Seminar List - Winter 2013
Seminar List - Winter 2013
Please note that if a listed seminar does not last the full 10 weeks, the drop deadline may be sooner.
Click on the seminar title to expand the course info.
Professor Ines Talamantez, Religious Studies
Enrollment code: 72926
This seminar welcomes freshmen students to our campus and introduces them to rites of passage in America. Examples will be drawn from American and Native American initiation ceremonies. The focus of this study will be on issues of identity and the life cycle, and will include film and discussion. Students will be required to do a one page paper along with an oral presentation on a topic pertaining to the course.
Dr. Talamantez arrived at UCSB in 1979 from Dartmouth College to develop the area of Native American Religious Traditions. Since then she has developed ten undergraduate courses in this area of study and has taught a variety of graduate seminars. Religion is the central domain of Native American cultures; it is considered the lifeway that connects people to each other and to the non-human world. Such classes introduce students to Native America's rich oral traditions, languages, and cultural heritages, from the historical point of encounter to present-day Native American realities. The emphasis on teaching and mentoring is critical to the work of Dr. Talamantez, as is field research.
Professor Rolf Christoffersen, Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology
Enrollment code: 26922
The seminar will explore the implications of genetic modification of our food crops with special emphasis on the application of recombinant DNA technology for crop improvement. The scientific basis of these technologies will be explained at the level of a non-science major. Course materials will include a critical review of articles from the popular scientific press concerning the dangers and benefits of genetically modified crops. The potential impact (both good and bad) on agriculture in developing countries will also be covered.
Dr. Christoffersen received his Ph.D. in 1983 from the University of California, Los Angeles and did postdoctoral studies at McGill University and the University of California, Davis. The general area of interest in his laboratory is the biochemistry and molecular biology of higher plants. He teaches Introductory Biology and Genetics.
Professor Ann Jensen Adams, History of Art and Architecture
Saturday, January 26
12:00 - 2:00 pm (classroom instruction)
Saturday, February 2
8:30-5:20 pm (field trip)
Enrollment code: 26955
Direct examination of works of art within a museum setting afford an unsurpassed opportunity to consider how a work was created, what has happened to its appearance over the course of time, and how installation within the museum setting may alter or contribute to the artist and/or patrons original conception. This course will take place over two days: on the first day we begin in a classroom for a discussion with slides that provides background information necessary to close looking. We will then move on to the University Art Museum where students will be divided into small groups and given a series of looking assignments designed to teach close looking of both art and installation. Members of each group will wrap-up the day with reports on what they have discovered. The second day will be devoted to a visit to the J. Paul Getty Museum of Art, where we will examine art in all media-paintings, prints, sculpture, and decorative art!
Professor Ann Adams is a specialist in 17th-century Netherlandish painting, particularly portraiture. Her extensive museum experience included work in the curatorial offices of the Yale University Art Museum, a research fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and curated an exhibition of Dutch and Flemish Painting from New York Private Collections at the National Academy of Design, New York.
Professor Williams Davies King, Theater and Dance
Enrollment code: 26963
Millions of people collect everything from fine art to Beanie Babies, from butterflies to limericks, from classic cars to old newspapers. This seminar will examine the history and practice of collecting, as well as some of the theory. Why do people collect? What does collecting say about a society? What distinguishes collecting from hoarding? How can collecting be creative? And you, do you collect?
Professor William Davies King, Theater & Dance, specializes in dramatic literature and theater history, but is also an unusual collector and author of Collections of Nothing (Chicago, 2008).
Professor Ellen McCracken, Spanish & Portuguese
First four Wednesdays
Enrollment code: 59469
This seminar is an introduction to new Latin American film focusing primarily on Mexico and Argentina. We will study key films as a means of understanding contemporary social and cultural issues that preoccupy Latin America, including the origins of revolutionary struggles in the 1960s, the aftermath of dictatorships, and the effects of civil war. How do feature and documentary films rearticulate these and other issues for contemporary audiences? We will combine close readings of select films and excerpts with a general introduction to Latin American studies through film.
Professor McCracken specializes in Latin American literature and cultural studies, and U.S. Latino literature.
Professor Stanley Awramik, Earth Science
Enrollment code: 56242
The seminar will deal with an important debate in American society that involves the teaching of evolution and science in public schools. What are the issues involved? What are the distinguishing characteristics of science? How well do evolution, creationism, and intelligent design fit into the fabric of science? We will discuss the issues surrounding this important contemporary debate.
Professor Stanley Awramik is a paleobiologist who studies the early history of life on Earth. He has taught several Freshman Seminars, History of Life, Historical Geology, as well as advanced courses in the Earth sciences.
Professor Francis Dunn, Classics
Enrollment code: 60103
Each week we discuss a different portrait of Medea, in drama, fiction and film, and use these discussions to consider ancient and modern views of women and violence, and changing cultural values. Read or view one work per week.
Francis Dunn was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, went to high school in New England, and studied Classics at Yale University. His research specialty is Greek tragedy, his interests include narrative theory and modern adaptations of classical literature, and he regularly teaches Greek Mythology. His hobbies include gardening and brewing.
Professor Clarence Barlow, Music
First 6 Tuesdays
MUSIC BLDG 1145
Enrollment code: 56259
Six illustrated lectures in which Professor Barlow demonstrates how music can be derived from language, other music and algorithms. His lectures, each accompanied by a handout for students, will be profusely illustrated by examples of his own music and occasionally by the music of contemporary colleagues.
After teaching composition in the Netherlands and Germany for 22 years, Professor Clarence Barlow took up the position of Corwin Chair and Composition Program Head at UCSB's Music Department in 2006. His main interest is computer-aided composition for acoustic and electronic instruments, often derived from musical and extramusical sources.
Professor David Morrison, Mathematics and Physics
Enrollment code: 59899
The early twentieth century saw two major advances in theoretical physics: Einstein's theory of general relativity, which gives a framework for understanding the universe on the scale of stars, galaxies, and beyond, and quantum mechanics, which gives a framework for understanding the universe on the scale of molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles. Both theories are extremely well tested under ordinary physical conditions, but when they are extrapolated to extreme physical conditions (such as near a black hole), they are incompatible. We will explore these two important aspects of theoretical physics, as well as a possible resolution to the incompatibility known as superstring theory. Our discussions will emphasize metaphor rather than equations; there are no mathematics or physics prerequisites, only a willingness to engage difficult intellectual material.
David Morrison, Mathematics and Physics, is an expert on the mathematical aspects of string theory. His recent courses include: Linear Algebra with Applications, Algebraic Geometry, Basic Physics, and Methods of Theoretical Physics.
Professor Walid Afifi, Communication
1st 5 Weeks
Enrollment code: 72348
This freshmen seminar will introduce students to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The course is founded on two principles: that the humanity of those suffering in the conflict, regardless of their ethnic, religious, or ethnic identification, must be acknowledged and respected, and that understanding the present is impossible without some understanding of the past.
Walid Afifi is a Professor in the Department of Communication, is Chair of the Middle East Studies program, and is a member of the Chancellor's Council on Campus Climate. He has led a popular Freshmen Seminar on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for the past five years.
Professor Matthew Hanser, Philosophy
Enrollment code: 27045
This course is an introduction to moral philosophy via a discussion of several, "moral paradoxes."
Matthew Hanser is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department. His research is primarily in moral philosophy and the philosophy of action.
Professor Mattanjah de Vries, Chemistry and Biochemistry
First 5 Fridays
Enrollment code: 27060
A Gallup Poll shows that 44% of Americans think the theory of evolution is false. Should there be stickers on biology books, warning that evolution is only a theory? Should we worry about climate change or is that a hoax? Is alternate medicine just quackery or is it systematically suppressed by the mainstream medical establishment? Is intelligent design covered up by biologists? Science appears to be doubted and beleaguered from many sides. What do the courts have to say? Explore the history and philosophy of science. Be skeptical and decide whether science can be trusted.
Professor Mattanjah de Vries teaches Analytical Chemistry, Freshman Chemistry, and special topics graduate courses. His research interests include studying the molecular origin of life with novel laser-based techniques, as well as applications in analysis of meteorites, art, and archeology.
Professor Tamara Afifi, Communication
Enrollment code: 27078
This seminar focuses on the communication patterns in families that place family members at risk for difficulties and the communication patterns that make them resilient or stronger when faced with difficult circumstances or stressful situations. In particular, we will discuss communication patterns in divorced families, stress and coping, parenting, conflict, strong marriages/families, addictions, and adolescence.
Tamara Afifi is a Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Most of her research focuses on how family members cope communicatively with various challenges they face. When examining her research program, two primary themes emerge: (1) information regulation (privacy, secrets, disclosure, avoidance) in parent-child and dating relationships, and (2) communication processes related to uncertainty, loss, stress and coping in families, with particular emphasis on post-divorce families. Her current research examines the impact of parents’ conflict and other communication skills on adolescents’ physiological responses.
Professor Mario Garcia, Chicano Studies
First 5 Thursdays
Enrollment code: 27094
This seminar will focus on film documentaries on the Chicano/Latino historical experience including immigration, civil rights, education, and culture. Students will screen one documentary per week for one hour and then discuss the film for the second hour.
Mario Garcia is Professor of Chicano Studies. He has written numerous books on the Chicano experiences including on immigration, civil rights, identity, and religion. He teaches courses on Chicano history, 20th century U.S. history, autobiography and history, and literature and history.
Professor Gerald Jacobs, Psychological and Brain Sciences
Enrollment code: 27110
The suspicion that the visual worlds that animals inhabit may be very different from those we enjoy is of long standing; for example, in 370 BCE, Plato raised the following question: “are you quite certain that the several colors appear to a dog or to any animal whatever as they appear to you?” Recent years have seen a dramatic expansion in our understanding of the biological machinery that allows various animals to see, of how these diverse capacities allow them to succeed, and of how vision evolved. This seminar will address these issues with the goal of providing an appreciation for the enormous variations in visual worlds available across the animal kingdom.
Professor Jacobs’ many years of research experience dedicated to studying vision and the visual system in a wide variety of different animals has taught a variety of courses on topics related to brain/behavior relationships.
Professor Enda Duffy, English
Enrollment code: 61374
James Joyce's "Ulysses" is the most notorious, interesting, exciting and brilliant novel written in English in the last hundred years--and you owe it to yourself to read it now. This seminar will introduce you to it, and get you started on that reading. At each meeting we will concentrate on a couple of key pages spread throughout the book's eighteen episodes, so that you will develop a sense of what awaits you within it, how the story develops, and how to get the most out of the incredible pleasures of this text. "Leopold Bloom ate with relish...."--and you will read with relish as well.
Enda Duffy is a professor of English and Comparative Literature and the co-director of COMMA, the Center on Modern Literature, Materialism and Aesthetics, based in the English Dept. at UCSB. Born and raised in Ireland, he has written, The Subaltern Ulysses (on James Joyce) and The Speed Handbook (on velocity and modernity), and is working on a new book on human energy in modern times.
Professor Risa Brainin, Theater and Dance
Enrollment code: 27185
LAUNCH PAD is the new play development program at UCSB Department of Theater and Dance. With the playwright in residence, we produce a world premiere each year. Through this seminar, learn the unique process of new play development. Interact with the director, playwright, actors and designers in class and observe rehearsals to get the inside scoop on how new plays go from page to stage.
Risa Brainin, Professor/Director of Performance, directorial credits include plays at Guthrie Theater, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Great Lakes Theatre Festival and more. Artistic Director of UCSB's LAUNCH PAD. www.risabrainin.com
Professor Viola Miglio, Spanish and Portuguese
Friday, February 1, 2013
8:00am-12:50pm and 2:00pm-6:50pm
Enrollment code: 59881
This seminar will offer students the chance to get a global view of the origins of terrorism in the process of organization of the European states. We will be studying documents and laws to trace the origin of terrorism and state-organized repression (state terrorism) in Europe. We will also look at politics in the Basque Country and Basque institutional organization, and articulate characteristics unique to Basque politics. Finally we will also discuss major problems facing European minority politics.
Professor Viola Miglio’s main interests are minority languages and legal rights, language change and translation. She works on Romance languages (Spanish, Northern Italian dialects), Basque and on Icelandic language, literature and history. She is about to publish a book on Basque whaling in Iceland in the 17th century with Professor Xabier Irujo (University of Nevada, Reno). This seminar will be co-taught with Professor Irujo.
Professor Vickie Scott, Theater & Dance
Enrollment code: 56267
This seminar will follow the step-by-step process of artistic collaboration for the Theater as connected to a Department of Theater and Dance main stage production.
Professor Vickie J. Scott teaches lighting and scenic design for theater and dance, designs productions in the Department of Theater and Dance, and mentors students. She is a graduate of the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA with degrees in both Lighting Design and Technical Direction. Her recent work at UCSB includes: HAMLET and TARTUFFE.
Professor J. Sears McGee, History
Enrollment code: 56275
Before the English civil war between king and parliament began in 1642, Oliver Cromwell (1599-1657) was an obscure country gentleman and Puritan without military experience or expertise. During the war (1642-46), he rose to high military rank and later commanded the parliamentary army before becoming the Lord Protector of England in 1653. The seminar will focus on his motivation for fighting against King Charles I and the way he used the power that came into his hands in the 1650s to govern Great Britain.
After completing his PhD at Yale, Professor McGee came to UCSB in 1971 to teach early modern European history. His research and writing is concerned with the intersection between religion and politics in Britain in the seventeenth century, especially in relation to the civil wars fought there during the 1640s. A central figure in the conflict and its aftermath was Oliver Cromwell, and study of him provides a convenient way to approach these themes.
Professor Silvia Bermúdez, Spanish and Portuguese
Enrollment code: 56291
In this seminar we will become acquainted with poems of love and/or desire written originally in Spanish and spanning five centuries. Our aim is to understand how poetic discourse allows for the articulation of the variety of states, feelings and attitudes associated with passionate desire and/or romantic love.
Professor Silvia Bermúdez teaches and researches on Iberian and Latin American Studies. Her current courses and research projects focus on Constitutional Spain, Galician Studies, and Contemporary Spanish pop music.
Professor Wendy Meiring, Statistics and Applied Probability
Enrollment code: 56325
Each week we will discuss a specific environmental/ecological question, and the role of statistics in related research. Example questions include: "How many whales live in the oceans?" and "How are stratospheric ozone levels changing over time?" Interest and active participation in focused class discussion/brainstorming is all that is required!
Wendy Meiring is an applied statistician who studies environmental and ecological processes. Following her Ph.D. in Statistics at the University of Washington, Seattle, she was a postdoc at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. She then moved to UCSB, where she is an Associate Professor.
Professor Stan Klein, Psychology
Enrollment code: 56358
We will look at one of the most obvious but least understood aspects of being a person — our ability to remember. We see that memory is not unitary, but rather a collection of abilities sharing some similarities, but differing in many ways. We will examine evolutionary implications of memory, ways in which we differ from other mammals in memory abilities, why we need different types of memories, and what happens to individuals who lose types of memory abilities — amnesic patients, autistic individuals, Alzheimer's patients and Schizophrenics.
Professor Klein teaches in Department of Psychology. His areas of expertise are Neurology, Cognition, Social, Evolutionary Psychology and Philosophy. He graduated BS from Stanford and got PhD from Harvard and has been at UCSB since 1990.
Professor Susan Derwin, Interdisciplinary Humanitis Center
January 10, 5:00-5:50 pm – HSSB 6056
January 24 and 31, and February 7 and 21, 4:00-5:50 pm (location TBA)
February 28, 5:00-5:50 pm – HSSB 6056
Enrollment code: 72330
This year, the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center is sponsoring the events series ‘Fallout: In the Aftermath of War.’ Speakers will examine the impact of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan upon our diverse citizenry, culture, institutions and society as a whole and a theater group will give a dramatic reading of a play about soldiers’ experiences of homecoming. Students in the freshman seminar will attend four of these events, write short response papers, and in conclusion of the seminar meet to discuss the series.
Professor Susan Derwin is Director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center and a faculty member in German and Comparatie Literautre. She teaches courses on modern literature, aftermaths of war and the Holocaust.