Spring 2017 First Year Seminars



ANTH 060H.001 | Crisis & Resilience: Past & Future of Human Societies

TR, 11:00-12:15. Instructor(s): Patricia McAnany. Enrollment = 24.

The goal of this FYS is to encourage students to adopt a long view of human societies and to examine responses to crises engendered by political, economic, and environmental factors over the longue durée. Perspectives on societal change—both apocalyptic and transformational—are critically examined in this seminar in light of a suite of case studies that reach back to Mesopotamia (3rd millennium B.C.), Classic Maya and U.S. Pueblo dwellers of the first millennium A.D. and also include contemporary situations such as the Rwandan genocide, nations such as Haiti that are alleged to be “failed” states, and the current global crisis of environmental sustainability. Students gain familiarity with evaluating archaeological, historical, and environmental information that is pertinent to social change. The aim of the seminar is to foster critical thinking and the ability to evaluate narratives (in both scholarly and popular media) about societal crises and human resilience.
Seminar research materials include books, journal articles, films, and student-run interviews. Class meetings generally consist of a short, introductory lecture followed by discussion headed by student discussion leaders who develop and circulate “talking points” before each class meeting based upon reading material for that day’s seminar. Additionally, each student selects a topic or a case study to research in depth, develops a short class presentation (about 10 minutes), and writes a final research paper.


Patricia A. McAnany is Kenan Eminent Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. A Maya archaeologist, she serves as co-principal investigator of Proyecto Arqueológico Colaborativo del Oriente de Yucatán and as Executive Director of InHerit: Indigenous Heritage Passed to Present (www.in-herit.org). She is particularly interested in the intersection of ritual and economy and in the perspectives of descendant Maya peoples on cultural heritage. She is the author/co-editor of several books, most recently Maya Cultural Heritage: How Archaeologists and Indigenous Communities engage the Past; Textile Economies: Power & Value from the Local to the Transnational (2011) co-edited with Walter E. Little; Ancestral Maya Economies in Archaeological Perspective (2010); Questioning Collapse: Human Resilience, Ecological Vulnerability, and the Aftermath of Empire (2009) co-edited with Norman Yoffee; and Dimensions of Ritual Economy (2008) co-edited with E. Christian Wells. Her recent journal articles include “Casualties of Heritage Distancing: Children, Ch’ortí Indigeneity, and the Copán Archaeoscape” (co-authored with Shoshaunna Parks), Current Anthropology Vol. 53 (2011); and “Thinking About Stratigraphic Sequence in Social Terms” (co-authored with Ian Hodder), Archaeological Dialogues Vol. 16 (2009). She is the recipient of several research awards from the National Science Foundation and of fellowships from the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Institute for the Arts & Humanities (UNC, Chapel Hill), the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Radcliffe Center for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Currently, she works to provide rural communities in the Maya Region with opportunities to dialogue about and perform cultural heritage.


ARTH 089H.001 | Copies and Counterfeits: A History of Visual Representation

TR, 02:00-03:15. Instructor(s): Maggie Cao. Enrollment = 20.

Whether celebrated or condemned, replication has long been central the production and reception of images in the Western world. This seminar explores image making since the Renaissance through the lens of authenticity and replication, covering such diverse topics as art pedagogy, scientific documentation, currency debates, copyright law, and industrial design. The material artifacts we will study—originals, copies, and their instruments of production—include ceramic dishes, penmanship manuals, banknotes, death masks, trompe l’oeil paintings, automata, polygraphs, and optical toys. We will examine manual, mechanical, and digital means of reproduction and their overlapping histories in the fine arts, natural sciences, and commerce. What challenges were involved in replicating across media, whether translating a painting to print, or a print to painted porcelain? How have new technologies of reproduction from copperplate engraving to 3D printing changed the aims and experiences of visual communication? How have our understandings of the copy evolved in response to theories of artistic imitation emerging from the guild system, romantic bohemianism, or postmodernism? How have they been shaped by new economic circumstances like the proliferation of paper money or the advent of the assembly line? This course teaches ways of looking at, thinking about, and engaging in critical discussion about the visual world, and introduces students to research and writing about art and material culture. Museum visits and hands-on experiences will be an integral component of learning.


Maggie Cao is an Assistant Professor who specializes in the history of American art. She received her B.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard and held a humanities fellowship of the Society of Fellows at Columbia before joining the faculty at UNC in 2016. Her intellectual interests include intersections of art and economic theory, the visual culture of science and technology, and artifacts of the global mercantile world. She has always been fascinated by forgery, counterfeiting, and other forms of illicit imitation.


ARTS 050H.001 | The Artistic Temperment

TR, 09:30-10:45. Instructor(s): Jim Hirschfield. Enrollment = 24.

As a means to understanding our own personal goals, this class examines the wide-ranging questions of what it means to be an artist. We will begin with What is art and Who are artists. We will consider: Is there such a thing as an artistic disposition? Where and when does art happen? How does art get made? What are the impediments to success? and Why do we make art and why is it important that we do?
While looking at the work and lives of musicians, playwrights, film makers, writers and visual artists, we will ponder not only what it means to be a “successful” artist, but examine the importance of creativity and hard work in any successful endeavor. This class intends to grapple with what it means to be in the business of self-expression.


Jim Hirschfield has been teaching art at UNC since 1988.  He has been a practicing artist since 1978. And yet he still ponders the motivation to make and to experience art in all its forms.  Jim has received a number of art commissions from cities across the country: From Anchorage, Alaska to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and from San Diego, California to Orono, Maine. He has also received numerous awards for his artwork, which he describes as being closely knit to place and time.


ASIA 067H.001 | Japanese Fashion: History and Culture

TR, 09:30-10:45. Instructor(s): Jan Bardsley. Enrollment = 24.

This Humanities course opens an interdisciplinary inquiry into fashion’s role in constructing and displaying identity. Throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries, clothing trends emerged in Japan aimed at variously expressing stylish modernity, political rebellion, a native past, and a cosmopolitan identity. The tough-guy bankara style affected by male political activists in the 1890s, the Modern Girl’s scarlet lipstick in the 1920s, and even the Ivy Boy’s neat sweaters and preppy look in the 1960s incited alarm. In turn, foreign adaptations of Japanese styles have long inspired Japanophilia abroad, at times provoking charges of cultural appropriation. Exploring key moments in Japanese fashion history and its reinvention abroad, we understand the role that fashion has played in narrating nation, culture, and identity. Scholarly articles that scrutinize such narratives and provide insight into their historical context enhance our inquiry.

Through regularly writing short essays, participating in class discussion and small-group tutorials, and conducting, presenting, and revising a research project, students in this Communications Intensive course develop ways of speaking and writing about fashion that relate to many of the questions animating Japanese Studies today: What role does Japan play in the global imaginary? How have Japanese domesticated cultural forms from abroad and how have people abroad re-invented Japanese styles and clothing? How are concepts of gender, class, and race in Japan constructed, muted, and reinvented through fashion? A field trip to the Ackland Art Museum, guest speakers, and the chance to do your own research make this seminar productive and fun. No background knowledge of Japan, Japanese, or fashion studies is required.

I am a graduate of UC Davis (Dramatic Art) and UCLA (Asian Languages and Cultures) and have been a Tar Heel since 1994. I enjoy teaching Japanese literature, theater, and women’s studies at Carolina. In designing this new seminar, I read widely in Japanese fashion history and theory, watched movies, read fiction, and collected images, all the while fascinated by how people used fashion to tell competing stories of personal and group identity. In my own research, I’ve worked on the politics of fashioning Japanese royalty, beauty queens and kings, transgender celebrities, and the new fad for kosupure (costume play). I love traveling in Japan, catching up on pop cultural fads, and scouting new vegetarian cafes. I look forward to working with students in this new seminar.


CLAR 050H.001 | Art in the Ancient City

TR, 09:30-10:45. Instructor(s): Donald Haggis. Enrollment = 24.

This course offers a comparative perspective on the archaeology of ancient Egypt, Bronze Age Greece and Crete (3000-1100 B.C.), and the classical Greek world (800-100 B.C.), exploring the public art produced by these early Mediterranean societies: the Bronze Age palaces of the Aegean, the territorial state of ancient Egypt, and the classical city-states of ancient Greece.


Donald Haggis studied Latin, Greek, and Classical Archaeology at the University of Minnesota. He conducted his Ph.D. coursework in both the Department of Classical Studies and the Center for Ancient Studies, where he developed an interest in Aegean state formation and the use of intensive archaeological survey to explore cultural dynamics on a regional scale. His current research interests include settlement structure in the Aegean; the archaeology of Prepalatial, Protopalatial and Early Iron Age Crete; and the development of early cities and small-scale states on Crete after the abandonment of Bronze Age palatial centers (ca. 1200-600 B.C.).


COMP 050H.001 | Everyday Computing

MW, 11:15-12:30. Instructor(s): Ming Lin. Enrollment = 24.

The goal of this first year honor seminar is to understand the use of computing technology in our daily activities. In this course, we will study various examples on how computing solve problems in different aspects of our daily life in today’s society. Students will learn about computational thinking for solving many different problems in the physical and virtual world. We will discuss various considerations and tradeoffs (e.g. time, storage, ease of implementation, and generality) used in designing computational methodologies, including data structures, algorithms, computational methods, complexity, and design issues.


Ming C. Lin received her B.S., M.S., Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1988, 1991, 1993 respectively from the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently the John R. & Louise S. Parker Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill. She has received numerous honors and awards, including the NSF Young Faculty Career Award in 1995, Honda Research Initiation Award in 1997, UNC/IBM Junior Faculty Development Award in 1999, UNC Hettleman Award for Scholarly Achievements in 2002, Beverly W. Long Distinguished Term Professor 2007-2010, Carolina Women’s Center Faculty Scholar in 2008, Carolina’s WOWS Scholar 2009-2011, IEEE VGTC VR Technical Achievement Award 2010, and 8 best paper awards. She is also a 2011 Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and a 2012 Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Her research interests include computer graphics, robotics, and human-computer interaction, with focuses on physically-based modeling, haptics, algorithmic robotics, virtual environments, interactive techniques, geometric computing, and distributed interactive simulation. She has (co-)authored more than 250 refereed scientific publications, co-edited/authored four books, including “Applied Computation Geometry” by Springer-Verlag, “High-Fidelity Haptic Rendering” by Morgan-Claypool, “Haptic Rendering: Foundations, Algorithms and Applications” by A.K. Peters, and “Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics” by Springer-Verlag.


DRAM 087H.001 | Style: A Mode of Expression

MW, 12:20-01:35. Instructor(s): McKay Coble. Enrollment = 24.

This seminar studies the elements of design in their pure form and in context, surveys a history of period styles and theatre, and identifies their causes.
Consider Oscar Wilde’s statement from The Decay of Living 1889:

“Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life. This results not merely from Life’s imitative instincts, but from the fact that the self conscious aim of Life is to find expression, and that Art offers it certain beautiful forms through which it may realize that energy…”

Do you agree or disagree?

Art and design have frequently shown the inner life of humankind throughout history better than political, intellectual or social history. While a period’s style is seldom defined by the everyday choices of everyday people and is most often recorded in the works of artists, writers and intellectuals we must recognize the “times” as a major motivator for all stylistic choices. Even minor arts reflect major events.

We will study the elements of design as they exist in their pure form; a “tool box” of elements available to artists and practice the principles to which design is bound. We will survey a history of period styles, period theatre and identify their causes. We will explore one period’s style as a foundation for the next and dispel the Star Trek premise that future styles will only reflect the future.


I teach design, both scenic and costume for the theatre and the history of material culture. I fell in love with the power of choice as far as visuals are concerned early in my career as a Carolina student and have never turned back. I am a professor in the Department of Dramatic Art and am a resident designer for PlayMakers Repertory Company. I use the many and varied artistic venues on campus as co-instructors and we will be visiting them together. You will likely join me on a design journey as I created the scenery for a production for PRC and you will have the opportunity to see the process and product.


ECON 057H.001 | Higher Calling–Applying Entrepreneurial Thinking to the Challenges of Higher Education

TR, 12:30-01:45. Instructor(s): Buck Goldstein / Matthew Rascoff. Enrollment = 20.

This class will explore the current state of American higher education and attempt to apply basic principles of entrepreneurship and the lean start up methodology to the problems facing our colleges and universities.  The class will involve readings on current issues in higher education and the study of key concepts in innovation and entrepreneurship. Class teams will then develop and test novel approaches to some of the most important problems in higher ed. Small grants will be available to facilitate this process.  The class will also participate in a series of symposiums on higher education organized around a new book by Buck Goldstein and Holden Thorp.  Speakers at the symposiums will also meet with the class


Buck Goldstein is the University Entrepreneur in Residence and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics.  Prior to returning to the University, Goldstein co-founded Information America, an online information company which was publicly traded and subsequently acquired by the Thomson Corporation. Subsequently, he was a partner in Mellon Ventures, the venture capital arm of Mellon Bank.  He is the author, with Holden Thorp, of Engines of Innovation–The Entrepreneurial University in the 21st Century.

Matthew Rascoff is Vice President for Technology-Based Learning and Innovation at the University of North Carolina—General Administration and Founder of its Office of Learning Technology and Innovation. He has served as a Senior Advisor to the Robert Bosch Foundation, the Bertelsmann Foundation, and many others. He graduated with honors from Columbia University and the Harvard Business School and was a Fulbright Scholar at Bagazici University in Istanbul. He has also worked extensively on “Ed-Tech” in the private sector and published on the subject.


ENGL 054H.001 | Students, Soldiers, Writers: The Literary Experience of World War I

TR, 02:00-03:15. Instructor(s): Heidi Kim. Enrollment = 24.

What did the young American soldiers of WWI experience, and how did they express their trauma and concern in literature? We will look at the biography and works of famed writers such as William Faulkner, UNC alumnus Paul Green, Ernest Hemingway, and John Dos Passos to consider how these authors narrated their experience of war. Our study of Paul Green will make use of the original literary manuscripts and historical artifacts from UNC’s Wilson Library [some are available electronically here http://search.lib.unc.edu/search?R=UNCb4156587]. We will also investigate the papers of Ernest McKissick, an African American soldier from North Carolina, to consider the experiences of these men, who served in segregated units and faced continued or even increased prejudice upon their return.


Heidi Kim is an Associate Professor in the Department English and Comparative Literature. She teaches chiefly contemporary American literature, with an emphasis on historical and cultural context. Some of her favorite authors to teach are William Faulkner, Junot Díaz, and John Steinbeck, and she also teaches drama and memoir. Her students have created digital exhibits and/or held public events on their original archival research in Wilson Library almost every year that she has taught. First-year seminars are some of her favorite courses to teach, and her work was recognized with the Sitterson Award for Freshman Teaching in 2013. She is currently at work on a book project about the literary depiction of illegal immigration during the Cold War.


ENGL 055H.001 | Reading and Writing Women’s Lives

TR, 12:30-01:45. Instructor(s): Jane Danielewicz. Enrollment = 20.

How do our lives become stories? This simple question provokes writers to produce autobiographies or memoirs or biographies. This honors seminar narrows the scope, focusing on contemporary stories that involve personal and lived experience by and about women. Not only will we be reading autobiographical stories and theories that describe women’s experience, but we will also try producing creative nonfiction ourselves. What stories will students—as women or as men—tell about their lives? Students will be challenged to investigate questions of self and identity by composing (using traditional written or new media formats) four genres of life writing during the course: autobiography, autoethnography, biography, and personal essay. Students will learn the research methods involved in life writing. The seminar will be conducted daily as a workshop to promote interactive, experiential learning. Students will be organized into working groups to facilitate community building. Published authors will visit the class. Students will publish their work through public readings and on-line venues.


Although she is an English professor, Jane Danielewicz is curious about almost all fields, from plant biology and architecture, to American history and literature. She can’t help but live the life of the mind and is a passionate reader, writer, and teacher. At UC Berkeley, her graduate education focused on linguistics and literacy, writing and rhetoric. Professor Danielewicz’s work at UNC continues in this vein.  She investigates the nature of written language, the teaching of writing, and forms of creative non-fiction. Her special interest is in life-writing, particularly the study of contemporary American memoir. She is proud to have been named the Richard Grant Hiskey Distinguished Professor in Research and Undergraduate Teaching. She has twice received the J. Carlyle Sitterson Freshman Teaching Award and has a particular affinity for working with first-year students. She enjoys creating assignments that tempt students to push the envelope and try something new, especially to conduct research in their fields. An associate professor in the department of English and Comparative Literature, she also directs the Writing in the Disciplines Program.  Professor Danielewicz has recently finished a book, How to Do Things with Memoir, which talks about how memoirs are not simply interesting narratives but act to solve social problems or produce new ways of understanding the world.


GLBL 089H.001 | Beg, Borrow, and Steal: The Political Economy of Aid, FDI, and Corruption

W, 02:30-05:00. Instructor(s): Brigitte Seim. Enrollment = 24.

This course examines how politics and economics condition different countries’ path towards and experience with foreign aid, foreign investment, and corruption. In doing so, we will examine the effect of political conditions on economic outcomes and the effect of economic conditions on political outcomes. Through the exploration of the academic literature, popular (including non-Western) media, and policy briefs, students are encouraged to critically examine the prevailing views on these topics and to build the analytical and communication skills necessary to contribute to some of the most salient policy arenas facing our world today.


Dr. Brigitte Seim is a scholar of comparative politics, focusing on the political economy of development. Her research agenda examines the relationship between citizens and political officials, with a particular emphasis on accountability in consolidating democracies.  She obtained her PhD in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego in August of 2014. For the 2014-2015 academic year, she was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow with the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Project and joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Policy and Peter Thacher Grauer Fellow in 2015.


HIST 063H.001 | Water, Conflict, and Connection: the Middle East and Ottoman Lands

MW, 03:35-04:50. Instructor(s): Sarah Shields. Enrollment = 24.

Despite its centrality for the lives and the livelihoods of people in the Middle East, water has seldom been examined in its own right as a contributing factor to its history. This new First Year Seminar will explore the many ways in which water has shaped the history of the region, and the effects it currently has on life in the Middle East.
Along the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts as well as the Red Sea and Arab/Persian Gulf, seafaring and fishing played important roles in the economy; in the Gulf, pearl-diving became an important local industry as well. Agricultural innovations allowed permanent settlement in areas with little rainfall. Rivers and seas were essential for transportation, connecting populations of far-flung parts of the Middle East with each other, facilitating commerce and pilgrimage. The availability of clean water has become an increasing problem as industrialization and consumerism soil beaches and sully the region’s drinking supplies. Water and conflict have been indivisible in the region, since water is one of the crucial and rare resources in the Middle East. Some have argued, for example, that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians can only be resolved by taking water resources into account; others have pointed to recent drought in Syria as a major factor contributing to the uprising that began in 2011. This course will focus in turn on the historical, cultural, and contemporary issues surrounding the presence and absence of water in the Middle East.


Sarah Shields teaches courses on the modern Middle East, the history of Iraq, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the development and consequences of nationalism and borders in the region. She has been named a “Favorite Geek” by the Independent Weekly. Shields took ten outstanding UNC students to Turkey as part of the Burch Field Research Seminar program, and plans to lead a tour to the Black Sea in 2013. In addition to her new work on water issues in the region, she is currently researching the long-term impact of the League of Nations on the Middle East.


HIST 089H.001 | Race and Rights in the American Legal System: The Case of the Japanese American “Internment”

TR, 09:30-10:45. Instructor(s): Eric Muller. Enrollment = 24.

This seminar introduces students to the workings of the American legal system and examines the historical development of the constitutional norm of equal protection of the laws, using one notorious historical episode – the removal and confinement of Japanese Americans in World War II – as its central example. Rather than presenting constitutional law as a group of static, binding pronouncements, it shows how constitutional principles evolve as a conversation among the branches of the federal government, between the federal and the state governments, and between ordinary citizens and their governments. Along the way, the seminar offers an overview of the ways in which the law treated Asian immigrants and Asian Americans in the late nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, and poses questions about the legacy of the Japanese American imprisonment for later problems of individual rights and liberties.


Eric L. Muller is Dan K. Moore Distinguished Professor of Law in Jurisprudence and Ethics. Muller joined the UNC faculty in the fall of 1998. He has published articles in the Yale Law Journal, the Harvard Law Review, and the University of Chicago Law Review, among many other academic journals. His book “Free to Die for their Country: The Story of the Japanese American Draft Resisters of World War II,” was published in August of 2001 by the University of Chicago Press, and was named one of the Washington Post Book World’s Top Nonfiction Titles of 2001. His second book, “American Inquisition: The Hunt for Japanese American Disloyalty in World War II,” was published by the University of North Carolina Press in October of 2007. His most recent book, “Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II”, published by the University of North Carolina Press in association with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, was profiled in the New York Times in June of 2012. It won the Joan Patterson Kerr Book Award from the Western History Association in 2013.

From 2008 through 2011, Muller served at the law school as Associate Dean for Faculty Development. In both 2010 and 2011, he received the Frederick B. McCall Award for Teaching Excellence, voted by the graduating classes.

Muller serves as Chair of the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina Press and is a member of the university-level Appointments, Promotion and Tenure Committee at UNC-Chapel Hill.

From January of 2012 through December of 2015, Muller served as Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the campus’s faculty development center.


MATH 060H.001 | Simulated Life

TR, 02:00-03:15. Instructor(s): Laura Miller. Enrollment = 24.

The focus of this semester’s Simulated Life seminar will be on organisms living within moving fluids. The natural world is replete with examples of animals and plants whose shape influences flow to their benefit. For example, the shape of a maple seed generates lift to allow for farther dispersal. The structure of a pinecone helps it to filter pollen from the air. A falcon’s form during a dive reduces drag and allows it to reach greater speeds.

We will mathematically describe the shape of organisms using 3D computer aided design (CAD). We will use the 3D objects in numerical simulations of flow around an organism. We will also 3D print these objects and place them inside flow tanks for comparison to simulation.

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Create 3D models of organs and organisms.
  • Run numerical simulations on a remote cluster.
  • Explain how the flow around an organism can be important to feeding, nutrient exchange, dispersal, and survivability.
  • Visualize flows experimentally and using numerically generated data.

The goals of this course are not specifically to:

  • Provide an introduction to numerical analysis.
  • Learn the detailed mathematics behind computer-aided design.
  • Teach students how to code.

Laura A. Miller (PhD, NYU) is Associate Professor of Mathematics and Biology. Using her training in both mathematics and biology, she applies mathematical modeling and computational fluid dynamics to better understand how organisms interact with their environments. Her current research interests include topics such as the aerodynamics of insect flight, the group behavior of pulsing corals, the fluid dynamics of jellyfish swimming, and the mechanical properties of trees that allow them to withstand hurricane force winds. Outside of the lab, Miller enjoys horseback riding, rowing, and scuba diving.


MUSC 089H.001 | Augment your Reality!

TR, 09:30-10:45. Instructor(s): Anne MacNeil. Enrollment = 24.

Bring your own research ideas and learn how to design digital projects for them, including creating visualizations and audio widgets. Learn how to write grant applications for digital humanities, and explore virtual reality projects. Visit the immersion cave at NCState, talk with researchers at Duke’s Wired! Lab, and work with programmers at UNC’s own Digital Innovation Lab. Enjoy special behind-the-scenes access to The Cosmic Egg: Hildegard of Bingen’s 12th-Century Vision of the Cosmos at the Morehead Planetarium. This class has a particular focus on acoustics and sound.


Before joining the faculty at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where she holds appointments in the Department of Music and the Department of English and Comparative Literatures, Professor MacNeil taught at Northwestern University and the University of Texas at Austin. Her areas of specialization include Renaissance music, music and spectacle, commedia dell’arte, opera, performance studies, historiography, and digital humanities. Her current research encompasses digital humanities, the use of boats, barges, and waterways as venues for musical and theatrical performance in and around Renaissance Mantua; early-modern laments; operatic settings of tales of the Trojan Wars; and the intersections of music, ceremony, and biography in the lives of Isabella d’Este, Margherita Farnese, and Eleonora de’ Medici. Professor MacNeil is Co-Director of the international consortium IDEA: Isabella d’Este Archive (https://isabelladeste.web.unc.edu), an interdisciplinary digital humanities environment for studies relating to Isabella d’Este (1474-1539).


POLI 073H.001 | Politics and Animal Life

TR, 12:30-01:45. Instructor(s): Hollie Mann. Enrollment = 24.

Humans and non-human animals have lived together since time immemorial, our relationships exhibiting a range of qualities, including interdependence, hostility, indifference, and care. Despite the fact that our form of life is always one lived in close proximity to the animal world, we tend to think of non-human animals as existing outside the boundaries of political life; indeed, animal life has been, at best, a marginal topic in the field of political science. But animals have always played a fundamental role in our political and ethical thought, even since ancient times. The ancients figured their encounters with animals in a much different way than we do to today. Talk of “rights” was nowhere to be found, nor was talk of suffering particularly present. The ancients did talk of animals’ intellectual and affective capacities but had only a marginal role. What sorts of arguments, then, were made on their behalf, if any? How do those compare with the early moderns figuring of animals, and with ours today? Over time, a range of different arguments have come to be made on behalf of animals and we will look carefully at some of these in the course, as many of these claims play out on explicitly political grounds.

Increasingly, political thinkers are challenging commonly held beliefs about the political and ethical standing of animals and attempting to illuminate the ways in which animal life actually animates much of political theory and politics today. In the spirit of these emerging debates, this seminar will shed light on the ways in which non-human animals have been central to the construction of meaning in the history of political thought and to our own self-understandings. Once we get this picture in clearer view, questions concerning our relationships and interactions with animals today will be pressed upon us, and together we will reconsider the view that nonhuman animals can be legitimately excluded from political life and thought. More specifically, we will explore the implications of including them in political life and thought and how that fact might be brought to bear on particular problems concerning our relationships with animals in late modernity.


Dr. Hollie Sue Mann teaches political theory in the Political Science department and is the departmental advisor for the major. Her research and writing explores questions related to gender and sexuality, the body in Western political thought, and animals and politics. When she isn’t teaching political theory, she spends time running in the forest with her dogs, and practicing and teaching Jivamukti yoga.


PSYC 058H.001 | The Psychology of Mental States and Language Use

TR, 8:00-9:15. Instructor(s): Jennifer Arnold. Enrollment = 21.

As adults we constantly make judgments about other people’s beliefs, desires, goals, knowledge, and intentions from evidence like eye gaze and inferences from their words and actions. These judgments together can be called mindreading, or theory of mind (where “theory” refers to the theory someone might hold about another’s mental state, not a scientific theory). This information is known to guide some aspects of language use — for example, you wouldn’t ask someone to hand you “that book” if they don’t know it exists. But sometimes you might ignore what someone else does or does not know – for instance asking someone for “the red book” when that person is sitting in front of two red books. This course examines how children, adults, and individuals with autism infer other people’s mental states, and how they use it to guide decisions during speaking and understanding. This seminar will follow a discussion format.


Dr. Jennifer Arnold is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. She studies the ways that our minds handle the jobs of speaking and understanding. How do speakers choose words and produce them? How do listeners pick out the speaker’s meaning? Her research is guided by questions about how people represent the thoughts, intentions, and mental activities of other people, and how this information influences specific linguistic processes.


PLCY 085H.001 | Reforming America’s Schools

TR, 12:30-01:45. Instructor(s): Douglas Lauen. Enrollment = 24.

This seminar will examine the role of schools and other institutions play in determining life chances, which educational interventions work well for economically and academically disadvantaged students, and what to do when institutions cease to work well. Students will learn how to analyze complex educational public policy problems while exploring questions of effectiveness, inequality, resource management, and politics.


Dr. Lauen’s work seeks to understand the effects of educational policies, school types, and school contextual factors on student outcomes. I focus on areas that policymakers can control and that have high relevance to current educational policy debates. To date my academic research covers four areas: 1) classroom poverty composition, 2) educational accountability, 3) performance incentives, and 4) school choice. Sociological and economic theory and policy relevance guide my work, which employs rigorous quantitative research designs. My work often examines the heterogeneity of effects across socially, economically, and educationally disadvantaged student subgroups because reducing educational inequality depends on whether policies and settings have differential effects on disadvantaged and minority students.


RELI 073H.001 | From Dragons to Pokemon: Animals in Japanese Myth, Folklore and Religion

TR, 03:30-04:45. Instructor(s): Barbara Ambros. Enrollment = 24.

This seminar examines the cultural construction of animals in Japanese myth, folklore, and religion. We will discuss various kinds of animals: those that occur in the natural world, those that are found in myths and folklore, and those that have appeared in popular media such as animation. We will explore how images of various animals were culturally constructed as tricksters, gods, monsters, or anthropomorphic companions; how animals were ritualized as divine, demonic, or sentient beings in Buddhism, Shinto, and folk religion; and how animals could serve as metaphors that embodied collective ideals or anxieties. Most of our readings will focus on primary and secondary texts from the Japanese tradition (in English), but we will also read theoretical texts on human-animal relationships and historical studies on animals in the larger Asian context. We will also view and analyze several Japanese films, both anime and documentaries, that deal with animals and environmental issues.


Field of specialization: Religions of Asia Research interests: Religions in early modern through contemporary Japan; gender studies; critical animal studies; place and space; and pilgrimage.

Fun fact: she holds a second-degree black belt in Shotokan karate and serves as the faculty advisor for the UNC Shotokan Club.