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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


ANT4602 ~ Hinduism in Greater Boston 2 credit advanced liberal arts Hinduism is one of the oldest and largest world religious traditions and is notable for its tremendous diversity of belief and practice. For more than three millennia this tradition was primarily grounded in the South Asian subcontinent, but in the last few centuries has made its way to all corners of the world, including the greater Boston area. The focus of this advanced level anthropology course is the lived experience and worldviews of Hinduism(s) in the Boston area. This will include visits to some of Boston’s more than thirty five Hindu temples, participation in the annual Goddess Festival, and individual ethnographic field research. The first two classes will be devoted to reviewing the origins and development of Hinduism in South Asia and the major philosophies and schools of practice. The rest of the course will zoom in on Hinduism in New England from the 19th to the 21st century, with the greatest emphasis on the present day. Prerequisites: 3 Intermediate Liberal Arts (LVA, CVA, HSS)


CVA2010 Gender Studies (Intermediate Liberal Arts) This course provides an interdisciplinary introduction to gender studies. Designed as an intermediate course, Introduction to Gender Studies aims to identify and critically examine the interactive relationships among gender, cultural/social institutions, and individuals in contemporary American society. This implies two foci of attention. First, through readings and discussion, we will explore gender roles and resulting power inequities in contexts such as families, the music industry, conceptions of both race and sexuality, and novels. Equally important, we will analyze how the behaviors of individuals reflect, sustain and sometimes alter social conceptions of gender. In concert, these two emphases serve to underline the relationships among gender, culture, and individuals. Prerequisites: RHT and Foundation (H&S and A&H) or AHS This course is typically offered in the following semesters: Spring, Summer or Fall


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


CVA2015 Political Thought (Intermediate Liberal Arts) This course addresses the meaning and practice of politics through close readings of a range of political theory approaches, such as anarchist political theory, classic liberalism, civic republicanism, Black Nationalism, queer theory, settler colonial/Indigenous studies, conservatism, and feminist theory. The course will pursue such topics as the politics of confrontation, transformation and change, the role and meaning of citizenship, political community, government, inequality, political resistance, violence, and any other pertinent issues we discern from the work assigned. 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 Or AHS) This course is typically offered in the following semesters: Spring


CVA2426 Immigrants, Race and the American Promise (Intermediate Liberal Arts) This intermediate course will consider the nature of American culture and identity through the experiences of the nation's immigrants and its ethnic citizens. What sacrifices have immigrants and ethnic Americans made in order to become members of the national community? How have they contributed to the development of modern America? How have they re-shaped the culture, politics, and economy of the U.S.? How have immigrants and citizens of color adapted the mythology of the American Dream to achieve success? What does the larger narrative of immigration, race, and ethnicity tell us about our nation's values and our own identity as citizens? Throughout the semester, students will use historical texts, novels, and selected works of film and music to consider these questions. Selected themes for the course include the "Melting Pot" and multiculturalism, race and ethnicity, anti-immigrant agitation and legislation, the nature of the American Dream, and the development of ethnic communities and businesses. The class will cover the time period from the late nineteenth century to the present. Prerequisites: RHT and Foundation H&S and A&H


CVA2055 Peoples and Cultures of the Americas 4 credit (Intermediate Liberal Arts) Blended Format: • Wed, May 18th: Face-to-Face class session (9:45-12:55) • Fri, May 20th: WebEx session (1.5 hours TBD, and discussion board participation) • Mon, May 23rd: WebEx session (1.5 hours TBD, and discussion board participation) • Wed, May 25th: Face-to-Face class session (9:45-12:55) • Friday, May 27th: 1st essay due by 11:59pm (online via Blackboard)(Babson Monday) • Wed, June 1st: Face-to-Face class session (9:45-12:55) • Fri, June 3rd: WebEx session (1.5 hours TBD, and discussion board participation)(Babson Monday) • Mon, June 6th: WebEx session (1.5 hours TBD, and discussion board participation) • Wed, June 8th: Face-to-Face class session (9:45-12:55, midterm exam first half of the session) • Mon, June 13th: WebEx session (1.5 hours TBD, and discussion board participation) • Wed, June 15th: Face-to-Face class session (9:45-12:55) • Mon, June 20th: WebEx session (1.5 hours TBD, and discussion board participation); 2nd essay due by 11:59pm (online via Blackboard) • Wed, June 22nd: Face-to-Face class session (9:45-12:55) • Mon, June 27th: WebEx session (1.5 hours TBD, and discussion board participation) • Tues, June 28th: Optional Exam Review Session via WebEx • Wed, June 29th: Final Exam (in class session) *additionally there will be at least 2 quizzes, which students will take online 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


**Students are strongly recommended but not required to register for the course before December 10. There are two required 90 min classes in Trim Dining Hall on December 10, 5:30 PM to 7 PM and December 11 from 10:30 AM to 12 noon. Two similar classes will be held at the start of the spring semester TBA. Recipes from the time period of the assigned reading will be sampled and discussed in historical context during the pre and post course sessions. All novels for the course must be read prior to the first January class meeting. The books are available in the campus book store starting November 30, 2015. They can also be purchased in alternative formats online. CVA2090 Food and the African American Canon 4 credit intermediate liberal arts This 4 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


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:


HIS4601 Culture and Identity in the Age of the Renaissance and the Reformation 4 credit advanced liberal arts According to many, it was during the Renaissance that Europeans created the "modern self." We will use literature, art, autobiography and memoirs, love letters and court cases to help explore this "self," whose identity was problematically constructed in regard to issues of class, gender and sexual transgression. Prerequisites: 3 Liberal Arts Intermediate Courses (CVA LVA HSS)


HIS4603 From Bismarck to Hitler: Politics and Culture in Germany, 1871 – 1945 4 credit advanced liberal arts In 1871, after a series of short victorious wars against Denmark, Austria and France, Otto von Bismarck, Chancellor of Prussia, concluded the “Road to German Unification”, by creating (in Versailles, France !!) the Second German Reich, out of, as he put it, “iron and blood.” Not twenty five years later, in 1895, the world-famous, liberal German social theorist, Max Weber proclaimed: “We must understand that the unification of Germany was a youthful prank… if it were meant to be the termination, and not the point of departure for a German policy of world power.” Weber made conspicuous what many politicians, academics, business people and common workers expressed. Germany, at its peril, could remain satisfied with Bismarck’s accomplishment: Germany as a European power; or it could, at its peril, join the competition, belatedly, and with a vengeance, with other Empires for world power. This “politics of cultural despair” ushered in Germany’s and the world’s 20th century. From 1933-1945, Adolph Hitler, and Third German Reich that his Nazi Party established, pursued policies that brought Europe and the world to the (il)logical conclusion of this “politics of resentment.” In this class, we will explore this history. We will read philosophy and literature (Nietzsche; Mann) and look at expressionistic art and film to engage the cultural contexts within which politics and ideology developed. We will study the road to WWI and the aftermath of the “Great War” that brought Germany in the 20s revolution, its first Democracy, hyperinflation, increasingly polarized and fragmented politics, and then economic depression. In these contexts, we will interpret the rise of Hitler, the Nazis, and Nazi ideology. And then we will analyze the Nazi State (3rd Reich), its domestic and foreign policies and WW2. For many Germans, not only Nazis, the Third Reich embodied, finally, the German “Volkgemeinschaft”, the German People’s community. We will assess this in an attempt to “understand” the Holocaust and its “Genocidal Ethics.” Finally, we will examine the Third Reich in post-WW2 German memory, as a way to consider how Germans rebuilt their country and lives and ultimately reunited their nation. Prerequisites: Three intermediate liberal arts (CVA LVA HSS)


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)



HIS4674 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


HSS2403 Latin American History (Intermediate Liberal Arts) This course will be an introduction to the main themes, actors, and ideas in Latin American history. The central focus will be on Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, with an attempt to develop a comparative understanding of the Latin America's diversity, as well as common patterns, from pre-Columbian times to the present. In other words, this course is not an exhaustive history of Latin America; rather, it intends to develop familiarity with key concepts, developments, and issues in the region's history. Prerequisites: RHT and AHS This course is typically offered in the following semester: Fall


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


HSS2007 Golden Cities: The west and Urban America 4 credit intermediate liberal arts Throughout American history, cities have fostered economic innovation, cultural creativity, and ethnic diversity. This course, an intermediate Liberal Arts elective, will examine how cities have shaped America’s economic, cultural, and social development. It will pay particular attention to the distinctive role of the urban West in American society, as western cities have continually been on the leading edge of innovation, social progress, and cultural experimentation. Students will thus analyze how San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the Silicon Valley have revolutionized American society-- serving as centers of culture and engines of economic development while welcoming fortune-seekers, entrepreneurs, immigrants, artists, intellectuals, and bohemians. The class will also discuss how these cities have symbolized public fears about social change—especially in regards to community, morality, race, and identity. Prerequisites: Foundation AHS and Rhetoric I & II


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 & AHS



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 AHS This course is typically offered in the following semesters: Spring or Fall


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
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