• The Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program

  • SPRING 2015 Honors Program Courses

    Please see the Class Schedule for the current semester’s offerings. A brief description of the honors courses for the coming  semester is given below.


    Non-Honors students interested in taking an Honors course should follow the Procedure to Take Honors Courses 


    Art Bible Biology Chemistry Cultures Over Time Economics
    English   First Year Writing Hebrew History Interpreting the Creative Jewish History
    Jewish Philosophy Mathematics Philosophy Physics   Political Science Psychology  
       Semitic Languages Spanish   Statistics   Sociology  




     The Language of Architecture 1635H

     Prof. Glassman

     Sec 361 T 6:45 - 9:30


    Study buildings from ancient Egypt to post-modern Paris.  Explore the elements of architecture:
    Domes to space frames
    Open-air ventilation to full climate control
    Load-bearing walls to "weightless" glass curtain walls

    Introductory course includes:
    Presentations by class members
    Numerous on-site visits

    No prerequisites. 




     Literary Approaches to the Bible 1500H

     Prof. Bernstein

     Sec 331 T R 3:00 - 4:15

     For about the last three decades, there has been a growing interest, reflected in an ever-growing number of publications by academic biblical scholars, in the literary aspects of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh). Such concerns, of course, are not really new, since “literary” observations on the Bible, both prose and poetry, have been made (not always systematically) since the Middle Ages by exegetes and literary figures both Jewish and Christian, and may already be found, although even less systematically, in rabbinic literature.  

     The goal of this course is to heighten and develop the student’s sensitivity to the literary techniques of the biblical authors, the aesthetics of the biblical text, and the (primarily non-ideological) reading strategies which have employed in their elucidation. It will focus broadly on the two most prominent forms in biblical literature, prose narrative and poetry. The students will read a balanced combination of primary biblical texts and useful secondary literature during the term, and eventually produce “literary critical” work of their own, which, if time allows, they will present to the class.


     Immunology - AIDS and Society 3230H

     Prof. Feit

     Sec 331 T 3:00 - 4:40, R 6:45 - 10:05    

    Since the first description of the disease in 1981, AIDS has had a greater impact on societies throughout the world than any other modern epidemic. AIDS is a disease that attacks the immune system by disabling the system that is designed to ward off infection.

     The disease causing agent, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), is spread primarily by sexual contact. It is a retrovirus and its pathology and epidemiology present unique challenges for prevention and cure. The impact of AIDS on the both western and Africian societies has been reflected in the arts  and culture of these societies.

     In this course we will examine in depth, the immune system in health and disease, the biochemistry and molecular biology of retroviruses, and how various  societies  have responded both positively and negatively to this disease through the arts and public health initiatives.

    Pre- requisites: CHE 1214R and any two of (BIO 3207R or 3207C) (BIO 4023R  or BIO 4023C) or (BIO 3135R or BIO3135C)

    Cancer Biology 3250H

    Prof. Goswami

    Sec 541 R 4:30 - 6:10 , T 6:45 - 10:05  

    Cancer Biology will provide a comprehensive overview of our current understanding of the disease, starting with the processes which control normal growth and division in normal cells.

    The course then examines the cellular, molecular and genetic changes that cause cells to begin dividing in an uncontrolled fashion and subsequently to spread throughout the body. Molecular mechanisms of genes responsible for these carcinogenic changes will be discussed in considerable detail.

    This course includes elements of Cell Biology, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Immunology, Biochemistry, Virology, Pharmacology, Physiology, Developmental Biology, and Pathology. Cancer Biology is an advanced upper-division undergraduate course that not only encourages but requires active student participation. The laboratory component involves state-of the art technologies and will train students with techniques involved in research, diagnosis, treatment and spread of cancer. These techniques involve a lot of reading pre-lab preparation and in-lab involvement.

    Pre-requisite BIO 1012R&L or 1012C


     General Chemistry II Honors 1046H

     Prof. Viswanathan

     Sec 341 T R 4:30 - 5:45    R 5:50 - 6:40


    This is the second semester of an introductory Honors course in chemistry that satisfies the pre-med, pre-dental, and pre-engineering requirements.  The topics covered will be similar to a traditional introductory college chemistry course, but the chemical concepts will be presented in the context of increasingly sophisticated real world applications and not as a series of linear topics. For example, topics like stoichiometry, properties of gases, distribution of molecular speeds etc. will be presented in relation to the design of an airbag in automobiles. Students will be trained in advanced problem solving.  Students will also be encouraged to actively participate in classroom discussions.  The second semester course has a laboratory component.


     Organometallic Chemistry 1377H

     Prof. Barrios Landeros

     Sec 231 M W 3:00 - 4:15


    Organometallic chemistry studies the electronic configuration, geometry and reactivity of transition metal complexes bound to organic molecules. In recent decades, this catalytic complexes have revolutionized the way we design and synthesize organic molecules. Through textbooks and journal articles, students will explore current applications in the field of catalysis and understand their importance in the modern chemical industry. Students will be evaluated with two midterms, assignments, essays and a final oral presentation.
    TEXTBOOK: The Organometallic Chemistry of the Transition Metals, Robert H. Crabtree, Wiley, 6th Edition, 2014 ISBN-13: 978-1-118-13807-6
    Pre-requisites: CHE 1213R Co-requisite: CHE1214R




     Cybersecurity 4580H

     Prof. Kelly

     Sec 231 M W 3:00 - 4:15,   W  6:45 - 8:00


    The use of computers to store, process, and transmit data has the potential to make our lives much more secure and efficient.  The actual experience, at least with respect to security, has been mixed.  While cryptography teases us with strict mathematical guarantees of privacy, confidentiality, and freedom from tampering, clever attackers find ways to circumvent it, often by exploiting loopholes in human nature. 

    COM 4580H surveys the entire spectrum of cybersecurity perspectives, from the purely mathematical to the psychological and political, but with a focus on the role of computer software in facilitating and blocking cyber-attacks.  This course combines an innovative MOOC (massive open online course) in cryptography with locally produced content teaching a systems approach to creating more secure online environments.  A series of hands-on labs will give students first-person perspectives on the roles of attacker and defender in several security scenarios.  A final in-depth investigative paper affords each student an opportunity for demonstrating mastery of a chosen cybersecurity topic.



     Asia and the Western Imagination 1011H

     Prof. Lama

     Sec 341 T R 4:30 - 5:45  

    The historical relationship between East and West is a fundamental arena of cultural interplay. On the one hand, Asia is an undeniable global presence as the most populous and largest continent with one of the largest economies in the world.  On the other,  'Asia' is a Western construct representing the 'unknown' and  the 'other' to civilizations as far back as the ancient Greeks who indelibly named all the lands east of them as 'Asia'. In this class, we will tackle the extraordinarily complex idea of  Asian culture to build a nuanced understanding of how cultural  identity is shaped by literature, film and theatre. Using Marco Polo's Travels as a foundational text, which we will return to several times in the semester, this class will trace the genesis and transformation of narratives about Asia as well as the role Asia has served in the construction of Western identity.  

     After looking at literature from the age of explorers, we will examine works of the colonial period to consider the political and social narratives of authors from the imperial powers.  Then we will pivot in the class and begin our exploration of post-colonial works by Asian writers, filmmakers and artists -both native and in diaspora communities. Focusing on writers that have reached the Western reader, we will consider how they represent a resistance to hegemonic narratives, and how we (the outsiders) receive and interpret these complex (and often contradictory) narratives. 

    We will explore both high and popular culture in this class, reading a variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetic works, viewing Bollywood and Hollywood films, visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Rubin Museum to compare how Asian culture and art are displayed, reading some blogs, and even scrutinizing ancient maps. We will also write creatively and critically in several genres. Some of the themes of the class include empire, postcolonial literature, personal versus national narratives, Orientalism and the subaltern. Geographically, we will focus on China, the Indian subcontinent, Indochina (Vietnam), and Tibet. 




     The Monstrous 1003H

     Prof. Lavinsky

     Sec 241 M W 4:30 - 5:45


    Werewolves, dragons, giants, witches, demons, lepers, anthropophagi (a race of cannibals with eyes in their chests)—the Middle Ages were awash in tales of the monstrous.  In this class, we will consider monsters and the monstrous from the perspectives of history writing, travel accounts, folklore, drama, and literary texts.  Though sometimes dismissed as the imaginings of a more credulous era, such material not only drew on classical authors but also continued to have wide currency in early modern England, persisting through the change in religious culture known as the Reformation.  Indeed, as the word “monster” (derived from the Latin verb monstrare, or “to show”) suggests, stories of the monstrous reveal much about the cultures in which they circulated.  Our readings will track medieval and early modern attitudes toward religious identity, birth and reproductive practices, gender, personhood, animality, and the supernatural.  Throughout the term, we will make sense of these topics by employing methods, questions, and theoretical propositions from different academic disciplines, primarily English and History.  Requirements include collaborative exercises and/or group presentations, two short critical essays, regular postings to an online discussion forum, a final project, and at least one self-directed excursion to a NYC museum, archive, or play.


     Auctions and Market Design 2801H

     Prof. Hashimoto

     Sec 341 T R 4:30 - 5:45


    This course reviews classical findings and recent developments in the theory of market design. The first half of the course covers auctions, first the classical theory of auctions in a stylized environment, followed by observation of what kinds of practical and theoretical difficulties arise and how successfully current attempts deal with these difficulties.  The second half covers matching and related issues. We begin with the concept of stable matching and compare it with alternative approaches. Applications include US treasury auctions, spectrum auctions, internet advertising auctions, medical residency match, school choice, course allocation, and kidney exchange.  



     Pre-requisites: ECO 1101 and MAT 1412  or Dept. permission or consent of instructor    



     Imagined Communities and Narrative World-Making: From the Pequod to the Tsimtsum    3587H

     Prof. Newton

     Sec 241 M W 4:30 - 5:45   

     Novels not only narrate, plot, depict, or populate.  They imagine communities, and they make worlds.  And not only narrative fiction does this.  In Imagined Communities, the influential study that gives our course half of its title, Benedict Anderson proposes “in an anthropological spirit” the following definition of the nation: “it is an imagined political community—and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign.”  Imagined, because its members experience it as both real and also a product of collective will.  Limited, because it is finite.  Sovereign, because it declares itself to be free.  A community, because it assumes a comradeship among its adherents.   In other words, novels and nations are deeply imbricated.  The imagined community of fictional setting, plot, character-ensemble, and the imagined community in real space, time, and culture mirror, incite, and play off one another.  A novel is a kind of nation writ small.

     Additionally, novels possess world-creating power, enabled by both authors and the cultural scripts their texts exploit. “Narrative comprehension,” says post-classical narratologist David Herman, “is a process of (re)constructing storyworlds on the basis of textual cues and the inferences they make possible.”  In other words, reading participates in—by re-imagining—the worlds that fictional works imagine in the first place.  In this course, distributed among primary source-texts, secondary criticism, and short cinematic enhancers, we will explore seven such communities-cum-worlds: a mid-19th c whaling ship that both emblematizes and critiques antebellum America; a fictitious 19th c Latin American country that “restages” Poland; an early 20th “Amerika” that epitomizes the rhythms and distortions of literary modernism; a mid-1800s to mid-1900s town through which the South American Republic of Colombia is conjured; fifty cities that exist only in and through an elaborate conversation between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan; a vernacular-Jewish, comic-strip New York; a shipwrecked lifeboat on the Pacific that purports to stage a proof of God.  Officially, we begin and end at sea.  In between, we attend to the ways in which worlds get made and communities imagined by means of formally ingenious, culturally heterotopic verbal art. 

     Primary Texts:

     Herman Melville, Moby Dick (1853) Penguin ISBN-10: 0142437247

     Joseph Conrad, Nostromo (1904) Modern Library ISBN-10: 037575489

     Franz Kafka, Amerika: Der Verschollene [The Man who Disappeared] (1911) ISBN-10: 0811215695

     Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Cien años de soledad [One Hundred Years of Solitude] (1967) 10: 0060883286

     Italo Calvino, Le città invisibili [Invisible Cities] (1972) ISBN-10: 0156453800

     Ben Katchor, The Beauty Supply District (2000) 10: 0375401059

     Yan Martel, Life of Pi (2001) ISBN-10: 0156027321

     Sholem Aleichem, “Chabne” and S. Y. Agnon, “A Single Moment” (handouts)


     Secondary Theory and Criticism PDF Course-reader: extracts in narrative theory and analytic philosophy:   

    B. Anderson, Imagined Communities                        H. Bhabha, Nation and Narration

    N. Goodman, Ways of Worldmaking                         D. Herman, Story Logic

    E. Hayot, On Literary Worlds                                     T. Pavel, Possible Worlds

    P. Ricoeur, Time and Narrative                                 R. Ronen, Possible Worlds in Literary Theory

    L. Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations


    Film extracts (2-5 min.)


    Fritz Lang, Metropolis (1927)                                    William C. Menzies, Things to Come (1936)

    Howard Hawks, Red River (1948)                              Jacques Tati, Playtime (1966)                                                          

    James Cameron, Aliens (1986)                                 Hirokazu Kore-eda, After Life (1998)                       

    Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom (2012)               Benh Zeitlin, Beasts Of The Southern Wild (2012)

    Game of Thrones: Title Sequence (2014)                 Minecraft: “The City of Keralis/“The  City of Tomorrow”





     Understanding Financial Crisis 1014H

     Professor Kahn

     Sec 241 M W 4:30 - 5:45


    The primary objective of this course will be to gain a deep understanding of the  recent global financial crisis, as well as broader insight into the causes and effects  of financial crises in general. By the end of the semester you will:

    ·      learn just enough finance and economics to understand the key technical concepts

    ·      learn about the historical precursors of the crisis, and about the similarities and differences

    ·       be exposed to a number of alternative views about the causes and effects of the crisis, and form your own educated opinion

    ·      become a better writer and researcher

    ·      extend your skills to writing coherently and meaningfully about economic and financial topics




     Light and Dark Shakespearian Comedy: Text and Performance  1028H

     Professor Nochimson

     Sec 231 M W 3:00 - 4:15  

      This course will be focussed on the question of the different (indeed opposite) ways comedies by Shakespeare can be read and performed: Light (happy) or Dark (troubled or cynical). For a very long time, the Shakespearean plays that end in marriages were assumed to be happy plays that were designed to make their audiences feel good. Relatively early, All's Well That Ends Well and, especially, Measure for Measure were regarded by some as exceptions to the usual rule. In recent decades, however, more and more critics and directors have begun to interpret most of the romantic comedies as somewhat or more than somewhat dark. In this course, students will learn about the different ways Shakespeare's comedies have been interpreted, will develop their own interpretations, and will thoughtfully consider the issues involved in choosing between the two very different interpretations—both in the study and in the theater.
    The primary readings in the course will be six plays by Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, All's Well That Ends Well, and Measure for Measure.
    Like all first-year seminars, this is a writing-intensive course.  Students will be doing frequent informal writing in the form of a journal of reactions to the assigned primary and secondary readings.  They will work on and complete a researched essay of at least 2000 words as well as two briefer essays and an oral presentation.  As part of their work on their research project, students will be consulting a variety of scholarly and critical essays and will be seeing at least three screen or stage productions of the play that is the focus of their research: Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, or Twelfth Night.
    This is a discussion course.  Attendance and participation are essential.


     Philosophy and Science Fiction 1031H

      Professor Segal

     Sec 341  T R 4:30 - 5:45     

    Course Description:

    Science fiction makes vivid very different ways the world could have been (or, more radically, very different ways the world might be) and hence raises deeply puzzling questions about our concepts, our values, and our place in the world. It is therefore an ideal genre for exploring perennial philosophical questions, including the following: whether we can really know what we take ourselves to know, what it takes to be a sentient being, whether we can possibly be free and morally responsible, and whether immortality is desirable. 

    We will cover these and other philosophical questions through a combination of works of science fiction (texts and films) and works of philosophy. By the end of the course, you will be familiar with the  questions that animate philosophers and the methods they often use to address them, including thought experiments, conceptual analysis, and the rigorous formulation of arguments.


     Illness and Healing Narratives  1034H

     Professor Jacobson

     Sec 331 T R 3:00 - 4:15   

    What hopes do we bring to writing about illness-as authors, as witnesses, as readers? 

    In this course we will be immersing ourselves in recent narratives created in the face of pain and disease, as well as the possibilities for healing and recovery. We'll be reading the writing of doctors and patients, and looking together at some of the ways in which that relationship is dramatized in film and on television. We'll be considering the relationship between the body and identity, as well as the cultural context of "illness." Most of all, we will be examining the diverse needs that bring human beings to language and story when health is endangered: the need for understanding, for community, for confession, for advocacy; the hunger for healing and for closure; the need to mourn and the need to let go. 



     Jean-Dominique Bauby, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly  

    Anatole Broyard, Intoxicated With My Illness  

    Ann Fadiman, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down:  A Hmong Child, Her  

      American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures  

    Reynolds Price, A Whole New Life:  An Illness and a Healing  

    David Small, Stiches:  A Memoir    

    + essays + poems:  Eula Biss, "The Pain Scale"; Jane Brox, "Influenza 1918"; Katy Butler, "What Broke My Father's Heart"; Andre Dubus, "Witness"; Lucy Grealy, "Mirrorings"; from Marie Howe, What the Living Do; Leslie Jamison, "The Empathy Exams"; from Frank Huyler, The Blood of Strangers:  Stories from Emergency Medicine; Jon Kerstetler, "Triage"; Richard McCann, "The Resurrectionist"; from Christine Montross, Body of Work:  Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab; Lia Purpura, "Autopsy Report"; Rachel Riegg, "Patient"     

    + films:  Philadelphia; The Waiting Room  

     + clips from television shows:  Marcus Welby, MD; Doctor Kildare; St. Elsewhere;  

      ER; Grey's Anatomy      

    + selections from secondary sources, including:  Rita Charon, Narrative Medicine; Arthur W. Frank, The Wounded Storyteller; Kathryn Montgomery Hunter, Doctors' Stories:  The Narrative Structure of Medical Knowledge; David B. Morris, Illness and Culture in the Modern Age; Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor;  

     COURSE REQUIREMENTScommitted, well-informed contribution to class discussion; 3 thesis -driven analytical essays, including a substantive revision; a researched project. 


     Religion in  Ancient Mesopotamia 1036H 

     Professor Holtz 

     Sec 611 F  9:30 - 12:00   

    Some of the oldest attempts to articulate the relationship between humans and the divine come from the lands between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.  Texts going back as far as the third millennium BCE, or almost to writing's very beginnings, encompass, in one way or another, the realm we moderns consider "religious." The remains of architecture and visual art complement what the texts tell us through words.

    For first year students, the goal of this seminar is to enter the modern academic discourse on these ancient texts and artifacts.  To that end, we will study primary sources (texts will be read in translation) together with representative published interpretations of these sources by contemporary authors.  We will also take up the broader theoretical questions inherent in bridging the gaps between us and the ancient materials: can we get these materials to "talk religion," should we, and, if so, how?

    To gain first-hand experience with research in this field, students will write two essays and give one oral presentation.  The first essay will consist of a close reading of texts identified by students.  The second essay will consider texts together with an artifact, chosen by the students from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's permanent collection of ancient Near Eastern art.  Based on their research for the essay, students will prepare an oral presentation, which they will make in the galleries themselves, where they will serve as the guides for our class visit.


    Human Behavior and Social Institutions

     Psychology and Public Opinion 1007H

     Professor Malka   

     Sec 331 T R 3:00 - 4:15

    This multidisciplinary seminar will overview social scientific research on the psychological and social processes that underlie political opinion. 

     Students will learn about empirical research in psychology and political science dealing with the origins and consequences of mass political attitudes. Some of the major topics we will cover are psychological and survey research methodology, genetic and environmental influences on political attitudes, political thinking, public opinion and election polling, and aggregate political opinion.

     The course will focus heavily on empirical studies and their conclusions.

     It will also include a current events component in which students discuss articles and blog posts that analyze recent public opinion evidence.


     History of the Book: From Gutenberg to Google   2124H 

     Prof. Freedman   

     Sec 611 F  9:30 - 12:00   


    Today, digital technology and the internet are transforming the world of books in multiple ways, challenging previous notions of what a book is, what it is for, how it is transmitted, and who owns it. This is not the first time, however, that the world of books has been so radically transformed. This course seeks to provide some historical perspective on the transformations of the digital age by examining how the world of books developed in the aftermath of an earlier technological breakthrough: the invention in the mid-fifteenth century of printing with movable type.




    1)    Students will gain an historical understanding of how the physical appearance of books changed in the transition from manuscript to print, how books were produced and disseminated in the age of the wooden hand press (ca. 1460-1800), and how the establishment of censorship and copyright regulations affected the status of authors and the process of literary communication.

    2)    Students will develop a number of theoretical insights into the nature of the book as material object: first, that the book is more than just a carrier of ideas, it is also a product of artisanal or industrial labor and an object of economic exchange; second, that its “paratextual” components (title page, illustrations, format, page layout, typography, etc.) shape and constrain the meanings it conveys; and, finally, that the production of literary meaning is a collaborative process, one that involves not only authors but also publishers, printers, and readers.

    3)    Students will acquire a broad historical perspective on how the circulation of texts and practices of reading have changed from the age of Gutenberg to the age of the internet and how those changes are related to the technologies of communication.





    1)    Chartier, Roger. The Order of Books. Stanford University Press, 1994. ISBN: 978-0804722674

    2)    Darnton, Robert. The Case for Books. Past, Present, and Future. Public Affairs Books, 2009. ISBN: 978-1-586-48902-1

    3)    Eisenstein, Elizabeth. The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe. Second Edition. Canto Classics, 2012 (original edition: 1983). ISBN: 978-0804722674

    4)    Febvre, Lucien, and Henri-Jean Martin. The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing 1450-1800. Third Edition. Verso World History Series, 2010 (original edition: 1990). ISBN: 978-1844676330

    5)    Nunberg, Geoffrey, ed. The Future of the Book. University of California Press, 1996. ISBN: 978-0520204515.


    In addition to readings taken from the books listed above, there will be a few reading assignments posted on E-Reserves and on our Angel course page.




     Thesis Seminar   4978H, 4979H

     Prof. Steinberg 


    Students writing honors theses are already accomplished writers with significant knowledge about their areas of study.  But this may be your first time working on a long-term, large-scale project, and so our honors thesis seminars offer you practical and moral support as you embark on your independent research and writing.  You will have the opportunity to hear from your fellow thesis writers, sharing techniques and ideas, and you will participate in a variety of hands-on activities to help you with organization, time management, quotation and citation, and focus.  We meet approximately every three weeks for one hour in a casual, informal, and participatory setting.  In addition to our group sessions, the professor is available for regular or occasional individual meetings as well as a variety of tutorials, ranging from grammar refreshers to individualized time management interventions to practice with oral presentation skills.  



     The New World: Textual Encounters 1008H 

     Prof. Perelis   

      Sec 331 T R 3:00 - 4:15   




     Classical Jewish History  1200H 

     Prof. Angel   

     Sec 231  M W  3:00 - 4:15 


    This course surveys the history of the Jewish people from Cyrus the Great’s order to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem (539 BCE) to the period of the Amoraim (3rd—5th centuries CE) and the redaction of the Babylonian Talmud.   We will cover the defining events and the major social, institutional, and intellectual developments with a focus on the process by which historical conclusions may be drawn from the primary evidence (both written and archaeological sources), which is often contentious and difficult to interpret.


     Conversions to and from Judaism in Historical Perspective  1855H  

     Prof. Levin   

     Sec 241  M W  4:30  - 5:45   


    Course Description and Objectives:
              This course will use the experience of conversion to and from Judaism as a lens through which to examine the Jewish past.   Religious conversion, which centers on questions of individual and communal identity and communal boundaries, is an especially productive lens through which to examine the changing Jewish experience in different historical contexts.  Our study will explore the trajectory of conversion to and from Judaism from antiquity to today. We will examine the experiences and motivations of converts, attitudes of Jewish communities toward converts, Jewish communal anxiety about the prospect of conversion to Christianity, and reception of converts from Judaism by their new religious community.   While conversion from Judaism represents the dominant historical experience, we will also consider questions of conversion to Judaism, thinking about contexts in which conversion to Judaism was numerically significant  and the importance of the idea of conversion to Judaism in contexts even when it wasn’t numerically significant.    We will focus on theoretical and methodological issues related to the study of religious conversion, including those related to narratives of conversion written by converts from Judaism to Christianity.  We’ll ask questions about the roles of gender and age in the experience of conversion at different times and in disparate places. We will also assess the types of sources available for the study of religious conversion and the modes of analysis occasioned by the variety of source materials. 

           We will read and analyze primary sources as well as secondary literature.  While historical studies of Jewish conversion to Christianity will comprise the majority of readings, students will also encounter theoretical models for the study of religious conversion emerging from the discipline of religious studies and integrate these with historical study.Your preparation, participation, and writing are key components of this course in which we will together engage in inquiry about the historical experience of conversion to and from Judaism.


     Thought of Rav Soloveichik  1430H

     Prof. Carmy 

     Sec 231 M W  3:00 - 4:15    

     Reading maran haRav ztl''s major writings, with emphasis on "those that students are afraid to tackle on their own." The lecture will supply background material and contrast in general and Jewish philosophical reflection.    

     We will work on Halakhic Man and U-Vikkashtem. Lonely Man you will probably be reading on your own. Ma Dodekh miDod and Halakhic Mind will also be subjects of lecture. We will devote serious attention to Emergence of Ethical Man and, time permitting, to interface between Halakha and philosophy in the Rav’s teaching on prayer.   

     3-5 short written assignments and one culminating substantial paper on approved topic relating to 20th century Orthodox thought or other subject linked to course.

     Satisfies the BIB/JPH option in general education requirement.



    Functions of Complex Variable I 5127H 

    Prof. Lowengrub  

    Sec 341 T R 4:30 - 5:45     



    Elliptic PDE    

    Prof. Chen   

    Sec 331  T R  3:00-4:15   

    In this course, we will introduce various methods in studying nonlinear elliptic partial differential equations, from classical ones to some modern techniques.

    After preparations for basic knowledge, such as Sobolev spaces, we will introduce typical methods in studying the existence, regularity, and other qualitative properties of solutions, including variational approaches, super -and sub- solutions, regularity liftings, maximum principles, and the method of moving planes. Then we will take the students to the current research front, so that they can continue to do some hands on research and write papers.

     The following book is the major source of the course:

    Methods on Nonlinear Elliptic Equations by Wenxiong Chen and Congming Li,  ISBN: 1-60133-006-5.


    Mathematical Statistics

    Professor  Otway

    Section 361  T R  6:45 - 8:00   



    Seminar: Mortality and Meaning  4931H 

    Prof. Segal   

    Sec 331 T R 3:00 - 4:15   

    Each of us is very likely going to die. How should this fact shape our lives? What should we think about the value of death: good, bad, neutral? What emotional attitudes are appropriate as we face the prospect of our own mortality: fear, cheer, or what? Is there any way to achieve immortality?

    What would an immortal life be like, and would it be good to be immortal? We will examine these questions in the first half of the course. 

    In the second half of the course we will turn to related questions about meaning in life and the "meaning of life". Does the fact that we will eventually die rob our lives of meaning and significance? Does that fact, instead, endow them with meaning and significance? If our lives are meaningful, from where do they derive their meaning? What role might God play in making our lives meaningful?  And what are we even asking when we ask questions about the meaningfulness of life? Our guides throughout the semester will be some of the most penetrating philosophers, thinkers, and literary figures from the ancient world until today.

    Course requirements include two papers, in-class presentations, and a final exam.



    Seminar:  Axiomatic Set Theory 4932H 

    Prof. Johnson   

    Sec 231 M W 3:00 - 4:15 



    General Physics II 1052H

    Prof. Cwilich 

     Sec 231 M W 3:00-4:15 M 5:50-6:40 

      The course is the second semester of a four semester sequence (which we are offering this year for the first time)  which will cover and review the developments of physics since its inception by the Greeks until the great theories that revolutionized Physics at the beginning of the XX century and marked the birth of modern Physics.  

    In this second semester we will focus on the part called Classical Electromagnetism,  the combination of the electric and magnetic phenomena, which, although known from antiquity, began to be studied quantitatively in the late XVIII century by the great French and British scientists, Coulomb, Ampere, Biot  and Faraday, and culminated in second half of the XIX century in the brilliant encompassing theory of James Maxwell.   The electromagnetic forces are the essential forces that determine our daily sensorial experience and shape the world that surrounds us at the macroscopic scale.     We will study their great contributions, and the mathematical tools they, together with the great mathematician Gauss created to describe those forces: the electric field, the electric potential, the electric and magnetic fluxes and currents and  the magnetic induction.  We will also learn the functioning of the basic devices which are the basis of our technology: from the simple capacitors, batteries,  electrical measuring devices and motors, to the principles on which particle accelerators work.    

    This course represents a step up in the level of mathematical sophistication with respect to the previous semester, and makes full use of the language of differential and integral calculus. The students will have the opportunity to try their hand in simple experimental explorations of some phenomena through special projects. 

    There will be weekly problem assignments to be solved, to practice the skills discussed in class, and we might review them in the recitation. There will be 2 midterms and a final.   

    Pre-Requisites: Physics 1051 or 1051H  Correquisite:  Calculus II.  For students who have approved Calculus II, registering for Multivariable calculus is highly recommended

     General Physics II  1052H  

     Prof. Cwilich 

     Sec 232  M W 3:00 - 4:15 M 8:50 - 9:40    

    see above

     Advanced Physics Laboratory 1810H 

     Prof. Zypman 

     Sec 631 F 11:00 -1:30    

    This is a project-based experimental course with emphasis on basic and applied physics and the connection between theory and measurements.

    Students are given a list of possible projects to work on. After familiarizing with the equipment and goals (via handouts and direct contact with the instruments, students are expected to design and implement the corresponding experiment. In the process students are expected to become familiar (and by the end of the semester master) data logging, focused observation and continuing questioning, and possible sources of uncertainties. These pieces of information must be put together in a report that emphasizes scientific transparency, simplicity (avoidance of unnecessary convoluted sentences), estimation of goodness of results, and graphical rendering of data.

    Reports (one per experiment) will be written following standards of the  American Physical Society, and will be reviewed by the instructor and returned to the students with criticisms for improvement. On the second submission, students will receive a grade on their report. Recent projects include: Atomic  Spectroscopy, Electromagnetic waveguides, Nuclear decay statistics, Charge of  the electron, Electric filters, Blackbody radiation, Crystal diffraction, Thermocouple design, Nonlinear pendulum, Electric oscillators.




     Civil Liberties  2150H 

     Prof. Aroosi 

     Sec 241 M W 4:30 - 5:45   

    The term civil liberties broadly refers to the basic protections that individuals have from government encroachment. In addition to these, civil rights refers to the guarantee that citizens will be treated equally before the law. Taken together, they therefore refer to two of the most important foundational values in American political and social life: freedom and equality. Working through the history, politics, and philosophy behind civil rights and civil liberties, and using a variety of historical, theoretical, and legal texts, we will explore the complex world that is America's engagement with two of its most important values.  


     Psychology of Religion  3860H 

     Prof. Adler    

     Sec 231 M W  3:00 - 4:15 

     In this course, we will analyze and discuss the reciprocal relationships between psychology and religion. Psychology takes as its subject various 'objects' - behavior, cognition, feeling/emotions, perception, social interaction. We examine all of these factors with respect to one category of behavior/psychology: religion, i.e. religious behavior, feelings, groups, myths/narratives.

    The Units of Religious Behavior:  

     Behavior -- Ritual, prayer, kindness (chesed), aggression (wars)  

     Cognition -- Faith, Doubt, Rationalism, Belief, Mysticism    

     Emotions/Feelings Prayer/devotion (Gimme, thanks, oops, wow)    

     Perceptions/Sensations Religious perspectives, personality differences     

     Social Behavior, Aggregations, Cults, Terrorism    

     For these psychological units, we will examine their function (or dysfunction), their origin in the individual, the group, and their evolutionary history.    

     The course is inter-disciplinary: we employ the tools and insights of various bio- social disciplines: psychology, biology, clinical medicine/psychiatry, anthropology/sociology, and philosophy.


     Advanced Research Methods: Human Communication   4933H  

     Prof. Galantucci   

     Sec 331  T R   3:00 - 4:15   


    When people talk, some contents are expressed through the sentences they utter, others through the manner in which they utter those sentences. Psychologists typically study these two ways in which people communicate within distinct domains of research. In this class we will learn a little bit about the theories and the empirical evidence which exist in both domains. Papers will be assigned each week and students will take turns leading the class discussion about them. Then we will discuss research ideas that could bridge the gap between the two domains. These discussions will eventually culminate in the production of an original research project.
    This course is recommended for students who:
    - have intense intellectual curiosity about the psychology of human communication
    - are interested in discovering whether or not research could be something they might want to do in their future
    - already know that research is something they want to do and want to learn more about how to do it




     Criminology  2301H 

     Prof. Kimmel 

     Sec 331 T R  3:00 - 4:15   


    Intermediate Spanish II 1202H 

    Prof. Broitman 

    Sec 231 M W 3:00 - 4:15   

    This is the second semester of a two-semester Intermediate course. Intermediate Spanish II is designed to further develop the four language skills, listening, speaking, reading, and writing in Spanish, and to deepen the students' exposure to the variety of cultural aspects within the Hispanic world, with a particular focus on literature. The primary objective of both sequences is to help the students reach a level in their command of the language that would allow them to communicate proficiently both in speaking and writing. The methodology used in the course will be primarily communicative, that is, actually using what the students already know and presenting the new material in authentic contexts. The complete course is intended to present students with a variety of Spanish and Latin American literary forms and authors. However, Intermediate II particularly focused on this aspect and students will have to read and analyze original texts by well-known Hispanic authors to a greater degree than what was required from them in Intermediate I.

      There is also an emphasis in writing and students will have several written assignments in the course of the semester. During the course of the semester there will be also be cultural activities both inside and outside of YC.

       These activities will be related to various aspects of the Hispanic cultural life in New York City and will include visits to museums and attendance to performances of plays by Hispanic authors. Participation in these activities will be mandatory and students will be expected to prepare a brief summary of each activity with their personal impressions. To the maximum extent possible, both sequences of the course will be taught in Spanish.  

    Intermediate Spanish II can be counted as an INTC.  






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