GRW Course Descriptions
GRW 101-14 COLD WAR CULTURES
Professor Clayton Black – MWF 9:30-10:20
Between 1945 and 1991 the world was divided between the capitalist West and Communist East, a division that conditioned not only the high politics and military strategies of the respective sides but the everyday lives of ordinary people around the world. This course will examine the influence of the Cold War on a variety of cultures, including those of Japan, Germany, China, Latin America, in addition to the United States and Russia. Using novels, films, visual arts, and music, as well as historical narratives, we will look at the ways that ordinary people experienced the Cold War. We will follow its evolution from the overt hostility of the early years, when fear of the enemy created enormous pressures for social and cultural conformity; to the space race and efforts to defeat the opponent through higher standards of living; to nuclear arms build-ups and fears of mutually assured destruction; to the peaceful coexistence of détente; to the brief renewal of tensions in the 1980s and the collapse of the Berlin Wall and dissolution of the USSR. The fascination with super-spies like James Bond, science fiction nightmares such as Godzilla, blue jeans and rock and roll as weapons, the hippy counter-culture all can be seen as cultural expressions of the geopolitical standoff, and yet different cultures responded in different ways to that standoff. Our goal will be to see how we understood our enemies and how our enemies understood us and to inquire about the ways that the cultures of the Cold War continue to affect us even after its conclusion.
GRW 101-15 PATHOGENS AND PLAGUES
Professor Kate Verville – TTh 8:30-9:45
This course will examine pathogenic microbes, such as bacteria and viruses, and the infectious diseases that they can cause. Diseases explored will include those that have been important throughout human history (e.g. polio, tuberculosis) as well emerging diseases (e.g. HIV/AIDS, Ebola). The mechanisms by which infectious diseases are transmitted and the methods by which they can be prevented and treated will be studied. Problems such as antibiotic resistance and bioterrorism will also be explored. The effects of these diseases on human populations across the globe will be emphasized. Many of the readings will come from the popular literature (books such as The Demon in the Freezer) and from professional websites in the discipline (e.g. the websites of the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
GRW 101-19 PLANTS, PEOPLE, & CULTURE
Professor Patricia Gladu – TTh 10-11:15
Throughout history, most people and cultures have gotten medicine from plants rather than scientifically engineered drugs. This course will look at some of the ways different cultures have used plants medicinally, including the medieval European “Doctrine of Signatures,” Indian Ayurvedic medicine, Native American medicine wheels, and the Chinese herbalists. We will compare indigenous and European medicinal systems, and explore the roles plants play in modern medicine. Throughout the course we will consider videos and music of the cultures, lectures and presentations, and each become intimately acquainted with a particular plant as we study it and determine its medicinal and nutritional value through lab experiments and compare its uses across cultures.
GRW 101-26 NAVIGATING MAPS: FROM ANCIENT GREECE TO THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
Professor Stewart Bruce – MWF 8:30-9:20
Maps hold a unique place in history as they helped civilizations comprehend the world around them. In this course we will immerse ourselves into the history of maps by closely examining historical maps and navigating our way to a deeper understanding of how maps helped shaped the perceptions of the world through time – from the earliest known maps dating back to Babylon, through the Greek and Romans, Chinese and Islamic civilizations, the European Age of Exploration, the American Revolution, and culminating in today’s modern technology. A field trip to the Library of Congress to explore their map collection will aid in our examination of historical maps. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology will also be utilized to allow students to compare and contrast the perceived world with the real world and to chart the paths of some of the famous navigators who bravely went forth into the unknown world.
GRW 101-31 ENCOUNTERS: WORLD ART
Professor Donald McColl – TTh 1:00-2:15
On the heels of a new millennium, this class seeks to take stock of the relatively new and controversial field of world art history. Rather than attempt a geographical or chronological survey, we will focus on a number of case studies of “encounters” among peoples and objects from a wide variety of periods and places—from Alexander the Great’s fateful incursion into India, to Robert Peary’s bringing a small group of Inughuit (Inuit) people, including the young boy, Minik, to New York at the turn of the 20th century, and beyond. In addition to discussing shared readings in primary and secondary resources, we will hold debates, hone our presentation skills, write research and position papers, attend special events and take trips to major museums in Baltimore and Washington, DC, and perhaps even propose an exhibition for Washington College’s Kohl Gallery.
GRW 101-33 THE HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES
Professor Thomas Finnegan – TTh 11:30-12:45
In this course we study the historical and philosophical background of the Olympic Games in the ancient and modern worlds, examining the sociological, literary, historical, and philosophical implications of the Olympic Games for various cultures. The major theme of the course is an examination of the Olympic Movement as a phenomenon that either promotes or detracts from a sense of world community or citizenship. Additional themes include: the number and diversity of contributions to the Olympic movement which developed from the customs of many countries and societies; how the Olympic Games have come to symbolize the “good life” as the potential for fame, notoriety, and wealth based upon a successful Olympic performance; the gradual inclusion of women as participants and their contributions to the games; the spirit of nationalism throughout the history of the games; the issue of drug use to achieve higher levels of Citius, Altius, Fortius; finally, the confluence of industrialization, technology, and media in the adaptation and development of our modern Olympic Games from leisure exercise, religious rituals and warrior games to the professional multi-million dollar industry it is today.
GRW 101 50 Mysteries of the Ancient World
TTH 11:30AM–12:45PM Professor Markin
The ancient world is often portrayed in terms of mysteries that need to be solved. Frequent topics involve the disappearance of the Easter Islanders, the construction and use of Stonehenge, and Mayan calendar predictions of the end of the world. More mysterious occurrences include the existence of pyramids, Great Flood myths, and dragon symbolism in seemingly unrelated cultures across the globe. This course will investigate these ancient mysteries and debunk pseudoscientific explanations for cultural collapses or the global occurrence of certain cultural traits through the examination of archaeological data, environmental/climatological records, and historical documents where available. Students will engage with specific mysteries by creating a popular–TV–styled documentary that addresses pseudoscientific and scholarly explanations. They will also prepare and present a brief PowerPoint presentation on a mystery that has been solved through archaeological investigation and will write a research paper on a particular mystery that captures their interest.
GRW 101-51 HUMAN MIGRATION
Professor Soma Dasgupta – MW 2:30-3:45
Why do human beings move from one place to another? The reasons can be diverse: cultural, economic or political. This course will investigate the rationales and the consequences of human migration. We will discuss the different forms of human migration, as well as some of the historical, political, economic and even environmental issues contributing to migration. Case studies would include the Transatlantic Slave Trade, the “Gold Rush” migration, the Partition of India, the “Great Lakes Refugee Crisis “in Africa, illegal immigration into the United States from South and Central America, among others. Students will conduct research on an issue related to human migration, and will present their findings to the class and in writing.
GRW 101-52 RICH COUNTRIES, POOR COUNTRIES
TTh 10:00AM–11:15AM Professor Dasgupta
Why are some countries rich while some others are poor? Economists and other social scientists have tried to answer this question since the late 18th Century. In this course, we will study the concepts of growth and development and their relationship with the well-being of a nation. We will also look at the importance of factors like geography, institutions, world integration, financial development, and governance, among others, in shaping cross-country income levels and growth. We will study the debates among social scientists on the relative contributions of each of these factors to economic development, and the roles these factors might play in closing cross-country income gaps. Students will work in pairs to conduct research on one country seeking greater economic development, and will present their findings to the class and in writing.
GRW 101-53 FAIRY TALES AND FEMINISM: TALES OF TERROR?
Professor Nicole Grewling – MWF 1:30-2:20
In this course, we will explore fairytales in different Western cultures, with a particular focus on the role of women in these tales. Fairytales are affected by their respective cultural contexts - we will consider the meaning behind these stories and examine their transformations across time and space. Our inquiry will be supplemented by an overview of the complex development of fairytale traditions. Readings will include fairytales and adaptations from Straparola to the Brothers Grimm, Perrault, and Disney. Over the course of the semester, students will write short analytical papers and develop a research project that addresses gender roles in fairy tales.
GRW 101-54 SOCCER STORIES: SPORT AND SOCIETY IN LATIN AMERICA
Professor Shawn Stein – MWF 10:30-11:20
What makes soccer the most popular sport on the planet? The common language found in this simple game transcends geographical borders and barriers of class, gender, ethnicity, religion and education. At the same time, in the so-called “post-national” world, soccer as spectacle still has the potential to accentuate difference and incite strong feelings of individual and collective patriotism and xenophobia. In this course, we will analyze the relations between soccer and identity (individual and collective) through the lens of literary and cinematographic soccer narratives from several of Latin America’s most soccer-obsessed nations. Students will write short analytical papers with drafts and revisions. In addition, each student will write and present an independent research project that addresses the impact of sport on society.
GRW 101-55 CHILDHOOD AROUND THE WORLD
Professor Tia Murphy – MWF 12:30-1:20
Children born in the United States and many Western European countries are often given their own cribs in their own rooms shortly after birth. However, children born in many other nations sleep in their parents’ beds for the first few years of life. We will examine this issue as well as other cultural differences in childhood, including parenting styles, personality development, educational opportunities, and gender socialization, within a developmental psychology framework. Students will explore how aspects of child development in the U.S. are similar and dissimilar to other cultures, and will communicate their findings through writings, discussions, and presentations.
GRW 101 Sections Offered by Time Slot – Spring 2013
MWF 8:30 26 Bruce Navigating Maps: From Ancient Greece to the Am. Revolution MWF 9:30 14 Black Cold War Cultures MWF 10:30 54 Stein Soccer Stories: Sport and Society in Latin America MWF 12:30 55 Murphy Childhood around the World MWF 1:30 53 Grewling Fairytales and Feminism: Tales of Terror? MW 2:30 51 Dasgupta Human Migration TTh 8:30 15 Verville Pathogens and Plagues TTh 8:30 19 Gladu Plants, People, and Culture TTh 10:00 50 Markin Mysteries of the Ancient World TTh 11:30 33 Finnegan History and Philosophy of the Olympic Games TTh 1:00 31 McColl Encounters: World Art TTh 2:30 52 Dasgupta Rich Countries, Poor Countries