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Course Catalog

The Course Catalog includes course descriptions of all courses offered by the Undergraduate School at Babson College. For descriptions of the courses offered in the current or upcoming semesters, please see the Course Listing.

 

 Undergraduate Course Catalog

 
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History & Society

HINDUISM AND BUDDHISM

ANT4602 ~ Hinduism and Buddhism 2 credit advanced liberal arts Hinduism and Buddhism as living religious world views and ways of life are the focus of this 2 credit advanced liberal arts elective. Hinduism and Buddhism respectively are the world’s third and fourth largest religious traditions. Both of South Asian origin and sharing many historical roots, they grew in dramatically different directions. The course will introduce the origins and trajectories of these religious movements in historical context. We will also pursue an empathetic understanding of the key beliefs and practices of both traditions in their own terms, while understanding that each tradition has within it a multitude of variations. An important component of this course will be fieldtrips to local Hindu and Buddhist temples. Among the other resources we will use to explore religious expression within these traditions are sacred texts, artifacts, music, visual arts and architecture. Prerequisites: 3 Intermediate Liberal Arts (LVA, CVA, HSS)

CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY (ANT)

CVA2408 Cultural Anthropology (Intermediate Liberal Arts) Introduction to Cultural Anthropology is a three-credit intermediate History and Society course. The central focus of this course is the phenomenon of culture, that remarkable accomplishment that makes humans unique among all other species. We will use the concept of culture to investigate the question of what it means to be human. A major area of focus will be upon the ways cultural meanings are generated, shared, symbolized, ritualized, contested and altered in the face of different types of challenges. We will also study the relationship of cultural meaning to different economic, kinship and political systems. Throughout the course, as we study a variety of unfamiliar societies, we will continually refer back to our own societies with the goal of looking at our own ways of doing things with a new frame of mind. This frame of mind, or anthropological perspective, searches for the internal logics and constellations of values and beliefs that underpin all societies and subcultures. Central to this course is a succession of small fieldwork projects. This course will particularly strengthen your multicultural and rhetorical competencies Prerequisites: RHT and Foundation H&S and A&H This course is typically offered in the following semesters: Fall

EAST ASIAN CULTURES (HIS)

CVA2009 East Asian Cultures (Intermediate Liberal Arts) Welcome to Cultures and Values 2009, an intermediate level Liberal Arts course which will introduce you to the cultures of East Asia. This course builds on the themes and techniques in the H&S and A&H Foundation courses to analyze our subject using the materials and methodology of history pursued in an interdisciplinary manner. We will focus on the cultures of East Asia, China, Japan, and Korea; with thematic examples from ancient, medieval and modern periods. East Asia is integrated due to location and the influence that China had on the cultures of Japan and Korea. We will begin our study with the major ways of thinking in ancient China-Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, with some consideration of Legalism, and Militarism. The ethical structures, ideas, concepts and vocabulary in part one will inform and be assumed in our study of Japan and Korea. We will next study the uses of Chinese Ethics in Japan and Korea, Shinto in Japan, and Shamanism in Korea. Although these three cultures have elements in common, Japan and Korea developed in unique ways and in no way should be seen as pale imitations of Chinese culture. We begin our study analyzing written (Chinese) classical texts, which became classics throughout East Asia. These are elite cultural documents, but we will also consider their impact on popular culture. The fourth section of the course will consider East Asia as a cultural unit. We will interrogate the cultural constructions of identity and meaning in these cultures and the political and social contexts in which these were found. We will consider the impact of modernization and globalization, and the change and continuity within East Asian cultures. Some attention will be given to the cultural impact from and on the West. We approach this course through readings in philosophy, religion, anthropology, art, literature, film, and music. Prerequisites: RHT and Foundation H&S and A&H This course is typically offered in the following semesters: Spring or Summer

INTRODUCTION TO WESTERN CULTURE(HIS)

CVA2011 Introduction to Western Culture (Intermediate Liberal Arts) This cultural history course explores rational and non-rational ways of knowing in the Western tradition. We look at literature and art to focus upon four moments in the history of the West where these antithetical tendencies are conspicuous: Ancient Greece; the High Middle Ages; Europe during the Reformation and the Scientific Revolution; and the Early 20th Century. We read Greek tragedies by Aeschylus and Euripides, medieval romances such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and contemporary plays about the lives of Galileo and Luther. Essays by Freud and Jung frame our discussions. Prerequisites: RHT and Foundation (H&S and A&H) or AHS This course is typically offered in the following semesters: Spring or Fall

POLITICAL THOUGHT (POL)

CVA2015 Political Thought (Intermediate Liberal Arts) What is politics, and what does it mean to say that we are political actors, individually and collectively? On what basis might we view politics as a positive and/or negative force in our lives? This course addresses these and other questions about the meaning and practice of politics through close readings of classic political theory works, such as those by Thomas Hobbes, Niccolo Machiavelli and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and readings from more contemporary approaches, such as anarchist political theory, feminist theory, and queer theory. The course will begin with some basic concerns, about the role and meaning of citizenship, political community, and government. Upon this basis, we will read and discuss topics such as inequality, political resistance, the role of violence in politics, and any other pertinent issues discern from the work. This is a reading intensive course, and it will also explore political themes that can be drawn out of popular culture, such as films and television shows. Prerequisites: RHT and Foundation H&S and A&H This course is typically offered in the following semesters: Spring

PEOPLES AND CULTURES OF THE AMERICAS (HI

CVA2055 Peoples and Cultures of the Americas (Intermediate Liberal Arts) This course examines U.S. relations with Latin America since U.S. Independence. We will investigate this broad issue from the parameters of diplomatic, political, and economic history, and we especially will focus on an array of accompanying cultural questions. Diplomatically, United States policy toward Latin America has gone through distinct phases, from neglect in some periods, to alliance and cooperation in others, to military conflict and intervention in still other eras. The Latin American response to the numerous U.S. activities in the region also has varied. Overt and covert political goals (often based on domestic developments), powerful economic agendas, and deeply rooted cultural perceptions and stereotypes, all have contributed significantly to intra-hemispheric policies and conduct. Scholars have posited various interpretations over the years, each emphasizing one set of motivations as being paramount. The role of the United States in Latin America has not always been clear nor is there unanimous agreement on its impact. Yet, there are a number of common themes that characterize the relationship between the "colossus to the north" and its neighbors to the south. This course seeks to identify these common themes and to provide a basis for understanding contemporary and future cultural, political, and economic relations in the Americas. Prerequisites: RHT and Foundation A&H and H&S or AHS

FOOD AND THE AFRICAN AMER CANON

This course will be delivered via WebEx. CVA2490 Food and the African American Canon 3 credit intermediate liberal arts This 3 credit history and foodways course discusses food and space in restaurants, dining cars, street venders and wherever food is made and sold (by whom), and eaten (by whom) at the center. The course will include readings in James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of a Colored Man, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, Zora Hurston's Their Eyes Where Watching God, John Washington's The Chaneysville Incident, Paule Marshall's classic essay From The Poets in the Kitchen, and Richard Wright's Man of All Work. Readings on segregated restaurants come from James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son, and in No Name in the Street. A chapter on Ntzoake Shange's novel, Sassafrass, Cypress, and Indigo and her novel Liliane. Prerequisites: RHT and AHF or AHS Foundation

CLIMATE CHANGE POLITICS AND POLICY

ENV4600 Climate Change Politics and Policies 4 credit Advanced Liberal Arts The objective of this intensive seminar is to understand, explore and critically analyze how climate changing activities are governed. The class sessions will consist of four main components: (1) General introduction (2) Climate politics and policy at the national and international levels, (3) Climate politics and policy at the sub-national level, (4) Where climate politics and policy meet the public. By way of four main themes addressed in the sessions over the semester, we will challenge our thinking about climate change as a problem, develop new frameworks for analyzing climate politics and policy, and discuss practical and conceptual alternatives for mitigation and adaptation actions in our individual and collective lives. Critical engagement in session lectures and discussions with these topics and themes will help us to distinguish patterns, appraise and assess values, and gain insights from a variety of perspectives and viewpoints concerning climate change politics and policy. Prerequisteds: 3 intermediate liberal arts (CVA, LVA, HSS)

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN MALAYSIA

HIS3608 Social Responsibility in Malaysia 4 credit advanced liberal arts (offshore elective) Study of, and opportunity for hands-on contributions to high quality social enterprises and corporate social responsibility programs in the world's most economically developed Muslim community. Malaysia is also a multi-ethnic society with communities of Chinese, Indian, and native peoples for which government, corporations, and social enterprises are developing strategies for social coherence. For over a hundred and fifty years, American management models have dominated the enterprises of the world. Now, as we enter the second decade of what some call the "post-American century," it is vital for Americans and everyone else to open themselves to lessons that can be learned from others. Malaysia's underappreciated economic success, as well as its large challenges in sustainability and social justice, make it a potential teacher for the rest of us. Prerequisites:

COLD WAR AND ESPIONAGE LIT

HIS3609 Espionage, Subversion, and Terror: Spy Literature and the Cold War 4 credit Advanced Liberal Arts The 20th century was obsessed with spying, and since WWII it has become institutionalized and professionalized. The clandestine has always been an important part of war, politics and commerce, but during the 20th century it became an end in itself. Spy literature represents intrigue and the clandestine, espionage and subversion, as the human condition. It presents an amoral world characterized by voyeurism, role anxiety, disguise and alienation, and invites an identification with the spy out in the cold; it plays upon our sense of isolation in a bureaucratic world, our lack of control. The spy is us, in an enemy world, always already betrayed. In this class we will read espionage literature that explores these moral issues within the geopolitical and ideological contexts of the Cold War. Prerequisites: 3 Intermediate Liberal Arts (HSS, LVA, CVA)

DRUGS AND INTOXICANTS IN WRLD HIST

HIS3612 Drugs and Intoxicants in World History 4 credit advanced liberal arts Course Description: This course will examine the role of drugs and intoxicants in World History; their use as spiritual and medicinal tools, as key devices in economic capitalist expansion, and eventually their role as a divisive political and economic issue in contemporary politics. The course begins by examining the importance of stimulants such as tea, sugar, coffee and opium to the expansion of free trade and global capitalism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The course analyzes the shifts to prohibition, particularly the suppression of the global drug trade as justification for the expansion of American empire, and the US-led “War on Drugs” and its relationship with the expansion of the global drug trade. We will also address contemporary issues regarding the war on drugs in Mexico and narco-terrorism in Afghanistan. We will use a variety of books, articles, documents, and films to understand this rich, complex, and often misunderstood history. Prerequisites: Three intermediate liberal Arts (HSS LVA CVA)

RACE & ETHNICITY IN LATIN AMERICA

HIS3620 RACE AND ETHNICITY IN LATIN AMERICA 4 credit (Advanced Liberal Arts) What did it mean to be "Black" or "Indian" or "White" in Latin America? What is mestizaje and indigenismo? What did it mean to be of mixed descent? What does these mean today? Is "race" a means to political empowerment, or the source of discrimination? This seminar explores these issues and ideas in the context of colonial and postcolonial Latin American history. In answering these questions, we will look at a variety of theoretical and disciplinary approaches to "race." Armed with the history of these changing ideas, we will then consider a variety of case studies from throughout Latin America. Prerequisites: 3 Intermediate Liberal Arts Courses (CVA, LVA, HSS)

THE PERSONAL IS POLIT:GENDER IN US HIST

HIS3674 The Personal is Political: Gender in Modern US History (Advanced Liberal Arts) Activists in the women’s movement made the personal political, bringing previously “private” issues such as sex, reproduction, birth control, and intimate relationships into the realm of public debates. This course focuses on the changing social and political roles of women and men in twentieth- and twenty-first century America. Using primary and secondary sources, films, and other texts, we will study “womanhood” and “manhood,” femininity and masculinity, and the intersection of these identities with the categories of class, race, ethnicity, religion, ability, and sexuality. We will discuss people in straight and GLBTQ family arrangements, in the diverse, globalized workplace, in the formation of public policy, and in social movements. Prerequisites: 3 Intermediate Liberal Arts Courses (CVA, LVA, HSS) This course is typically offered in the following semesters: Spring or Fall

SEXUALITY AND POWER IN MODERN SOCIETY

HIS4604 Sexuality and Power in Modern Society (Advanced Liberal Arts) In western society, over the past two centuries, sex has come to be understood as the focus of our being, the means by which we measure, identify, and create meaning for ourselves. What is sexuality? How is it a function of power, or political ideology? The course treats these broad issues by examining specific subjects such as sexuality and social change, sexual hysteria, sexual difference and diversity, gender definition, sexuality and the body, feminism, sexuality and intimate citizenship, and globalization and human sexual rights. Prerequisites: 3 Intermediate Liberal Arts Courses (CVA, LVA, HSS) This course is typically offered in the following semesters: Fall

DRUGS AND INTOXICANTS IN WORLD HIST (HIS

HIS4612 Drugs and Intoxicants in World History 4 credit advanced liberal arts Course Description: This course will examine the role of drugs and intoxicants in World History; their use as spiritual and medicinal tools, as key devices in economic capitalist expansion, and eventually their role as a divisive political and economic issue in contemporary politics. The course begins by examining the importance of stimulants such as tea, sugar, coffee and opium to the expansion of free trade and global capitalism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The course analyzes the shifts to prohibition, particularly the suppression of the global drug trade as justification for the expansion of American empire, and the US-led “War on Drugs” and its relationship with the expansion of the global drug trade. We will also address contemporary issues regarding the war on drugs in Mexico and narco-terrorism in Afghanistan. We will use a variety of books, articles, documents, and films to understand this rich, complex, and often misunderstood history. Prerequisites: Three intermediate liberal Arts (HSS LVA CVA)

MAKING OF MODERN AMERICA (HIS)

HSS2000 The Making of Modern America, 1865-1929 (Intermediate Liberal Arts) The decade of the 1920s witnessed the birth of much of that we consider "modern" in the United States. Students in this course will examine this decade closely, focusing on several key moments and developments: anti-immigrant hysteria and the Braintree, Massachusetts trial of Sacco and Vanzetti; the rise of queer communities; competing visions of Black Liberation and the art of the Harlem Renaissance; the rise of big business, the decline of small town America, and the mass appeal of the Ku Klux Klan; women and men and their roles in the new economies of sex and work. We will use historical sources, among them film and fiction, to explore the currents of the twenties and draw connections to the social and political debates of the contemporary U.S. Prerequisites: RHT and Foundation H&S and A&H

SOUTH ASIAN HISTORY (HIS)

HSS2406 South Asian History 4 credit Intermediate Liberal Arts This course is an introductory survey of the history of South Asia. Together we will explore the origins and encounters of this incredible and dynamic region that includes the present day nations of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. We will use a variety of methodological lenses to examine this past (environmental, social/cultural, political, etc….) and a wide array of sources (historical analysis, primary texts, literature, film, etc...). We will seek themes in order to draw larger connections, but we will also be careful to avoid generalizations and reductions of this widely variant region. We will explore the rise and fall of many empires, the imagination of many states, and the participation of individuals in crafting a life within those imaginings. Prerequisites: RHT and AHS & HSF

CHINA TODAY

HSS2013 China Today: The Dragon Rises 4 credit intermediate liberal arts This intermediate history course will introduce you to China’s dynamic present within the context of the complex legacy of the Chinese past. We will examine the historical, cultural, political, and economic development of post 1949 China, with brief introductions to relevant aspects of the imperial past. You will gain a nuanced appreciation for the incredible economic growth of China from 1990 to the present, and the concomitant problems of state-society relations, human rights, minority relations, the environment, and the gaps between the rich and the poor and the urban and rural citizens. We will take advantage of Boston’s resources through site visits to view Chinese art, undertake a scavenger hunt in Chinatown, and enjoy Chinese food. We will explore China through the use of scholarship, fiction, maps, memoir, art, film, and music. Prerequisites: RHT & Foundation (A&H and H&S) or AHS

MEDIA STUDIES (MDS)

HSS2020 Media Studies (4 credit Intermediate Liberal Arts) This course explores the structure and functions of the mass media in contemporary society, looking at social, cultural, economic and political issues relevant to television, film, radio, recorded music, books, newspapers, magazines, internet and new communication technologies. Exploration of relationships between media and individual, media structure, media policy, law and ethics, and globalization of communications media is emphasized. Prerequisites: RHT and Foundation (H&S and A&H) or AHS This course is typically offered in the following semesters: Spring or Fall

DECONONIZATION & REVOLUTION 20TH CENT

HSS2025 Decolonization and Revolution in the 20th Century Intermediate 4-credit The 20th Century is viewed by most historians as the most violent and tempestuous century in human history. In particular, this narrative is largely dominated by the two great wars and the Cold War. However, what made those conflicts so important was not just their impact on Europe and the Western World, but how those conflicts catalyzed mass movements globally. This class examines the history of decolonization and revolution in the 20th Century, and how the world wars and the Cold War impacted processes of nationalism, independence, decolonization and revolution. Starting with the rise of Turkey and the Bolshevik revolution during the first world war, we will then analyze the independence movements that sprouted from the vestiges of the second world war, particularly those of China and India, as well as the emergence of Apartheid in South Africa. We will also explore the impact of the Cold War on revolution and decolonization, especially Vietnam and Algeria. Finally, the course will analyze how more recent revolutions, such as those in Iran and Israel /Palestine, are rooted in longer historical processes which highlight the continuing legacy of Imperialism and revolutionary resistance to imperialism in the contemporary world. The course will use a variety of books, articles, movies, and music to analyze this deep, violent, and often conflicted aspect of human history. Pre-requisites: AHS and RHT II
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