Seminars for the Spring Term 2021

FRS 102 Poetry in the Political & Sexual Revolution of the 1960s & 70s LA CD

Alex Dimitrov

What does artistic production look like during a time of cultural unrest? How did America’s poets help shape the political landscape of the American 60s and 70s, two decades that saw the rise of the Black Panthers, “Flower Power,” psychedelia, and Vietnam War protests? Through reading poetry, studying films like Easy Rider, and engaging with the music of the times (Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors) we will think about art’s ability to move the cultural needle and not merely reflect the times but pose important questions about race, gender, class, sexuality, and identity at large. We will think of poetry as a tool with which to interact with the world, looking at it critically on the basis of language and aesthetics, but also as a countercultural product that has the ability to occupy both cult and mainstream status. The poets we will study include Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Eileen Myles, and others. We will talk about The Beats, The San Francisco Renaissance, The New York School poets, and the Black Mountain poets as well. There will be creative and exploratory exercises including writing poems, making videos and collages, in addition to writing critical essays and partaking in visual analysis. Often we will consider how the time period we’re studying compares with the grunge phenomenon of the 90s, the rise of hip hop, the Occupy movement of 2011, Black Lives Matter, and today’s #resist collective. Modes in which artists and the public have organized resistance, whether person to person, on college campuses, or today, via social media, will be additional subjects to consider, as well as contemporary poets carrying the torch and rallying cry of the 1960s into 2019. The commodification of art as protest and capitalism’s ability to absorb all critiques of itself will be posed as challenges to all the texts and poets we study.

T 1:30-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:

Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 25%
Class/Precept Participation 25%
Oral Presentation(s) 5%
Paper(s) 30%
Other 15%


FRS 104 Story: Drama from the Greek Stage to the Modern Screen LA - CANCELED

Andrew Ford

It is a truism among critics that the secret of a good movie, novel or play lies in its plot, in having a story that hangs together and compels an audience to stay engaged to the end. And yet many today complain that that the ancient art of story-telling has fallen into neglect: both popular cinema and the contemporary stage suggest that the complexity of the world cannot be captured in neat narratives, and our increasing awareness of the variety of human experience militates against the assumption that good stories can be reduced to a few neat formulas. This seminar will test the proposition that there are principles of good story-telling that are valid across different times and places. It will be an experiment in breaking through the ancient/modern divide: we will read the classics of Greek tragedy as if they were screenplays, and, conversely, will read and view later plays and movies so see how they appear in the light of a critical tradition going back 2,500 years.

We will draw our critical principles from two works that are widely separated in time but nonetheless suggestively convergent: one is Story by Robert McKee, a 1997 award-winning manual for aspiring screenwriters that is required reading in film courses at many universities. The other is a book McKee avows as the source of most of his ideas, the Poetics of Aristotle, a brief but brilliant set of lectures written around 350 BCE. McKee is trying to formulate rules for writing a script that will succeed as popular entertainment in contemporary America, while Aristotle was studying Greek tragedy, trying to understand why some plays worked while others got laughed off the Athenian stage. But together they offer a powerful perspective, at once pragmatic and theoretically deep, that can help us reflect upon the fundamentals of narrative art.

The work of this course will be to master these perspectives and use them in analyzing a number of dramatic works in order to decide how much of what Aristotle says about drama (and what McKee endorses) is still valid, and why this should be so. In the course of our discussions we will address a number of fundamental questions, both technical—e.g. what makes a good plot and makes characters involving?—and larger ones--What do stories do for us? To what human needs does drama seem to respond?

Texts and videos to be studied include plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Seneca, Shakespeare, Tom Stoppard and David Mamet along with Hollywood’s major releases. Background readings will range from Aristotle’s Ethics to David Mamet’s Three Uses of the Knife.

MW 3:00-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 35%
Class/Precept Participation 25%
Oral Presentation(s) 30%
Paper(s) 10%


FRS 106 Art and Science of Motorcycle Design SEL

Michael Littman

This is a hands-on seminar and laboratory experience about the engineering design of motorcycles. Ordinarily, students work in small groups in our shop to restore or repair various sub-systems of a vintage Triumph Tiger Cub motorcycle. Sub-systems include wheels, transmission, frame, engine, ignition, and fuel atomization and delivery. We will continue to work with these motorcycle sub-systems on a specific vintage Triumph motorcycle but adapted in a way that allows for remote instruction and engagement. A hands-on aspect of our adaptation involves each student receiving a home-based kit that will include a small desktop CNC (Computer-Numerically-Controlled) milling machine and precision tools for measurement. Students will design and manufacture motorcycle parts for the sub-system that they are tasked to restore. Designs will be developed using AutoDesk Fusion 360 CAD (Computer-Aided-Design) software. Fusion 360 can also export instructions for CNC milling allowing for the manufacture of custom parts. An interactive aspect of our adaptation involves grouping students into three teams to observe, analyze, and assist, three in-laboratory workers. Each in-laboratory worker will be at a workstation that is outfitted with a pan-tilt-zoom camera that is controlled by the remote students. The key idea is to have remote students advise and collaborate with the in-laboratory workers. Remote students will also research various methods of repair and restoration from workshop manuals, tutorials, and videos. No previous shop or laboratory experience is necessary, and we welcome liberal arts students as well as engineering students. As in previous years, students will read and discuss two books that are rich in their references to motorcycle systems – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig, and Shop Class as Soulcraft, by Mathew Crawford. Precept time is also used to explore the underlying science of motorcycle design and operation. The class meets twice each week. Each session starts with a 90-minute precept followed by a 90-minute laboratory. Please note that only the precept time is listed on TigerHub and Course Offerings. The 90-minute laboratory will follow immediately after each precept. 

 MW 1:30-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Other (Restoration Project) 50%
Class/Precept Participation 30%
Oral Presentation(s) 20%


FRS 108 Listening In: Sonic Culture in American History HA

Emily Thompson

William H. Burchfield, Class of 1902, Freshman Seminar

This course explores the meaning of sound, music, and noise in American culture, and it investigates how new sonic technologies shaped - and were shaped by - the values of the cultures that produced them. We will consider how sound functioned within Native American culture; the soundways that Europeans brought with them; how enslaved people deployed sounds as elements of resistance and resiliance; and we will examine the role that sound has played in different kinds of modern spaces, from city streets and cinemas to concert halls and shopping malls. Alongside considering how peoples' lives in the past were shaped by what they heard, we will turn our historical tools to understanding the role and meaning of sound in our own lives today.

TTh 1:30-2:50 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 35%
Class/Precept Participation 30%
Paper(s) 35%


FRS 110 Before Hamilton: Histories of the Early American Republic HA

James Alexander Dun

Class of 1975 Freshman Seminar

Before Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton caught fire, HBO’s 2008 miniseries John Adams enthralled viewers and won awards. Both productions blossomed from prize-winning and popular histories. Walk into any bookstore and you’ll find these books (by Ron Chernow and David McCullough, respectively) as well scores of others treating Adams, Hamilton, as well as Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, and more. Since the mid-1990s, the American public hasn’t been able to get enough of the “founders.” Jefferson alone has been the subject of more than 50 monographs in the past ten years. Commentators have taken notice of this interest, and point to the bicentennial celebrations of 1976 and 1989, the political divisions of the Reagan era, the surges of patriotism surrounding the Gulf Wars and after 9/11, and the discontent and malaise infusing contemporary politics to explain it. 

This seminar will equip students to engage with this phenomenon. It will do so by digging into American history during the early national period, a crucial timespan in which the ideals of the recent Revolution met the realities of statecraft, when the social institutions of British America were strained through a new national American idiom, and when many of the issues that would prove vital to subsequent American history first cropped up. It will also do so by allowing students to engage as historians with the materials by which these books, and others, are written. Our investigations will stream through readings and discussions about “the founders” and will deploy records left by and about these figures to get at the dynamism of the period. We will also use them, however, as jumping off places to get at the lives and ideas of less prominent people. Similarly, while we will steep ourselves in the politics of the period, we will also think deeply about cultural and intellectual developments. By making these moves, and, crucially, by thinking about how we make them, the course will teeter constantly between its express content and larger lessons about historical methodology and practice.

Over the term, we will visit (virtually if necessary, in person if possible) numerous repositories on and around campus, to include the Rare Books room, the Papers of Thomas Jefferson, and the Princeton Art Museum. These visits (and the use of Firestone Library’s resources) will facilitate a series of weekly short research assignments. The course will culminate with a viewing of Miranda’s Hamilton, which the class will discuss and analyze.

Th 1:30-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 20%
Class/Precept Participation 20%
Paper(s) 40%
Other (Final Paper) 20%


FRS 112 History and Memory: Inventing the Past, Constructing the Present HA

Michael Flower

Agnew Family Freshman Seminar

This seminar will pose three inter-related questions. How do we create narratives about what happened in the past? What meaning do those narratives have for the present? What are the ethical, moral, and ideological implications of how we both create and use those narratives? None of these questions has a straightforward or unproblematic answer. The main point of the seminar is to investigate why the past is a contested ground and why this contestation is never morally or ideologically neutral. Finally, the class will discuss possible ways of mediating these contestations. What we think we know about the past comes from a combination of different sources, but none of those sources can possibly provide an unmediated window into what actually took place. Nonetheless, a society wants to know about its past because the shared recollections of group experience create a shared identity. This “collective memory” or “social memory” provides a people with an image of their past and a direction for their future. The past obviously means different things to different societies, and to different groups within a given society. A community’s version of its past is both constituted by its concerns in the present and is used to justify actions taken in the present. Thus the past becomes a contested ground, something worth arguing over, fighting for, and even killing for. Under what conditions is it legitimate to base contemporary claims to land ownership, nationhood, and ethnicity on conditions that allegedly existed in the remote past? And who should decide if such claims are legitimate? In order to bring these questions into a sharper focus, we will closely examine five case studies of historical commemoration. Confederate Monuments and other monuments (such as statues of Christopher Columbus or Teddy Roosevelt); The Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890 and the occupation of Wounded Knee by members of the American Indian Movement in 1973, which led to their violent removal by Federal agents; the French Revolution of 1789, the ease of commemorating it in 1889 and the near impossibility in 1989; the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 and the cancellation of the festival (held from 1712-2018) that commemorated the Spanish reconquest of Santa Fe (due to the efforts of a Princeton alumnus); and the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC and its use by over time to promote patriotic self-sacrifice (mostly notably by the Nazi regime).

TTh 1:30-2:50 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 25%
Class/Precept Participation 25%
Paper(s) 50%


FRS 114 Mother Tongues SA

Mariana Bono

Professor Whitney J. Oates '25 *31 Freshman Seminar in the Humanities

Language is part and parcel of our daily lives. For many speakers, the use of language remains largely unconscious and unnoticed. At the same time, language is inextricably linked to social value and national identity. In his seminal work on the origins of nationalism, Benedict Anderson argued that nations are imagined and narrated into being, and that language has a crucial role in this process. Languages are more than systems of communication; they are social institutions, ideological battlegrounds, instruments used by nation-states to homogenize populations, define citizenship, and create social hierarchies. This seminar aims to develop novel ways of thinking about languages as carefully created and codified sociopolitical entities, to raise critical awareness of the ways in which language perpetuates power in society, and to deconstruct well-established notions of linguistic authority, nativity and foreignness. We will discuss theories of the development of nationalism in relation to ‘national’ and other languages, the rise of the vernaculars, the link between language and nationhood, linguistic ideology and the one nation-one language paradigm. We will then turn our attention to language dynamics in the 21st century and the issues of regional and non-territorial languages, hybrid identities and multilingualism, the myth of the mother tongue, linguistic allegiance and language shift. Finally, we will explore the ways in which language shapes culture and identity, impacts schooling and citizenship in a transnational, interconnected world. The seminar is designed for students who are interested in learning about language as social practice. No previous knowledge in the field of linguistics is required. Class readings and discussions are grounded in specific geographical and historical contexts and cases. In order to connect theoretical insights with local practices and personal narratives, students will be asked to look around them for evidence of language contact situations – in the urban landscape and the media, and in their own families and communities.

W 1:30-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Midterm 20%
Class/Precept Participation 10%
Mini-survey and Write-up: 10%
Discussion Boards 20%
Paper in lieu of Final Exam 40%


FRS 116 The Evolution of Human Language EC

Christiane Fellbaum

Louise S. Sams, Class of 1979, Freshman Seminar

When, where, why, and how did human language originate? There are no definitive answers, but evidence from many different areas of investigation (including paleontology, archeology, animal communication, neurobiology, genetics, linguistics, statistics), when considered in conjunction, sheds light on these old questions. The seminar will examine and weigh findings from different strands of relevant research.

We define and distinguish critical concepts such as language and communication and analyze key properties of human language that distinguish it from animal communication.

We examine the status of proposed universal properties shared by all human languages (in particular, recursion) and the documented birth of new languages like Sign Languages.

We examine non-linguistic behaviors (sobbing, laughing) with communicative functions that involve brain areas dedicated to language processing. Research in animal communication shows that our biologically closest relatives (the great apes), while lacking the ability for speech, communicate in sophisticated ways and recruit some of the homologous brain regions that are involved in human language processing. At which stage in human evolution were the prerequisites for language given, i.e., when did our ancestors have a “language-ready brain”?

We discuss recent fossil evidence with respect to anatomical features (such as cranial volume and a descended larynx) required for language. Which features are shared by other species (such as birds and marine mammals) and why did they not develop a full language? We ask whether language evolved gradually as a product of general primate cognition or whether it appeared within a relatively short time due to a genetic mutation (the “saltational” hypothesis) that is argued to have occurred between 70,000 and 40,000 years ago. In light of paleontological and genetic evidence of Anatomically Modern Human’s migration out of Africa, is a single origin of language (monogenesis) more plausible than polygenesis?

We examine contrasting arguments claiming simple vocalization, gestures, or music as “proto-languages,” precursors of full language. Can children’s language acquisition (ontogeny) shed light on the emergence of human language (phylogeny)? What degree of societal organization was both a requirement and a catalyst for human language to arise?

We examine several competing hypotheses (“verbal grooming,” efficient transfer of tool-making techniques). The earliest known artworks (cave paintings, fertility figurines) were most likely created to fulfill ritual functions; prehistoric tools and beads similarly point to social structures that were unlikely to exist without a well-developed language. Is language in fact primarily a product of cultural development rather than an innate cognitive faculty?

W 1:30-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper in lieu of mid term - 25%
Paper in lieu of final - 25%
Papers - 20%
Oral presentation(s) - 15%
Class/precept participation - 15%


FRS 118 Life on Mars — Or Maybe Not SA

Edwin Turner and Michael Lemonick

Most people learn most of what they know about science through the popular media. Yet media reports about science even in respected national publications, are frequently confusing, incomplete, or even just plain wrong. Moreover, even when they are accurate, they convey an idea of science that Albert Einstein himself skewered a half century ago. From such episodes, he wrote, "the reader gets the [mistaken] impression that every five minutes there is a revolution in science, somewhat like the coups d'etat in some of the smaller unstable republics."

So how reliable is science news? In this seminar, we will investigate this question from the perspectives of both science and the media. We will analyze several major news stories that have dominated the media at various times over the past few years: life on Mars, intelligent design, possible cancer cures, the "discovery" that some stars appear to be older than the universe, global warming, and more. We will also address science news as it arises, as it inevitably will, during the semester. In each case, we will work to understand the actual science that led to these reports. Then we will look in detail at the forces at play in shaping media coverage, and how they tend to distort the science. Garbling and oversimplification by reporters is one factor, but this, as we will see, is only part of the story. Other factors include the competition for funding among scientists, the politics that lead universities and government agencies to hype their successes, and the competition between scientific journals — all flavored with plenty of ego on all sides.

Students will not only come to understand why you can't always trust what you read in the newspaper, but also will come to appreciate the satisfactions and pitfalls of communicating science, not only through readings and class discussion, but also by means of visits by and with science journalists, scientists, and public information officers. They will also get a taste of what science reporters are up against by producing several pieces of science journalism themselves, which will be critiqued by both instructors. Although we will focus primarily on conventional media outlets, we will also consider the treatment of science on the internet. When we’re done, students will understand science news in an entirely different, and more critical, way.

M 1:30-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 30%
Class/Precept Participation 30%
Paper(s) 30%

Oral Presntation(s) 10%


FRS 120 Divided We Stand: Economic Inequality and Its Discontents SA

Thomas Leonard

Professor Burton G. Malkiel *64 Freshman Seminar

This seminar investigates the nature, causes, and consequences of economic inequality. We pose five big questions: who is unequal; what is unequally distributed; what causes inequality; what are inequality’s consequences; and how does inequality affect justice? Who is unequal? Inequality discussions often focus on differences within countries: American women earn less than men, African Americans earn less than whites, rural workers earn less than metropolitan workers, the bottom 50% earns less than the top 1%. But we also will explore economic differences across countries, and across individuals globally, where inequality is greater still. What is unequally distributed? Some measures, such as wealth, are more unequally distributed than is income, while other measures, such as spending, happiness and life expectancy, are less unequally distributed. Which measure is most meaningful? And are measured inequality trends the same everywhere? What causes inequality? Many factors.

We consider several causes of the growth of inequality since 1980: politics, technology, rising returns to education, globalization, changes in family formation, skyrocketing housing costs, and corporate governance failure. What are inequality’s consequences? Some economic inequality is desirable; it spurs innovation, hard work, and investment in people. But economic inequality is also associated with adverse social outcomes, political corruption, racial resentment, and consumption arms races. How much inequality is too much inequality? How does inequality affect justice? Is poverty or inequality the more serious problem? Is inequality intrinsically bad or bad chiefly in its consequences? Is distributive justice solely a matter of the structure of a distribution or is it also a matter of the process that leads to that distribution? Do moral obligations to reduce inequality extend beyond national borders or stop at the water's edge?

MW 1:30-2:50 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 40%
Class/Precept Participation 25%
Paper(s) 35%


FRS 122 The Digital Bazaar SA 

Swati Bhatt

Professor Burton G. Malkiel *64 Freshman Seminar

This seminar will explore how digital information and communication technology (ICT) has fundamentally changed the economy and the way we do business. ICT enriches the human experience in unimagined ways and its power is still unfolding. Broadly speaking, the impact of ICT can be classified into three categories: connectivity across individuals, processing of large volumes of data and streaming of content in real time. Connectivity, advances in artificial intelligence and information processing, and ubiquitous entertainment have altered the social and economic landscape in unforeseen ways.

We will examine these three drivers. First, we will look at the pattern of network connections that enables information exchange, examining how we interact. Temporal and spatial separation in connectivity has introduced another dimension into communication, asynchrocity. Second, we examine how the massive data generated can be used to create stories about individuals. Recommendation algorithms are based on these stories, but are these prediction algorithms shaping preferences, and correspondingly, usurping free will? And third, we will consider the possibility of our attention becoming a scarce resource as a consequence of streaming technology and connectivity. And whether, in addition to prediction algorithms, the content tsunami is leading to cognitive apathy.

In this freshman seminar, we will explore the personal dimension of ICT. Our choices and our decision-making strategies adapt to our information environment so we will broaden our inquiry to discuss the short-cuts we take in our daily lives. We will identify aspects of daily functioning that have become inextricably interwoven with this technology and without which we would be living very different lives. Students will be encouraged to develop case studies of specific applications of digital technology that have impacted their lives. For example, how have health-related apps on the smartphone made a meaningful difference on life-styles? How do students use the app Venmo to facilitate socialization? Why is Facebook no longer a popular social media site for college students?

Students will read chapters from the text and assigned articles to explore these ideas as they gain fluency in thinking about these issues in class discussion. Grades will be based on a short midterm essay, a final paper and class discussion.

TTh 3:00-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper in lieu of mid term - 25%
Paper in lieu of final - 50%
Class/precept participation - 25%


FRS 124: From Gulag to Sputnik: Greatest Hits of the Soviet Socialist Experiment HA

Deborah Kaple

Stalin and his evil NKVD sent millions of Soviets to Gulag servitude on bogus charges to provide free labor for his enormous industrialization program. When Stalin died in 1953, Nikita Khrushchev denounced the terror, and promised a new life. Instead of midnight arrests and torture sessions, the Soviet people now danced to American jazz, wrote poetry and celebrated Sputnik’s shocking rise. Life was good, but how good could the Cold War be?

T 1:30-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Midterm Exam 35%
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 35%
Class/Precept Participation 30%


FRS 126 Marx in the 21st Century SA

Daniel Hoffman Schwartz

Agnew Family Freshman Seminar

In this moment of unprecedented economic inequality and populist backlash, the time seems ripe for a return to Marxism. But what exactly would such a 21st-century Marxism look like? How would Marx understand (or not understand) Trump and Brexit or, for that matter, Twitter and Facebook? How might Marxist thought need to be revised in light of the present? What can Marxism learn from other forms of critical thought and activism that have emerged in the 20th and 21st centuries, especially those concerned with race and gender? Our seminar will examine the contemporary viability of Marx’s fundamental concepts—labor, exploitation, ideology, surplus-value, class-consciousness, and revolution, among others. We will thus read classic texts by Marx (and Engels) alongside contemporary texts engaged with Marxist thought.The question of labor will be a particular focus, with an emphasis on those kinds of labor that do not fit Marx’s primarily industrial conception of labor: the historically unrecognized labor of women—exemplarily housework and “care” (or “affective labor”)—brought to light by Marxist feminism; the racialization of precarious labor; forms of labor associated with the internet and digitality (i.e., “informational” or “communicative” labor”). A second major focus will be the transformation of social movements and revolutionary politics: How do the #Blacklivesmatter and Occupy movements update Marxist paradigms? What does a 21st century strike look like? What forms of resistance and political organization are available to exploited subjects who do not fit the traditional ‘proletarian’ mold, from gig workers to indebted students to the unemployed to the incarcerated? What effects does social media have on political mobilization and political immobilization? Finally, it will also be necessary to ask if the Marxist critique of capitalist modernity supplies any tools to fight impending ecological catastrophe.

MW 3:00-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Midterm 30%
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 40%
Class/Precept Participation 30%


FRS 128 “The Most Sacred of All Property”: The Philosophical Case for Protecting Religious Liberty EM

Thomas Howes

James Madison Program Freshman Seminar

Religious liberty is sometimes called our “first freedom” and since our nation’s founding, it has always had a privileged place among protected liberties. After the nasty religious persecutions and conflicts of the two previous centuries, this was a welcome achievement. However, as the nation has grown larger, and as the legal and regulatory apparatus of the government has become more expansive, it has become more common that religious persons feel substantially burdened in the practice of their religion even by laws that are not clearly discriminatory. Thus, a regime of religious exemptions has arisen to protect individuals from burdens caused by general and religiously neutral laws: this first happened through First Amendment jurisprudence, and when that interpretation of the first amendment was rejected by the Supreme Court (see Employment Division vs. Smith [1990]), such exemptions were revived through popular and bipartisan legislation at both the state and federal level (starting in 1993 with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act). Although such exemptions have always had their critics, it is only in the last fifteen years or so that such broad protection of religious liberty has become a highly contentious and partisan issue.

Our primary focus will not be on legal and jurisprudential questions relating to religious liberty, nor will there be much discussion of controversial contemporary cases. Rather, the focus will be on the general philosophical reasons for having legal protection of religious liberty at all. In doing so, we will attempt to respond to various questions. For instance, we will consider whether there is an ethical basis for special legal protection of religious liberty over and above other liberties. Is the special status it has received in the past merely a historical contingency, reflecting the concerns of 18th century America and perhaps the centuries that followed? Or does special protection of religion have a more perennial, philosophical basis? Similarly, we might ask whether religious individuals or groups should only be protected from direct legislative attempts to squelch religious liberty, or whether there is a moral demand that individuals and groups be protected from substantial burdens on religious practice arising even from generally applicable and religiously neutral laws.

Finally, in the last four classes we shall consider the relationship between religious liberty and civic peace. For this, we will primarily rely on the social scientific arguments of Grim and Finke in their book, The Price of Freedom Denied.

MW 3:00-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 35%
Class/Precept Participation 30%
Paper(s) 35%


FRS 130 Drawing the Divine Religion and Spirituality in Comics, Graphic Novels, Manga, and Anime CD LA

Andre Benhaim

This course examines the relationship between the sacred and the profane by considering the use and the role of religion and spirituality in deeply secular cultural media: comic books and animated films. This cross-cultural exploration will survey the presence of the religious in modern popular visual productions (print and film) in the West (US, France, and Belgium), and the East (North Africa, Iran, and Japan). The materials will expose students to the three monotheist religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), as well as Buddhism and Shinto, and will introduce them to the history and the art of American, European, and Japanese graphic novels and animated films. In this context, students will familiarize themselves with mainstream genres whose origins are far more multifaceted than their relatively recent ubiquity might lead to believe. Although it will not be the sole focus of the course, we will nonetheless pay particular attention to the status of images in the main religions and cultures that will be examined. In the West, we will remember that the Second Commandment, “Thou shalt not make (engraved) images,” puts at the core of Judaism a wariness of visual representations, while this prohibition has always been challenged and redefined by Jewish artists, from Medieval sacred texts illuminators to Marc Chagall. This reflection will be extended to the role of visual representations in Christianity, Byzantine iconoclasm, and Muslim aniconism.

We will finally delve into the place of images in Japanese Buddhism and Shinto, and give special consideration to woodblock prints, the ukiyo-e, “pictures of the floating world”, to see how they relate to the tradition of contemplation and the belief in the ephemerality of earthly existence, and how they relate to the evolution of the manga genre.

T 1:30-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Midterm 20%
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 30%
Class/Precept Participation 15%
Oral Presentation(s) 15%
Other 20%


FRS 132 The Drama Within: Embodying the Immune System on Stage and Screen SEN

Andrea L. Graham

This seminar will open the wonders of immunology to the humanities, and vice versa. Instruction in science will be combined with instruction in character development, dialogue generation, and storytelling. Students will ultimately write short plays or screenplays about immune defense against parasites or tumors. This will cultivate biological understanding by harnessing the imagination: students will devise characters that embody traits of different cell types and create stories that explore how cells work together to combat common enemies.

To link immunology and theatre, the seminar will be organized around 3 primary themes that transcend scales of biology: from individual host cells, to populations of cooperating host cells, to warring populations of host and parasite cells. These themes also transcend dramaturgical elements: from development of individual characters, to relationships and dialogue among characters, to conflict and resolution in a storyline. 1) Character development. The mammalian immune system comprises tens of millions of cells, of about a dozen types. Each type of cell has characteristic physical and functional traits that set it apart. For example, macrophages are large, multi-armed cells that eat parasites whole, whereas killer T cells are small, compact cells that poke holes in virus-infected cells. It is impossible to understand immunology without first understanding this array of cell types, or this cast of characters. In parallel, it is impossible to understand a play without understanding traits and motives of characters. 2) Relationships. Skilled though cells are, the immune system can only achieve defense of the entire host via coordinated action. Thus, relationships and communications among cells are crucial to the success of an immune response. Some communication is private between pairs of cells while other communications are broadcast widely (e.g., when molecular messages are secreted into the bloodstream for circulation throughout the body). The content and volume of messages aid cooperation and chart the course of the immune response. Likewise, relationships among characters determine how they communicate, collaborate with or undermine each other, and chart the course of a play. 3) Story. The immune system ultimately determines whether the host clears infection or succumbs, whether it keeps beneficial gut microbes, and the likelihood of tumor metastasis.

These health impacts of the immune system generate a lot of potential dramatic material – e.g., antagonism with parasites, cooperation with gut microbes, or the treachery of tumors. Each of these has tremendous potential for metaphor and for sculpting a dramatic arc.

MW 1:30-2:50 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 40%
Class/Precept Participation 30%
Paper(s) 30%


FRS 134 Scientists Against Time HA

Harold Feiveson

Bert G. Kerstetter '66 Freshman Seminar

This seminar will explore some of the critical contributions of (mostly Allied) scientists, engineers, and mathematicians during World War II. Topics will include radar, the Spitfire and the Battle of Britain; cryptography and the breaking of the German Enigma code; microwave radar, operations research, and other technical breakthroughs in the Battle of the Atlantic against German submarines; the great advances in medicine – penicillin, anti-malarials, DDT and other – during the war; amphibious craft, advanced aircraft carriers, the B-29 Super-fortress in the Pacific theater; navigation aids, the proximity fuse, and the Mustang P-51 and the erratic history of strategic bombing; tides, weather, artificial harbors, deception in the D-Day invasion; and the Manhattan project to develop the atomic bomb. War II. 

Th 1:30-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 40%
Class/Precept Participation 30%
Other (Midterm Paper) 30%


FRS 136 Into the Woods: What Disney Didn't Tell You About Fairy Tales LA

Volker Schroder

Class of 1975 Freshman Seminar

There is much more to fairy tales than the simplified and sanitized versions for children that we’ve all grown up with. This seminar will attempt to explore the complex history of the fairy tale genre and to address the many critical questions it raises: What exactly is a fairy tale? How does it differ from other types of “folk tales” and, more generally, from myth and legend? Who used to tell those enchanting stories and to whom? When did they come to be written down and printed and for what audience? How have their forms, meanings, and functions evolved over time and across cultures? We will examine issues such as gender roles, family dynamics, social structure, and the relations between humans and animals. While the disturbing “darker side” of fairy tales – sadism and cannibalism, incest and infanticide – will have to be courageously confronted, their humorous, playful, subversive, and utopian dimension will not be neglected.

The readings for this seminar will revolve around the most famous “tale types” such as Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, but also include lesser-known but no less intriguing narratives such as Bluebeard, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, and Puss-in-Boots. We will study the canonical texts by the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault and discover a number of other versions, ranging from ancient Rome to the Italian Renaissance and the French 18th century. We will also read a selection of diverse and often conflicting interpretations of these stories by historians, folklorists, psychoanalysts, and literary critics. Although the primary focus will be on the European fairy tale tradition, attention will also be paid to its counterparts in non-Western cultures. The second half of the course will examine the literary fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen and Oscar Wilde and conclude with contemporary Anglo-American retellings of the classical narratives (by Anne Sexton, Angela Carter, Robert Coover, and others). Throughout the semester, we will consider the ways fairy tales have been illustrated over the centuries as well as their presence in opera, ballet, and musical, and watch various video clips and feature films such as Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête and Neil Jordan’s Company of Wolves.

Participants in this seminar will be expected to read thoroughly and critically the texts assigned for each meeting (ca. 100 pages per week), to participate actively in class discussion, and to introduce and lead one discussion session. Written assignments will consist of weekly responses to the readings (online discussion board), a short midterm paper and a longer final paper. The seminar requires the willingness to engage with “strange,” non-Disneyfied stories and to question one’s assumptions about the nature and purpose of fairy tales.

TTh 3:00-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Regular attendance and preparation; contributions to class discussion 20%
Oral presentation and class moderation 15%
Weekly responses to readings on online discussion board 20%
Midterm paper (5 pages) 15%
Final paper (10-12 pages; due on Dean’s Date) 30% 


FRS 138 Representation in Documentary Filmmaking CDLA

Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt

Documentary filmmakers engage with the world by representing it in a myriad of subjective ways. This course will focus on cross-cultural issues surrounding representation in documentary filmmaking, both in front of and behind the camera. Through film production, screenings, texts, and discussions, this course will explore the central question of “who has the right tell whose story, and why?” Each student will produce, direct, shoot, and edit two 3-5 minute documentary films. One film must be set in their own cultural sphere, while the other must be set outside of it. Upon completion of these films, each student will write an 8-10 page final paper reflecting on their experience making them. Their films and final essays will probe the ethical questions of “how should we speak to you about us?” on the one hand, and “how should we speak about them to you?” on the other. They will investigate their own relationship to the role and function of the filmmaker, a mediator of “reality,” and the influence of that mediation on public discourse on local, national and international issues.

On a practical level, each student will learn the basics of how to produce a documentary short in various modes and genres. They will place their experience making these films in the context of contemporary issues surrounding race, ethnicity, gender, age, national and regional identity, social issues, and events. On a more theoretical level, they will write about and discuss ethical issues surrounding ethnography, informed consent, empathy, ideology, authorship, cinematography, editing, and distribution. They will also discuss the cultural contexts for the films they screen, why they were made, what they tell us about the social concerns of the period, and the theoretical questions they raise. By the end of the course, students will have a solid foundation to creatively bring stories from the world we all share to life, as well as a critical and visceral understanding of representation in documentary filmmaking.

T 7:30-10:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 20%
Class/Precept Participation 15%
Paper(s) 15%
Other 50% (Film Exercise - 10% Film #1- 20% Film #2- 20%)


FRS 140 Modernity and Myth: Tradition and Transformation LA

Katerina Stergiopoulou

In our age of rapid technological advancement, myth may seem to be a thing of the past. Yet in the last hundred years, classical myths have been retold, reimagined, and reinvented again and again. In this course we will be thinking about why this might be so—about why literature of the modern world should return so consistently to some of our most ancient stories. We will consider modern recastings of classical myths in a variety of different literary traditions, following the development of particular myths and mythical figures (Odysseus, Orpheus, Helen) from their ancient sources to their modern iterations and transformations. From Homer to Dante, Tennyson, and Margaret Atwood, Ovid to Marcel Camus and Rita Dove, and Euripides to Yeats and H.D., each trajectory will reveal a new aspect of the definition and reception of classical myth in both antiquity and modernity. We will be thinking in particular about the cultural work that modern myths accomplish. How do later versions of a myth serve to “interpret” an earlier version? How might that interpretation itself serve to interpret the later historical moment? How do modern artists, and especially women artists, use myth to give voice to characters traditionally ignored or to challenge conventional narratives? Is the use of myth opposed to an interest in the modern or the contemporary? How do different literary genres (poetry, prose, drama) and media (painting, film) contribute to or define the way myths are used or the effect that they have on us? Are these myths, in any of their versions, still relevant for us today? Can they help us tell our own stories?

Participants in the seminar will be expected to read the assigned texts closely and carefully, to actively and thoughtfully participate in class discussion, and to do brief, informal presentations. Over the course of the semester, students will explore the relationship between our two terms—myth and modernity—as it is reflected in the literature and the arts, and slowly, through our conversations, weekly written responses, and short essays, build an argument for what it might be, culminating either in a final critical essay, or in a creative project accompanied by an analytical account.

MW 1:30-2:50 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 30%
Class/Precept Participation 15%
Paper(s) 35%
Other 20%


FRS 142 History and Cinema: Fascism in Film HA

Gaetana Marrone-Puglia

In October 1922, when Benito Mussolini completed his semi-legal seizure of power in Italy, the Fascist era began in triumph and was cheered by the crowds. It ended two decades later in the Piazzale Loreto at Milan, where the bodies of Mussolini and his mistress were strung up by the heels by the partisans as silent evidence that the Fascist regime was indeed over. Between those two historical moments, Mussolini, the ex-socialist, had dominated the spotlight of Europe.

Produced from the post-World War II period to the present, the Italian, French, German, and Polish films we will study in this seminar establish a theoretical framework for the analysis of Fascism, its political ideology, and its ethical dynamics. We shall consider such topics as the concept of fascist normality, the racial laws, the morality of social identities (women, homosexuals), the Resistance, and the aftermath of the Holocaust. An interdisciplinary approach will be combined with learning basic concepts of film style, technique, and criticism. Some of the films we will study are Bertolucci's The Conformist, De Sica's The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, Malle's Au revoir les enfants, Schlöndorff's The Tin Drum, Wertmüller's Seven Beauties, Holland's Europa Europa, Polanski’s The Pianist, Rossellini's Open City, and Benigni's Life is Beautiful.

Th 1:30-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 40%
Class/Precept Participation 20%
Paper(s) 40%


FRS 144 The Radical Imagination LA

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko

“I often feel I am trapped inside someone else's imagination, and I must engage my own imagination in order to break free.” 

― Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds

How does the use of one’s imagination spark social and systemic change in the world? What does it mean to devote one's life to this kind of work? Blurring the lines between the creative and political experience, students will be introduced to the radical contemporary practices that interdisciplinary artists use to build creative, impactful lives. Our texts will include live and recorded performances, as well as historical and theoretical secondary sources. Every other week the class hosts an artist talk series featuring pioneering artists.

M 1:30-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 25%
Class/Precept Participation 25%
Oral Presentation(s) 25%
Paper(s) 25%


FRS 146 The Idea of Monarchy in Jewish Political Thought EM

Benjamin Schvarcz

James Madison Program Freshman Seminar

In the democratic and liberal order of the twenty-first century the idea of monarchy seems to belong to the past. While it is true that kings and queens do not rule these days in Western countries, they do hold an important role in political imagination, not only in the minds of children reading fairy-tales but also, and perhaps more importantly, in the cultural roots of many peoples and religions. This is certainly the case for the Jewish political tradition. The idea of monarchy stands at the center of Jewish political thought throughout history, and a monarch still captivates the minds of many Jews when they think about their political past (some of them even aspire for the re-institution of a Davidic king in the future). This course will cover the main elements in the history of the idea of monarchy in Jewish thought. It will begin by asking questions about the motivation and scope for the scholarly project known as “Jewish political tradition” or “Jewish political thought.” It will then continue by posing questions about the seemingly contradictory views of monarchy in the Hebrew Bible. This will open the way to seeking different answers in contemporary scholarship as well as in rabbinic literature of late antiquity, medieval Jewish philosophy, and early-modern philosophy. The course will conclude with the challenge that monarchy poses to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

TTh 11:00 AM-12:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 40%
Class/Precept Participation 20%
Paper(s) 40%


FRS 148 Conspiracy Theories in Context EC

Elizabeth Davis

It is often said that we are living in an age of conspiracy theory: from the 9/11 Truth Movement to Pizzagate to COVID-19, American culture seems increasingly sickened by the spread of conspiracy theories. Critics rue the noxious impact these theories seem to have on our social relations, our democracy, and our public health. They ask: Why do people believe in conspiracy theories? And what can we do about it? Some have diagnosed them as symptoms of our failure to account for global relations of power whose scale, intricacy, and complexity defy coherent explanation, looking at the critical gaps in knowledge that conspiracy theories seem to fill. Others have explored the intimacy between power and conspiracy theory, looking at propaganda and disinformation campaigns on the part of state or parastate agents who attempt to create insecurity and block our access to the secret workings of power.

 In this seminar, we will trouble the category itself. What are conspiracy theories, exactly? How do they differ from other ways of knowing about the world? Do they even exist? And who are the “they” who believe them, as opposed to the “we” who do not? In order to assess what is new in our political culture today, we will study the long history of critical responses to conspiracy theory in the United States, from the Watergate scandal to the millennial New World Order to the consolidation of a conspiracy theory industry during Trumptimes. Through a series of case studies, we will consider how conspiracy theory has been defined and analyzed by an array of experts, especially how it has been contrasted with “legitimate” knowledge (e.g., science, social theory) and compared with “low status” knowledge (e.g., fake news, disinformation, propaganda, rumors, hoaxes). We will pay special attention to conspiracy theories in American culture, but we will also learn to think comparatively, examining conspiracy theories in other cultural contexts – India, Greece, Russia, Turkey, China – in order to probe the meaning of context itself.

This seminar will be eclectic in materials and interdisciplinary in approach: we will study films and online forums as well as texts – news items and long-form journalism along with theoretical and methodological works in anthropology, history, cultural studies, and philosophy. Most weeks, we will be joined by guest scholars. Students will work in small groups on final projects addressing conspiracy theories and contexts of their choosing.

MW 3:00-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Class/Precept Participation 20%
Design Project(s) 25%
Paper(s) 30%
Other 25%


FRS 150 Projecting Power SA

Omar Wasow

How do stories influence our understanding of politics? What role do state actors play in shaping the cinematic narratives we see on screen? This first-year seminar will introduce students to the field of political science by placing American and international films in conversation with scholarship on power, politics, and storytelling. Each week we will study a film, read related research, and analyze how one informs our understanding of the other. The course will cover ethnic politics, broadly conceived with a particular focus on civil disobedience, protests and political violence. Related topics may include immigration, crime and the state, and urban politics. We will consider a range of questions including, how do stories influence our sense of self, community and nation? How do filmmaking techniques (e.g. cinematography, casting, sound design) influence which people and issues become salient? How do aesthetic and narrative choices affect attitudes about the social order and who is deserving of power? Through close readings of films, social science, and media studies scholarship, this course will enable students to study key political science concepts, the institution of cinema, and how stories make meaning.

T 1:30-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 40%
Class/Precept Participation 20%
Paper(s) 40%



FRS 152 Drug Discovery: From Snake Venom to Medicines SEN

Paul Reider

Shelly and Michael Kassen '76 Freshman Seminar in the Life Sciences

Over the past few decades we have seen the discovery of some amazing medicines with dramatic benefits to the quality of human life. To many, however, the firm belief that science will triumph over disease has been replaced by doubt, frustration and fear. Where are the new medicines? HIV, Cancer & Alzheimer’s Disease are not yielding after years of work. TB and Malaria are coming back, long after we declared them solved problems. New, really frightening strains of bacteria and viruses, resistant to old treatments, arrive every day. What are we to do? This seminar will be an optimistic (I promise) look at the ways that medicines are created and tested. Participants will gain an appreciation for the complexities and risks of drug discovery – and a glimpse into what the next decade promises to bring. Topics will include: Immunotherapy for Cancer, Teachings from Mother Nature; Unmet Medical Needs, Target selection, Toxicity, Clinical Trials, Neglected Diseases, Economic Models of Drug Discovery (and Drug Pricing), along with how to address pandemics. Class time will be a blend of lectures and discussions on the basics of Drug Discovery coordinated with case studies. Guest speakers will range from experts in oncology to business development.It is appropriate for both non-science and science concentrators with an interest in the future of healthcare. Students will choose a disease and then identify a path toward a new way to treat it.

M 7:30-10:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Design Project 40%
Class/Precept Participation 20%
Other (Second Team Project) 40%


FRS 154 Before and After the Wall – US Mexico Border Fictions CD LA

Nadia Cervantes Perez

What is a border? ‘Qué es una frontera? How have borderland spaces between Mexico and the US been configured throughout history and imagined by colonizers, indigenous peoples, artists and writers since colonial times? What does it mean to live in-between nations, languages and worldviews? How does the past inform the present? What does coloniality have to do with it?

In this seminar, students will explore the concept of the border and borderland spaces from a variety of perspectives including Latinx, Chicano/a, Colonial and Mexican Literary Studies. In particular, students will reflect on the different ways in which the border or la frontera between Mexico and the US has been represented in history, literature and art. The seminar aims to develop novel ways of thinking of the US-Mexico border as a geographical space but also as a discursive site where individuals reflect on dreams, (land) struggles, trans-nationalism, language, identity, and human rights. The readings and class activities draw on historical texts from the colonial period such as relaciones and chronicles, as well as contemporary literary texts, music, and films that explore the rich symbolism of the border. We will discuss the development of the idea of the border in relation to: conquest and evangelization, security and militarization, indigenous peoples and cultures, immigration, il/legal discourses, life in the margins, language and nation, trade, and transcultural and transgender experiences. Among the critical concepts to be discussed are: colonialism and coloniality, race, gender, contact zones, memory, writing, and globalization.

This seminar is designed for students who are interested in learning about the US-Mexico border from a humanistic and historical perspective. No previous knowledge of Latinx, Chicano/a, Colonial or Mexican Literary Studies is required. However, some reading knowledge of Spanish will be useful since some of the works discussed in this seminar are bilingual or only in Spanish. In addition, the course includes a service project aimed at engaging with the local community in a context of partnership and reciprocity. Other course components include weekly reflections, a written critical analysis of an artistic work, and two presentations. Finally, we will have at least one guest speaker either from the Princeton community who is engaged in scholarly work on the US-Mexico border, or one of the authors whose work we study in this seminar.

MW 11:00 AM-12:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 20%
Class/Precept Participation 15%
Oral Presentation(s) 20%
Paper(s) 15%
Other (Community Service Project) 30%


FRS 156 The “Other ‘F’ Word” – Success & Innovation’s Sibling? SA

John Danner

Agnew Family Freshman Seminar

Princeton students are naturally focused, if not actually fixated, on success – in the classroom, on the field and for their emerging careers. But success has a much less well-understood sibling, which is often a precursor and even prerequisite for that success, whether in business, science, athletics or the arts. Failure. Although we usually treat failure as a regrettable event, it has the potential to become a strategic resource, invaluable in its ability to show us - sometimes painfully and often uncomfortably - what we don’t yet know but need to know in order to succeed in our chosen objective. Failure’s like gravity – a subtle, pervasive but invaluable fact of life. The Wright Brothers used it to fly; the ancient Romans to deliver fresh water to 1.5 million residents; and Nobel prizewinners to make profound discoveries in their labs – not to mention entrepreneurs, artists, authors, architects and athletes who’ve used the lessons of failure to achieve impressive success. In short, as much as we might prefer to deny or defy it, failure will be a likely companion in much of what we do, and our attitudes and skill in dealing with it can shape our own trajectory of accomplishment. This seminar will offer incoming freshmen a unique interdisciplinary window into this “other ‘f’ wor[l]d” of failure, with an opportunity to see firsthand how valuable it can be in the pursuit of success. In addition to utilizing my own recent book on this topic (The Other ‘F’ Word: How Leaders, Teams and Entrepreneurs Put Failure To Work, John Wiley & Sons, 2015), we will explore additional readings from history, technology, behavioral economics, psychology and even philosophy to anchor our class [see sample readings list]. This seminar is not for the faint-hearted. We’ll explore some discomforting territory, but it should be a fascinating odyssey through both unfamiliar and very familiar terrain. Curiosity, creativity, a spirit of open-minded inquiry and perhaps a dose of humility and humor will be the prerequisites for admission. [And although it would be especially apt in this case, this will not be a “pass/fail” seminar.]

M 7:30-10:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 15%
Other Exam 10%
Class/Precept Participation 25%
Design Project(s) 5%
Paper(s) 10%
Other (Periodic short reports on specific failures in the news; interviews with experts in academic fields and scouting reports on how failure is addressed in different fields & Team presentation and analysis of failure in a significant context) 35%


FRS 158 Steal This Seminar: Pirates, Copiers, and Copyrights in Law and Culture EM

Robert Spoo

Class of 1976 Freshman Seminar in Human Values

Historically, “piracy” has referred to crimes committed on the high seas in violation of international law. Today, we are more likely to think of piracy as theft of another’s ideas or creations. We hear of online piracy, software piracy, music piracy, and many other forms. Yet “piracy” has also been used to describe completely lawful conduct, such as publication of uncopyrighted works, creation of knockoff fashion designs, and imitation of chefs’ recipes. “Piracy” can be a term for condemning acts that are lawful but somehow morally unattractive. If so many different things are piracy, does the word have any stable meaning at all?

The chief mechanism for policing and punishing intellectual-property piracy is the law of copyright. This seminar will explore forms of piracy and copying in literature, art, film, music, and other media. We will examine the growth of copyright law, especially in Britain and the United States, and the associated rise of intellectual-property infringement. We will also pay attention to lawful forms of piracy together with informal norms and rules that have served to control and punish them. These norms include informal arrangements among publishers to treat public-domain books as if they were still under copyright, and the norms and ethical beliefs surrounding tattooing, roller derby, standup comedy, and other under-protected activities.

Assigned readings will include statutes, judicial decisions, and other legal materials, as well as writings by authors about copyright and the literary marketplace; historical and contemporary debates over copyright, lawful and unlawful piracy, and obscenity; proposed copyright reforms both in the age of print and the age of digital technology, online distribution, and fan fiction; and studies of informal norms and other systems for controlling lawful piracies.

The course will be enhanced through visits to such Princeton University resources as Rare Books and Special Collections; the Art Museum; and Princeton University Press. Grades will be based on regular short papers, a class presentation, a final paper, and class discussion.

T 1:30-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 40%
Class/Precept Participation 10%
Oral Presentation(s) 20%
Paper(s) 30%


FRS 160 Free Speech in Law, Ethics, and Politics  EM

Christopher L. Eisgruber

Why does free speech matter? What are its limits? This course introduces students to contemporary legal, ethical, and political debates about the freedom of speech. Readings will include American constitutional cases and scholarly commentary. Though the course will use historical materials to develop its arguments, the main focus will be normative: it will address questions about what polities, institutions, and individuals should do, rather than focusing on what they have done or commonly do.

Grades will be based upon a 5-page midterm paper, a 10-page final paper, 1-page weekly reflections on the readings, and class participation. Because this class examines controversial speech, readings and discussions may occasionally mention or describe opinions or materials that students might find offensive or hurtful. The instructor will do his best to treat such material sensitively and to avoid unnecessary provocation, and he will ask students in the class to do likewise. If, however, students wish to avoid exposure to material of this kind, they should take a different class.

TTh 11:00 AM-12:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Midterm 25%
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 50%
Class/Precept Participation 25%


FRS 162 Bioethics: Public Policy, Ethics and the Law SA - CANCELED

Harold T. Shapiro

Anonymous Freshman Seminar in Human Values

This seminar is focused on contemporary issue in Bioethics particularly on developments on the biomedical frontier that generate significant ethical, and/or legal and/or public policy issues. Thus we address ethical, legal and policy issues arising out of the evolving doctor/patient relationship, the contemporary use of human subjects in clinical trials, and such issues as eugenics in its classical and contemporary form, genetic engineering in animals and plants [including CRISPR-Cas9 and athletic enhancement], rights of non-human animals, ethical perspectives on suicide and physician assisted suicide, IVF, gestational motherhood and the shifting definition of families, cloning and embryonic stem cell research. In dealing with these and related subjects we will try to think carefully about the public policy issues as well as the legal and ethical issues that might arise and how they are resolved in different countries and in some cases how these issue might be handled in the different states within the U.S. Central to many of these issues is the structure of ethical norms, the architecture of the U.S. Constitution, the role of the Courts in dealing with moral issues and the capacity of public policy to address issues where moral disagreements arise. Indeed in any liberal democracy we should expect moral disagreements to be the norm in many arenas. Within liberal democracies most controversies in bioethics require not a simple resolution, but a politically stable set of decision mechanisms for peacefully living together in the face of differing views on certain ethical issues. I will lead the seminar in our first session, but in all remaining sessions are structured around 2-3 student presentations each week. In this respect each student will be assigned a leadership position in our discussions about 3 times a semester. Additional requirements are a 90 minute midterm exam [to be held during scheduled class time], a final research paper of about 5000-6000 words due on ‘Dean’s Date’, completion of assigned readings and active participation in all our discussions. A detailed Syllabus will be available early in the Fall Semester of 2020.

TTh 1:30-2:50 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Midterm 20%
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 40%
Class/Precept Participation 20%
Other (Essays/presentations) 20%


FRS 164 Fighting for Health: Illness, Iniquities, and Inequality SA

Leslie Gerwin

L. Richardson Preyer '41 Freshman Seminar in Public Service

Why do Americans struggle to be healthy? While the coronavirus pandemic has amplified the inadequacies of America’s public health system, the modern challenges of social disparities, dystopian politics, and structural racism conspire to interfere with government’s fulfillment of its responsibilities, citizens’ capacity to obtain accurate information for responsible decision-making, and Americans access to health services. We will examine the policies and politics that have animated modern challenges to the public’s health, focusing on those exposed by the current pandemic and exploring the lessons from earlier epidemics and from a variety of other challenges including, drug use: opioids and tobacco; vaccine mandates; access to health care; environmental justice, among other topics. 

Students will investigate and analyze the social and political challenges posed by the current pandemic to understand how risks to the public’s health expose and amplify America’s societal inequalities. We will build on these insights to examine an array of public health challenges, using the lens of social disparities to inform our understanding of the search for health. Students will work as a class cohort and in smaller collaborative units to consider their role as “change agents”—as solution generators and advocates committed to participating in the public debates over improving American’s health, with particular attention and sensitivity to addressing the needs of marginalized minority populations. We will work to create a dynamic learning environment in which students acquire and share their knowledge, experience and interests. The format will allow for class discussion, small group collaborations, and individual meetings with the instructor. Students will also engage in simulated exercises and project-based learning. 

Th 1:30-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Midterm 30%
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 25%
Class/Precept Participation 25%
Paper(s) 20%


FRS 166 Monsters, Aliens or US? Adventures in Medieval Fantasies LA

Sarah M. Anderson

Robert H. Rawson '66 Freshman Seminar

The coronavirus pandemic has put new pressures on the word “alien”. As Jill Lepore wrote as the pandemic locked us down and separated us from each other, “In the literature of pestilence, the greatest threat isn’t the loss of human life but the loss of what makes us human.” Plagues and pestilence have pivoted us to examine what we value, how we are human, and how we construct that human identity. Literature acts to negotiate the unspeakable tragedies of plague and pestilence:  in Oedipus the King by Sophocles, the plague in Thebes, a “weltering surge of blood” that kills people and blights crops, begins the drama and in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, the AIDS epidemic is experienced as a “plague” in the play and in that period of American history. Resisting the speechlessness of horror and terror, we write, even as our own bodies and ecosphere are changed by wearing PPE and staying “a Tiger” apart.

Something similar happens in fantasies of identity from the medieval period in the West through the medieval afterlives of film and fiction. There we find monsters, embodied creatures who are like us until they are not, aliens who function within the human imaginative ecology but are also alienated from the human. Monsters make us stop – and stare. But do they do something more than that? Does the “other” make us stop – and speculate? How do we use the “other” to construct ideas about what is distinctly human about ourselves? Literature is often about hypotheticals – about what you should do, or could do, or might want to do. In this seminar, we will entangle influential medieval and modern fiction, discussing problems of the alien and the alienating that are remarkably recognizable for our times. The imagined ecology of the Middle Ages, of the strange and compelling, is the place to think deeply about how we imagine our future as humans together. This seminar will also study objects at our Art Museum and medieval books through digital surrogates to consider the complex social impacts of representing the other-than-human, as it is displayed in bestiaries, which are encyclopedias of difference in humanoids, flora, and fauna, and in art works that powerfully instantiate social categories in a community. Collaborative projects are planned so that we can work together in small groups no matter what sort of space we share during Spring term.

T 1:30-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper in Lieu of Final Exam 20%
Class/Precept Participation 30%
Oral Presentation(s) 20%
Paper(s) 30%


FRS 170 The Antislavery Origins of the American Civil War HA - CANCELED

Sean Wilentz

This seminar examines the history of antislavery thought and politics from the mid-eighteenth century through the Civil War. Historians now rightly place slavery at the very center of any account of the history of the United States. Less attention, though, is generally given to the history of American antislavery, even though organized antislavery politics originated in the British American colonies. For millennia, slavery existed, in one form or another, as an acceptable, indeed natural form of subordination in the western world. Suddenly, in and around 1750, secular and religious thinkers began to render slavery an abomination. By the 1760s and into the 1770s, the American colonies, while moving fitfully toward declaring their independence, also became the strongest outpost of antislavery activity and politics in the Atlantic world. By 1804, all of the newly independent northern states had either abolished slavery or put it on the road to extinction. At the same time, however, the rise of the cotton empire not only gave plantation slavery a new lease on life; it helped buoy the first semblance of a slave power that would have the upper hand in national politics for decades to come. Early expectations that slavery might soon disappear from the new republic rapidly collapsed, Still, antislavery politics persisted in various ways, leading to a national crisis in 1819-1820 which then receding, only to re-emerge in a new, more radical form under the name of immediatism, associated most closely with William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass. These racial abolitionists proved remarkably successful at rousing slavery issues despite the best efforts of mainstream politicians to keep slavery out of national debates. Still, by 1840, it seemed as if abolitionism was getting nowhere trying to advance emancipation through moral suasion. Only when a majority faction of the American Anti-Slavery Society, the premier abolitionist organization of the day, split off to take its ideas into electoral politics did the movement begin to shift the political calculus in the North. Thereafter, slavery fitfully moved from the margins of American politics to the center, occasioning the collapse of the established political parties and the emergence of the Republican Party, the first mass antislavery party in world history. The fascinating story of how all of this happened – the story of the antislavery origins of the Civil War -- will be the main topic of discussion, complemented by serious original research projects.

T 1:30-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 50%
Class/Precept Participation 25%
Other (Midterm Writing Assignment) 25%


FRS 172 Money, Markets and Morals EM

Steven Kelts

Paul L. Miller '41 Freshman Seminar in Human Values

What is money, and when did it first emerge? What is a market, and when did modern capitalist markets – in commodities like land and raw materials, or in assets like stocks and corporate debt – emerge? Finally, what is cryptocurrency: money, a commodity, an asset, or a market? In this class, we will learn to answer questions like these analytically and historically, sharpening our concepts and testing them against the best scholarship on the past. Perhaps most importantly, we’ll learn to assess how these historical developments have been morally justified by their participants and by those who view them through lenses used in our century.Aristotle was one of the first to give the Western world a theory of money as a medium of exchange, a store of value and a unit of account. But Aristotle – and the Scholastic thinkers who followed him in the Middle Ages – believed that money and markets existed within an ethical universe that provided natural limits to both. In this course, we will start by tracing the historical changes that occurred to convince many thinkers that money and markets were immune to moral critique.

We will look at the U.S. Constitution, and at thinkers who interpret the Founding era as the moment that unbridled laissez faire first became a dominant ideology. We will then look at Marxists and anti-Marxists who pinpointed that change in other moments outside of the United States. Finally, we will look at contemporary debates about money, markets and capitalism, in order to sharpen our own sense of what is right and wrong in them.

TTh 3:00-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 25%
Class/Precept Participation 20%
Oral Presentation(s) 5%
Paper(s) 50%


FRS 174 Drawing Data LA

Tim Szetela

Using an array of site-specific, creative research methods, students will explore their local environments (inside and out) searching for data and the patterns, stories, and observations that follow. They will catalog and document their findings into evolving multimedia archives, iterating on various modes of collection and communication. Some of the topics covered include: Personal and Local Data, Documentary & Observational Drawing, Sound & Sensory Visualization, Data Collection, Data-Driven Storytelling, and Archival Research and Design. Written responses and in-class discussion of related readings, films, design, and art, will provide context to these approaches.

Students will practice these techniques and investigate these topics in small creative projects, which will provide a chance to try out new methods of research and approaches to visual communication. In-class exercises and instruction will cover analog and digital tools and technologies as needed.

The course will culminate in the production of a larger creative data visualization project. This larger project will be built on the foundation of one or more of the smaller projects, developed and iterated upon throughout the semester. Together, the class will exhibit their projects, collectively illuminating a set of uniquely local stories and patterns.

TTh 1:30-2:50 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Class/Precept Participation 15%
Design Project(s) 35%
Paper(s) 15%
Other (Final Project) 35%


FRS 176 The American Dream: Visions and Subversions in American Literature LA

Joyce Carol Oates

What is “The American Dream”? Is it an ideal, a shared cultural goal, a perennial challenge? A riddle, a chimera? How does the American Dream manifest itself in individual works of art?

“The American Dream: Visions and Subversions” will explore, primarily in American literature, themes of individual and cultural identity from 19th century texts (by Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry James, Mark Twain, Kate Chopin) through 20th century texts (by Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, James Baldwin, Flannery O’Connor) and 21st century fiction (by Jhumpa Lahiri, Lorrie Moore, Junot Diaz, Ha Jin among others).

Supplementary texts may include William James’s “Varieties of Religious Experience,” de Tocqueville ‘s “Democracy in America,” and selected memoirs (by Mary Karr, Tobias Wolff, Edmund White, Anthony Bourdain, Steve Martin) as well as selected art, photography, drama, and films.

Students will write 1-2 page papers each week on assigned topics, present one half-hour analysis and discussion of a text or art-work to the class, and write one major paper of 12-15 pages due at the end of the course. Also due at the end of the course will be a portfolio, or facsimile of a book, containing all of your work for the semester as well as a cover, cover art and design, table of contents, and back cover. (Careful instruction will be given on the creation of this “book.”) Students will be encouraged to pursue individual projects that might involve making contact with/interviewing appropriate contemporary writers or artists.

W 1:30-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Paper In Lieu Of Final Exam 40%
Class/Precept Participation 30%
Paper(s) 30%


FRS 178 Quantum Engineering: Foundations and Impact SEN

Claire Gmachl

Lasers are not focused, and quantum leaps are tiny. This freshman seminar first explores the science behind quantum technologies. What makes a physical object “quantum”, and what does it mean for the way it behaves? Many modern technologies, from communication to imaging and, more recently, computing, harness such quantum effects, hence asking quantum literacy of anyone interested in science, engineering, and their implications in daily life and society. The future of quantum technologies, especially quantum computation and quantum cryptography are discussed. Besides the technical aspects, this freshman seminar also explores the use of “quantum” in popular culture, media, film, and literature. 

This seminar is open to all first-year students, and does not require any specialized prerequisites beyond general high school science and mathematics.

MW 11:00 AM-12:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Midterm Exam 10%
Take Home Final Exam 25%
Class/Precept Participation 25%
Design Project(s) 15%
Problem Sets 25%


FRS 180: The Smart Band-Aid for Tissue Regeneration SEN

Jeffrey Schwartz

Shelly and Michael Kassen '76 Freshman Seminar in the Life Sciences

The subtext for “The Smart Band-Aid” seminar is to use the topic of “tissue engineering” to help students develop critical thinking skills, and to learn to not be swayed by “hype.” We use talks downloaded from the web or given in person to introduce each subject we cover. Web-based talks are by leaders in their fields; they include bioengineers, chemists, and clinicians. We start with broad-ranging, easily accessible talks and work toward more scientifically focused presentations. We also discuss media coverage of several of these topics: Students are often first introduced to advances in science through print media, television, or on-line reporting, which often lack in-depth, critical assessment. Consider, for example, 3D printing, which is often touted in the popular media as the solution to many of our medical needs where complex structures are required. Claims may be made in a biomedical context that are exciting to imagine, but may also be fare-fetched for real implementation; in others, real applications of this technology have been demonstrated, but do not get the popular attention they merit. It is important for our future scientists, doctors, and medical policy makers, among others, to develop the tools necessary to approach the evaluation of new technologies in terms of proven benefits, apparent limitations, challenges to address these limitations, and determining how to realize some of their more dramatic claims. Links and aticles are provided; literature is discussed in class to increase the knowledge base of the group over the course of the semester. We avoid over-emphasizing particular technical issues; given the heterogeneous backgrounds and interest of the students, we focus on conceptual approaches to problem solving. In that context, I highlight areas in the articles of interest to the group for further discussion. Three papers are assigned over the semester; the emphasis for them changes from impressions of the talks to detailed analysis of them (hypothesis; claims; “gaps;” suggestions to address gaps). The last talk given is based on my own research so that students learn the importance of critically evaluating their own work and to not be afraid to challenge their advisor. The last meeting of the seminar is a “brainstorming” session, where together we devise a strategy for “organ regeneration.” This is an SEN seminar. A basic understanding of chemistry and biology is required, but each topic listed above should be accessible to the student at an introductory level.

MW 3:00-4:20 PM

Requirements/Grading:
Precept Participation 20%
Papers 50%
Paper in lieu of Final Exam 30%