Sample Core Communities Courses

The following are sample Core Science courses, and may not be available every semester.

CORE C140 - Queer Origins

Explores origin stories for LGBTQ identities and communities, tracing the emergence and histories of minoritized gender and sexuality categories. Challenging singular narratives about the development of LGBTQ identities and communities, students examine how disciplines such as psychology, anthropology, sociology, history, and epidemiology have asked and answered the question of queer origins. If queerness originates in individual pathology or early caretaking relations, or if queerness originates in biological morphology or genetics, or if queerness originates in social relations and organizing for the sake of building collectivity, the wide range of approaches taken to locate queerness and its origins have deeply shaped knowledge production about LGBTQ identities and communities. Students carry out an independent research project in which they research an LGBTQ community or identity and their origin stories.

CORE C142 - Addiction & Recovery

Explores addiction and recovery through fiction, poetry, memoir, film, and psychological theory. Examines how intersections of gender, race, age, class, sexuality, and disability inform people's experience of addiction and access to recovery. Coursework is designed to improve student's ability to analyze complex texts and to situate them within their cultural, political, and historical contexts.

CORE C143 - Jewish Diasporas: Ukraine, Moscow, Jerusalem, New York

Looks at the evolution of East European Jewry at the turn of the twentieth century, as a community with a single way of life finds itself in the vastly different environments of immigrant New York, Ottoman-era Palestine, and Soviet Russia. What stays the same and what changes? What is the fate of Marxist-inspired Jews in Palestine and in Soviet Russia? What happened, and what did they think as it happened? The course starts in the 1880s and ends in 1953 (the end of World War II, the formation of the State of Israel, the death of Stalin). The group we are studying is both a historical community, with roots going back 3,000 years, and a community of practice.

CORE C144 - Time

What is time? The question has been asked by philosophers, theologians, scientists, as well as many other serious thinkers over the centuries. Nevertheless, human beings are still far from deciphering the enigmatic qualities of time today. Students spend a semester together tackling the profound question of time from diverse angles and through diverse means. Students engage in the conversations between scientists and religious thinkers; take a moment to meditate; look at how temporality in other cultures reflects and shapes alternative relationships between man and nature; watch and discuss films; also indulge in dance and music; explore how time is connected to our body, to social structures, and to power; also make the effort to capture, reconstruct and present time through art works...... This intellectual / experiential / artistic journey through "time" is intended to serve as a mirror that reflects on ourselves — our body and mind, our history, our society, and ultimately, who we are.

CORE C145 - Dirty South

The Dirty South offers an interdisciplinary exploration of the rich history, cultural and aesthetic traditions, as well as the environmental and architectural landscapes that make up Black southern life in the United States. The course title, which is inspired by the Black southern vernacular phrase for the region, marks the course's focus on the particularly diverse mixture of cross-cultural, diasporic traditions, beliefs and practices that define the south, from Virginia to Texas and all points in between. Course materials include readings that chronicle histories of slavery, Jim Crow, mass incarnation and gentrification, personal narratives that provide insights into historical and contemporary political realities and social movement organizing, and music, film, and visual art that lend an affective window into the sensory, spatial, and creative dimensions of the Black south. In addition to considering the profound social fabric of Black southern life and its larger impact on the United States, students also explore how this culture and region present a generative challenge to conventional notions that posit identity and geographical boundaries as clear and distinct categories. 

CORE C148 - Black Migrations

An investigation of the contemporary dispersal of African-descended people throughout the world. While students focus primarily on dispersion to the Americas, some attention is also given to Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Indian Ocean Basin. Recognizing the value of a complex diasporic lens that includes race, gender, sexuality, immigration status, and class, students are introduced to diasporic encounters African descendants have experienced, the formation of transnational social movements, black internationalism, Pan Africanism, post-1965 immigration, and contemporary Black life. To this end, coursework will challenge and expand students' understandings of the diverse and complex history of people of the African Diaspora, what it means to be Black in the 21st Century, and how contemporary Black life is been informed by cultural exchanges in addition to migration, colonialism, slavery, and the quest for political enfranchisement.

CORE C150 - Native Peoples of the Great Plains

The Native people of the Great Plains are among the most familiar, yet least understood, cultural groups in all of North America. This course seeks to understand Plains Indian people beyond the simplistic renderings of Hollywood films. How have Plains people adapted to their unique environment, and how have their livelihoods changed over time? What historical processes underlay Plains Indian people's relationship to settler society, and how can we understand changes to plains life through lenses like race and gender? And what is happening in Plains Indian communities today? With these questions in mind, this Core Communities and Identities seminar will trace the experiences of Plains Indian people from the colonial era through the present day.

CORE C160 - Latin America

Explores how the idea of "Latin America" came to be and the various political purposes it has served from the colonial encounter to the contemporary moment. This is not a traditional survey course that gives an overview of the regional mosaic we have come to call "Latin America." Instead, it illuminates how the very notion of Latin America as a discrete world-region has been conjured and politicized at key historical moments, emphasizing the underlying social inclusions, exclusions, and global relations fueling these multiple (re)inventions. In addition to the central themes of race, nature, and anti-imperialism, the crucial role of the United States as an interventionist foreign power also looms large in this story.

CORE C165 - China

China has the distinction of being one of the world's oldest continuous cultures, with 5,000 years of rich, complex history. Today, it is also a rising international power with the second largest economy on the globe. CORE 165C approaches China not as a monolithic entity, but as a complicated place and people best understood through diverse perspectives, including but not limited to history, economics, geography, literature, art, politics, environment, society, ethnicity, gender, migration, and diaspora. Students also gain indispensable research skills as they develop their own projects.

CORE C166 - India

Offers a wide-ranging and challenging introduction to contemporary India--its famed social, political and cultural diversity, its conflicts and contradictions, its literature and history. India as it is known today, with its population of more than a billion, is a recent creation, a product of the partition of the South Asian colonies of the British Raj (Empire). How has such a diverse region come together, and been held together, as one nation? How have its conflicts and contradictions—of class, caste, ethnicity, language, religion and politics—been managed by its rulers and politicians? How have these conflicts and contradictions been captured in novels and on film? The course goal is to subject the "Idea of India" to a detailed investigation, beginning in the present, and working through a process of excavation, discovery, and critique.

CORE C175 - Wilderness

A multidisciplinary engagement with the idea of wilderness and the lived experience of the people and communities that have been shaped and reshaped by the local, regional, and global forces involved in the conservation and preservation movements in the US and internationally. Students explore the lives of the, often, land-based or agrarian local peoples who, in the service of environmental protection, are excluded from places and social and economic activities that are tied to their identities and livelihoods. Reading and research topics include historical and contemporary case studies such as national parks, national forests, national monuments, wildlife refuges, and ocean preserves and the forces that have formed these places and changed the communities of practice that have access.

CORE C169 - Rwanda

A multidisciplinary examination of the ways in which community and identity have been formed, are politicized, and remain relatively static over time. This is not a course about the 1994 genocide, but rather one about how such an event could have happened. This world-defining event is historically situated and culturally contextualized as a way to study Rwanda's past and the questions it raises about its future. The experience of Rwandans and consideration of how they understand themselves are analyzed. Assesses the historical and social implications of being ethnic Hutu, Tutsi, or Twa in Rwanda, whether at particular watershed moments — in for example 1894, 1931, 1959, or 1994 — or during periods of so-called 'normalcy' that the country has enjoyed in the past and is experiencing at the moment.