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Upper-Level BHP Courses Fall 2017

BHP 206: Politics and Literary Form
Professors Seiwoong Oh (English) and Frank Rusciano (Political Science)
Monday/Wednesday 2:50-4:20 p.m., Lawrenceville campus
Substitution: Literature core OR Social Science core

This course investigates the relationships between political life and literary form. Students will analyze literary texts in the context of selected political periods and ideologies, going beyond literary content to understand how language, genre, and structure mirror, otherwise represent, or criticize the political order within which the author writes.

BHP 270: Special Topics – Chemistry and Conflict
Professors James Castagnera (Legal Studies and American Studies) and Bryan Spiegelberg (Chemistry and Biochemistry)
Monday/Wednesday 1:10-2:40 p.m., Lawrenceville campus
Substitution: Natural Sciences core

Since the dawn of recorded history, humans have turned to technology to develop new ways to kill each other for personal or political gain, or in the name of a creed or cause.  This course will explore several case studies in which violence has been accomplished using the science of chemistry via explosives, poisons, radioactive material, or other dangerous substances.  We will study the development of gunpowder by the Chinese and other early civilizations and the impact of gunpowder on the fall of Feudal Europe and the conquest of Pre-Columbian America.  We will investigate the role of chemical warfare in World War I and its impact on the Holocaust.  We will consider the roles of firebombing, carpet bombing, and nuclear weapons in World War II and other conflicts.  We will investigate the uses of poisons, including Agent Orange and other chemical agents by the US in Vietnam.  And, finally, we will survey the role of chemistry in modern terrorist attacks and espionage activities in the late 20th and 21st centuries, notably the first World Trade Center attack in 1993 and the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 (both carried out with homemade bombs comprised of commercially available chemical compounds such as fertilizer), as well as the assassination of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko by lethal radioactive injection in 2006 and the February 2017 assassination of the half-brother of North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un by application of a deadly nerve agent in the midst of a busy international airport.

BHP 271: Special Topics – Human Nature, Biased Brains, and the Challenge of Living Together
Professors Steph Golski (Psychology) and Olivia Newman (Political Science)
Tuesday 6:30-9:30 p.m., Westminster campus
Substitution: Social Sciences core

The 2016 presidential campaign season saw a marked increase in partisanship, polarization, animosity and resentment among Americans, mirroring a worldwide trend toward “tribalistic” group identification at the expense of outsiders. Why can’t we all just get along? What makes it so hard to sympathize with those who seem different or unfamiliar, and so easy to assume the worst about them? This course will bring together classic political theory, psychology and the social sciences, in order to consider the relationship between human cognition and moral development, on the one hand, and our political ideals and realities, on the other. When we pull back the curtain on our psychological architecture, we shall see that we are, as individuals, considerably more complex than we generally think, in ways that often interfere with productive political engagement. Our brains are bundles of biases and prejudices. This course will examine the manifestation of these biases on the individual and societal level, equipping students to critically analyze bias and practically reduce the impact of bias on society and politics.

BHP 318: The Bible as Literature and Philosophy
Professors Dan Garro (Philosophy) and Vanita Neelakanta (English)
Tuesday 6:30-9:30, Lawrenceville campus
Substitution: Literature core OR Philosophy core

Students will read and discuss selections from the three major divisions of the Bible: the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Apocrypha. Stories such as Joseph and his brothers, Exodus, Samson and Delilah, Jonah and the whale, Susannah and the Elders, the raising of Lazarus and the trial and execution of Jesus will be read. Students will study many genres, including the short story (The Book of Ruth), poetry (Psalms), history (I and II Samuel), apocalypse (Revelations), letters (I and II Corinthians) and philosophical tales (The Book of Job).