Spring Courses

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Spring 2019

ISF Courses

ISF 50 Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence
  • TTH 2-3:30
  • Kelkar
  • Barrows 110
  • 3 Units
  • Class Number: 31941

It’s hard not to open a newspaper or magazine today and see claims being made for artificial
intelligence. Advocates argue that software programs will now be able to even perform creative
jobs (as opposed to just routine ones) and that this is both a matter of celebration and concern.
Critics argue that these claims are hyperbolic, while others argue that they are too close to reality
and an indication of how much autonomy we have ceded to machines. In this course, we will pick
apart all of these claims. We will ask: how have different human societies conceived of
“intelligence,” natural or artificial, and how has this varied with place and time? How have
different technical experts been influenced by the time, place, constraints, and patronage they
operated under? How does contemporary AI intersect with regimes of calculation, capitalism,
standardization, gender, and speech? The class will be interdisciplinary in method as well as
subject: we will study technical and popular material, philosophy and empirical work, engineering
and social science literature, as well as science fiction.

 

The course satisfies the Philosophy and Values and the Social and Behavioral Sciences Breadth requirements.

ISF 100 A Introduction to Social Theory and Cultural Analysis
  • TTH 12:30-2PM
  • Bhandari
  • Cory 277
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 22719

My goal in this course is to equip students with some of the most important classic and modern social scientific theoretical ideas for the following purposes:

--to see the nature and determinants of social life in new ways and in historical context

--to give students tools to grasp the nature of the social problems and developments that their own research will explore

--to get us to think about the new concepts and theories we shall have to create to make sense of the possibly epochal developments in AI, biotechnology and energy systems.

 The course will be interdisciplinary in two ways: we shall study the ideas of the great pre-disciplinary theorists (Marx, Weber and Durkheim), and I have assigned widely respected and cited works that are still often not taught because they fall in the interstices of two or more departments or disciplines. Yet these works will show us that many of our greatest social problems cannot be tackled productively without an interdisciplinary approach.

 

ISF 100A

Fall 2017

Rakesh Bhandari

Acting Director, Interdisciplinary Studies

GSI’s: Ella Belfer, Sophie Major

 

My goal in this course is to equip students with some of the most important classic and modern social scientific theoretical ideas for the following purposes:

--to see the nature and determinants of social life in new ways and in historical context

--to give students tools to grasp the nature of the social problems and developments that their own research will explore

--to get us to think about the new concepts and theories we shall have to create to make sense of the possibly epochal developments in AI, biotechnology and energy systems.

The course will be interdisciplinary in two ways: we shall study the ideas of the great pre-disciplinary theorists (Marx, Weber and Durkheim), and I have assigned widely respected and cited works that are still often not taught because they fall in the interstices of two or more departments or disciplines. Yet these works will show us that many of our greatest social problems cannot be tackled productively without an interdisciplinary approach.

Expect to do eight hours of reading a week; there is no other work in this course but to attend lectures and sections and to take the exams which will test reading knowledge on the basis of questions asking for only short answers. The reinforcement of what you learn should happen through your use of select concepts and theories in further course work and of course your own research. 

 

Class Meeting Time and Office Hours 

Please be on time on to class and section. OH for this class will be on at 267 Evans at F 11-1. I’ll also have additional OH posted on the ISF website that you are free to try to crash.

Attendance and Reading

Attendance at all lectures and sections is required. The assigned reading should be completed before the following class. No laptops or electronic devices allowed in the lecture hall without a valid exception.

Grade

Section attendance: 10% of Final Grade; Each midterm: 15% of Final Grade; Final Exam: 30% of Final Grade You will be allowed for the final a cheat sheet of hand-written notes on one side of an 8” by 11” piece of paper.  

Honor Code:

The student community at UC Berkeley has adopted the following Honor Code: “As a member of the UC Berkeley community, I act with honesty, integrity, and respect for others.”  The expectation is that you will adhere to this code both inside the classroom and outside. Reviewing lecture and reading materials and studying for exams can be enjoyable and enriching things to do with fellow students.  This is recommended.  However, unless otherwise instructed, homework assignments are to be completed independently and materials submitted as homework should be the result of one’s own independent work. 

The University code of ethics is very severe on academic misconduct, i. e. plagiarism and cheating. All written work submitted for a course, except for acknowledged quotations, must be expressed in the student's own words. It must also be constructed upon a plan of the student's own devising. Work copied without acknowledgement from a book, from another student's paper, from the internet, or from any other source is plagiarized. Plagiarism can range from wholesale copying of passages from another's work to using the views, opinions, and insights of another without acknowledgement, to paraphrasing another person's original phrases without acknowledgement. All sources must therefore be documented and all usage of other material must be clearly cited in your papers. Plagiarism and cheating will have dramatic consequences for you, from failing the assignment to failing the entire course. All cases will also be referred to the Student Judicial Affairs, which can impose a variety of sanctions that can extend all the way to University expulsion. Please feel free to ask your instructor about how to integrate secondary materials into your own writing. For a full copy of the University code, see: http://sa.berkeley.edu/code-of-conduct. For guidelines on plagiarism, see: http://sa.berkeley.edu/cite-responsibly

 

Required books: They can be found here https://calstudentstore.berkeley.edu/courselisting/index/loadMaterials. Please use only the editions specified. I have created a pdf of the Olle Häggstrom book on account of the difficulty in finding a used copy (see files in b-courses where many of the course readings can be found). 

 

 

Tue., Jan. 22

Module I: Classic Social Theory and Human Nature

 

Thu., Jan. 24 Gianfranco Poggi on Karl Marx; Ann Cudd “Is Capitalism Good for Women?”;   Victoria Bateman https://unherd.com/2017/11/capitalism-suffering-crisis-care/?=sideshare

Tue., Jan. 29 Poggi on Emile Durkheim; Maurice Godelier “What is Society?”

Thu., Jan. 31 Poggi on Max Weber; Enzo Traverso “Discipline, Punishing, Killing”

 

Tue., Feb. 5 Olle Häggstrom “Engineering Better Humans”, pp. 38-84; Mark Walker “Transhumanism”.  Recommended movie: “Gattaca”

 

Thu., Feb. 7 First Midterm

Module II: Capital

 

Tue., Feb. 12 Robert Allen Industrial Revolution: A Very Short Introduction skim entire

Thu., Feb. 14 Marx, Capital, Preface, Afterword, Chapters 1-3; recommended movie: “The Young Karl Marx”

Tue., Feb. 19 Marx, Chapters 4-6

Thu., Feb. 21 Marx, Chapters 7-11

Tue., Feb. 26 Marx, Chapters 12-15

Thu., Feb. 28 Marx, Chapters 16-32

Tue., Mar. 5 Marx, Capital, pp. 383-482

 

Thu., Mar. 7 Second Midterm

Module III: Western Modernity

 

Tue., Mar. 12; Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View  from the Future, pp.ix-34; Haggstrom, pp. 1-37; Richard Fisher “The Perils of Short-termism: Civilization’s Greatest Threat”    

  http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190109the-perils-of-short-termism-civi...

 

Thu., Mar. 14 Oreskes and Conway, pp. 35-80

Tue., Mar. 19 Häggstrom, pp. 140-170 and 226-251

 

Thu., Mar. 21 Third Midterm

 

Spring Break (read as much of Lewis and Maslin as possible)

 

Module IV: The Anthropocene

 

Tue., Apr. 2 Simon Lewis and Mark Maslin, The Human Planet: How We Created the Anthropocene, pp. 1-188; https://www.artpapers.org/amitov-ghosh-the-great-derangement/ (recommended)

 

Thu., Apr. 4 Lewis and Maslin, pp. 189-294

Tue., Apr. 9  Lewis and Maslin, pp. 295-441

Thu., Apr. 11 Fourth Midterm

Module V: Technology and Society

 

Tue., Apr. 16 Jamie Susskind, Future Politics: Living Together in a World Transformed by Tech, pp. 1-88 Recommended: Episodes of “Black Mirror”

Thu., Apr. 18 Susskind, pp. 89-152

Tue., Apr. 23 Susskind, pp. 153-256; Zeynep Tufecki “It’s the (Democracy-Poisoning) Golden Age of Free Speech” https://www.wired.com/story/free-speech-issue-tech-turmoil-new-censorship/

Thu., Apr. 25 Susskind, pp. 257-312

Tue., Apr. 30 Susskind, pp. 313-366

Thu., May. 2 Review and Evaluations

 

FINAL: 1/3RD on Susskind; 2/3rd comprehensive.

 

ISF 100 C Language and Identity
  • MWF 1-2
  • Xu
  • Cory 247
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 25137

This course examines the role of language in the construction of social identities, and how language is tied to various forms of symbolic power at the national and international levels. As the saying goes, “A language is a dialect with an army and navy” – but how so? Questions about language have been central to national culture and identity, and the languages we speak often prove, upon close examination, not to be the tongues of ancestors but invented traditions of political significance. People have also encoded resistance into non-official and ambiguous languages even as the state has attempted to devalue them as inferior forms of expression. Drawing on case studies from Southeast Asia, Europe, Canada, and the U.S., we will pay special attention to topics such as the legitimization of a national language, the political use of language in nation-building processes, the endangerment of indigenous languages, and processes of linguistic subordination and domination.  This course will be interdisciplinary in its attempt to understand language in terms of history, politics, anthropology and sociology. We will not only study how language has been envisioned in planning documents and official language policy, but also analyze how speakers enact, project, and contest their culturally specific subject positions according to their embodied linguistic capital. 

ISF 100 K Health and Development
  • TTH 9:30-11AM
  • Quamruzzaman
  • Davis 534
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 26519

Development is often defined as a process of economic growth. Only recently there has been a growing disagreement about this definition and scholars argue that development should be understood as a process of improving human conditions. Health is an important indicator of human development. It is still not conclusive whether economic growth automatically translates into better population health and whether healthy population is a precondition of economic growth because there are other factors that affect both health and development. This course will focus on this debate and examine social, political, demographic and epidemiologic determinants of health in relation to levels of economic development.

ISF 189 Introduction to Interdisciplinary Research Methods
  • TTH 12:30-2PM
  • Quamruzzaman
  • LeConte 385
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 19720

This class is an introduction to research methods, leading students through different units built around specific learning goals and practical exercises.  The course is designed to teach a range of research skills, including (but not limited to) the ability to formulate research questions and to engage in scholarly conversations and arguments; the identification, evaluation, mobilization, and interpretation of sources; methods and instruments of field research (interviews, questionnaires, and sampling) and statistical thinking; and the construction of viable arguments and explanation in the human sciences.   At the same time, the course is designed to help students identify their own thesis topic, bibliography, and methodological orientation in preparation for ISF 190.

ISF 189 Introduction to Interdisciplinary Research Methods
  • MWF 3-4PM
  • Xu
  • Latimer 121
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 31763

This class is an introduction to research methods, leading students through different units built around specific learning goals and practical exercises.  The course is designed to teach a range of research skills, including (but not limited to) the ability to formulate research questions and to engage in scholarly conversations and arguments; the identification, evaluation, mobilization, and interpretation of sources; methods and instruments of field research (interviews, questionnaires, and sampling) and statistical thinking; and the construction of viable arguments and explanation in the human sciences.   At the same time, the course is designed to help students identify their own thesis topic, bibliography, and methodological orientation in preparation for ISF 190.

ISF 190 Senior Thesis
  • MW 10-11AM
  • Xu
  • Evans 2
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 17491

The ISF Senior Thesis requirement is the capstone experience and final product of the ISF Major.   The thesis is a sustained, original, and critical examination of a central interdisciplinary research question, developed under the guidance of the ISF 190 instructor.  The thesis represents a mature synthesis of research skills, critical thinking, and competent writing. As the final product of a student's work in the major, the thesis is not the place to explore a new set of disciplines or research problems for the first time, but should develop methods of inquiry and bridge the several disciplines that students have developed in their Course of Study.

ISF 190 Senior Thesis
  • MW 2-3PM
  • Bhandari
  • Evans 2
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 17492

The ISF Senior Thesis requirement is the capstone experience and final product of the ISF Major.   The thesis is a sustained, original, and critical examination of a central interdisciplinary research question, developed under the guidance of the ISF 190 instructor.  The thesis represents a mature synthesis of research skills, critical thinking, and competent writing. As the final product of a student's work in the major, the thesis is not the place to explore a new set of disciplines or research problems for the first time, but should develop methods of inquiry and bridge the several disciplines that students have developed in their Course of Study.

ISF 190 Senior Thesis
  • TTH 8-9AM
  • Kelkar
  • Evans 2
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 17493

The ISF Senior Thesis requirement is the capstone experience and final product of the ISF Major.   The thesis is a sustained, original, and critical examination of a central interdisciplinary research question, developed under the guidance of the ISF 190 instructor.  The thesis represents a mature synthesis of research skills, critical thinking, and competent writing. As the final product of a student's work in the major, the thesis is not the place to explore a new set of disciplines or research problems for the first time, but should develop methods of inquiry and bridge the several disciplines that students have developed in their Course of Study.

ISF 190 Senior Thesis
  • TTH 2-3:30
  • Quamruzzaman
  • Evans 2
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 17494

The ISF Senior Thesis requirement is the capstone experience and final product of the ISF Major.   The thesis is a sustained, original, and critical examination of a central interdisciplinary research question, developed under the guidance of the ISF 190 instructor.  The thesis represents a mature synthesis of research skills, critical thinking, and competent writing. As the final product of a student's work in the major, the thesis is not the place to explore a new set of disciplines or research problems for the first time, but should develop methods of inquiry and bridge the several disciplines that students have developed in their Course of Study.

Approved Theory and Practice courses
Note: students who enroll in one of these courses cannot count the course as part of their Upper Division Course of Study Requirement.

Cognitive Science C 101 Cognitive Linguistics
  • TTH 9:30-11AM
  • Sweetser
  • Wurster 102
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 30650

Conceptual systems and language from the perspective of cognitive science. How language gives insight into conceptual structure, reasoning, category-formation, metaphorical understanding, and the framing of experience. Cognitive versus formal linguistics. Implications from and for philosophy, anthropology, literature, artificial intelligence, and politics.

Comparative Literature 155 The Modern Period
  • MWF 11-12
  • Britto
  • Dwinelle 83
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 30710

In this course we will read a number of literary texts set in colonized territories, largely though not entirely under French domination. Dating from the turn of the twentieth century to the period of widespread decolonization a half-century later, these texts represent a variety of forms and genres (adventure novels, autobiographical fiction, philosophical novels, political denunciation and/or satire) and emerge out of a number of different cultural situations and geographic locations (including Southeast Asia, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa). Some of the authors to be considered are firmly enshrined in the canon of modern European literature, while others write as colonized subjects engaging with European histories of exoticist representation. In our discussions, we will consider the historical specificity of each text while remaining open to insights made possible by reading comparatively. In other words, our goal will not be to synthesize a monolithic theory of literature and colonialism but rather to analyze individual texts while attempting to be attentive to common textual strategies, formal elements, and practices of representing colonial space, dynamics of power, and variously configured articulations of domination and resistance, civilization and savagery, modernity and tradition. Readings will likely include: Beti, Mission to Kala; Camus, The Stranger; Conrad, Heart of Darkness; Djebar, Children of the New World; Duras, A Sea of Troubles; Malraux, The Royal Way; Oyono, The Old Man and the Medal.

Demography 180 Social Networks
  • TTH 9:30-11AM
  • Feehan
  • McCone 141
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 26510

The science of social networks focuses on measuring, modeling, and understanding the different ways that people are connected to one another. We will use a broad toolkit of theories and methods drawn from the social, natural, and mathematical sciences to learn what a social network is, to understand how to work with social network data, and to illustrate some of the ways that social networks can be useful in theory and in practice. We will see that network ideas are powerful enough to be used everywhere from UNAIDS, where network models help epidemiologists prevent the spread of HIV, to Silicon Valley, where data scientists use network ideas to build products that enable people all across the globe to connect with one another.

Economics 191 Topics in Economic Research
  • M 6:30-9:30PM
  • Eichengreen
  • Latimer 120
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 19880

This course discusses recent research and policy developments. The core objective is to expose students to different aspects of research in economics. A sequence of five different frontier research topics are studied in depth each semester. Each topic lasts three weeks, during which students will familiarize themselves with cutting-edge economic research and methodology. Students will then develop their own research ideas and write two medium- size research papers.

English 180 Z Science Fiction
  • MWF 12-1PM
  • Jones
  • Barrows 170
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 29995

Study of speculative fiction (or science fiction) as a genre. Topics may vary from semester to semester. Focus may be historical or thematic.

Geography C 112 Global Development: Theory, History, Geography
  • TTH 2-3:30
  • Hart
  • Leconte 4
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 25038

Historical review of the development of world economic systems and the impact of these developments on less advanced countries. Course objective is to provide a background against which to understand and assess theoretical interpretations of development and underdevelopment.

History 133 A The History of American Capitalism
  • TTH 11-12:30
  • Rosenthal
  • Valley Life Sciences 2040
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 30754

What is capitalism? And when did it come to characterize the American economy? This course will explore the economic history of the United States, from the colonial period to the present. We will analyze the dramatic changes that catapulted a chain of colonies from the fringe of the global economy to its center. As the semester progresses, we will seek out the sources of this dramatic transformation, exploring a variety of overlapping and sometimes conflicting explanations. Is this primarily a story about ideas and economic outlook? Is it about entrepreneurship and innovation? Or about exploitation and expropriation? What role did the government play? What role the individual? Major themes will include the rise of the factory system, slavery and emancipation, immigration and labor, the development of banking and finance, and economic inequality. In addition to building their knowledge of American history, students will gain theoretical familiarity with three subfields of history: business history, economic history, and labor history. We will explore the ways each of these fields has generated different narratives that celebrate and/or critique American capitalism. And at every turn we will consider how these different narratives alternately highlight and minimize the important roles played by business elites, enslaved people, laborers, women, and immigrants. Rarely was the “invisible hand” colorblind or gender neutral. The course will discuss both famous businessmen and largely-forgotten workmen, women, and slaves. We will examine capitalism both from above and from below, seeking to understand the causes and consequences of economic change for different groups of Americans.

History 182 A Topics in the History of Technology: Technology and Society
  • TTH 12:30-2PM
  • Mazzotti
  • Leconte 4
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 26245

Where do science and technology come from? How did they become the most authoritative kinds of knowledge in our society? How do technology, culture, and society interact? What drives technological change? The course examines these questions using case studies from different historical periods. We shall discuss the emergence of science as a dimension of our modernity, and its relations to other traditions such as magic, religion, and art. The aim of the course is for students to learn about how science and technology shape the way we live and, especially, how technological change is invariably shaped by historical and social circumstances.

History of Art 192 T Undergraduate Seminar: Problems in Research and Interpretation: Transcultural
  • Tuesdays 2-5PM
  • Davis
  • Doe Library 425
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 30052

Concentration on specific problems in art history as a transcultural inquiry, across multiple or varying cultural contexts. Assigned readings, discussion, and a substantial paper. For specific topics and enrollment, see listings on arthistory.berkely.edu.

Letters and Science 121 Origins in Science and Religion
  • TTH 2-3:30
  • Padian
  • Barker 101
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 30189

This course explores the concepts of origins in science and religion and their cultural contexts and entanglements, from antiquity to the present. Popular culture tends to emphasize the conflict between science and religion on such issues, particularly in recent times, with respect to the origin of life and its evolution (including human evolution). We hold that science must acknowledge history, both the history of the natural world and the history of concepts about it, and that religion must deal with the changing knowledge of science, including issues of origins, causation, and teleology. Our guiding questions include: What are origins, and why do we want to know about them? How does this desire manifest itself in different ways of constructing and analyzing knowledge? What sorts of intellectual processes, standards, and tests can be applied to different concepts of origins? What happens when different notions of origins clash? How do we negotiate these clashes in today's world?

Letters and Science C 138 Art and Activism
  • TH 9:30AM-12:30PM
  • Lucas
  • Morrison 250
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 26520

This course explores the intersections between aesthetic practice and social change. Students will investigate—in both theory and practice—the capacity of art making to cultivate transformation of themselves, their relationships, their practices, their institutions, and the larger economic and socio-political structures in which they function, locally and globally. Focusing on historical and contemporary artists and political issues, we ask: 1) How is art impacted by social change? 2) How has art been used toward social change? and 3) How can we, as course participants, use art to bring about social change? Rooted in interdisciplinary scholarship, students will engage theoretical debates and historical analyses regarding the role of the arts in social change and examine the particular capacities of the arts to negotiate across and between cultures, languages, and power-laden lines of difference. Taking a broad view of activism, we will consider the ways in which artistic practices foster radical imaginations that can expand our sense of the possible. Case studies will span media including visual arts, theater, dance, poetry/spoken word, literature, and music.

Linguistics C 105 Cognitive Linguistics
  • TTH 9:30-11AM
  • Sweetser
  • Wurster 102
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 29892

Conceptual systems and language from the perspective of cognitive science. How language gives insight into conceptual structure, reasoning, category-formation, metaphorical understanding, and the framing of experience. Cognitive versus formal linguistics. Implications from and for philosophy, anthropology, literature, artificial intelligence, and politics.

Sociology 145 Social Change
  • TTTH 3:30-5
  • Riley
  • Moffitt Library 102
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 25206

Study of major changes in modern societies: the sources of these changes; the processes through which they spread; their meaning for individuals and institutions.