History and Society

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.

History and Society

ANT4605 - ANTHROPOLOGY OF LAW

ANTHROPOLOGY OF LAW

ANT4605 ANTHROPOLOGY OF LAW
4 Advanced Liberal Arts Credits

Anthropology of law is a four-credit advanced History and Society course that explores cross-cultural variation within and among legal institutions. Through the medium of ethnography, as well as original primary-source research into court proceedings and legal disputes, we consider how law becomes a mechanism for the maintenance of social order at the same time that it can contribute to social inequity. We will address central questions in the anthropology of law: How does our cultural background influence how we conceptualize justice? What are the consequences of finding oneself between competing legal systems? Our focus will be to examine critically the social and cultural dynamics behind dispute resolution, corporate law, crime, torts, religious law, and international courts, as well as dilemmas around policing and other ways people encounter "the law" in everyday life. Case studies from diverse legal environments in both industrialized and small-scale societies will help place Western law traditions in a comparative, global perspective.

Prerequisites: Any combinations of 3 intermediate liberal arts (HSS/LVA/CVA)

4 credits

ANT4606 - MODERN ISRAEL:CONFLICTS IN CONTEXT

MODERN ISRAEL:CONFLICTS IN CONTEXT

ANT4606 MODERN ISRAEL: CONFLICTS IN CONTEXT
4 Advanced Liberal Arts Credits

The goal of this seminar is to provide a broad, anthropological context for Israeli culture, politics, and history on a global scale. Through a combination of scholarly texts, films, artwork, and other works of fiction and non-fiction from both Jewish Israelis and Palestinians, we will consider the conception, founding, and current conflicts surrounding the state of Israel, its occupied territories, and the Palestinian people. Our topics will cover the diasporic history of the Jewish people, the international optics of Israeli self-determination, the internal ethnic and cultural conflicts of modern Israeli society, as well as the history of Palestinian resistance and the current state of suspension in Gaza and the West Bank. Students will be expected to emerge with a nuanced understanding of the past and current political realities of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and an appreciation for the complexities, ambiguities, and possible futures of Israeli/Palestinian society.

Prerequisites: Any combinations of 3 intermediate liberal arts (HSS, LVA, CVA)

4 credits

ANT4607 - ANTHRO&SCIENCE FICTION:STRANGE NEW WORLD

ANTHRO&SCIENCE FICTION:STRANGE NEW WORLD

ANT4607: Anthropology and Science Fiction: Strange New Worlds
4 advanced liberal arts credits

The goal of this seminar is to provide a broad survey of the historical and ongoing relationship between speculative science fiction and the social sciences. Through a combination of scholarly texts, films, short stories, novels, and other works, we will explore the different social movements and contexts in which the concept of "culture" materializes. Our topics will cover the emergence of anthropology from colonial travel literature, the construction of the Other in both social theory and speculative fiction, as well as the resistance and social critique that have come to define the discipline of anthropology and genre of science fiction, respectively. Students will be expected to develop and demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the entwined traditions within which both anthropology and science fiction operate, and the ongoing changes in social theory and mass culture.

Prerequisites: Any combination of three intermediate liberal arts (HSS/CVA/LVA)

4 credits

CVA2002 - AFR AMERICAN HISTORY AND FOODWAYS

AFR AMERICAN HISTORY AND FOODWAYS

CVA2002 AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AND FOODWAYS (HIS)
4 Intermediate Liberal Arts Credits


The course covers the major periods, movements, and events that have shaped African American history and foodways. These include: the African slave trade; antebellum period; the civil war and reconstruction; World War I and the great migration; Harlem Renaissance and Garveyism; Great Depression; Spanish Civil War and World War II; Civil Rights and Black Power movements; industrialization, the growth of the prison industrial complex, and the _war on drugs._ The course will also include content on African American foodways from the African slave trade to the Black Power movement. Classes discuss the assigned reading with lively student participation. Out-of-class work includes readings, online exams, attending lectures, artistic presentations, and films, as well as independent research.

Prerequisites: RHT & AHS

4 credits

CVA2005 - ANTHROPOLOGY OF RELIGION

ANTHROPOLOGY OF RELIGION

CVA2005 ANTHROPOLOGY OF RELIGION
4 Intermediate Liberal Arts Credits


Anthropology of religion is a four-credit intermediate History and Society course. From an ethnographic and qualitative perspective, we will explore religious expression around the globe, including the major Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam but also Buddhism, Hinduism, African religions, and lesser-known faiths from small-scale, non-industrialized societies. Emphasis is placed on the analytic categories for understanding religious experiences and the prospects and challenges of cross-cultural comparison. We will adopt the techniques of anthropological inquiry to consider the social forces at work within religious life, including the political, colonial, gendered, and transnational dimensions of worship. Topics of ritual, mythology, witchcraft, magic, and science will guide our exploration of belief and spirituality beyond the formal boundaries of institutional religions. Experiential assignments, including participant observation and interviews with practitioners from unfamiliar spiritual traditions, are combined with in-depth written exercises to strengthen your intercultural and rhetorical competencies.

Prerequisites: RHT1000 and RHT1001 and AHS1000

4 credits

CVA2008 - CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY

CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY

CVA2008 CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY
4 Intermediate Liberal Arts Credits


Introduction to Cultural Anthropology is a four 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

This course is typically offered in the following semesters: Fall


Prerequisites: RHT I and RHT II and AHS

4 credits

CVA2009 - EAST ASIAN CULTURES

EAST ASIAN CULTURES

CVA2009 EAST ASIAN CULTURES
4 Intermediate Liberal Arts Credits


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.

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


Prerequisites: RHT and Foundation H&S and A&H

4 credits

CVA2010 - GENDER STUDIES

GENDER STUDIES

CVA2010 GENDER STUDIES
4 Intermediate Liberal Arts Credits


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.

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

Prerequisites: RHT and AHS

4 credits

CVA2011 - INTRODUCTION TO WESTERN CULTURE

INTRODUCTION TO WESTERN CULTURE

CVA2011 INTRODUCTION TO WESTERN CULTURE
4 Intermediate Liberal Arts Credits


This course uses the concept of the "real" to explore the cultural history of Europe and the United States. We will look at how different intellectual and artistic traditions have understood or related to _reality", as well as how these ideas shaped their social and political contexts: from ancient Greece to Napoleonic France, the Industrial Revolution and World Wars to the Civil Rights era. We will read selections from Homer, Joyce, Kafka, Le Guin, and Baldwin, while short essays from philosophers and critics like Plato and Lacan will help to frame our discussions.

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


Prerequisites: RHT1000 and RHT1001 and AHS

4 credits

CVA2015 - POLITICAL THOUGHT

POLITICAL THOUGHT

CVA2015 POLITICAL THOUGHT
4 Intermediate Liberal Arts Credits


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.

This course is typically offered in the following semesters: Spring


Prerequisites: RHT and AHS

4 credits

CVA2020 - MEDIA STUDIES

MEDIA STUDIES

CVA2020 MEDIA STUDIES
(FORMERLY HSS2020)
4 Intermediate Liberal Arts Credits

If you took and passed HSS2020, you cannot take CVA2020, as these two courses are equivalent

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.

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

Prerequisites: RHT1000, RHT1001 and AHS1001

4 credits

CVA2026 - IMMIGRANTS,RACE AND AMERICAN PROMISE

IMMIGRANTS,RACE AND AMERICAN PROMISE

CVA2426 IMMIGRANTS, RACE AND THE AMERICAN PROMISE
4 Intermediate Liberal Arts Credits


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 AHS

4 credits

CVA2033 - RADICAL POLITICS

RADICAL POLITICS

CVA2033 RADICAL POLITICS: THOUGHT, ACTION, AND CULTURE

4 Credits

This Intermediate Liberal Arts course examines the theory, actions, claims, and artistic and cultural representations of radical political movements historically and 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. Through an interdisciplinary approach, this course will look at the history and contemporary forms of radical politics, read theoretical and historical works that help us understand different ways to conceptualize a "radical" approach, and assess the radical potential of artistic work. In past courses, we have examined the Alt-Right and Antifa, the Movement for Black Lives, and such Indigenous political struggles as the Standing Rock/#NoDAPL movement in the US context and the #IdleNoMore movement in the Canadian context. These movements will likely be part of the course in Fall 2019, but I also adjust course materials to allow us to analyze forms of radical politics that may well be emerging just prior to and during our semester. Other possible movements we might examine include those concerning the environment/climate change, queer struggles, radical feminism, those for and against human migration, and neo-nazi formations. Students will be encouraged to work on projects that examine historical or contemporary radical movements that are in their interest, and in the forms through which they best communicate (written, visual, audio etc). 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, podcasts, public commentary, and the narratives of activists themselves.

Prerequisites: AHS1000, RHT1000 AND RHT1001

4 credits

CVA2035 - PEOPLES AND CULTURES OF THE MIDDLE EAST

PEOPLES AND CULTURES OF THE MIDDLE EAST

CVA2035 PEOPLES AND CULTURES OF THE MIDDLE EAST
4 Intermediate Liberal Arts Credits


While the Middle East continues to dominate Western foreign policy concerns and is a focus of Western media, understanding of this region is often based on stereotypes that do not consider the everyday lives of Middle Eastern people, and that do not attempt to differentiate between peoples of this region. This course will introduce several groups and cultures of the Middle East in detail, while focusing on thematic topics that are of particular interest to current world events. A brief survey of the history and geography of the region will be followed by more in-depth study of topics such as political Islam, the Israeli-Palestine conflict, the war in Afghanistan, gender and sexuality, and human rights issues. The course will be highly interactive, and will make frequent use of documentaries, movies, literature, and current news events as well as anthropological and ethnographic material.

Prerequisites: RHT1000, RHT1001 and AHS1000

4 credits

CVA2036 - EASY BEING GREEN? WASTE, CONSUMPTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

EASY BEING GREEN? WASTE, CONSUMPTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

CVA2036 EASY BEING GREEN? WASTE, CONSUMPTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
4 Intermediate Liberal Arts Credits


Got trash? The objective of this course is to understand, explore, and analyze the inequities and power dynamics associated with many types of waste. Using multiple case studies, (smartphones, fashion, food, digital waste, climate change, etc.), we will study three core questions: Who is causing, experiencing and responding to problems associated with waste? How do waste issues relate to broader structural injustices? How can we reimagine solutions for environmental justice? By thinking critically about these questions, we will challenge our thinking about consumption, justice and the meaning of waste, and why it matters today and in the future.

Prerequisites: RHT1000, RHT1001 and AHS1000

4 credits