Winter 2006

01 Animal Rights and Human Wrongs

02 Exploring Scotland

03 Technology in the Community

04 Dialogues/Human Rights in New Times

05 Philosophy Through Popular Film

06 Blood is Not for Sale

07 Post Literacy: Are Reading and Writing Doomed?

08 Animal Welfare: Does It Matter?

09 Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science - From Plato to Websurfers

10 Blogs: Art, Democracy, Privacy and the Public Good

11 Making a Difference in the World, Communicating Effectively for Change

12 The Art and Science of Imaging

13 The Art of Communicating Science

14 Anatomy of a Scandal: The Gomery Inquiry

15 Bravehearted Women: Women in Scotland 's Past

16 Beautiful Minds

17 The Science of A.R.T. (Assisted Reproductive Technology)

18 The Skinny on Fat: Obesity Today

19 Forbidden Knowledge and Dangerous Minds

20 Canada and the Evolution of Global Capitalism

21 Lost in Translation: Converting Science into Public Policy

22 We Are What We Eat? History of North American Foodways

23 Understanding Poverty

24 Emily Carr - The Making and Remaking of a Cultural Icon

25 Genes and Immunity

26 Disaster Planning and Management

27 Transgenic Animals - Golden Geese or White Elephants?

28 Walmart vs Wildflowers: Why Should Anyone Care About Biodiversity?

29 From Darwin to Today

30 Organic Agriculture and You

31 "Through the Looking Glass"

32 What Will We Eat on Mars? Canadian and International Participation in Advanced Life Support for Human Space Exploration Missions

33 Rebels and Inventions: The Rebellious Inventor, the Science and Engineering Inventions that Changed Civilization, and Future Inventions That Are Needed to Save the World

34 Western Mysticism

 

01 Animal Rights and Human Wrongs

In this course we will re-examine the customary place given to animals in western moral thinking. The whole field of ethics has traditionally been seen as strictly to do with how humans treat humans, to do with moral obligations to humans. Animals have been thought of as standing outside of any ethical concern and their role in the world has been construed as that of being useful to humans. We will be thinking afresh about this tradition.

Jean Harvey teaches in the Department of Philosophy


02 Exploring Scotland

In this course you will join the professor in an intellectual journey to explore literature, maps, and websites, as we work together to understand the landscape of Scotland . By searching the literature to build their own bibliography, including electronic sources, students will have the opportunity to prepare a significant paper on a chosen aspect of the landscape of Scotland . We will explore the concept of 'landscape' itself, and then examine how different factors such as geology, soils and climate, as well as many aspects and time periods of Scotland's history help define today's landscape. Emphasis will be placed on guided individual research and sharing of that research among the class. A key theme will be integration of interdisciplinary approaches; students from any academic background are welcome. Students themselves will learn to take responsibility for their own learning, including developing the content of the course through their own research. Particular emphasis will be placed on becoming familiar with using the library

Stewart Hilts is the Chair of the Department of Land Resource Science
 

03 Technology in the Community

All of us make use of technology in the classroom, workplaces and leisure environments but the development of new technological products is generally left to "technical" specialists such as scientists or engineers. This divide often leads to designs that are more complex than necessary or that fail to consider social impact in adequate dimensions. There is a need to introduce diversity into technology creation by including technical and non-technical perspectives as well as gender issues in the design process.

The seminar will focus on developing solutions for some "technical" problems. These will be chosen in consultation with the interests of the students but could include issues in health care, energy, transportation, underserved community groups, and the environment. Technical and non-technical students will work together to brainstorm ideas for needs-based technology. If appropriate, community members will also be invited to provide information and feedback to the design teams.

An important component of the seminar is developing a collaborative environment for sharing ideas and developing solutions. Some of the techniques in the Innovation Workshop, developed by the Virtual Development Center (Anita Borg Institute), will be used to facilitate structured brainstorming sessions and team design work.

Valerie Davidson teaches in the School of Engineering
 

04 Dialogues/Human Rights in New Times

The concept of egalitarian human rights did not meaningfully enter popular discourse until after WWII when growing awareness of Nazi atrocities generated unprecedented support for the idea that a state's ability to act with impunity within its borders is limited by the basic human rights of individuals living within the state's territory. Growing support for human rights after WWII was manifested in the UN Charter, which mandates that the organization promote universal respect for human rights. This course will address the history of the development of human rights law and practice in Canada .

Pat Case is the Director of Human Rights and Equity Office for the University of Guelph.
 

05 Philosophy Through Popular Film

It is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine contemporary culture without the medium of film. It has outstripped virtually every other artistic media as an expression of creative achievement. But even though films are works of art - broadly construed - they can nonetheless often provoke the sort of reactions and questions that lead to philosophical reflection. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to philosophy through the use of such popular films as The Matrix , A Clockwork Orange , Memento and others. In viewing these films in tandem with reading classic texts in philosophy, the student will gain an enhanced perspective on such perennial philosophical issues as the nature of knowledge, punishment, morality, and personal identity. Hopefully, the student will come away from the course with both a new appreciation of the experience of watching films and with a deeper knowledge of the most important and fundamental questions that human beings can ask themselves.

Peter Eardley teaches in the Department of Philosophy
 

06 Blood is Not for Sale

This course will focus on the nature of power and its emergence as a central interest in anthropology and in the social sciences and humanities more generally. It will also deal with culture because (thanks partly to globalization) as the apparent explanatory capacity of power rose, that of culture fell. A wide variety of theories of power will be debated in the context of the following case studies: a West African Utopia, organized racism and anti-Semitism in Canada , the vendetta (family feud) and independence movement in Corsica , social change in rural Ontario , and terrorism in America . Students will have an opportunity to conduct their own original research on aspects of power, and this will be a major dimension of the course.

Stan Barrett teaches in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology
 

07 Post Literacy: Are Reading and Writing Doomed?

The rise of literacy (reading and writing) was transformational not only for how we communicate and preserve ideas but also for how we think. However, as a literate people we have difficulty imagining both the oral cultures that preceded us (and still exist in other cultures) as well as the possibility of a something beyond literacy. This course will explore the nature of oral cultures, the transformations enabled by literacy and speculate about the concept of rich human communication beyond traditional literacy (e.g. "post literacy") that might evolve from advances in computing, biotechnology or other, as yet unimagined, developments.

Michael Ridley is the Chief Information Officer and Chief Librarian for the University
 

08 Animal Welfare: Does It Matter?

This interdisciplinary course will examine animal welfare from a variety of viewpoints.  It will involve considerations of science, the philosophy of science and ethical theory.  It will consider questions like: How can animal welfare be defined?  Is it possible to study animal welfare scientifically? Can we know what animals feel?  Do animals have moral standing?  Do we have obligations to animals?  Does any of this matter?

The main method of teaching will be through discussions, debates and role-playing exercises, involving controversial events gleaned from historical documents (e.g. Banting and Best's dogs) and recent press reports (e.g. Should pit bull terriers be banned?).  Discussions should foster confidence in developing and expressing ideas in front of peers.  Debates should develop skills of marshalling evidence and building arguments.  Role-playing exercises should sensitise students to other people's values and views.  We will also visit an animal facility and discuss the ethical implications of housing animals in this manner.

Ian Duncan teaches in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science
 

09 Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science - From Plato to Websurfers

Sexual knowledge, sexual science: an exploration of the history and science of sex, sexuality and gender - from Plato to Websurfers. This course will provide a thematic approach to the investigation of the culture, science and beliefs about sex and sexuality.

Jacqueline Murray is the Dean of the College of Arts
 

10 Blogs: Art, Democracy, Privacy and the Public Good

Blogs are everywhere. As a phenomenon they appeared fairly suddenly, and immediately began to affect all kinds of discourse, public and private, nationally and internationally. We will study the phenomenon of blogging, A-Z, thinking about ways that blogging approximates other kinds of writing, from confessions to broadsheets to op-ed to diaries to commercial publishing.

The seminar will engage students in the intellectual contexts of blogging-that's the art, democracy, privacy and the public good part of the course-and will ask students to create and maintain their own blogs during the semester. Some of the debates will immerse us in controversial materials. Although the balance of our attention will be given to blogs, bloggers, and blogging, we will also try to grasp some of the historical, ethical, and legal dimensions of blogging as a practice that is still very much up for grabs.

Alan Shepard is the Associate Vice-President (Academic)
 

11 Making a Difference in the World, Communicating Effectively for Change

In this day and age, we are faced with numerous social problems. On the surface, many seem to be solvable. However, to do so, one must overcome barriers - political, historical, financial, cultural. Society is looking for leaders who will engage the world in constructive change.

This course will reflect on leadership qualities with a focus on change management. It will explore issues of communication, leadership styles, personal attributes. The course is designed to develop the communication and leadership skills of the participants. It will do so using present world issues as case studies.

Brenda Whiteside is the Vice-President of Student Affairs and has taught in the Department of Economics
 

12 The Art and Science of Imaging

Throughout history mankind has used many approaches for viewing the world and for sharing one individual's view of it with others. While direct observation is the simplest of methods, it has long been recognized that this has its limits. Many of the things we want to see are invisible to the naked eye, and so we magnify them or do other things to make them appear. The vision of the artist or photographer is translated into a work of art that may or may not be what they intended, may or may not satisfy their or our perceptions of the subject, or may stretch our imagination so that we see the subject in a new way. The image of King Kong on a skyscraper is wonderful Hollywood distortion that we accept as entertaining trickery. But what about a painting by one of the old masters? There are those who speculate that Leonardo da Vinci used, in addition to the genius of his eye and hand, optical devices to help him create the Mona Lisa - a hypothesis that is not totally acceptable to those who believe that the genius alone of Leonardo was sufficient. Alternatively, an image may be created without ever actually seeing the subject, a process which increasingly is having a direct impact on biology and medicine. The x-ray changed the way we diagnose internal matters, but it was only the crude beginning of what is now an arsenal of stunning molecular and electronic ways of viewing the human body.

This course will explore some of the ways in which the art and science of imaging have influenced us. It will look at some of the more exotic methods of visualizing things we can't see. How do you make a molecule in your body turn green? How do you see a virus? Did Leonardo and others use tricks? Does the imagined become real as long as we can see it? How are methods of imaging driving the scientific revolution brought on by the human genome? Students in this course can be expected to broaden their awareness of how the art of imaging has and will continue to profoundly affect our health and our creativitity

Alan Wildeman is the Vice-President (Research) and teaches in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics
 

13 The Art of Communicating Science

This seminar programme will explore the skills which are involved in communicating science effectively. Students will examine different modes of communicating scientific ideas, which will also be illustrated by examples of good and poor practice and using both the technical and popular media. The impact of communication on the way we perceive scientific issues and the acceptance of new technologies in society will be explored, using suitable examples for discussion, such as genetic modification. Students will be involved in individual and group-based learning projects in developing their own skills. To facilitate small group activities, the seminar group will be sub-divided into two, and activities will be scheduled as 90 minute sessions. The two groups will come together at times to share their ideas in an interactive forum.

Mike Emes is the Dean of the College of Biological Science
 

14 Anatomy of a Scandal: The Gomery Inquiry

This winter the Canadian political scene will be dominated by the fallout from the Gomery Inquiry's report on the sponsorship scandal. Passing judgement on an eight-year spree of misappropriations, false invoices, bogus payments, and assorted corruption, the report will lead into a promised federal election, with its attendant orgy of recrimination and accusation. In this course we will take a more analytical approach toward understanding one of Canada 's biggest scandals, and by far its highest-profile scandal inquiry.

Based on the revelations and recommendations of the Gomery Inquiry, we will examine the scandal as an issue of policy and of politics, and assess the viability of the reform proposals put forward, as well as other neglected possibilities. We will also discuss the role of the media, the political use of the scandal, and the implications of the whole affair on democratic accountability and governance.

Maureen Mancuso is the Vice-President (Academic)
 

15 Bravehearted Women: Women in Scotland 's Past

This course will introduce students both to historical Scottish women and to questions about how women from the past have been perceived. We will also examine the role of women in the creation of a sense of national identity. Students will choose an individual woman from Scottish history and research her life and times. The women will be chosen from many different walks of life and work (literature, science, medicine, politics, music, crime etc). In the second part of the course, the first seminar each week will be a class discussion of readings relating to women's roles in a particular field. Individual students will be responsible for reporting on readings and directing discussion. The second seminar each week will be devoted to presentations by pairs of students on their individual women. Students will also write a research essay on their topic.

Elizabeth Ewan teaches in the Department of History
 

16 Beautiful Minds

John Nash won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1994. Although he is essentially a mathematician, the Prize was awarded because of the many areas of economic analysis that his approach to game theory opened up. However, the thinking behind modern game theory has been applied to many areas in the social sciences and biological sciences. This course looks at the basis of Nash's ideas, subsequent developments and many applications.

Chris McKenna is the Associate Vice President (Research)
 

17 The Science of A.R.T. (Assisted Reproductive Technology)

Extraordinary recent advances in our understanding of the biology of sexual reproduction have resulted in the development of sophisticated reproductive technologies such as cloning and in vitro fertilization which are likely to profoundly change the way we live and reproduce. These technologies also present us with substantial legal, moral and ethical issues which continue to spark vigourous debate. This course will examine the scientific basis behind these technologies and some of the social implications of their use in humans and domestic animals.

Jon Lamarre and Allan King teach in the Department of Biomedical Sciences.
 

18 The Skinny on Fat: Obesity Today

What is obesity? This course will discuss issues around obesity in today's society such as: fat and sex differences; the economic impact of obesity; "fast food" issues; the nature of eating disorders; and genetic and environmental factors involved with obesity.

Terry Graham is the Chair of the Department of Human Biology and Nutritional Sciences
 

19 Forbidden Knowledge and Dangerous Minds

Galileo's universe, Darwinian evolution, gender equality, reproductive technology, religious freedom, lesbian/gay/bi-/transgender sexuality, and peer-to-peer Internet file sharing - some discoveries and ideas have been considered so threatening, so revolutionary or subversive that they have been met with opposition and resistance in the form of banning, destruction, censorship, and silencing. Authors and proponents of forbidden knowledge have suffered death, imprisonment, exile, and social isolation as a result of publicly revealing their convictions. But what is dangerous to one person or segment of society may in fact be liberating or a "truth" to another.

Through readings, case studies and films we will investigate critically why some ideas are deemed to be too dangerous for unfettered public distribution and the processes by which knowledge has been and continues to be controlled. Emphasis will be placed upon the development of critical reading, analysis, and library research skills for use in group discussions and in the writing of reflective papers.

Nancy Schmidt and Mary Wilson work in Learning and Writing Services in the Library
 

20 Canada and the Evolution of Global Capitalism

Capitalism is an evolutionary process driven by rationality. Inherently within the evolutionary process is a unique set of cultural, social, economic and political influences that impact on every society with which it comes into contact. This course exposes students to the process by which capitalism evolves and explores a range of economic, political, environmental, cultural, and personal consequences of that process on various countries and regions of the world. The course also examines in more detail the implications of capitalist evolution on the political, social, cultural economic, and legal character of Canada .

William Frisbee teaches in the Department of Marketing and Consumer Studies
 

21 Lost in Translation: Converting Science into Public Policy

This course will explore the use of science in the development of public policy. Case studies and guest lectures will be used to illustrate effective and ineffective "translation" of science into public policy for the protection of human health, the environment, and similar issues. Students will work individually and in groups to analyze an issue of their choice and propose appropriate policy outcomes.

Isobel Heathcote is the Dean of Graduate Studies
 

22 We Are What We Eat? History of North American Foodways

This course will examine North American foodways, including alcohol consumption, from the early 19th century to the present. It will explore the impact of industrializtion and growing commercialization on the food supply. It will pay careful attention to cultures of eating and drinking and how these have changed over time. We will look at the rise of medicine, and nutrition science, and the impact this has had on eating patterns. And, finally, we will examine the impact of race/ethnicity/gender/class on how and what we eat and drink.

Catherine Carstairs teaches in the Department of History
 

23 Understanding Poverty

This first year seminar is designed to give students an introduction to understanding of the nature of poverty from several perspectives: historical; political; economic; and social. Students will explore poverty within and between nations, different opinions on why gaps exist between rich and poor, and compare how poverty is described in literature, film and the media. The seminar aims to engage students in a way that will significantly enhance both students' study skills and love for learning. Students will be expected to come to the class fully prepared to participate actively in class discussion, make class presentations and collaborate in a group project. Tentative topics for the group project are: Poverty in Guelph ; Poverty in New Orleans ; and poverty in a City in a developing nation.

Michael Nightingale is the former CEO of the University of Guelph-Humber and Craig Pearson is the Dean of the Ontario Agricultural College
 

24 Emily Carr - The Making and Remaking of a Cultural Icon

This seminar will enable students to delve into the works, life, and significance of Canadian artist and author Emily Carr. Carr has been the subject of numerous films, plays and a novel, and currently is an emblem for British Columbia tourism. More books and exhibitions have been devoted to her than to any other Canadian artist. We shall ask how her work is relevant today, and why she has had such a strong appeal for so many generations and audiences.

The goal of the seminar will be to explore a fascinating and formative moment in Canadian art while developing your critical insights and writing skills.

Gerta Moray teaches in the School of Fine Art and Music
 

25 Genes and Immunity

This course will examine the growing knowledge of genetics and mechanisms of genetic control of health and disease in human and animal populations. Special emphasis will be placed on genetics and immunology of infectious (such as tuberculosis and malaria), autoimmune (such as type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis), and allergic (such as asthma) diseases. There will also be an opportunity to discuss genetics and immunology of human-human or animal-human transplantation. Students will be encouraged to explore scientific, social, political, and ethical aspects of the recent discoveries in the area of genetic control of disease, including gene therapy and other forms of genetic manipulations. Other topics of interest may encompass genetics of kin recognition and mate choice, and interactions between genes and environment and the effects of these interactions on human and animal health, evolution of species, and environmental changes. We will also venture to explore genetics of other complex traits, such as obesity, intelligence, and sexual preference.

Shayan Sharif teaches in the Department of Pathobiology
 

26 Disaster Planning and Management

Emergencies and disasters are occurring in many places and can occur anywhere in the world, affecting human health, peoples' lives, and the infrastructure built to support them. The extent and severity of the impacts depend on both the natural (e.g., nature and level of hazard) and the human environment (e.g., vulnerability, organizational and management skills). This seminar is designed to create an environment for students to examine disasters and how they become emergencies, to learn the fundamentals of vulnerability mapping as a tool for disaster planning and management.

Nonita Yap teaches in the School of Rural Design and Development
 

27 Transgenic Animals - Golden Geese or White Elephants?

A transgenic animal is an animal with altered genetic composition brought about by deliberate manipulation using recombinant DNA technology. These animals often carry artificially constructed foreign genes based on those from one or several entirely different species ranging from bacteria to humans. Over the past 25 years many different types of transgenic animals have been developed in a wide range of species, from fruit flies, silk moths, frogs, fish and birds to mammals such as rodents, sheep, goats, pigs and cows. These novel animals are designed for a variety of purposes: improved agricultural production, mass production of special biological compounds for medical and other purposes, the analysis of complex biological processes in health and disease. Despite the tantalizing promise of this technology and the amazing animals produced, some at the University of Guelph , the development of transgenic animals is far from easy and the whole subject is controversial for a variety of reasons. During our series of seminars we shall discuss all aspects of this exciting topic - no prior knowledge of the technology is required by the student.

Ann Gibbins is a former Professor of Molecular Genetics and Chair, Department of Animal and Poultry Science
 

28 Walmart vs Wildflowers: Why Should Anyone Care About Biodiversity?

There have been more than 23,000 newspaper articles published, between 2003 and 2005, about some aspect of biodiversity. The United Nations has produced the Convention on Biological Diversity , to which Canada is a signatory. But why should anyone care about biodiversity? In this seminar, we will critically examine the question "should we conserve biodiversity?" What does the question mean? What are the likely consequences if the question is answered positively or negatively? What are the justifications for answering the question one way or the other? Positive justifications for conserving biodiversity fit into four general categories: (i) to conserve materials and other consumable products used by humans; (ii) to conserve future sources of pharmaceuticals (bio-prospecting); (iii) to preserve 'ecosystem functions' (such as nutrient cycling, waste disposal, flood control, etc.); and (iv) because we have a moral obligation to do so. For each of these categories we will examine the voracity of the arguments for and against this type of defense. Students will leave this seminar able to critically engage in one of the great public debates of our time. Perhaps most importantly, students will have an opportunity to exercise and develop their critical thinking skills, practice making arguments, attacking arguments, recognizing what constitutes evidence for arguments and how to weigh conflicting evidence. These skills are the hallmarks of an educated mind.

Jonathan Newman teaches in the Department of Environmental Biology
 

29 From Darwin to Today

The way in which people look upon change within the natural world has differed dramatically over time and viewpoints remain diverse. Does creationism better explain the intricacy and diversity of life than does Darwinism? What is the relationship between genetics and evolution? Is "microevolution" fundamentally different than "macroevolution?" Is most evolutionary change adaptive or does it occur by chance? In this course, we will read and discuss historical descriptions of wild and domesticated animals and plants and theories of these organisms' origins. Readings will include selections from medieval bestiaries, and the work of William Paley, Carl Linnaeus, Charles Darwin, Gregor Mendel, Theodosius Dobzhansky, G. Ledyard Stebbins , Motoo Kimura, as well as others. Finally, we will discuss how different views of life and its plasticity affect current scientific and ethical issues in agriculture, health, and the environment.

Lewis Lukens teaches in the Department of Plant Agriculture
 

30 Organic Agriculture and You

Organics is probably the fastest growing sector in the agriculture and food system today. From a tradition of farmgate and natural food store offerings, organics has now expanded into the mainstream food system. What does the word 'organic'

really mean? Why does organic food cost more? Is organic food healthier? How is organic food produced? How are animal health and welfare promoted on organic farms? How can you be sure that products really are 'organic'? Is organic farming going to become the standard of practice in an energy-limited future? Would large scale adoption of organic practice retard - or accelerate - the ongoing decline in rural community integrity? This course will address these and other questions raised by the explosion of organics onto the agricultural landscape and into your neighborhood supermarket

Ann Clark teaches in the Department of Plant Agriculture
 

31 "Through the Looking Glass"

This course is designed for students who are curious, students who love all things small and beautiful and for all those who wish to enjoy the thrill of discovering unimagined intricacies in innocuous and drab objects as they look at them with a lens-enhanced vision. We will share the fascination of Leeuwenhoek, the 17th century draper who loved to grind his own magnifying lenses and look at 'animalcules'. We shall trace the evolution of the simple magnifying lens all the way to the present day digital, laser-driven confocal and multiphoton microscopy systems. We shall enjoy the iridescent beauty of rotifers and peep into the busy microworld of the living cell using fluorescent probes and cutting edge visualization techniques.  Evaluation will be based on project assignments and presentations, where there will be ample opportunity for originality and innovation.

Jaideep Mathur teaches in the Department of Plant Agriculture
 

32 What Will We Eat on Mars? Canadian and International Participation in Advanced Life Support for Human Space Exploration Missions

Extended human missions to the moon or Mars will require a cost efficient means for crew life support. It is generally accepted that as mission duration increases and crew spend longer periods away from low-earth orbit, a higher degree of mission autonomy is desirable since re-supply of life support elements from Earth becomes prohibitively expensive. Bioregenerative approaches to life support can harness the physiological power of higher plants, micro-organisms, fungi and perhaps insects and other animals to provide food, potable water and air revitalization (CO 2 sequestration and O 2 production). For short duration missions, air-revitalization may be accomplished with physico-chemical scrubbing of CO 2 from the atmosphere and food may be pre-packaged and shipped to crew members. For longer duration missions, the significance of the biological component of the life support system increases and the efficient recycling of gases and minerals among compartments of the bio-regenerative loop becomes essential to the sustainability of the mission.

The integration of the components of a bioregenerative life support system requires the use of terrestrial test-beds or earth based analogues. Historically, a number of studies have been undertaken. These include the Russian BIOS-3 project in Siberia , NASA's Lunar Mars Life Support Test Project (LMLSTP), the privately funded Biosphere 2 project in the Arizona desert and more recently, the European Space Agency's Micro-Ecological Life Support Systems Alternative (MELiSSA) Pilot Plant project. With funding from the Canadian Space Agency and as a member of the MELiSSA team, the University of Guelph has been involved in a number of experimental activities aimed at the successful integration of a higher-plant compartment in the Pilot Plant facility. The Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility at the University of Guelph represents Canada 's contribution to efforts in human space exploration and this course will address this critical role.

Mike Dixon and Geoff Waters teach in the Department of Environmental Biology
 

33 Rebels and Inventions: The Rebellious Inventor, the Science and Engineering Inventions that Changed Civilization, and Future Inventions That Are Needed to Save the World

The history of human civilization has been altered by key inventions or innovations. In modern times, this has included the transistor, the silicon chip, the agricultural Green Revolution, the Haber-Bosch process for nitrogen fertilizer, DNA splicing, the human genome sequence, the internet, and even the computer GUI interface. What were the key inventions, what was the science behind the invention, and what were/are the social and economic implications of the invention? Many of these inventions were created by rebels. Who were these great innovators? What did their life histories have in common? How did the place and time in which they lived and worked help lead to their innovations? What is so special about Silicon Valley or Xerox Research Park in California , that led to multiple Nobel Prizes? This course uses case studies of individual inventions. In each case study, students will explore the inventor, the invention, the science principles underlying the invention in accessible terms (from Biology, Physics, Chemistry, etc.), the needs met by the invention, and the social and economic outcomes of the invention. We will critically examine whether technology is good or bad or both. Finally, as a class, we will examine the planet's major problems, climate change, environmental degradation, freshwater limits, energy, food and poverty, ask what future inventions, if any, could solve these problems.

Manish Raizada teaches in the Department of Plant Agriculture
 

34 Western Mysticism

Because the mystical tradition tries to understand the ultimate principle by experiencing it directly, without concepts, it doesn't receive much attention in courses on Western philosophy, which is primarily concept-driven. This course is meant to compensate for that absence. We'll explore the works of mystics from all three traditions, including both medieval and contempo­rary. For example, from Judaism we'll study Kabbalah and Hassidism; from Christianity classic texts like The Dark Night of the Soul , as well as contemporary writers like Evelyn Underhill, Simone Weil, and Thomas Merton; and from Islam Sufi thinkers such as Al-Gazali and Ibn Arabi. We'll also study the eclectic tradition of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. The assignments will be two class presentations of about 2500 words, worth 35% each, and two summaries of about 1250 words on two other presented works, worth 15% each. Since this is a seminar course attendance is mandatory, both to ensure continuity of discussion and to ensure that the person presenting will have an audience. There will be no final exam. Readings will be taken from a coursepack, internet postings, and library reserve.

Kenneth Dorter teaches in the Department of Philosophy