Courses Offered

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts,

Awards Offered: Bachelors degree,Masters degree,Doctors degree - research/scholarship

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Current Course Catalog Subject: Humanities

  • 20th-Century Fiction

    Tradition and innovation in representative fiction of the early modern period. Recurring themes: the role of the artist in the modern period, the representation of psychological and sexual experience, the virtues (and defects) of the aggressively experimental character of so many modern books. Works by such writers as Conrad, Kipling, Isaac Babel, Kafka, James, Lawrence, Mann, Ford Madox Ford, Joyce, Woolf, Faulkner, and Nabokov.

  • A Global History of Architecture Writing Seminar

    This course will study the question of Global Architecture from the point of view of producing a set of lectures on that subject. The course will be run in the form of a writing seminar, except that students will be asked to prepare for the final class an hour-long lecture for an undergraduate survey course. During the semester, students will study the debates about where to locate "the global" and do some comparative analysis of various textbooks. The topic of the final lecture will be worked on during the semester. For that lecture, students will be asked to identify the themes of the survey course, and hand in the bibliography and reading list for their lecture.

  • A Passage to India: Introduction to Modern Indian Culture and Society

    This course is an introduction to modern Indian culture and society through films, documentaries, short stories, novels, poems, and journalistic writing. The principal focus is on the study of major cultural developments and social debates in the last sixty five years of history through the reading of literature and viewing of film clips. The focus will be on the transformations of gender and class issues, representation of nationhood, the idea of regional identities and the place of the city in individual and communal lives. The cultural and historical background will be provided in class lectures. The idea is to explore the "other Indias" that lurk behind our constructed notion of a homogeneous national culture.

  • Abnormal Language

    Introduction to the linguistic study of language pathology, concentrating on experimental approaches and theoretical explanations. Discussion of Specific Language Impairment, autism, Down syndrome, Williams syndrome, normal aging, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, hemispherectomy and aphasia. Focuses on the comparison of linguistic abilities among these syndromes, while drawing clear comparisons with first and second language acquisition. Topics include the lexicon, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. Relates the lost linguistic abilities in these syndromes to properties of the brain.

  • Advanced Essay Workshop

    This course is a workshop for students with some experience in writing essays, nonfiction prose. Our focus will be negotiating and representing identities grounded in gender, race, class, nationality, sexuality, and other categories of identity, either our own or others', in prose that is expository, exploratory, investigative, persuasive, lyrical, or incantatory. We will read nonfiction prose works by a wide array of writers who have used language to negotiate and represent aspects of identity and the ways the different determinants of identity intersect, compete, and cooperate.

  • Advanced Japanese I

    This course covers lessons 22 through 27 of Japanese: The Spoken Language by Eleanor H. Jordan with Mari Noda. The goal of the course is to continue to build oral proficiency by expanding your knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Class hours will be devoted to developing speaking skills in a variety of circumstances; making requests, invitations, apologies, suggestions, dealing with problems, expressing your opinions, etc. Grammatical and social appropriateness on your utterances will be stressed. Keep in mind that daily tape-work is essential.

  • Advanced Japanese II

    This course covers Lessons 27 through 30 of Japanese: The Spoken Language by Eleanor H. Jordan with Mari Noda. The goal of the course is to continue expanding grammar and vocabulary by further developing four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The goal is to acquire the ability to use Japanese appropriately with increasing spontaneity emphasized, and to be prepared to become an independent learner to the point where you are capable of handling authentic Japanese by yourself, without fear or hesitation.

  • Advanced Managerial Communication

    This course builds on managerial communication skills developed in (15.279) Management Communication for Undergraduates or (15.280) Communication for Managers. It introduces interactive oral and interpersonal communication skills important to managers, including presenting to a hostile audience, running meetings, listening, and contributing to group decision-making. Working in teams, students present a communication topic of their choosing to the class. An individual project challenges students to address a business audience in written and oral forms.

  • Advanced Natural Language Processing

    This course is a graduate introduction to natural language processing - the study of human language from a computational perspective. It covers syntactic, semantic and discourse processing models, emphasizing machine learning or corpus-based methods and algorithms. It also covers applications of these methods and models in syntactic parsing, information extraction, statistical machine translation, dialogue systems, and summarization. The subject qualifies as an Artificial Intelligence and Applications concentration subject.

  • Advanced Phonology

    This course focuses on phonological phenomena that are sensitive to morphological structure, including base-reduplicant identity, cyclicity, level ordering, derived environment effects, opaque rule interactions, and morpheme structure constraints. In the recent OT literature, it has been claimed that all of these phenomena can be analyzed with a single theoretical device: correspondence constraints, which regulate the similarity of lexically related forms (such as input and output, base and derivative, base and reduplicant).

  • Advanced Semantics

    This course is the second of the three parts of our graduate introduction to semantics. The others are 24.970 Introduction to Semantics and 24.954 Pragmatics in Linguistic Theory. Like the other courses, this one is not meant as an overview of the field and its current developments. Our aim is to help you to develop the ability for semantic analysis, and we think that exploring a few topics in detail together with hands-on practical work is more effective than offering a bird's-eye view of everything. Once you have gained some experience in doing semantic analysis, reading around in the many recent handbooks and in current issues of major journals and attending our seminars and colloquia will give you all you need to prosper. Because we want to focus, we need to make difficult choices as to which topics to cover. This year, we will focus on topics having to do with modality, conditionals, tense, and aspect.

  • Advanced Spanish Conversation and Composition: Perspectives on Technology and Culture

    En este curso el estudiante perfeccionar su comunicacin oral y escrita mediante el estudio y la discusin de temas relacionados al impacto social y cultural de la ciencia y la tecnologa en ciertas sociedades hispanas. Algunos de los temas que se considerarn son los efectos de los cambios tecnolgicos en la estructura familiar y comunitaria, en las relaciones entre los sexos, en la identidad personal y cultural, en el mundo natural y en los sistemas de valores, la religin, la educacin y el trabajo. Tambin se examinarn y compararn diversas actitudes hacia la innovacin tecnolgica y cientfica tal como se expresan en los medios de comunicacin, los debates pblicos, la literatura y el arte de las sociedades hispanas. Las ramificaciones ticas de las decisiones tecnolgicas tambin se discutirn.

  • Advanced Speaking and Critical Listening Skills (ELS)

    This course is for advanced students who wish to build confidence and skills in spoken English. It focuses on the appropriate oral presentation of material in a variety of professional contexts: group discussions, classroom explanations and interactions, and theses/research proposals. It is valuable for those who intend to teach or lecture in English and includes language laboratory assignments. The goal of the workshop is to develop effective speaking and listening skills for academic and professional contexts.

  • Advanced Syntax

    This course is a continuation of 24.951. This semester the course topics of interest include movement, phrase structure, and the architecture of the grammar.

  • Advanced Topics: Plotting Terror in European Culture

    This interdisciplinary course surveys modern European culture to disclose the alignment of literature, opposition, and revolution. Reaching back to the foundational representations of anarchism in nineteenth-century Europe (Kleist, Conrad) the curriculum extends through the literary and media representations of militant organizations in the 1970s and 80s (Italy's Red Brigade, Germany's Red Army Faction, and the Real Irish Republican Army). In the middle of the term students will have the opportunity to hear a lecture by Margarethe von Trotta, one of the most important filmmakers who has worked on terrorism. The course concludes with a critical examination of the ways that certain segments of European popular media have returned to the "radical chic" that many perceive to have exhausted itself more than two decades ago.

  • Advanced Workshop in Writing for Science and Engineering (ELS)

    Analysis and practice of various forms of scientific and technical writing, from memos to journal articles. Strategies for conveying technical information to specialist and non-specialist audiences. Comparable to 21W.780 but methods designed to deal with special problems of advanced ELS or bilingual students. The goal of the workshop is to develop effective writing skills for academic and professional contexts. Models, materials, topics and assignments vary from semester to semester.

  • Advanced Workshop in Writing for Social Sciences and Architecture (ELS)

    Analysis and practice of various forms of scientific and technical writing, from memos to journal articles. Strategies for conveying technical information to specialist and non-specialist audiences. Comparable to 21W.780 but methods designed to deal with special problems of advanced ELS or bilingual students. The goal of the workshop is to develop effective writing skills for academic and professional contexts. Models, materials, topics and assignments vary from semester to semester.

  • Advanced Writing Seminar

    The purpose of this seminar is to expose the student to a number of different types of writing that one may encounter in a professional career. The class is an opportunity to write, review, rewrite and present a point of view both orally and in written form.

  • Advances in International Relations Theory

    This course offers a critical analysis of contending theories of international relations. Focus is on alternative theoretical assumptions, different analytical structures, and a common core of concepts and content. It also focuses on a comparative analysis of realism(s), liberalism(s), institutionalism(s), and new emergent theories. It also presents a discussion of connections between theories of international relations and major changes in international relations.

  • After Columbus

    Sometime after 1492, the concept of the New World or America came into being, and this concept appeared differently - as an experience or an idea - for different people and in different places. This semester, we will read three groups of texts: first, participant accounts of contact between native Americans and French or English speaking Europeans, both in North America and in the Caribbean and Brazil; second, transformations of these documents into literary works by contemporaries; third, modern texts which take these earlier materials as a point of departure for rethinking the experience and aftermath of contact. The reading will allow us to compare perspectives across time and space, across the cultural geographies of religion, nation and ethnicity, and finally across a range of genres - reports, captivity narratives, essays, novels, poetry, drama, and film. Some of the earlier authors we will read are Michel Montaigne, William Shakespeare, Jean de Lry, Daniel Defoe and Mary Rowlandson; more recent authors include Derek Walcott, and J. M. Coetzee.

  • America in Depression and War

    This course focuses on the Great Depression and World War II and how they led to a major reordering of American politics and society. We will examine how ordinary people experienced these crises and how those experiences changed their outlook on politics and the world around them.

  • America in the Nuclear Age

    This course examines the American experience at home and abroad from Pearl Harbor to the end of the Cold War. Topics include: America's role as global superpower, foreign and domestic anticommunism, social movements of left and right, suburbanization, and popular culture.

  • American Authors: American Women Authors

    This subject, cross-listed in Literature and Women's Studies, examines a range of American women authors from the seventeenth century to the present. It aims to introduce a number of literary genres and styles- the captivity narrative, slave novel, sensational, sentimental, realistic, and postmodern fiction- and also to address significant historical events in American women's history: Puritanism, the American Revolution, industrialization and urbanization in the nineteenth century, the Harlem Renaissance, World War II, the 60s civil rights movements. A primary focus will be themes studied and understood through the lens of gender: war, violence, and sexual exploitation (Keller, Rowlandson, Rowson); the relationship between women and religion (Rowlandson, Rowson, Stowe); labor, poverty, and working conditions for women (Fern, Davis, Wharton); captivity and slavery (Rowlandson, Jacobs); class struggle (Fern, Davis, Wharton, Larsen); race and identity (Keller, Jacobs, Larsen, Morrison); feminist revisions of history (Stowe, Morrison, Keller); and the myth of the fallen woman (take your pick). Essays and in-class reports will focus more particularly on specific writers and themes and will stress the skills of close reading, annotation, research, and uses of multimedia where appropriate.

  • American Classics (Fall 2002)

    "What then is the American, this new man?" asked J. Hector St-John de Crvecoeur in his Letters from an American Farmer in 1782. This subject takes Crvecoeur's question as the starting point for an examination of the changing meanings of national identity in the American past. We will consider a diverse collection of classic texts in American history to see how Americans have defined themselves and their nation in politics, literature, art, and popular culture. As a communications-intensive subject, students will be expected to engage intensively with the material through frequent oral and written exercises.

  • American Classics (Spring 2006)

    This subject is devoted to reading and discussing basic American historical texts that are often cited but often remain unread, understanding their meaning, and assessing their continuing significance in American culture. Since it is a "Communications Intensive" subject, 21H.105 is also dedicated to improving students' capacities to write and speak well. It requires a substantial amount of writing, participation in discussions, and individual presentations to the class.

  • American Consumer Culture

    This class examines how and why twentieth-century Americans came to define the "good life" through consumption, leisure, and material abundance. We will explore how such things as department stores, nationally advertised brand-name goods, mass-produced cars, and suburbs transformed the American economy, society, and politics. The course is organized both thematically and chronologically. Each period deals with a new development in the history of consumer culture. Throughout we explore both celebrations and critiques of mass consumption and abundance.

  • American Foreign Policy: Theory and Method

    This course examines the causes and consequences of American foreign policy since 1898. Course readings cover both substantive and methods topics. Four substantive topics are covered: 1. major theories of American foreign policy; 2. major episodes in the history of American foreign policy and historical/interpretive controversies about them; 3. the evaluation of major past American foreign policies--were their results good or bad? and 4. current policy controversies, including means of evaluating proposed policies. Three methods topics are covered: 1. basic social scientific inference--what are theories? what are good theories? how should theories be framed and tested? 2. historical investigative methodology, including archival research, and, most importantly, 3. case study methodology. Historical episodes covered in the course are used as raw material for case studies, asking "if these episodes were the subject of case studies, how should those studies be performed, and what could be learned from them?"

  • American History to 1865

    This course provides a basic history of American social, economic, and political development from the colonial period through the Civil War. It examines the colonial heritages of Spanish and British America; the American Revolution and its impact; the establishment and growth of the new nation; and the Civil War, its background, character, and impact. Readings include writings of the period by J. Winthrop, T. Paine, T. Jefferson, J. Madison, W. H. Garrison, G. Fitzhugh, H. B. Stowe, and A. Lincoln.

  • American Literature

    This is a HASS-D CI course. Like other communications-intensive courses in the humanities, arts, and social sciences, it allows students to produce 20 pages of polished writing with careful attention to revision. It also offers substantial opportunities for oral expression, through presentations of written work, student-led discussion, and class participation. The class has a low enrollment that ensures maximum attention to student writing and opportunity for oral expression, and a writing fellow/tutor is available for consultation on drafts and revisions.

  • American National Security Policy

    This course examines the problems and issues confronting American national security policymakers and the many factors that influence the policies that emerge. But this is not a course about "threats," military strategies, or the exercise of military power. What threatens those interests? How should the U.S. defend those interests? What kind of military should we build? Should the U.S. enter into alliances with other countries? Do we need a larger Navy? How much should we spend on weapons procurement? The course has four broad goals: * to demonstrate that definitions of national security and the specification of vital interests are subjective and fluid and that they are as much functions of domestic politics as they are responses to international politics and "objective threats"; * to demonstrate that policy decisions involve complex tradeoffs among political, social, economic, military, legal, and ethical goals and values; * to explore how the many organizations, institutions, and individuals that participate in American national security policymaking affect policy formulation, implementation, and outcomes; and * to better understand the historical context, evolution, and linkages of national security problems and solutions. The course is organized along an historical time line. Beginning with the final days of World War II we follow American national security policy from the first stirrings of confrontation with the Soviet Union and China, into two hot wars in Asia that cost over 100,000 American lives and spawned social upheavals, through a close encounter with nuclear war, stumbling into the era of arms control, and conclude with the collapse of the communism. Selective case studies, memoirs, and original documents act as windows into each period. What were US national security decision makers thinking? What were they worried about? How did they see their options?

  • American Political Thought

    This course surveys American political thought from the colonial era to the present. Required readings are drawn mainly from primary sources, including writings of politicians, activists, and theorists. Topics include the relationship between religion and politics, rights, federalism, national identity, republicanism versus liberalism, the relationship of subordinated groups to mainstream political discourse, and the role of ideas in politics. We will analyze the simultaneous radicalism and weakness of American liberalism, how the revolutionary ideas of freedom and equality run up against persistent patterns of inequality. Graduate students are expected to pursue the subject in greater depth through suggested reading and individual research.

  • American Science: Ethical Conflicts and Political Choices

    We will explore the changing political choices and ethical dilemmas of American scientists from the atomic scientists of World War II to biologists in the present wrestling with the questions raised by cloning and other biotechnologies. As well as asking how we would behave if confronted with the same choices, we will try to understand the choices scientists have made by seeing them in their historical and political contexts. Some of the topics covered include: the original development of nuclear weapons and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; the effects of the Cold War on American science; the space shuttle disasters; debates on the use of nuclear power, wind power, and biofuels; abuse of human subjects in psychological and other experiments; deliberations on genetically modified food, the human genome project, human cloning, embryonic stem cell research; and the ethics of archaeological science in light of controversies over museum collections.

  • American Urban History I

    This course is a seminar on the history of institutions and institutional change in American cities from roughly 1850 to the present. Among the institutions to be looked at are political machines, police departments, courts, schools, prisons, public authorities, and universities. The focus of the course is on readings and discussions.

  • American Urban History II

    This is a seminar course that explores the history of selected features of the physical environment of urban America. Among the features considered are parks, cemeteries, tenements, suburbs, zoos, skyscrapers, department stores, supermarkets, and amusement parks. The course gives students experience in working with primary documentation sources through its selection of readings and class discussions. Students then have the opportunity to apply this experience by researching their own historical questions and writing a term paper.

  • Ancient Philosophy

    This course will acquaint the student with some of the ancient Greek contributions to the Western philosophical and scientific tradition. We will examine a broad range of central philosophical themes concerning: nature, law, justice, knowledge, virtue, happiness, and death. There will be a strong emphasis on analyses of arguments found in the texts.

  • Ancient Philosophy and Mathematics

    Western philosophy and theoretical mathematics were born together, and the cross-fertilization of ideas in the two disciplines was continuously acknowledged throughout antiquity. In this course, we read works of ancient Greek philosophy and mathematics, and investigate the way in which ideas of definition, reason, argument and proof, rationality and irrationality, number, quality and quantity, truth, and even the idea of an idea were shaped by the interplay of philosophic and mathematical inquiry.

  • Angles

    Angles is an annual online magazine of exemplary writing by students in four foundational writing courses at MIT: 21W.730: Writing on Contemporary Issues; 21W.731: Writing and Experience; 21W.732: Science Writing and New Media; and 21W.734J: Writing About Literature. In these classes, students learn to read more critically, to address specific audiences for particular purposes, to construct effective arguments and narratives, and to use and cite source material properly. Students in these courses write a great deal; they prewrite, write, revise, and edit their work for content, clarity, tone, and grammar and receive detailed feedback from instructors and classmates. Assigned readings are related to the thematic focus of each course, and are used as demonstrations of writing techniques. The pieces in Angles may be used as teaching tools and practical examples for other students and self-learners to emulate.

  • Anthropology of the Middle East

    This course examines traditional performances of the Arabic-speaking populations of the Middle East and North Africa. Starting with the history of the ways in which the West has discovered, translated and written about the Orient, we will consider how power and politics play roles in the production of culture, narrative and performance. This approach assumes that performance, verbal art, and oral literature lend themselves to spontaneous adaptation and to oblique expression of ideas and opinions whose utterance would otherwise be censorable or disruptive. In particular we will be concerned with the way traditional performance practices are affected by and respond to the consequences of modernization. Topics include oral epic performance, sacred narrative, Koranic chant performance, the folktale, solo performance, cultural production and resistance.

  • Anthropology of War and Peace

    This class has been reorganized to focus primarily on the War in Iraq. As in previous years, the class still examines war in cross-cultural perspective, asking whether war is intrinsic to human nature, what causes war, how particular cultural experiences of war differ, and how war has affected American culture.

  • Anthropology Through Speculative Fiction

    This class examines how anthropology and speculative fiction (SF) each explore ideas about culture and society, technology, morality, and life in "other" worlds. We investigate this convergence of interest through analysis of SF in print, film, and other media. Concepts include traditional and contemporary anthropological topics, including first contact; gift exchange; gender, marriage, and kinship; law, morality, and cultural relativism; religion; race and embodiment; politics, violence, and war; medicine, healing, and consciousness; technology and environment. Thematic questions addressed in the class include: what is an alien? What is "the human"? Could SF be possible without anthropology?

  • Argument Structure and Syntax

    This course is a detailed investigation of the major issues and problems in the study of lexical argument structure and how it determines syntactic structure. Its empirical scope is along three dimensions: typology, lexical class, and theoretical framework. The range of linguistic types include English, Japanese, Navajo, and Warlpiri. Lexical classes include those of Levin's English Verb Classes and others producing emerging work on diverse languages. The theoretical emphasis of this course is on structural relations among elements of argument structure.

  • Argumentation and Communication

    This Communication and Argumentation seminar is an intensive writing workshop that focuses on argumentation and communication. Students learn to write and present their ideas in cogent, persuasive arguments and other analytical frameworks. Reading and writing assignments and other exercises stress the connections between clear thinking, critical reading, and effective writing.

  • Arthurian Literature and Celtic Colonization

    The course examines the earliest emergence of stories about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table in the context of the first wave of British Imperialism and the expanded powers of the Catholic Church during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The morphology of Arthurian romance will be set off against original historical documents and chronicle sources for the English conquests in Brittany, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland to understand the ways in which these new attitudes towards Empire were being mythologized. Authors will include Bede, Geoffrey of Monmouth, Chrtien de Troyes, Marie de France, Gerald of Wales, together with some lesser known works like the Perilous Graveyard, the Knight with the Sword, and Perlesvaus, or the High History of the Holy Graal. Special attention will be paid to how the narrative material of the story gets transformed according to the particular religious and political agendas of each new author.

  • Asia in the Modern World: Images & Representations

    Asia in the Modern World: Images and Representations examines visual representations of Asia, interpreting them from both historical and modern contexts. This course is based around using the Visualizing Cultures website. Case studies focus on Japan and China from the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries.

  • Attraction and Repulsion: The Magic of Magnets

    This Freshman Advising Seminar surveys the many applications of magnets and magnetism. To the Chinese and Greeks of ancient times, the attractive and repulsive forces between magnets must have seemed magical indeed. Through the ages, miraculous curative powers have been attributed to magnets, and magnets have been used by illusionists to produce "magical" effects. Magnets guided ships in the Age of Exploration and generated the electrical industry in the 19th century. Today they store information and entertainment on disks and tapes, and produce sound in speakers, images on TV screens, rotation in motors, and levitation in high-speed trains. Students visit various MIT projects related to magnets (including superconducting electromagnets) and read about and discuss the history, legends, pseudoscience, science, and technology of types of magnets, including applications in medicine. Several short written reports and at least one oral presentation will be required of each participant.

  • Automatic Speech Recognition

    6.345 introduces students to the rapidly developing field of automatic speech recognition. Its content is divided into three parts. Part I deals with background material in the acoustic theory of speech production, acoustic-phonetics, and signal representation. Part II describes algorithmic aspects of speech recognition systems including pattern classification, search algorithms, stochastic modelling, and language modelling techniques. Part III compares and contrasts the various approaches to speech recognition, and describes advanced techniques used for acoustic-phonetic modelling, robust speech recognition, speaker adaptation, processing paralinguistic information, speech understanding, and multimodal processing.

  • Basic Themes in French Literature and Culture

    Childhood is a source of fascination in most Western cultures. It is both a major inspiration for artistic creation and a political ideal, which aims at protecting future generations. Which role does it play in French society and in other francophone areas? Why is the French national anthem ("La Marseillaise") addressed to its "children"? This course will study the transformation of childhood since the 18th century and the development of sentimentality within the family. We will examine various representations of childhood in literature (e.g. Pagnol, Proust, Sarraute, Laye, Morgivre), movies (e.g. Truffaut), and songs (e.g. Brel, Barbara). Course taught in French.

  • Becoming Digital: Writing about Media Change

    "Becoming Digital" traces the change in practice, theory and possibility as mechanical and chemical media are augmented or supplanted by digital media. These changes will be grounded in a semester length study of "reports from the front." These reports, found and introduced by students throughout the semester, are the material produced by and about soldiers and civilians on the battlefield from the introduction of wet photography during the Crimean and Civil Wars to contemporary digital content posted daily to Web 2.0 sites from areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan and possibly even the games and simulations they've inspired. Students will work through the ethical, aesthetic, technical and cultural problems raised by the primary content and secondary readings in three papers, a group project written with Inform 7, a presentation, and frequent discussion.

  • Beginning Japanese II

    This course covers Lessons 7-12A of JSL (Japanese: the Spoken Language, Part 1, by Eleanor H. Jorden with Mari Noda, Yale University Press, 1987), enhancing the basic skills for conversation, reading and writing. The class emphasizes the development of communicative skills (i.e., your actual use of Japanese in contexts). By the end of this semester, students are expected to carry on a daily conversation with Japanese people. This course will stress active command of Japanese, not passive knowledge.

  • Bestsellers: Detective Fiction

    This course focuses on works that caught the popular imagination in the past or present. It emphasizes texts that are related by genre, theme or style. The books studied in this course vary from semester to semester, and the topic for Fall 2006 is Detective Fictions.

  • Bestsellers: The Memoir

    What is a "life" when it's written down? How does memory inform the present? Why are memoirs so popular? This course will address these questions and others, considering the relationship between biography, autobiography, and memoir and between personal and social themes. We will closely examine some recent memoirs: Tobias Wolff's This Boy's Life, Barack Obama's Dreams From My Father, Edwidge Danticat's Brother, I'm Dying, Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel, and Alison Bechdel's Fun Home. Students will write two brief papers: a critical essay and an experiment in memoir. As a "Sampling," this class offers 6 units, with a strong emphasis on close reading, group discussion, focused writing, and research and presentation skills.

  • Bioethics

    This course does not seek to provide answers to ethical questions. Instead, the course hopes to teach students two things. First, how do you recognize ethical or moral problems in science and medicine? When something does not feel right (whether cloning, or failing to clone) what exactly is the nature of the discomfort? What kind of tensions and conflicts exist within biomedicine? Second, how can you think productively about ethical and moral problems? What processes create them? Why do people disagree about them? How can an understanding of philosophy or history help resolve them? By the end of the course students will hopefully have sophisticated and nuanced ideas about problems in bioethics, even if they do not have comfortable answers.

  • Biomedical Engineering Seminar Series: Developing Professional Skills

    This course consists of a series of seminars focused on the development of professional skills. Each semester focuses on a different topic, resulting in a repeating cycle that covers medical ethics, responsible conduct of research, written and oral technical communication, and translational issues. Material and activities include guest lectures, case studies, interactive small group discussions, and role-playing simulations.

  • Biomedical Engineering Seminar Series: Topics in Medical Ethics and Responsible Conduct in Research

    This seminar based course explores techniques for recognizing, analyzing, and resolving ethical dilemmas facing healthcare professionals and biomedical researchers in today's highly regulated environment. Guest lectures by practicing clinicians, technologists, researchers, and regulators will include case studies, interactive small group discussions, and role-playing simulations. Professional conduct topics will include authorship, conflict of interest, data acquisition and management, and the protection of human subjects and animals involved in research programs.

  • Black Matters: Introduction to Black Studies

    This class is an interdisciplinary survey that explores the experiences of people of African descent through the overlapping approaches of history, literature, anthropology, legal studies, media studies, performance, linguistics, and creative writing. It connects the experiences of African Americans and of other American minorities, focusing on social, political, and cultural histories, and on linguistic patterns. Activities include lectures, discussions, workshops, and required field trips that involve minimal cost to students.

  • Capitalism and Its Critics

    This course examines the implications of economic theories for social and political organization in the context of the historical evolution of industrial societies. Among the authors whose theories will be discussed are Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Joseph Schumpeter, and John Kenneth Galbraith. Emphasis will be placed on class discussion of specific texts. Students will be encouraged to ground their views in concrete textual and empirical material and to consider the implications of different arguments for the understanding of personal, political, and economic events today.

  • Causes and Prevention of War

    The causes and prevention of interstate war are the central topics of this course. The course goal is to discover and assess the means to prevent or control war. Hence we focus on manipulable or controllable war-causes. The topics covered include the dilemmas, misperceptions, crimes and blunders that caused wars of the past; the origins of these and other war-causes; the possible causes of wars of the future; and possible means to prevent such wars, including short-term policy steps and more utopian schemes. The historical cases covered include the Peloponnesian and Seven Years wars, World War I, World War II, Korea, the Arab-Israel conflict, and the U.S.-Iraq and U.S. al-Queda wars. This is an undergraduate course, but it is open to graduate students.

  • Causes of War: Theory and Method

    This course explores the causes of modern war with a focus on preventable causes. Course readings cover theoretical, historical, and methodological topics. Major theories of war are explored and assessed in the first few weeks of the class, asking at each stage "are these good theories?" and "how could they be tested?" Basic social scientific inference -- what are theories? What are good theories? How should theories be framed and tested? -- and case study methodology are also discussed. The second half of the course explores the history of the outbreak of some major wars. We use these cases as raw material for case studies, asking "if these episodes were the subject of case studies, how should those studies be performed, and what could be learned from them?"

  • Childhood and Youth in French and Francophone Cultures

    This course studies the transformation of childhood and youth since the 18th century in France, as well as the development of sentimentality within the family in a francophone context. Students will examine the personification of children, both as a source of inspiration for artistic creation and a political ideal aimed at protecting future generations, and consider various representations of childhood and youth in literature (e.g., Pagnol, Proust, Sarraute, Lave, Morgievre), movies (e.g., Truffaut), and songs (e.g., Brel, Barbara). This course is taught entirely in French.

  • Chinese I (Regular)

    This subject is the first semester of two that form an introduction to modern standard Chinese, commonly called Mandarin. Though not everyone taking this course will be an absolute beginner, the course presupposes no prior background in the language. The purpose of this course is to develop: * Basic conversational abilities (pronunciation, fundamental grammatical patterns, common vocabulary, and standard usage) * Basic reading and writing skills (in both the traditional character set and the simplified) * An understanding of the language learning process so that you are able to continue studying effectively on your own. The main text is Wheatley, J. K. Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin. Part I. (unpublished, but available online). (Part II of the book forms the basis of 21F.102 / 152, which is also published on OpenCourseWare.)

  • Chinese I (Streamlined)

    This course, along with 21F.108/158 offered in the spring, form the elementary level of the streamlined sequence, which is for students who have some basic conversational skills gained, typically, from growing up in a Chinese speaking environment, but lack a corresponding level of literacy. The focus of the course is on learning standard everyday usage, on reading in both traditional and simplified characters, and on writing.

  • Chinese II (Regular)

    This subject is the second semester of two that form an introduction to modern standard Chinese, commonly called Mandarin. Though not everyone taking this course will be an absolute beginner, the course presupposes only 21F.101/151, the beginning course in the sequence. The purpose of this course is to develop: (a) basic conversational abilities (pronunciation, fundamental grammatical patterns, common vocabulary, and standard usage); (b) basic reading skills (in both the traditional character set and the simplified); (c) an understanding of the way the Chinese writing system is structured, and the ability to copy and write characters; and (d) a sense of what learning a language like Chinese entails, and the sort of learning processes that it involves, so students are able to continue studying effectively on their own. The main text is J. K. Wheatley's Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin, part II (unpublished, but available online). (Part I of the book forms the basis of 21F.101/151, which is also published on OpenCourseWare.)

  • Chinese II (Streamlined)

    This course, along with 21F.107 / 21F.157 Chinese I (Streamlined) offered in the previous fall, form the elementary level of the streamlined sequence, which is intended for students who, when they began the sequence at beginning level, had basic conversational skills (gained, typically, from growing up in a Chinese speaking environment), but lacked a corresponding level of literacy. The focus of the course is on learning standard usage of expressions for everyday use, on reading in both traditional and simplified characters, and on writing.

  • Chinese III (Regular) (Fall 2003)

    This course is designed to consolidate the foundation built in Elementary Chinese and continue developing students skills in aural comprehension, reading, and writing. Upon completion of the course, students should be able to speak Chinese with some fluency on basic conversational topics, achieve a basic level of reading competence within simplified and traditional characters learned plus common compounds, and be able to write short compositions.

  • Chinese III (Regular) (Fall 2005)

    This is the third of the four courses (Chinese I through IV) in MIT's regular (non-streamlined) Chinese curriculum. The four make use of the textbook, Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin (unpublished, but available online), to which are added various supporting materials as needs arise. The foundation level covers core grammar, linguistic culture, basic conversation, the principles of the writing system, and elementary reading. Reading is primarily in the simplified character set that is the standard on the Mainland, but also in the traditional set that is still standard in Taiwan and many overseas communities. All four subjects in the foundation level are (Chinese I and II) or soon will be (Chinese IV) available on OCW. Students who have advanced through Chinese I and II to reach this level, as well as those entering at Chinese III, should review at least the late material in Chinese II before proceeding. To facilitate review, as well as to orient students who are new to these materials, highlights from all the units in Chinese I and II and a list of the characters formally introduced in Character lessons 1-6 are included in the readings section of this course. Chinese Sequence on OCW OpenCourseWare now offers a complete sequence of four Chinese language courses, covering beginning to intermediate levels of instruction at MIT. They can be used not just as the basis for taught courses, but also for self-instruction and elementary-to-intermediate review. The four Chinese subjects provide the following materials: an online textbook in four parts, J. K. Wheatley's Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin; audio files of the main conversational and narrative material in this book; and syllabi and day-by-day schedules for each term. Course sequnce on OCW. CHINESE COURSES COURSE SITES Chinese I (Spring 2006) 21F.101/151 Chinese II (Spring 2006) 21F.102/152 Chinese III (Fall 2005) 21F.103 Chinese IV (Spring 2006) 21F.104

  • Chinese III (Streamlined)

    This course is the intermediate level of the streamlined curriculum, which is intended for students who, when they began streamlined I, had some background in the language, whether it be comprehension with limited speaking ability or quite fluent speaking ability. The focus of the course is on standard pronunciation and usage, on reading in both complex and simplified characters, and on writing. It is presupposed that students in Chinese III have already learned the pinyin system of representing pronunciation sufficiently well to be able to read texts in pinyin accurately. (If not, there are pinyin tutorials to assist you to learn the system.)

  • Chinese IV (Regular) (Spring 2004)

    This is the continuing instruction in spoken and written Chinese, with particular emphasis on consolidating basic conversational skills and improving reading confidence and depth. Upon completion of the course, students should be able to speak Chinese with some fluency on basic conversational topics, achieve a basic level of reading competence within simplified and traditional characters learned plus common compounds, and be able to write short compositions.

  • Chinese IV (Regular) (Spring 2006)

    This is the last of the four courses (Chinese I through IV) that make up the foundation level (four semesters over two years in the normal curriculum) of MIT's regular (non-streamlined) Chinese program. Chinese IV is designed to consolidate conversational usage and grammatical and cultural knowledge encountered in the earlier courses, and to expand reading and listening abilities. It integrates the last part of Learning Chinese (two units designed primarily for review of grammatical concepts and vocabulary growth) with material from Madeline Spring's Making Connections, designed to bolster listening skills, and Linda Hsai and Roger Yue's Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, a collection of traditional stories that has been a favorite of students of Chinese for many decades and is used here to focus on reading. Reading for this course is primarily, but not exclusively, in the simplified character set that is the standard on the Mainland; readings in the traditional set that is standard in Taiwan are also assigned. Students who have advanced through Chinese I, II, and III to reach this level, as well as those entering at Chinese IV, should review at least the late material in Chinese III before proceeding.

  • Chinese IV (Streamlined)

    This is the second semester of the intermediate level sequence intended for students whose conversational ability exceeds their reading and writing skills. Focus is on reading and writing, as well as broadening conversational skills and control of standard pronunciation, for students with background in conversational Chinese. Lab work is required. On completing this course, students should be able to speak the language with standard pronunciation, to converse with some fluency on everyday topics, as well as on some specialized topics, to read edited, as well as authentic texts, in simplified or traditional characters with suitable fluency, and to be able to write composition on certain topics. The class consists of a combination of practice, reading, discussion, dictation, composition and feedback, net exploration via the web, and presentation. This course is conducted in Mandarin.

  • Chinese V (Regular): Chinese Cultures & Society

    This course is the continuation of 21F104/108. It is designed to further help students develop sophisticated conversational, reading and writing skills by combining traditional textbook material with their own explorations of Chinese speaking societies, using the human, literary, and electronic resources available at in the Boston area. Some of special features of Chinese society, its culture, its customs and habits, its history, and the psychology of its people are be introduced. The class consists of reading, discussion, composition, network exploration, and conversational practice. The course is conducted in Mandarin.

  • Chinese VI (Regular): Discovering Chinese Cultures and Societies

    This course is the continuation of 21F105. It is designed to further help students develop sophisticated conversational, reading and writing skills by combining traditional textbook material with their own explorations of Chinese speaking societies, using the human, literary, and electronic resources available at MIT and in the Boston area. Some special features of Chinese society, its culture, its customs and habits, its history, and the psychology of its people are introduced. The class consists of reading, discussion, composition, network exploration, and conversational practice. The course is conducted in Mandarin.

  • Chinese VI (Streamlined)

    This course is a sequel to 21F.113 Chinese V (Streamlined). It is designed to further help students develop sophisticated conversational, reading and writing skills by combining authentic reading and audio-visual material with their own explorations of Chinese speaking societies, using the human, literary, and electronic resources available at MIT, in the Boston area and on the web. Some special features of Chinese societies, cultures and customs will be introduced. The class consists of readings, discussion, student presentations and network exploration. The course is conducted in Mandarin.

  • Cities in Conflict: Theory and Practice

    This course's aims are two-fold: 1. to offer students the theoretical and practical tools to understand how and why cities become torn by ethnic, religious, racial, nationalist, and/or other forms of identity that end up leading to conflict, violence, inequality, and social injustice; and 2. to use this knowledge and insight in the search for solutions As preparation, students will be required to become familiar with social and political theories of the city and the nation and their relationship to each other. They also will focus on the ways that racial, ethnic, religious, nationalist or other identities grow and manifest themselves in cities or other territorial levels of determination (including the regional or transnational). In the search for remedies, students will be encouraged to consider a variety of policymaking or design points of entry, ranging from the political- institutional (e.g. forms of democratic participation and citizenship) to spatial, infrastructural, and technological interventions.

  • Citizenship and Pluralism

    This course will serve as both an introduction to contemporary political philosophy and a way to explore issues of pluralism and multiculturalism. Racial and ethnic groups, national minorities, aboriginals, women, sexual minorities, and other groups have organized to highlight injustice and demand recognition and accommodation on the basis of their differences. In practice, democratic states have granted a variety of group-differentiated rights, such as exemptions from generally applicable laws, special representation rights, language rights, or limited self-government rights, to different types of groups. This course will examine how different theories of citizenship address the challenges raised by different forms of pluralism. We will focus in particular on the following questions: * Does justice require granting group-differentiated rights? * Do group-differentiated rights conflict with liberal and democratic commitments to equality and justice for all citizens? * What, if anything, can hold a multi-religious, multicultural society together? Why should the citizens of such a society want to hold together?

  • City Visions: Past and Future

    This class is intended to introduce students to understandings of the city generated from both social science literature and the field of urban design. The first part of the course examines literature on the history and theory of the city. Among other factors, it pays special attention to the larger territorial settings in which cities emerged and developed (ranging from the global to the national to the regional context) and how these affected the nature, character, and functioning of cities and the lives of their inhabitants. The remaining weeks focus more explicitly on the theory and practice of design visions for the city, the latter in both utopian and realized form. One of our aims will be to assess the conditions under which a variety of design visions were conceived, and to assess them in terms of the varying patterns of territorial "nestedness" (local, regional, national, imperial, and global) examined in the first part of the course. Another will be to encourage students to think about the future prospects of cities (in terms of territorial context or other political functions and social aims) and to offer design visions that might reflect these new dynamics.

  • Civil War

    This course surveys the social science literature on civil war. Students will study the origins of civil war, discuss variables that affect the duration of civil war, and examine the termination of conflict. This course is highly interdisciplinary and covers a wide variety of cases.

  • Civil-Military Relations

    This course centers on mechanisms of civilian control of the military. Relying on the influential texts of Lasswell, Huntington, and Finer, the first classes clarify the basic tensions between the military and civilians. A wide-ranging series of case studies follows. These cases are chosen to create a field of variation that includes states with stable civilian rule, states with stable military influence, and states exhibiting fluctuations between military and civilian control. The final three weeks of the course are devoted to the broader relationship between military and society.

  • Classical Literature: The Golden Age of Augustan Rome

    Roman Literature of the Golden Age of Augustus Caesar, produced during the transition from Republican to Imperial forms of government, was to have a profound and defining influence on Western European and American societies. These writings ultimately established lasting models of aesthetic refinement, philosophical aspiration, and political ambition that continue to shape modern cultures. This class will be exploring the Golden Age of Latin Literature from an historical perspective in order to provide an intensive examination of the cultural contexts in which these monumental works of classical art were first produced. Readings will emphasize the transition from a Republican form of government to an Empire under the rule of Augustus Caesar and the diversity of responses among individual authors to the profound structural changes that Roman society was undergoing at this time. Particular attention will be devoted to the reorganization of society and the self through textuality, the changing dimensions of the public and the private, the roles of class and gender, and the relationship between art and pleasure. Writings covering a wide variety of literary genres will include the works of Caesar, Cicero, Catullus, Livy, Virgil, Horace, and Ovid, with additional readings from Cassius Dio for background.

  • Classical Rhetoric and Modern Political Discourse

    This course is an introduction to the history, theory, practice, and implications of rhetoric, the art and craft of persuasion through * Analyzing persuasive texts and speeches * Creating persuasive texts and speeches Through class discussions, presentations, and written assignments, you will get to practice your own rhetorical prowess. Through the readings, you'll also learn some ways to make yourself a more efficient reader, as you turn your analytical skills on the texts themselves. This combination of reading, speaking, and writing will help you succeed in: * learning * to read and think critically * techniques of rhetorical analysis * techniques of argument * to enhance your written and oral discourse with appropriate figures of speech * some techniques of oral presentation and the use of visual aids and visual rhetoric.

  • Classics in Western Philosophy

    This course will introduce you to the Western philosophical tradition, through the study of major figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, and Kant. You will get to grips with questions that have been significant to philosophy from its beginnings: questions about the nature of the mind or soul, the existence of God, the foundations of knowledge, ethics and the good life. In the process of evaluating the arguments of these philosophers, you will develop your own philosophical and analytical skills. You will also observe changes of intellectual outlook over time, and the effect of scientific, religious and political concerns on the development of philosophical ideas. Lecture handouts will be supplied for Lec #1-8, and #16-25. For the section on Descartes' Meditations, Lec #9-15, my separate Study Guide to Descartes' Meditations is available in the study materials section.

  • Classics of Chinese Literature

    This course is an introduction to three of the major genres of traditional Chinese literaturepoetry, fiction and drama, with a focus on vernacular fiction. We will read translations of a number of the "masterworks" of Chinese literature. We will also examine the intertextuality between these genres how poetry blends into narrative, how fiction becomes drama, and drama inspires fiction. Through reading these selected works of traditional Chinese literature, we will examine some of the major features of traditional Chinese society: religious and philosophical beliefs, the imperial system and dynastic change, gender relations, notions of class and ethnicity, family, romance and sexuality. All works are read in translation; no language background is necessary.

  • Classification, Natural Kinds, and Conceptual Change: Race as a Case Study

    This course will consider the claim that there is no such thing as race, with a particular emphasis on the question whether races should be thought of as natural kinds: is our concept of race a natural kind concept? Is the term 'race' a natural kind term? If so, is Appiah right to conclude that there are no races? How should one go about "analyzing" the concept of race?

  • Cold War Science

    This seminar examines the history and legacy of the Cold War on American science. It explores scientist's new political roles after World War II, ranging from elite policy makers in the nuclear age to victims of domestic anti Communism. It also examines the changing institutions in which the physical sciences and social sciences were conducted during the postwar decades, investigating possible epistemic effects on forms of knowledge. The subject closes by considering the place of science in the post-Cold War era.

  • Comedy

    This course looks at comedy in drama, novels, and films from Classical Greece to the twentieth century. Focusing on examples from Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Molire, Wilde, Chaplin, and Billy Wilder, along with theoretical contexts, the class examines comedy as a transgressive mode with revolutionary social and political implications. This is a Communications Intensive (CI) class with emphasis on discussion, and frequent, short essays.

  • Communicating in Cyberspace

    This class covers the analysis, design, implementation and testing of various forms of digital communication based on group collaboration. Students are encouraged to think about the Web and other new digital interactive media not just in terms of technology but also broader issues such as language (verbal and visual), design, information architecture, communication and community. Students work in small groups on a semester-long project of their choice.

  • Communicating in Technical Organizations (Fall 2001)

    This course focuses on an exploration of the role that communication plays in the work of the contemporary engineering and science professional. Emphasis is placed on analyzing how composition and publication contribute to work management and knowledge production, as well as the "how-to" aspects of writing specific kinds of documents in a clear style. Topics include: communication as organizational process, electronic modes such as e-mail and the Internet, the informational and social roles of specific document forms, writing as collaboration, the writing process, the elements of style, methods of oral presentation, and communication ethics. Case studies used as the basis for class discussion and some writing assignments. Several short documents, a longer report or article, and a short oral presentation are required.

  • Communicating in Technical Organizations (Spring 2005)

    This course has two parallel aims: 1. To improve student writing about technical subject matters, including forms of writing commonly employed in technical organizations, and 2. Critically to examine the nature of technologically-assisted communication, focusing somewhat on professional communication among scientists and engineers. We will often combine these two goals, by practicing critical investigation of communications technologies in written formats (and other media) that employ communications technologies.

  • Communication for Managers

    Writing and speaking skills necessary for a career in management. Students polish communication strategies and methods through discussion, examples, and practice. Several written and oral assignments, most based on material from other subjects and from career development activities. Schedule and curriculum coordinated with 15.311 Organizational Processes class. Restricted to first-year Sloan School of Management graduate students. Students may also enroll in 15.277 Special Seminar in Communication: Leadership and Personal Effectiveness Coaching. 15.280 is offered for 6 units and 15.277 provides an additional 3 units for a total of 9 units in Managerial Communication. 15.277 acts as a lab component to 15.280 and provides students additional opportunities to hone their communication skills through a variety of in-class exercises.

  • Communication Skills for Academics

    Your success as an academic will depend heavily on your ability to communicate to fellow researchers in your discipline, to colleagues in your department and university, to undergraduate and graduate students, and perhaps even to the public at large. Communicating well in an academic setting depends not only on following the basic rules that govern all good communication (for example, tailoring the message to meet the needs of a specific audience), but also on adhering to the particular norms of academic genres. The purpose of this course, then, is threefold. First, the course will acquaint you with guidelines that will help you create well-crafted academic communication. Second, it will give you the opportunity to practice your communication skills and to receive extensive feedback from your colleagues and from me. You will write and/or revise an article manuscript or conference paper, present a conference paper or job talk, write a manuscript peer review, and engage in various other communication exercises. The article and talk, which are the major assignments of the course, will be based on material from your own doctoral studies. Third, the course will provide an opportunity for you to learn about professional norms for a range of activities that surround the academic enterprise, including, for example, the scholarly publication process and the job search process.

  • Comparative Grand Strategy and Military Doctrine

    This course will conduct a comparative study of the grand strategies of the great powers (Britain, France, Germany and Russia) competing for mastery of Europe from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Grand strategy is the collection of political and military means and ends with which a state attempts to achieve security. We will examine strategic developments in the years preceding World Wars I and II, and how those developments played themselves out in these wars. The following questions will guide the inquiry: What is grand strategy and what are its critical aspects? What recurring factors have exerted the greatest influence on the strategies of the states selected for study? How may the quality of a grand strategy be judged? What consequences seem to follow from grand strategies of different types? A second theme of the course is methodological. We will pay close attention to how comparative historical case studies are conducted.

  • Comparative Politics and China

    This graduate seminar has two main goals: to explore the main theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of contemporary Chinese politics; and to relate those approches to broader trends in the field of comparative politics. What has the study of China contributed to the field of comparative politics, and vice versa? What are the most effective ways to integrate area studies, broader comparative approaches, and theory? Seminar presumes a basic understanding of the history and politics of contemporary China.

  • Composing Your Life: Exploration of Self through Visual Arts and Writing

    In this interdisciplinary seminar, we explore a variety of visual and written tools for self exploration and self expression. Through discussion, written assignments, and directed exercises, students practice utilizing a variety of media to explore and express who they are.

  • Computational Models of Discourse

    This course is a graduate level introduction to automatic discourse processing. The emphasis will be on methods and models that have applicability to natural language and speech processing. The class will cover the following topics: discourse structure, models of coherence and cohesion, plan recognition algorithms, and text segmentation. We will study symbolic as well as machine learning methods for discourse analysis. We will also discuss the use of these methods in a variety of applications ranging from dialogue systems to automatic essay writing. This subject qualifies as an Artificial Intelligence and Applications concentration subject.

  • Consumer Culture

    What is the good life, and can you shop there? Would you want that life if you couldn't? Has shopping replaced working as the activity that gives the most meaning to our lives? The theme for this Expository Writing class is Consumer Culture. The class will explore what it means to belong to a consumer societyto think of ourselves, as Douglas Rushkoff puts it, less as citizens than as consumers. Readings will serve both as examples of effective writing techniques and as springboards for discussion. Well read essays that explore a variety of cultural meanings of shopping and that analyze the way advertising works. We will also read essays that critique consumer culture from several perspectives, including those of psychology, gender, art, environmentalism and ethics. Readings and essay assignments will invite you to reflect on personal, familial and cultural meanings of shopping; to analyze advertisements; and to join in conversation with critics of consumer culture and offer your own critiques.

  • Contemporary Literature

    This semester, Contemporary Literature (21L.488) deals with Irish literature, a subject broad and deep. To achieve a manageable volume of study, the course focuses primarily on poetry and prose, at drama's expense, and on living writers, at the expense of their predecessors. Each class session follows a discussion format, often with students assigned to lead-off or summarize the day's topic.

  • Contemporary Literature: British Novels Now

    What is Britain now? Its metropolises are increasingly multicultural. Its hold over its distant colonies is a thing of the past. Its sway within the global political arena is weak. Its command over Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland is broken or threatened. What have novelists made of all this? What are they writing as the old empire fades away and as new social and political formations emerge? These are the questions that will concern us in this course.

  • Contemporary Literature: Literature, Development, and Human Rights

    Central to our era is the gradual movement of all the world's regions toward a uniform standard of economic and political development. In this class we will read a variety of recent narratives that partake of, dissent from, or contribute to this story, ranging from novels and poems to World Bank and IMF statements and National Geographic reports. We will seek to understand the many motives and voices sometimes congruent, sometimes clashing that are currently engaged in producing accounts of people in the developing world: their hardships, laughter, and courage, and how they help themselves and are helped by outsiders who may or may not have philanthropic motives. Readings will include literature by J. G. Ballard, Jamaica Kincaid, Rohinton Mistry, and John le Carr, as well as policy documents, newspaper and magazine articles, and the Web sites of a variety of trade and development commissions and organizations.

  • Crafting Research Questions and Qualitative Methodology

    This course covers approaches to research and evaluation in the planning field, for those preparing to write 1st-year doctoral and other research papers. Topics include narrowing down research interests, using quantitative and qualitative techniques complementarily, and interviewing and other fieldwork challenges. The course uses a seminar-type format in which readings, class discussions, and assignments are built around (1) generic themes that run across the research interests and paper topics of students in the class, and (2) lessons about methodology to be learned from the case comparison studies assigned.

  • Crosby Lectures in Geology: History of Africa

    This course is a series of presentations on an advanced topic in the field of geology by the visiting William Otis Crosby lecturer. The Crosby lectureship is awarded to a distinguished international scientist each year to introduce new scientific perspectives to the MIT community. This year's Crosby lecturer is Prof. Kevin Burke. His lecture is about African history. The basic theme is the distinctiveness of the African continent in both the way that it originated 600 million years ago and in the way that it has developed ever since.

  • Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Contemporary French Society

    This course is an intermediate subject designed to help students gradually build an in-depth understanding of France. The course focuses on French attitudes and values regarding education, work, family and institutions, and deals with the differing notions that underlie interpersonal interactions and communication styles, such as politeness, friendship and formality. Using a Web comparative, cross-cultural approach, students explore a variety of French and American materials, then analyze and compare them using questionnaires, opinion polls, news reports (in different media), as well as a variety of historical, anthropological and literary texts. Throughout the course, attention is given to the development of relevant linguistics skills. This course is recommended for students planning to study and work in France and is taught in French.

  • Cultural History of Technology

    The subject of this course is the historical process by which the meaning of "technology" has been constructed. Although the word itself is traceable to the ancient Greek root teckhne (meaning art), it did not enter the English language until the 17th century, and did not acquire its current meaning until after World War I. The aim of the course, then, is to explore various sectors of industrializing 19th and 20th century Western society and culture with a view to explaining and assessing the emergence of technology as a pivotal word (and concept) in contemporary (especially Anglo-American) thought and expression.Note: In the interests of freshness and topicality we regard the STS.464 syllabus as sufficiently flexible to permit some mostly minor variations from year to year. One example of a different STS.464 syllabus can be found in STS.464 Technology and the Literary Imagination, Spring 2008.

  • Culture Tech

    This class is divided into a series of sections or "modules", each of which concentrates on a particular large technology-related topic in a cultural context. The class will start with a four-week module on Samurai Swords and Blacksmithing, followed by smaller units on Chinese Cooking, the Invention of Clocks, and Andean Weaving, and end with a four-week module on Automobiles and Engines. In addition, there will be a series of hands-on projects that tie theory and practice together. The class discussions range across anthropology, history, and individual development, emphasizing recurring themes, such as the interaction between technology and culture and the relation between "skill" knowledge and "craft" knowledge. Culture Tech evolved from a more extensive, two-semester course which formed the centerpiece of the Integrated Studies Program at MIT. For 13 years, ISP was an alternative first-year program combining humanities, physics, learning-by-doing, and weekly luncheons. Culture Tech represents the core principles of ISP distilled into a 6-unit seminar. Although many collections of topics have been used over the years, the modules presented here are a representative sequence.

  • Culture, Embodiment and the Senses

    Culture, Embodiment, and the Senses will provide an historical and cross-cultural analysis of the politics of sensory experience. The subject will address western philosophical debates about mind, brain, emotion, and the body and the historical value placed upon sight, reason, and rationality, versus smell, taste, and touch as acceptable modes of knowing and knowledge production. We will assess cultural traditions that challenge scientific interpretations of experience arising from western philosophical and physiological models. The class will examine how sensory experience lies beyond the realm of individual physiological or psychological responses and occurs within a culturally elaborated field of social relations. Finally, we will debate how discourse about the senses is a product of particular modes of knowledge production that are themselves contested fields of power relations.

  • Cultures of Computing

    This course examines computers anthropologically, as artifacts revealing the social orders and cultural practices that create them. Students read classic texts in computer science along with cultural analyses of computing history and contemporary configurations. It explores the history of automata, automation and capitalist manufacturing; cybernetics and WWII operations research; artificial intelligence and gendered subjectivity; robots, cyborgs, and artificial life; creation and commoditization of the personal computer; the growth of the Internet as a military, academic, and commercial project; hackers and gamers; technobodies and virtual sociality. Emphasis is placed on how ideas about gender and other social differences shape labor practices, models of cognition, hacking culture, and social media.

  • Darwin and Design (Fall 2003)

    This subject offers a broad survey of texts (both literary and philosophical) drawn from the Western tradition and selected to trace the immediate intellectual antecedents and some of the implications of the ideas animating Darwin's revolutionary On the Origin of Species. Darwin's text, of course, is about the mechanism that drives the evolution of life on this planet, but the fundamental ideas of the text have implications that range well beyond the scope of natural history, and the assumptions behind Darwin's arguments challenge ideas that go much further back than the set of ideas that Darwin set himself explicitly to question - ideas of decisive importance when we think about ourselves, the nature of the material universe, the planet that we live upon, and our place in its scheme of life. In establishing his theory of natural selection, Darwin set himself, rather self-consciously, to challenge a whole way of thinking about these things. The main focus of attention will be Darwin's contribution to the so-called "argument from design" - the notion that innumerable aspects of the world (and most particularly the organisms within it) display features directly analogous to objects of human design and, since design implies a designer, that an intelligent, conscious agency must have been responsible for their organization and creation. Previously, it had been argued that such features must have only one of two ultimate sources - chance or conscious agency. Darwin proposed and elaborated a third source, which he called Natural Selection, an unconscious agency capable of outdoing the most complex feats of human intelligence. The course of study will not only examine the immediate inspiration for this idea in the work of Adam Smith and Thomas Malthus and place Darwin's Origin and the theory of Natural Selection in the history of ensuing debate, but it will also touch upon related issues.

  • Darwin and Design (Fall 2010)

    Humans are social animals; social demands, both cooperative and competitive, structure our development, our brain and our mind. This course covers social development, social behaviour, social cognition and social neuroscience, in both human and non-human social animals. Topics include altruism, empathy, communication, theory of mind, aggression, power, groups, mating, and morality. Methods include evolutionary biology, neuroscience, cognitive science, social psychology and anthropology.

  • Decisions, Games, and Rational Choice

    Foundations and philosophical applications of Bayesian decision theory, game theory and theory of collective choice. Why should degrees of belief be probabilities? Is it always rational to maximize expected utility? If so, why and what is its utility? What is a solution to a game? What does a game-theoretic solution concept such as Nash equilibrium say about how rational players will, or should, act in a game? How are the values and the actions of groups, institutions and societies related to the values and actions of the individuals that constitute them?

  • Democratization in Asia, Africa, and Latin America

    Recent years have seen an astonishing spread of democracy to many African, Asian, and Latin American countries. What caused these dramatic political transitions? What challenges do democratizing countries in the Third World face? Will these new democracies endure? We will take up these questions using film, fiction, and popular journalism, as well as scholarly research. We will also focus on a small number of countries (Brazil, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Senegal, Singapore, and Sri Lanka) in order to explore in greater depth some of the most important political challenges faced by developing countries. Although the class focuses on the developing world, many of the lessons should "travel" to democratizing countries in other regions.

  • Digital Poetry

    This class investigates theory and practice of digital or new media poetry with emphasis on workshop review of digital poetry created by students. Each week students examine published examples of digital poetry in a variety of forms including but not limited to soundscapes, hypertext poetry, animation, code poems, interactive games, location-based poems using handheld devices, digital video and wikis.

  • Digital Typography

    This class introduces studies in the algorithmic manipulation of type as word, symbol, and form. Problems covered will include semantic filtering, inherently unstable letterforms, and spoken letters. The history and traditions of typography, and their entry into the digital age, will be studied. Weekly assignments using Java will explore new ways of looking at and manipulating type.

  • Dilemmas in Bio-Medical Ethics: Playing God or Doing Good?

    This course is an introduction to the cross-cultural study of bio-medical ethics. It examines moral foundations of the science and practice of western bio-medicine through case studies of abortion, contraception, cloning, organ transplantation, and other issues. It also evaluates challenges that new medical technologies pose to the practice and availability of medical services around the globe, and to cross-cultural ideas of kinship and personhood. It discusses critiques of the bio-medical tradition from anthropological, feminist, legal, religious, and cross-cultural theorists.

  • Disaster, Vulnerability and Resilience

    In recent years, the redistribution of risk has created conditions for natural and technological disasters to become more widespread, more difficult to manage, and more discriminatory in their effects. Policy and planning decision-makers frequently focus on the impact that human settlement patterns, land use decisions, and risky technologies can have on vulnerable populations. However, to ensure safety and promote equity, they also must be familiar with the social and political dynamics that are present at each stage of the disaster management cycle. Therefore, this course will provide students with: 1. An understanding of the breadth of factors that give rise to disaster vulnerability; and 2. A foundation for assessing and managing the social and political processes associated with disaster policy and planning.

  • Disease and Health: Culture, Society, and Ethics

    This course examines how medicine is practiced cross-culturally, with particular emphasis on Western biomedicine. Students analyze medical practice as a cultural system, focusing on the human, as opposed to the biological, side of things. Also considered is how people in different cultures think of disease, health, body, and mind.

  • Disease and Society in America

    This course examines the growing importance of medicine in culture, economics and politics. It uses an historical approach to examine the changing patterns of disease, the causes of morbidity and mortality, the evolution of medical theory and practice, the development of hospitals and the medical profession, the rise of the biomedical research industry, and the ethics of health care in America.

  • Documentary Photography and Photo Journalism: Still Images of A World In Motion

    Documentary Photography and Photojournalism: Still Images of A World In Motion exposes students to the work of a number of great documentary photographers and photojournalists, as well as to writing about the documentary tradition. Students work throughout the term on a photo documentary project of their own, attempting to reduce a tiny area of the moving world to a set of still images that convey what the viewer needs to know about what they saw - without hearing the sounds, smelling the odors, experiencing what was happening outside the viewfinder, and without seeing the motion. Students also write papers about the subjects of their photo documentaries.

  • Documentary Photography and Photojournalism: Still Images of a World in Motion

    This course is an introduction to the great tradition of documentary photography. Students learn to see the world around them in a new way and produce a documentary project. The course requires reading and writing about photography, as well as doing it on a regular basis. The class emphasis is on thinking about why people photograph, what photographs do and do not mean to us, and on doing documentary work, on telling stories with photographs. This is not a technical class, and it should not be considered an "introduction to photography." I work on the assumption that any student signing up for the class has at least a minimal sense of the difference between f stops and T stops, and can find his or her way around a camera. While there will be some technical discussion in class, it will be limited.

  • Downtown

    This seminar focuses on downtowns in U.S. cities from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth century. Emphasis will be placed on downtown as an idea, place, and cluster of interests; on the changing character of downtown; and on recent efforts to rebuild it. Subjects to be considered will include subways, skyscrapers, highways, urban renewal, and retail centers. The focus will be on readings, discussions, and individual research projects.

  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. IAP Design Seminar

    This seminar facilitates the design and construction of installations and other community projects in conjunction with and beyond MIT's celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. During the first half of the class, MIT and Wellesley students develop in-depth understanding of the history of US racial issues as well as past and present domestic and international political struggles. In the second half, the students work as a group to complete the installations and projects which serve as models for connecting academics with real life problems and struggle. This seminar is offered during the Independent Activities Period (IAP), which is a special 4-week term at MIT that runs from the first week of January until the end of the month.

  • Early Music

    This course examines European music from the early Middle Ages until the end of the Renaissance. It includes a chronological survey and intensive study of three topics: chant and its development, music in Italy 1340-1420, and music in Elizabethan England. Instruction focuses on methods and pitfalls in studying music of the distant past. Students' papers, problem sets, and presentations explore lives, genres, and works in depth. Works are studied in facsimile of original notation, and from original manuscripts at MIT, where possible.

  • East Asia in the World

    This subject examines the interactions of East Asia with the rest of the world and the relationships of each of the East Asian countries with each other, from ca. 1500 to 2000 A.D. Primary focus on China and Japan, with some reference to Korea, Vietnam, and Central Asia. Asks how international diplomatic, commercial, military, religious, and cultural relationships joined with internal processes to direct the development of East Asian societies. Subject addresses perceptions and misperceptions among East Asians and foreigners.

  • Economic History (Fall 2006)

    This course offers a comprehensive survey of world economic history, designed to introduce economics graduate students to the subject matter and methodology of economic history. Topics are chosen to show a wide variety of historical experience and illuminate the process of industrialization. A final term paper is due at the end of the course.

  • Economic History (Spring 2009)

    This course is a survey of world economic history, and it introduces economics students to the subject matter and methodology of economic history. It is designed to expand the range of empirical settings in students' research by drawing upon historical material and long-run data. Topics are chosen to show a wide variety of historical experience and illuminate the process of industrialization. The emphasis will be on questions related to labor markets and economic growth.

  • Economic History of Financial Crises

    This course gives a historical perspective on financial panics. Topics include the growth of the industrial world, the Great Depression and surrounding events, and more recent topics such as the first oil crisis, Japanese stagnation, and conditions following the financial crisis of 2008.

  • Eighteenth-Century Literature: Versions of the Self in 18th-C Britain

    When John Locke declared (in the 1690 Essay Concerning Human Understanding) that knowledge was derived solely from experience, he raised the possibility that human understanding and identity were not the products of God's will or of immutable laws of nature so much as of one's personal history and background. If on the one hand Locke's theory led some to pronounce that individuals could determine the course of their own lives, however, the idea that we are the products of our experience just as readily supported the conviction that we are nothing more than machines acting out lives whose destinies we do not control. This course will track the formulation of that problem, and a variety of responses to it, in the literature of the "long eighteenth century." Readings will range widely across genre, from lyric poetry and the novel to diary entries, philosophical prose, and political essays, including texts by Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, Mary Astell, David Hume, Laurence Sterne, Olaudah Equiano, Mary Hays, and Mary Shelley. Topics to be discussed include the construction of gender identities; the individual in society; imagination and the poet's work. There will be two essays, one 5-6 pages and one 8-10 pages in length, and required presentations.

  • Einstein, Oppenheimer, Feynman: Physics in the 20th Century

    This course covers the role of physics and physicists during the 20th century, focusing on Einstein, Oppenheimer, and Feynman. Beyond just covering the scientific developments, institutional, cultural, and political contexts will also be examined.

  • Empire: Introduction to Ancient and Medieval Studies

    This course is an investigation of the Roman empire of Augustus, the Frankish empire of Charlemagne, and the English empire in the age of the Hundred Years War. Students examine different types of evidence, read across a variety of disciplines, and develop skills to identify continuities and changes in ancient and medieval societies. Each term this course is different, looking at different materials from a variety of domains to explore ancient and mideveal studies. This version is a capture of the course as it was taught in 2012, and does not reflect how it is taught currently.

  • End of Nature

    This subject offers a broad survey of texts (both literary and philosophical) drawn from the Western tradition and selected to trace the growth of ideas about nature and the natural environment of mankind. The term nature in this context has to do with the varying ways in which the physical world has been conceived as the habitation of mankind, a source of imperatives for the collective organization and conduct of human life. In this sense, nature is less the object of complex scientific investigation than the object of individual experience and direct observation. Using the term "nature" in this sense, we can say that modern reference to "the environment" owes much to three ideas about the relation of mankind to nature. In the first of these, which harks back to ancient medical theories and notions about weather, geographical nature was seen as a neutral agency affecting or transforming agent of mankind's character and institutions. In the second, which derives from religious and classical sources in the Western tradition, the earth was designed as a fit environment for mankind or, at the least, as adequately suited for its abode, and civic or political life was taken to be consonant with the natural world. In the third, which also makes its appearance in the ancient world but becomes important only much later, nature and mankind are regarded as antagonists, and one must conquer the other or be subjugated by it.

  • Energy and Environment in American History: 1705-2005

    A survey of how America has become the world's largest consumer of energy. Explores American history from the perspective of energy and its relationship to politics, diplomacy, the economy, science and technology, labor, culture, and the environment. Topics include muscle and water power in early America, coal and the Industrial Revolution, electrification, energy consumption in the home, oil and U.S. foreign policy, automobiles and suburbanization, nuclear power, OPEC and the 70's energy crisis, global warming, and possible paths for the future.

  • Engineering Ethics

    This course introduces the theory and the practice of engineering ethics using a multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural approach. Theory includes ethics and philosophy of engineering. Historical cases are taken primarily from the scholarly literatures on engineering ethics, and hypothetical cases are written by students. Each student will write a story by selecting an ancestor or mythic hero as a substitute for a character in a historical case. Students will compare these cases and recommend action.

  • English Renaissance Drama: Theatre and Society in the Age of Shakespeare

    Shakespeare "doth bestride the narrow world" of the English Renaissance "like a colossus," leaving his contemporaries "walk under his large legs and peep about" to find themselves in "dishonourable graves." This course aims in part to correct this grave injustice by surveying the extraordinary output of playwrights whose names have largely been eclipsed by their more luminous compatriot: Marlowe, Jonson, Webster, and Ford, among others. Reading Shakespeare as just one of a group of practitioners -- many of whom were more popular than him during and even after his remarkable career -- will restore, I hope, a sense not just of the richness of English Renaissance drama, but also that of the historical and cultural moment of the English Renaissance itself. This course will examine the relationship between theatre and society through the lens of the drama produced in response to these changes. However, we will not try to map the progress of drama directly onto the social world, as if the former can simply read off the latter. Rather, focusing on discrete issues and problems, we will try to understand the ways in which a particular text not only reflects but responds to and shapes aspects of the culture from which it derives, developing an aesthetic that actively engages its world. The topics addressed over the course of the semester will be wide-ranging but will include: gender and class dynamics in Renaissance society; money, trade, and colonialism; the body as metaphor and theatrical "object"; allegory and aesthetic form; theatricality and meta-theatricality; the private and the public.

  • Environmental Justice

    This class explores the foundations of the environmental justice movement, current and emerging issues, and the application of environmental justice analysis to environmental policy and planning. It examines claims made by diverse groups along with the policy and civil society responses that address perceived inequity and injustice. While focused mainly on the United States, international issues and perspectives are also considered.

  • Environmental Struggles

    This class explores the interrelationship between humans and natural environments. It does so by focusing on conflict over access to and use of the environment as well as ideas about "nature" in various parts of the world.

  • Ethics

    Foundations and philosophical applications of Bayesian decision theory, game theory and theory of collective choice. Why should degrees of belief be probabilities? Is it always rational to maximize expected utility? If so, why and what is its utility? What is a solution to a game? What does a game-theoretic solution concept such as Nash equilibrium say about how rational players will, or should, act in a game? How are the values and the actions of groups, institutions and societies related to the values and actions of the individuals that constitute them?

  • Ethics and the Law on the Electronic Frontier

    This course considers the interaction between law, policy, and technology as they relate to the evolving controversies over control of the Internet. In addition, there will be an in-depth treatment of privacy and the notion of "transparency" -- regulations and technologies that govern the use of information, as well as access to information. Topics explored will include: * Legal Background for Regulation of the Internet * Fourth Amendment Law and Electronic Surveillance * Profiling, Data Mining, and the U.S. PATRIOT Act * Technologies for Anonymity and Transparency * The Policy-Aware Web

  • Ethnic Politics I

    This course is designed to provide students with a broad overview of the major theories on the relationship between ethnicity and politics. The course is divided into three sections. The first covers general theory and discusses the social construction of ethnicity as well as the limits of construction. The second section discusses ethnicity as a dependent variable. This section studies the forces that shape the development of ethnic identities and their motivating power. The third section addresses ethnicity as an independent variable. In other words, it focuses on how ethnicity operates to affect important political and economic outcomes.This course is the first semester of a year-long sequence on ethnic politics. However, each semester is self-contained and students may take the course in either or both semesters. Ethnic Politics I aims for breadth over depth. It covers many works in the canon of texts on ethnic politics as well as addressing many major topics (modernization, entrepreneurship, prejudice, ethnic party formation, etc.) in one week sessions. Ethnic Politics II covers some of these topics in greater depth and also requires a major research paper.

  • Ethnicity and Race in World Politics

    Discerning the ethnic and racial dimensions of politics is considered by some indispensable to understanding contemporary world politics. This course seeks to answer fundamental questions about racial and ethnic politics. To begin, what are the bases of ethnic and racial identities? What accounts for political mobilization based upon such identities? What are the political claims and goals of such mobilization and is conflict between groups and/or with government forces inevitable? How do ethnic and racial identities intersect with other identities, such as gender and class, which are themselves the sources of social, political, and economic cleavages? Finally, how are domestic ethnic/racial politics connected to international human rights? To answer these questions, the course begins with an introduction to dominant theoretical approaches to racial and ethnic identity. The course then considers these approaches in light of current events in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the United States.

  • European Imperialism in the 19th and 20th Centuries

    From pineapples grown in Hawaii to English-speaking call centers outsourced to India, the legacy of the "Age of Imperialism" appears everywhere in our modern world. This class explores the history of European imperialism in its political, economic, and cultural dimensions from the 1840s through the 1960s.

  • European Politics

    This course examines the organization of political power and the dynamics of political change in Britain, France, Germany, and Italy. In particular, it focuses on the structure of political power within the state, and on important institutions that form the link between state and society, especially political parties and interest organizations.

  • European Thought and Culture

    This subject surveys main currents of European cultural and intellectual history in the modern period. Such a foundation course is central to the humanities in Europe. The curriculum introduces a set of ideas and arguments that have played a formative role in European cultural history, and acquaints them with some exemplars of critical thought. Among the topics to be considered: the critique of religion, the promise of independence, the advance of capitalism, the temptations of Marxism, the origins of totalitarianism, and the dialects of enlightenment. In addition to texts, we will also discuss pieces of art, incl. paintings and film.

  • Evolution and Society

    This course provides a broad conceptual and historical introduction to scientific theories of evolution and their place in the wider culture. It embraces historical, scientific and anthropological/cultural perspectives grounded in relevant developments in the biological sciences since 1800 that are largely responsible for the development of the modern theory of evolution by natural selection. Students read key texts, analyze key debates (e.g. Darwinian debates in the 19th century, and the creation controversies in the 20th century) and give class presentations.

  • Experimental Biology - Communications Intensive

    This course is the scientific communications portion of course 7.02, Experimental Biology and Communication. Students develop their skills as writers of scientific research, skills that also contribute to the learning of the 7.02 course materials. Through in class and out of class writing exercises, students explore the genre of the research article and its components while developing an understanding of the materials covered in the 7.02 laboratory.

  • Experimental Biology & Communication

    This introductory biology laboratory course covers the application of experimental techniques in microbiology, biochemistry, cell and developmental biology. Emphasis is placed on the integration of factual knowledge with understanding of the design of the experiments and data analysis in order to prepare the students for future research projects. Development of skills critical for writing about scientific findings in modern biology is also covered in the Scientific Communications portion of the curriculum, 7.02CI.

  • Expository Writing for Bilingual Students

    The purpose of this course is to develop your writing skills so that you can feel confident writing the essays, term papers, reports, and exams you will have to produce during your career here at MIT. We will read and analyze samples of expository writing, do some work on vocabulary development, and concentrate on developing your ability to write clear, accurate, sophisticated prose. We will also deal with the grammar and mechanical problems you may have trouble with.

  • Expository Writing: Analyzing Mass Media

    This course focuses on developing and refining the skills that will you need to express your voice more effectively as an academic writer. As a focus for our writing this semester, this course explores what it means to live in the age of mass media. We will debate the power of popular American media in shaping our ideas of self, family and community and in defining social issues. Throughout the semester, students will focus on writing as a process of drafting and revising to create essays that are lively, clear, engaging and meaningful to a wider audience.

  • Expository Writing: Autobiography - Theory and Practice

    Focus: What can we believe when we read an autobiography? How do writers recall, select, shape, and present their lives to construct life stories? Readings that ground these questions include selections from Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Linda Brent (pseudonym for Harriet Jacobs), "A Sketch of the Past" by Virginia Woolf, Notes of A Native Son by James Baldwin, "The Achievement of Desire" by Richard Rodriguez, The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston, and "Our Secret" by Susan Griffin. Discussion, papers, and brief oral presentations will focus on the content of the life stories as well as the forms and techniques authors use to shape autobiography. We will identify masks and stances used to achieve various goals, sources and interrelationships of technical and thematic concerns, and "fictions" of autobiographical writing. Assignments will allow students to consider texts in terms of their implicit theories of autobiography, of theories we read, and of students' experiences; assignments also allow some autobiographical writing.

  • Expository Writing: Exploring Social and Ethical Issues through Film and Print

    This section of Expository Writing provides the opportunity for students- as readers, viewers, writers and speakers - to engage with social and ethical issues that they care deeply about. Through discussing selected documentary and feature films and the writings of such authors as Maya Angelou, Robert Coles, Charles Dickens, Barbara Ehrenreich, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jonathan Kozol, and Alice Walker, we will explore different perspectives on a range of social problems such as poverty, homelessness, and racial and gender inequality. In assigned essays, students will have the opportunity to write about social and ethical issues of their own choice. This course aims to help students to grow significantly in their ability to understand and grapple with arguments, to integrate secondary print and visual sources and to craft well-reasoned and elegant essays. Students will also keep a reader-writer notebook and give at least one oral presentation. In class we will discuss assigned films and readings, explore strategies for successful academic writing, freewrite and critique one another's essays. Satisfies Phase I and CI Writing Requirements.

  • Expository Writing: Social and Ethical Issues in Print, Photography and Film

    This section of Expository Writing provides the opportunity for students- as readers, viewers, writers and speakers - to engage with social and ethical issues that they care deeply about. Through discussing selected documentary and feature films and the writings of such authors as Maya Angelou, Robert Coles, Charles Dickens, Barbara Ehrenreich, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jonathan Kozol, and Alice Walker, we will explore different perspectives on a range of social problems such as poverty, homelessness, and racial and gender inequality. In assigned essays, students will have the opportunity to write about social and ethical issues of their own choice. This course aims to help students to grow significantly in their ability to understand and grapple with arguments, to integrate secondary print and visual sources and to craft well-reasoned and elegant essays. Students will also keep a reader-writer notebook and give at least one oral presentation. In class we will discuss assigned films and readings, explore strategies for successful academic writing, freewrite and critique one another's essays. Satisfies Phase I and CI Writing Requirements.

  • Feeling and Imagination in Art, Science, and Technology

    This course is a seminar on creativity in art, science, and technology. We discuss how these pursuits are jointly dependent on affective as well as cognitive elements in human nature. We study feeling and imagination in relation to principles of idealization, consummation, and the aesthetic values that give meaning to science and technology as well as literature and the other arts. Readings in philosophy, psychology, and literature are part of the course.

  • Feminist Political Thought

    In this course we will examine the development of feminist theory over time. Some subjects we will examine in detail include suffrage and equality; radical feminism; psychoanalysis and feminism; theories of power; sexuality and gender; embodied knowledge; pornography; identities and global feminism; militarism; and the welfare state. Throughout the course we will analyze different ways of looking at power and political culture in modern societies, issues of race and class, poverty and welfare, sexuality and morality.

  • Field Seminar in International Political Economy

    This field seminar in international political economy covers major theoretical, empirical, and policy perspectives. The basic orientation is disciplinary and comparative (over time and across countries, regions, firms), spanning issues relevant to both industrial and developing states. Special attention is given to challenges and dilemmas shaped by the macro-level consequences of micro-level behavior, and by micro-level adjustments to macro-level influences.

  • Film as Visual and Literary Mythmaking

    This course examines problems in the philosophy of film as well as literature studied in relation to their making of myths. The readings and films that are discussed in this course draw upon classic myths of the western world. Emphasis is placed on meaning and technique as the basis of creative value in both media.

  • Food and Power in the Twentieth Century

    In this class, food serves as both the subject and the object of historical analysis. As a subject, food has been transformed over the last 100 years, largely as a result of ever more elaborate scientific and technological innovations. From a need to preserve surplus foods for leaner times grew an elaborate array of techniques drying, freezing, canning, salting, etc that changed not only what people ate, but how far they could/had to travel, the space in which they lived, their relations with neighbors and relatives, and most of all, their place in the economic order of things. The role of capitalism in supporting and extending food preservation and development was fundamental. As an object, food offers us a way into cultural, political, economic, and techno-scientific history. Long ignored by historians of science and technology, food offers a rich source for exploring, e.g., the creation and maintenance of mass-production techniques, industrial farming initiatives, the politics of consumption, vertical integration of business firms, globalization, changing race and gender identities, labor movements, and so forth. How is food different in these contexts, from other sorts of industrial goods? What does the trip from farm to table tell us about American culture and history?

  • Forms of Western Narrative (Fall 2007)

    This course examines some leading examples of major genres of storytelling in the Western tradition, among them epic (Homer's Odyssey), romance (from the Arthurian tradition), and novel (Cervantes's Don Quixote). We will be asking why people tell (and have always told) stories, how they tell them, why they might tell them the way they do, and what difference it makes how they tell them. We'll combine an investigation of the changing formal properties of narratives with consideration of the historical, cultural, and technological factors that have influenced how tales got told. In keeping with its CI-H and HASS-D label, this course will involve substantial attention to students' writing and speaking abilities.

  • Forms of Western Narrative (Spring 2004)

    This class will investigate the ways in which the formal aspects of Western storytelling in various media have shaped both fantasies and perceptions, making certain understandings of experience possible through the selection, arrangement, and processing of narrative material. Surveying the field chronologically across the major narrative genres and sub-genres from Homeric epic through the novel and across media to include live performance, film, and video games, we will be examining the ways in which new ideologies and psychological insights become available through the development of various narrative techniques and new technologies. Emphasis will be placed on the generic conventions of story-telling as well as on literary and cultural issues, the role of media and modes of transmission, the artistic significance of the chosen texts and their identity as anthropological artifacts whose conventions and assumptions are rooted in particular times, places, and technologies. Authors will include: Homer, Sophocles, Herodotus, Christian evangelists, Marie de France, Cervantes, La Clos, Poe, Lang, Cocteau, Disney-Pixar, and Maxis-Electronic Arts, with theoretical readings in Propp, Bakhtin, Girard, Freud, and Marx.

  • Foundations of Cognition

    Advances in cognitive science have resolved, clarified, and sometimes complicated some of the great questions of Western philosophy: what is the structure of the world and how do we come to know it; does everyone represent the world the same way; what is the best way for us to act in the world. Specific topics include color, objects, number, categories, similarity, inductive inference, space, time, causality, reasoning, decision-making, morality and consciousness. Readings and discussion include a brief philosophical history of each topic and focus on advances in cognitive and developmental psychology, computation, neuroscience, and related fields. At least one subject in cognitive science, psychology, philosophy, linguistics, or artificial intelligence is required. An additional project is required for graduate credit.

  • Foundations of Theater Practice

    The goals of this class are two-fold: the first is to experience the creative processes and storytelling behind several of theater's arts and to acquire the analytical skills necessary in assessing the meaning they transmit when they come together in production. Secondly, we will introduce you to these languages in a creative way by giving you hands-on experience in each. To that end, several Visiting Artists and MIT faculty in Theater Arts will guest lecture, lead workshops, and give you practical instruction in their individual art forms.

  • Foundations of Western Culture II

    Complementary to 21L.001. A broad survey of texts - literary, philosophical, and sociological - studied to trace the growth of secular humanism, the loss of a supernatural perspective upon human events, and changing conceptions of individual, social, and communal purpose. Stresses appreciation and analysis of texts that came to represent the common cultural possession of our time. Enrollment limited. HASS-D, CI.Readings this semester ranging from political theory and oratory to autobiography, poetry, and science fiction reflect on war, motives for war, reconciliation and memory. The readings are largely organized around three historical moments: the Renaissance and first contacts between Europe and America (Machiavelli, Corts, Sahagn); the European age of revolutions (Voltaire, Blake, Williams); the American Civil War and the abolition of slavery (Stowe, Whitman, Lincoln). Readings from the twentieth-century include poetry by Lowell and Walcott and fiction by Ondaatje and O.S. Card.

  • Foundations of Western Culture II: Renaissance to Modernity

    This subject offers a broad survey of texts (both literary and philosophical) drawn from the Western tradition and selected to trace the growth of ideas about the nature of mankind's ethical and political life in the West since the renaissance. It will deal with the change in perspective imposed by scientific ideas, the general loss of a supernatural or religious perspective upon human events, and the effects for good or ill of the increasing authority of an intelligence uninformed by religion as a guide to life. The readings are roughly complementary to the readings in 21L001, and classroom discussion will stress appreciation and analysis of texts that came to represent the cultural heritage of the modern world.

  • Foundations of Western Culture: Homer to Dante

    As we read broadly from throughout the vast chronological period that is "Homer to Dante," we will pepper our readings of individual ancient and medieval texts with broader questions like: what images, themes, and philosophical questions recur through the period; are there distinctly "classical" or "medieval" ways of depicting or addressing them; and what do terms like "Antiquity" or "the Middle Ages" even mean? (What are the Middle Ages in the "middle" of, for example?) Our texts will include adventure tales of travel and self-discovery (Homer's Odyssey and Dante's Inferno); courtroom dramas of vengeance and reconciliation (Aeschylus's Oresteia and the Icelandic Njls saga); short poems of love and transformation (Ovid's Metamorphoses and the Lais of Marie de France); and epics of war, nation-construction, and empire (Homer's Iliad, Virgil's Aeneid, and the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf).

  • Foundations of Western Culture: The Making of the Modern World

    This course comprises a broad survey of texts, literary and philosophical, which trace the development of the modern world from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century. Intrinsic to this development is the growth of individualism in a world no longer understood to be at the center of the universe. The texts chosen for study exemplify the emergence of a new humanism, at once troubled and dynamic in comparison to the old. The leading theme of this course is thus the question of the difference between the ancient and the modern world. Students who have taken Foundations of Western Culture I will obviously have an advantage in dealing with this question. Classroom discussion approaches this question mainly through consideration of action and characters, voice and form.

  • Foundations of World Culture I: World Civilizations and Texts

    This course aims to introduce students to the rich diversity of human culture from antiquity to the early 17th century. In this course, we will explore human culture in its myriad expressions, focusing on the study of literary, religious and philosophical texts as ways of narrating, symbolizing, and commenting on all aspects of human social and material life. We will work comparatively, reading texts from various cultures: Mesopotamian, Greek, Judeo-Christian, Chinese, Indian, and Muslim. Throughout the semester, we will be asking questions like: How have different cultures imagined themselves? What are the rules that they draw up for human behavior? How do they represent the role of the individual in society? How do they imagine 'universal' concepts like love, family, duty? How have their writers and artists dealt with encounters with other cultures and other civilizations?

  • Foundations of World Culture II: World Literatures and Texts

    This class continues our study of the foundational texts of human culture, focusing on early modernity until the recent past. In many ways, this includes several questions such as: Why did these works achieve the fame and influence they achieved? How do they present what it means to be a human being? How do they describe the role of a member of a family, community, tradition, social class, gender? How do they distinguish between proper and improper behavior? How do they characterize the members of other groups? However, in several ways, these texts are also iconoclastic, breaking with centuries of established tradition to shed light on previously unexplored subjects, such as the status of women in society or the legacy of the colonial expansion of European countries. They also question well-established social beliefs like religion, monarchical rule and human nature in general.

  • France, 1660-1815: Enlightenment, Revolution, Napoleon

    This course covers French politics, culture, and society from Louis XIV to Napoleon Bonaparte. Attention is given to the growth of the central state, the beginnings of a modern consumer society, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, including its origins, and the rise and fall of Napoleon.

  • French I

    21F.301/351 offers an introduction to the French language and culture with an emphasis on the acquisition of vocabulary and grammatical concepts through active communication. The course is conducted entirely in French, and students interact in French with their classmates from the very beginning. They also receive exposure to the language via a variety of authentic sources such as the Internet, audio, video and printed materials which help them develop cultural awareness as well as linguistic proficiency. There is a coordinated language lab program. This course is taught in rotation by the following instructors: Laura Ceia-Minjares, Cathy Culot, Gilberte Furstenberg, and Johann Sadock.

  • French II

    21F.302/352 is the second part of an introductory course to the French language and culture with an emphasis on the acquisition of vocabulary and grammatical concepts through active communication. The course is conducted entirely in French and students interact in French with their classmates from the very beginning. They also receive exposure to the language via a variety of authentic sources such as the Internet, audio, video and printed materials which help them develop cultural awareness as well as linguistic proficiency. There is a coordinated language lab program. This course is taught in rotation by the following instructors: Laura Ceia-Minjares, Cathy Culot, Gilberte Furstenberg, and Johann Sadock.

  • From Print to Digital: Technologies of the Word, 1450-Present

    There has been much discussion in recent years, on this campus and elsewhere, about the death of the book. Digitization and various forms of electronic media, some critics say, are rendering the printed text as obsolete as the writing quill. In this subject, we will examine the claims for and against the demise of the book, but we will also supplement these arguments with an historical perspective they lack: we will examine texts, printing technologies, and reading communities from roughly 1450 to the present. We will begin with the theoretical and historical overviews of Walter Ong and Elizabeth Eisenstein, after which we will study specific cases such as English chapbooks, Inkan knotted and dyed strings, late nineteenth-century recording devices, and newspapers online today. We will also visit a rare book library and make a poster on a hand-set printing press.

  • From the Silk Road to the Great Game: China, Russia, and Central Eurasia

    This subject examines interactions across the Eurasian continent between Russians, Chinese, Mongolian nomads, and Turkic oasis dwellers during the last millennium and a half. As empires rose and fell, religions, trade, and war flowed back and forth continuously across this vast space. Today, the fall of the Soviet Union and China's reforms have opened up new opportunities for cultural interaction.

  • Gender and the Law in U.S. History

    This subject explores the legal history of the United States as a gendered system. It examines how women have shaped the meanings of American citizenship through pursuit of political rights such as suffrage, jury duty, and military service, how those political struggles have varied for across race, religion, and class, as well as how the legal system has shaped gender relations for both women and men through regulation of such issues as marriage, divorce, work, reproduction, and the family. The course readings will draw from primary and secondary materials in American history, as well as some court cases. However, the focus of the class is on the broader relationship between law and society, and no technical legal knowledge is required or assumed.

  • Gender, Power, and International Development

    After decades of efforts to promote development, why is there so much poverty in the world? What are some of the root causes of inequality world-wide and why do poverty, economic transformations and development policies often have different consequences for women and men? This course explores these issues while also examining the history of development itself, its underlying assumptions, and its range of supporters and critics. It considers the various meanings given to development by women and men, primarily as residents of particular regions, but also as aid workers, policy makers and government officials. In considering how development projects and policies are experienced in daily life in urban and rural areas in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Melanesia, this course asks what are the underlying political, economic, social, and gender dynamics that make "development" an ongoing problem world-wide.

  • German Culture, Media, and Society

    The topic for Fall 2006 is short film and radio plays. This course investigates current trends and topics in German literary, theater, film, television, radio, and other media arts productions. Students analyze media texts in the context of their production, reception, and distribution as well as the public debates initiated by these works. The topic for Fall 2006 is German Short Film, a popular format that represents most recent trends in film production, and German Radio Art, a striving genre that includes experimental radio plays, sound art, and audio installations. Special attention will be given to the representation of German minorities, contrasted by their own artistic expressions reflecting changes in identity and a new political voice. Students have the opportunity to discuss course topics with a writer, filmmaker, and/or media artist from Germany. The course is taught in German.

  • German I

    This course gives an introduction to German language and culture. The focus is on acquisition of vocabulary and grammatical concepts through active communication. Audio, video, and printed materials provide direct exposure to authentic German language and culture. A self-paced language lab program is fully coordinated with the textbook/workbook. The first semester covers the development of effective basic communication skills.

  • German II

    In this course students are exposed to history and culture of German-speaking countries through audio, video, and Web materials. It focuses on the expansion of basic communication skills and further development of linguistic competency, and includes the review and completion of basic grammar, building of vocabulary, and practice in writing short essays. Students will also read short literary texts.

  • German III

    This course expands skills in speaking, reading, listening, and writing. Students develop analytic and interpretative skills through the reading of a full-length drama as well as short prose and poetry (Biermann, Brecht, Drrenmatt, Tawada and others) and through media selections on contemporary issues in German-speaking cultures. Coursework includes discussions and compositions based on these texts, and review of grammar and development of vocabulary-building strategies. It is recommended for students with two years of high school German.

  • German IV

    This course focuses on development of interpretive skills, using literary texts (B. Brecht, S. Zweig) and contemporary media texts (film, TV broadcasts, Web materials). The emphasis is on discussion and exploration of cultural topics in their current social, political, and historical context via hypermedia documentaries. It also covers further refinement of oral and written expression and expansion of communicative competence in practical everyday situations.

  • Germany and its European Context

    This course focuses on main currents in contemporary German literary and visual culture. Taking Nietzsche's thought as a point of departure, students will survey the dialectics of tradition and modernity in both Germany and other European countries, particularly the UK, France, Denmark, and Poland. Primary works are drawn from literature, cinema, art, and performance, including works by Peter Sloterdijk, Thomas Vinterberg, and Michel Houellebecq.

  • Germany Today: Intensive Study of German Language and Culture

    Prepares students for working and living in German-speaking countries. Focus on current political, social, and cultural issues, using newspapers, journals, TV, radio broadcasts, and Web sources from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Emphasis on speaking, writing, and reading skills for professional contexts. Activities include: oral presentations, group discussions, guest lectures, and interviews with German speakers. No listeners.

  • Globalization: the Good, the Bad, and the In-Between

    This subject examines the paradoxes of contemporary globalization. Through lectures, discussions and student presentations, we will study the cultural, linguistic, social and political impact of globalization across broad international borders and on specific language communities. We will consider answers to key questions such as: What are the contending definitions of globalization? What are the principal agents of change? How have those agents of change been transformed in our contemporary world? What's new, what's hybrid, and what's traditional? What does it mean to be a world citizen? How can world citizens preserve cultural specificity?

  • Good Food: The Ethics and Politics of Food Choices

    This course explores the values (aesthetic, moral, cultural, religious, prudential, political) expressed in the choices of food people eat. It analyzes the decisions individuals make about what to eat, how society should manage food production and consumption collectively, and how reflection on food choices might help resolve conflicts between different values.

  • Government and Politics of China

    This course analyzes contemporary Chinese politics, both pre-Communist and Communist. It focuses on the process of modernization and political development of Chinese civilization. Graduate students are expected to pursue the subject at greater depth through reading and individual research.

  • Grammar of a Less Familiar Language

    This course is designed to allow participants to engage in the exploration of the grammatical structure of a language that is unknown to them (and typically to the instructors as well). In some ways it simulates traditional field methods research. In terms of format, we work in both group and individual meetings with the consultant. Each student identifies some grammatical construction (e.g. wh questions, agreement, palatalization, interrogative intonation) to focus their research: they elicit and share data and write a report on the material gathered that is to be turned in at the end of the term. Ideally, we can put together a volume of grammatical sketches. The first three to four weeks of the term, our group meetings will explore the basic phonology, morphology and surface syntax for a first pass overview of the language, looking for interesting areas to be explored in more detail later. During this period individual sessions can review material from the general session as well as explore new areas. At roughly the fifth meeting, individual students (typically two to three per session) guide the group elicitations to explore their research topic.

  • Great Power Military Intervention

    The purpose of this seminar is to examine systematically, and comparatively, great and middle power military interventions into civil wars during the 1990's. These civil wars were high on the policy agenda of western states during the 1990's. Yet, these interventions were usually not motivated by obvious classical vital interests. Given the extraordinary security enjoyed by the great and middle powers of the west in the Cold War's aftermath, these activities are puzzling.

  • High-Intermediate Academic Communication

    The goal of this course is to review grammar and develop vocabulary building strategies to refine oral and written expression. Speaking and writing assignments are designed to expand communicative competence. Assignments are based on models and materials drawn from contemporary media (newspapers and magazines, television, Web). The models, materials, topics and assignments vary from semester to semester.

  • History and Anthropology of Medicine and Biology

    This course explores recent historical and anthropological approaches to the study of life, in both medicine and biology. After grounding our conversation in accounts of natural history and medicine that predate the rise of biology as a discipline, we explore modes of theorizing historical and contemporary bioscience. Drawing on the work of historian William Coleman, we examine the forms, functions, and transformations of biological and medical objects of study. Along the way we treat the history of heredity, molecular biology, race, medicine in the colonies and the metropole, and bioeconomic exchange. We read anthropological literature on old and new forms of biopower, at scales from the molecular to the organismic to the global. The course includes readings from the HASTS Common Exam List. The aim of this seminar is to train students to be participants in scholarly debates in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences about the nature of life, the body, and biomedicine.

  • History and Philosophy of Mechanics: Newton's Principia Mathematica

    This course focuses on an in-depth reading of Principia Mathematica Philosophiae Naturalis by Isaac Newton, as well as several related commentaries and historical philosophical texts.

  • History and Theory of Historic Preservation

    This class examines the history and theory of historic preservation, focusing on the United States, but with reference to traditions and practices in other countries. The class is designed to examine the largely untold history of the historic preservation movement in this country, and explore how laws, public policies and cultural attitudes shape how we preserve or do not preserve the built environment. The class will give students a grounding in the history, theory and practice of historic preservation, but is not an applied, technical course.

  • History of Media and Technology

    History of Media and Technology addresses the mutually influential histories of communications media and technological development, focusing on the shift from analog to digital cultures that began mid-century and continues to the present. The approach the series takes to the study of media and technology is a multifaceted one that includes theoretical and philosophical works, histories canonical and minority, literature and art, as well as hands-on production issues toward the advancement of student projects and research papers. The topic for this term is Eternal War.

  • History of Media and Technology: Sound, the Minority Report -- Radical Music of the Past 100 Years

    This course looks at the history of avant-garde and electronic music from the early twentieth century to the present. The class is organized as a theory and production seminar for which students may either produce audio/multimedia projects or a research paper. It engages music scholarship, cultural criticism, studio production, and multi-media development, such as recent software, sound design for film and games, and sound installation. Sound as a media tool for communication and sound as a form of artistic expression are subjects under discussion. The artists' work reviewed in the course includes selections from audio innovators such as the Italian Futurists, Edgard Varse, John Cage, King Tubby, Brian Eno, Steve Reich, Afrika Bambaataa, Kraftwerk, Merzbow, Aphex Twin, Rza, Bjrk, and others.

  • History of Science

    This seminar explores recent historiographical approaches within the history of science. Students will read a wide variety of studies covering topics from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries, from the physical sciences to natural history and medicine. Emphasis will be placed on: deciphering different theoretical approaches; the pros and cons of different research questions, subjects, and sources of evidence; and what makes for good and interesting history of science.

  • History of Western Thought, 500-1300

    This course examines the development of the western intellectual tradition from the fall of the Roman Empire through the High Middle Ages. Our basic premise will be that the triumph of Christianity in the west was not the inevitable outcome it might appear from hindsight. Our attention will therefore be focused not only on the development of Christian thought and practice, but on its challengers as well. The core themes of the course include the emergence of a uniform Christian orthodoxy in late antiquity; the development of monastic practice and its attendant intellectual traditions; and the geographical spread of Christian beliefs. Working in opposition to those trends were other forces, which we will also address in our readings. In particular, we will consider the persistence of northern paganism; the rise of Islam; the solidification of a separate Byzantine orthodoxy; indigenous heretical movements; and the ambiguous position of Jews in all of European society.

  • How to Stage a Revolution

    21H.001, a HASS-D, CI course, explores fundamental questions about the causes and nature of revolutions. How do people overthrow their rulers? How do they establish new governments? Do radical upheavals require bloodshed, violence, or even terror? How have revolutionaries attempted to establish their ideals and realize their goals? We will look at a set of major political transformations throughout the world and across centuries to understand the meaning of revolution and evaluate its impact. By the end of the course, students will be able to offer reasons why some revolutions succeed and others fail. Materials for the course include the writings of revolutionaries, declarations and constitutions, music, films, art, memoirs, and newspapers.

  • Human Rights in Theory and Practice

    This course provides a rigorous and critical introduction to the foundation, structure and operation of the international human rights movement. It includes leading theoretical and institutional issues and the functioning of the international human rights mechanisms including non-governmental and inter-governmental ones. It covers cutting-edge human rights issues including gender and race discrimination, religion and state, national security and terrorism, globalization and human rights, and technology and human rights.

  • Humanistic Perspectives on Medicine: From Ancient Greece to Modern America

    This course is designed to explore the human side of medicine: the nature of the physician's identity and obligations; the history and philosophy of the Western medical tradition; the experience of being ill and being a patient; and the challenges of medical ethics. The writing in this class is therefore conceived as an instrument of exploration, and is an integral part of the class's activities.

  • Imperial and Revolutionary Russia: Culture and Politics, 1700-1917

    This course analyzes Russia's social, cultural, and political heritage in the 18th and 19th centuries, up to and including the Russian Revolution of 1917. It compares reforming and revolutionary impulses in the context of serfdom, the rise of the intelligentsia, and debates over capitalism. It focuses on historical and literary texts, especially the intersections between the two.

  • Information Exploration: Becoming a Savvy Scholar

    This freshman course explores the scientific publication cycle, primary vs. secondary sources, and online and in-print bibliographic databases; how to search, find, evaluate, and cite information; indexing and abstracting; using special resources (e.g. patents) and "grey literature" (e.g. technical reports and conference proceedings); conducting Web searches; and constructing literature reviews.

  • Innovation in Military Organizations

    This seminar has three purposes. One, it inquires into the causes of military innovation by examining a number of the most outstanding historical cases. Two, it views military innovations through the lens of organization theory to develop generalizations about the innovation process within militaries. Three, it uses the empirical study of military innovations as a way to examine the strength and credibility of hypotheses that organization theorists have generated about innovation in non-military organizations.

  • Interactive and Non-Linear Narrative: Theory and Practice (Spring 2004)

    This course explores the properties of non-linear, multi-linear, and interactive forms of narratives as they have evolved from print to digital media. Works covered in this course range from the Talmud, classics of non-linear novels, experimental literature, early sound and film experiments to recent multi-linear and interactive films and games. The study of the structural properties of narratives that experiment with digression, multiple points of view, disruptions of time, space, and of storyline is complemented by theoretical texts about authorship/readership, plot/story, properties of digital media and hypertext. Questions that will be addressed in this course include: How can we define 'non-linearity/multi-linearity', 'interactivity', 'narrative'. To what extend are these aspects determined by the text, the reader, the digital format? What kinds of narratives are especially suited for a nonlinear/ interactive format? Are there stories that can only be told in a digital format? What can we learn from early non-digital examples of non-linear and interactive story telling?

  • Interactive and Non-Linear Narrative: Theory and Practice (Spring 2006)

    This course covers techniques of creating narratives that take advantage of the flexibility of form offered by the computer. The course studies the structural properties of book-based narratives that experiment with digression, multiple points of view, disruptions of time and of storyline. The class analyzes the structure and evaluates the literary qualities of computer-based narratives including hypertexts, adventure games, and classic artificial intelligence programs like Eliza. With this base, students use authoring systems to model a variety of narrative techniques and to create their own fictions. Knowledge of programming is helpful but not necessary.

  • Interdisciplinary Approaches to Musical Time

    This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of three broad topics concerning music in relation to time. 1. Music as Architecture: the creation of musical shapes in time; 2. Music as Memory: how musical understanding depends upon memory and reminiscence, with attention to analysis of musical structures; and 3. Time as the Substance of Music: how different disciplines such as philosophy and neuroscience view the temporal dimension of musical processes and/or performances. Classroom discussion of these topics is complemented by three weekend concerts with pre-concert forums, jointly presented by the Boston Chamber Music Society (BCMS) and MIT Music & Theater Arts.

  • Intermediate Japanese I

    This course covers JSL (Japanese: the Spoken Language, Part 1, by Eleanor H. Jorden with Mari Noda, Yale University Press, 1987) Lessons 12 through 17, providing opportunities to acquire basic skills for conversation, reading, and writing. The program emphasizes ACTIVE command of Japanese, not passive knowledge. The goal is not simply to study the grammar and vocabulary, but to improve the ability to use Japanese accurately and appropriately with fluency, building on the basic skills gained in Japanese I and II. Students learn approximately 80 Kanji characters in this course.

  • International Relations of East Asia

    The aim of this course is to introduce and analyze the international relations of East Asia. With four great powers, three nuclear weapons states, and two of the world's largest economies, East Asia is one of the most dynamic and consequential regions in world politics. This course will examine the sources of conflict and cooperation in both periods, assessing competing explanations for key events in East Asia's international relations. Readings will be drawn from international relations theory, political science and history.

  • International Women's Voices

    International Womens Voices has several objectives. It introduces students to a variety of works by contemporary women writers from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and North America. The emphasis is on non-western writers. The readings are chosen to encourage students to think about how each authors work reflects a distinct cultural heritage and to what extent, if any, we can identify a female voice that transcends national cultures. In lectures and readings distributed in class, students learn about the history and culture of each of the countries these authors represent. The way in which colonialism, religion, nation formation and language influence each writer is a major concern of this course. In addition, students examine the patterns of socialization of women in patriarchal cultures, and how, in the imaginary world, authors resolve or understand the relationship of the characters to love, work, identity, sex roles, marriage, and politics.

  • Intro to Japanese Culture

    This course examines the major aesthetic, social, and political elements which have shaped modern Japanese culture and society. There are readings on contemporary Japan and historical evolution of the culture are coordinated with study of literary texts, film, and art, along with an analysis of everyday life and leisure activities.

  • Intro to Tech Communication

    An information-based society necessitates good writing in all careers. Many scientists and technical professionals must write progress reports, analyses, literature reviews, or other documents to communicate within their workplaces, and many must also address more general audiences in grant proposals, conference papers, articles, and so on. This course is designed to serve as a basic introduction to the practice of technical writing for those who work as scientists and technical researchers. Because scientific and technical fields are becoming more interdisciplinary and more globally connected everyday, we will also consider intercultural communication issues at some length.

  • Introduction to Asian American Studies: Literature, Culture, and Historical Experience

    An interdisciplinary subject that draws on literature, history, anthropology, film, and cultural studies to examine the experiences of Asian Americans in U.S. society. Covers the first wave of Asian immigration in the 19th century, the rise of anti-Asian movements, the experiences of Asian Americans during WWII, the emergence of the Asian American movement in the 1960s, and the new wave of "post-1965" Asian immigration. Examines the role these historical experiences played in the formation of Asian American ethnicity, and explores how these experiences informed Asian American literature and culture. Addresses key societal issues such as racial stereotyping, media racism, affirmative action issues, the glass ceiling, the "model minority" syndrome, and anti-Asian harassment or violence. Taught in English.

  • Introduction to Comparative Politics

    This class first offers some basic analytical frameworks - culture, social structure, and institutions - that you can use to examine a wide range of political outcomes. We then use these frameworks to understand (1) the relationship between democracy and economic development and (2) the relative centralization of political authority across countries. We will use theoretical arguments and a wide range of case studies to address several questions: Why are some countries democratic and others not? How does democracy affect economic development and political conflict? Why do some countries centralize power while others threaten to fall apart through secession and civil war? We will use examples from a wide range of countries including Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Mexico, and the United States. The lessons drawn from these countries will prepare you to analyze other countries of your own choosing in the paper assignments. At the end of the course, you should be able to analyze political events around the world, drawing on the theoretical explanations provided in the class.

  • Introduction to Contemporary Hispanic Literature (Fall 2007)

    This course studies representative twentieth and twenty-first-century texts and films from Hispanic America and Spain. Emphasis is on developing strategies for analyzing the genres of the novel, the short story, the poem, the fictional film, and the theatrical script. The novels read this semester are Magali Garca Ramis's Felices das, To Sergio (1986, Puerto Rico) and Javier Cercas's Soldados de Salamina (2001, Spain). We will study Lorca's play "La casa de Bernarda Alba" (1936, Spain), films from Spain, Mxico, and Cuba, poems by Daro (Nicaragua), Machado (Spain), Lorca (Spain), Hernndez (Spain), Vallejo (Per), Cernuda (Spain), and Luis Pals Matos (Puerto Rico), and short stories from Mxico (by an exiled Spanish writer), Chile, Argentina, and Cuba. Thematic emphasis is on the Spanish Civil War, changing attitudes toward gender, the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, and the history of race in the Americas.

  • Introduction to Contemporary Hispanic Literature (Spring 2005)

    This course studies important twentieth century texts from Spain and Latin America. The readings include short stories, theatre, the novel and poetry. This subject is conducted in Spanish and all reading and writing for the course is also done in Spanish.

  • Introduction to Drama (Fall 2004)

    Drama combines the literary arts of storytelling and poetry with the world of live performance. As a form of ritual as well as entertainment, drama has served to unite communities and challenge social norms, to vitalize and disturb its audiences. In order to understand this rich art form more fully, we will study and discuss a sampling of plays that exemplify different kinds of dramatic structure; class members will also participate in, attend, and review dramatic performances.

  • Introduction to Drama (Fall 2008)

    Drama might be described as a game played with something sacred. It tells stories that go right to the heart of what people believe about themselves. And it is enacted in the moment, which means it has an added layer of interpretive mystery and playfulness, or "theatricality." This course will explore theater and theatricality across periods and cultures, through intensive engagement with texts and with our own readings.

  • Introduction to Environmental History

    Focusing primarily on the period since 1500, explores the influence of climate, topography, plants, animals, and microorganisms on human history and the reciprocal influence of people on the environment. Topics include the European encounter with the Americas, the impact of modern technology, and the historical roots of the current environmental crisis.

  • Introduction to European and Latin American Fiction

    This subject serves as a broad introduction to the field of European and Latin American fiction. It is taught in an historical mannerbeginning with the first picaresque novel, Lazarillo de Tormes, and ending with contemporary European fiction. It is designed to help students acquire a general understanding of major fictional modes-from 18th century epistolary fiction, Liaisons dangereuses, to 20th century avant-garde fiction: Cosmicomicsi and Aura. Attention is paid not only to the literary movements these works represent, but also to the subtle interplay of history, geography, language and cultural norms that gave rise to specific literary forms. While the reading load is heavy, the books are compelling.

  • Introduction to Fiction (Fall 2003)

    This course investigates the uses and boundaries of fiction in a range of novels and narrative styles--traditional and innovative, western and nonwestern--and raises questions about the pleasures and meanings of verbal texts in different cultures, times, and forms. Toward the end of the term, we will be particularly concerned with the relationship between art and war in a diverse selection of works.

  • Introduction to Fiction (Spring 2002)

    This course investigates the uses and boundaries of fiction in a range of novels and narrative styles, traditional and innovative, western and non-western, and raises questions about the pleasures and meanings of verbal texts in different cultures, times, and forms.

  • Introduction to French Culture

    Ce cours est une introduction la culture et la socit franaises depuis la Rvolution, mais surtout partir du Second Empire. Nous tacherons de cerner ce qui dfinit la singularit francaise dans une perspective historique. Nous commencerons avec la notion "d'exception francaise" et de ce qui la constitue depuis la Rvolution (La Rpublique, L'Universalisme, La Laicit, etc.) Nous explorerons l'impact de l'industrialisation, ainsi que la tension entre la France pays de la modernit dans les arts et la technologie et la France nostalgique de sa grandeur passe. Nous discuterons les moments charnires de cette tension avec les grands dbats d'ides autour des impressionistes, de "Fleurs du Mal", du Paris de Haussmann, de la construction de la Tour Eiffel, des expositions universelles et coloniales. Nous analyserons la reprsentation littraire et filmique des moments historiques et des crises hexagonales qui ont marqu le 20e sicle: l'Affaire Dreyfus, les deux guerres mondiales le colonialisme et la guerre d'Algrie, Mai 68. A travers des textes, des images, des articles de journaux, des films, nous tenteront de faire le lien entre cette histoire et les dbats contemporrains sur l'identit Franaise.

  • Introduction to Global Medicine: Bioscience, Technologies, Disparities, Strategies

    This class provides a space for medical students and MD/PhD students, as well as HASTS (History, Anthropology, Science, Technology, and Society) PhD students to discuss social and ethical issues in the biosciences and biotechnologies as they are being developed. Discussions are with course faculty and with leading figures in developing technologies such as George Daley or George Church in stem cell or genomics research, Bruce Walker or Pardis Sabeti in setting up laboratories in Africa, Paul Farmer and Partners in Health colleagues in building local support systems and first world quality care in Haiti, Peru, and Rwanda, and Amy Farber in building patient-centered therapeutic-outcome research for critical but "orphan" diseases. Goals include stimulating students to think about applying their learning in Boston to countries around the world, including using the experiences they have had in their home countries or research experience abroad. Goals also include a mix of patient-doctor care perspectives from medical anthropology, and moving upstream in the research chain to questions of how to move discoveries from basic research through the pipelines into clinical and bedside care.

  • Introduction to Latin American Studies

    This course is designed as an introduction to Latin American politics and society for undergraduates at MIT. No background on the region is required. Overall workload (reading, writing, class participation, and examinations) is similar to that of other HASS-D courses. Many of the themes raised here are covered in greater detail in other courses: 21F.020J (New World Literature), 21F.716 (Introduction to Contemporary Hispanic Literature), 21F.730 (Twentieth and Twentyfirst-Century Spanish American Literaturere), 21F.735 (Advanced Topics in Hispanic Literature and Film), 21A.220 (The Conquest of America), 21H.802 (Modern Latin America), 3.982 (The Ancient Andean World), 3.983 (Ancient Mesoamerican Civilization), 17.507 (Democratization and Democratic Collapse), and 17.554 (Political Economy of Latin America).

  • Introduction to Linguistics

    This core-curriculum linguistics class will provide some answers to basic questions about the nature of human language. Topics include the intricate system that governs language, how it is acquired, the similarities and differences among languages, and how spoken (and signed) language relates to written language, among others.

  • Introduction to Literary Theory

    This subject examines the ways in which we read. It introduces some of the different strategies of reading, comprehending and engaging with literary texts developed in the twentieth century, paying special attention to post-structuralist theories and their legacy. (What poststructuralism means will be discussed often in this course, so don't worry if you don't know what it means right now!) The course is organized around specific theoretical paradigms. In general, we will: (1) work through selected readings in order to see how they determine or define the task of literary interpretation; (2) locate the limits of each particular approach; and (3) trace the emergence of subsequent theoretical paradigms as responses to the achievements and limitations of what came before. The literary texts and films accompanying the theoretical material will serve as concrete cases that allow us to see theory in action. For the most part, each week will pair a text or film with a particular interpretative approach, using the former to explore the latter. Rather than attempting a definitive or full analysis of the literary or film work, we will exploit it (unashamedly and indeed sometimes reductively) to understand better the theoretical reading it accompanies.

  • Introduction to Media Studies (Fall 2003)

    Introduction to Media Studies is designed for students who have grown up in a rapidly changing global multimedia environment and want to become more literate and critical consumers and producers of culture. Through an interdisciplinary comparative and historical lens, the course defines "media" broadly as including oral, print, theatrical, photographic, broadcast, cinematic, and digital cultural forms and practices. The course looks at the nature of mediated communication, the functions of media, the history of transformations in media and the institutions that help define media's place in society. Over the course of the semester we explore different theoretical perspectives on the role and power of media in society in influencing our social values, political beliefs, identities and behaviors. Students also have the opportunity to analyze specific media texts (such as films and television shows) and explore the meaning of the changes that occur when a particular narrative is adapted into different media forms. We look at the ways in which the politics of class, gender and race influence both the production and reception of media. To represent different perspectives on media, several guest speakers also present lectures. Through the readings, lectures, and discussions as well as their own writing and oral presentations, students have multiple opportunities to engage with critical debates in the field as well as explore the role of media in their own lives.

  • Introduction to Media Studies (Fall 2005)

    Introduction to Media Studies is designed for students who have grown up in a rapidly changing global multimedia environment and want to become more literate and critical consumers and producers of media. Through an interdisciplinary comparative and historical lens, the course defines "media" broadly as including oral, print, performance, photographic, broadcast, cinematic, and digital cultural forms and practices. The course looks at the nature of mediated communication, the functions of media, the history of transformations in media and the institutions that help define media's place in society. This years course will focus on issues of network culture and media convergence, addressing such subjects as Intellectual Property, peer2peer authoring, blogging, and game modification.

  • Introduction to Philosophy of Language (Fall 2011)

    This course explores the nature of meaning and truth, and their bearing on the use of language in communication. No knowledge of logic or linguistics is presupposed.

  • Introduction to Philosophy of Language (Spring 2005)

    In this introductory course on the philosophy of language, we examine views on the nature of meaning, reference, truth, and their relationships. Other topics may include relationships between language and logic, language and knowledge, language and reality, language and acts performed through its use. No knowledge of logic or linguistics presupposed.

  • Introduction to Philosophy of Language (Spring 2006)

    This course is an introduction to the philosophy of language. It examines different views on the nature of meaning, truth and reference, with special focus on the problem of understanding how linguistic communication works.

  • Introduction to Phonology

    The year-long Introduction to Phonology reviews at the graduate level fundamental notions of phonological analysis and introduces students to current debates, research and analytical techniques. The Fall term reviews issues pertaining to the nature of markedness and phonological representations - features, prosodies, syllables and stress - while the second term deals with the relation between the phonological component and the lexicon, morphology and syntax. The second term course will also treat in more detail certain phonological phenomena.

  • Introduction to Political Thought

    This course examines major texts in the history of political thought and the questions they raise about the design of the political and social order. It considers the ways in which thinkers have responded to the particular political problems of their day, and the ways in which they contribute to a broader conversation about human goods and needs, justice, democracy, and the proper relationship of the individual to the state. One aim will be to understand the strengths and weaknesses of various regimes and philosophical approaches in order to gain a critical perspective on our own. Thinkers include Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, and Tocqueville.

  • Introduction to Syntax

    This course is concerned with the concepts and principles which have been of central significance in the recent development of syntactic theory, with special focus on the "Government and Binding" (GB) / "Principles and Parameters" (P&P) / "Minimalist Program" (MP) approach. It is the first of a series of two courses (24.951 is taught during the Fall and 24.952 is taught in the Spring). This course deals mostly with phrase structure, argument structure and its syntactic expression, including "A-movement". Though other issues (e.g. wh-movement, antecedent-contained deletion, extraposition) may be mentioned during the semester, the course will not systematically investigate these topics in class until 24.952. The goal of the course is to understand why certain problems have been treated in certain ways. Thus, on many occasions a variety of approaches will be discussed, and the (recent) historical development of these approaches are emphasized.

  • Introduction to Technical Communication: Ethics in Science and Technology

    This section of Introduction to Technical Communication deals with ethical issues associated with the design, use, and propagation of technology. At virtually all stages of development and use, any technology can carry with it ethical dilemmas for both creators and users. Of particular interest is how such dilemmas are resolved (or complicated) according to how effectively they are communicated to stakeholders.

  • Introduction to Technical Communication: Explorations in Scientific and Technical Writing

    This course is designed to help you develop skills that will enable you to produce clear and effective scientific and technical documents. We will focus on basic principles of good writing-which scientific and technical writing shares with other forms of writing-and on types of documents common in scientific and technical fields and organizations. While the emphasis will be on writing, oral communication of scientific and technical information will form an important component of the course, as well.

  • Introduction to Technical Communication: Perspectives on Medicine and Public Health

    Over the course of the semester we will explore the full range of writings by physicians and other health practitioners. Some of the writer/physicians that we encounter will be Atul Gawande, Danielle Ofri, Richard Selzer, and William Carlos Williams. Students need have no special training, only a general interest in medicine or in public health issues such as AIDS, asthma, malaria control, and obesity. The writing assignments, like the readings, will invite students to consider the distinctive needs of different audiences.

  • Introduction to the History and Theory of Architecture

    This course is a global-oriented survey of the history of architecture, from the prehistoric to the sixteenth century. It treats buildings and environments, including cities, in the context of the cultural and civilizational history. It offers an introduction to design principles and analysis. Being global, it aims to give the student perspective on the larger pushes and pulls that influence architecture and its meanings, whether these be economic, political, religious or climatic.

  • Introduction to the History of Technology

    This course is an introduction to the consideration of technology as the outcome of particular technical, historical, cultural, and political efforts, especially in the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries. Topics include industrialization of production and consumption, development of engineering professions, the emergence of management and its role in shaping technological forms, the technological construction of gender roles, and the relationship between humans and machines.

  • Islam, the Middle East, and the West

    This course aims to provide students with a general overview of basic themes and issues in Middle Eastern history from the rise of Islam to the present, with an emphasis on the encounters and exchanges between the "Middle East" (Southwest Asia and North Africa) and the "West" (Europe and the United States).

  • Israel: History, Politics, Culture, and Identity

    The course provides the students a basic understanding of modern Israeli history, politics, culture and identity through lectures, discussions and projects. Among the topics to be explored are: ideational, institutional and material foundations of the state of Israel; Israeli national identity, Israeli society, economy, and foreign and security policies.

  • Japan in the Age of the Samurai: History and Film

    This course covers medieval Japanese society and culture from the twelfth to the nineteenth centuries, when political power rested largely in the hands of feudal warriors. Topics include religion (especially Zen Buddhism); changing concepts of "the way of the warrior;" women under feudalism; popular culture; and protest and rebellion. Presentations include weekly feature films. Assigned readings include many literary writings in translation.

  • Japanese I

    This course covers Japanese: The Spoken Language Lessons 1 through 6, providing opportunities to acquire basic skills for conversation, reading and writing. The program emphasizes active command of Japanese, not passive knowledge. The goal is not simply to study the grammar and vocabulary, but to improve the ability to use Japanese accurately and appropriately with fluency. Students will learn 56 Kanji characters in this course, as well as introducing Hiragana and Katakana.

  • Japanese IV

    This course covers Japanese: The Spoken Language lessons 17 through 22. It will further develop the four basic skills, speaking, listening, reading and writing, that students have acquired through Japanese I, II and III courses, with emphasis on oral communication skills in various practical situations. Students will learn approximately 100 Kanji characters in this course. Sessions in English cover grammar explanation, socio-cultural information and other important issues for using the language, while Japanese lessons focus on the actual use of the language, integrating students' prior knowledge with newly learned patterns, and communicating within the frame given in the class.

  • Japanese Literature and Cinema

    This course includes surveys for both cinematic and literary representations of diverse eras and aspects of Japanese culture such as the classical era, the samurai age, wartime Japan and the atomic bombings, social change in the postwar period, and the appropriation of foreign cultural themes, with an emphasis on the modern period. The directors include Akira Kurosawa and Hiroshi Teshigahara. The authors include Kobo Abe and Yukio Mishima. The films are shown with subtitles in English. The course is taught in English.

  • Japanese Politics and Society

    This course is designed for students seeking a fundamental understanding of Japanese history, politics, culture, and the economy. "Raw Fish 101" (as it is often labeled) combines lectures, seminar discussion, small-team case studies, and Web page construction exercises, all designed to shed light on contemporary Japan.

  • Jewish History from Biblical to Modern Times

    This course explores how our views of Jewish history have been formed and how this history can explain the survival of the Jews as an ethnic/religious group into the present day. Special attention is given to the partial and fragmentary nature of our information about the past, and the difficulties inherent in decoding statements about the past that were written with a religious agenda in mind. It also considers complex events in Jewish history -- from early history as portrayed in the Bible to recent history, including the Holocaust.

  • Justice

    This course explores the ideal of social justice. What makes a society just? We will approach this question by studying three opposing theories of justiceutilitarianism, libertarianism, and egalitarian liberalismeach foundational to contemporary political thought and discourse.

  • Kana

    Learning hiragana and katakana is an important part of reading and speaking Japanese. The following pages contain: Hiragana - stroke order videos, pronunciation, and vocabulary for each character; reading and listening audio exercises; handouts on how to construct words and sentences; interactive quizzes testing character recognition; and printable worksheets to practice writing characters. Katakana - pronunciation and vocabulary for each character; reading and listening audio exercises; interactive quizzes testing character and vocabulary recognition; and printable worksheets to practice writing characters. These materials were developed as part of the Japanese curriculum at MIT for students of all levels to learn and review. Students and instructors are encouraged to incorporate them directly or as supplements in their study of Japanese.

  • Laboratory on the Physiology, Acoustics, and Perception of Speech

    The course focuses on experimental investigations of speech processes. Topics include: measurement of articulatory movements, measurements of pressures and airflows in speech production, computer-aided waveform analysis and spectral analysis of speech, synthesis of speech, perception and discrimination of speechlike sounds, speech prosody, models for speech recognition, speech disorders, and other topics. * Two 1-hour lectures per week * Two labs per week * Brief lab reports * Term project, with short term paper * No exams

  • Language Acquisition

    Covers the major results in the study of first language acquisition concentrating on the development of linguistic structure, including sentence structure and morphology. Universal aspects of development are discussed, as well as a variety of cross-linguistic phenomena. Theories of language learning are considered, including parameter-setting and maturation.

  • Language Acquisition I

    Lectures, reading, and discussion of current theory and data concerning the psychology and biology of language acquisition. Emphasizes learning of syntax and morphology, together with some discussion of phonology, and especially research relating grammatical theory and learnability theory to empirical studies of children.

  • Language and Its Structure I: Phonology

    24.901 is designed to give you a preliminary understanding of how the sound systems of different languages are structured, how and why they may differ from each other. The course also aims to provide you with analytical tools in phonology, enough to allow you to sketch the analysis of an entire phonological system by the end of the term. On a non-linguistic level, the course aims to teach you by example the virtues of formulating precise and explicit descriptive statements; and to develop your skills in making and evaluating arguments.

  • Language and its Structure II: Syntax

    This course will acquaint you with some of the important results and ideas of the last half - century of research in syntax. We will explore a large number of issues and a large amount of data so that you can learn something of what this field is all about. From time to time, we will discuss related work in language acquisition and processing. The class will emphasize ideas and arguments for these ideas in addition to the the details of particular analyses. At the same time, you will learn the mechanics of one particular approach (sometimes called Principles and Parameters syntax). Most of all, the course tries to show why the study of syntax is exciting, and why its results are important to researchers in other language sciences. The class assumes some familiarity with basic concepts of theoretical linguistics, of the sort you could acquire in 24.900.

  • Language and its Structure III: Semantics and Pragmatics

    This course gives an introduction to the science of linguistic meaning. There are two branches to this discipline: semantics, the study of conventional, "compositional meaning", and pragmatics, the study of interactional meaning. There are other contributaries: philosophy, logic, syntax, and psychology. We will try to give you an understanding of the concepts of semantics and pragmatics and of some of the technical tools that we use.

  • Language and Mind

    This course will address some fundamental questions regarding human language: (1) how language is represented in our minds; (2) how language is acquired by children; (3) how language is processed by adults; (4) the relationship between language and thought; (5) exploring how language is represented and processed using brain imaging methods; and (6) computational modeling of human language acquisition and processing.

  • Language Processing

    This course is a seminar in real-time language comprehension. It considers models of sentence and discourse comprehension from the linguistic, psychology, and artificial intelligence literature, including symbolic and connectionist models. Topics include ambiguity resolution and linguistic complexity; the use of lexical, syntactic, semantic, pragmatic, contextual and prosodic information in language comprehension; the relationship between the computational resources available in working memory and the language processing mechanism; and the psychological reality of linguistic representations.

  • Law and Society

    Law is a common and yet distinct aspect of everyday life in modern societies. This course examines the central features of law as a social institution and as a feature of popular culture. We will explore the nature of law as a set of social systems, central actors in the systems, legal reasoning, and the relationship of the legal form and reasoning to social change. The course emphasizes the relationship between the internal logic of legal devices and economic, political and social processes. Emphasis is placed upon developing a perspective which views law as a practical resource, a mechanism for handling the widest range of unspecified social issues, problems, and conflicts, and at the same time, as a set of shared representations and aspirations. We will explore the range of experiences of law for its ministers (lawyers, judges, law enforcement agents and administrators) as well as for its supplicants (citizens, plaintiffs, defendants). We will examine how law is mobilized and deployed by professionals and ordinary citizens. We cannot cover all aspects of the legal system, nor focus on all the different actors. A set of topics has been selected to develop understanding of the situational and systemic demands within which actors in the legal system operate and perform their roles; at the same time, we will try to discover systematic patterns in the uses and consequences of law. Throughout the course there is concern for understanding what we mean by legality and the rule of law.

  • Law and Society in US History

    As events of the last few years have shown, the Supreme Court has played a crucial role in American political life. There is practically no issue of social significance in the American past that did not at some point end up in the nation's courtrooms, yet much of the workings of the constitution remain obscure. This subject is designed to introduce students to the main themes and events of American constitutional law since 1787. It introduces terms and concepts of law and legal history, focusing on three recurring themes in American public life: liberty, equality, and property. Readings consist mostly of original court cases, especially from the U.S. Supreme Court, but the focus of the class is on the historical connections between those cases and broader social, political, and cultural trends.

  • Learning Chinese: A Foundation Course in Mandarin (??????)

    This online textbook represents materials that were used in the first four semesters (two years) of the Mandarin program at MIT. They eventually formed the basis of a print textbook of the same name, published by Yale University Press; information and supplemental materials for the Yale edition are available at the companion website. The OCW course materials were extensively revised, and at times reordered, before publication, but the general principles of the original remain: to provide a comprehensive resource for the foundation levels of Chinese language that separates the learning of oral skills from literary (the former being transcribed in pinyin, and the latter in characters). This resource contains the complete online version of the text and accompanying audio recordings.

  • Learning from the Past: Drama, Science, Performance

    This class explores the creation (and creativity) of the modern scientific and cultural world through study of western Europe in the 17th century, the age of Descartes and Newton, Shakespeare, Milton and Ford. It compares period thinking to present-day debates about the scientific method, art, religion, and society. This team-taught, interdisciplinary subject draws on a wide range of literary, dramatic, historical, and scientific texts and images, and involves theatrical experimentation as well as reading, writing, researching and conversing. The primary theme of the class is to explore how England in the mid-seventeenth century became "a world turned upside down" by the new ideas and upheavals in religion, politics, and philosophy, ideas that would shape our modern world. Paying special attention to the "theatricality" of the new models and perspectives afforded by scientific experimentation, the class will read plays by Shakespeare, Tate, Brecht, Ford, Churchill, and Kushner, as well as primary and secondary texts from a wide range of disciplines. Students will also compose and perform in scenes based on that material.

  • Legal Aspects of Property and Land Use

    This course is designed to offer an advanced introduction to key legal issues that arise in the area of property and land-use in American law, with a comparative focus on the laws of India and South Africa. The focus of the course is not on law itself, but on the policy implications of various rules, doctrines and practices which are covered in great detail. Legal rules regulating property are among the most fundamental to American, and most other, economies and societies. The main focus is on American property and land use law due to its prominence in international development policy and practice as a model, though substantial comparative legal materials are also introduced from selected non-western countries such as India and South Africa.

  • Linear Algebra - Communications Intensive

    This is a communication intensive supplement to Linear Algebra (18.06). The main emphasis is on the methods of creating rigorous and elegant proofs and presenting them clearly in writing. The course starts with the standard linear algebra syllabus and eventually develops the techniques to approach a more advanced topic: abstract root systems in a Euclidean space.

  • Linguistic Phonetics

    This course is a study of speech sounds: how we produce and perceive them and their acoustic properties. It explores the influence of the production and perception systems on phonological patterns and sound change. Acoustic analysis and experimental techniques are also discussed.

  • Linguistic Studies of Bilingualism

    This course studies the development of bilingualism in human history (from Australopithecus to present day). It focuses on linguistic aspects of bilingualism; models of bilingualism and language acquisition; competence versus performance; effects of bilingualism on other domains of human cognition; brain imaging studies; early versus late bilingualism; opportunities to observe and conduct original research; and implications for educational policies among others. The course is taught in English.

  • Linguistic Theory and the Japanese Language

    This course is a detailed examination of the grammar of Japanese and its structure which is significantly different from English, with special emphasis on problems of interest in the study of linguistic universals. Data from a broad group of languages is studied for comparison with Japanese. This course assumes familiarity with linguistic theory.

  • Listening, Speaking, and Pronunciation

    This course is designed for high-intermediate ESL students who need to develop better listening comprehension and oral skills, which will primarily be achieved by detailed instructions on pronunciation. Our focus will be on (1) producing accurate and intelligible English, (2) becoming more comfortable listening to rapidly spoken English, and (3) learning common expressions, gambits, and idioms used in both formal and informal contexts.

  • Literary Interpretation: Beyond the Limits of the Lyric

    In this seminar we'll read individual poems closely within a set of questions about the moral and political position of poetry -- and of intellectuals -- in different cultural contexts. Of course, part of the divergence in the social positions of poetry [and of 'the aesthetic'] depends on the dominant paradigm of the social, political and literary culture; part of the divergence derives from the momentum of literary development in the culture [how did the culture experience modernism?, for instance], and part depends on the different attitudes toward traditional form. We read poets from North America (Whitman, Williams, Lowell, Plath, Bishop), from South America (Neruda), from Western Europe (Yeats), and Eastern Europe (Akhmatova, Szymborska); we conclude with a month dedicated to the work of the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz, who won the Nobel Prize for literature (the first to win from a position of exile) in 1980.

  • Literary Interpretation: Interpreting Poetry

    This seminar offers a course of readings in lyric poetry. It aims to enhance the student's capacity to understand the nature of poetic language and the enjoyment of poetic texts by treating poems as messages to be deciphered. The seminar will briefly touch upon the history of theories of figurative language since Aristotle and it will attend to the development of those theories during the last thirty years, noting the manner in which they tended to consider figures of speech distinct from normative or literal expression, and it will devote particular attention to the rise of theories that quarrel with this distinction. The seminar also aims to communicate a rough sense of the history of English-speaking poetry since the early modern period. Some attention will be paid as well to the use of metaphor in science.

  • Literary Interpretation: Literature and Photography: The Image

    This course introduces the practice and theory of literary criticism. The seminar focuses on topics such as the history of critical methods and techniques, and the continuity of certain subjects in literary history. Instruction and practice in oral and written communication is a major component of the course. Other components include theory and use of figurative language and reading poetry.

  • Literary Interpretation: Literature and Urban Experience

    Alienation, overcrowding, sensory overload, homelessness, criminality, violence, loneliness, sprawl, blight. How have the realities of city living influenced literature's formal and thematic techniques? How useful is it to think of literature as its own kind of "map" of urban space? Are cities too grand, heterogeneous, and shifting to be captured by writers? In this seminar we will seek answers to these questions in key city literature, and in theoretical works that endeavor to understand the culture of cities.

  • Literary Interpretation: Virginia Woolf's Shakespeare

    How does one writer use another writer's work? Does it matter if one author has been dead 300 years? What difference does it make if she's a groundbreaking twentieth-century feminist and the writer she values has come to epitomize the English literary tradition? How can a novelist borrow from plays and poems? By reading Virginia Woolf's major novels and essays in juxtaposition with some of the Shakespeare plays that (depending on one's interpretation) haunt, enrich, and/or shape her writing, we will try to answer these questions and raise others. Readings in literary criticism, women's studies, and other literary texts will complement our focus on the relationship--across time, media, and gender--between Shakespeare and Woolf. As a seminar, we will work to become more astute readers of literature within its historical, artistic, and political contexts, and consider how literature both reflects and contributes to these societal frameworks. Central texts will include Shakespeare's Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, Cymbeline, and The Winter's Tale, and Woolf's A Room of One's Own, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando, To the Lighthouse, The Waves, and Between the Acts. This subject is an advanced seminar in both the Literature and the Women's Studies Program.

  • Literary Studies: The Legacy of England

    Topic: The English sense of humor. This course examines English literature across genre and historical periods. It is designed for students who want to study English literature or writing in some depth, or to know more about English literary culture and history. Students will also learn about the relationships between literary themes, forms, and conventions and the times in which they were produced. Materials include: Medieval tales, riddles, and character sketches; Renaissance lyrics and a play, 18th-century satires in words and images, 19th century irony, modern stories and film.

  • Literature and Ethical Values

    The aim of this subject is to acquaint the student with some important works of systematic ethical philosophy and to bring to bear the viewpoint of those works on the study of classic works of literature. This subject will trace the history of ethical speculation in systematic philosophy by identifying four major positions: two from the ancient world and the two most important traditions of ethical philosophy since the renaissance. The two ancient positions will be represented by Plato and Aristotle, the two modern positions by Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill. We will try to understand these four positions as engaged in a rivalry with one another, and we will also engage with the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, which offers a bridge between ancient and modern conceptions and provides a source for the rivalry between the viewpoints of Kant and Mill. Further, we will be mindful that the modern positions are subject to criticism today by new currents of philosophical speculation, some of which argue for a return to the positions of Plato and Aristotle.

  • Literature, Ethics and Authority

    Our subject is the ethics of leadership, an examination of the principles appealed to by executive authority when questions arise about its sources and its legitimacy. Most treatments of this subject resort to case-studies in order to illustrate the application of ethical principles to business situations, but our primary emphasis will be upon classic works of imaginative literature, which convey more directly than case-studies the ethical pressures of decision-making. Readings will include works by Shakespeare, Sophocles, Shaw, E.M. Forster, Joseph Conrad, George Orwell, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and Henrik Ibsen, among others. Topics to be discussed include the sources of authority, the management of consensus, the ideal of vocation, the ethics of deception, the morality of expediency, the requirements of hierarchy, the virtues and vices of loyalty, the relevance of ethical principles in extreme situations.

  • Literature, Ethics, Authority

    Literature, Ethics, and Authority uses story in the form of readings and movies to address the relationship between ethics and leadership. The course covers a range of topics, from issues of diversity and gender in the workplace to coping with the human realities of war and death. The course syllabus includes short stories, novels, plays, works of non-fiction, and films, and is representative of many different cultures and nationalities. This class is taught as a seminar to encourage discussion of these issues.

  • Logic I (Fall 2005)

    This course provides an introduction to the aims and techniques of formal logic. Logic is the science of correct argument, and our study of logic will aim to understand what makes a correct argument good, that is, what is it about the structure of a correct argument that guarantees that, if the premises are all true, the conclusion will be true as well? Our subject (though, to be sure, we can only scratch the surface) will be truth and proof, and the connection between them.

  • Logic I (Fall 2009)

    In this course we will cover central aspects of modern formal logic, beginning with an explanation of what constitutes good reasoning. Topics will include validity and soundness of arguments, formal derivations, truth-functions, translations to and from a formal language, and truth-tables. We will thoroughly cover sentential calculus and predicate logic, including soundness and completeness results.

  • Logic II

    This course begins with an introduction to the theory of computability, then proceeds to a detailed study of its most illustrious result: Kurt Gdel's theorem that, for any system of true arithmetical statements we might propose as an axiomatic basis for proving truths of arithmetic, there will be some arithmetical statements that we can recognize as true even though they don't follow from the system of axioms. In my opinion, which is widely shared, this is the most important single result in the entire history of logic, important not only on its own right but for the many applications of the technique by which it's proved. We'll discuss some of these applications, among them: Church's theorem that there is no algorithm for deciding when a formula is valid in the predicate calculus; Tarski's theorem that the set of true sentence of a language isn't definable within that language; and Gdel's second incompleteness theorem, which says that no consistent system of axioms can prove its own consistency.

  • Magic, Witchcraft, and the Spirit World

    Spiritual, magical, and "occult" aspects of human behavior in anthropological and historical perspective: magic, ritual curing, trance, spirit possession, sorcery, and accusations of witchcraft. Material drawn from traditional nonwestern societies, medieval and early modern Europe, and colonial and contemporary North America.

  • Major Authors: After the Masterpiece: Novels by Melville, Twain, Faulkner, and Morrison

    This seminar provides intensive study of exciting texts by four influential American authors. In studying paired works, we can enrich our sense of each author's distinctive methods, get a deeper sense of the development of their careers, and shake up our preconceptions about what makes an author or a work "great." Students will get an opportunity to research an author in depth, as well as making broader comparisons across the syllabus.

  • Major Authors: America's Literary Scientists

    Global exploration in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries radically changed Western science, orienting philosophies of natural history to more focused fields like comparative anatomy, botany, and geology. In the United States, European scientific advances and home-grown ventures like the Wilkes Exploring Expedition to Antarctica and the Pacific inspired new endeavors in cartography, ethnography, zoology, and evolutionary theory, replacing rigid models of thought and classification with more fluid and active systems. They inspired literary authors as well. This class will examine some of the most remarkable of these authorsHerman Melville (Moby-Dick and "The Encantadas"), Henry David Thoreau (Walden), Sarah Orne Jewett (Country of the Pointed Firs), Edith Wharton (House of Mirth), Toni Morrison (A Mercy), among othersin terms of the subjects and methods they adopted, imaginatively and often critically, from the natural sciences.

  • Major Authors: John Milton

    In 1667, John Milton published what he intended both as the crowning achievement of a poetic career and a justification of God's ways to man: an epic poem which retold and reimagined the Biblical story of creation, temptation, and original sin. Even in a hostile political climate, Paradise Lost was almost immediately recognized as a classic, and one fate of a classic is to be rewritten, both by admirers and by antagonists. In this seminar, we will read Paradise Lost alongside works of 20th century fantasy and science fiction which rethink both Milton's text and its source. Students should come to the seminar having read Paradise Lost straight through at least once; this can be accomplished by taking the IAP subject, Reading Paradise Lost (21L.995), or independently. Twentieth century authors will include C. S. Lewis (Perelandra, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) and Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials), as well as assorted criticism. Each week, one class meeting will focus on Milton, and the other on one of the modern novels.

  • Major Authors: Melville and Morrison

    This seminar provides intensive study of texts by two American authors (Herman Melville, 1819-1891, and Toni Morrison, 1931-) who, using lyrical, radically innovative prose, explore in different ways epic notions of American identity. Focusing on Melville's Typee (1846), Moby-Dick (1851), and The Confidence-Man (1857) and Morrison's Sula (1973), Beloved (1987), Jazz (1992), and Paradise (1998), the class will address their common concerns with issues of gender, race, language, and nationhood. Be prepared to read deeply (i.e. a small number of texts with considerable care), to draw on a variety of sources in different media, and to employ them in creative research, writing, and multimedia projects.

  • Major Authors: Oscar Wilde and the '90's

    At this distance Oscar Wilde seems not only to be on the threshold between centuries and between cultural-systems: in many ways he seems to be the threshold. His aesthetics look backwards to the aestheticism of Pater and the moral sensibility of Ruskin, and they look forward to Modernism. His antecedents are 18th century playwrights, and he opened a path of irony and structural self-reflexivity that leads to Beckett and Tom Stoppard. He was Irish but achieved his great successes in England. Arguably, his greatest success was his greatest public failure: in his scandalous trials he shaped 20th century attitudes toward homosexuality and toward theatricality and toward performativity. His greatest performance was the role of "Oscar Wilde": in that sense he taught the 20th century how to be itself.

  • Major Authors: Rewriting Genesis: \"Paradise Lost\"" and Twentieth-Century Fantasy"

    What does the Genesis story of creation and temptation tell us about gender, about heterosexuality, and about the origins of evil? What is the nature of God, and how can we account for that nature in a cosmos where evil exists? When is rebellion justified, and when is authority legitimate? These are some of the key questions that engaged the poet John Milton, and that continue to engage readers of his work.

  • Major English Novels (Spring 2004)

    This course studies several important examples of the genre that between the early 18th century and the end of the 20th has come to seem the definitive literary form for representing and coming to terms with modernity. Syllabi vary, but the class usually attempts to convey a sense of the form's development over the past few centuries. Among topics likely to be considered are: developments in narrative technique, the novel's relation to history, national versus linguistic definitions of an "English" novel, social criticism in the novel, realism versus "romance," the novel's construction of subjectivities. Writers studied have included Daniel Defoe, Henry Fielding, Samuel Richardson, Lawrence Sterne, Mary Shelley, Jane Austen, Walter Scott, Emily and Charlotte Bront, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Joseph Conrad, H. G. Wells, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Salman Rushdie.

  • Major English Novels (Spring 2009)

    In this class, you will read, think about, and (I hope) enjoy important examples of what has become one of the most popular literary genres today, if not the most popular: the novel. Some of the questions we will consider are: Why did so many novels appear in the eighteenth century? Why were theyand are theycalled novels? Who wrote them? Who read them? Who narrates them? What are they likely to be about? Do they have distinctive characteristics? What is their relationship to the time and place in which they appeared? How have they changed over the years? And, most of all, why do we like to read them so much?

  • Major English Novels: Reading Romantic Fiction

    Though the era of British Romanticism (ca. 1790-1830) is sometimes exclusively associated with the poetry of these years, this period was just as importantly a time of great innovation in British prose fiction. Romantic novelists pioneered or revolutionized several genres, including social/philosophical problem novels, tales of sentiment and sensibility, and the historical novel. Writing in the years of the French Revolution, the Napoleonic wars, and the early industrial revolution, these writers conveyed a spirit of chaos and upheaval even in stories whose settings are seemingly farthest removed from those cataclysmic historical events. In this year's offering of "Major English Novels," we will read of plagues, wars, hysterics, monsters and more in novels by authors including William Godwin, Maria Edgeworth, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, and Walter Scott. In the final weeks of the semester, we will read one major novel of the Victorian era, Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, in light of these earlier texts. There will be two essay assignments, one 5-7 pages and one 8-10 pages in length, and required presentations.

  • Major European Novels

    This subject traces the history of the European novel by studying texts that have been influential in connection with two interrelated ideas. (1) When serious fiction deals with matters of great consequence, it should not deal with the actions of persons of consequencekings, princes, high elected officials and the likebut rather with the lives of apparently ordinary people and the everyday details of their social ambitions and desires. To use a phrase of Balzac's, serious fiction deals with "what happens everywhere". (2) This idea sometimes goes with another: that the most significant representations of the human condition are those dealing with persons who try to compel society to accept them as its destined agent, despite their absence of high birth or inheritance.

  • Major Media Texts

    This class does intensive close study and analysis of historically significant media "texts" that have been considered landmarks or have sustained extensive critical and scholarly discussion. Such texts may include oral epic, story cycles, plays, novels, films, opera, television drama and digital works. The course emphasizes close reading from a variety of contextual and aesthetic perspectives. The syllabus varies each year, and may be organized around works that have launched new modes and genres, works that reflect upon their own media practices, or on stories that migrate from one medium to another. At least one of the assigned texts is collaboratively taught, and visiting lectures and discussions are a regular feature of the subject.

  • Major Poets (Fall 2001)

    This subject follows a course of readings in lyric poetry in the English language, tracing the main lines of descent through literary periods from the Renaissance to the modern period and concentrating mostly on English rather than American examples.

  • Major Poets (Fall 2005)

    This subject is an introduction to poetry as a genre; most of our texts are originally written in English. We read poems from the Renaissance through the 17th and 18th centuries, Romanticism, and Modernism. Focus will be on analytic reading, on literary history, and on the development of the genre and its forms; in writing we attend to techniques of persuasion and of honest evidenced sequential argumentation. Poets to be read will include William Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth, William Wordsworth, John Keats, T.S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop, and some contemporary writers.

  • Making the Modern World: The Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective

    This class is a global survey of the great transformation in history known as the "Industrial Revolution." Topics include origins of mechanized production, the factory system, steam propulsion, electrification, mass communications, mass production and automation. Emphasis on the transfer of technology and its many adaptations around the world. Countries treated include Great Britain, France, Germany, the US, Sweden, Russia, Japan, China, and India. Includes brief reflection papers and a final paper.

  • Marathon Moral Reasoning Laboratory

    This seminar focuses on the cognitive science of moral reasoning. Philosophers debate how we decide which moral actions are permissible. Is it permissible to take one human life in order to save others? We have powerful and surprisingly rich and subtle intuitions to such questions. In this class, you will learn how intuitions can be studied using formal analytical paradigms and behavioral experiments. Thursday evening, meet to learn about recent advances in theories of moral reasoning. Overnight, formulate a hypothesis about the structure of moral reasoning and design a questionnaire-based experiment to test this. Friday, present and select 1-2 proposals and collect data; we will then reconvene to analyze and discuss results and implications for the structure of the moral mind. This course is offered during the Independent Activities Period (IAP), which is a special 4-week term at MIT that runs from the first week of January until the end of the month.

  • Marketing, Microchips and McDonalds: Debating Globalization

    Everyday we are bombarded with the word "global" and encouraged to see globalization as the quintessential transformation of our age. But what exactly does "globalization" mean? How is it affecting the lives of people around the world, not only in economic, but social and cultural terms? How do contemporary changes compare with those from other historical periods? Are such changes positive, negative or simply inevitable? And, finally, how does the concept of the "global" itself shape our perceptions in ways that both help us understand the contemporary world and potentially distort it? This course begins by offering a brief overview of historical "world systems," including those centered in Asia as well as Europe. It explores the nature of contemporary transformations, including those in economics, media & information technologies, population flows, and consumer habits, not through abstractions but by focusing on the daily lives of people in various parts of the world. This course considers such topics as the day-to-day impact of computers in Silicon Valley and among Tibetan refugees; the dilemmas of factory workers in the US and rural Java; the attractions of Bombay cinema in Nigeria, the making of rap music in Japan, and the cultural complexities of immigrant life in France. This course seeks not only to understand the various forms globalization takes, but to understand its very different impacts world-wide.

  • Masterworks in American Short Fiction

    For some reason, American literature (like French, Irish, and Russian, among others) has been especially productive in major works in fictional forms shorter than the novel. Our task in this course will be to survey that field, by looking at particular moments of high accomplishment. We will, in addition, consider some of the ways in which literary formulae can be used and varied, and some of the impacts of elements of narrative construction.

  • Materials in Human Experience

    This course examines the ways in which people in ancient and contemporary societies have selected, evaluated, and used materials of nature, transforming them to objects of material culture. Some examples are: glass in ancient Egypt and Rome; sounds and colors of powerful metals in Mesoamerica; cloth and fiber technologies in the Inca empire. It also explores ideological and aesthetic criteria often influential in materials development. Laboratory/workshop sessions provide hands-on experience with materials discussed in class. This course complements 3.091.

  • Mathematical Exposition

    This course provides techniques of effective presentation of mathematical material. Each section of this course is associated with a regular mathematics subject, and uses the material of that subject as a basis for written and oral presentations. The section presented here is on chaotic dynamical systems.

  • Media and Methods: Seeing and Expression

    This class examines frameworks for making and sharing visual artifacts using a trans-cultural, trans-historical, constructionist approach. It explores the relationship between perceived reality and the narrative imagination, how an author's choice of medium and method of construction constrains the work, how desire is integrated into the structure of a work, and how the cultural/economic opportunity for exhibition/distribution affects the realization of a work. Students submit three papers and three visual projects. Work is discussed and critiqued in class. Students present final projects an exhibition at the end of term. Instruction and practice in written and oral communication is provided.

  • Media in Cultural Context

    This course explores the international trade in television text, considering the ways in which 'foreign' programs find places within 'domestic' schedules. Looking at the life television texts maintain outside of their home market, this course examines questions of globalization and national cultures of production and reception. Students will be introduced to a range of positions about the nature of international textual trade, including economic arguments about the structuring of international markets and ethnographic studies about the role imported content plays in the formation of hybrid national identities. Students will be encouraged to consider the role American content is made to play in non-American markets.

  • Media in Cultural Context: Popular Readerships

    What is the history of popular reading in the Western world? How does widespread access to print relate to distinctions between highbrow and lowbrow culture, between good taste and bad judgment, and between men and women readers? This course will introduce students to the broad history of popular reading and to controversies about taste and gender that have characterized its development. Our grounding in historical material will help make sense of our main focus: recent developments in the theory and practice of reading, including fan-fiction, Oprah's book club, comics, hypertext, mass-market romance fiction, mega-chain bookstores, and reader response theory.

  • Media in Transition

    This course centers on historical eras in which the form and function of media technologies were radically transformed. It includes consideration of the "Gutenberg Revolution," the rise of modern mass media, and the "digital revolution," among other case studies of media transformation and cultural change. Readings are in cultural and social history and historiographic method.

  • Medicine, Religion and Politics in Africa and the African Diaspora

    This course provides an exploration of colonial and postcolonial clashes between theories of healing and embodiment in the African world and those of western bio-medicine. It examines how Afro-Atlantic religious traditions have challenged western conceptions of illness, healing, and the body and have also offered alternative notions of morality, rationality, kinship, gender, and sexuality. It also analyzes whether contemporary western bio-medical interventions reinforce colonial or imperial power in the effort to promote global health in Africa and the African diaspora.

  • Medieval Economic History in Comparative Perspective

    This course will survey the conditions of material life and changing social and economic conditions in medieval Europe with reference to the comparative context of contemporary Islamic, Chinese, and central Asian experiences. Subject covers the emergence and decline of feudal institutions, the transformation of peasant agriculture, living standards and the course of epidemic disease, and the ebb and flow of long-distance trade across the Eurasian system. Particular emphasis will be placed on the study of those factors, both institutional and technological, which have contributed to the emergence of capitalist organization and economic growth in Western Europe in contrast to the trajectories followed by the other major medieval economies.

  • Medieval Literature: Dante, Boccaccio, Chaucer

    The course explores the literary masterworks of three of the most celebrated authors of the Middle Ages in their original literary and historical contexts. The various themes they take up - the importance of writing in the vernacular; the discourse of love as a form of discipline practised upon the self; the personal and political aspirations of the self in society; the constitution of ideal forms of social organization; the role of religion in the life and works of lay authors - transformed the course of much of Western literature for the next five centuries. Readings will include the entire Divine Comedy, generous selections from the Decameron, and all of Troilus and Criseyde in the original Middle English, together with samplings from the Troubadour tradition and the dolce stil nuovo.

  • Medieval Literature: Medieval Women Writers

    This survey provides a general introduction to medieval European literature (from Late Antiquity to the Fifteenth Century) from the perspective of women writers from a variety of cultures, social backgrounds, and historical timeperiods. Though much of the class will be devoted to exploring the evolution of a new literary tradition by and for women from its earliest emergence in the West, wider historical and cultural movements will also be addressed: the Fall of the Roman Empire, the growth of religious communities, the shift from orality to literacy, the culture of chivalry and courtly love, the emergence of scholasticism and universities, changes in devotional practices, the persecution of heretics, the rise of nationalism and class consciousness. Authors will include some of the most famous women of the period: Hildegard of Bingen, Heloise of Paris, Marie de France, Christine de Pizan, Joan of Arc, Margery Kempe, along with many interesting and intriguing though lesser known figures.

  • Metaphysics

    This course focuses on the study of basic metaphysical issues concerning existence, the mind-body problem, personal identity, and causation plus its implications for freedom. The course explores classical as well as contemporary readings.

  • Metaphysics: Free Will

    This course is a study of free will. It explores the main topic through the lenses of the consequence argument, unavoidability, law breaking, libertarianism, the concept of the person, moral responsibility, action, intention, choice, social psychology, and addiction.

  • Metropolis: History of New York City

    Hitherto it had gone by the original Indian name Manna-hatta, or as some still have it, 'The Manhattoes'; but this was now decried as savage and heathenish... At length, when the council was almost in despair, a burgher, remarkable for the size and squareness of his head, proposed that they should call it New-Amsterdam. The proposition took every body by surprise; it was so striking, so apposite, so ingenious. The name was adopted by acclamation, and New-Amsterdam the metropolis was thenceforth called. Washington Irving, 1808In less tongue-in-cheek style, this course examines the evolution of New York City from 1607 to the present. The readings focus on the city's social and physical histories, and the class discussions compare New York's development to patterns in other cities.

  • Minds and Machines

    This course is an introduction to many of the central issues in a branch of philosophy called philosophy of mind.

  • Modal Logic

    This course covers sentential and quantified modal logic, with emphasis on the model theory ("possible worlds semantics"). Topics include soundness, completeness, characterization results for alternative systems, sense and dynamic logics, epistemic logics, as well as logics of necessity and possibility. Course material applies to philosophy, theoretical computer science, and linguistics.

  • Modern Art and Mass Culture

    This class provides an introduction to modern art and theories of modernism and postmodernism. It focuses on the way artists use the tension between fine art and mass culture to mobilize a critique of both. We will examine objects of visual art, including painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, prints, performance and video. These objects will be viewed in their interaction with advertising, caricature, comics, graffiti, television, fashion, folk art, and "primitive" art.

  • Modern Drama

    This course analyzes major modern plays featuring works by Shaw, Pirandello, Beckett, Brecht, Williams, Soyinka, Hwang, Churchill, Wilson, Frayn, Stoppard, Deveare Smith, and Kushner. The class particularly considers performance, sociopolitical and aesthetic contexts, and the role of theater in the world of modern multimedia.

  • Modern Latin America, 1808-Present: Revolution, Dictatorship, Democracy

    This class is a selective survey of Latin American history from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present. Issues studied include Latin America in the global economy, relations between Latin America and the U.S., dictatorships and democracies in the twentieth century, African and Indigenous cultures, feminism and gender, cultural politics, revolution in Mexico, Cuba, and Central America, and Latin American identity.

  • Modern Music: 1900-1960

    This subject covers a specific branch of music history: Western concert music of first sixty years of the twentieth century. Although we will be listening to and studying many pieces (most of the highest caliber) the goal of the course is not solely to build up a repertory of works in our memory (though that is indeed a goal). We will be most concerned with larger questions of continuity and change in music. We will also consider questions of reception, or historiography - that is, the creation of history and our perception of it. Why do we perceive much of this music, so much closer in time to us than Mozart or Beethoven, to be so foreign? Is this music aloof and separate from popular music of the twentieth century or is there a real connection (perhaps hidden)? The subject will continue to follow some topics of central interest to music before 1960, such as serialism and aleatory, beyond the 1960 cutoff. Conversely a few topics which get their start just before 1960 but which flourish later (minimalism, computer music) will be covered only in 21M.263.

  • Modern Poetry

    This course considers some of the substantial early twentieth-century poetic voices in America. Authors vary, but may include Moore, Frost, Eliot, Stevens, and Pound. We'll read the major poems by the most important poets in English in the 20th century, emphazinig especially the period between post-WWI disillusionment and early WW II internationalism (ca. 1918-1940). Our special focus this term will be how the concept of "the Image" evolved during this period. The War had undercut beliefs in master-narratives of nationalism and empire, and the language-systems that supported them (religious transcendence, rationalism and formalism). Retrieving energies from the Symbolist movements of the preceding century, early 20th century poets began to rethink how images carry information, and in what ways the visual, visionary, and verbal image can take the place of transcendent beliefs. New theories of linguistics and anthropology helped to advance this interest in the artistic/religious image. So did Freud. So did Charlie Chaplin films. We'll read poems that pay attention both to this disillusionment and to the compensatory joyous attention to the image: to ideas of the poet-as-language-priest, aesthetic-experience-as-displaced-religious impulse, to poetry as faith, ritual, and form.

  • Moral Problems and the Good Life

    This course will focus on issues that arise in contemporary public debate concerning matters of social justice. Topics will likely include: euthanasia, gay marriage, racism and racial profiling, free speech, hunger and global inequality. Students will be exposed to multiple points of view on the topics and will be given guidance in analyzing the moral frameworks informing opposing positions. The goal will be to provide the basis for respectful and informed discussion of matters of common moral concern.

  • Moral Psychology

    This course is an examination of philosophical theories of action and motivation in the light of empirical findings from social psychology, sociology, and neuroscience. Topics include belief, desire, and moral motivation; sympathy and empathy; intentions and other committing states; strength of will and weakness of will; free will; addiction and compulsion; guilt, shame and regret; evil; self-knowledge and self-deception; and, virtues and character traits. This course is a CI-M course.

  • Music of Africa

    This course is an introduction to selected musical traditions of West Africa. A variety of musical practices and their cultural contexts will be explored through listening, reading, and written assignments, with an emphasis on class discussion. The course includes in-class instruction in West African drumming, song and dance, as well as lecture-demonstrations by guest artists. After an introductory unit, the course will be organized around four main geographical areas: Senegal, Mali, Ghana, and Nigeria. An in-depth study of music from these countries will be interspersed with brief overviews of Southern, Central, and East Africa.

  • Myth, Ritual, and Symbolism

    Human beings are symbol-making as well as tool-making animals. We understand our world and shape our lives in large part by assigning meanings to objects, beings, and persons; by connecting things together in symbolic patterns; and by creating elaborate forms of symbolic action and narrative. In this introductory subject we consider how symbols are created and structured; how they draw on and give meaning to different domains of the human world; how they are woven into politics, family life, and the life cycle; and how we can interpret them. The semester will be devoted to a number of topics in symbolism. 1. Metaphor and Other Figurative Language 2. The Raw Materials of Symbolism, especially Animals and The Human Body 3. Cosmology and Complex Symbolic Systems 4. Ritual, including Symbolic Curing and Magic 5. Narrative and Life 6. Mythology

  • Narrative Ethics: Literary Texts and Moral Issues in Medicine

    This eight-session course, designed for a mixed group of first, second, third and fourth-year medical students, uses literary narratives and poetry to study ethical issues in medicine. This methodology emphasizes the importance of context, contingency, and circumstances in recognizing, evaluating, and resolving moral problems. The seminar will focus on developing the skills of critical and reflective reading that increase effectiveness in clinical medicine. Texts will include short fiction and poetry by authors such as Woolf, Chekhov, Carver, Kafka, Hurston, Marquez and Tolstoy. The instructor will provide necessary philosophic and literary context at the beginning of each session, the balance devoted to class discussion. During the course, students will keep a reading journal that examines the meanings of illness, the moral role of the physician, and the relevance of emotions, culture, faith, values, social realities, and life histories to patient care.

  • Nationalism

    This course provides a broad overview of the theories of and approaches to the study of nationalist thought and practice. It also explores the related phenomena termed nationalism: national consciousness and identity, nations, nation-states, and nationalist ideologies and nationalist movements. The course analyzes nationalism's emergence and endurance as a factor in modern politics and society. Topics include: nationalism and state-building, nationalism and economic modernization, nationalism and democratization, and nationalism and religious conflict.

  • Natural Language and the Computer Representation of Knowledge

    6.863 is a laboratory-oriented course on the theory and practice of building computer systems for human language processing, with an emphasis on the linguistic, cognitive, and engineering foundations for understanding their design.

  • Nature, Environment, and Empire

    This class examines the relationship between the study of natural history, both domestic and exotic, by Europeans and Americans, and exploration and exploitation of the natural world, focusing on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

  • Nazi Germany and the Holocaust

    The rise and fall of National Socialism is one of the most intensively-studied topics in European history. Nevertheless, after more than half a century, popular views of Nazism in the media and among the public remain simplistic-essentialized by equal parts fascination and horror. Adolf Hitler, for instance, is often portrayed as an evil genius of supernatural ability; while the Nazi state is similarly imagined to have held absolute power over every aspect of its subjects' lives. Such characterizations allow ordinary Germans to be portrayed as helpless victims of Nazism, ensnared or coerced into submission by forces beyond their control. Another popular characterization is that German culture itself is fundamentally flawed - that all Germans were basically Nazis at heart. This schema conveniently erases the manifestations of fascism in other Western nations, and allows Americans and other Westerners to reassure themselves that the horrors of Nazism could never emerge in their own enlightened national cultures.

  • New Culture of Gender: Queer France

    This course addresses the place of contemporary queer identities in French discourse and discusses the new generation of queer authors and their principal concerns. Class discussions and readings will introduce students to the main classical references of queer subcultures, from Proust and Vivien to Hocquenghem and Wittig. Throughout the course, students will examines current debates on post-colonial and globalized queer identities through essays, songs, movies, and novels. Authors covered include Didier Eribon, Anne Garrta, Abdellah Taa, Anne Scott, and Nina Bouraoui. This class is taught in French.

  • New Media Literacies

    This course serves as an in-depth look at literacy theory in media contexts, from its origins in ancient Greece to its functions and changes in the current age of digital media, participatory cultures, and technologized learning environments. Students will move quickly through traditional historical accounts of print literacies; the majority of the semester will focus on treating literacy as more than a functional skill (i.e., one's ability to read and write) and instead as a sophisticated set of meaning-making activities situated in specific social spaces. These new media literacies include the practices and concepts of: fan fiction writing, online social networking, videogaming, appropriation and remixing, transmedia navigation, multitasking, performance, distributed cognition, and collective intelligence. Assignments include weekly reading and writing assignments and an original research project. Readings will include Plato, Goody and Watt, Scribner and Cole, Graff, Brandt, Heath, Lemke, Gee, Alvermann, Jenkins, Hobbs, Pratt, Leander, Dyson, Levy, Kress, and Lankshear and Knobel.

  • Nuclear Weapons in International Politics: Past, Present and Future

    This course will expose students to tools and methods of analysis for use in assessing the challenges and dangers associated with nuclear weapons in international politics. The first two weeks of the course will look at the technology and design of nuclear weapons and their means of production. The next five weeks will look at the role they played in the Cold War, the organizations that managed them, the technologies that were developed to deliver them, and the methods used to analyze nuclear force structures and model nuclear exchanges. The last six weeks of the course will look at theories and cases of nuclear decision making beyond the original five weapon states, and will look particularly at why states pursue or forego nuclear weapons, the role that individuals and institutions play, and the potential for both new sources of proliferation and new consequences.

  • Oral Communication in Spanish

    A second-year intermediate course that includes vocabulary enhancement and limited review of selected points of grammar. Focuses on listening comprehension and speaking, with group activities, discussions and individual oral reports based on readings, films, music and art.

  • Oral Communication in the Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

    This course focuses on developing oral presentation skills through practice, self-evaluation, and in-class feedback. Topics include slide preparation, answering difficult questions, explaining technical details and presenting to a general audience.

  • Organization Theory and the Military

    This course explores organizational concepts and research methods that explain the performance and development of military organizations in peace and war. Classic studies are reviewed. Approaches to current policy problems based on theoretical insights into military organizations and practices are also considered. The class stresses development of new theory.

  • Other Minds

    This is a seminar on issues connected with the traditional "problem of other minds". In addition to reading some of the classic papers on other minds, we will look at recent work on related topics. There will be no lectures. Each week I will spend half an hour or so introducing the assigned reading, and the rest of the time will be devoted to discussion.

  • Out of Ground Zero: Catastrophe and Memory

    Within twenty-four hours of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 politicians, artists, and cultural critics had begun to ask how to memorialize the deaths of thousands of people. This question persists today, but it can also be countered with another: is building a monument the best way to commemorate that moment in history? What might other discourses, media, and art forms offer in such a project of collective memory? How can these cultural formations help us to assess the immediate reaction to the attack? To approach these issues, "Out of Ground Zero" looks back to earlier sites of catastrophe in Germany and Japan.

  • Paradox and Infinity

    In this class we will study a cluster of puzzles, paradoxes and intellectual wonders - from Zeno's Paradox to Godel's Theorem - and discuss their philosophical implications.

  • Passing: Flexibility in Race and Gender

    This course is primarily a literature seminar. We will use American literature as a lens through which to examine different passing tropes. It will provide an introduction to queer, gender, and critical race theories for science and math majors. We will read such works as Running A Thousand Miles for Freedom, Incognegro, and Focault's A History of Sexuality, to name just a few.

  • People and Other Animals

    This class provides a historical survey of the ways that people have interacted with their closest animal relatives, for example: hunting, domestication of livestock, exploitation of animal labor, scientific study of animals, display of exotic and performing animals, and pet keeping. Themes include changing ideas about animal agency and intelligence, our moral obligations to animals, and the limits imposed on the use of animals.

  • Philosophical Issues in Brain Science

    This course provides an introduction to important philosophical questions about the mind, specifically those that are intimately connected with contemporary psychology and neuroscience. Are our concepts innate or are they acquired by experience? And what does it even mean to call a concept 'innate'? Are 'mental images' pictures in the head? Is color in the mind or in the world? Is the mind nothing more than the brain? Can there be a science of consciousness? The course includes guest lectures by philosophers and cognitive scientists.

  • Philosophy In Film and Other Media

    This course examines works of film in relation to thematic issues of philosophical importance that also occur in other arts, particularly literature and opera. Emphasis is put on film's ability to represent and express feeling as well as cognition. Both written and cinematic works by Sturges, Shaw, Cocteau, Hitchcock, Joyce, and Bergman, among others, are considered. There are no tests or quizzes, however students write two major papers on media/philosophical research topics of their choosing.

  • Philosophy of Film

    This course is a seminar on the philosophical analysis of film art, with an emphasis on the ways in which it creates meaning through techniques that define a formal structure. There is a particular focus on aesthetic problems about appearance and reality, literary and visual effects, communication and alienation through film technology.

  • Philosophy of Law

    This course examines fundamental issues in the philosophy of law, including the nature and content of law, its relation to morality, theories of legal interpretation, and the obligation to obey the law, as well as philosophical issues and problems associated with punishment and responsibility, liberty, and legal ethics.

  • Philosophy of Love in the Western World

    This course is a seminar on the nature of love and sex, approached as topics both in philosophy and in literature. Readings from recent philosophy as well as classic myths of love that occur in works of literature and lend themselves to philosophical analysis.

  • Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics

    Quantum mechanics--even in the ordinary, non-relativistic, "particle" formulation that will be the primary focus of this course--has been a staggeringly successful physical theory, surely one of the crowning achievements of 20th century science. It's also rather bizarre--bizarre enough to lead very intelligent and otherwise sensible people to make such claims as that the universe is perpetually splitting into many copies of itself, that conscious minds have the power to make physical systems "jump" in unpredictable ways, that classical logic stands in need of fundamental revision, and much, much more. In this course, we intelligent and sensible people will attempt to take a sober look at these and other alleged implications of quantum mechanics, as well as certain stubborn problems that continue to trouble its foundations. Along the way, we will take plenty of time out to discuss philosophical questions about science that quantum mechanics raises in new and interesting ways: e.g., what it means to attribute probabilities to physical events, what the aims of scientific inquiry are (does it aim at something true, or merely at something useful?), what the role of observation is in constructing a scientific theory, what it means to say that there is an "objective" physical world, whether something as basic as logic can be viewed as an empirical discipline, whether there can be meaningful scientific questions whose answers cannot possibly be settled by experiment, and more.

  • Planning in Transition Economies for Growth and Equity

    During the last fifteen years, nations across the globe embarked on a historic transformation away from centrally planned economies to market-oriented ones. However, in the common pursuit for economic growth, these transition countries implemented widely different reform strategies with mixed results. With over a decade of empirical evidence now available, this new course examines this phenomenon that has pushed the discourse in a number of disciplines, requiring us to reconsider fundamental issues such as: * the proper relationship between business, government, and the public interest * the possible synergies and tensions between economic growth and equity * how economic transition has reshaped cities The premise of the course is that the core issue in transition involves institution-building and re-building in different contexts.

  • Playwrights' Workshop

    This course provides continued work in the development of play scripts for the theater. Writers work on sustained pieces in weekly workshop meetings, individual consultation with the instructor, and in collaboration with student actors, directors, and designers. Fully developed scripts are eligible for inclusion in the Playwrights' Workshop Production.

  • Playwriting I

    This class introduces the craft of writing for the theater. Through weekly assignments, in class writing exercises, and work on a sustained piece, students explore scene structure, action, events, voice, and dialogue. We examine produced playscripts and discuss student work. This class's emphasis is on process, risk-taking, and finding one's own voice and vision.

  • Poetry in Translation

    This seminar addresses the inherent challenges of translating poetry from different languages, cultures, and eras. Students do some translation of their own, though accommodations are made if a student lacks even a basic knowledge of any foreign language.

  • Political Economy I

    Political Economy I explores the major social science paradigms for analyzing relations among state, economy, and society. Through readings, lectures and discussion of original texts in political liberalism and individualism, neo-classical economics, Marxism, sociological and cultural theories, and neo-institutionalism, the seminar examines the fundamental assumptions on which our understanding of the social world and our research are based.

  • Political Philosophy: Global Justice

    This course explores the foundations and content of norms of justice that apply beyond the borders of a single state. We examine issues of political justice, economic justice, and human rights. Topics include the case for skepticism about global justice; the idea of global democracy; intellectual property rights; the nature of distributive justice at the global level; pluralism and human rights; and rights to control borders. It meets jointly with Harvard's Philosophy 271, and is taught by Professors Joshua Cohen, Thomas Scanlon, and Amartya Sen. Readings are from Kant, Habermas, Rawls, Sen, Beitz, Nussbaum, Stiglitz, Ignatieff, Walzer, among others.

  • Politics and Policy in Contemporary Japan

    This subject is designed for upper level undergraduates and graduate students as an introduction to politics and the policy process in modern Japan. The semester is divided into two parts. After a two-week general introduction to Japan and to the dominant approaches to the study of Japanese history, politics and society, we will begin exploring five aspects of Japanese politics: party politics, electoral politics, interest group politics, bureaucratic politics, and policy, which will be broken up into seven additional sections. We will try to understand the ways in which the actors and institutions identified in the first part of the semester affect the policy process across a variety of issues areas.

  • Politics and Religion

    This graduate reading seminar explores the role of religious groups, institutions, and ideas in politics using social science theories. It is open to advanced undergraduate students with permission of the instructor.

  • Popular Culture and Narrative: Literature, Comics, and Culture

    In this course, we will investigate popular culture and narrative by focusing on the relationship between literary texts and comics. Several questions shape the syllabus and provide a framework for approaching the course materials: How do familiar aspects of comics trace their origins to literary texts and broader cultural concerns? How have classic comics gone on to influence literary fiction? In what ways do contemporary graphic narratives bring a new kind of seriousness of purpose to comics, blurring what's left of the boundaries between the highbrow and the lowbrow? Readings and materials for the course range from the nineteenth century to the present, and include novels, short stories, essays, older and newer comics, and some older and newer films. Expectations include diligent reading, active participation, occasional discussion leading, and two papers.

  • Popular Narrative: Masterminds

    Our purpose is to consider some of the most elaborate and thoughtful efforts to define and delineate "all-mastering," and to consider some of the delineations of "all-mastering the intellect" in various guises - from magicians to master spies to detectives to scientists (mad and otherwise). The major written work of the term will be an ongoing reading journal, which you will circulate to your classmates using an e-mail mailing list. The use of that list is fundamental - it is my intention to generate a sort of ongoing cyberconversation.

  • Portuguese I

    This course provides an introduction to the language and culture of the Portuguese-speaking world, with special attention to Brazilian Portuguese. This course focuses are on basic oral expression, listening comprehension, and elementary reading and writing. Students develop their vocabulary and understanding of grammatical concepts through active communication. This is a coordinated language lab program and is designed for students with no knowledge of Portuguese. Class is conducted entirely in Portuguese.

  • Portuguese II

    This course is a continuation of 21F.801. It focuses on expanding communication skills and further development of linguistic competency using a variety of authentic sources, such as the Internet, audio, video, and printed materials, to help develop cultural awareness and linguistic proficiency. This course is conducted entirely in Portuguese.

  • Poverty, Public Policy and Controversy

    This course covers topics and questions such as: What is poverty? How is it defined and measured in the United States and other countries? What are the different program designs that countries use to relieve poverty? To answer these questions, the course examines the main public policy frames that guide theory, research, policy, and practice. How do the definition and policies to deal with poverty change over time? What are the economic, political, and social forces that contribute to the persistence of poverty and its periodic reframing? Can social science to help to resolve the public policy debates that make poverty and its relief so controversial?

  • Power: Interpersonal, Organizational and Global Dimensions

    Using examples from anthropology and sociology alongside classical and contemporary social theory, this course explores the nature of dominant and subordinate relationships, types of legitimate authority, and practices of resistance. The course also examines how we are influenced in subtle ways by the people around us, who makes controlling decisions in the family, how people get ahead at work, and whether democracies, in fact, reflect the "will of the people."

  • Pragmatics in Linguistic Theory (Fall 2006)

    The course introduces formal theories of context-dependency, presupposition, implicature, context-change, focus and topic. Special emphasis is on the division of labor between semantics and pragmatics. It also covers applications to the analysis of quantification, definiteness, presupposition projection, conditionals and modality, anaphora, questions and answers.

  • Pragmatics in Linguistic Theory (Spring 2010)

    This course is the third and final part of our graduate introduction to semantics. The other two classes are 24.970 Introduction to Semantics and 24.973 Advanced Semantics. The semester will be divided into somewhat independent units. One unit will be devoted to conversational implicatures (mainly scalar implicatures) and another to presupposition. In each unit, we will discuss basic concepts and technical tools and then devote some time to recent work which illustrates their application.

  • Prizewinners

    This 6-unit subject gives students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the poetry of two living Nobel Laureates: the Caribbean poet, Derek Walcott, and the Northern-Irish poet, Seamus Heaney. We will begin and end the semester with their magnificent epic works: Heaney's translation of the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf, and Walcott's Omeros (a modern epic set in the West Indies). Between these major narrative poems, we will read a rich selection of their shorter poems, as well as some of their reflections in prose on what poetry does, on what other poets do, and what it means to write in English from the historical and political situation of Northern Ireland (for Heaney) or the Caribbean (for Walcott).

  • Problems in Philosophy

    The course has two goals. First, to give you a sense of what philosophers think about and why. Here we look at a number of perennial philosophical problems, including some or all of: how knowledge differs from "mere opinion," the objectivity (or not) of moral judgment, logical paradoxes, mind/body relations, the nature and possibility of free will, and how a person remains the same over time, as their bodily and psychological traits change. The second goal is to get you thinking philosophically yourself. This will help you develop your critical and argumentative skills more generally. Readings will be from late, great classical authors and influential contemporary figures.

  • Prohibition and Permission

    Explore where the prohibitions and permissions that occur in every day life come from, why they exist, and what gives them force. For example: foodyou are only willing and able to eat a subset of the world's edible substances. Marriagesome marriages are prohibited by law or by custom. This course addresses questions of prohibition and permission using psychological sources and literary works from ancient to modern. Texts include works by Shakespeare, Melville, Mary Rowlandson, and Anita Desai. Students give group and individual oral presentations.

  • Property Rights in Transition

    This course examines the theories and policy debates over who can own real property, how to communicate and enforce property rights, and the range of liberties that they confer. It explores alternative economic, political, and sociological perspectives of property rights and their policy and planning implications.

  • Proseminar in Philosophy I

    An intensive seminar on the foundations of analytic philosophy for first-year graduate students. A large selection of classic texts, from Frege's Foundations of Arithmetic to Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, is covered in this course.

  • Psycholinguistics

    This course covers central topics in language processing, including: the structure of language; sentence, discourse, and morphological processing; storage and access of words in the mental dictionary; speech processing; the relationship between the computational resources available in working memory and the language processing mechanism; and ambiguity resolution. The course also considers computational modeling, including connectionist models; the relationship between language and thought; and issues in language acquisition including critical period phenomena, the acquisition of speech, and the acquisition of words. Experimental methodologies such as self-paced reading, eye-tracking, cross-modal priming, and neural imaging methods are also examined.

  • Race and Gender in Asian America

    In this seminar we will examine various issues related to the intersection of race and gender in Asian America, starting with the nineteenth century, but focusing on contemporary issues. Topics to be covered may include racial and gender discourse, the stereotyping of Asian American women and men in the media, Asian American masculinity, Asian American feminisms and their relation to mainstream American feminism, the debate between feminism and ethnic nationalism, gay and lesbian identity, class and labor issues, domestic violence, interracial dating and marriage, and multiracial identity.

  • Race and Identity in American Literature: Keepin' it Real Fake

    This course explores the ways in which various American artists view race and class as performed or performable identities. Discussions will focus on some of the following questions: What does it mean to act black, white, privileged, or underprivileged? What do these artists suggest are the implications of performing (indeed playing at or with) racial identity, ethnicity, gender, and class status? How and why are race and class status often conflated in these performances?

  • Race, Immigration, and Planning

    This course provides an introduction to the issues of immigrants, planning, and race. It identifies the complexities and identities of immigrant populations emerging in the United States context and how different community groups negotiate that complexity. It explores the critical differences and commonalities between immigrant and non-immigrant communities, as well as how the planning profession does and should respond to those differences. Finally, the course explores the intersection of immigrant communities' formation and their interactions with African Americans and the idea of race in the United States.

  • Reading Fiction

    This course offers students ways to become more engaged and curious readers for life. By learning the language of selected short stories and novels, students learn the language of literary description. There will be a strong emphasis on class discussion and writing. Readings will include fiction by O'Conner, Joyce, Tolstoy, Mann, Shelley, and Baldwin.

  • Reading Fiction

    Reading Fiction is designed to sharpen your skills as a critical reader. As we explore both short stories and novels focusing on the theme of "the city in literature," we will learn about the various elements that shape the way we read texts - structure, narrative voice, character development, novelistic experimentation, historical and political contexts and reader response.

  • Reading Fiction: Dysfunctional Families

    This course explores the form, content, and historical context of various works of fiction specifically through the thematic lens of "dysfunctional families." We will focus primarily on questions pertaining to the structure, language, story, and characters of these fictional works.

  • Reading Poetry

    "Reading Poetry" has several aims: primarily, to increase the ways you can become more engaged and curious readers of poetry; to increase your confidence as writers thinking about literary texts; and to provide you with the language for literary description. The course is not designed as a historical survey course but rather as an introductory approach to poetry from various directions as public or private utterances; as arranged imaginative shapes; and as psychological worlds, for example. One perspective offered is that poetry offers intellectual, moral and linguistic pleasures as well as difficulties to our private lives as readers and to our public lives as writers. Expect to hear and read poems aloud and to memorize lines; the class format will be group discussion, occasional lecture.

  • Readings in American History Since 1877

    This seminar aims to develop a teaching knowledge of the field through extensive reading and discussion of major works. The reading covers a broad range of topics - political, economic, social, and cultural - and represents a variety of historical methods.

  • Reasonable Conduct in Science

    To provide instruction and dialog on practical ethical issues relating to the responsible conduct of human and animal research in the brain and cognitive sciences. Specific emphasis will be placed on topics relevant to young researchers including data handling, animal and human subjects, misconduct, mentoring, intellectual property, and publication.

  • Recreate Experiments from History: Inform the Future from the Past: Galileo

    2010 marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo's astonishing sightings of features on the moon, stars, and moons around Jupiter that no one had seen before. Recreate these new ways of seeing and exploring from the materials and techniques Galileo had on hand, while you reflect on the times and works of Galileo. What was it like to improvise new ways of seeing and exploring from the materials and techniques on hand? What do we notice? What surprises us? How can we relate to past experience and ideas? What are we curious to research? How does our experimenting grow into our learning? Let your own curiosity drive your explorations.

  • Relativism, Reason, and Reality

    Are moral standards relative to cultures and/or moral frameworks? Are there incompatible or non-comparable ways of thinking about the world that are somehow equally good? Is science getting closer to the truth? Is rationality--the notion of a good reason to believe something--relative to cultural norms? What are selves? Is there a coherent form of relativism about the self? Guided by the writings of Thomas Kuhn, Gilbert Harman, Judith Thomson, John Perry and Derek Parfit, we attempt to make these vague questions precise, and we make a start at answering them.

  • Renaissance Literature

    The Renaissance has justly become both famous and notorious as an age of discovery, and its voyages took place in many realms. This semester, we will read several history making narratives of early modern travel: first-hand accounts of discovery, captivity, conquest, or cultural encounter. As Europeans came to acquire experience of unfamiliar places, literary texts of the period began to assimilate this experience by describing imagined voyages across real or fantastic landscapes. Finally, voyages of exploration served Renaissance writers as a metaphor: for intellectual inquiry, for spiritual development, or for the pursuit of love. Among the literary genres sampled this semester will be sonnets, plays, prose narratives, utopias, and chivalric romance. Authors and travellers will include Francis Petrarch, Amerigo Vespucci, Thomas More, Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, Hernn Corts, John Donne, Francis Drake, Mary Rowlandson, Francis Bacon.

  • Rhetoric

    This course uses the study of rhetoric as an opportunity to offer instruction in critical thinking. Through extensive writing and speaking assignments, students will develop their abilities to analyze texts of all kinds and to generate original and incisive ideas of their own. Critical thinking and original analysis as expressed in writing and in speech are the paramount goals of this class. The course will thus divide its efforts between an examination of the subject matter and an examination of student writing and speaking, in order to encourage in both instances the principal aims of the course.

  • Rhetoric

    This course is an introduction to the theory, the practice, and the implications (both social and ethical) of rhetoric, the art and craft of persuasion. This semester, many of your skills will have the opportunity to be deepened by practice, including your analytical and critical thinking skills, your persuasive writing skills, and your oral presentation skills. In this course you will act as both a rhetor (a person who uses rhetoric) and as a rhetorical critic (one who studies the art of rhetoric). Both write to persuade; both ask and answer important questions. Always one of their goals is to create new knowledge for all of us, so no endeavor in this class is a "mere exercise."

  • Rhetoric: Rhetoric of Science

    This course is an introduction to the history, theory, practice, and implications of rhetoric, the art and craft of persuasion. This course specifically focuses on the ways that scientists use various methods of persuasion in the construction of scientific knowledge.

  • Riots, Strikes, and Conspiracies in American History

    This course uses readings and discussions to focus on a series of short-term events that shed light on American politics, culture, and social organization. It emphasizes finding ways to make sense of these complicated, highly traumatic events, and on using them to understand larger processes of change in American history. The class also gives students experience with primary documentation research through a term paper assignment.

  • Romantic Poetry

    This course examines readings of the major British Romantic poets (Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Scott, Shelley, and Keats) and important fiction writers (Mary Shelley and Walter Scott). Attention is also given to literary and historical contexts.

  • Science and Communication

    This seminar is intended to help students in the MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program develop a broader perspective on their thesis research by considering some aspects of science in the large. The first part of the course challenges students to develop a thoughtful view towards major questions in science that can be incorporated in their own research process, and that will help them articulate research findings. The second part of the course emphasizes science as a social process and the important roles of written and oral communication. This course is offered through The MIT/WHOI Joint Program. The MIT/WHOI Joint Program is one of the premier marine science graduate programs in the world. It draws on the complementary strengths and approaches of two great institutions: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

  • Science and Engineering Writing for Phase II

    21W.783 is a series of seminars focusing on common writing problems faced by professional engineers and scientists. Participants will tune up their writing skills and prepare a pair of technical documents under the guidance of the instructor. The writing assignments focus on a single topic of the student's choosing, preferably one for which the necessary research has been done, or is in the process of being done. In addition to the writing component, students will deliver an oral presentation based on the written work.

  • Science Communication: A Practical Guide

    This class develops the abilities of students to communicate science effectively in a variety of real-world contexts. It covers strategies for dealing with complex areas like theoretical physics, genomics and neuroscience, and addresses challenges in communicating about topics such as climate change and evolution. Projects focus on speaking and writing, being an expert witness, preparing briefings for policy-makers, writing blogs, and giving live interviews for broadcast, as well as the creation of an interactive exhibit for display in the MIT Museum.

  • Science Writing and New Media

    This course introduces writing, graphics, meetings, oral presentation, collaboration, and design as tools for product development. The communication instruction is embedded in design projects that require students to work in teams to conceive, design, prototype and evaluate energy related products. The communication instruction focuses on the communication tasks that are integral to this design process, ranging, across design notebooks, email communications, informal oral presentations, meeting etiquette, literature searches, white papers reports, and formal presentations. In addition to the assignments specific to product development, a few assignments, especially reading and reflection, will address the cultural situation of engineers and engineering in the world at large.

  • Script Analysis (Fall 2005)

    This class focuses on reading a script theatrically with a view to mounting a coherent production. Through careful, intensive reading of a variety of plays from different periods and different aesthetics, a pattern emerges for discerning what options exist for interpretating a script. Students discuss the consequences of those options for production.

  • Script Analysis (Fall 2011)

    This course focuses on reading a script theatrically with a view to mounting a coherent production. Through careful, intensive reading of a variety of plays from different periods and different aesthetics, a pattern emerges for discerning what options exist for interpretating a script. The Fall 2005 version of this course contains alternate readings and assignments sections.

  • Seminar in Ethnography and Fieldwork

    This advanced course in anthropology engages closely with discussions and debates about ethnographic research, ethics, and representation.

  • Seminar in Historical Methods (Spring 2002)

    This course is designed to introduce students to fundamental issues and debates in the writing of history. It will feature innovative historical accounts written in recent years. The class will consider such questions as the words historians use, their language, sources, methods, organization, framing, and style. How does the choice of each of these affect the historian's work? How does the author choose, analyze, and present evidence? How effective are different methodologies?

  • Seminar in Historical Methods (Spring 2003)

    This subject is designed to give 21H majors and minors an introduction to the methods that historians use to interpret the past. We will focus on two areas: archives and interpretation. In our work on archives, we will ask what constitutes an archive. We will visit one or two local archives, speak with archivists, and assemble our own archive related to life at MIT in 2003. Once we have a better understanding of the possibilities and limitations of historical archives, we will turn to the task of interpreting archival findings. We will discuss a series of readings organized around the theme of history and national identity in various parts of the world since the end of the eighteenth century.

  • Seminar in Historical Methods (Spring 2004)

    This course is designed to acquaint students with a variety of approaches to the past used by historians writing in the twentieth century. The books we read have all made significant contributions to their respective sub-fields and have been selected to give as wide a coverage in both field and methodology as possible in one semester's worth of reading. We examine how historians conceive of their object of study, how they use primary sources as a basis for their accounts, how they structure the narrative and analytic discussion of their topic, and what are the advantages and drawbacks of their various approaches.

  • Seminar on Politics and Conflict in the Middle East

    This course focuses on evolution of contemporary politics and economics. The subject is divided into four parts: 1. Context: historical and strategic perspectives, theoretical issues, and sources and forms of conflict; 2. Continuity: detailed analysis conflicts systems and their persistence, as well as regional competition and recent wars focusing on specific countries and cases; 3. Complexity: highlighting situation specific strategic gains and losses; and 4. Convergence: focusing future configurations of conflict and cooperation.Throughout the course, special attention is given to sources and transformations of power, population dynamics and migration, resources and energy, as well as implications of technological change.

  • Shakespeare

    Three hundred and eighty years after his death, William Shakespeare remains the central author of the English-speaking world; he is the most quoted poet and the most regularly produced playwright and now among the most popular screenwriters as well. Why is that, and who "is" he? Why do so many people think his writing is so great? What meanings did his plays have in his own time, and how do we read, speak, or listen to his words now? What should we watch for when viewing his plays in performance? Whose plays are we watching, anyway? We'll consider these questions as we carefully examine a sampling of Shakespeare's plays from a variety of critical perspectives.

  • Shakespeare, Film and Media

    Filmed Shakespeare began in 1899, with Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree performing the death scene from King John for the camera. Sarah Bernhardt, who had played Hamlet a number of times in her long career, filmed the duel scene for the Paris Exposition of 1900. In the era of silent film (1895-1929) several hundred Shakespeare films were made in England, France Germany and the United States, Even without the spoken word, Shakespeare was popular in the new medium. The first half-century of sound included many of the most highly regarded Shakespeare films, among them -- Laurence Olivier's Hamlet and Henry V, Orson Welles' Othello and Chimes at Midnight, Kurosawa's Throne of Blood, Polanski's Macbeth and Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet. We are now in the midst of an extremely rich and varied period for Shakespeare on film which began with the release of Kenneth Branagh's Henry V in 1989 and includes such films as Richard Loncraine's Richard III, Julie Taymor's Titus, Zeffirelli and Almereyda's Hamlet films, Baz Luhrmann's William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, and Shakespeare in Love. The phenomenon of filmed Shakespeare raises many questions for literary and media studies about adaptation, authorship, the status of "classic" texts and their variant forms, the role of Shakespeare in youth and popular culture, and the transition from manuscript, book and stage to the modern medium of film and its recent digitally inflected forms. Most of our work will involve individual and group analysis of the "film text" -- that is, of specific sequences in the films, aided by videotape, DVD, the Shakespeare Electronic Archive, and some of the software tools for video annoatation developed by the MIT Shakespeare Project under the MIT-Microsoft iCampus Initiative. We will study the films as works of art in their own right, and try to understand the means -- literary, dramatic, performative, cinematic -- by which they engage audiences and create meaning. With Shakespeare film as example, we will discuss how stories cross time, culture and media, and reflect on the benefits as well as the limitations of such migration. The class will be conducted as a structured discussion, punctuated by student presentations and "mini-lectures" by the instructor. Students will introduce discussions, prepare clips and examples, and the major "written" work will take the form of presentations to the class and multimedia annotations as well as conventional short essays. The methodological bias of the class is close "reading" of both text and film. This is a class in which your insights will form a major part of the work and will be the basis of a large fraction of class discussion. You will need to read carefully, to watch and listen to the films carefully, and develop effective ways of conveying your ideas to the class.

  • Small Wonders: Media, Modernity, and the Moment: Experiments in Time

    The "small wonders" to which our course will attend are moments of present time, depicted in the verbal and visual media of the modern age: newspapers, novels and stories, poems, photographs, films, etc. We will move between visual and verbal media across a considerable span of time, from eighteenth-century poetry and prose fiction to twenty-first century social networking and microblogging sites, and from sculpture to photography, film, and digital visual media. With help from philosophers, contemporary cultural historians, and others, we will begin to think about a media practice largely taken for granted in our own moment.

  • Small Wonders: Staying Alive

    This course closely examines a coherent set of short texts and/or visual works. The selections may be the shorter works of one or more authors (poems, short stories or novellas), or short films and other visual media. Additionally, we will focus on formal issues and thematic meditations around the title of the course "Staying Alive." Content varies from semester to semester.

  • Smashing the Iron Rice Bowl: Chinese East Asia

    This subject examines the experiences of ordinary Chinese people as they lived through the tumultuous changes of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We look at personal narratives, primary sources, films alongside a textbook to think about how individual and family lives connect with the broader processes of change in modern China. In the readings and discussions, you should focus on how major political events have an impact on the characters' daily lives, and how the decisions they make cause large-scale social transformation.

  • Social and Political Implications of Technology

    This course is a graduate reading seminar, in which historical and contemporary studies are used to explore the interaction of technology with social and political values. Emphasis is on how technological devices, structures, and systems influence the organization of society and the behavior of its members. Examples are drawn from the technologies of war, transportation, communication, production, and reproduction.

  • Social Movements in Comparative Perspective

    This course seeks to provide students with a general understanding of the form of collective action known as the social movement. Our task will be guided by the close examination of several twentieth century social movements in the United States. We will read about the U.S. civil rights, the unemployed workers', welfare rights, pro-choice / pro-life and gay rights movements. We will compare and contrast certain of these movements with their counterparts in other countries. For all, we will identify the reasons for their successes and failures.

  • Social Study of Science and Technology

    This course surveys canonical and recent theories and methods in science studies. We will organize our discussions around the concept of "reproduction," referring variously to: 1. Scientific reproduction (how results are replicated in lab, field, disciplinary contexts) 2. Social reproduction (how social knowledge and relations are regenerated over time) 3. Biological reproduction (how organic substance is managed in the genetic age) 4. Electronic reproduction (how information is reassembled in techniques of transcription, simulation, computation). Examining intersections and disruptions of these genres of reproduction, we seek to map relations among our social, biological, and electronic lives.

  • Social Theory and Analysis

    This course covers major theorists and theoretical schools since the late 19th century. Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Bourdieu, Levi-Strauss, Geertz, Foucault, Gramsci, and others.

  • Soviet Politics and Society, 1917-1991

    At its greatest extent the former Soviet Union encompassed a geographical area that covered one-sixth of the Earth's landmass. It spanned 11 time zones and contained over 100 distinct nationalities, 22 of which numbered over one million in population. In the 74 years from the October Revolution in 1917 to the fall of Communism in 1991, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, its leaders and its people, had to face a number of difficult challenges: the overthrow of the Tsarist autocracy, the establishment of a new state, four years of civil war, a famine, transition to a mixed economy, political strife after Lenin's death, industrialization, collectivization, a second famine, political Show Trials, World War II, post-war reconstruction and repression, the "Thaw" after Stalin's death, Khrushchev's experimentation, and Brezhnev's decline. Each of these challenges engendered new solutions and modifications in what can be loosely called the evolving "Soviet system."

  • Space Policy Seminar

    The seminar explores current issues in space policy as well as the historical roots for the issues. Emphasis on critical policy discussion combined with serious technical analysis. The range of issues covers national security space policy, civil space policy, as well as commercial space policy. Issues explored include: the GPS dilemma, the International Space Station choices, commercial launch from foreign countries, and the fate of satellite-based cellular systems.

  • Spanish Conversation and Composition

    A third-year intermediate course designed to improve speaking and writing, with opportunities for vocabulary acquisition, listening comprehension and reading practice as well. Uses literary and cultural readings, films, and group activities. Students give oral reports and participate in discussions and group projects.

  • Spanish for Bilingual Students

    Spanish for Bilingual Students is an intermediate course designed principally for heritage learners, but which includes other students interested in specific content areas, such as US Latino immigration, identity, ethnicity, education and representation in the media. Linguistic goals include vocabulary acquisition, improvement in writing, and enhancement of formal communicative skills.

  • Spanish I

    Spanish I is very different from other classes at MIT. The central component of the text and workbook is a series of 26 half-hour video episodes. The videos allow students to learn authentic Spanish and experience its cultural diversity while following a good story full of surprises and human emotions. Students also listen to an audio-only program integrated with the text and workbook. In the classroom, students do a variety of activities and exercises, which include talking in Spanish about the video program, practicing pronunciation and grammar, and interacting in Spanish with classmates in pairs and small groups. The class is conducted in Spanish as much as possible, but English is used where necessary for clarity and efficiency. This course deals with all basic language skills: aural comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. This class assumes no previous knowledge of Spanish.

  • Spanish II

    Spanish II continues to develop students' listening, speaking, reading and writing skills using the second part of the video-based program, Destinos, begun in Spanish I. Destinos is a soap opera that allows students to learn Spanish and experience its cultural diversity while following a good story full of surprises and human emotions. Spanish II also includes additional materials, such as Spanish films and other media, various types of reading selections and online resources.

  • Spanish III

    This course is the first intermediate-level course in Spanish, with a focus on grammar review, additional vocabulary, writing of essays in Spanish and enhancement of cultural awareness. Group activities and projects, and conversation are emphasized. There are detailed simulation activities, readings about literature and art from Latin America and Spain, activities with music videos and interviews, and viewings of recent films such as El espinazo del diablo, Juana la loca, and Mara llena eres de gracia. Students also participate in the MITUPV Exchange project, a multimedia-centered Web site that deals with university life at MIT, the Universidad Politcnica de Valencia in Spain, and other universities.

  • Spanish IV

    Spanish IV aims at developing and improving student's oral and written communication through the continued study of the language, literature and culture of Spain, Latin America and Hispanic communities in the United States. It also seeks to improve students' ability to read and appreciate literary and non-literary texts in Spanish, deepening this way students' awareness and understanding of the cultural diversity of the Spanish-speaking world. The course is organized by themes based on contemporary social, political and cultural issues of Spanish-speaking societies such as: cultural identity, the changing roles of women and family, economic development and its effects on cultural heritage and environment, and the individual's rights in the political system.

  • Speak Italian With Your Mouth Full

    The participants in this seminar will dive into learning basic conversational Italian, Italian culture, and the Mediterranean diet. Each class is based on the preparation of a delicious dish and on the bite-sized acquisition of parts of the Italian language and culture. A good diet is not based on recipes only, it is also rooted in healthy habits and in culture. At the end of the seminar the participants will be able to cook some healthy and tasty recipes and to understand and speak basic Italian.

  • Special Graduate Topic in Political Science: Political Behavior

    This graduate seminar provides an examination of mass and elite political behavior in the United States, with an emphasis on political participation, political inequality, elections, voting behavior, and political organizations.

  • Special Subject: The Rise of Film Noir

    This class explores the development of Hollywood Film Noir. There will be a focus on migr directors who moved to Hollywood when the Nazis rose to power. Assignments will include short response papers about three of the films in the series, and reports by students on examples of "neo-noir" films from recent decades.This course is offered during the Independent Activities Period (IAP), which is a special 4-week term at MIT that runs from the first week of January until the end of the month.

  • Special Topics in Cinematic Storytelling

    This seminar explores approaches to representation for distributed cinematic storytelling. The relationship between story creation and story appreciation is analyzed. Readings are drawn from literary and cinematic criticism, as well as from descriptions of interactive, distributed works. Students analyze a range of storytelling techniques; they develop a proposal using visualization techniques; and they prototype a working story experience, culminating in a final project displayed at the end of the semester.

  • Special Topics in Linguistics: Genericity

    This course will investigate the semantics of generic sentences, i.e., sentences that are used to talk about habits, tendencies, dispositions, or kinds. For instance: 1. Dogs are good pets. 2. The giant panda is an endangered species. 3. A soccer player makes lots of money. 4. Mary smokes after dinner. 5. This machine crushes oranges. This is a half-semester course.

  • Special Topics in Literature: Milton's \"Paradise Lost\"""

    In this 3-unit class, we will read Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost. The goal of the class is for students to come away feeling comfortable with its language and argument; meeting in a small group will also allow us to talk about the key questions and issues raised by the poem. This course is offered during the Independent Activities Period (IAP), which is a special 4-week term at MIT that runs from the first week of January until the end of the month.

  • Special Topics in Media Technology: Computational Semantics

    How do words get their meanings? How can word meanings be represented and used by machines? We will explore three families of approaches to these questions from a computational perspective. Relational / structural methods such as semantic networks represent the meaning of words in terms of their relations to other words. Knowledge of the world through perception and action leads to the notion of external grounding, a process by which word meanings are 'attached' to the world. How an agent theorizes about, and conceptualizes its world provides yet another foundation for word meanings. We will examine each of these perspectives, and consider ways to integrate them.

  • Speech Communication

    6.541J surveys the structural properties of natural languages, with special emphasis on the sound pattern. Topics covered include: representation of the lexicon; physiology of speech production; articulatory phonetics; acoustical theory of speech production; acoustical and articulatory descriptions of phonetic features and of prosodic aspects of speech; perception of speech; models of lexical access and of speech production and planning; and applications to recognition and generation of speech by machine, and to the study of speech disorders.

  • Studies in Drama: Stoppard and Churchill

    What is the interplay between an event and its "frames"? What is special and distinctive about stage events? How and why do contemporary dramatists turn back in time for their settings, models, and materials? How do they play with this material to create performance pieces of importance and delight for modern audiences? How do they create distinct, fresh perspectives using the stage in an era of mass and multi-media? What is the implied audience for these plays, and how does that clash or coincide with actual audience expectations and responses? What information do we "need to know," and what do we need to know that is not information? If words circulate, can meaning be stable? What is the relationship between pleasure and responsibility? What are the politics of stagecraft in our time? Is the theater really dead? What '60s pop song includes the previous question?Focusing on two of Britain's most respected and prolific contemporary dramatists, Caryl Churchill and Tom Stoppard, we will explore these and other questions involving literary history, interpretation, and performance. As well as carefully reading and discussing selected plays, the class will create (collectively) an archive of material to enrich our understanding of the texts and their contexts-a sort of "Notes Toward a Supreme OCW Site." (The last phrase is an example of citation la Stoppard; it may be just frivolous-or maybe not.)

  • Studies in Drama: Theater and Science in a Time of War

    This course explores the creation (and creativity) of the modern scientific and cultural world through study of western Europe in the 17th century, the age of Descartes and Newton, Shakespeare, Rembrandt and Molire. The class compares period thinking to present-day debates about the scientific method, art, religion, and society. This team-taught, interdisciplinary subject draws on a wide range of literary, dramatic, historical, and scientific texts and images, and involves theatrical experimentation as well as reading, writing, researching and conversing.

  • Studies in Drama: Too Hot to Handle: Forbidden Plays in Modern America

    Unlike film, theater in America does not have a ratings board that censors content. So plays have had more freedom to explore and to transgress normative culture. Yet censorship of the theater has been part of American culture from the beginning, and continues today. How and why does this happen, and who decides whether a play is too dangerous to see or to teach? Are plays dangerous? Sinful? Even demonic? In our seminar, we will study plays that have been censored, either legally or extra-legally (i.e. refused production, closed down during production, denied funding, or taken off school reading lists). We'll look at laws, both national and local, relating to the "obscene", as well as unofficial practices, and think about the way censorship operates in American life now. And of course we will study the offending texts, themselves, to find what is really dangerous about them, for ourselves.

  • Studies in Fiction: Rethinking the American Masterpiece

    What has been said of Moby-Dickthat it's the greatest novel no one ever readscould just as well be said of any number of American "classics" like The Scarlet Letter, Uncle Tom's Cabin, or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This course reconsiders a small number of nineteenth-century American novels by presenting each in a surprising context.

  • Studies in Fiction: Stowe, Twain, and the Transformation of 19th-Century America

    This seminar looks at two bestselling nineteenth-century American authors whose works made the subject of slavery popular among mainstream readers. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain have subsequently become canonized and reviled, embraced and banned by individuals and groups at both ends of the political and cultural spectrum and everywhere in between.

  • Studies in Film

    This course investigates relationships between two media, film and literature, studying works linked across the two media by genre, topic, and style. It aims to sharpen appreciation of major works of cinema and of literary narrative. The course explores how artworks challenge and cross cultural, political and aesthetic boundaries. It includes some attention to theory of narrative. Films to be studied include works by Akira Kurosawa, John Ford, Francis Ford Coppolla, Clint Eastwood, Orson Welles, Billy Wilder, and Federico Fellini, among others. Literary works include texts by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Honor de Balzac, Henry James and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

  • Studies in Literary History: Modernism: From Nietzsche to Fellini

    How do literature, philosophy, film and other arts respond to the profound changes in world view and lifestyle that mark the twentieth century? This course considers a broad range of works from different countries, different media, and different genres, in exploring the transition to a decentered "Einsteinian" universe.

  • Studies in Poetry - British Poetry and the Sciences of the Mind

    Do poems think? Recurrent images of the poet as an inspired lunatic, and of poetry as a fundamentally irrational art, have often fostered an understanding of poets and their work as generally extraneous to the work of the sciences. Yet poets have long reflected upon and have sought to embody in their work the most elementary processes of mind, and have frequently drawn for these representations on the very sciences to which they are thought to stand - and sometimes do genuinely stand - in opposition. Far from representing a mere departure from reason, then, the poem offers an image of the mind at work, an account of how minds work, a tool for eliciting thought in the reader or auditor. Bringing together readings in British poetry of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with writings from the emergent sciences of psychology and the physiology of the brain, this interdisciplinary course will explore the ways in which British poets, in years that witnessed the crucial development of these sciences, sought to capture an image of the mind at work. The primary aim of the course is to examine how several prominent genres of British poetry - the lyric, for instance, and the didactic poem - draw from and engage in this period with accounts of cognition within the sciences of psychology, physiology, and medicine. More broadly, the course aims to give undergraduates with some prior experience in the methods and topics of literary study an introduction to interdisciplinary humanistic research.

  • Studies in Poetry: \"Does Poetry Matter\"""

    The landscape we will explore is the troublesome one of the relevance, impact, and importance of poetry in a troubled modern world. We will read both poetry and prose by several substantial modern writers, each of whom confronted the question that is the subject's title.

  • Studies in Poetry: \"What's the Use of Beauty?\"""

    This course explores variations on the proposition that an adequate recognition of beauty could, however indirectly, make you a more humane person. Readings extend widely across literary and non-literary genres, including lyric poetry and the novel, philosophical prose and essays.

  • Studies in Poetry: 20th Century Irish Poetry: The Shadow of W. B. Yeats

    William Butler Yeats occupies a dominant position in the lives and work of the Irish poets who followed him. We will explore some of that poetry, and consider how later poets, especially female poets, tried to come to grips with, or escape from, that dominance. As a seminar, the subject will place special emphasis on student involvement and control. I will ask you to submit one ten-twelve page essay, two shorter (five page) essays, and to accept the role of "leadoff person," perhaps more than once, That role will demand that you choose from among the assigned readings for that session the poem we should focus upon, and to offer either a provocative articulation of what the poem is about, or a provocative question which the poem confronts, and which we should grapple with, as well.

  • Studies in Poetry: From the Sonneteers to the Metaphysicals

    This course introduces students to some of the most important practitioners of poetry in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England, locating them in their historical and social contexts. We will be emphasizing love poetry or amatory verse, by combining close reading of selected poems with an investigation of the contexts of English verse.

  • Studies in Poetry: Gender and Lyric -- Renaissance Men and Women Writing about Love

    The core of this seminar will be the great sequences of English love sonnets written by William Shakespeare, Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, and Mary Wroth. These poems cover an enormous amount of aesthetic and psychological ground: ranging from the utterly subjective to the entirely public or conventional, from licit to forbidden desires, they might also serve as a manual of experimentation with the resources of sound, rhythm, and figuration in poetry. Around these sequences, we will develop several other contexts, using both Renaissance texts and modern accounts: the Petrarchan literary tradition (poems by Francis Petrarch and Sir Thomas Wyatt); the social, political, and ethical uses of love poetry (seduction, getting famous, influencing policy, elevating morals, compensating for failure); other accounts of ideal masculinity and femininity (conduct manuals, theories of gender and anatomy); and the other limits of the late sixteenth century vogue for love poetry: narrative poems, pornographic poems, poems that don't work.

  • Survival Skills for Researchers: The Responsible Conduct of Research

    This course is designed to provide graduate students and postdoctoral associates with techniques that enhance both validity and responsible conduct in scientific practice. Lectures present practical steps for developing skills in scientific research and are combined with discussion of cases. The course covers study design, preparation of proposals and manuscripts, peer review, authorship, use of humans and non-human animals in research, allegations of misconduct, and intellectual property. Also discussed are mentoring relationships and career options. Aspects of responsible research conduct are integrated into lectures and case discussion as appropriate to the specific topic. This course also satisfies the training grant requirements of the NIH for education in the responsible conduct of research. Beginning in Spring 2004, this course will be titled "Survival Skills for Researchers: The Responsible Conduct of Research."

  • Sustainable Development: Theory and Policy

    This course examines alternative conceptions and theoretical underpinnings of the notion of "sustainable development." It focuses on the sustainability problems of industrial countries (i.e., aging of populations, sustainable consumption, institutional adjustments, etc.); and of developing states and economies in transition (i.e., managing growth, sustainability of production patterns, pressures of population change, etc.). It also explores the sociology of knowledge around sustainability, the economic and technological dimensions and institutional imperatives along with implications for political constitution of economic performance.

  • Syntactic Models

    This course presents a comparison of different proposed architectures for the syntax module of grammar. The subject traces several themes across a wide variety of approaches, with emphasis on testable differences among models. Models discussed include ancient and medieval proposals, structuralism, early generative grammar, generative semantics, government-binding theory/minimalism, LFG, HPSG, TAG, functionalist perspectives and others.

  • Techno-identity: Who we are and how we perceive ourselves and others

    The nature of human identity - how we think of ourselves, how we perceive others - is a mutable concept, changing with the rise and fall of religious beliefs, social mores, philosophical theories. Today, we live in a world in which science and technology are among the most powerful forces reshaping our culture - and thus our definitions and perceptions of identity. In this seminar, we will examine the impact of science and technology on identity. The instructor's course page may be viewed at http://smg.media.mit.edu/classes/IdentitySeminar/

  • Technologies of Humanism

    This course explores the properties of non-sequential, multi-linear, and interactive forms of narratives as they have evolved from print to digital media. Works covered in this course range from the Talmud, classics of non-linear novels, experimental literature, early sound and film experiments to recent multi-linear and interactive films and games. The study of the structural properties of narratives that experiment with digression, multiple points of view, disruptions of time, space, and of storyline is complemented by theoretical texts about authorship/readership, plot/story, properties of digital media and hypertext. Questions that will be addressed in this course include: How can we define non-sequentiality/multi-linearity, interactivity, narrative. To what extend are these aspects determined by the text, the reader, the digital format? What are the roles of the reader and the author? What kinds of narratives are especially suited for a non-linear/interactive format? Are there stories that can only be told in a digital format? What can we learn from early non-digital examples of non-linear and interactive story telling?

  • Technology and Change in Rural America

    This course considers the historical dimensions of rural production from subsistence to industrialization, both in America and in an international context, with an emphasis on the role of science and technology. Topics include changing notions of progress; emergence of genetics and its complex applications to food production; mechanization of both farm practices and the food industry; role of migrant labor; management theory and its impact on farm practice; role of federal governments and NGOs in production systems; women in food production systems; and the green revolution.

  • Technology and Gender in American History

    This course centers on the changing relationships between men, women, and technology in American history. Topics include theories of gender, technologies of production and consumption, the gendering of public and private space, men's and women's roles in science and technology, the effects of industrialization on sexual divisions of labor, gender and identity at home and at work.

  • Technology and Nature in American History

    This course considers how the visual and material world of "nature" has been reshaped by industrial practices, ideologies, and institutions, particularly in nineteenth- and twentieth-century America. Topics include land-use patterns; the changing shape of cities and farms; the redesign of water systems; the construction of roads, dams, bridges, irrigation systems; the creation of national parks; ideas about wilderness; and the role of nature in an industrial world. From small farms to suburbia, Walden Pond to Yosemite, we will ask how technological and natural forces have interacted, and whether there is a place for nature in a technological world.

  • Technology and the Literary Imagination

    Our linked subjects are (1) the historical process by which the meaning of technology has been constructed, and (2) the concurrent transformation of the environment. To explain the emergence of technology as a pivotal word (and concept) in contemporary public discourse, we will examine responses chiefly political and literary to the development of the mechanic arts, and to the linked social, cultural, and ecological transformation of 19th- and 20th-century American society, culture, and landscape.Note: In the interests of freshness and topicality we regard the STS.464 syllabus as sufficiently flexible to permit some mostly minor variations from year to year. One example of a different STS.464 syllabus can be found in STS.464 Cultural History of Technology, Spring 2005.

  • Technology in American History

    This course will consider the ways in which technology, broadly defined, has contributed to the building of American society from colonial times to the present. This course has three primary goals: to train students to ask critical questions of both technology and the broader American culture of which it is a part; to provide an historical perspective with which to frame and address such questions; and to encourage students to be neither blind critics of new technologies, nor blind advocates for technologies in general, but thoughtful and educated participants in the democratic process.

  • Technology in History

    Today many people assume that technological change is the major factor in historical change and that it tends to lead to historical progress. This class turns these assumptions into a questionwhat is the role of technology in history?by focusing on four key historical transitions: the human revolution (the emergence of humans as a history-making species), the Neolithic Revolution (the emergence of agriculture-based civilizations); the great leap in productivity (also known as the industrial revolution), and the great acceleration that has come with the rise of human empire on the planet. These topics are studied through a mix of textbook reading (David Christian's "Maps of Time"), supplementary readings (ranging from Auel, "The Clan of the Cave Bear" to Hersey, "Hiroshima"), illustrated lectures, class discussions, guest lectures/discussions, short "problem paper" assignments, and a final project defined by the student.Because MIT is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2011, this version of the class will also focus on connections between MIT as an institution and technology in the history of the last 150 years.

  • Territorial Conflict

    This graduate seminar introduces an emerging research program within International Relations on territorial conflict. While scholars have recognized that territory has been one of the most frequent issues over which states go to war, territorial conflicts have only recently become the subject of systematic study. This course will examine why territorial conflicts arise in the first place, why some of these conflicts escalate to high levels of violence and why other territorial disputes reach settlement, thereby reducing the likelihood of war. Readings in the course draw upon political geography and history as well as qualitative and quantitative approaches to political science.

  • Texts, Topics, and Times in German Literature

    In diesem Kurs erhalten Sie einen berblick ber einige wichtige literarische Texte, Tendenzen und Themen aus der deutschsprachigen Literatur- und Kulturszene. Wir werden literarische Texte, Gedichte, Theaterstcke und Essays untersuchen, sowie andere sthetische Formen besprechen, wie Film und Architektur. Da alle Texte gleichzeitig in ihrem spezifischen kulturellen Kontext gelesen werden, tragen sie zu einem Verstndnis von verschiedenen historischen Aspekten bei. Unter anderen werden folgende Themen und Fragestellungen besprochen: Technologie und deren Einfluss auf die Gesellschaft, Fragen der Ethik bei wissenschaftlicher Arbeit, Konstruktion von nationaler Geschichte und kollektivem Gedchtnis.

  • The Aerospace Industry

    This course meets weekly to discuss recent aerospace history and current events, in order to understand how they are responsible for the state of the aerospace industry. With invited subject matter experts participating in nearly every session, students have an opportunity to hone their insight through truly informed discussion. The aim of the course is to prepare junior and senior level students for their first industry experiences.

  • The Age of Reason: Europe from the 17th to the Early 19th Centuries

    This course asks students to consider the ways in which social theorists, institutional reformers, and political revolutionaries in the 17th through 19th centuries seized upon insights developed in the natural sciences and mathematics to change themselves and the society in which they lived. Students study trials, art, literature and music to understand developments in Europe and its colonies in these two centuries. Covers works by Newton, Locke, Voltaire, Rousseau, Marx, and Darwin.

  • The American Novel

    This course explores the metaphorical, historical, social, and psychological value of ghosts in the American novel. Using the theme of "haunting" as a flashpoint for class discussion and a thematic center for our readerly attention, this course examines the American novel in the context of the various histories which might be said to haunt fictional characters in the American novel, to haunt the American novel itself, and ultimately to haunt us: America's colonial past, its slave past, and other memorable and painful chapters in its past.

  • The American Novel: Stranger and Stranger

    This course covers works by major American novelists, beginning with the late 18th century and concluding with a contemporary novelist. The class places major emphasis on reading novels as literary texts, but attention is paid to historical, intellectual, and political contexts as well. The syllabus varies from term to term, but many of the following writers are represented: Rowson, Hawthorne, Melville, Twain, Wharton, James, and Toni Morrison. Previously taught topics include The American Revolution and Makeovers (i.e. adaptations and reinterpretation of novels traditionally considered as American "Classics"). May be repeated for credit with instructor's permission so long as the content differs.

  • The American Revolution

    This course is concerned primarily with the revolutionary origins of American government. Topics covered include: English and American backgrounds of the Revolution; issues and arguments in the Anglo-American conflict; colonial resistance and the beginnings of republicanism; the Revolutionary War; constitution writing for the states and nation; and effects of the American Revolution. Readings emphasize documents from the period--pamphlets, correspondence, the minutes or resolutions of resistance organizations, constitutional documents and debates.

  • The Ancient City

    This course focuses on the archaeology of the Greek and Roman city. It investigates the relationship between urban architecture and the political, social, and economic role of cities in the Greek and Roman world, by analyzing a range of archaeological and literary evidence relevant to the use of space in Greek and Roman cities (e.g. Athens, Paestum, Rome, Pompeii) and a range of theoretical frameworks for the study of ancient urbanism.

  • The Ancient World: Greece

    This course elaborates the history of Ancient Greece from the Bronze Age to the death of Alexander. It covers major social, economic, political, and religious trends. It also includes discussions on Homer, heroism, and the Greek identity; the hoplite revolution and the rise of the city-state; Herodotus, Persia, and the (re)birth of history; Empire, Thucydidean rationalism, and the Peloponnesian War; Platonic constructs; Aristotle, Macedonia, and Hellenism. Emphasis is on use of primary sources in translation.

  • The Ancient World: Rome

    This course elaborates the history of Rome from its humble beginnings to the fifth century A.D. The first half of the course covers Kingship to Republican form; the conquest of Italy; Roman expansion: Pyrrhus, Punic Wars and provinces; classes, courts, and the Roman revolution; Augustus and the formation of empire. The second half of the course covers Virgil to the Vandals; major social, economic, political and religious trends at Rome and in the provinces. Emphasis is placed on the use of primary sources in translation.

  • The Architecture of Cairo

    Cairo is the quintessential Islamic city. Founded in 634 at the strategic head of the Nile Delta, the city evolved from an Islamic military outpost to the seat of the ambitious Fatimid caliphate which flourished between the 10th and 12th century. Its most spectacular age, however, was the Mamluk period (1250-1517), when it became the uncontested center of a resurgent Islam and acquired an architectural character that symbolized the image of the Islamic city for centuries to come.Cairo today still shines as a cultural and political center in its three spheres of influence: the Arab world, Africa, and the Islamic world. Moreover, many of its monuments (456 registered by the 1951 Survey of the Islamic Monuments of Cairo) still stand, although they remain largely unknown to the worlds architectural community and their numbers are dwindling at an exceedingly alarming pace.

  • The Art of the Probable: Literature and Probability

    "The Art of the Probable" addresses the history of scientific ideas, in particular the emergence and development of mathematical probability. But it is neither meant to be a history of the exact sciences per se nor an annex to, say, the Course 6 curriculum in probability and statistics. Rather, our objective is to focus on the formal, thematic, and rhetorical features that imaginative literature shares with texts in the history of probability. These shared issues include (but are not limited to): the attempt to quantify or otherwise explain the presence of chance, risk, and contingency in everyday life; the deduction of causes for phenomena that are knowable only in their effects; and, above all, the question of what it means to think and act rationally in an uncertain world.Our course therefore aims to broaden students' appreciation for and understanding of how literature interacts with both reflecting upon and contributing to the scientific understanding of the world. We are just as centrally committed to encouraging students to regard imaginative literature as a unique contribution to knowledge in its own right, and to see literary works of art as objects that demand and richly repay close critical analysis. It is our hope that the course will serve students well if they elect to pursue further work in Literature or other discipline in SHASS, and also enrich or complement their understanding of probability and statistics in other scientific and engineering subjects they elect to take.

  • The Bible

    This course is an introduction to major books from both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. Particular attention has been given to literary techniques, issues resulting from translation from the original Hebrew and Greek, and the different historical periods that produced and are reflected in the Bible. Investigation of the Bible as influence in later narrative, philosophic, and artistic traditions.

  • The Civil War and Reconstruction

    Although attention will be devoted to the causes and long-term consequences of the Civil War, this class will focus primarily on the war years (1861-1865) with special emphasis on the military and technological aspects of the conflict. Four questions, long debated by historians, will receive close scrutiny: 1. What caused the war? 2. Why did the North win the war? 3. Could the South have won? 4. To what extent is the Civil War America's "defining moment"?

  • The Coming Years

    Explore the future through modeling, reading, and discussion in an open-ended seminar! Our fields of interest will include changes in science and technology, culture and lifestyles, and dominant paradigms and societies.

  • The Conquest of America

    In this course the conquest and colonization of the Americas is considered, with special attention to the struggles of native peoples in Guatemala, Canada, Brazil, Panama, and colonial New England. In two segments of the course-one devoted to the Jesuit missionization of the Huron in the 1630s, the other to struggles between the government of Panama and the Kuna between 1900 and 1925-students examine primary documents such as letters, reports, and court records, to draw their own conclusions. Attention focuses on how we know about and represent past eras and other peoples, as well as on the history of struggles between native Americans and Europeans.

  • The Creative Spark

    "Creative activity (isn't) the icing on the cake. Human creativity is the cake." (Jerry Hirschberg) Creativity - "the mastery of information and skills in the service of dreams" (Hirschberg) - is much prized in the arts, science, business and the classroom. What does the creative process look like? Under what conditions does it flourish - what ignites the creative spark? Attempting to answer these questions, this class explores ways creativity has been understood in Western culture: what we prize and fear about creativity and its wellsprings; how writers, artists, scientists and inventors have described their own creative processes; how psychologists and philosophers have theorized it; ways in which creativity has been represented in Western culture, particularly in 20th century films; and creativity in everyday life, including our own lives. Readings include portions of psychologist Rollo May's The Courage To Create, and essays by Joan Didion, John Updike, Alice Walker, Oliver Sacks, and others. In addition, we'll watch video profiles of choreographer Paul Taylor, architect Maya Lin, and jazz musician Dave Brubeck. We'll keep journals in which we note our own observations and reflections on creative process. We will also watch a film together as a class one evening early in the term.

  • The Economic History of Work and Family

    This course will explore the relation of women and men in both pre-industrial and modern societies to the changing map of public and private (household) work spaces, examining how that map affected their opportunities for both productive activity and the consumption of goods and leisure. The reproductive strategies of women, either in conjunction with or in opposition to their families, will be the third major theme of the course. We will consider how a place and an ideal of the "domestic" arose in the early modern west, to what extent it was effective in limiting the economic position of women, and how it has been challenged, and with what success, in the post-industrial period. Finally, we will consider some of the policy implications for contemporary societies as they respond to changes in the composition of the paid work force, as well as to radical changes in their national demographic profiles. Although most of the material for the course will focus on western Europe since the Middle Ages and on the United States, we will also consider how these issues have played themselves out in non-western cultures.

  • The Emergence of Europe: 500-1300

    This course surveys the social, cultural, and political development of western Europe between 500 and 1350. A number of topics are incorporated into the broad chronological sweep of the course, including: the Germanic conquest of the ancient Mediterranean world; the rise of a distinct northern culture and the Carolingian Renaissance; the emergence of feudalism and the breakdown of political order; contact with the Byzantine and Islamic East and the Crusading movement; the quality of religious life; the vitality of the high medieval economy and culture; and the catastrophes of the fourteenth century.

  • The Emergence of Modern America 1865-Present

    This subject studies the changing structure of American politics, economics, and society from the end of the Civil War to the present. We will consider secondary historical accounts and primary documents to examine some of the key issues in the development of modern America: industrialization and urbanization; U.S. emergence as a global power; ideas about rights and equality; and the changing structures of gender, class, and race. This subject also examines the multiple answers that Americans gave to the question of what it means to be an American in the modern age. As a communications intensive subject, students will be expected to engage intensively with the material through frequent oral and written exercises.

  • The Energy Crisis: Past and Present

    This course will explore how Americans have confronted energy challenges since the end of World War II. Beginning in the 1970s, Americans worried about the supply of energy. As American production of oil declined, would the US be able to secure enough fuel to sustain their high consumption lifestyles? At the same time, Americans also began to fear the environmental side affects of energy use. Even if the US had enough fossil fuel, would its consumption be detrimental to health and safety? This class examines how Americans thought about these questions in the last half-century. We will consider the political, diplomatic, economic, cultural, and technological aspects of the energy crisis. Topics include nuclear power, suburbanization and the new car culture, the environmental movement and the challenges of clean energy, the Middle East and supply of oil, the energy crisis of the 1970s, and global warming.

  • The History of Computing

    This course focuses on one particular aspect of the history of computing: the use of the computer as a scientific instrument. The electronic digital computer was invented to do science, and its applications range from physics to mathematics to biology to the humanities. What has been the impact of computing on the practice of science? Is the computer different from other scientific instruments? Is computer simulation a valid form of scientific experiment? Can computer models be viewed as surrogate theories? How does the computer change the way scientists approach the notions of proof, expertise, and discovery? No comprehensive history of scientific computing has yet been written. This seminar examines scientific articles, participants memoirs, and works by historians, sociologists, and anthropologists of science to provide multiple perspectives on the use of computers in diverse fields of physical, biological, and social sciences and the humanities. We explore how the computer transformed scientific practice, and how the culture of computing was influenced, in turn, by scientific applications.

  • The History of MIT

    This course examines the history of MIT through the lens of the broader history of science and technology, and vice versa. The course covers the founding of MIT in 1861 and goes through the present, including such topics as William Barton Rogers, educational philosophy, biographies of MIT students and professors, intellectual and organizational development, the role of science, changing laboratories and practices, and MIT's relationship with Boston, the federal government, and industry. Assignments include short papers, presentations, and final paper. A number of classes are concurrent with the MIT150 Symposia.

  • The Invention of French Theory: A History of Transatlantic Intellectual Life since 1945

    In the decades following the Second World War, a cluster of extraordinary French thinkers were widely translated and read in American universities. Their works were soon labeled as "French Theory." Why would sharing the same nationality make authors such as Lacan, Cixous, Derrida, Foucault or Debord, ambassadors of a specifically "French" theory? The course will explore the maze of transatlantic intellectual debates since 1945 and the heyday of French existentialism. We will study the debates on communism, decolonization, neo?liberalism, gender, youth culture and mass media. This course is taught in English.

  • The Lexicon and Its Features

    This course provides an overview of the distinctive features which distinguish sound categories of languages of the world. Theories which relate these categories to their acoustic and articulatory correlates, both universally and in particular languages, are covered. Models of word recognition by listeners, features, and phonological structure are also discussed. In addition, the course offers a variety of perspectives on these issues, drawn from Electrical Engineering, Linguistics and Cognitive Science.

  • The Making of a Roman Emperor

    Focusing on the emperors Augustus and Nero, this course investigates the ways in which Roman emperors used art, architecture, coinage and other media to create and project an image of themselves, the ways in which the surviving literary sources from the Roman period reinforced or subverted that image, and the ways in which both phenomena have contributed to post-classical perceptions of Roman emperors. Material studied will include the art, architecture, and coinage of Augustan and Neronian Rome, the works of Suetonius and Tacitus, and modern representations of the emperors such as those found in I, Claudius and Quo Vadis.

  • The Making of Modern South Asia

    Survey of Indian civilization from 2500 BC to present-day. Traces major political events as well as economic, social, ecological, and cultural developments. Primary and secondary readings enhance understanding of this unique civilization, and shape and improve understanding in analyzing and interpreting historical data. Examines major thematic debates in Indian history through class discussion.

  • The Making of Russia in the Worlds of Byzantium, Mongolia, and Europe

    Medieval and early modern Russia stood at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. In this course we will examine some of the native developments and foreign influences which most affected the course of Russian history. Particular topics include the rise of the Kievan State, the Mongol Yoke, the rise of Muscovy, Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, relations with Western Europe. How did foreigners perceive Russia? How did those living in the Russian lands perceive foreigners? What social relations were developing between nobility and peasantry, town and country, women and men? What were the relations of each of these groups to the state? How did state formation come about in Kievan and Muscovite Russia? What were the political, religious, economic, and social factors affecting relations between state and society? In examining these questions we will consider a variety of sources including contemporary accounts (both domestic and foreign), legal and political documents, historical monographs and interpretive essays.

  • The Middle East in 20th Century

    This course explores the 20th-century history of the Middle East, concentrating on the Fertile Crescent, Egypt, Turkey, the Arabian peninsula, and Iran. We will begin by examining the late Ottoman Empire and close with the events of 9/11 and their aftermath. Readings will include historical surveys, novels, and primary source documents.

  • The Nature of Constructionist Learning

    This course examines the philosophical and theoretical foundations of constructionism as a paradigm for formulating and evaluating new theories for learning and approaches to education. One of the goals of this course is to help new learning researchers situate their work within the constructionist framework through readings and projects that will focus on the rich interplay between the process of knowledge construction and the development and co-evolution of ideas, learners, tools, and contexts.

  • The Nature of Creativity

    This course is an introduction to problems about creativity as it pervades human experience and behavior. Questions about imagination and innovation are studied in relation to the history of philosophy as well as more recent work in philosophy, affective psychology, cognitive studies, and art theory. Readings and guidance are aligned with the student's focus of interest.

  • The New Spain: 1977-Present

    In this class we will come to understand the vast changes in Spanish life that have taken place since Franco's death in 1975. We will focus on the new freedom from censorship, the re-emergence of movements for regional autonomy, the new cinema, reforms in education and changes in daily life: sex roles, work, and family that have occurred in the last decade. In so doing, we will examine myths that are often considered commonplaces when describing Spain and its people.

  • The Once and Future City

    What is a city? What shapes it? How does its history influence future development? How do physical form and institutions vary from city to city and how are these differences significant? How are cities changing and what is their future? This course will explore these and other questions, with emphasis upon twentieth-century American cities. A major focus will be on the physical form of cities - from downtown and inner-city to suburb and edge city - and the processes that shape them. The class Web site can be found here: The City.

  • The Places of Migration in United States History

    This course examines the history of the United States as a "nation of immigrants" within a broader global context. It considers migration from the mid-19th century to the present through case studies of such places as New York's Lower East Side, South Texas, Florida, and San Francisco's Chinatown. It also examines the role of memory, media, and popular culture in shaping ideas about migration. The course includes optional field trip to New York City.

  • The Renaissance, 1300-1600

    The "Renaissance" as a phenomenon in European history is best understood as a series of social, political, and cultural responses to an intellectual trend which began in Italy in the fourteenth century. This intellectual tendency, known as humanism, or the studia humanitatis, was at the heart of developments in literature, the arts, the sciences, religion, and government for almost three hundred years. In this class, we will highlight the history of humanism, but we will also study religious reformations, high politics, the agrarian world, and European conquest and expansion abroad in the period.

  • The Rise and Fall of Democracy/ Regime Change

    Coups, civil wars, revolutions, and peaceful transitions are the "real stuff" of political science. They show us why politics matters, and they highlight the consequences of political choices in times of institutional crisis. This course will help you understand why democracies emerge and why they die, from ancient times to the recent wave of democratization in Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, and the developing world. Few things are more dramatic than the collapse of a political system, whether through violent conflict or the peaceful negotiation of new political institutions. Explaining why regimes break down, why new ones emerge, and how these new regimes are consolidated are among the most important questions in political science. Not surprisingly, regime change has obsessed scholars for centuries, from Aristotle to Machiavelli to Marx to current theorists of democratization. You will review several broad explanations for regime change before turning to more detailed examination of some of history's most famous and theoretically interesting political transitions: the collapse of the Weimar Republic in Germany; democratic breakdown, the consolidation of military dictatorship, and re-democratization in Chile; the breakdown of British colonial rule in the Massachussets Bay Colony; and protracted political transition in Mexico. There will be shorter discussions of democratization in Spain, South Africa, and South Korea; as well as democratic collapse in Brazil, Austria, and Italy.

  • The Rise of Modern Science

    This subject introduces the history of science from antiquity to the present. Students consider the impact of philosophy, art, magic, social structure, and folk knowledge on the development of what has come to be called "science" in the Western tradition, including those fields today designated as physics, biology, chemistry, medicine, astronomy and the mind sciences. Topics include concepts of matter, nature, motion, body, heavens, and mind as these have been shaped over the course of history. Students read original works by Aristotle, Vesalius, Newton, Lavoisier, Darwin, Freud, and Einstein, among others.

  • The Royal Family

    This course is an an exploration of British culture and politics, focusing on the changing role of the monarchy from the accession of the House of Hanover (later Windsor) in 1714 to the present. The dynasty has encountered a series of crises, in which the personal and the political have been inextricably combined: for example, George III's mental illness; the scandalous behavior of his son, George IV; Victoria's withdrawal from public life after the death of Prince Albert; the abdication of Edward VIII; and the public antagonism sparked by sympathy for Diana, Princess of Wales.

  • The Science Essay (Spring 2008)

    Did Ben Franklin really fly that kite? What are the ethical dimensions of the creation of chimerasand what should the public know in order to take part in the conversation about them? Is the science of nutrition really science? How did the technology of birth control end up in the delivery system that we know as "the pill"? Is it possible to time traveland why would scientists even spend time thinking about it? In this class we celebrate, analyze and practice the art of writing about science for the general public. We read and write humanities-style essays about the intersections among science, technology, and life. Students draw on their own interests and ideas to write essays of substance and grace that focus on science and technology.We'll read models of a variety of approaches to the science essay, including essays by Alan Lightman, Malcolm Gladwell, Elizabeth Kolbert, Oliver Sacks and others, noting in particular how they bring scientific ideas to life for readers. Topics for discussion will include the challenge of explaining scientific concepts; the "personal realm" (Kanigel) of science; myth vs. science; fairness and objectivity in scientific writing; and the "non-quantifiable considerations" (Collini) that are necessarily part of conversations about science. Students will write 5 essays, revising 4 of them, and polishing (re-revising). The class will also have a service learning component, in which MIT students work with a local high school class. Note: this is not a technical writing class.

  • The Science Essay (Spring 2009)

    The science essay uses science to think about the human condition; it uses humanistic thinking to reflect on the possibilities and limits of science and technology. In this class we read and practice writing science essays of varied lengths and purposes. We will read a wide variety of science essays, ranging across disciplines, both to learn more about this genre and to inspire your own writing. This semester's reading centers on "The Dark Side," with essays ranging from Alan Lightman's "Prisoner of the Wired World" through Robin Marantz Henig's cautionary account of nano-technology ("Our Silver-Coated Future") to David Quammen's investigation of diseases that jump from animals to humans ("Deadly Contact").

  • The Supernatural in Music, Literature and Culture

    This class explores the relationship between music and the supernatural, focusing on the social history and context of supernatural beliefs as reflected in key literary and musical works from 1600 to the present. Provides a better understanding of the place of ambiguity and the role of interpretation in culture, science and art. Explores great works of art by Shakespeare, Verdi, Goethe (in translation), Gounod, Henry James and Benjamin Britten. Readings will also include selections from the most recent scholarship on magic and the supernatural. Writing assignments will range from web-based projects to analytic essays. No previous experience in music is necessary. Projected guest lectures, musical performances, field trips.

  • The Supreme Court, Civil Liberties, and Civil Rights

    This course introduces students to the work of the Supreme Court and to the main outlines of American constitutional law, with an emphasis on the development of American ideas about civil rights. The goal of the course is to provide students with a framework for understanding the major constitutional controversies of the present day through a reading of landmark Supreme Court cases and the public debates they have generated. The principal topics are civil liberties in wartime, race relations, privacy rights, and the law of criminal procedure.

  • The World Since 1492 (Fall 2004)

    This class offers a look into the last five hundred years of world history. Rather than attempt an exhaustive chronology of everything that has occurred on the globe since 1492 - an impossible task for a lifetime, let alone a single semester - we will be focusing on certain geographic areas at specific times, in order to highlight a particular historical problem or to examine the roots of processes that have had an enormous impact on the contemporary world.

  • The World Since 1492 (Spring 2003)

    This course explores the last 500 years of world history. Rather than trying to cover all regions for all periods of time, we will focus on four related themes: the struggles between Europeans and colonized peoples; the global formation of capitalist economies and industrialization; the emergence of modern states; and the development of the tastes and disciplines of bourgeois society. Note: This course is based on a model developed by Professor Daniel Segal of Pitzer College.

  • Theater and Cultural Diversity in the U.S.

    This course explores contemporary American theatrical expression as it may be organized around issues of gender and cultural identity. This exploration will include the analysis of performances, scripts, and video documentation, as well as the invention of original documents of theatrical expression. Class lectures and discussions will analyze samples of Native American, Chicano, African American, and Asian American theater, taking into consideration the historical and political context for the creation of these works. Performance exercises will help students identify theatrical forms and techniques used by these theaters, and how these techniques contribute to the overall goals of specific theatrical expressions.

  • Theories and Methods in the Study of History

    We will doggedly ask two questions in this class: "What is history?" and "How do you do it in 2010?" In pursuit of the answers, we will survey a variety of approaches to the past used by historians writing in the last several decades. We will examine how these historians conceive of their object of study, how they use primary sources as a basis for their accounts, how they structure the narrative and analytical discussion of their topic, and the advantages and limitations of their approaches.

  • Theory and Method in the Study of Architecture and Art

    This seminar is open to graduate students, and is intended to offer a synoptic view of selected methodologies and thinkers in art history (with some implications for architecture). It is a writing-intensive class based on the premise that writing and editing are forms of critical thinking. The syllabus outlines the structure of the course and the readings and assignments for each week. The discipline of art history periodically surges into "crisis." The demise of formalism as a guiding tenet, or connoisseurial appreciation as a general guide, plunged the field into confusion during the 1970s when the battle raged over "social histories of art" or "revisionism;" in the late 1990s the debate was staged between "visual studies" versus "normative art history." The course takes this confusion as itself worthy of study, and seeks to make available some of the new methodologies that have emerged over the past two decades. The ultimate goal is to bring students closer to discovering their own individual methods and voices as writers of art historical prose. In broader terms, we will attempt to understand the historiography of visual art and images more broadly. Our efforts will be predicated on the conviction that art history can serve as a generative discipline for all humanistic disciplines, and even those that style themselves as "Bildwissenschaft" (or "image-science").

  • Theory and Practice of Non-linear and Interactive Narrative

    This class covers a range of topics including hypertext, interactive cinema, games, installation art, and soundscapes. It examines the potential for dynamic narrative in traditional media like novels and films and as well as in computer-based stories and games. The course focuses on the creation of electronic stories and games using simple authoring systems and multimedia software tools. Students present and constructively critique one another's work in progress in a workshop setting aimed at expanding the representational powers of a new creative medium.

  • Theory of Knowledge

    This course focuses on the study of problems concerning our concept of knowledge, our knowledge of the past, our knowledge of the thoughts and feelings of ourselves and others, and our knowledge of the existence and properties of physical objects in our immediate environment.

  • Topics in Indian Popular Culture: Spectacle, Masala, and Genre

    This course aims to provide an overview of Indian popular culture over the last two decades, through a variety of material such as popular fiction, music, television and Bombay cinema. The class will explore major themes and their representations in relation to current social and political issues. In particular, students will examine the elements of the formulaic "masala movie", music and melodrama, the ideas of nostalgia and incumbent change in youth culture, as well as shifting questions of gender and sexuality in popular fiction. During the course, students will look at some journalistic writing, advertising clips and political cartoons to understand the relation between the popular culture and the social imagery of a nation. This course is taught in English.

  • Topics in Linguistic Theory: Laboratory Phonology

    The goal of this course is to prepare you to engage in experimental investigations of questions related to linguistic theory, focusing on phonetics and phonology.

  • Topics in Linguistic Theory: Propositional Attitudes

    This course explores topics related to the representation and expression of propositional attitudes (e.g. belief, knowledge, and desires) and speech acts (e.g. saying and asking) in natural language. The main focus will be on semantics of predicates such as believe, know, want, say, ask, etc. Other topics will include the syntax of main and embedded clauses and formal representation of the pragmatics of conversation. The course provides practice in written and oral communication.

  • Topics in Linguistics Theory

    I realize that "Modes of Assertion" is a rather cryptic title for the course. What we will explore are ways of modulating the force of an assertion. This will engage us in formal semantics and pragmatics, the theory of speech acts and performative utterances, and quite a bit of empirical work on a not-too-well understood complex of data. "It is obvious that he made a big mistake." If you're like me you didn't feel much of a difference. But now see what happens when you embed the two sentences: "We have to fire him, because he obviously made a big mistake." "We have to fire him, because it is obvious that he made a big mistake." One of the two examples is unremarkable, the other suggests that the reason he needs to be fired is not that he made a big mistake but the fact that it is obvious that he did. We will try to understand what is going on here and look at related constructions not just in English but also German (with its famous discourse particles like ja) and Quechua and Tibetan (with their systems of evidentiality-marking, as recently studied in dissertations from Stanford and UCLA).

  • Topics in Linguistics: Creole Languages and Caribbean Identities

    The Creole languages spoken in the Caribbean are linguistic by-products of the historical events triggered by colonization and the slave trade in Africa and the "New World". In a nutshell, these languages are the results of language acquisition in the specific social settings defined by the history of contact between African and European peoples in 17th-/18th-century Caribbean colonies. One of the best known Creole languages, and the one with the largest community of speakers, is Haitian Creole. Its lexicon and various aspects of its grammar are primarily derived from varieties of French as spoken in 17th-/18th-century colonial Haiti. Other aspects of its grammar seem to have emerged under the influence of African languages, mostly from West and Central Africa. And yet other properties seem to have no analogues in any of the source languages. Through a sample of linguistic case studies focusing on Haitian Creole morphosyntax, we will explore creolization from a cognitive, historical and comparative perspective. Using Haitian Creole and some of its Caribbean congeners as test cases, we will evaluate various hypotheses about the development of Creole languages and about the role of first- and second-language acquisition in such development. We will also explore the concept of Creolization in its non-linguistic senses. Then we will address questions of "Caribbean identities" by examining a sample of Creole speakers' attitudes toward the Creole language and the corresponding European language and toward the African and European components of their ethnic make-up.

  • Topics in Philosophy of Language: Modeling Representation

    The seminar will be devoted to understanding what we're up to when we ascribe contents to a person's assertions and mental attitudes. We seek to make clear the rules of the game for the philosophy of language. We'll survey classic discussions of the issue by Field, Lewis and Stalnaker. But much of the emphasis of the class will be on getting clear about the limitations of our theoretical tools. I'd like to focus on places where our theorizing runs into trouble, or breaks down altogether.

  • Topics in Philosophy of Language: Vagueness

    The objective of the graduate-level course is to give people a sense of what "accounting for vagueness" is all about, why it's hard, and why it's important. This will involve surveying some prominent accounts of vagueness.

  • Topics in Philosophy of Mind: Perceptual Experience

    This course is a survey of recent philosophy of perception. The main topics discussed are the following: the transparency of perceptual experience, disjunctivism, the content of perceptual experience, perceptual consciousness, thought ownership and thought disorders (focussing on schizophrenia), introspection, and the perception of sound. Questions raised by these topics include "In what way is imagination distinct from perception?", "Is there a perceptual relation?", "What is the view that perceptual experiences have representational content?", "In what way is introspection distinct from perception?", "What does the phenomenon of 'thought insertion' show about the ownership of thoughts?", and "What is a sound?". We explore these topics through reading, writing, and presentations by the instructors and guests.

  • Topics in Philosophy of Mind: Self-Knowledge

    This is a seminar on "self-knowledge" -- knowledge of one's own mental states. In addition to reading some of the classic papers on self-knowledge, we will look at some very recent work on the topic. There will be no lectures. Each week I will spend half an hour or so introducing the assigned reading, and the rest of the time will be devoted to discussion.

  • Topics in Philosophy of Science: Social Science

    This course offers an advanced survey of current debates about the ontology, methodology, and aims of the social sciences.

  • Topics in Philosophy: David Lewis

    The class will be devoted to the work of David Lewis, one of the most exciting and influential philosophers of the late twentieth century. We will have seminar-style discussions about his work on counterfactuals, time, causation, probability, and decision-theory.

  • Topics in Phonology

    This course introduces students to the theory and practice of modeling phonology, with an empirical focus on modeling the discovery of static phonotactics, the discovery of alternations, learning in the midst of variation and exceptions, and the discovery of gradient patterns. This course is also intended to provide hands-on experience with various aspects of using and developing models, including preparing training data, running simulations, and interpreting their results.

  • Topics in Phonology: Phonetic Realization

    Many details of phonetic realization cannot be predicted from standard phonological representations on a language-independent basis, so phonetic realization must be specified in grammar. In this seminar we will investigate phonetic realization as a component of grammar. The basic questions that we will address are: * What is the form of the phonetic realization component? * What is its relationship to phonology?

  • Topics in Semantics

    This seminar will investigate the expression of gradability, comparison and degree in natural language. The course will address the following major issues, though we may also include other topics according to the interests and direction of the class: * The underlying semantic representation of expressions of degree and the linguistic significance of scalar representations * The logical form of comparative constructions, and the implications of comparatives for other aspects of the grammar * The semantics of degree and the role of scalar representations in grammatical categories other than gradable adjectives

  • Topics in South Asian Literature and Culture

    This subject aims to provide an overview of contemporary texts in regional languages in South Asian Literature and Cinema. We will cover major authors and film makers, writing from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Within India, we will look at authors and directors working in different regional languages and as we examine their different socio-cultural, political and historical contexts we will attempt to understand what it means to study them under the all-unifying category of "South Asian Literature and Culture". Some of the major issues we shall explore include caste, gender, globalization and social change. We will end with exploring some of the newer, younger writers and directors and try to analyze some of the thematic and formal shifts in their work. Authors include Ashapurna Devi, Manto, Vijayan, Premchand, Mohanty, and Nasreen and film makers will include Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Satyajit Ray, Shyam Benegal, Aparna Sen and Rituporno Ghosh.

  • Topics in the Avant-Garde in Literature and Cinema

    21F.031 examines the terms "avant garde" and "Kulturindustrie" in French and German culture of the early twentieth century. Considering the origins of these concepts in surrealist and dadaist literature, art, and cinema, the course then expands to engage parallel formations across Europe, particularly in the former Soviet Union. Emphasis on the specific historical conditions that enabled these interventions. Guiding questions are these: What was original about the historical avant-garde? What connections between art and revolution did avant-garde writers and artists imagine? What strategies did they deploy to meet their modernist imperatives? To what extent did their projects maintain a critical stance towards the culture industry?Surveying key interventions in the fields of poetry, painting, sculpture, photography, film, and music, the readings also include signal moments in critical thought of the last century. Figures to be considered are: Adorno, Aragon, Bataille, Beckett, Brecht, Breton, Brger, Duchamp, Eisenstein, Ernst, Jnger, Greenberg, Kandinsky, Malevich, Mayakovsky, and Tzara. Taught in English, but students are encouraged to consult original sources when possible.

  • Topics in the History of Philosophy: Kant

    In this course we shall study the Critique of Pure Reason with special focus on questions about idealism, about our ignorance of things in themselves, and about what, if anything, idealism has to do with this kind of ignorance. Along the way we shall consider Kant's distinctive account of space, matter, and force, all of which had a significant role to play in his own philosophy, and in the historical evolution of field theory. In the last part of the course we shall look at an alternative, and unorthodox, interpretation of Kant's distinction between phenomena and things in themselves (as argued for in my own book, Kantian Humility).

  • Topics in Theory of Knowledge: A Priori Knowledge

    The seminar will explore the phenomenon of a priori knowledge. We'll consider some notable attempts to account for a priori knowledge in the history of philosophy (e.g., by Plato, Descartes, Hume, and Kant), some influential critiques of the notion; we will end by considering some contemporary approaches to the a priori.

  • Toward the Scientific Revolution

    This subject traces the evolution of ideas about nature, and how best to study and explain natural phenomena, beginning in ancient times and continuing through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. A central theme of the subject is the intertwining of conceptual and institutional relations within diverse areas of inquiry: cosmology, natural history, physics, mathematics, and medicine.

  • Tragedy

    "Tragedy" is a name originally applied to a particular kind of dramatic art and subsequently to other literary forms; it has also been applied to particular events, often implying thereby a particular view of life. Throughout the history of Western literature it has sustained this double reference. Uniquely and insistently, the realm of the tragic encompasses both literature and life. Through careful, critical reading of literary texts, this subject will examine three aspects of the tragic experience: 1. the scapegoat 2. the tragic hero 3. the ethical crisis These aspects of the tragic will be pursued in readings that range in the reference of their materials from the warfare of the ancient world to the experience of the modern extermination camps.

  • Transcribing Prosodic Structure of Spoken Utterances with ToBI

    This course presents a tutorial on the ToBI (Tones and Break Indices) system, for labelling certain aspects of prosody in Mainstream American English (MAE-ToBI). The course is appropriate for undergrad or grad students with background in linguistics (phonology or phonetics), cognitive psychology (psycholinguistics), speech acoustics or music, who wish to learn about the prosody of speech, i.e. the intonation, rhythm, grouping and prominence patterns of spoken utterances, prosodic differences that signal meaning and phonetic implementation.

  • Trials in History

    This seminar examines a number of famous trials in European and American history. It considers the salient issues (political, social, cultural) of several trials, the ways in which each trial was constructed and covered in public discussions at the time, the ways in which legal reasoning and storytelling interacted in each trial and in the later retellings of the trial, and the ways in which trials serve as both spectacle and a forum for moral and political reasoning. Students have an opportunity to study one trial in depth and present their findings to the class.

  • Twentieth and Twentyfirst-Century Spanish American Literature

    Este semestre la materia combina obras ya canonizadas de finales del siglo XIX y del XX con algunas obras de reciente aparicin. De los gneros literarios, vemos poesa, el cuento corto, la novela y la autobiografa. Tambin vemos una pelcula de tema ficticio y dos documentales. El estudiante que se interese por hacerlo puede usar los materiales en la Reserva y en la red para familiarizarse con la historia literaria y cinematogrfica de este perodo. Nuestro enfoque principal, sin embargo, ser leer bien y de modo analtico, textos literarios de diferentes momentos histricos y culturas nacionales (e internacionales). Aunque discutiremos analticamente las tres pelculas, su inters principal para nosotros ser, en un caso, conocer el argumento ideolgico de una novela muy famosa e influyente que, por falta de tiempo, no vamos a poder leer en sus totalidad, y en los dos otros casos, para contextualizar una autobiografa y tener un punto de comparacin para estudiar cmo se puede reconstruir la memoria simultneamente individual y colectiva. Otros temas, que se estudiarn en varias obras, sern el bilingismo (espaol/ingls) en ciertos escritores hispanoamericanos contemporneos, y el auge de la novela best seller en la Amrica Hispana.

  • Undergraduate Thesis for Course 2-A

    This course is taken by mechanical engineering majors during their senior year to prepare a detailed thesis proposal under the guidance of staff from the Writing Program. The thesis proposal must bear the endorsement of the thesis supervisor and indicate the number of units planned. This course is offered during the Independent Activities Period (IAP), which is a special 4-week term at MIT that runs from the first week of January until the end of the month.

  • Understanding Television

    The subtitle of this course for the spring 2003 term is "American Television: A Cultural History." The class takes a cultural approach to television's evolution as a technology and system of representation, considering television as a system of storytelling and myth-making, and as a cultural practice, studied from anthropological, literary, and cinematic perspectives. The course focuses on prime-time commercial broadcasting, the medium's technological and economic history, and theoretical perspectives. There is much required viewing as well as readings in media theory and cultural interpretation.

  • Urbanization and Development

    The course examines the causes and effects of rapid urbanization in developing countries. Using case studies from the world's four major developing regions, including (among others) Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Managua, Singapore, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Kabul, Beirut, Cairo, Kinshasa, Cape Town and Johannesburg, it explores the economic and political dynamics that grease the wheels of contemporary patterns of growth. In addition to examining both local and transnational forces that drive contemporary urbanization, the course focuses on key issues that emerge in rapidly growing cities of the developing world, ranging from growing income inequality and socio-economic exclusion, environmental challenges, and rising violence. Class sessions are discussion-based and focus on a critical analysis of the arguments presented in the readings.

  • Victorian Literature and Culture

    The course covers British literature and culture during Queen Victoria's long reign, 1837-1901. This was the brilliant age of Charles Dickens, the Bronts, Lewis Carroll, George Eliot, Robert Browning, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling, Alfred, Lord Tennyson and many others. It was also the age of urbanization, steam power, class conflict, Darwin, religious crisis, imperial expansion, information explosion, bureaucratization and much more.

  • Violence, Human Rights, and Justice

    This course examines the contemporary problem of political violence and the way that human rights have been conceived as a means to protect and promote freedom, peace and justice for citizens against the abuses of the state.

  • Visual Histories: German Cinema 1945 to Present

    This course is an invitation to German film-making since the end of the Second World War. We investigate how German cinema captured the atmosphere of the immediate post-war years and discuss extensively major works of the "New German Cinema" of the Sixties and Seventies. We also look at examples of East Germany's film production and finally observe the very different roads German cinema has been taking from the 1990's into the present.

  • War & American Society

    Writing in the wake of the Civil War, poet Walt Whitman insisted that "the real war will never get in the books." Throughout American history, the experience of war has fundamentally shaped the ways that Americans think about themselves, their fellow Americans, and the meanings of national citizenship. War has also posed challenges of representation, both for those who fought as well as those who did not. This subject examines how Americans have told the stories of modern war in history, literature, and popular culture, and interprets them in terms of changing ideas about American national identity.

  • Women in South Asia from 1800 to Present

    This course is designed to introduce and help students understand the changes and continuities in the lives of women in South Asia from a historical perspective. Using gender as a lens of examining the past, we will examine how politics of race, class, caste and religion affected and continue to impact women in South Asian countries, primarily in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. We will reflect upon current debates within South Asian women's history in order to examine some of the issues and problems that arise in re-writing the past from a gendered perspective and these are found in primary documents, secondary readings, films, newspaper articles, and the Internet.

  • Women's Novels: A Weekly Book Club

    This pass/fail seminar should be a fun setting where we can all enjoy a love of good books together. Students will read approximately one novel every two weeks, and the class will discuss each novel in a relaxed and interactive setting, with attention to whatever themes and issues interest them most about each book. We will read a wide mixture of classic and contemporary novels written by women, including: Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth; Toni Morrison, Jazz; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Alice Walker, The Color Purple; Charlotte Bront, Jane Eyre; Sheri Reynolds, The Rapture of Canaan; Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice; and Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar. Recurrent issues likely to be discussed include: gender, race, and class; romance, love, and marriage; depression and suicide; and conception, childbirth, and parenthood.

  • Workshop on Deliberative Democracy and Dispute Resolution

    The Workshop on Deliberative Democracy and Dispute Resolution, sponsored by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and The Flora and William Hewlett Foundation, is a two-day conference that brings together dispute resolution professionals and political theorists in the field of deliberative democracy.

  • World Literatures: Travel Writing

    This semester, we will read writing about travel and place from Columbus's Diario through the present. Travel writing has some special features that will shape both the content and the work for this subject: reflecting the point of view, narrative choices, and style of individuals, it also responds to the pressures of a real world only marginally under their control. Whether the traveler is a curious tourist, the leader of a national expedition, or a starving, half-naked survivor, the encounter with place shapes what travel writing can be. Accordingly, we will pay attention not only to narrative texts but to maps, objects, archives, and facts of various kinds.Our materials are organized around three regions: North America, Africa and the Atlantic world, the Arctic and Antarctic. The historical scope of these readings will allow us to know something not only about the experiences and writing strategies of individual travelers, but about the progressive integration of these regions into global economic, political, and knowledge systems. Whether we are looking at the production of an Inuit film for global audiences, or the mapping of a route across the North American continent by water, these materials do more than simply record or narrate experiences and territories: they also participate in shaping the world and what it means to us.Authors will include Olaudah Equiano, Caryl Philips, Claude Lvi-Strauss, Joseph Conrad, Jamaica Kincaid, William Least Heat Moon, Louise Erdrich, lvar Nez Cabeza de Vaca.Expeditions will include those of Lewis and Clark (North America), Henry Morton Stanley (Africa), Ernest Shackleton and Robert F. Scott (Antarctica).

  • Writing About Literature

    Students, scholars, bloggers, reviewers, fans, and book-group members write about literature, but so do authors themselves. Through the ways they engage with their own texts and those of other artists, sampling, remixing, and rethinking texts and genres, writers reflect on and inspire questions about the creative process. We will examine Mary Shelley's reshaping of Milton's Paradise Lost, German fairy tales, tales of scientific discovery, and her husband's poems to make Frankenstein (1818, 1831); Melville's redesign of a travel narrative into a Gothic novella in Benito Cereno (1856); and Alison Bechdel's rewriting of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) in her graphic novel Fun Home (2006). Showings of film versions of some of these works will allow us to project forward in the remixing process as well.

  • Writing about Nature and Environmental Issues

    This course focuses on traditional nature writing and the environmentalist essay. Students will keep a Web log as a journal. Writings are drawn from the tradition of nature writing and from contemporary forms of the environmentalist essay.

  • Writing About Race

    In The Souls of Black Folk (1903), the great cultural critic W. E. B. Du Bois wrote that "...the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line." A century after Du Bois penned those words, most Americans would agree that at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the color line remains one of our most pressing social issues. In this course, we will explore the terrain of race in America by reading the works of writers of color and others concerned with the issue of race, by viewing films that address racial issues, and by writing to explore how the fictions and facts of race condition all our lives, social and civic, private and public. We will consider the complex question of racial identity, test the givens of history by uncovering histories that have been more elusive or more thoroughly suppressed, and explore how writing and reading can both reflect and challenge racial categories, hierarchies, and perceptions. We will read the work of such writers as Suzan-Lori Parks, Toni Morrison, Sandra Cisneros, James Baldwin, Louise Erdrich, Amy Tan, Chang-Rae Lee, Jhumpa Lahiri, and William Faulkner, among others, as we consider the story of race in its peculiarly American dimensions. We will also view films such as Skins, The Long Walk Home, and Crash. Both the reading and the writing of members of the class will be the focus of class discussion and workshops. Students explore race and ethnicity in personal essays, pieces of cultural criticism or analysis, or (with permission of instructor) fiction.

  • Writing About Race: Narratives of Multiraciality

    In this course we will read essays, novels, memoirs, and graphic texts, and view documentary and experimental films and videos which explore race from the standpoint of the multiracial. Examining the varied work of multiracial authors and filmmakers such as Danzy Senna, Ruth Ozeki, Kip Fulbeck, James McBride and others, we will focus not on how multiracial people are seen or imagined by the dominant culture, but instead on how they represent themselves. How do these authors approach issues of family, community, nation, language and history? What can their work tell us about the complex interconnections between race, gender, class, sexuality, and citizenship? Is there a relationship between their experiences of multiraciality and a willingness to experiment with form and genre? In addressing these and other questions, we will endeavor to think and write more critically and creatively about race as a social category and a lived experience.

  • Writing and Experience

    MIT students bring rich cultural backgrounds to their college experience. This course explores the splits, costs, confusions, insights, and opportunities of living in two traditions, perhaps without feeling completely at home in either. Course readings include accounts of growing up Asian-American, Hispanic, Native American, and South-East Asian-American, and of mixed race. The texts include selections from Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior, Kesaya E. Noda's "Growing Up Asian in America," Sandra Cisneros's Woman Hollering Creek, Gary Soto's "Like Mexicans," Sherman Alexie's The Toughest Indian in the World, Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies, the movies Smoke Signals and Mississippi Masala, Danzy Senna's Caucasia, and others. We will also use students' writings as ways to investigate our multiple identities, exploring the constraints and contributions of cultural and ethnic traditions. Students need not carry two passports in order to enroll; an interest in reading and writing about being shaped by multiple influences suffices.

  • Writing and Experience: Crossing Borders

    In this era of globalization, many of us have multi- or bi-cultural, multilingual or bilingual backgrounds, and even if we don't have such a background, we need urgently to understand the experiences of people who do. You will very likely work outside the United States at some point in your future; you will almost certainly work with people who speak more than one language, whose ancestry or origins are in a country other than the U.S., who have crossed borders of nation, language, culture, class to amalgamate into the large and diverse culture that is America. In this class we will read the personal narratives of bilingual and bicultural writers, some of whom have struggled to assimilate, others of whom have celebrated their own contributions to a culture of diversity. You will write four personal essays of your own for the class, each of which will receive workshop discussion in class and response from me; you will then revise the essays to polish them for possible publication. One of your essays will be an investigative one, where you will focus on a subject of your choice, investigate it thoroughly, and then write with authority about it. The process of the class will encourage you to both improve your writing significantly and gain a greater understanding of experiences of people who are in some way like you as well as those who are in some way different.

  • Writing and Experience: Exploring Self in Society

    The reading and writing for this course will focus on what it means to construct a sense of self and a life narrative in relation to the larger social world of family and friends, education, media, work, and community. Readings will include nonfiction and fiction works by authors such as Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Andre Dubus, Anne Frank, Tim O'Brien, Flannery O'Connor, George Orwell, John Steinbeck, Amy Tan, Tobias Wolff, and Alice Walker. Students will explore the craft of storytelling and the multiple ways in which one can employ the tools of fiction in crafting creative nonfiction and fiction narratives.

  • Writing and Reading Poems

    This course is an examination of the formal structural and textual variety in poetry. Students engage in extensive practice in the making of poems and the analysis of both students' manuscripts and 20th-century poetry. The course attempts to make relevant the traditional elements of poetry and their contemporary alternatives. There are weekly writing assignments, including some exercises in prosody.

  • Writing and Reading Short Stories

    This course is an introduction to the short story. Students will write stories and short descriptive sketches. Students will read great short stories and participate in class discussions of students' writing and the assigned stories in their historical and social contexts.

  • Writing and Reading the Essay (Fall 2004)

    As the course title suggests, this class is meant to acquaint you with the literary and rhetorical tradition of the essay, a genre which has been described by one scholar as "the meeting ground between art and philosophy," and by another as "the place where the self finds a pattern in the world, and the world finds a pattern in the self". Though the essay is part of a tradition of prose which stretches back to antiquity, it is also a thoroughly modern and popular form of writing, found in print media and on the web.

  • Writing and Reading the Essay (Fall 2005)

    This is a course focused on the literary genre of the essay, that wide-ranging, elastic, and currently very popular form that attracts not only nonfiction writers but also fiction writers, poets, scientists, physicians, and others to write in the form, and readers of every stripe to read it. Some say we are living in era in which the essay is enjoying a renaissance; certainly essays, both short and long, are at present easier to get published than are short stories or novels, and essays are featured regularly and prominently in the mainstream press (both magazines and newspapers) and on the New York Times bestseller books list. But the essay has a history, too, a long one, which goes back at least to the sixteenth-century French writer Montaigne, generally considered the progenitor of the form. It will be our task, and I hope our pleasure, to investigate the possibilities of the essay together this semester, both by reading and by writing.

  • Writing and the Environment

    Environmentalists have traditionally relied upon the power of their prose to transform the thoughts and behavior of their contemporaries. In this class, we will do our best to follow in their footsteps. We will consider the strategies of popular science writers, lesser-known geologists, biologists, and hydrologists, and famous environmentalists. Students will have a chance to try out several ways of characterizing and explaining natural environments. Weekly writing exercises will help students develop and explore material for the longer papers.

  • Writing Early American Lives: Gender, Race, Nation, Faith

    This course focuses on the period between roughly 1550-1850. American ideas of race had taken on a certain shape by the middle of the nineteenth century, consolidated by legislation, economics, and the institution of chattel slavery. But both race and identity meant very different things three hundred years earlier, both in their dictionary definitions and in their social consequences. How did people constitute their identities in early America, and how did they speak about these identities? Texts will include travel writing, captivity narratives, orations, letters, and poems, by Native American, English, Anglo-American, African, and Afro-American writers.

  • Writing on Contemporary Issues: Culture Shock! Writing, Editing, and Publishing in Cyberspace

    This course is an introduction to writing prose for a public audiencespecifically, prose that is both critical and personal, that features your ideas, your perspective, and your voice to engage readers. The focus of our reading and your writing will be American popular culture, broadly defined. That is, you will write essays that critically engage elements and aspects of contemporary American popular culture and that do so via a vivid personal voice and presence. In the coming weeks we will read a number of pieces that address current issues in popular culture. These readings will address a great many subjects from the contemporary world to launch and elaborate an argument or position or refined observation. And you yourselves will write a great deal, attending always to the ways your purpose in writing and your intended audience shape what and how you write. The end result of our collaborative work will be a new edition, the seventh, of Culture Shock!, an online magazine of writings on American popular culture, which we will post on the Web for the worldwide reading public to enjoy.

  • Writing on Contemporary Issues: Food for Thought: Writing and Reading about the Cultures of Food

    "What people do with food is an act that reveals how they construe the world." - Marcella Hazan, The Classic Italian Cookbook If you are what you eat, what are you? Food is at once the stuff of life and a potent symbol; it binds us to the earth, to our families, and to our cultures. In this class, we explore many of the fascinating issues that surround food as both material fact and personal and cultural symbol. We read essays by Toni Morrison, Michael Pollan, Wendell Berry, and others on such topics as family meals, eating as an "agricultural act" (Berry), slow food, and food's ability to awaken us to "our own powers of enjoyment" (M. F. K. Fisher). We will also read Pollan's most recent book, In Defense of Food, and discuss the issues it raises as well as its rhetorical strategies. Assigned essays will grow out of memories and the texts we read, and may include personal narrative as well as essays that depend on research. Revision of essays and workshop review of writing in progress are an important part of the class. Each student will make one oral presentation in this class.

  • Writing on Contemporary Issues: Imagining the Future

    Turn-of-the-century eras have historically been times when people are more than usually inclined to scrutinize the present and speculate about the future. Now, the turn not just of a century but of a millennium having recently passed, such scrutiny and speculations inevitably intensify. What will the future that awaits us in this twenty-first century and beyond be like? And how do visions of that future reflect and respond to the world we live in now? In this course we will read and write about how some writers and filmmakers have responded to the present as a way of imaginingand warning aboutpossible worlds to come. Guided by our reading and discussion, we will scrutinize our own present and construct our own visions of the future through close readings of the texts as well as of some aspects of contemporary cultureurban and environmental crises, economic imperialism, sexual and reproductive politics, the ethics of biotechnologies, issues of race and gender, the romance of technology, robotics and cyborg cultures, media saturation, language and representationand the persistent questions they pose about what it means to be human at this start of a new millennium.

  • Writing on Contemporary Issues: Social and Ethical Issues

    This course provides the opportunity for students-as readers, viewers, writers and speakers-to engage with social and ethical issues they care deeply about. Over the course of the semester, through discussing the writing of classic and contemporary authors, we will explore different perspectives on a range of social issues such as free speech, poverty and homelessness, mental illness, capital punishment and racial and gender inequality. In addition, we will analyze selected documentary and feature films and photographs that represent or dramatize social problems or issues. In assigned essays, students will have the opportunity to write about social and ethical issues of their own choice. This course aims to help students to grow significantly in their ability to understand and grapple with arguments, to integrate secondary print and visual sources and to craft well-reasoned and elegant essays. Students will also keep a reading journal and give oral presentations. In class we will discuss assigned texts, explore strategies for successful academic writing, freewrite and respond to one another's essays.

  • Writing with Shakespeare

    William Shakespeare didn't go to college. If he time-traveled like Dr. Who, he would be stunned to find his words on a university syllabus. However, he would not be surprised at the way we will be using those words in this class, because the study of rhetoric was essential to all education in his day. At Oxford, William Gager argued that drama allowed undergraduates "to try their voices and confirm their memories, and to frame their speech and conform it to convenient action": in other words, drama was useful. Shakespeare's fellow playwright Thomas Heywood similarly recalled:In the time of my residence in Cambridge, I have seen Tragedies, Comedies, Histories, Pastorals and Shows, publicly acted: this is held necessary for the emboldening of their Junior scholars, to arm them with audacity, against they come to be employed in any public exercise, as in the reading of Dialectic, Rhetoric, Ethic, Mathematic, the Physic, or Metaphysic Lectures.Such practice made a student able to "frame a sufficient argument to prove his questions, or defend any axioma, to distinguish of any Dilemma and be able to moderate in any Argumentation whatsoever" (Apology for Actors, 1612). In this class, we will use Shakespeare's own words to arm you "with audacity" and a similar ability to make logical, compelling arguments, in speech and in writing.Shakespeare used his ears and eyes to learn the craft of telling stories to the public in the popular form of theater. He also published two long narrative poems, which he dedicated to an aristocrat, and wrote sonnets to share "among his private friends" (so wrote Francis Meres in his Palladis Tamia, 1598). Varying his style to suit different audiences and occasions, and borrowing copiously from what he read, Shakespeare nevertheless found a voice all his ownso much so that his words are now, as his fellow playwright Ben Jonson foretold, "not of an age, but for all time." Reading, listening, analyzing, appreciating, criticizing, remembering: we will engage with these words in many ways, and will see how words can become ideas, habits of thought, indicators of emotion, and a means to transform the world.

  • Writing Workshop

    MIT students are challenged daily to solve for x, to complete four problem sets, two papers, and prepare for an exam worth 30% of their grade... all in one night. When they do stop to breathe, it's for a shower or a meal. What does this have to do with creative writing? Everything. Creative writing and MIT go together better than you might imagine.

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