First-Year Seminars

First-Year Seminars

College of Arts & Sciences 
Fall 2017
Department Course Title
ANTH 090-010 (GS 090-010) So You Want to Save the World: The Anthropology of "Giving Back"
ART 090-010 The Art of the Self Portrait: From Auto-Portrait to Selfie 
ASIA 090-011 Globalization in Asia Through Time and Space
ASTR 090-010 (EES 090-013) Life from Stardust: The Origin
BIOS 090-010 Science in the Media
BIOS 090-012 Biodiversity in a Changing Planet
CHM 090-010 Chemistry and National Issues
COMM 090-010 Black Mirror and the Digital Self
EES 090-010 Time and Time Again
EES 090-011 Following the Drinking Gourd: How Natural Features Shaped the Underground Railroad
EES 090-014 Space: The Final Frontier 
ENGL 090-010 The Most Interesting City in Early America: Bethlehem 
ENGL 090-011 Arguing Differently: The Art of Conflict Transformation
ENGL 090-012 What am I Doing Here: The Value of a Liberal Arts Education
HIST 090-011 History of Fascism 
HIST 090-012  Teenagers: Growing up in History 
HIST 090-013 (AAS 090-013) Black Radical Thoughts: The Roots and Routes of Resistance
IR 090-011  The Syrian Crisis and Its Implications
IR 090-012 War, Peace, and the Almighty Dollar
JOUR 090-011 (AAS 090-011) Media and Race
MATH 090-010 The Joy of Mathematics
MLL 090-011 (GS 090-011) Work Around the Globe
MUS 090-010 All About Song
PHIL 090-010 Zen and the Art of the Everyday
PHY 090-011 Physics in Medicine: A Selection of Topics for Beginners
POLS 090-011 The Dreams and the Nightmares of American Political Thought
PSYC 090-010 Brain and Behavior: Everyday Cognitive Neuroscience
PSYC 090-011 Becoming Human
REL 090-010 Unearthing the Bible
REL 090-015 (AAS/WGSS 090-015) Religion and Hip Hop
REL 090-016 (AAS 090-016) Race in the American Religious Imagination
THTR 090-010 Theatre for Social Change
THTR 090-011 Geek Theatre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Distopian Drama for Live Performance 


ANTH 090-010; CRN 43232 
GS 090-010; CRN 43944
4 credits (SS)
Professor Bruce Whitehouse
TR 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Many of us are motivated by the desire to “give back”--to feed the hungry, heal the sick, and help those less fortunate than ourselves. Anthropological research on humanitarian aid, development projects, and other interventions meant to improve human lives in different contexts shows us why these efforts often go awry. Focusing primarily on settings outside the U.S., students will consider humanitarianism's pitfalls as well as the crucial role of culture and local knowledge in solving complex global problems.
Bruce Whitehouse is associate professor of anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and directs the Global Studies program. After working at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, he pursued doctoral studies in anthropology at Brown University and conducted subsequent field research in Mali, the Republic of Congo, and Nigeria. He received his PhD in 2007 and has published studies of transnational migration, infertility, marriage, and the state in African societies. He was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study marriage patterns in Bamako, Mali in 2011. Following a coup d’état toppled Mali’s government in March 2012, his blog “Bridges from Bamako” became a widely consulted resource for information about the country.
ART 090-010; CRN 43838 
3 credits (HU)
Professor Lucy Gans
MW 10:10am - 12:00pm
The self-portrait has a long and varied history: part manifesto, part self-expression, part psychological investigation, it invites questions of creativity and identity. How does an artist construct a self-portrait to represent both the self and the artistic project? This question frames the investigation we will conduct this semester, both in theory and in practice.  We will look at work by artists from different eras with different intentions. Some artists used the self portrait to document the passage of time like Rembrandt and Käthe Kollwitz, while others like Cindy Sherman and Kehinde Wiley used their own image to represent a variety of meticulously observed or mythic characters. In this course we will do both and more.
Although not strictly an art history course we will trace the history of art through the eyes of the artist. Recreating self-portraits in a variety of media based on the ideas and images we research through out the semester.  Students will refer to both original sources: the self-portraits and essays by the artists, and scholarly sources contextualizing the artists and their self-portraits.  It will be a combination seminar and studio where students will put research into practice and create a series of self-portraits in a variety of styles and materials.
Lucy Gans is Professor of Art in the Department of Art, Architecture and Design and is the first holder of the Louis & Jane Weinstock ’36 Chair in Art and Architecture.  She teaches courses on sculpture and drawing as well as the occasional seminar in art history. She holds an MFA from Pratt Institute and a BFA from Lake Erie College and also studied at the Art Student’s League in New York City.
Professor Gans is a sculptor who makes drawings and limited edition prints. Her work is figurative, narrative and socially situated and ranges from drawn and printed self-portraits and individually carved figures to mixed media installations with narrative text. Her work is in public and private collections in this country and abroad and she has been the recipient of the National Association of Women Artists: Medal of Honor, the Peabody award for her work in printmaking and the Clara Shainless Memorial Award.  


ASIA 090-011; CRN 43950 
4 credits (SS)
Professor Nicola Tannenbaum
MW 8:45am - 10:00am
Have you ever wondered about Asia?   It covers a vast geographic territory; it is divided into East, South, and Southeast Asia and each sub-region contains numerous different ethnic groups, cultures and nations.  The time span for these cultures is similarly vast going back to pre-history and continuing through modern times.  We investigate four interrelated themes: food, tools and technology, languages and writing systems, and gender.   Students will have a chance to eat some of the foods, examine the tools used to eat, try out writing systems, and imagine the ways in which their gender affect what they eat and do and how they write.
Professor Nicola Tannenbaum is an anthropologist who has done fieldwork in northwestern Thailand since the summer of 1977. She has been doing participant observation at Lehigh University since the fall of 1989.
ASTR 090-010; CRN 44125 
EES 090-013; CRN 44109
3 credits (NS)
Professor Jill McDermott
Professor Joshua Pepper 
TR 1:10pm - 2:25pm
This seminar will be a survey of the history of the Earth and the development of life. We will explore the formation of the Earth and the history of changing conditions in the inter-connected geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere over the past 4.5 billion years, as well as theories and evidence for the formation and early evolution of life.  We will also discuss the nature of modern extremophile organisms, and the implications for the search for life on other planetary bodies, both in our solar system and around other stars.
Professor Jill McDermott earned her bachelor's degree in chemistry from Dartmouth College, her masters in Earth Science from the University of New Hampshire, and her PhD in Chemical Oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program. Prior to joining Lehigh, McDermott was a MAGNET Applied Geochemistry fellow at the University of Toronto, Canada. Her research focuses on the cycling of organic, inorganic and volatile chemistry in submarine hydrothermal systems. These chemical compounds may have played a role in the origin and sustenance of life on early Earth and could inform the search for life on other ocean worlds, such as Enceladus and Europa. McDermott also works on the chemistry of ancient terrestrial fracture waters with a focus on defining the limits of habitability, with potential applications to saline fluids discovered on Mars.   
Professor Joshua Pepper earned his bachelor's degree in astrophysics from Princeton University, and his PhD in astronomy from The Ohio State University.  Before coming to Lehigh, Pepper was the Vanderbilt Initiative in Data-intensive Astrophysics postdoctoral fellow and a research assistant professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.  His research focuses on the discovery and observation of extrasolar planets.  He founded the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT) survey which uses small robotic telescopes to discover new extrasolar planets around bright, nearby stars.  He is a member of the NASA TESS mission and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.  Pepper also works on eclipsing binary stars, variable stars, and astroinformatics.


BIOS 090-010; CRN 41273 
4 credits (NS)
Professor Jennifer Swann
MWF 10:10am - 11:00am
M 2:10pm - 3:00pm
Science is everywhere in our lives, movies, sitcoms, even commercials subconsciously convincing us of the reality they choose.  What is the message? Is it true or fabrication?  How do we interpret what is said?  This course will use what you learn in BIOS 90 to examine the ever-present world of the media around us.
Enrollment into this 4-credit experience will see the student attend lectures three times per week with the BIOS 10 course, Biology in the 21st Century (3-cr) and also participate in a once-per-week 1-credit sidebar seminar that focuses on the topic area noted in the title above. Grading is based on work completed in the BIOS 10 experience as well as the 1-credit sidebar.
Jennifer Swann is a Professor of Neuroscience at Lehigh University.  Her research has identified several differences in morphology and function that underlie development and maintenance of sex differences in brain and behavior.   She has taught courses in biological sciences, neuroscience and professional development for over 30 years and delights in bringing the excitement of science and discovery to students of all ages.



BIOS 090-012; CRN 43722
4 credits (NS)
Professor Santiago Herrera
MWF 10:10am - 11:00am
T 12:10pm - 1:00pm

Overview of the diversity of life on Earth examining organization levels ranging from ecosystems to communities, populations, and species. The past, present and future consequences of global environmental changes on biodiversity, and their relationships to humans, will be evaluated from a molecular ecology perspective.

Enrollment into this 4-credit experience will see the student attend lectures three times per week with the BIOS 10 course, Biology in the 21st Century (3-cr) and also participate in a once-per-week 1-credit sidebar seminar that focuses on the topic area noted in the title above. Grading is based on work completed in the BIOS 10 experience as well as the 1-credit sidebar.

Professor Santiago Herrera's research focuses on the molecular aspects of ecological and organismal dynamics and evolution. He seeks to understand the dynamic ecological processes that produce biodiversity patterns in the largest habitable environment in planet Earth: the ocean. Increasing our understanding of these processes is of critical importance to making well-informed assessments of the potential impacts of ongoing environmental changes on Earth's ecosystems. He combines fieldwork with experimental molecular genetics and bioinformatic approaches to study: (1) current and historical ecological dynamics in deep-sea and cold-water ecosystems; (2) the diversity of life forms that make up these ecosystems; and (3) their evolutionary adaptations. Santiago holds a joint PhD degree in Biological Oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). He received bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Microbiology, and earned a Master’s degree in Biological Sciences, from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. He was also a graduate fellow at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, and a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Environmental Epigenetics and Development of the University of Toronto.


CHM 090-010; CRN 41957 
3 credits (NS)
Professor Marcos Pires
TR 10:45am - 12:00pm

The goal of the course is to study the role of chemistry in important societal and personal issues.  During the first week of the class, students choose the topics that will be discussed during the course of the semester. A wide range of topics are include but are not limited to: global climate change, ozone depletion, air pollution, water pollution, acid rain, nuclear energy, chemistry of drug addiction, pharmaceuticals and drugs, carcinogens, food production and the use of fertilizers.  The course is a combination of lecture and discussion and students are expected to actively engage in discussions.  The overall goal of the course is to familiarize you with the role of chemistry in important societal issues and provide you with core knowledge to make informed decisions about science and technology that you encounter every day.

Professor Marcos Pires is currently an Assistant Professor in Chemistry. His teaching interests are in the area of bioorganic chemistry and chemical biology. His research focuses on the metabolic remodeling of bacterial cell surfaces, discovery of novel antibiotics, and development of new tools to understand the biosynthesis of the bacterial cell wall. In his free time, he likes to play outside with his three kids, coach little league soccer, and watch sports.


COMM 090-010; CRN 43845 
4 credits (SS)
Professor Jeremy Littau
MW 2:35pm - 3:50pm

Critics laud Netflix's hit show "Black Mirror" for its incisive-and incendiary-take on our present and future filled with ubiquitous media, virtual worlds, social media, and portable gadgets. This course uses the show as a basis for thinking, discussion, and debate about how media and technology help construct our notions of the self and digital citizenry in both today's society and in a society yet to come.

Jeremy Littau is an assistant professor in the Journalism & Communication Department. He teaches the introductory Media And Society course as well as topical courses on experimental digital media skills, social media, digital activism, science fiction, online community, and the role of digital media technologies in everyday society. He has 10 years of media industry experience, and his work informs scholarship and teaching.


EES 090-010; CRN 44111 
3 credits (NS)
Professor Kenneth Kodama
TR 9:20am - 10:35am

This seminar examines the human awareness of time from the physicist’s perspective, based on special and general relativity, to the geologist’s perspective of Deep Time from “reading the rocks” chronicle of Earth history. We will also discuss humanity’s ability to predict geologic events in the immediate and the deep time future, i.e. from predicting earthquakes to safely storing nuclear waste. We will read from, “A Briefer History of Time” by Hawking and  Mlodinow, “ Annals of the Former World” by John McPhee, and “Deep Time” by Gregory Benford, as well as shorter articles from Scientific American. There will be a class project with a presentation and a paper related to human awareness of time.

Kenneth Kodama is a professor in Lehigh's Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. He has active research projects using paleomagnetism, the study of fossil magnetism in rocks, to study tectonic problems. He also uses the magnetism of rocks to detect ancient climate cycles.


EES 090-011; CRN 43160 
3 credits (NS)
Professor Joan Ramage Macdonald
TR 10:45am - 12:00pm
The Underground Railroad was a human network that helped slaves to escape to freedom and (relative) safety in the 19th Century. In addition to the extensive human networks, there were natural factors that helped runaway slaves to navigate the environment and influenced their routes. We will explore the history of the Underground Railroad and study the degree to which natural processes and landscapes influenced the routes, barriers, and escape strategies along the Underground Railroad. Examples include studying the importance of celestial markers (e.g. Big Dipper/“drinking gourd”), forest patterns, river networks and symbols important in this clandestine web. We will use historic records, narratives, stories, maps and other geospatial data, to understand the roles of natural landscape features such as rivers, caves, Appalachian Mountains, etc.) in this important part of US history. The course will be discussion based and will involve creating and working with geographic information systems (GIS) and other digital and storytelling tools.

Professor Joan Ramange Macdonald iis an associate professor in Earth and Environmental Sciences. She uses satellites to study snow and glaciers around the world. She is especially interested in glaciers because of their immense beauty and their importance in documenting environmental change. She has research projects in Alaska, Canada, Chile, Peru, and Russia. Her regular courses include Lands of the Midnight Sun, Satellite Remote Sensing, and a graduate course on Microwave Imaging of the Earth. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, biking, raising chickens, ceramics, and being with her family.

For more on her research and pictures, see her website:


EES 090-014; CRN 44112 
3 credits (NS)
Professor Gray Bebout
MW 12:45pm - 2:00pm

Science fiction is obviously as much a human self-evaluation as a prediction of the nature (and outcome) of future space exploration—there is no better example of this self-evaluation than the popular Star Trek television series (and the related full-length movies).  In this seminar, we will weigh fictional accounts of the impact on humans of discovering, observing, and interacting with intelligent life on other planets, and the reality of current and planned efforts to determine whether such life exists.  What are the prospects for future space exploration in our own solar system and beyond, and how do we balance the costs with the potential rewards?  What is known about the origin and evolution of the universe, and how will we go about determining answers to broad cosmological questions as we “boldly go where no [human] has gone before....”?

Professor Gray Bebout, a geologist/geochemist who arrived at Lehigh University in 1992, investigates the cycling on Earth of materials among deep rock reservoirs and the oceans, atmosphere, and biosphere, partly using the stable isotopes of several elements (O, H, C, S, B, Li, Cl, and N) to trace such cycling. Field areas for his research, and that of his students, are in coastal and otherwise scenic areas (e.g., California, French/Italian/Swiss Alps, Japan, Vermont, Idaho-Montana, and New Zealand), commonly in mountain belts. Recent research includes investigation of possible isotopic tracers of modern or past life on Mars.


ENGL 090-010; CRN 41067 
4 credits (HU)
Professor Scott Gordon
MW 11:10am - 12:25pm

This class will explore one of early America’s most unusual communities, Bethlehem, which celebrates its 275th anniversary in 2016. During much of the eighteenth century, Bethlehem was a racially-integrated and egalitarian town: whites, blacks, and Native Americans lived, worked, and worshiped alongside one another in the massive stone dormitory-like buildings that still survive on Bethlehem's north side. (There were no private homes.) Its communal organization asked men and women to contribute their labor and offered them in return not wages but food, clothing, housing, education, health care, and elder care. Some forty industries flourished in Bethlehem, whose craftsmen built the first municipal water system in the colonies, which pumped drinking and washing water throughout the town.

In addition to learning about eighteenth-century Bethlehem—and thinking about what this extraordinary Moravian experiment can teach us about today's world—we will spend most of the semester studying in depth one of its satellite communities, Christian’s Spring, the ruins of which survive a few miles north of Bethlehem. Christian’s Spring was set up as the place where young Moravian boys learned the trades that they would practice for the rest of their lives. In summer 2015, Lehigh students researched Christian’s Spring and created an impressive website to share their findings ( We will build on this earlier work by conducting new research and by devising appropriate digital forms to communicate what we have learned: about the built environment of Christian’s Spring, about the people who lived and worked there, and about the labor and learning that constituted the community’s purpose.

Professor Scott Gordon is a member of the Department of English. He came to Lehigh in 1995 and has served as chair of the English Department (2011-2016), as director of Lehigh University Press (2006-2011), and as director of the First-Year Writing Program (2003-2006). He teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate level in eighteenth-century American and British literature and publishes extensively on early American history and culture. His current book project explores religion, social ambition, and patriotism in colonial and revolutionary Pennsylvania.


ENGL 090-011; CRN 43874 
4 credits (HU)
Professor Barry Kroll
MWF 2:10pm - 3:00pm
W 3:10pm - 4:00pm

The word “arguing” suggests disagreement and contention, a conflict between opponents.  And everyone knows that the goal of arguing is to win: to overpower the opposition with evidence and reasons and refutations of their claims.  The traditional skills of argumentation are powerful and useful in many situations; in this course, however, we’re going to consider the limitations of conventional approaches, focusing instead on “different” ways to engage in conflicts and address disagreements, without resorting to adversarial tactics. 

It’s not easy to think differently about argument because the conventional approach is so familiar and deeply engrained in our culture.  To adopt a different approach, you will need to learn some new strategies as well as acquire some new habits of mind.  We’ll focus on tactics associated with “transformational” approaches to arguing, drawing from work on negotiation, mediation, organizational leadership, and conflict resolution.  And we’ll apply these tactics to everyday interpersonal disputes as well as to the kinds of arguments people make about controversial social issues, especially in written arguments. 

In addition to meeting in a traditional classroom setting, we’ll also meet in a “lab” for an extra period each week.  In the lab setting we’ll explore patterns of physical movement and habits of mind that support arguing as conflict transformation.  You’ll learn some movement exercises (adapted from aikido and tai chi, two Asian martial arts) that provide physical analogues for arguing; you’ll also engage in some contemplative (or meditative) exercises designed to cultivate composure, attentiveness, and awareness—qualities of mind that support practices of conflict transformation.  The lab sessions will provide a safe, enjoyable, and non-evaluative environment for experiential learning.

During the semester, you’ll read articles and essays, make weekly entries in a blog, give a couple of reports and class presentations, participate in a variety of activities and field trips, and write a series of research-based papers.  The challenge of this course is not the workload, however; it’s the fact that you’ll be encouraged to stretch your mind, expand your thinking, and broaden your repertoire for arguing about things that matter.  You should choose this seminar if you’re eager to explore alternative structures and tactics, open to engaging in unusual activities, and willing to try a different approach to arguing.  While there will be some challenges, you’re going to learn skills and habits of mind that will serve you well … not just in college but throughout your life.

Barry Kroll is Rodale Professor of Writing in the Department of English.  He teaches courses in rhetoric, stylistics, and nonfiction writing, as well as in science fiction and film.  He’s interested in a variety of Asian arts and ways, especially aikido, and his hobbies include fly-fishing and other outdoor activities.


ENGL 090-012; CRN 42435 
4 credits (HU)
Professor Amardeep Singh
TR 10:45am - 12:00pm

American colleges and universities have long been engines of upward mobility for the vast American middle class; they are widely seen around the world as excellent educational institutions. But in recent years -- with skyrocketing tuition and a growing concern about "return on investment" -- some of that luster seems to have worn off. Some of today's students enter college thinking of it more as a means to obtaining pre-professional credentials than as a site of actual learning and personal growth.

So why are we all here? This course aims to examine the fundamental values of the classic liberal arts education, conceived of not as an activity that leads merely to getting a job, but rather as a gateway to becoming a fully-developed and multifaceted human being. We will read a selection of nonfiction essays and books dealing with the state of higher education in the U.S. today, by authors like Frank Bruni, Fareed Zakaria ("In Defense of a Liberal Education"), and William Deresiewicz ("Excellent Sheep"), and consider works of fiction that focus on the idea of education as a process of self-discovery.

Writing assignments will include analytical responses to assigned readings as well as creative meditations that will ask students to examine their own expectations regarding the importance of college education. In-class sharing and workshopping of ideas and arguments will be a staple feature of the course.

Professor Amardeep Singh has been teaching in Lehigh's English department since 2001. He typically teaches courses in contemporary world literature and topics related to immigration and multiculturalism. He does research on film and topics related to the use of digital tools in the humanities.


HIST 090-011; CRN 41774 
4 credits (HU)
Professor Nitzan Lebovic
TR 1:10pm - 2:25pm

The historical and philosophical roots of Fascism, especially those shaping reactionary movements such as Italian and French Fascism, German Nazism, American and British fascist movements. The topic compels us to examine a unique set of images that blurred the boundaries between life and death, intellect and action, philosophy and politics, image and reality.

Nitzan Lebovic is Associate Professor of History and the Apter Chair of Holocaust Studies and Ethical Values. Nitzan wrote and edited books and special issues of leading journals about topics such as the history of German fascism and Nazism, the history of Zionism, about film, political philosophy, surveillance, catastrophes and religion. Nitzan is most proud in the enthusiastic feedbacks he receives from students and says there's nothing he loves seeing more than the burning eyes of an engaged student.


HIST 090-012; CRN 42943 
4 credits (HU)
Professor Tamara Myers
MW 12:45pm - 2:00pm

What is a teenager and where did it come from? This course looks at the emergence of the adolescent in western society and its remarkable journey across the 20th century. Drawing from history, law, film, media, music, literature, psychology, geography, and anthropology this course delves into how adolescence was defined and experienced. We'll look at how youth captured the imagination of each generation; how it was a problem and a promise. Among the topics we'll cover: how the adolescent and teenager were conjured by social science and the media; how race, class, gender, ability, and ethnicity shaped the definition and experience of adolescence; the spaces of adolescence; sexuality; and the rights of the child. We'll grapple with how to find and comprehend sources that reveal the representations and experiences of growing up.

Tamara Myers, PhD, recently joined the History Department from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. A specialist of delinquency, gender, and childhood, she is academically obsessed with "bad" girls" and "problem" boys. Her book projects include Caught: Montreal's Modern Girls and the Law, 1869-1945 and the nearly-complete Youth Squad: A Cultural History of Policing Children in Mid 20th Century North America. She is looking forward to reflecting on how teenagers make history.


HIST 090-013; CRN 43322 
AAS 090-013; CRN 43680
4 credits (HU)
Professor Natanya Duncan
TR 9:20am - 10:35am

This course provides a critical historical interrogation of what is called "the Black Radical Tradition." It is designed to introduce students to some of the major currents in the history of black radical thought, action and organizing throughout the Black Diaspora.  It relies on social, political and intellectual history to examine the efforts of black people who have sought not merely social reform, but the fundamental restructuring political, economic and social relations. We will define and evaluate radicalism in the shifting context of liberation struggles. We will explore dissenting visions of social organization and alternative definitions of citizenship, progress, and freedom. We will confront the meaning of the intersection of race gender, class, and sexuality in social movements.

While Black radicalism has often been negatively characterized as the thoughts and practices of advocating the overthrow of governments, the course will focus primarily on what people in particular movements dreamed off, what they thought they were fighting for, and the various ways in which they sought to establish a sense of belonging.

Professor Natanya Duncan is an historian of the African Diaspora whose teaching focuses on global freedom movements. Her research interest includes constructions of identity and nation building in the 20th Century amongst women of color; migrations; color and class in Diasporic communities; and the engagements of intellectuals throughout the African Diaspora.


IR 090-011; CRN 44123 
4 credits (SS)
Professor Henri Barkey
MW 2:35pm - 3:50pm

The civil war in Syria has gone on for more than 6 years with no end in sight. Almost half of Syria's population has had to move, some internally and many others have escaped abroad. Whereas most observers in 2011 thought that the regime in Damascus would not last more than 6 months, it has survived as new forces have emerged to control territory and inhabitants. The most important among these is the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS. ISIS, while not part of the main opposition to the Syrian regime, is nonetheless a potent force that has drawn the United States into the conflict. 

This course is designed to get students up to date on this crisis, how it affects the region and beyond, including countries such as Turkey, Iran, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia as well as Europe. We will also look at the combatants on the ground, the regime in Damascus and U.S. interests in Syria and beyond. 

Grades will be determined on the basis of the following: one mid-term (15%), one final paper 8-10 pages (35%), a take home final (30%) and class participation (20%).

Henri J. Barkey is the Cohen Professor of INternational Relations. He is returning from a 2-year leave at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington where he was the director of its Middle East Program. He also served in the State Department's Policy Planning Staff (1998-2000).  He has written on various issues relating to the Middle East and Europe.


IR 090-012; CRN 43664 
4 credits (SS)
Professor Norrin Ripsman
MW 11:10am - 12:25pm 

People often assume that international security — questions of war and peace — has little to do with economics. We are told that security is “high politics,” matters of national survival, which matter most to states, whereas economics is “low politics,” bread and butter issues, which are important, but of secondary status. This course will challenge this view, by exploring how trade and investment underpin national and international security. We will consider issues such as the impact of globalization on security, the effect of trade on military strategy, the use of economic sanctions and incentives to achieve security goals, and other topics.

Professor Norrin Ripsman has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania.  He has published nine books and over 25 peer-reviewed articles on international relations theory, the politics of peacemaking, and the relationship between economics on security. 


JOUR 090-011; CRN 42688 
AAS 090-011; CRN 43667
4 credits (SS)
Professor Imaani El-Burki
MW 11:10am - 12:25pm

This seminar examines the representation of race and ethnicity in news media as well as the impact of such portrayals upon public opinion, public policy and interpersonal like.  Considers the role of print, broadcast focuses on making connections between information and entertainment media that perpetuate stereotypes and dominant understandings of various groups.

Professor Imaani Jamillah El-Burki is a member of the Department of Journalism and Communication and the Associate Director of the Africana Studies Program. She is a media scholar whose work investigates intersectionality. Her research examines the ways in which media representations of various social groups become visual, textual and linguistic expressions of both dominant and peripheral definitions of difference. She further investigates the relationship between media representation, media framing and individual and collective identity; social policy; and existing social hierarchies. She has a Ph.D. from Drexel University in Communication, Culture and Media.


MATH 090-010; CRN 43529 
3 credits
Professor Bennett Eisenberg
MWF 1:10pm - 2:00pm

This seminar considers a collection of mathematical highlights from algebra, geometry, combinatorics, and probability through beginning calculus.  No special background beyond high school mathematics is needed for any of the topics.  It will be based on videos of lectures entitled “The Joy of Mathematics” by Arthur Benjamin. The videos can be downloaded from the Lehigh Library. Instead of having the professor lecture on these topics, students will view these videos on their computers and bring questions for discussion to class.

Bennett Eisenberg is a Professor of Mathematics. He received his A.B. from Dartmouth and Ph.D. from M.I.T., specializing in random processes. He then taught at Cornell University and the University of New Mexico before joining the Lehigh Mathematics Department in 1972. He still enjoys teaching and learning great mathematical ideas as well as developing new mathematical ideas in his research.


MLL 090-011; CRN 42971 
GS 090-011; CRN 44294
4 credits (HU)
Professor Mary Nicholas
MW 2:35pm - 3:50pm

What does it mean to have global competence? What does it entail, and how do we acquire it? We’ll investigate these questions through stories about work in its endless diversity around the world. As we read and discuss narratives from Asia, Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the United States, we’ll examine cultural attitudes toward work and its varieties over time and around the world, while developing our own global expertise. Assignments will include exercises in critical thinking, creativity, teamwork, and analytical research. Over the course of the semester, students will also create digital portfolios to demonstrate sustained global commitment and their growing abilities to thrive in today’s global workplace.

Mary Nicholas is Professor of Russian in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. An award-winning instructor, Nicholas has published extensively on post-revolutionary Russian prose, poetry, and the visual arts. She is the author of the forthcoming Moscow Conceptualism: Words and Deeds of a Radical Art Movement, on the role of written text in the pictorial arts, and of Writers at Work, a study of the creation of the “new Soviet man” in the 1920s and 1930s, where she first became fascinated by narratives about work.


MUS 090-010; CRN 40235 
3 credits (HU)
Professor Paul Salerni
MF 12:45pm - 2:00pm
A study of songs in several of their appearances: in popular music, art music, musicals, operas, etc. The inquiry centers on how words and music interact to provoke a strong emotion, tell a vivid story, paint a beautiful picture, etc. Music from the rock and roll and rhythm and blues traditions will be examined with special emphasis on the music of the 60s (the Beatles, Motown, James Brown, Hair, etc.). Included from the “classical” world will be the study of a Mozart opera (including a trip to the Metropolitan Opera to see one) as well as art songs from the contemporary tradition. 

No previous musical background necessary for this seminar, although students with a musical background can choose to write a song as their final project. Otherwise, the final project will include a class presentation on an artist or group of the student’s choice.

Composer Paul Salerni's music “pulses with life, witty musical ideas and instrumental color” (The Philadelphia Inquirer), and has been described by the New York Times as “impressive” and “playful.” Henry Fogel has said “It is…music that sings and dances.” Salerni’s numerous commissioned orchestral and chamber music works have been performed throughout the US, Canada, Europe and China. Salerni’s one-act opera Tony Caruso’s Final Broadcast won the National Opera Association’s Chamber Opera competition in 2007, and a definitive recording of the opera was released on Naxos. His second one-act, The Life and Love of Joe Coogan, an adaptation of a Dick Van Dyke TV Show episode, had its premiere in September 2010.  Both one-acts are published by Theodore Presser. Salerni’s most recent large-scale project was a ballet (FABLES) commissioned and premiered by RIOULT New York. A CD of Salerni’s chamber music (“Touched) was released by Albany Records in 2015. A second CD of chamber music entitled “Speaking of Love” was released in 2017. Salerni is the NEH Distinguished Chair in the Humanities and Professor of Music at Lehigh University, where he teaches composition and theory. He served for seven years on the Board of Directors of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, including two years as its Chair. Unbeknownst to his professors in graduate school, he moonlighted playing keyboards in a jazz-rock band called Hank Star and the Galaxys.


PHIL 090-010; CRN 40236 
4 credits (HU)
Professor Ricki Bliss
TR 9:20am - 10:35am

The Japanese conception of beauty is strikingly different to our own: it is associated with impermanence, imperfection, and austerity. Moreover, attention to beauty pervades even everyday activities in Japan, such as wrapping purchases at the dollar store or putting out garbage. This course explores principles that guide the Japanese aesthetic sensibility with an eye to its expression in Japanese literature, film, and traditional arts, such as the tea ceremony and gardening.

Professor Ricki Bliss grew up in the warm climes of sunny Australia.  She spent a lot of time in India and South East Asia before finishing her PhD at the University of Melbourne, Australia.  She had the good fortune of spending two years living and working in Kyoto, Japan after that.  During this time she never stopped being amazed by how beautiful everything in Japan is, how complicated Japanese toilets are and how uncomfortable it is to need to wear a coat inside the house in winter.


PHY 090-011; CRN 40667 
3 credits (NS)
Professor Paola M. Cereghetti
TR 10:45am - 12:00pm

Many of the great developments in medicine, both in the diagnostics and the treatment of diseases as well as in the understanding of how the body works, originate from principles and technologies associated with physics. How do positron emission tomography (PET) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) work? What are radiotherapy or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)?  Why are we able to see objects around us and to listen to music? In this seminar, we will discuss answers to these and other questions while learning about important principles of classical and modern physics. This seminar is intended for all those who are interested in medicine, physics, or both, but does not require any previous knowledge or predisposition towards these fields. Topics will be approached qualitatively, with only a little elementary algebra needed now and then. At the same time, those who do envisage a career in medicine or the natural sciences will be able to stimulate their interests by getting a glimpse of some of the ideas they will study in more depth later.

Professor Paola M. Cereghetti is a member of the department of physics at Lehigh. She received her Ph.D. in Physics from the ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in 2000, after using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) methods to do research on spin diffusion, as well as on the dynamics of polymer and pseudo spin glass systems. She also holds a M.A. in Chinese Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; in her M.A. thesis, she focused on the interplay between artistic rendition and naturalistic reproduction in colored Chinese materia medica produced over a period ranging from the Eastern Han dynasty (25-220 AD) to the Ming dynasty (1368-1644 AD).


POLS 090-011; CRN 42414 
4 credits (SS)
Professor Richard Matthews
MW 11:10am - 12:25pm

This course will be taught in the Socratic Method which means students will be called on at random to answer questions and follow-up questions. We will begin by critically examining the “founding” dreams of what the USA might become by reading the ideas of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton. Next, we will briefly look at what the USA was becoming just a few generations after the founding by reading Alexis de Tocqueville. Lastly we will think about what the USA has become, and might yet become, through several works of contemporary fiction. We finish the course asking the fundamental American question: Can contemporary Americans enjoy the rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”? Or, is it time for another revolution within the U.S. political system?

Professor Richard Matthews, NEH Distinguished Professor of Political Science, has written extensively on the American founding and political ideologies. He is the author of two critically acclaimed books: The Radical Politics of Thomas Jefferson; and, If Men Were Angels: James Madison and the Heartless Empire of Reason. Matthews teaches with the Socratic question(s) and answer(s) method and has received multiple teaching awards.


PSYC 090-010; CRN 42410 
4 credits (NS)
Professor Kate Arrington
WF 11:10am - 12:25pm

The human brain weighs approximately 3 lbs and contains over 100 billion neurons, each making up to 10,000 connections with other neurons.  The moment-by-moment functioning of this complex system supports those mental processes at the core of the human experience: sensation, memory, thought, emotion, and action. The field of cognitive neuroscience studies how the structure and function of the brain support cognition and behavior. In this course, we will learn about basic brain organization and activity, as well as the new technologies that have been developed for imaging, manipulating, and interfacing with the brain. We will explore current findings from the field of cognitive neuroscience with a focus on how students can apply their understanding of cognitive neuroscience research to everyday situations inside and outside the classroom.

Professor Kate Arrington is an associate professor in the Psychology Department and the Cognitive Science Program. In her research, Prof. Arrington uses the approaches and methods of cognitive neuroscience to address questions of how people behave in multitask environments, including how they choose to sequence tasks and what influence multitasking has on task performance.  Prof. Arrington has served as the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Psychology Department and teaches courses on cognitive neuroscience, attention, and statistics. She is returning to Lehigh after spending two years as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation and is excited to be back in the classroom.


PSYC 090-011; CRN 42779 
4 credits (SS)
Professor Amanda Brandone
TR 2:35pm - 3:50pm

What is it that makes the human species unique?  In what ways do our cognition and behavior define us as human? At first glance, the differences between humans and other animals appear to be enormous. Humans alone have built complex civilizations, achieved impressive technological advances, and brought about significant changes to their own planet. But what essential characteristics underlie these accomplishments and how do they distinguish us from the rest of the animal kingdom? 

For clues regarding what makes us uniquely human, in this course we will explore two distinct lines of research: (1) work in developmental psychology showing that capacities intrinsic to what it means to be human appear in the earliest years of life; and (2) research in animal cognition revealing both the profound similarities as well as striking differences between human and non-human minds. We will explore several candidate systems for what makes us unique, including language, tool use, self-awareness, impulse control, social cognition, and morality.

By comparing and constrasting cognition in human infants and non-human animals, in this course we will shed light on both what it means to be and how we became human.

Amanda Brandone is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology. She joined the faculty at Lehigh in 2010 after completing her PhD in Developmental Psychology at the University of Michigan. She teaches classes on Child Development, Children’s Thinking, and Developmental Psychology and Social Policy. Her current research explores questions related to early conceptual development including what knowledge about the world is present in infancy and early childhood, how that knowledge is constructed, and how that early knowledge becomes the more sophisticated concepts we have as adults.


REL 090-010; CRN 42411 
4 credits (HU)
Professor Benjamin Wright
TR 9:20am - 10:35am

In this course we will examine the way that archaeological work can inform the study of the Bible. One important consideration is how archaeological data have been used either to confirm or falsify the biblical texts. We will look at how archaeologists work and how archaeological data and the bible intersect. We will examine in detail several archaeological sites in order to understand better the difficulties in interpreting the material remains that archaeologist dig up.

Benjamin Wright is University Distinguished Professor in Religion Studies. Many of his teenage hours were spent reading the Bible. It only occurred to him after starting a major in Biology in college that he could spend a career doing just that. After graduating from Ursinus College with a major in religion, he earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania in the study of Early Judaism and Early Christianity. He has published widely on early Jewish and Christian literature. He writes on three areas in particular: (1) ancient Jewish Wisdom literature; (2) ancient translations and (3) the Dead Sea Scrolls. Prof. Wright’s other passions are playing guitar and coaching ice hockey.


REL 090-015; CRN 43791 
AAS 090-015; CRN 43869
WGSS 090-015; CRN 43870
4 credits (HU)
Professor Monica Miller
TR 10:45am - 12:00pm

'You in the presence of a King, scratch that, you in the presence of a God,' raps Jay Z in the song 'Crown.' From humble beginnings to global ascendancy, hip hop culture relies on wide-ranging religious themes. Examining talk of devils, monsters, resurrection, gods, and even illuminati-styled suspicions of world domination, this course considers the 'religious' dimensions of hip hop culture, and the decidedly 'hip hop' expressions of religion, finding unlikely overlap between two of the world's most powerful forces.

Monica R. Miller, PhD, is Associate Professor of Religion & Africana Studies and Director of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Lehigh University. Miller holds research interests in religion and popular culture, identity and social difference, new black religious movements, and theory and method in the study of religion.


REL 090-016; CRN 43872 
AAS 090-016; CRN 43963
4 credits (HU)
Professor Chriophster Driscoll
TR 2:35pm - 3:50pm

From family dinners to first dates, race and religion continue to be among America's most 'impolite' topics. How and why did these prohibitions come about? Where did the interest in these topics begin? Who wins or loses from such conversations? And, just what are 'race' and 'religion'? Covering key thinkers and writings from the American Revolution to civil rights and scientific revolutions, this course explores the profound role race has played in the American religious imagination.

Christopher Driscoll, PhD, (Rice University, 2014) is visiting assistant professor of religion and Africana studies at Lehigh University. His research interests include race and whiteness studies, religion, identity, culture, and humanist and existential thought, with growing interests in technological innovation and mountain climbing culture. His work tacks along the boundaries historically dividing interpretive/hermeneutical and social/critical approaches to the study of religion and human social behavior.  


THTR 090-010; CRN 41414 
4 credits (HU)
Professor Pam Pepper
TR 10:10am - 12:00pm

“We must all do theatre - to find out who we are and to discover who we could become.”~~Augusto Boal, acclaimed Brazilian theatre director, writer and politician.

In this participatory performance course, first-year students will engage in various creative methods designed to facilitate personal, political, institutional, social, and community change. Through improvisation, language and movement-based exercises, and role playing, students will experience the tried and proven tools used by professionals in war-ravaged countries, schools, refugee camps, prisons and community centers to develop self-expression and build community. Students will explore how the individual experience leads to collective creative ownership and stimulates positive change using the fundamental techniques of Augusto Boal’s Image Theatre, Theatre of the Oppressed, Rainbow of Desire and Jonathan Fox’s Playback Theatre. Open to all first-year students, regardless of experience or future directions.

Pam Pepper is a professor in the Lehigh University Department of Theatre where she teaches acting and directing. She has worked in professional theatre as a director, literary manager and administrator, and came to the Lehigh Valley as the associate director of the Pennsylvania Stage Company. She has been a Region II chair for KC/ACTF's playwriting awards committee and is active in the Association for Theatre in Higher Education’s New Play Development Workshop. She is an on-site evaluator for the National Association of Schools of Theatre; a past department chairperson and College of Arts and Sciences associate dean; holds an MFA in directing from Ohio University, and is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. Pam participated in the 2014 La MaMa Umbria International Directors’ Symposium: Theatre for Social Change and Community Engagement, Spoleto, Italy, where she worked with artists based in Belarus, Serbia, Afghanistan, Singapore, Korea, Italy and the United States.


THTR 090-011; CRN 42774 
4 credits (HU)
Professor Will Lowry
TR 1:10pm - 2:25pm

A cybernetic enhancement to intelligence is developed to fight a fatal virus, but at the risk of mental evolution beyond human capacity. A team of superheroes pursues a villain revenge-killing couples in love, while a doctor races to build an artificial heart strong enough to survive heartbreak. A group of survivors recounts an episode of The Simpsons after the apocalypse, and their storytelling develops into a force larger than themselves. These examples of contemporary "geek theatre" demonstrate how the internet has allowed for the flourishing of specialized fanbases and niche interests. This first-year seminar introduces the basics of theatrical production and performance and analyzes the possibilities and constraints within the theatrical art form in presenting these types of stories. Students will examine the structure and content of the genres through the lens of theatre and explore connections between these plays and sci-fi, fantasy, and dystopian works in other forms of media. Through research and hands-on projects, students will assess the potential of speculative drama to connect to the concrete here and now.

Will Lowry is a scenographer and an Assistant Professor of Theatre. He has created over one hundred designs for theatres along the East Coast and beyond, including productions at Playhouse on Park (CT), the Palace Theatre (SC), Mill Mountain Theatre (VA), Curtain Call Theatre (NY), Birmingham Children’s Theatre (AL), the California Theatre Center (CA), and as far as the Sydney Opera House in Australia. He worked for five years as studio assistant for Tony Award-winning costume designer William Ivey Long, contributing to various Broadway productions including Leap of Faith, 9 to 5, and Catch Me If You Can. He also worked as assistant to the costume designer for Emilio Sosa on Motown: The Musical and Isabel Toledo on After Midnight. He recently completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship at Furman University, and he is a Creative Partner with Flux Theatre Ensemble, which produced the New York City premieres of three of the plays in the Geek Theatre anthology. He holds an MFA in Design from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a BA in Theatre Arts and Computer Science from Furman University.