Curriculum 2011-2012

Courses without numbers are in the process of being approved as new honors courses. The course numbers will be posted once the new courses are approved.

Fall Semester

Department: Biology
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor:  Richard Zitomer
Course: Genomics & Biotech: Broad-ranging Impact on Mankind (T BIO 176)

Description: The sequencing of the genomes of a large number of organisms, from bacteria to human, has provided enormous insights into a wide range of human endeavors.  Almost no aspect of human knowledge has been untouched by the information being compiled including both the obvious, such as medicine, agriculture, psychology, anthropology, and environment sciences, to the less obvious, such as history, sociology, language and communication, and ethics.  The ongoing sequencing of the genomes from a large number of individual humans has led to the design of individualized medical treatments for people with the same diseases, changes in biologists understanding of race, and a clearer picture of the evolution of the human species.  Genome sequencing has also driven new technologies designed to explore further the use of the information gathered.

The goal of this course will be to familiarize students with the nature of the information that can be gathered from genomics, and where the field will be going in the future.  Examples will be used to emphasize the broad range of fields impacted by the new technology.  Also, given the high information content of genomes, 12 billion bits for the human genome, data analyses has required the development of specific computer programs and web resources.  Students will be introduced to these freely available tools, and with appropriate access to sufficient computers, will be assigned simple research problems for the students to learn how to use the web resources and programs.

General Education:  Natural Sciences. 

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Department: Anthropology
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: Walter Little
Course: Cultural Construction of Global Cities (TANT 272)

Description:   What are contemporary cities and how do we understand them in the contexts of globalization and transnationalism? How do anthropologists study such cities? In order to address these basic questions, this course is organized around a set of films and important theoretical concepts that have been debated in anthropology, urban studies, geography, sociology and other disciplines. Being an anthropology class, however, it will emphasize an anthropological perspective.

The ethnographic readings and films presented in the class will primarily focus on Latin American topics. While this will give the class ethnographic focus, we will think about cities, urban life, and cosmopolitanisms from outside of Latin America. The films and readings on urban Latin America will serve as bases for cross-cultural analysis, as the professor and students explore how to conduct research in contemporary cities, utilizing productive theories and appropriate methods in their respective class projects.

General Education: Global & Cross Cultural; Social Science; Regions Beyond Europe

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Department: Anthropology
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: Marilyn Masson
Course: Aztecs, Incas, & Mayans (TANT/ LCS 233)

Description:  Five hundred years ago Christopher Columbus sailed from Spain to the New World. The European explorers, conquerors, and priests that followed encountered a wide variety of native cultures, ranging from small bands of nomadic hunter-gatherers to large complex civilizations. Within a century, Native Americans experienced severe population loss from European diseases and warfare, and the cultures and lifestyles of the surviving peoples were irrevocably changed by European contact. This course covers three of the best-known New World civilizations from the time before the Europeans: the Aztecs of central Mexico, the Maya of southern Mesoamerica, and the Inca of the Andean region of South America.

These ancient civilizations are known to us today primarily through the fieldwork of archaeologists and the research of ethnohistorians or art historians who study the art and writing of paper (codex) books authored by indigenous scribes, native oral histories later recorded in writing, and eyewitness accounts of Spanish soldiers or priests during the first decades of Euro-Indigenous contact. Some traditions and beliefs with ancient roots are still important to conservative rural indigenous towns today. Anthropology 233 examines the political, religious, social, and economic organization of the Aztecs, the Maya, and the Inca from a comparative anthropological approach. Specifically, we will compare the religions, modes of governance, economies, and the organization of daily social life for each society.

General Education:  Regions Beyond Europe. 

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Department: Chemistry
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: Priyantha Sugathapala
Course: Advanced General Chemistry I (TCHM 130)

Description: Energy, enthalpy, thermochemistry, quantum mechanics and atomic theory, general concepts of bonding, covalent bonding and orbitals, gases, liquids, and solids. Only one of A CHM 120 and A CHM 130H may be taken for credit.

Prerequisites: One year of high school chemistry; having taken AP chemistry in high school will be helpful, but is not required.

General Education: Natural Science.

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College/School: School of Criminal Justice
Instructor: Alissa Worden
Course: Honors Introduction to Criminal Justice (TCRJ 201)

Description: The purpose of this course is to introduce students to a multidisciplinary social science approach to learning about U.S. criminal justice policy and administration.   We will examine how this society’s  criminal justice systems and apparatus operate, and with what consequences, studying the principal institutions of the system, the actors within the system, the goals of criminal justice administration, and the objectives and implementation of criminal justice policy at national, state, and community levels.  Throughout the course, we will learn to recognize the limits of what we know about social and legal responses to crime, the ways we develop knowledge, and the importance of objectivity and reflection in the discussion of what are often controversial and politicized issues.   Our approach to studying criminal justice will be based on social science theories (about individuals, organizations, and political bodies), and on empirical evidence.  The study of criminal justice is genuinely interdisciplinary, and we shall draw upon history, political science, sociology, policy, law, and economics to answer these questions.Prerequisite(s): One year of high school chemistry and one year of high school physics or concurrent enrollment in college physics. Students will also be required to pass a test to assess their knowledge of chemistry fundamentals on the first day of classes. Those not passing the test will be advised to enroll in A CHM 120.

General Education: Social Science. 

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Department: English
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: Eric Keenaghan
Course: The Art of War (TENG 226W)

Description: This course will take a multidisciplinary approach to the question of the relationship between art and war during the present and previous centuries. How has the U.S. state and American society conceived of the role of the artist in a time of war? How have activists and political dissidents conceived of art’s ability to resist wartime politics? How have public intellectuals and philosophers intervened in articulations of that relationship? How have American artists themselves conveyed ideas of art as having political bearing, either as forms of direct action or as entities semi-detached from state politics? We will study aesthetic texts from a variety of genres—film, visual arts (painting and photography), theater (dance and drama), music (avant-garde and popular), literature (fiction and poetry), even comic books—produced during and as “responses” to three major U.S. wars: World War II, the Vietnam War, and “the War on Terror.” We will examine these works in light of commentary about the role of art in a time of war, and that commentary will be drawn from a variety of discourses (history, sociology, governmental publications, psychoanalysis, philosophy). Most of the figures we will study are critical of the dominant political trends and state policies of their respective periods; but others are conservative or politically ambivalent. Special emphasis will be placed on the ways that our presumptions about the relationship of art to war are challenged by the artists studied and the work they produced.

General Education: Humanities; Writing Intensive; Oral Discourse.

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Department: Languages, Literatures, & Cultures
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: Jean-Francois Briere
Course: Contemporaty France (TFRE 218)

Description:  A course designed to give students a broad knowledge and understanding of French society today: value orientations, family and education, social and political institutions, leisure and work, and the media.  Comparisons between French and American cultures will be emphasized. Taught in English.

General Education: Europe; Global & Cross-Cultural.

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Department: History
College/School: Arts & Sciences
Instructor: Warren Roberts
Course: Getting to Know Albany (THIS 261Z)

Description:  Students at the University at Albany have daily contact with the city of Albany, but often know little about it. They drive its streets but don’t really see what is there, nor do they learn much about its history. The purpose of this course is to remedy that shortcoming. The course will introduce students to Albany, its history, its architecture, and its neighborhoods. This will be done through class lectures and discussion, reconstruction of the city’s past through slides that depict old Albany and walking tours that will expose students to Albany’s historic neighborhoods, parks, churches, synagogues, and monumental public buildings. This will include the New York State Capitol (the most costly building in all of nineteenth-century America) and the Empire State Plaza (the most costly complex of buildings in all of twentieth-century America). The course will also pay attention to the University of Albany, past and present. It will include examination of previous campuses (there were three), and today’s campus, designed by E.D. Stone. Walking tours of the campus will include the imposing and architecturally important complex of buildings that run along Fuller Road, engines of high-tech growth in upstate New York.

General Education: Writing Intensive.

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Department: Mathematics & Statistics
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: Anupam Srivastav
Course: An Introduction to the Great Theorems of Mathematics (TMAT 252W)

Description: This 200-level course for the Honors College is an introduction to great theorems of mathematics in geometry, algebra, number theory and analysis.  Students will develop an appreciation for different branches of mathematics. Step-by-step proofs of some theorems of Hippocrates, Pythagoras, Euclid, Archimedes, Heron, Cardano, Newton, Fermat, Euler, Gauss and Cantor will be provided by lectures, class discussions, writing projects and class presentations.  Students will learn how these theorems fit into the history of mathematics.  Students will also learn to prove the binomial theorem and the Chinese remainder theorem.  This course is appropriate for mathematics majors and students in other majors who have an interest in mathematics.  Advanced mathematics skills are not required to appreciate this course and be successful in it.

Prerequisite: High school mathematics through pre-calculus.

General Education: Writing Intensive; Oral Discourse

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Department: Mathematics & Statistics
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: Steven Plotnick
Course: Honors Calculus II (TMAT 119)

Description: Honors version of second-semester calculus. Same topics as A MAT 113, but topics are covered in greater depth. For students with more than average ability and more than average interest in mathematics. Students with a strong interest in mathematics or the physical sciences should consider taking T MAT 119 instead of A MAT 113. T MAT 119 substitutes for A MAT 113 toward the prerequisite in any course. Only one of A MAT 113 & T MAT 119 may be taken for credit.

Prerequisites: T MAT 118, a grade of A in A MAT 112, a grade of A in a high-school AP calculus course, or permission of the instructor.

General Education: None.

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Department: Philosophy
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: Brad Armour-Garb
Course: Introduction to Logic (TPHI 210)

Description:  The course is an in-depth introduction to formal logic, together with the philosophical issues that test (or determine) the nature and structure of a logic. 

General Education: Humanities; Mathematics.

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Department: Physics
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: William Lanford
Course: Honors Physics I: Mechanics (TPHY 141)

Description:  Course content will follow A PHY 140. However, topics will be covered in more depth and at a somewhat more advanced level. Students with a strong interest in physical sciences should consider taking T PHY 141 instead of A PHY 140. Only one of A PHY 140 or T PHY 141 may be taken for credit.

Prerequisite (or taking one of these courses concurrently): A MAT 111 or 112 or T MAT 118. 

General Education: Natural Science.

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Department: Psychology
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: Robert Rosellini
Course: Stress: Advanced Inreoduction to Psychology (TPSY 102)

Description: The course explores in greater detail than in APSY 101 the basic methods and points of view in the scientific study of human behavior. Topics include biological bases of behavior, personality organization, intelligence, motivation, emotions, learning, and social relations. This course is intended for students who have more than average interest in psychology and who are considering becoming psychology majors.  Note: only one of APSY 101 or 102 may be taken for credit.

General Education: Social Science.

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Department: Sociology
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: Richard Lachmann
Course: US Foreign Policy in Comparative Perspective (TSOC 274Z)

Description:   Why do nations fight wars?  How do governments get the human and financial resources to fight wars?  We will answer those questions first by briefly looking at the historical development of nation states and trace their growing abilities to force men into armies and to tax citizens. We will then turn to three recent U.S. military confrontations: the Cuban missile crisis, the Vietnam War and the ongoing “war on terrorism.” We will look at how and why the U.S. government made the decisions it did in each circumstance, and examine the extent to which public opinion affects foreign policy.

Students will write several essays based on course readings and films.  There will be no exams.

General Education: Writing Intensive; Social Science; Global & Cross Cultural.

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Department: Social Welfare
College/School: School of Social Welfare
Instructor: Blanca Ramos
Course: Community Change in a Globalizing World (TSSW 295)

Description:  Community Change in a Globalizing World is an undergraduate social work course (honors) designed to explore and critically evaluate a range of ways that groups work toward community change - domestically, transnationally and globally.  The course is concerned with endeavors initiated by grassroots organizations and non-governmental/non-profit organizations; some of the principal actors are low-income people, students, neighborhoods, identity groups, and community change professionals.  Throughout the course, students work to define what community means, explore the implications of globalization, and analyze their own social standpoint as global citizens. 

Utilizing a “problematizing” approach, the instructor and students strive to make transparent the tensions that exist when engaging in multicultural and socially unequal communities.  This course employs a democratic pedagogy including student-led discussions, lectures, multi-media and a community-based service learning project to facilitate outcomes.  The overall goal of the course is to encourage a life-long commitment to community engagement, social change and democratic practices. 

General Education: U.S. Diversity; Social Science.

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Spring Semester

Department: Atmospheric & Environmental Science
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: John Delano
Course: The Search for Life Beyond Earth (TGEO 110)

Description: As the Associate Director of a NASA-funded Astrobiology Institute (headquartered at RPI), I wish to bring the excitement of Astrobiology to Honors students, some of whom may eventually participate in this quest to search for, and detect, life on other planets.  This course will develop major concepts in biology, chemistry, physics, and planetary science that are being used by researchers to explore the origin and distribution of life in our Milky Way galaxy.  The questions associated with life elsewhere in the Universe have been a topic of enduring interest to humans for thousands of years.  For the first time in human history, scientists have the instruments for addressing these fundamental questions.  Extrasolar planets (exoplanets; about 400 so far), have been discovered and thousands more are anticipated by 2013 through the current observations of NASA’s Kepler spacecraft.  Dozens of those planets are predicted to be Earth-sized and habitable by life-as-we-know-it.  This course would explore the concepts that underpin this exploration, and the likelihood of life existing elsewhere in our galaxy.

General Education: Natural Science.

 


Department: Biology
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: George Robinson
Course: Biological Consequences of Global Climate Change (TBIO 222Y)

Description: Gain general understanding of relationships between climate pattern and life on earth and how ecosystems function; gain particular understanding of how impending climate changes are likely to affect life forms, including wild ecosystems, agricultural ecosystems, and urban ecosystems in our region.

Course Principles:
1. Scientists accumulate facts and interpret them into theories.
2. All facts demonstrate that atmospheric greenhouse gases continue to
increase, mainly due to fossil fuel combustion. Recent changes in
climate are consistent with theories that explain how greenhouse gases
absorb solar energy.
3. In addition to testing theories and acquiring facts, scientists are called
on to make careful evaluations.
4. Evaluations by all leading climate scientists present a range of predictions
that center on a less stable future climate.
5. Life is exuberant and tenacious. It diversifies during stable climate periods
and contracts during extreme climate periods and events.
6. All organisms have physical limits.
7. No life form exists in isolation.
8. The physical and biological histories of the Earth are strongly intertwined.
Most organisms modify their local environments, some organisms modify
their regional environments, and a few organisms modify the global
environment.
9. To a large extent, we humans now control our species' destiny, along with
that of many other species.
10. The consensus of social scientists and natural scientists is that we will
need to mitigate against extreme climate change and adapt to
uncontrollable events.
11. When it comes to manipulating nature, you can never change only
one thing.

General Education: Natural Science; Oral Discourse.

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Department: Chemistry
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: Priyantha Sugathapala
Course: Advanced General Chemistry II (TCHM 131)

Description: Chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium, spontaneity, entropy, free energy, electrochemistry, transition metals, coordination chemistry, organic and biochemical molecules. Only one of ACHM 121 and ACHM 131H may be taken for credit.

Prerequisite: TCHM 130 or permission of the instructor.

General Education: Natural Science.

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College/School: College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering
Instructor: Eric Lifshin
Course: Between Object and Image (TNSE 239)

Description: This course will examine the relationship between objects and the images we form of them.  It will explore the process of observation both through the unaided eye and also with the use of a variety of instruments that make it possible to extend our normal vision to observe objects from the nanoscale to astronomical dimensions.  The subjects discussed will include the interaction of light with matter, optical devices including cameras, microscopes and telescopes, digital imaging, human vision, cognition and the creative process.  It will be demonstrated that keen observation, analysis and creativity are key requirements for both science and art, and that the boundaries between the two are often nonexistent.  Because of the broad range of topics covered, none will be explored in great depth, but it is hoped that this course will encourage further study and that their interrelationships will be more fully appreciated.

General Education: Natural Science; Arts or Humanities

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Department: Educational Theory & Practice
College/School: School of Education
Instructor: Carol Rogers
Course: The Audacity of Hope in Education (TTAP 211Z)

Description: This course is an introduction to the educational ideas of the American philosopher, John Dewey, who is considered the “father” of progressive education in this country. We will look at the hope that is embedded in his work, particularly as it pertains to education and approaches to teaching and learning that are grounded in experience, or what is often referred to as “learning by doing.”  In the spirit of Dewey, we will constantly try to weave experience into theory and theory into experience, testing our own personal beliefs and assumptions about teaching and learning against these.  One of the learning experiences we will engage in jointly will be a semester-long observation of the habits of the moon and its relationship to the earth and sun. You may think you learned this in 8th grade earth science, but did you?  Themes of the course include: experience, reflection, community, continuity and interaction, the structure of subject matter, democracy, appreciation/valuing, and recognition.

General Education: Writing Intensive.

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Department: English
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: Jeffrey Berman
Course: Writing about Love and Loss (TENG 226Z)

Description: In this course, we will focus on how writers use language to convey love or loss and the ways in which they seek consolation and hope through religion, nature, art, deeds, or memory.  We will explore different kinds of love-- love of God, family or friends, romantic partner, or self; we will also explore different kinds of loss-- loss of religious faith, family or friends, romantic partner, health, or self-respect.  Please note that this will be an emotionally charged course, and there may be times when some of us cry in class.  How can one not cry when confronting the loss of a loved one?  Tears indicate that we are responding emotionally as well as intellectually to loss; tears are usually a more accurate reflection of how we feel than are words.  I'll try not to make the course morbd or depressing- indeed, I believe there will be more smiles than tears in the course.  The only requirement for the course is empathy: the ability to listen respectfully and nonjudgmentally to your classmates' writings  The class will not be a "support group," but will be supportive of each other's writing.  Our aim is to write about the most important people in our lives while at the same time improving the quality of our writing.

General Education: Writing Intensive. 

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Department: Languages, Literatures, & Cultures
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: Mary Beth Winn
Course: Women in Medieval France (TFRE 201W)

Description: This course is a study of women in France from the 5th through the 15th centuries, as viewed in literature, history, and the arts.  The course will examine the many roles and occupations of women in society (queen, tradeswoman, artisan, peasant, nun, etc.) against the background of the prevailing ideas about the nature of woman.  Object of desire as well as incarnation of evil, daughter of Eve or of the Virgin, woman was at once worshipped and maligned.  If the ideal woman was “chaste, silent, and obedient,” others were warriors, writers, and saints.  In the 12th century, Heloise (c. 1100-1164) achieved notoriety first for her liaison with the university scholar Abelard and then as Abbess of the convent of the Paraclete, while Eleanor of Aquitaine (c. 1122-1204), queen of France and then of England, championed the literary and artistic works of the troubadours.  Fifteenth-century France gave birth to the heroic figure of Joan of Arc and to the first major female writer to champion women’s causes, Christine de Pizan, both of whom will be studied in the course.  Other readings will include works by the renowned poet, Marie de France, and selections from chronicles, letters, instruction manuals, lyric poetry, plays, fabliaux, and the Romance of the Rose.   Musical selections of troubadour lyrics as well as examples of medieval art, especially illuminations from medieval manuscripts that depict women in their multiple roles, will be examined.

General Education: Writing Intensive; Oral DIscourse; Humanities; Europe.

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Department: Mathematics & Statistics
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: Steven Plotnick
Course: Honors Calculus III/ Honors Calculus of Several Variables (TMAT 218)

Description: Curves and vectors in the plane, geometry of three-dimensional space, vector functions in three-space, partial derivatives, multiple integrals, line and surface integrals.

Prerequisite: AMAT 113 or TMAT 119 or permission of the instructor.

General Education: Mathematics.

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Department: Philosophy
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: Rachel Cohon
Course: Introduction to Ethical Theory (TPHI 212)

Description: What is the basis of our moral judgments and attitudes?  What do right actions have in common that makes them right, and what do wrong actions have in common that makes them wrong?  (Is it that they are commanded by a divine being? Required by existing social rules?  Are actions right or wrong because of their consequences for human happiness?  Their conformity to a rule of reason?)  What sort of person is it best to be?  What is valuable in life?  We will examine answers to these classic philosophical questions about ethics in the works of historical and contemporary philosophers.  These answers take the form of ethical theories.  We will study a selection drawn from these theories: the divine command theory, cultural ethical relativism, the moral sentiment theory, utilitarianism, Kantian ethics, virtue ethics, and the immoralism of Nietzsche.  We will look closely at the justifications offered for these theories, and subject the theories to critical analysis.  In order to think and write clearly and reason well about these issues, we will begin with an introduction to logical arguments and we will work on the special skills required for writing philosophy.

General Education: Humanites. 

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Department: Physics
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: Jesse Ernst
Course: Honors Physics II: Electromagnetism (TPHY 151)

Description:  Course content is similar to APHY 150. However, topics will be covered in more depth and at a somewhat more advanced level. Students with a strong interest in physical sciences should consider taking TPHY 151 instead of APHY 150. Only one of APHY 150 or 151 may be taken for credit. Offered in spring semester only.

Prerequisite: APHY 140 or TPHY 141 or permission of instructor; AMAT 113 or  TMAT 119 (this may be taken concurrently).

General Education: Natural Science.

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Department: Political Science
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: Victor Asal
Course: Violent Political Conflict (TPOS 260)

Description:  This course is designed to introduce students to the  study of violent political conflict. We will examine the how, why and when of violent political conflict both domestic and international. What are the key empirical and normative questions raised by violent political conflict and what answers to these questions does the literature offer?  What other strategies, like nonviolence and negotiation  are available to actors instead of political violence?    In this course, in addition to studying the theories that have been developed to explain the politics and history of violent political conflict, students will have an opportunity to participate in simulation exercises designed to sharpen their analytic skills in the subject area. Students will take on the roles of policy makers in several simulations. In addition students will have the opportunity to participate in ongoing research and see how different kinds of political conflict are studied in the social sciences.

General Education: Social Science.

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Department: Psychology
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: Ewan McNay
Course: Honors Introduction to Behavioral Neuroscience (TPSY 214)

Description:   The goals of this course are two-fold; One, to provide an in-depth understanding of several selected topics in the field of Behavioral Neuroscience; Two, to provide an opportunity to critically evaluate research in the area of Behavioral Neuroscience.  We’ll be discussing - and you’ll need to think and work - at several levels, from the cognitive/ behavioural down to the details of neurochemistry and molecular biology.  There’s no other way to sensibly do neuroscience, and in any case it’s helpful to be exposed to how molecular-level events influence and cause macro-level behaviour.

General Education: The professor will be applying for this course to meet the following gened requirements: Natural Science; Social Science. More information will be posted as it becomes available.

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Department: Sociology
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: Angie Chung
Course: Contemporary Immigration and the Second Generation (TSOC 240Z)

Description:   Contemporary immigration to the U.S. has been characterized by tremendous diversity in terms of race, class, gender, migration contexts, transnational linkages, and incorporation into American society.  This course focuses on various aspects of immigration from Asia, Latin America and the Caribbeans since 1965, including migration processes, community and identity, race/ class/ gender intersections, socio-economic and residential mobility, transnationalism, and acculturation into “mainstream” America.  Although the material will familiarize students with traditional approaches to U.S. immigration, the main goal of the course is to provide you with the intellectual tools to reflect on, critique and provide a more contemporary, global perspective on these different issues. 

Based on weekly writing activities and creative discussions on related current issues, we will explore the diverse social, economic, cultural and political contexts within which immigrants and their children have been incorporated into American society and the various theoretical perspectives that have been proposed to explain their possible future.  Questions we will seek to answer include: Why do immigrants migrate?  What kinds of advantages and disadvantages do these different immigrant groups face and why are some better able to adapt than others?  How do the identities and communities they create enable them to navigate the changing world around them?  How do the presence of immigrants and their children shape the neighborhoods, institutions, and social structures they occupy in the U.S. and their sending countries?  How is all of this becoming complicated by globalization, transnationalism, and economic restructuring?

General Education: Writing Intensive; Social Science; US Pluralism & Diversity; Global & Cross Cultural.

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Department: Sociology
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: Elizabeth Berman
Course: Organizations in Society (TSOC 242Z)

Description:   We are surrounded by, and live our lives within, organizations: schools, businesses, religious groups, government, voluntary associations, prisons, hospitals.  We may relate to them as students, as employees, as members, as customers, as opponents, or as clients.  Often, we hardly notice the ways our lives are entangled with them.  Yet our interactions with organizations are constant.  This course aims to give you a set of tools for understanding the organizations that surround you.  During the course of the semester we will look at organizations through three lenses: 1) as rational, efficient ways of organizing complex human activities, 2) as political, not just rational—full of individuals and groups seeking power, creating alliances, and pursuing their interests, and 3) as a cultural arena that shapes our behavior by creating norms, feelings of belonging, and a sense of how we should and shouldn’t behave.  We will examine a variety of organizations through these lenses, from restaurants to universities to the military and beyond.

The class will be discussion-oriented and focus on how to apply different theories of organizational behavior to everyday life.  The writing component will emphasize learning to make a persuasive argument, with a well-formulated thesis, strong supporting evidence, and clear and concise language.

General Education: Writing Intensive; Social Science

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Department: Women's Studies
College/School: College of Arts & Sciences
Instructor: Vivian Ng
Course: History of US Women and Social Change (TWSS 260/ THIS 259)

Description:   This course draws upon (but is not limited to) the phenomenal collection of documents and images stored in the digital database “Women and Social Movements in the United States” (available to all registered University at Albany students from the library website) to construct a counter narrative of United States history. While asking the usual questions of who, what, where, when and how, we add the critical “so what?” What does it mean to “reclaim” women’s history? Is all reclamation work inherently subversive? What qualifies as “social movement” or “social change”? We will have fun this semester, playing not only detective but provocateur! For the final project, students collaborate to create either a documentary film featuring the history of women and social movements in the United States, or to design an application for mobile phone featuring the same (iOS or Android, depending on situation.)

General Education: US History I; Information Literacy.