Courses

  • KHC AN 101: Humans Among Animals
    This course examines some of the ways humans understand (other) animals, and how we use animals to understand ourselves. Considering wild, herded, and domestic species, we ask what is known and unknown about animal thought, feeling, and communication; (2) what humans assume, believe, and imagine about these knowns and unknowns; and (3) what roles language and culture play in these understandings in contemporary societies variously engaged in hunting, herding, farming, and pet keeping. We will see how the lines people draw between humans and animals, or culture and nature, get redrawn - for psychological, political, and other reasons -- and explore where they blur in the light of new discoveries, and in the twists and turns of story and humor. Case material on selected species, human languages and societies will come from various settings in Africa, Europe, and North America. Our approach is interdisciplinary, drawing on anthropology, history, linguistics, philosophy, psychology, and zoology. Findings will have practical, legal, and ethical implications, bearing on some of the most pressing issues of our time. CAS Divisional Assignment: SS; KHC Assignment: SS
  • KHC AN 102: The Lives of Others: The Power, Politics, and Ethics of Storytelling
    This course digs deep into the power of stories and storytelling in four overlapping ways. First, we will consider how various disciplines across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences use stories of particular people to advance their general explanations about the world. Engaging texts from classics, philosophy, anthropology, history, narrative journalism, psychoanalysis, biology, and neuroscience, students will consider the strengths and limitations of stories to gain insights into the concepts, methods, and theoretical contributions of these disciplines. Next, we move beyond an exploration of stories in the service of disciplinary knowledge and reflect on the broader ethical and political dimensions of storytelling. Third, we will take a brief look into the deployment of storytelling in applied contexts and professional practices, drawing from examples in narrative medicine and restorative justice. Finally, we will interrogate assertions that storytelling belongs to traditional societies, and that science has eclipsed storytelling in modern societies, by investigating the recent resurgence of public storytelling through programs like The Moth, StoryCorps, and This American Life in order to think through the role of storytelling in contemporary public culture. CAS Divisional Assignment: SS or HU; KHC Assignment: HU
  • KHC AR 101: Broken Bones, Buried Bodies: Forensic Anthropology and Human Rights
    Over the course of its historical development, forensic anthropology has moved from a peripheral application of biological anthropology to a full- fledged specialty in its own right. Contemporary forensic anthropologists work in contexts around the globe on cases which vary in scope and complexity. While some instances involve natural disasters, many forensic anthropologists work in contexts which are the direct result of political conflict, state-sponsored violence, and/or genocide. Often couched in a framework of human rights, forensic anthropologists have made significant contributions to multiple stakeholders including surviving kin of victimized individuals. (4 credits) CAS Divisional Assignment: SS; KHC Assignment: SS
  • KHC BI 101: Climate Change in Massachusetts
    Henry David Thoreau spent decades observing and recording the natural history of Concord and other sites in Massachusetts. This course will place his work within the context of modern climate change research. Readings will include both Thoreau's works as well as research papers comparing the observations of Thoreau and other historical data sets with modern observations. In order to gain an appreciation of the process whereby science is communicated to the public, attention will also be given to the way in which these scientific papers have been presented in the magazines and newspapers. During weekend field trips, we will visit sites where Thoreau's research was carried out; including Walden Pond, the Minute Man National Historical Site, the Great Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Estabrook Woods. Other possible field sites include the Blue Hills Observatory (origin of the oldest continuous weather records in the U.S.), the Concord Free Library and the Thoreau Institute (where Thoreau documents are held), the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain (where old photographs and plant specimens are housed), Manomet Bird Observatory (on a day when birds are being banded), Mt. Auburn Cemetery (where large numbers of bird watchers track bird movements), and the Massachusetts State Laboratory (where mosquito numbers are tracked). CAS Divisional Assignment: NS without lab; KHC Assignment: STEM
  • KHC CM 103: Constant Flux: Media and Communication from Telegraph to Twitter
    Students will explore the media environment and analyze the impact of technology and information on their lives. Studies will highlight the development of technology over time, assessing how governments, economies and social beliefs were changed in unexpected ways. Students will perform research that uses information from their academic majors as a foundation for examining the role media play in their lives and society. Assessing how the liberal arts, sciences, business and communication have changed with inventions such as the printing press, telegraph, television and computers will encourage students to consider the widespread impact of technology on the historical development of civilization. CAS Divisional Assignment: SS; KHC Assignment: SS
  • KHC EC 101: Financial Crises -- Past, Present, and Future
    The course will focus on six big problems -- the financial system, the healthcare system, the retirement system, the tax system, the environment, and inequality in a serial fashion. Each topic will feature several introductory lectures, group discussions, presentations by outside speakers, and the presentation of reform proposals by teams of students. There will be a heavy emphasis on international comparisons. The analysis of the specific topics will be proceeded with a general discussion of the status of the U.S. economy, its long-term fiscal policy, it's history of declining rates of saving and investment, its competitive position in the world, its environmental pressures, and its growing economic and social inequality. CAS Divisional Assignment: SS; KHC Assignment: SS
  • KHC HC 301: Ethical Dilemmas I
    This course explores how we investigate nature, art, society and their interconnections. It does so by examining and juxtaposing the practices of three disciplines. Each section focuses on a specific problem in one of these fields while also considering the general questions of what we know, how we know it, and what knowledge means. Throughout the semester, we consider fundamental ethical, social, and aesthetic issues posed by the relationship of human beings to each other, nature, and works of art. The central concern in this class is to understand how and why people make decisions in complex circumstances; how they take or fail to take responsibility for their outcomes, and how they respond when gross mistakes are made by others or indeed by themselves.
  • KHC HC 302: Ethical Dilemmas II
    This course explores how we investigate nature, art, society and their interconnections. It does so by examining and juxtaposing the practices of three disciplines. Each section focuses on a specific problem in one of these fields while also considering the general questions of what we know, how we know it, and what knowledge means. Throughout the semester, we consider fundamental ethical, social, and aesthetic issues posed by the relationship of human beings to each other, nature, and works of art. The central concern in this class is to understand how and why people make decisions in complex circumstances; how they take or fail to take responsibility for their outcomes, and how they respond when gross mistakes are made by others or indeed by themselves.
  • KHC HC 401: The Process of Discovery
    This one-semester course explores the structure of the discovery process, focusing on how researchers embed imaginative questions in viable research projects and balance creative ambition with intellectual modesty. The course is designed to guide students through the challenge of designing their senior research projects through common readings of field-changing research across disciplines, individual and group project analysis, and intensive writing exercises. Together with KHC faculty and a faculty adviser of their own choosing, students will learn how to capture the explanatory power of an imaginative leap in clear language accessible to anyone outside their chosen discipline.
  • KHC HC 501: Innovation, Culture and Society I
    In this class we will discuss some of the landmark essays that anticipate and critique the modern technological and media revolution (McLuhan, Foucault), as well as identify key historical moments of tension when innovation sparked important paradigmatic shifts or cataclysmic cultural repercussions (Gutenberg, Galileo, Oppenheimer). We will extend the discussion to identify key disruptive moments in business (in automobile manufacturing, regulation of safety standards, and technology), and relevant global issues by looking at the accelerated pace of technological change in Asia--using India as an informant-- and its effect on culture. Finally, we will consider two celebrated urban examples--fin-de-siècle Vienna and post-World War II New York--where many lines of innovation converged, fundamentally changing the culture and society of the metropolis. Students will work together in small groups to identify and discuss the ongoing relationship between innovation and culture. They will present their findings through classroom discussion and written work.
  • KHC HC 502: Innovation, Culture and Society II
    This course builds on the principles and skills developed in KHC HC 501.
  • KHC HC 503: Keystone
    Keystone independent study.
  • KHC HC 504: Keystone
    Keystone independent study.
  • KHC LW 103: Freedom of Expression in the United States
    This seminar will take a multi-layered approach to the concept of freedom of expression embedded in the first amendment to the US constitution. The first amendment states that "Congress Shall Make No Law Abridging the Freedom of Speech or of the Press". What does it mean? We shall explore the theories underlying the principle that speech should be protected and the various Supreme Court cases that address this issue. We shall discuss whether the first amendment applies only to congress or also to the states, whether it addresses only political speech or may be extended to such subjects as artistic expression, obscenity, defamation or racist speech and whether it may be extended to certain activities such as flag burning. We shall also address the question of how much protection the amendment, as interpreted by the Court, extends to the press.
  • KHC LX 101: Language and Migration
    This course examines the role of language in immigration and the sociolinguistic consequences of global population movements. Considers bidirectional contact effects; historical developments such as language maintenance, death, and revitalization; and a diverse range of immigrants, including asylum seekers and international adoptees.
  • KHC MU 103: World Music in Global Culture
    This course will delve into the musical thought, cultural practices, and performance traditions of the shadow play music (gender wayang) from Bali, Indonesia, and Hindustani classical music of North India. Students will learn through a dynamic interface with performance, internalizing these interlocking musical patterns and rich, harmonic resonances. In addition, the course will introduce critical themes that have an impact on musical cultures including globalization, diaspora, transnational dissemination of culture, and appropriation in new contexts. Students will read widely in these areas of inquiry, discuss the readings together in class, and conduct original research, which they will present to the class.
  • KHC NE 101: The Neurobiology of Memory
    Students in this course will be immersed in the process of the scientific endeavor by conducting an experiment in the field of behavioral neuroscience -- from conception to publication. To this end, all students will have an opportunity to conduct behavioral testing, neurosurgery, and histological analysis of brains. Students are expected lead and participate in weekly journal discussions, and to prepare a scientific manuscript. Generally, the course will focus on a systems-level approach to the neurobiology of memory, and in particular on the role of the hippocampal memory system. Because of the emphasis on scientific process, the course will focus on topics most germane to our experiment. The course will include instructor-led lecture/discussions, laboratory preparation and discussion, and student-led discussions.
  • KHC NE 103: Exploring our Visual System
    This course takes you through the history of thought, art, experiments, and models that have explored the visual system, from seminal physiological studies and inspiring artworks to present day theories and controversies that exist in the vision community. The course is centered around an exploration of diverse journal articles, chosen to be representative of particularly notable epochs in the progression of our understanding from different aspects of seeing, perceiving, and the way our brain represents them. There is a lecture component, and then in the vision lab and discussion sessions, students are encouraged to explore the ideas put forth in the articles suggested, as a sort of curated journal club and lab exploration. Students also replicate and modify a selection of the models and appealing visual phenomena.
  • KHC PH 101: American Bioethics
    Bioethics is the systematic study of the moral dimensions of the life sciences and health care. We will examine various approaches to moral dilemmas, including deontological, utilitarian, and pragmatic methods, as well as the human rights and social justice paradigms. American bioethics is often outcome-oriented, and reflects and magnifies four deeply- ingrained American characteristics: we are individualistic, technology- driven, death-denying, and wasteful. These characteristics make "reforming" American healthcare extremely contentious. This introductory course addresses a wide variety of bioethics challenges in the context of American life and politics, from assisted conception to assisted death, from day-to-day medical care to extreme medical research, from brain death to life-saving organ transplantation, emphasizing how decisions are actually made in the US medical care setting, and the central roles of informed consent and legal liability. The Affordable Care Act, especially opposition to some of its provisions that are grounded in religious freedom, philosophy, and conscious objection, will be explored. Trying to understand how American bioethics "works," and why our "best in the world" healthcare system is so resistant to change, will be constant challenges in this seminar. CAS Divisional Assignment: SS; KHC Assignment: SS
  • KHC PH 103: Seeing Poverty
    This course offers students the opportunity to explore the complex issues of American poverty through multiple disciplines and approaches. As a course in the Kilachand Honor's College, Seeing Poverty will utilize multiple sources of information for students to examine the historical, political, and public health "view" of poverty. This multi-disciplinary approach will allow students the opportunity to discover for themselves the "truth" or "truths" of what it means to be poor in America today. Students will think about stories that are told about the poor -- who is doing the telling? How are the poor depicted? Lastly, this course will expose students to my work in five of the poorest cities in Massachusetts (Chelsea, Holyoke, Springfield, Lawrence, and New Bedford) with young adult and teenage mothers. By developing a deep understanding of the causes and sustainers of poverty, it is my hope that students will become critical assessors of the depiction of the poor in popular media, and indeed become advocates for the poor. CAS Divisional Assignment: SS; KHC Assignment: SS