Environmental Hazards and Urban Social Risks
William G. Holt, Vincent T. Gawronski
Grading System: Option
Max. Enrollment: 15
Meeting Times: M Tu WThvariable
This project will focus on environmental hazards (tectonic-earthquakes,
tsunamis, and volcanoes, weather extremes, hydrological-flood and
droughts, as well as disease epidemics) and urban social risks (poverty, war,
starvation, and crime). How risk and vulnerability are socially and politically
constructed and how they can be mitigated will be examined. Students
will develop the skills to use the appropriate methods to understand how
environmental hazards and urban social risks interact in different contexts.
Analytical perspectives from both the physical and social sciences will be
employed. The course will draw upon resources from local, national, and
international governmental and non-governmental organizations involved
in risk reduction. Games and simulation activities will be utilized. This
course will incorporate blended learning technologies and techniques where
appropriate. Field trips to sites in Alabama as well as a five-night trip to New
Orleans in order to examine post-Katrina redevelopment will be conducted.
The students will develop comprehensive plans for reducing social risks in
small communities for their final projects.
Estimated Cost: $800
Internship in Politics, Government, or Not-For Profit
Natalie Davis, Vince Gawronski, Mary-Kate Lizotte, Bob Slagter
Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors
Grading System: S/U
Max. Enrollment: 20
Meeting Times: TBD
This project is designed for students who wish to work in political or
governmental or non-governmental settings at the national, state or
local level during the Exploration Term. Students must meet with a
sponsoring professor to discuss their internship plans and establish the
specific requirements for successful completion of their particular project.
Students must be aware that no one is guaranteed an internship position.
Internship positions are limited and students are primarily responsible for
finding a position. Satisfactory completion of the internship includes these
requirements: 1) meeting with the faculty sponsor(s) as necessary during
fall term; 2) contacting the faculty sponsor or her/his designee once a week
during Exploration Term to discuss details of the experience; 3) writing a
report on a relevant book, chosen in consultation with the faculty sponsor;
4) keeping a daily journal of activities, observations, and reflections during
the internship; 5) adequately completing the duties assigned by the on-site
supervisor; and 6) obtaining a letter from the on-site supervisor detailing
tasks completed and overall performance.
evidenced by recent religiously inspired forms of terror, dangerous. We will
also examine some theistic responses to Dawkins’ arguments, in particular,
and to atheism generally. Is religious belief really the irrational and dangerous
thing Dawkins makes it out to be? Do atheists really merit the mistrust so
many Americans feel toward them? The course will be devoted to raising and
discussing these questions. Evaluation will be based on three meetings per
week, pop quizzes on readings, oral presentations of readings, three five-
page papers reflecting on readings.
Philosophy and Film
First-years and Sophomores
Grading System: Letter
Max. Enrollment: 15
varies; see description
In this project, we are going to explore the medium of film as a tool for
philosophical exploration. Some potential films we might watch include
Bladerunner, Being There, Goodfellas, Crimes and Misdemeanors
Do The Right Thing
. In order to give ourselves the necessary philosophical
background, we will read a limited number of relevant philosophical texts
on issues such as personal identity, personhood, ethics and existentialism.
Everyone will write an 8-10 page paper that analyzes the philosophical issues
in one film or takes one philosophical issue and explores its treatment over
a number of films. Grades will be based on the paper, class participation,
and short response papers. Class meeting times will vary, depending on the
time required for weekly viewing. Class will meet 3 or 4 mornings (10:00am-
12:00pm); 1-2 afternoons (1:00pm-4:00pm) per week. Generally, discussion
time will be Monday-Thursday 10:00am-12:00pm and viewing times will be
Monday and/or Wednesday 1:00pm-4:00pm.
Science and Pseudoscience
Max. Enrollment: 15
M Tu WTh F 1:00pm-3:30pm
FromUFOs and ghosts, to homeopathy and power bracelets, pseudoscientific
beliefs seem to be as popular as ever. This project will introduce you to basic
characteristics of scientific inquiry, and to techniques for distinguishing
scientific from pseudoscientific claims. Emphasis will be placed on logical
and scientific reasoning, evidence versus anecdote, and the importance of
skepticism in scientific progress. Example topics will include astrology, ESP,
creationism, “quantum” nonsense, “alternative” medicine, and many more.
Assignments will include daily reading and research assignments, homework
activities, and an independent project that will result in a paper and class
presentation on a topic of your choice.
Do you knowwhat they call “alternative”
medicine that’s been proved to work? “Medicine”