To browse the full list of courses available by academic department, visit Courses of Instruction.


2014-2016 CATALOGUE

To browse the 2014-2016 Catalogue online as a PDF, click here.

2012-2014 CATALOGUE

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2010-2012 CATALOGUE

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2008-2010 CATALOGUE

To browse the 2008-2010 Catalogue online as a PDF, click here.

2006-2008 CATALOGUE

The 2006-2008 Catalogue is still available online as a PDF. To browse it, click here.


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BIDS 120 Russia and the Environment The Soviet Union left a devastating legacy of environmental misuse that Russia still grapples with today. Students consider whether the Soviet model of environmental change is distinctive by looking at the roles played by geography, history, Russian culture, and the Soviet economic and political system. They also consider how the attempted transition to a market-based democratic system has affected the Russian approach to environmental issues. Students look at such cases as the Chernobyl disaster, the desertification of the Aral Sea, the destruction of the Caspian caviar trade and the threat to Lake Baikal. (J. McKinney/Welsh, Spring, offered alternate years)

BIDS 200 Introductory Dialogues in Critical Social Studies We use social and cultural theory in our everyday lives but rarely very consciously. This course investigates ways in which hegemonic “common sense(s)” are constructed and changed, both in society and the academy, and the purposes they serve. The aim is to heighten awareness of personal, practical, and policy implications of social theory, and develop critical responses to it. (Staff, offered alternate years)

BIDS 201 Songwriting This bi-disciplinary course is co-taught by a writer and a composer for writers and musicians who seek to explore composition in collaboration with each other. Principles of lyric composition will be investigated in relation to music composition, A myriad of relationships and connections between song lyric and musical composition will be explored as students collaborate to generate new compositional, fitting music to lyric and vice versa. The course will culminate in a concert of new music for voice instruments. This course will address the creative issues of how to out words to music and music to words. We will look at questions of form (strophic, through-composed, AABA, rhythm changes, etc.), discuss the relationship of musical parameters to the text (i.e. textpainting). We will discuss and experiment with stanzaic structure, the role of refrain, rhyme, meter and line length, voice, tone, as well as how to tell a story.

BIDS 202 Urban Politics and Education This course interrogates how American political commitments have informed the urban educational experience. Specifically, this course examines how the history and politics of local, state, and federal governments have converged to shape the urban educational experience, and how the common schooling movement in turn shaped urban politics. In addition, we shall seek to understand the significance of schooling for various urban and suburban political communities as well as the reforms produced from resistance and contestation against and amongst those political communities.

BIDS 207 Contemporary American Cities: The Wire This course will introduce students to key concepts terms and interdisciplinary approaches to studying the field of urban studies. Through the television series The Wire, the course will begin by examining urban space both historically, economically, politically and cross-culturally. In this context, we will discuss the importance of cities to the economic, cultural, and political well-being of modern societies and examine how forces such as industrialization, decentralization, and suburbanization affect the structure and function of cities.

BIDS 210 The Curious Cook: the Science and Art of Cooking and Eating While cooking is an art, it is also a science. Every kitchen is a laboratory, and each dish is the result of a series of scientific experiments. To achieve great art in the kitchen, the cook must combine the fundamentals of food chemistry with a fluency in the scientific method. Students in this course learn to cook, appreciate, and describe great food as artists and scientists. Excellence in reading, writing, and oral communication is emphasized. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor; students must not have taken a college-level science course. (Forbes/Bowyer, Fall, offered alternate years)

BIDS 211 Labor: Domestic and Global Labor is fundamental to the human condition, and it is also the class name of those who work. Exploring the challenges facing the working class today, and situating them in the history of the labor movement here and abroad, are the objectives of this course. Debating political strategies of the labor movement, different interpretations of how the economy works, and of how racism and sexism have divided both the workplace and labor movement are central to those objectives, as is gaining an understanding of world labor migration past and present. (Johnson/Gunn, Fall, offered alternate years)

BIDS 213 The French-English Medieval Connection In this course, students will become aware of the international nature of medieval culture in the courts of medieval England and France. Particular attention will be paid to the literary exchanges and influences shared between French and English literary genres (topics will change every time the course is taught and may include the epic, romance, fabliaux, drama, and popular and religious texts). Previous topics have included:

  • The Outlaws of Medieval Literature. This course explores the representations of outlaws in the medieval culture of England and France. Particular attention will be paid to the literary exchanges and influences shared between French and English literary genres. The readings will include texts from a variety of genres from lyric poetry to romance, popular ballade, hagiography and fable. Authors and characters will include literary figures such as François Villon or documented characters as Hereward. The course will also follow fictional villains such as Eustache the Monk or Reynard the Fox and legendary heroes such Robin Hood. All texts will be analyzed in the light of the historical, political, cultural, and literary contexts in which they were conceived and transmitted.

  • The Birth of Romance in France and England. The aims of this course are to introduce students to the origins and the development of medieval romance within the context of Anglo-Norman courtly culture. The medieval romances produced in the courts of England and France in the 12th century mark a great renaissance in both English and French vernacular literature. In this course, students will learn about the historical, political, cultural, and literary contexts in which medieval romance was conceived and the importance of medieval romance in the articulation of political power in the courts of England and France and in the development of vernacular literature in both countries.

BIDS 214 The Politics of Reproduction This course uses the disciplines of sociology and biology to examine contemporary policy debates concerning technological advancements in human reproduction. Policy topics to be addressed can include (but are not limited to): genetic testing and gene therapy, sex determination, paternity testing, assisted reproduction (e.g. surrogacy and in vitro fertilization), contraception, abortion, and childbirth (e.g., cesarean section and home births). Readings will draw on theoretical and empirical research in particular subfields in sociology (gender relations and the state, sociology of the family, sociology of the body ) and biology (human development, genetics, cell biology).

BIDS 229 Two Cities: NY and Toronto This course provides an in-depth examination of these two cities, the most powerful in their respective countries. Each city is examined historically with special consideration given to sociological and economic issues. The basic idea is to see the city as a living organism by using the case study method. By using films, literature, and most importantly, a required five-day field trip to each city, students come to understand the city as a human construction rather than as an abstract concept. Prerequisite: one of the following: BIDS 228, one of the core courses in urban studies, ANTH 247 Urban Anthropology, ECON 213 Urban Economics, HIST 264 Modern European City, or permission of one instructor. (Spates/McGuire, Spring, offered alternate years)

BIDS 234 Poeticizing Life: Romanticism in Britain & Germany This course is an exploration of the literary and cultural ties that connect and mutually enrich both German and British Romanticism ini the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. We’ll examine the ways in which individual authors influenced each other’s lives and work and set these relationships in the wider context of the fundamental changes taking place in the intellectual and political worlds of Western Europe, including the rise of nationalism, in the run-up to and aftermath of the events of the French Revolution. Among the literary figures whose works we will read, analyse, and discuss, we will also explore the writings of the philosophers and politicians who inspired and incensed them with a view to gaining a better understanding of the spirit of an age marked by its willingness to throw open once universal truths to rigorous inspection and criticism. (Klaus/Minott-Ahl)

BIDS 245 Men and Masculinity This course offers a reinterpretation of men’s lives from the perspectives of history and sociology, informed by pro-feminist men’s studies. Students assert that masculinity is problematic—for men and for women—but also, subject to change, since it is socially constructed and historically variable. Students focus on men’s lives in American society from the late 19th-century to the present, and explore the varieties of masculinities in the diversity of race, class, ethnicity and sexuality. This course allows men and women to come to a deeper understanding of men as men, and to re-think the male experience. The course syllabus includes small-group discussions, guest lecturers, and films. Course requirements typically include three bidisciplinary essays: a biography exploring the problematics of masculinity; an analytic of men in groups; and speculation on solutions and social change. (Harris/Capraro, Spring)

BIDS 250 Composing Works: Music & Dance Collaboration This bi-disciplinary course is co-taught by a choreographer and a composer for both dancers and musicians who want to explore composition in collaboration with musicians and dancers. Principles of dance composition will be investigated in relation to music composition, and musical scores will be envisioned with movement as an integral component. Improvisation will be practiced as a technique that inspires creative process. Myriad relationships and connections between music and dance will be tested as students and teachers collaborate to generate new compositional works and improvisational structures. The course will culminate in a performance of new music and new choreography.

BIDS 262 Architecture, Morality and Society John Ruskin, among the most influential writers and theorists of the 19th century (and curiously overlooked today), argued that the one art form that everyone had to encounter was architecture. We live in buildings, we work in them, we are influenced by them wherever we are; hence, their importance in each of our lives in social life can hardly be overemphasized. Using Ruskin’s writings as the central axis, this course examines his central role in the development of art criticism, architecture theory and early modern art. In addition, it explores the relations between architecture and society by examining some of his sociological theories. Along the way, students study Gothic architecture, William Morris and his influcence on the Arts and Crafts Movement, the Bauhaus, and such modern figures as Frank Lloyd Wright. (Spates/Mathews, Fall)

BIDS 286 Gender, Nation, and Literature in Latin America This course examines the relationship between gender and national cultures in Latin America, from Independence to World War II (c. 1825-1945). As Latin American nations broke from Spanish colonial rule, state-builders confronted the colonial past and set out to forger new national identities and cultures. Specifically, state-builders sought to construct social citizenship and fashion national cultures in societies still asymmetrically ordered on the basis of the exclusionary colonial criterion of gender, ethnicity, class, and geography. Popular works of literature frequently cast the desire to reconcile the colonial order and assert modern nationalist identities in gender terms. In particular, the critical problems of state formation in Latin America-the hope and anxiety associated with post-colonial instability; socioeconomic equality, ethnic unity, and spatial consolidation; the quest for modernity; and the assertion of sovereignty and authenticity-often took on erotic overtones. Unrequited love, sexual union, and marriage became central metaphors for understanding (and naturalizing) national consolidation, and establishing the new hegemonic order. By tracing out the “national romances” of Latin America, we can learn much about the role of gender (writ large) in Latin American State formation, and the position of women in the region’s post-colonial order. As such, this course will offer students parallel histories of the changing role of women in Latin American culture and literature, and the role of gender in the Latin American political imagination. (Farnsworth/Ristow)

BIDS 288 White Mythologies: Objectivity, Meritocracy, and other Social Constructions This course explores the history and ongoing manifestations of “white mythologies’- long-standing, often implicit views about the place of White, male, Euro-American subjects as the norm against which the peoples of the world are to be understood and judged. Students will explore how systematic logics that position “the West” and “whiteness” as the ideal manifest through such social constructions as objectivity, meritocracy, and race, and as justifications for colonial interventions, slavery, and the subordination of women.

BIDS 291 Middle Ages Art & Literature This course is part of a topics series. Each course concentrates on a single aspect, socio-cultural manifestation, geographical area and/or development of medieval culture. The courses are based of the assumption that art and literature are mirrors that reflect, react against or imitate the social and historical conditions of a period. Topics include Dante and Vikings.

BIDS 295 Alcohol Use and Abuse: Causes and Consequences Alcohol is the most widely used and abused drug in contemporary American society. While attractions, pleasures and possible benefits of alcohol consumption may be debated, there is little argument about the debilitating effect and enormous costs of heavy drinking and alcoholism on the health of individuals, families, and society in general. This course brings together natural science and social science contributions to the interdisciplinary study of this phenomenon by incorporating a variety of academic perspectives including biology, chemistry, social psychology, epidemiology, and sociology, and by making extensive use of multimedia resources. Students explore the effect of family, genetics, peers, ethnicity, and gender on drinking behavior along with the chemical properties and physiological effects of alcohol on the human body. Social patterns of drinking in various societal contexts also are examined. Educational programs are developed to share the course outcomes with the larger community. BIDS 295 can be applied for course credit in sociology and public policy majors and minors and is part of the American Commitments Program of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. It has been recognized nationally as a model for courses about substance use and abuse. (Perkins/Craig, offered alternate years)

BIDS 298 The Ballets Russes: Modernism and the Arts In the history of 20th-century music and dance, no one company has had so profound and so far-reaching influence as The Ballets Russes. This course attempts to explore the artistic achievements of The Ballets Russes by studying the choreography, composition, and design of some of its major productions: L’Apres Midi d’un Faun, Petrushka, Firebird, Le Sacre du Printemps, and Les Noces. It investigates the languages of music, dance, and the visual art as separate but connected expressions of cultural aesthetics through their similarities and their differences. Questions raised include: What is the role and nature of the artist within his or her society–mirror of conscience or outcast rebel? What is the importance or function of art itself–a force for social change or an illustration of established values? What does modernism mean in music, dance and the visual arts? (Myers/Williams, Fall, offered alternate years)



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