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Course Descriptions

Urban Studies Course Listings - Spring 2011

GEOG 280   Urban Worlds:  India, Brazil, Africa
4 Credits
De Wet, Thea

Pre-requisites:  None
Just over half of the world’s population currently lives in cities and most people will do so by 2050. Urban populations in Asia and Africa will double over the next 25 years, and by 2030, 80% of the world’s towns and cities will be in the developing world. The scale and rate of urban growth, particularly in the developing world, is staggering. For example, Delhi and Mumbai, in India, and São Paulo in Brazil, currently have over 20 million inhabitants each and all three are still growing. In South Africa, the Gauteng city-region, which includes Johannesburg, is expected to grow to 14 million inhabitants by 2015. Cities are not only increasing in size, but also in complexity—varying in forms, structures and functions. This course is a comparative study of the worlds that urban dwellers in India, Brazil and South Africa inhabit. We will specifically focus on Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg: their histories, growth and futures; race/caste and inequalities; migrants and xenophobia; livelihoods and survival strategies; networks, social relations and the role of kinship and family; everyday life and urban dangers; as well as what doing fieldwork in cities might entail.

GEOG 390  Geographical Information System
5 Credits
Medvedkov, Olga

Pre-requisites:  GEOG 230, GEOG 290 or GEOG 304, or an instructor’s permission.
GIS is an advanced course in spatial analysis and computer mapping which is targeted to majors in Geography, but also benefits majors in Biology, Geology, Management, Political Science, and others disciplines. The period since the mid-1980s has seen massive growth in the field of the GIS – computer based systems for the handling of geographically referenced information.  Geographic Information systems have been confined mostly to public sector agencies until recently. Now they are becoming as widely used as spreadsheet analysis to a broad spectrum of applications from urban and regional planning and environmental management to homeland security and sustainable development. GIS mapping cuts across many disciplines, provides a common language for discussion, and acts as a means to bring people together in the decision making process.  MAP IT OUT! Visualization is a great tool to analyze large data bases. During this course students work in a computer lab environment (new GIS Lab), learning GIS concepts and technology and applying them to real life situations while doing projects for local community.  Student will gain skills in digitizing, data base management, multilayer computer mapping, and spatial analysis.

HIST 201H 01  Topics:  Frank Lloyd Wright and American Architecture
4 credits
Taylor, Thomas T.

Prerequisite:  none.   Section open to SCE students only.
This course surveys the life and work of “America’s greatest architect” from his boyhood in Wisconsin to his death at Taliesin West in 1959.  Wright designed some of America’s most famous homes – The Dana Thomas House, The Darwin Martin House, Fallingwater -- and buildings –The Johnson Wax Building, the Larking Building, the Guggenheim Museum. Gifted and supremely self-confident, Wright invented and reinvented himself and his career multiple times, while developing a coherent philosophy of architecture that continues to influence design in our century.  Books include 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School, The Essential Frank Lloyd Wright: Critical Writings on Architecture, Letters to Architects: Frank Lloyd Wright, and Frank Lloyd Wright by Neil Levine.   Tests, quizzes, projects.

HIST 201H 02.  Topics:  Frank Lloyd Wright and American Architecture
4 credits
Taylor, Thomas T.

Prerequisite:  none.   Section open to Traditional students only.
Please see HIST 201H 01.   …. Wright and American Architecture description above.

HIST 230H 1W.  African-American History
4 credits
Rosenberg, Scott

Prerequisite:  none.
This course will investigate Africa-American history by focusing on slavery and the struggle for equality after emancipation. The first part of the course will examine the institution of slavery, however, greater emphasis will be placed on the lives that slaves made for themselves. We will ask questions such as “how much control did slaves have over their own lives,” and “how did they resist servitude?” The second half of the course will dedicate itself to the study of the struggle for equality. This class will move beyond the political struggle and will explore the role that culture and an emerging and evolving identity played in shaping the quest for equality. Assessment will focus on the student’s ability to express ideas in take-home essay exams, papers, and oral presentation. Grading will be based on discussions of a variety of readings, 3-4 papers and a take-home midterm and final. Writing Intensive.

POLI 221S 01 State and Local Government
4 credits
Baker, Rob

The course focuses on important contemporary problems and trends affecting state and local politics, and the role of states and localities in the federal system. Using a comparative approach, attention is given to general intergovernmental, social, economic, and cultural influences that shape state and local politics in America. Additionally, a mock state legislature is conducted providing the student with a "hands-on" experience in one of the key political processes of state government.

POLI 234S 01 Black Politics
4 credits
Young, John

This course will introduce students to the nature of black politics and black political behavior.  The course will inquire into the political dimensions of black life in America and how Black Americans have interpreted and responded to the democratic experiment.  Considerable attention will be given to how individuals, institutions, and protest movements have shaped black political consciousness and black political participation.  Finally, the course will examine the relative impact of black protest politics versus black electoral politics in addressing black political demands. Evaluation will be based on three exams, several quizzes, class participation, and short, one page writing assignments.

PSYC 361:  Experimental Social Psychology
5 semester hours
Brown, Clifford

Prerequisites:  Psychology 107, Psychology 160, and Psychology 207.
This writing intensive course in experimental social psychology provides students with a scientifically based understanding of human social behavior.  Topics include social perception, attitudes, conformity, group processes, aggression, and prejudice.  The course emphasizes the experimental method and the particular challenges of applying it to study people in a social context.  Given the complexity of social behavior, social psychology relies heavily on experiments that employ factorial designs, which allow investigators to examine the independent and combined effects of several factors (variables) simultaneously.  This course will include more than 30 hours of laboratory experience.

SOCI 201 Urban Worlds:  India, Brazil and South Africa
4 Credits
De Wet, Thea

Pre-requisites:  None
Just over half of the world’s population currently lives in cities and most people will do so by 2050. Urban populations in Asia and Africa will double over the next 25 years, and by 2030, 80% of the world’s towns and cities will be in the developing world. The scale and rate of urban growth, particularly in the developing world, is staggering. For example, Delhi and Mumbai, in India, and São Paulo in Brazil, currently have over 20 million inhabitants each and all three are still growing. In South Africa, the Gauteng city-region, which includes Johannesburg, is expected to grow to 14 million inhabitants by 2015. Cities are not only increasing in size, but also in complexity—varying in forms, structures and functions. This course is a comparative study of the worlds that urban dwellers in India, Brazil and South Africa inhabit. We will specifically focus on Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg: their histories, growth and futures; race/caste and inequalities; migrants and xenophobia; livelihoods and survival strategies; networks, social relations and the role of kinship and family; everyday life and urban dangers; as well as what doing fieldwork in cities might entail.

SOCI 270S    Sociology of Minority Groups
4 Credits
Nibert, David

Pre-requisites:  None
Since humanity developed the capacity to produce an economic surplus, countless masses of earthlings have been oppressed, and many have had their labor appropriated, by relatively small groups of privileged humans. This course will examine the historical and contemporary causes for the continued oppression of entire groups, including various ethnic groups, women, the impoverished and other species of animals.  Special attention will be given to the roots of oppression with an in depth look at the entanglement of oppression of humans and other animals. This analysis will be woven into an examination of the treatment of devalued humans in the United States. The course will include class discussions, videotape presentations, and assignments outside of class. Students are expected to respond actively to assigned readings by discussing key ideas and by using examples to support or question these ideas.

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