Fall 2020 Engaged Scholarship Courses
ANTHRO 1906: Care in Critical Times
Course meeting time to be announced.
What is care? How can and do communities mobilize care as a social intervention, political act, and tool for building intimacy, healing, and hope? Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we care for ourselves and our communities, but caring is not an apolitical or individual act and we must analyze the inherent inequalities and social dimensions of what it means to give and receive care. Employing a feminist mode of inquiry and an engaged anthropology approach, this course requires students to not only ask how they might engage in caring acts with their own communities, but to complete a locally based community project that brings care, in all its multifariousness, to the fore. Readings will focus on ethnographic, scholarly, and public-facing works that illustrate how culture, social relations, and systems of power shape the experiences, roles, practices, and interactions of individuals and their communities in the exchange of care.
CHEM 100R: Experimental Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Course meeting time to be announced.
Chem 100R is a project-based synthetic/physical organic, bioanalytical, and chemical biology research course. Students work in 2–4 person groups with course staff on zoom to conduct and contribute to cutting-edge, faculty-derived research. Throughout the semester students use electronic notebooks to keep track of their research findings, which they present in group meetings and write up in a formal research paper. As students learn to communicate technically with other scientists and peers, they also learn to communicate about the broader applications of their research to nonscientific audiences through science advocacy.
English CACF: Get Real: The Art of Community-Based Film
Tuesday 12:00pm - 12:45pm
“I’ve often noticed that we are not able to look at what we have in front of us,” the Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami said, “unless it’s inside a frame.” For our communities confronting invisibility and erasure, there’s an urgent need for new frames. In this workshop, we’ll explore a community-engaged approach to documentary filmmaking, as we seek to see our world more deeply. We’ll begin with screenings, craft exercises, and discussions around authorship and social impact. Then we each will develop a short documentary over the rest of the semester, building off of intentional community engagement. Students will end the class with a written documentary treatment and recorded material for a rough cut.
ENG-SCI 157: Biological Signal Processing
Tuesday & Thursday 10:30am - 11:45am
This is the first course on Biological Signal Processing, the science of collection, representation, manipulation, transformation, storing of biological signals, and the use of modern scientific computing tools (Python, Jupyter notebooks) to interpret biological signals and tell engaging and informative stories using biological data. The signals of interest can be deterministic, semi-periodic, transient, random, stationary, non-stationary, etc., depending on their source and generation mechanism. We will use EEG, EKG, temperature data, neural spiking data, and data from Covid-19 as examples. Our focus will be on foundational signal processing concepts that can be applied in a variety of biological applications. Examples include the Fourier Transform, Principal Component Analysis, Clustering, etc. Applications include those to patient monitoring, diagnostics, patient prognostics, online monitoring, and the computation of wellness measures. For many of us, one frustrating aspect of Covid-19 is our inability to understand figures that are reported, such as infection rates and numbers. We will introduce you to a powerful suite of mathematical and scientific computing tools will enable you to evaluate and make decisions based on evidence and data.
GENED 1093: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Cares? Reimagining Global Health
Arthur Kleinman, Paul Farmer, Anne Becker, & Salmaan Keshavjee [Engaged Section]
Tuesday & Thursday 12:00pm - 1:15pm
If you are sick or hurt, whether you live or die depends not only on biological factors, but social ones: who you are and where you are, what sort of healthcare system is available to help you survive, and what kind of care is available to help you recover, if society believes you deserve it. The global coronavirus pandemic illustrates with dramatic urgency the role social forces play in patterning health inequities and determining individual fates. The vulnerabilities of those most likely to get sick and to die from Covid-19 stem from the ongoing effects of systemic racism on racialized subjects, the devaluation of eldercare and precarity of low-paid work under neoliberal forms of governance, and enduring material effects of colonial-era power structures that render health care systems dangerously weak or inaccessible for many communities. Now, as ever, it is imperative to develop frameworks and methodologies to identify and to intervene effectively in harmful social configurations that cause illness and suffering.
GENED 1130: Power to the People; Black Power, Radical Feminism, and Gay Liberation
Tuesday & Thursday 1:30pm - 2:45pm
An introduction to the radical American social change movements of the 1960s and 70s. We will examine the specific historical conditions that allowed each of these movements to develop, the interconnections and contradictions among them, and why their political power faded, only to reemerge in new manifestations today. Along with historical analysis, we will examine primary source materials, manifestos, autobiographies, and media coverage from the period, as well as relevant films, music, and fiction. The class will be a mixture of lecture and discussion. Midterm and final assignments will include options for engaged scholarship with community engagement projects.
GOV 50: Data
GOV 50 001 Tuesday & Thursday 7:30am - 8:45am
GOV 50 002: Tuesday & Thursday 12:00pm - 1:15pm
This course, an introduction to data science, will teach you how to think with data, how to gather information from a variety of sources, how to import that information into a project, how to tidy and transform the variables and observations, how to visualize, how to model relationships, how to assess uncertainty, and how to communicate your findings. Each student will complete a final project, the first entry in their professional portfolio. Our main focus is data associated with political science, but we will also use examples from education, public health, sports, finance, climate and other. (Previous course number: Gov 1005).
GOV 93C: Public Policy Practicum
Alexander Gard-Murray [Section I]
Jenn Hanlen [Section II]
Tuesday 3:00pm - 5:45pm
This course provides students an opportunity to do policy research. Students will read academic research on policy and the politics of policy making, and then do their own research for a policy proposal commissioned by a real client, such as a legislator or an NGO. Each student will write a research paper on a topic related to the group project. This research will also contribute to a single, integrated report and oral presentation for the client.
HIST 1852: The Game: College Sports as History
Tuesday & Thursday 7:30pm - 8:45pm
The old adage about sports—“It’s only a game”—just isn’t true. Athletics, especially at the collegiate level, has always been much more than just a game. College sports were responses to the grinding tedium of the colonial-era curriculum; a way to establish hierarchy among students in the nineteenth century; an important source of revenue and a powerful driver of alumni giving in the twentieth.
In this class, students will use the lenses of race, class, and gender to examine events in American sports history. College gyms, fields, stadiums, and rinks have been the scenes of both delightful distraction and the battlegrounds for all sorts of controversies. College sports, in other words, are an integral part of American cultural and social history. The course uses the lens of college sports, and Harvard College athletics, in particular, to gain insights into the “Game” and the ways athletics both was impacted by and, in turn, shaped wider currents of cultural and social change in American history.
Students will use three digital archives—the Crimson, Harvard Alumni Bulletin back issues, and scanned records on various Harvard and Radcliffe teams—to write several short, archivally-based research papers. Students will also carry out one oral history with a past Harvard scholar-athlete; this will be deposited in the Harvard archives. There is an option to do this with a high school student as part of a Mindich Program community engagement component.
MATH MA: Functions and their Rates of Change
Course meeting time to be announced.
The study of functions and their rates of change. Fundamental ideas of calculus are introduced early and used to provide a framework for the study of mathematical modeling involving algebraic, exponential, and logarithmic functions. Thorough understanding of differential calculus promoted by year long reinforcement. Applications to biology and economics emphasized according to the interests of our students.
MUSIC 14A: Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum
Thursday 6:45pm - 8:45pm
Choral music finds itself in a state of upheaval as current health risks render communal singing impossible. This semester, the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum will creatively adapt its work to sustain our values of joy, care and well-being, empowerment, and musical excellence during our physically-distant time. The confluence of the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest inspires us to invoke the best of the mixed-choir tradition and compels our community to reimagine choral practice in a COVID and post-COVID era.
Our rehearsals will balance a familiar choral experience with music-making rooted in authentic, student-driven artistic expression. This year, we will uphold the Collegium tradition of performing large-scale works such as Handel’s Messiah with the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra. We will also draw upon the creativity of our members to develop small- and large-group projects that promote individual agency and make use of new technologies. Collegium members are given a unique opportunity to develop experience in arts administration, concert production, marketing, tour planning, and other facets of non-profit leadership. Students may optionally explore enrichment in the areas of individualized vocal study, choral composition, advanced ear-training and sight singing, and choral repertoire. In partnership with Harvard’s Mindich Program for Engaged Scholarship, Collegium will also design and implement projects that engage with public schools, nursing homes, and hospitals severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
Our collective work will culminate in a multimedia performance, an act and artifact of this pivotal moment in time.
Course Notes: Audition required. For audition and further information, visit www.singatharvard.com The course is graded SAT/UNSAT based on attendance and participation. This course may be taken repeatedly, but to receive credit the course must be taken in the fall and spring semesters consecutively. A maximum of four semesters (two years) may be counted as credit towards the degree.
MUSIC 15A: Harvard Glee Club
Monday & Wednesday 4:30pm - 5:30pm
How did choral communities navigate moments of societal crisis and calamity in the past? How might we invoke the lessons and wisdom of history to find inspiration to fortify us during this challenging moment? Since its founding in 1858, the Harvard Glee Club has endured through world wars, pandemics, and social turmoil. Rooted in its core virtues of glee, good humor, unity, and joy, the 2020-2021 Harvard Glee Club will aspire to build its own legacy of resilience and ingenuity.
The Glee Club is a tenor and bass ensemble performing music written in the male chorus tradition. Through excellence in performance, student management, education, community, tradition, and philanthropy, the Glee Club offers a unique musical experience for all members. This year, we will study and sing timeless and timely choral works from a variety of eras and cultures, including revered pieces that the group performed often during similar moments of crisis in the past. We will learn from composers and poets who created works in response to isolation and catastrophe and reflect on their relevance today in both full-ensemble and small-group projects. Students may explore additional enrichment in the areas of individualized vocal study, choral composition, advanced ear-training and sight singing, and choral repertoire as desired. Glee Club members will also design and implement community engagement projects guided by Harvard’s Mindich Program for Engaged Scholarship, including collaborations with the Ashmont Boy Choir in Dorchester.
The semester will culminate in a multimedia presentation of our collective work as both an act and artifact of this pivotal moment in time.
Course Notes: Audition required. The group is open to tenor and bass singers; we welcome, value, and support students of all gender identities. For audition and further information, visit www.singatharvard.com. The course is graded SAT/UNSAT based on attendance and participation. This course may be taken repeatedly, but to receive credit the course must be taken in the fall and spring semesters consecutively. A maximum of four semesters (two years) may be counted as credit towards the degree.
MUSIC 16A: Radcliffe Choral Society
Monday 6:45pm - 8:45pm
Founded in 1899, the Radcliffe Choral Society is Harvard's oldest women's organization and one of the country’s preeminent collegiate treble choruses. As we confront the limitations and opportunities of a virtual semester, how might we continue to honor our rich history and further the group’s legacy? How do we synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make meaningful art during this time?
The Radcliffe Choral Society promotes excellence in women's choral music and celebrates the extraordinary community formed through its music-making. During this time of virtual learning, we will continue to foster the appreciation and enjoyment of women's choral music through the commissioning of new works for women's voices and exploring music from Medieval chant and Renaissance polyphony to Romantic partsongs and folk music from around the globe. Students are given a unique opportunity to develop experience in arts administration, concert production, marketing, tour planning, and other facets of non-profit leadership. The course offers voluntary opportunities for singers to cultivate their musicianship in the areas of individualized vocal study, choral composition, advanced ear-training and sight singing, and choral repertoire.
RCS members, in partnership with Harvard’s Mindich Program for Engaged Scholarship, will design and implement its annual Rising Voices Treble Choral Festival in a virtual space in the Spring of 2021, collaborating with peer treble choruses. The festival will investigate the intersections between social justice, feminism, and art-making in response to the pandemics of COVID-19 and racial violence in America. The fall 2020 semester will culminate in a multimedia presentation of our collective work as both an act and artifact of this pivotal moment in time.
Course Notes: Audition required. The group is open to soprano and alto singers; we welcome, value, and support students of all gender identities. For audition and further information, visit www.singatharvard.com The course is graded SAT/UNSAT based on attendance and participation. This course may be taken repeatedly, but to receive credit the course must be taken in the fall and spring semesters consecutively. A maximum of four semesters (two years) may be counted as credit towards the degree.
PSY 1525: Psychology for a Sustainable Future
Tuesday & Thursday 7:30pm-8:45pm
The ongoing rise of the average global temperature has led to—and will continue to lead to—more frequent and severe flooding, droughts, habitat loss, and societal impacts such as wars, famine, and clean water scarcity. How did this happen? What can we do? This course focuses on the role that human psychology has played in ecological destruction and, in turn, highlights how psychological science can help solve the global environmental crisis. We will combine research from social, behavioral, and personality psychology to understand the individual and group-level psychological processes that hinder or bolster green behaviors. A central goal of this course is to equip students with the tools and scientific expertise to increase their own sustainable behaviors and to evaluate and promote sustainability efforts in society at large.
SOCIOL 90EQ: Equity Through Inquiry Pedagogy, Research, and Capacity Building Strategy Lab
Tuesday 12:45pm - 2:45pm
This course will examine the principles and methods of community based, participatory, action, and decolonizing approaches to inquiry. In addition to developing this knowledge and skill-set among students in the course, the purpose of this lab is to design a curriculum to teach this content to undergraduates in tandem with creating a strategy to increase public knowledge and usage of equitable approaches for knowledge generation, meaning making, and social transformation through inquiry.
Together we will engage with various frameworks and systems of knowing and meaning making; how they are centered on, or the extent they intersect with the pursuit of equity and justice; and pragmatic approaches for moving from theory to practice. We will discuss power and privilege, identity and location in the context of research; the promise and limitations of engaged inquiry to help advance social change; and the ethics of inquiry with historically and systemically oppressed people and communities. We will discuss epistemology, research paradigms, and explore a variety of approaches, including Participatory Action Research/PAR, Community Based Participatory Research/CBPR, citizen science, and indigenous approaches to research. We will examine how different approaches for asking questions, methods for gathering and analyzing information, and sharing knowledge, as well as the principles, truths, and worldviews that undergird different approaches, can be applied in diverse contexts. Learning from and critical engagement with voices and perspectives from beyond the academy, in particular those excluded from academic scholarship, will be central to our work. Ultimately, we will critically examine how inquiry that emphasizes equity, collaboration, and reciprocity in the uncovering, integration, application and dissemination of knowledge can be a tool of liberation and certain methods a strategy for responding to oppression, colonization, and systems of domination.
SOCIOL 1141: Contemporary Chinese Society
Ya Wen Lei
Tuesday & Thursday 10:30am-11:45am
Situating China in the context of the transition from socialism, this seminar provides an overview of contemporary Chinese society. We will explore recent structural changes in China’s economy, political system, legal institutions, media, family forms, education, stratification and inequality, and contests over space—as well as how all these various changes interact with one another. We will begin with the Chinese Communist Revolution and then the Cultural Revolution as crucial historical context, and then move on to examine the profound social transformations of the post-1978 reform period. The course will examine how these changes have impacted social relations, how they have been experienced and understood by individuals, and how, in turn, the responses of individuals have also shaped the trajectory of reforms.
SOCIOL 1142: Sociology of Asian America
Tuesday & Thursday 1:30pm - 2:45pm
Today, over 22 million people living in the United States identify as Asian. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are one of the fastest growing populations in the US. What are the social, cultural, and political structures that shape the lives of AAPI? How have the experiences of AAPI changed from the nineteenth century to the present? This course takes a sociological view to examine “Asian America.” Rather than analyzing AAPI as a monolithic group, this course explores the diversity of experiences and histories within Asian America. Through readings on a range of case studies, we will examine Asian America through important historical and social phenomena such as colonialism, environmental racism, war, migration, and social movements. We will look at the ways that AAPI have been socially and politically constructed as a racial group and the ways that such categorizations continue to shift. Finally, we will consider contemporary debates about AAPI that are particularly alive here at Harvard, such as affirmative action, socioeconomic mobility, and social justice.
SOCIOL 1152: Conflict, Justice, and Healing
Monday & Wednesday 1:30pm - 2:45pm
Serious crime and other forms of conflict are experienced as a traumatic violation. This is to be avoided at all costs. And yet… some survivors experience surprising levels of resilience, a renewed sense of meaning and purpose, empowerment, and post-traumatic growth. Some offenders turn towards a deeper sense of truth and existential responsibility. Some communities transcend institutionalized patterns of dehumanization and violence to embrace the challenging path of forgiveness, reconciliation, healing, and inclusive flourishing. When and how do individuals and communities heal after conflict? We engage with these issues through a series of diverse case studies, including contemporary examples drawn from the international Black Lives Matter movement, prisoner reintegration efforts in the U.S., victim/offender dialog in the Middle East, and embodied emancipation in post-apartheid South Africa, as well as classic cases such as the Cuban Missile Crisis. A critical engagement with the emerging fields of conflict transformation and positive criminology reveals potential restorative pathways to individual and communal well-being, and ultimately harm prevention. A growing body of empirical research on the social conditions and processes that give rise to these outcomes will also help us explore such timeless questions as: What is justice? How can “enemies” reconcile? What is the good life?
SPANSH 59: Spanish and the Community
Tuesday & Thursday 12:00pm - 1:15pm
An advanced language course that examines the richness and complexity of the Latino experience in the US while promoting community engagement as a vehicle for greater linguistic fluency and cultural understanding. Students are placed with community organizations within the Boston area and volunteer for four hours a week. Class work focuses on expanding students' oral and written proficiency in Spanish through discussing and analyzing readings, arts, and films by and about Latinos in the US.
EXPOS 20: Animals and Politics
EXPOS 20: Are Prisons Obsolete?
Course meeting time to be announced.
With 2.3 million Americans currently locked behind bars, the United States imprisons its citizens at a higher rate than any other country in the world. But calls to reimagine our country’s carceral system are on the rise. Black Lives Matter and other movements are asking urgent questions: Why are Black Americans imprisoned five times more than white ones? Should there be for-profit prisons? What crimes merit confinement? What is the purpose of prisons? And do we even need them? In this course, we will grapple with these questions by examining a variety of scholarly perspectives on the United States prison system. We will begin by analyzing the arguments for prison abolition versus reform in Angela Davis’s Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003). To situate ourselves within a broad debate over the recent history of mass incarceration in the United States, we will then compare new scholarship on the subject by Michelle Alexander, James Forman, Jr., and Elizabeth Hinton. We will also read first-hand accounts of prisons in Reginald Dwayne Betts’s memoir and poetry, as well as Shane Bauer’s investigative journalism. Over the course of the semester, we will receive visits from prison reform advocates, prisoners’ rights attorneys, and formerly incarcerated people, who will help us understand the United States prison system and the movement for carceral reform today.
EXPOS 20: Remembering the Civil War
Course meeting time to be announced.
Over the summer, cities across America erupted in protest. As the weeks dragged on, civil unrest that began with the murder of George Floyd shifted focus. Protesters across the US, and then across the globe, began to tear down statues. And not just any statues – memorials to Civil War generals. Since the violent protests in Charlottesville four years ago to the banning of Confederate flags at NASCAR, the Civil War is at the center of American conversations. How did we get here? How is it that in 2020 symbols and flags of a war a century-and-a-half old still dominate our political landscape? One hundred-and-fifty-five years after Lee and Grant shook hands at Appomattox Court House, it was clearer than ever that the Civil War is not part of our past – it is at the very core of our present.
Together, we will examine the fine line between history and memory, and eplore the history of memory. We will explore where the mythologies around the War came from, and try to understand how they affect our current understandings of politics and identity. This course will teach you to read the arguments all around you, whether they’re being made by traditional sources like books and articles, or by buildings, statues, and movies. We will begin by decoding the arguments made by Memorial Hall, at the heart of Harvard’s community. We’ll then dive into the single biggest source of Civil War memory: Gone with the Wind. Finally, you will choose an area of your own interest to dig into for a research paper. Throughout, we’ll focus on evaluating arguments and making our own, finishing up with the creation of a well-researched, accessible op-ed and media presentation.
EXPOS 20: The 2020 Election and American Democracy
Course meeting time to be announced.
It’s a cliché for pundits and politicians to declare that each election is the most important in our lifetimes, maybe all of American history – at least, that is, until the next one. Even so, it’s easier than usual to make the argument that the 2020 Election finds American democracy at a crossroads. President Trump’s bid for re-election was bound to be contentious, given the shocking upset that brought him to the White House in 2016 and the divisive character of his policies and rhetoric. Less expected was that the 2020 Election would be held amidst a deadly pandemic that has ground normal life to a halt and raised uncertainty about how to conduct the vote safely and fairly. Or that the preceding summer would see a national reckoning with systemic racism and police brutality. Consider that all of this occurs within a political climate of intense polarization, refracted in a media environment which frequently distorts reality to fit partisan narratives, and it is clear that the 2020 Election will test America’s democracy like none before. And yet, for all that makes this election unique, we have arrived at this critical juncture as a result of forces that are deeply rooted in our nation's history, from the bitter residue of the 2016 Election, to the unfished work of the Civil Rights Movement, to paradoxes of democratic citizenship that date back to the nation's founding.
In this course, we'll draw on works by political scientists, historians, journalists, and activists to better understand the stakes of the 2020 Election and the wider issues it raises about participation, representation, citizenship, and equality. The first unit of the course focuses on voting as a right and as a responsibility. Our readings will address barriers to the ideal of full and equal participation - such as low voter turnout, voter suppression, gerrymandering, and the Electoral College - and assess potential solutions, from the seemingly common-sense to the deeply controversial. The second unit then asks that we zoom out from the polls and take a broader view of the systemic challenges facing American democracy. As a class, we'll engage with cutting edge research on topics like polarization, authoritarianism, inequality, and the influence of money in politics. These readings will lay the groundwork for students to conduct original research and analysis on American politics in 2020 and beyond. Along the way, we'll be cataloguing our predictions and reactions as the electoral drama unfolds, curating our own archive of news items, and reflecting on our part in the process from the unique vantage of point of the University, where many students will be casting their ballots for the first time. This work will provide the materials for our third unit capstone, where students will contribute to a collaborative project that blends public writing with visual media and compose a personal reflection discussing their experience of this historic moment.