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Information on this website is posted for historical reference only. Please visit the Office of the Registrar for current requirements.

College Courses

College Courses, introduced in 1968-1969, are interdisciplinary in nature and are intended to appeal to students of widely differing backgrounds and interests. Courses scheduled to be offered from 2009 Fall through 2010 Summer are listed below; courses for later terms will be announced during 2010 winter term.

2. Reading Artifacts: The Material Culture of Science

10W: 10A

Do the instruments available to scientists dictate the kind of questions they can ask? Are scientific instruments developed to answer specific questions? How might we understand instruments that, aside from their function, are objects of beauty? What can we glean from the instruments themselves about the society that made them and the way in which they were used?

This course will investigate such questions with tools from several disciplines. From Material Culture Studies, we will learn how to interrogate the cultural significance of individual objects by hands-on analysis. From Physics and Chemistry we will explore the scientific significance of selected historic scientific instruments. Drawing on Museum Studies, we will ask why and how “old stuff” gets preserved and then exhibited. By means of History and the History of Science, we shall review the growth of science at Dartmouth and more broadly in America. Dartmouth’s King Collection of Historic Scientific Instruments (the third largest such collection in North America) will provide the artifacts for the course. We will also visit Harvard’s collection of instruments and work with staff at the Hood Museum and Rauner Special Collections. Students will write research papers and the class as a whole will create and install an exhibit of instruments from the King Collection. Dist: TAS. Kremer.

4. Dramatic Storytelling: A Playwriting/Screenwriting Workshop

09F: Mondays 6-9 PM (and an occasional one-hour meeting on Sundays, arranged)

Harold Pinter, John Patrick Shanley, David Mamet, Neil Labute, Susan-Lori Parks, Arthur Miller, Tom Stoppard – these are just a few of the significant playwrights of the latter half of the twentieth century (and the early part of the 21st) who have done significant work, in some cases their best, in film. This course is a workshop where the student will have the opportunity to tell the same story in both forms, as a play and a film script, and determine in which way the story is most effectively told. After starting the course with an exploration of the screenplay’s origins as the filmed version of the “well-made play,” and then traveling through to the modern day when the screenplay has developed its own form and structure, we will use what we’ve learned about the history and its master practitioners to develop and present story ideas, to make a choice of a specific story, and to write and present both first and final drafts of that same story as both a play and a screenplay. We will then have a public reading of one form or the other – the student will be given the opportunity to choose – in a final presentation at the end of the term. Dist: LIT. Phillips, Sutton.

5.The Science and Art of Motion Capture (Identical to Computer Science 12)

10S: 2A

Motion Capture is the process of recording movement in physical space and transforming that information into a digital form that can be analyzed and adapted. Recent technological advances have increased the use of motion capture in movies, cartoon animation, and scientific applications. In this class, students will learn the foundations of this new field from basic anatomical principles of motion to how motions express a variety of human qualities (e.g., status, emotion). Students will work with a motion capture system to record and analyze their own movement to gain a hands-on understanding of how motion capture can enhance art and science. Loeb, Wheatley.

6. Mind and Brain: Philosophical Implications of Modern Neuroscience

10W: 10A

Developments in the field of neuroscience in the last decade, including the use of brain imaging techniques and the increased specificity of psychotherapeutic medications, have led to a refined understanding of brain function and plasticity. Building on this new understanding, neuropharmacology is giving us the ability to ‘remake’ ourselves. These advances also influence how we view ourselves. They challenge the traditional picture of persons as more than their bodies and they challenge the popular view that we have free will and are thus morally responsible.

This interdisciplinary course will examine such long-standing philosophical issues as personal identity, the relation between mind and brain, and the problem of free will in light of recent developments in neuroscience. Dist: TMV. Bumpus, Clark.

9: Survival of the Fittest in the South Caucasus: Language and Politics (Identical to Government 40, Linguistics 11, and Russian 39)

10S: 10A

Most nations are not linguistically homogeneous, yet they all rely on language as a powerful tool for defining and building the nation. Language is exploited as an irrefutable symbol of the unity of a nation. For this reason the fate of a language is closely intertwined with the historical-political fate of its community of speakers. The complex scenario of the Caucasus is the focus of this course. Here the relationships of language and politics have led to separatist struggles and political explosions such as the August 2008 conflict in Georgia, the Chechen wars, the war in Nagorno-Karabakh. The Caucasus is one of the areas of the world with the highest linguistic and cultural diversity – it forms an intricate web of Indo-European, Turkic, and over 50 indigenous languages spoken across this mountain range. Many languages from the last group are currently endangered – no longer transmitted to younger generations.

The goal of this course is to follow in parallel the political development of the Caucasus and its linguistic history, under the hypothesis that one informs the other. The course is conceived as a dialogue between two disciplines – linguistics and political science. We will study primarily the South Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan), the linguistic features of the languages spoken in this area, the language policies that have affected them, and the major political trends in the region. No prerequisites. Coursework will consist of readings, class discussions, one short paper, oral presentation, final paper. Dist: SOC; WCult: CI. Chitoran, Yalowitz.

10. Mapping Health and Disease

09F: 10A

There is an increasing interest in understanding how health and disease are impacted by geographic location. Monitoring epidemics, tracking disease outbreaks, identifying environmental factors that may promote or hinder health, and studying geographic impediments in accessing health care services are important in preventing future illness and achieving wellness in a population. This interdisciplinary course provides an introduction to the principles and methods used to understand health and disease in the geographical context, drawing actual examples from the literature. Concepts presented in lecture and discussions are explored in sessions using a geographic information system (GIS). Learning takes place through lecture and discussion, readings of selected manuscripts, hands-on experience in the GIS lab, assignments, and completion of a term project. Previous course-work in geography or a health-related discipline are recommended, but not required. Dist: TAS. Berke, Shi.

11. Book Arts Studio Seminar

10S: 2A

A studio-based seminar in which students explore the relationship between text, image, and form through letterpress relief printing techniques and the creation of book structures. Lectures and readings will familiarize students with historic and contemporary literature on the book form. Students will study exemplars from the extensive holdings of Rauner Special Collections and the Sherman Art Library in historical hand press and contemporary artist’s books. Limited enrollment. Supplemental Course Fee. Dist. ART. Halasz, Hamlin.