tracing the flows of capital and foodstuffs, we will also consider the power of resisting food, by studying anti-saccharite abolitionist protests, hunger strikes and food adulteration campaigns.  Organizing units will include sugar, chocolate, tea, spices.  Texts will include slave narratives, nineteenth century cookbooks and colonial culinary memoirs, Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, Stoker’s Dracula, Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

The Myth of Venice (1800-2000) (ITAL B311)

Instructor: Monserrati

The Republic of Venice existed for over a millennium. This course begins in the year 1797 at the end of the Republic and the emerging of an extensive body of literature centered on Venice and its mythical facets. Readings will include the Romantic views of Venice (excerpts from Lord Byron, Fredrick Schiller, Wolfang von Goethe, Ugo Foscolo, Alessandro Manzoni) and the 20th century reshaping of the literary myth (readings from Thomas Mann, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Gabriele D’Annunzio, Henry James, and others). A journey into this fascinating tradition will shed light on how the literary and visual representation of Venice, rather than focusing on a nostalgic evocation of the death of the Republic, became a territory of exploration for literary modernity. The course is offered in English; all texts are provided in translation. Suggested Preparation: At least two 200-level literature courses.

Arts of Freedom (POLS B291)

Instructor: Schlosser

Observing political life in the early United States, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote: “It cannot be repeated too often: nothing is more fertile in wondrous effects than the art of being free, but nothing is harder than freedom’s apprenticeship.” What is this “art of freedom” and how can we take up “freedom’s apprenticeship”? This course investigates questions of freedom in the contexts of democracy, oppression, and revolution. Together we will study not just the historical meanings of freedom but also who has experienced freedom and who struggles for freedom in concrete terms. Over the course of the semester, we will develop a theoretical vocabulary with which to analyze freedom in different social and political contexts; we will, moreover, learn these concepts through their use, analyzing how they function within theories of freedom and how different theorists and actors understand and actualize freedom. All of this work will culminate in taking the theoretical insights we develop to contemporary politics and society by writing an extended reflective letter integrating the analytical work we have done over the course of the semester (in short essays) and reflecting on the arts and apprenticeship of freedom in our own lives today.

Food and Identity in Spain (SPAN B209) **Part of a 360**

Instructor: Song

This course considers the relationship between the food we eat and our sense of identity in the context of regional identity politics in Spain. We will review the historical tension as they surface in diverse linguistic and cultural communities and currently challenged by the new wave of immigration to the peninsula. Amid this intersection of different cultures and practices, we will study how each region as turned to its traditional cuisine and local culinary products to strengthen their sense of regional identity while strategizing to communicate this uniqueness beyond the brand of “Spain” to the world. We will examine, for instance, how this new trend compares to the tourism industry endorsed by the dictatorship in the 1960s. This discussion will serve as a case study to explore how communities remember and narrate their own histories to themselves and to others, using concepts such as taste, terroir, memory, and identity. Students in the course will view films and read fiction, essays, and culinary essays from around Spain. Course will be offered in English as part of a 360 cluster in Spring 2016 (students taking it for Spanish credit will write essays in Spanish).

Introducción a la lingüística hispánica (SPAN B216)

Instructor: Berard

A survey of the field of Hispanic linguistics. We will explore the sounds and sound patterns of Spanish (phonetics and phonology), how words are formed (morphology), the structure and interpretation of sentences (syntax and semantics), language use (pragmatics), the history and dialects of the Spanish language, and second language acquisition. Prerequisite: SPAN B102 or permission of the instructor.

La Habana y sus textos (SPAN B256)

Instructor: Gaspar

La Habana (a historical, artistic and literary crossroad) is studied in its intersemiotic complexity. Readings from the colonial period to the present. Authors included, among others: La Condesa de Merlín, Alexander von Humboldt, Alejo Carpentier, José Lezama Lima. Selective films by Fernando Pérez and other Cuban directors. Prerequisite: SPAN B120.

21st C. Latin American Fiction (SPAN B315)

Instructor: Gaspar

In the 21st Century, “Here and now” is not what it used to be. There is no single “here” but instead multiple, coexisting realities (that of the cellphone, the street, the world.) There’s no clear present when the “now” is multiple. In this course we will explore the works of 21st Century Latin American authors that have attempted to synchronize their writing with our contemporary circumstances, producing works of fiction where realities alternate, identities flow, and the world appears oddly out of scale. As we read their short-stories and novels, we will ask how their aesthetic projects make us revisit notions of setting, verisimilitude, and realism. Throughout, we will keep two fundamental questions in mind: What is reality (here)? What is the contemporary (now)?