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

HSS2041 - GLOBAL GOODS:HISTORIES OF COMMODITIES, EXCHANGES, AND CULTURES

GLOBAL GOODS:HISTORIES OF COMMODITIES, EXCHANGES, AND CULTURES

HSS2041 GLOBAL GOODS: HISTORIES OF COMMODITIES, EXCHANGES, AND CULTURES
4 Intermediate Liberal Arts Credits


How have inanimate commodities served as active agents in human history?
How have global exchanges of commodities shaped socio-political boundaries?

This course will move chronologically from the late fifteenth century to the present, demystifying commodities that we have often taken for granted and studying them as drivers of transregional economies and cultures. We will survey a wide variety of commodities and market spaces: from exotic Indian tea to cotton produced in the American South to Qatar,s oil reserves to Tokyo,s fish markets, for example, to understand the transformation of _commodities_ into _global goods_. The course will offer factual knowledge and analytical tools for understanding the political circumstances and shifting cultural values implicated in the rise and transformation of commodities into global goods. We will explore how this transformation has left indelible marks on religion, science, democracy, race, gender, class, and ideas of human rights. We will also examine the social, cultural, and political boundaries that global exchanges of commodities demand, calling to question the idea of the _global_. Part economic, part cultural, and part environmental history, this course relies on the histories of commodities to illuminate the idea of what is global.

Prerequisites: RHT1000 and RHT1001 and AHS1000

4 credits

HSS2058 - SF2 THE MODERN AMER CITY

SF2 THE MODERN AMER CITY

HSS2058 THE MODERN AMERICAN CITY (HIS)
4 Intermediate Liberal Arts Credits


In this intermediate course, students will analyze how urban centers such as Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles have served as catalysts for major developments in nineteenth and twentieth-century American history. The course will consider how these cities have spurred the nation,s economy, politics, and culture, and have shaped American identity by welcoming millions of immigrants, artists, intellectuals, and bohemians. Selected subjects include Boston,s institutions of culture, Chicago,s factory system, the popular amusements of Coney Island, the architecture and music of _Jazz Age_ New York, the development of public housing, the counterculture in San Francisco, and the urban crisis in Los Angeles.

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


Prerequisites: RHT and AHS

4 credits

HSS2080 - SOCIO ECOLOGICAL URBAN SYSTEMS

SOCIO ECOLOGICAL URBAN SYSTEMS

HSS2080 SOCIO-ECOLOGICAL URBAN SYSTEMS
4 Intermediate Liberal Arts Credits


Socio-Ecological Urban Systems will be taught as a single course. Socio-ecological systems (SES) are linked systems of people with nature, emphasizing that humans must be seen as a part of, not apart from nature. This course will begin by discovering the nature within cities. Many of the vital ecosystem services for which human life depends are derived from under-appreciated urban habitats. We will also investigate the history, human demography trends and socio-economic patterns within cities in various parts of the world, including the land, water, and energy resources cities consume as well as air, water, and solid waste pollution produced and distributed widely. We will discuss the limitations and problems within much of the current built environment, but also explore new sustainable and inclusive urban planning strategies that include innovative architectural design and green technologies. Studying SES allows for the development of important skills for future leaders, such as approaches for incorporating uncertainty, nonlinearity, and self-reorganization from instability. Transdisciplinary approaches will be employed to address complex temporal, spatial, and organizational scales to investigate real world challenges.

Prerequisites: RHT1000 AND RHT1001 AND AHS1000 AND NST1000

4 credits

HSS2090 - SOCIO-ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS:FEEDING THE MODERN UNITED STATES

SOCIO-ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS:FEEDING THE MODERN UNITED STATES

HSS2090/NST2090 SOCIO-ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS: FEEDING THE MODERN UNITED STATES
4 Intermediate Liberal Arts Credits


The sustainability of the global food system hinges on the full scope of the system's environmental resilience and safety. This course will be co-taught by a U.S. historian and a biologist and it focuses on the history, science, and future sustainability of the food system in the United States and across the globe. Students will study food security and food deserts, the origins of our plant and animal food products, and the labor required to bring food to our tables. They will learn about the social and environmental stressors across the entirety of the food system - from the use of the world's resources and the impact of climate change, to the communities nearby to where the food is grown, raised, processed or sold; they will study the health and safety of the agricultural and food service labor force, comprised first of enslaved people and later of im/migrant workers, many of whom lack official documentation. This interdisciplinary course on sustainability is designed to teach students about the social, historical, and environmental dimensions of a sustainable food system.

Prerequisites: RHT1000 and RHT1001 and AHS1000 and NST10%%

4 credits

MDS4620 - MEDIATING THE WILD

MEDIATING THE WILD

MDS4620: Mediating the Wild
4 Advanced Liberal Arts Credit

Wilderness is disappearing faster than ever due to humans' radical transformation of the earth. Yet, consumer cultures have developed an ever so strong desire for the wild. In the industries that sell "Wildness", media have played a large role in telling it, showing it, measuring it, and manufacturing it. This course focuses on the ideologies, discourses, and technologies that mediate between contemporary consumers and the disappearing Wildness. We will explore a variety of cultural phenomena including the usage of smart phones, selfie sticks, and Go Pros in ecotourism, backpacking cultures, and outdoor adventure sports industries, the appropriation of drones and GPS-tracking devices by environmentalists, wildlife poachers, and virtual/augmented reality game designers, the trending of the "wild food" diet and the NGO campaigns protesting it, as well as the adoption of sound recordings of wild landscapes as new age music therapies. This course incorporates a multicultural and "multinatural" view to look at technology's role in representing, mediating, and recreating nature. We also address difficult ethical questions such as: How to maintain a proper distance with the Wild? Should we tame it, save it and thereby annihilating it? Or should we leave it on its own terms, and thereby letting it live or die?

Prerequisite: Any combination of 3 intermediate liberal arts (HSS, CVA, LVA)

4 credits

POL4601 - AFRICA RISING?

AFRICA RISING?

POL4601: Africa Rising? 4 advanced liberal arts credits This interdisciplinary course on contemporary Africa examines political, economic and social developments in the context of the now common mantra "Africa Rising." It takes a historical look at Africa's relations with global development actors and how these have impacted individual states and the entire continent. It includes a comparative analysis of Africa's partnership(s) with the different regions of the world (broadly categorized into East and West, Global South and Global North) and time spans (broadly grouped into colonial and post-colonial). It also examines processes, actors, events and partnerships within independent Africa and how they have contributed to the present state of the continent, which observers have described as rising. The course interrogates this observation. How truly is "Africa rising"? What is the cost of the rise? What does it mean for individuals, states and the entire continent? Why/how does it matter? The course focuses on these (and other important) questions, considering examples from various sectors, events, countries, bilateral and multilateral arrangements with African states and in relation to the rest of the world. It uses a variety of materials including texts, news and journal articles, as well as electronic and internet-based resources. Prerequisites: 3 intermediate liberal arts (any combination of HSS, CVA, LVA)

4 credits

POL4604 - UNDERSTANDING POLITICAL RISK

UNDERSTANDING POLITICAL RISK

POL4604: Understanding Political Risk
(Previously titled: Managing Political Risk in an Uncertain World)
4 advanced liberal arts credits

This course will provide a framework of concepts and perspectives for managing political risk in an increasingly global economic environment. Issues covered include, at the international level, geopolitics, trade policies, alliances and conflicts, and, at the national level, civil conflict, regime change, and underlying sources of instability such as inequality and terrorism, as well as diverse fiscal, monetary, and regulatory policies affecting property rights, industry structures, labor markets, environmental strategies, and other critical areas for business leaders. The nature of these issues and how they are addressed vary over time and across countries. This diversity of responses is shaped by history, culture, geography, and politics. This course will cover general themes, theories and approaches, while providing current analyses and insights on select issues, regions, and/or countries. Students will also have the opportunity in individual and team assignments to focus on specific issues, regions, and/or countries of their choosing, with the responsibility to share their findings with the class through discussion and presentations.

Prerequisites: 3 intermediate liberal arts (any combination of HSS, LVA, and CVA)

4 credits

POL4630 - CRITICAL RACE AND INDIGENOUS STUDIES

CRITICAL RACE AND INDIGENOUS STUDIES

POL4630: Critical Race and Indigenous Studies 4 credit advanced liberal arts What is race? Who are Indigenous people? What is white supremacy? What is settler colonialism? These questions form the general basis for a class that will bring together Critical Race Studies and Critical Indigenous Studies. A uniting premise of both of these types of "studies" is that race and racial injustice and Indigenous people's claims and experience of marginalization continue to shape political, social, economic, and cultural life. In other words, we do not live in a post-racial or a post-colonial society - white supremacy and settler colonialism persist. This, however, does not end the discussion. Instead, it raises many questions about the history of race as a social and political construct and of the role of Indigenous political struggle and settler colonial rule. This approach also requires us to understand what white supremacy and settler colonialism mean, theoretically and in practice, on their own and in relationship to each other. Along with these concepts, the course will introduce students to such concepts as whiteness as a political identity, the Black radical tradition, the model-minority myth, racial capitalism, intersectionality, queer theory, and many others. Much of the material for the course focuses on the history and present of the U.S. context, but this does not limit the direction the course can take in class discussion and, more importantly, in the papers and projects students produce to fulfill the class requirements. Prerequisites: Any combination of 3 intermediate liberal arts (CVA, LVA, HSS)

4 credits

POL4635 - INTERNATIONAL POLITICS OF ASIA

INTERNATIONAL POLITICS OF ASIA

POL4635: International Politics of Asia 4 Advanced Liberal Arts International Politics of Asia covers a variety of global issues in this key region of the world. The first section will provide a backdrop to understanding colonial legacies, nationalism, and the construction of East Asia's modern states. Subsequently, the course will turn our attention to the current real-world problems facing Asian leaders. We will look at the international security problems of North Korea, insurgencies, and alliance politics, before turning our attention to the international political economic issues of trade and development. Relatedly, we will pay attention to the environmental costs and degradation of industrial development in Asia. The final area of concern will be human rights issues in China, Burma, and the Philippines. Prerequisites: Any combination of 3 intermediate liberal arts (HSS, LVA, CVA)

4 credits

SOC4615 - CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH

CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH

SOC4615:Childhood and Youth 4 Advanced liberal arts credits This course exercises the sociological imagination in understanding how children are molded by social institutions and interactions, as well as the manner in which children utilize agency to react to, change, and reproduce their own social realities. By examining childhood, students will gain an understanding of how inequalities and opportunities are pervasive shapers of children's realities and adulthood outcomes, from both interpersonal and structural levels. Through in-class discussions and writing assignments, students will explore and critique theories of childhood. Reflecting on the perspectives of children as socialized beings and as social actors, we will analyze the intersecting roles of the family, culture, education, authority, gender, race, social class, and ideology in shaping childhood. Prerequisites: 3 intermediate liberal arts (Any combination of HSS, LVA, CVA)

4 credits

SOC4620 - SOCIOLOGY OF HEALTH AND MEDICINE

SOCIOLOGY OF HEALTH AND MEDICINE

SOC4620: Sociology of Health and Medicine
4 advanced liberal arts credits

This course exercises the sociological imagination in understanding how health, illness, and healthcare, are socially constructed. This construction occurs at a local, national, and international level, at the interplay of culture, policy, service, and business. By examining both health and health systems, students will gain an understanding of how an individual's health both shapes their navigation through society, and is affected by the society they navigate. We will examine this phenomenon at the interpersonal, structural, and international level. Our course will begin by understanding health and healthcare as a fundamentally social process - one that is affected by both the history of society at large and systems of inequality inherent to that society. We will then explore how these phenomena translate (or do not translate) in an international capacity. Finally, we will examine the process behind manufacturing health and healthcare, before exploring what can be done about health inequalities.

Through in-class discussions and writing assignments, students will gain a more critical understanding of health and health systems as a process, rather than as stagnant entities. We will analyze the intersecting roles of the family, culture, education, authority, gender, race, social class, ideology, economic commensuration, and nation of origin in the process of health - and how each of those in turn affect the business of healthcare and system of healthcare delivery.
By the end of the course, students will be able to:
v Explain sociological theories of illness in the context of real-world experiences
v Thoroughly understand the impact of the social world on the manufacturing of healthcare, the roles of health/illness to individuals, and the processes of (de)medicalization
v Describe the role of intersecting systems of disadvantage and cultural meanings on health treatments and outcomes
v Effectively critique competing mechanisms to address various 'health crisis'
v Responsibly apply empirical findings to current policies and discourse


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

4 credits