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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


AMS 4672 Working in America: Labor in the US since 1892 (Advanced Lib Arts) How has blue, white, and pink collar work changed in the U.S. across the past century? This course focuses on the historical experiences of American workers, beginning with the Massachusetts mills of early industrialization and ending with the global corporations and big box chain stores of the contemporary U.S. We will study workers' unions, and also look at how workplaces have changed with the liberation movements of women, people of color, and gay and lesbian workers. We will use histories, autobiographies, films and paintings to look at the impact of industrialization and globalization, and we will conclude the semester with a unit on college students and their role in shaping the new economies of labor. Prerequisites: 3 Intermediate Liberal Arts Courses (CVA, LVA, HSS) This course is periodically offered in the Spring or Fall semesters.


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 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


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


CVA2033 Radical Politics Today: Black Lives Matter, Indigenous Activism, and Anarchism in Thought, Action, and Culture This Intermediate Liberal Arts course examines the theory, actions, claims, and artistic and cultural representations of radical political movements in our time. Radical political movements seek major transformations in the way we live together. Radical movements tend to work outside and even at odds with the mainstream political process that involves political parties and elections. Radical politics pushes from below by taking to the streets to blockade and confront those it opposes and to compel the public to pay attention. This form of politics also sets out radical critiques and solutions, such as abolishing policing and incarceration, decolonizing and returning territory to Indigenous peoples, dismantling capitalism in favor of more equitable form of economic relations that will also help us deal with climate change. These movements inspire artists to represent and speak to these causes, such as with the music of Rage Against the Machine, Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé and a Tribe Called Red, the poetry of Leanne Simpson, and films such as Rhymes for Young Ghouls and Fruitvale Station. Through an interdisciplinary approach, this course will look at the modern history and contemporary forms of radical politics, in theory, in action, and in culture. For the Spring 2017, the three major radical political movements we will examine will be, i) Black Lives Matter, ii) Indigenous people’s decolonizing activism, such as the Standing Rock Sioux’s effort to block the Dakota Access Pipeline, and iii) contemporary anarchist politics. We will examine these movements on their own and with regard to how their concerns, critiques and efforts intersect, possibly conflict, and generally raise questions and possibilities about how to radically critique and act against white supremacy, settler colonialism, capitalism, and climate change. The class will read and listen to the voices of theorists and commentators analyzing and critiquing these movements, the people directly involved in the movements, and the work of artists inspired by or engaging with these movements. As we do so we will ask such questions as: What makes radical politics radical and what sort of actions does that require of those who are involved? Does radical politics ever succeed, or does it always either fail, get coopted, or lead to comprise and small steps? To what degree does art and culture contribute to, capitalize upon or get inspired by and represent the aims of these radical movements? While these three movements will be the focus of this course, students will be encouraged to work on projects that examine other radical movements in our time. The course will focus on the North American context, but student projects and our discussions do not need to be limited to that context. The materials for this class will include historical and political scholarly analyses, journalism, documentaries, film, literature, music, public commentary, and the narratives of activists themselves.


CVA2034 Nature and U.S. Cultural Values 4 credit (intermediate liberal arts) In this course students will explore human concepts of nature pertaining to culture and values from the latter third of the nineteenth century to the present. We will approach this subject matter through discussion, lecture, writing, and reading. As students studying concepts of nature, we will investigate the economic, social, intellectual, and cultural aspects within the evolving relationship between human beings and nature. The objective is to introduce students to the key themes, events, and personalities of this relatively new discipline. Prerequisites: AH Foundation and RHT I & II


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


GDR4615 Gender and Representation 4 credit (advanced liberal arts) Many Americans believe that our society has come a long way toward achieving gender equality. In general, it seems that Western women enjoy freedoms and access to opportunities that misogynistic custom and social norms kept out of reach as recently as only three decades ago. Yet, ideas and definitions of femininity, masculinity, and sexuality - their conceptualization and representation -- remain conflicted. Are categories of gender determined biologically? Is gender affected by economics? Politics? Family? This seminar seeks a better understanding of how word, image, and form – literary and visual studies – and it contributes to our understanding of what gender means in the broader context of European and American culture. Proceeding from this core objective, this seminar will likewise hone the analytic and critical skills – reading, writing, and presentation abilities - necessary to approach the set of problems that thinking about gender, history, and culture present. Adopting a more or less chronological structure, each week we will meet to discuss in depth topics on gender and representation from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to the present day, with the second half of our course devoted to a survey of the feminist art and theory movements from the 1960s to the present day. Considering visual culture writ large, we will also discuss, as historians and cultural theorists, the social-media phenomenon, tech culture, and gaming, as they relate to the construction of gender. Assignments for this course are weekly response papers/presentations, and a longer research paper of 12-15 pages. Prerequisites: 3 intermediate liberal arts (LVA, CVA, HSS)


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)


HIS4606 Cultural History of American Business (Advanced Liberal Arts) How have generations of Americans used business to define their ambitions and identities? How has commerce influenced the nation's mythology and ideals? What are the social and personal costs of the U.S.'s veneration of the marketplace? In this advanced-level history course, students will examine how business has shaped American culture and society. Selected subjects for the class include the rise of the corporation, the icons of American business, the power and politics of consumption, ethnic and immigrant entrepreneurship, and the role of the marketplace in the nation's economic and cultural development. Prerequisites: 3 Intermediate Liberal Arts (CVA, LVA & HSS) This course is typically offered in the following semesters: Spring


HIS4608 Social Responsibility in Malaysia 4 credit advanced liberal arts (Elective Abroad) 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:


HIS4609 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)


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)


HIS4613 The Politics of Empire 4 credit (advanced Liberal Arts) This course reviews the processes and structures of the global American empire from 2001 until the present. It examines how the leaders of the United States began the twenty-first century by consciously implementing an imperial grand strategy to forge an informal American empire in which the United States remained within its borders but still shaped the structure of the international system. More specifically, it explores how U.S. officials assigned a specific function to each region of the world and worked to keep each region of the world operating as interrelated parts of a globally integrated imperial system. Topics include U.S. imperial policy toward Europe, the Asia Pacific region, Latin America, the Middle East, South and Central Asia, and Africa. In short, this course reviews the contemporary American politics of the global American empire Prerequisite: 3 intermediate liberal arts (HSS, LVA, CVA)



HIS4630 C.I.A In Asia 4 credit advanced liberal arts We will examine the ways in which CIA actions affected the internal and external dynamics of various countries in west, central south, southeastern and east Asia, in order to explore the beneficial and detrimental impact of their operations in Asia during the Cold War. The class will explore how CIA actions during the Cold War shaped the current geo-political and economic dynamics of Asia, in particular; the political unrest in Iran, the lawlessness and violence and Afghanistan, and the debate of CIA complicity in the heroin trade. We will use a variety of books, articles, documents, and films to understand this complex, politically sensitive and volatile history. Three intermediate liberal arts courses (LVA, CVA, HSS)


HIS4640 Food and Civil Rights 4 credit (advanced liberal arts) Napoleon said that an army marches on its stomach. His comment causes one to ask the question: What is the relationship between food and political stability—or instability—during important periods in history? That is to say, what role does food play in starting and sustaining a movement? And what important takeaways do we gain from looking at the role of food in social movements? Food and Civil Rights delves into movements for progressive change focusing on the 17th through the 21th century. This course shows that there have always existed movements for social justice around the world among marginalized groups of people. And food has been at the center of civil rights movements in one way or the other. The course looks at the organizations and individuals, home cooks and professional chefs, who—with the food they donated, cooked, grew and distributed—helped various activists continue to march and advance their goals for progressive change and self-determination. The course also looks at movements to end discrimination in the restaurant industry for customers and would-be employees. Through this exploration, this course addresses questions such as: How did progressive organizations raise the funds necessary to pay for their programs, staff, and campaigns? How have striking workers fed their families? What individuals and groups made important food-related contributions to movements? Where did organizers meet and strategize? The course focuses on the North American context, but student projects and our discussions do not need to be limited to that context. The materials for this class will include primary and secondary sources. Prerequisites: 3 intermediate liberal arts (CVA, LVA, HSS)


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


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
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