Courses

Fall 2022

Readings in African American History
This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the literature of African-American History, from the colonial era up to more recent times. Major themes and debates are highlighted. The course should help students to define interests within the field to pursue further study and research and also to aid preparation for examinations.
Instructors: Tera Hunter
Reasoning About Computation
An introduction to mathematical topics relevant to computer science. Combinatorics, probability and graph theory will be covered in the context of computer science applications. The course will present a computer science approach to thinking and modeling. Students will be introduced to fundamental concepts in theoretical computer science, such as NP-completeness and cryptography that arise from the world view of efficient computation.
Instructors: Iasonas Petras, Ran Raz
Science After Feminism
Science is commonly held to be the objective, empirical pursuit of natural facts about the world. In this course, we will consider an array of theoretical, methodological, and substantive challenges that feminism has posed for this account of science, and for the practice of scientific knowledge production. In the course of this survey, we shall engage a number of key questions such as: is science gendered, racialized, ableist or classist? Does the presence or absence of women (and another marginalized individuals) lead to the production of different kinds of scientific knowledge?
Instructors: Catherine Clune-Taylor
Secession, the Civil War, and the Constitution
This seminar explores constitutional and legal issues posed by the attempted secession of eleven states of the Federal Union in 1860-1865 and the civil war this attempt triggered. Issues to be examined include the nature of secession movements (both in terms of the constitutional controversy posed in 1860-1861 and modern secession movements), the development of the "war powers" doctrine of the presidency, the suspension by the writ of habeas corpus, the use of military tribunals, and abuses of civil rights on both sides of the Civil War.
Instructors: Allen Guelzo
Senior Independent Work (B.S.E. candidates only)
Provides an opportunity for a student to concentrate on a "state-of-the-art" project in computer science. Topics may be selected from suggestions by faculty members or proposed by the student. The final choice must be approved by the faculty advisor.
Instructors: Robert Fish, Kyle Jamieson
Sex, Gender, and Desire in Francophone Africa
This course examines the complex role of gender and sexuality in Francophone Africa's literature and visual cultures. Framed primarily by postcolonial criticism, we will explore how Francophone African writers, filmmakers, and artists treat historical and contemporary issues connected to women and marginal sexualities' experiences, and how they appropriate vernacular/conventional modes of writing and filmmaking in their works. By reading critical writings alongside the novels and films, we will explore questions such as: How stories shape our understanding of gender roles? From whose perspective are they told? What do they exclude/repress?
Instructors: André Benhaïm, Saadia El Karfi
Slavery and Capitalism
The course will examine the place of plantation slavery in the development of capitalist modernity. We will focus on two classic texts: Eric Williams' Capitalism and Slavery, and CLR James' history of the Haitian Revolution, The Black Jacobins. We will also discuss in this context Marx's critique of capitalist slavery in Capital, and its importance for the tradition of Caribbean critique. Also to be considered are the writings of Toussaint Louverture, Henry Christophe, and Aimé and Suzanne Césaire as they develop original critiques of slavery, colonialism, and Antillean capitalism.
Instructors: F. Nick Nesbitt
Special Topics in Creative Writing: Writing Political Fiction
In traditional workshops content and context come second to craft. Here we will explore writing political fiction, the politics of fiction and writing as political engagement. We'll read widely, from the most realistic depictions of the American political process and the varieties of immigrant experience to the work of afrofuturists and feminists. The personal is the political and our frame will range from the global to the domestic. We will write stories that inhabit experiences other than our own. This course will allow students to make interdisciplinary connections between courses on history, politics and identity and creative writing.
Instructors: A.M. Homes
Special Topics in Data and Information Science: Safety-Critical Robotic Systems
The course covers the mathematical foundations of dynamical system safety analysis and modern algorithmic approaches for robotic decision making in safety-critical contexts. The focus is on safe robot learning, multiagent systems, and interaction with humans, paying special attention to uncertainty and the reality gap between mathematical models and the physical world.
Instructors: Jaime Fernandez Fisac
Studies in African Performance
This course presents a cross-disciplinary and multi-modal approach to African music, dance, and culture. Co-taught by a master drummer and choreographer (Tarpaga) and an ethnomusicologist (Steingo), students will explore African and African diasporic performance arts through readings, discussions, listening, film analysis, music performance, and composition.
Instructors: Gavin Steingo, Olivier Tarpaga

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