Spring Semester 2014 House Courses
59.01 Serial Killer Psychology: From Dahmer to Dexter
Monday, 8:00-9:30 p.m., Keohane 4D, Rm 201
Sponsor/Department: Karen Murphy, Neuroscience and Psychology
Class limit: 15
From Jack the Ripper’s brutal slayings to Ted Bundy’s necrophilia, serial killers never cease to fascinate the public. Yet why do these seemingly normal people kill so senselessly? And why are we continually enthralled by their bloody exploits? This course explores the psychology behind serial murder from neurobiological and psychiatric perspectives while also examining society’s obsession through a sociological and cultural lens. Case study analysis provides the foundation of the course as students first learn how to interpret the actions of a serial killer and then subsequently apply their newfound knowledge to analyze the public’s portrayal of these murderers through literature, television, and film. NOTE: This course contains extremely violent and graphic content – please contact the student instructor with any concerns.
59.02 Personal Finance: Saving, Investing, and Creating a Future
Wednesday, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Social Sciences 119
Sponsor/Department: John Caccavale, Economics
Class limit: 35
This course is focused on teaching students fiscal responsibility and learning about various ways of savings, types of loans, and other topics related to surviving in the real world. This couse will teach you how to file tax returns, create a budget, different types of investments, and help you create a sustainable future.
59.03 Ending Malaria
Wednesday, 6:15-7:45 p.m., Keohane 4D, Rm 201
Sponsor/Department: Carlos Rojas, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Class limit: 8
Join us on a journey from the ivory towers to the villages of the people who live on less than a dollar a day. We will immerse ourselves in global health case studies – both failures and successes – that shed insight into the pathologies of poverty. Why would a poor, malnourished man choose to spend his money on a brand new television rather than food? Why are some 1.5 million people dying every year of a disease that could be treated with boiled water, sugar, and salt? Ultimately, this course will ask us to envision a world where no child suffers from malaria – and then think collaboratively about how to make that happen.We will discuss the current tools employed in malaria prevention and treatment, colored by real-life accounts of malaria victims. Course content will draw heavily from the work of Esther Duflo, Paul Farmer, and João Biehl. This course is an exercise in reimagination: to ask more of ourselves, to dream a bit bigger, and to redefine what is possible.
59.04 Spoken Word and Slam Poetry in Context: The Art of Social Commentary
Monday, 6:00-7:30 p.m., Kilgo K Common Room
Sponsor/Department: Jay O’Berski, Theater Studies
Class limit: 16
In 2011, Jefferson Bethke struck a chord with the American public when he dared to criticize one of America’s most fundamental institutions in his spoken word YouTube video “Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus.” Certainly the claims he made were provocative in themselves, but much of the message’s appeal comes from its lyrical and poetic style. This class will examine the larger Spoken Word movement from which this poem arose and is founded upon the idea that through tongue tactics people can inspire revolutions, paint pictures with poems that would make Picasso jealous and transform a variety of their personal experiences, convictions and intuitions into works of art that bring new consciousness to societal conversations often silenced. This is class is founded upon the belief that spoken word is not simply poetry read aloud. At its core, spoken word is the art of social commentary.
Yet, spoken word is not only a powerful medium to critique the state of society, but also a fun and entertaining means of self-expression. As such, this course has two goals: First, it seeks to expose students to the rich history and current status of spoken word and slam poetry. Second, it seeks to build students’ confidence by encouraging both novice and seasoned spoken word artists to experiment with this form of oral expression in new and interesting ways. In order to accomplish these goals, this course will draw upon scholarly literature, social media, guest speakers and an optional field trip to the Black Poetry Theater. Each week we will confront different topics spoken word artists often treat in their poems. The topics will range from identity (i.e. racial, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) to politics and everything in between. The course will ultimately culminate in a performance in which students will have the opportunity to showcase their own spoken word to a live audience.
Important!! You do not have to have any prior experience with spoken word, theater, speech and debate, etc. to take this course. Only a positive attitude and willingness to try are prerequisites.
59.05 Troubles in Northern Ireland
Thursday, 7:30-9:00 p.m., Keohane 4D, Rm 201
Sponsor/Department: Robin Kirk, International Comparative Studies
Class limit: 12
This multidisciplinary class will utilize Northern Ireland’s thirty-year sectarian conflict, known colloquially as “The Troubles”, as a prism for examining the how human rights are conceptualized and enacted during times of conflict and transition. Despite progress in recent years towards a peaceful resolution between Northern Irish Catholics and Protestants, Northern Ireland is still a society inundated with sectarianism, tension, trauma, clashing identities and competing visions of the future. While the Good Friday Agreements of 1998, which officially ended The Troubles, represent a moment of transition for Northern Irish society, this class will investigate the question of peace as an emerging and constantly evolving process that continues to this day. This course will cover both the historical development of the conflict, its legacy, and its modern iterations, with a special focus on the various impacts on and understandings of the Troubles in different segments of Northern Irish society. Central questions will include how truth is constructed and told, the use of memory and the persistence of trauma, and societal transitions. Prospective Duke Engage Belfast participants are encouraged to enroll, as well as anyone with an interest in human rights, Irish history, or conflict resolution.
59.06 Introduction to Experiential Education
Monday, 7:30-10:00 p.m., GA Down Under
Sponsor/Department: Gunther Peck, History
Class limit: 75
This course provides an introduction to experiential education, the process of internalizing knowledge inspired by challenging one’s self. Students will explore such themes as stereotypes and perceptions, risk-taking, leadership and facilitation, group dynamics, and experiences in nature. Through small group discussions, assigned readings, group activities, and field trips, this course provides students with a unique opportunity to contemplate their relationships with others, their environment, and themselves. Unconventional methods of teaching and learning will be investigated in order to engage students in a process of self-discovery. A backpacking trip to Pisgah National Forest and a student-designed weekend excursion will allow students to apply knowledge and skills learned throughout the course.
59.07 Durham Giving Project
Tuesday, 7:00-8:30 p.m., Few GG Common Room 101
Sponsor/Department: Sam Miglarese, Program in Education
Class limit: 15
The Durham Giving Project has two major components:
1) Establishing a broader understanding of Durham and its struggles and triumphs
2) Creating a giving circle to fund grants for local non-profit organizations
After learning about the history of and current events going on in Durham, as well as participating in optional service learning activities, the class will review grant applications from non-profit organizations within the Duke-Durham neighborhood partnership. As a class, students will decide how to distribute and allocate funds among these organizations.
To prepare for the grant distribution process, students will learn about philanthropy and the philosophy of giving. Throughout the 12 weeks of the course, students will be taught about the rich history of Durham and the social justice issues that impact the city today. We hope that by teaching students about issues that impact their immediate environment, they will be inspired to act and create positive social change. By the end of the course, students will have:
• Gained insight about the history of philanthropy and non-profit charity
• Discussed the influence of historical legacy in understanding social justice issues that affect the city today
• Examine the social justice issues from a past, present, and future perspective
• Assessed Duke’s vision and role of philanthropy in the community
• Learned about each of the four social justice issues central to the Durham Giving Project: economic development, education, and environment and sustainability
• Raised funds for the Durham Giving Project
• Developed skills on how to successfully complete the grant-making process
• Synthesized the knowledge acquired throughout the course to evaluate and fund grants received from the community organizations participating in the giving circle
59.08 TED Talks: Ideas that Transform and Empower
Monday, 6:45-8:15p.m., Few GG Common Room 101
Sponsor/Department: Robert Thompson, Psychology and Neuroscience
Class limit: 15
This course will capitalize on a new way of learning: TED talks. By watching, discussing, and making connections between TED talks, students will evaluate ideas in subject areas ranging from technology and the future to the importance of the arts. Key themes underlying the entire course include social responsibility, leadership, and inspiration. The course points towards an emerging 21st century style of learning, based around open source information and the exchange of ideas, and a new style of leadership that focuses on inspiration and empowerment.
59.09 Principles of Web Application Design
Thursday, 7:00-9:00 p.m., InCube Common Room, 205 Alexander, Apt D
Sponsor/Department: Jun Yang, Computer Science
Class limit: 9
This class provides an in-depth understanding of modern web applications through the process of building one. In class, students will work in groups to build the application with the instructors providing individualized attention, as well as reinforcing concepts learned from the week’s reading and assignment. These weekly assignments will explain core concepts involved in application design, such as semantic markup, separation of concerns between styling, structure, and function, prototypical inheritance, statelessness, the HTTP protocol, and many others.
59.10 Current Topics in Immunology: Medicine and Society
Tuesday, 7:00-9:00 p.m., Kilgo N Commons
Sponsor/Department: Dr. Staci Bilbo, Psychology and Neuroscience
Class limit: 15
This team-based learning course designed primarily for freshmen and sophomores, run in the model of many medical and graduate courses, will involve a broad overview of current work and knowledge in the expanding field of immunology, including topics in infectious disease/vaccine development, public health, cancer immunotherapy, autoimmunity, immunogenetics, transplant,
and behavioral neuro-immunology and stress. With some classes taught by Trinity College seniors and some by Duke Medicine faculty, we hope to give students interested in medicine and biological sciences a chance to meet and interact with active immunology researchers in a close, one-on-one, residential setting and to provide guidance and advice for students interested in getting involved in biomedical research. This course is not intended to supplant the excellent graduate immunology coursework offered by the Department of Immunology, but rather to expose students to the world of scientific literature and to pique their interest in this truly remarkable field. A basic understanding of molecular biology will be useful, but no prerequisites are necessary as we will provide an overview of this in the first few weeks of the course.
59.11 High Impact Philanthropy
Tuesday, 7:00-8:30 p.m., Keohane 4B, Rm 402
Sponsor/Department: William Villalba, Romance Studies
Class limit: 15
High impact philanthropy analyzes the philosophy of effective altruism, which aims to maximize positive impact given the limited available resources. We will explore the main tenets of the THINK (The High Impact Network) mission statement, and will largely focus on the work of Peter Singer, a notable philosopher and prominent proponent of the movement, as well as other philosophers and activists. The goal of the course is for each student to recognize the greatest positive impact that he or she can have on the world and those around them.
59.12 How We Do Mission: Sustainable, Informed, and Relational Christian Service Abroad
Tuesday, 7:00-9:00 p.m., Keohane 4D, Rm 201
Sponsor/Department: Zoila Airall, Program in Education
Class limit: 15
This course introduces a new approach to international service. It prepares participants to carry out sustainable, relational, informed, and effective Christian mission work while at Duke and beyond. We will approach the issue of service from several perspectives: religious, historical, cultural, interpersonal, and structural. Participants may join the optional Chapel-sponsored spring break trip to Costa Rica, which will offer the opportunity to engage in service, relationships, and reflection.
59.13 Neurotheology: The Biology of Belief
Tuesday, 5:30-7:00 p.m., Keohane 4B, Rm 402
Sponsor/Department: Leonard White, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
Class limit: 15
Are our brains wired for religion? Or does practicing religion alter the landscapes of our brains? For centuries, both neuroscientists and theologians have been trying to answer these elusive questions. With the development of novel neuroimaging techniques however, identifying and pinpointing the neuroscientific basis for religion no longer remains an enigma. This course aims to bring attention to these recent developments in neurotheology – a field that bridges the divide between neuroscience and faith. We will explore topics such as the neurogenetic basis of belief, epilepsy-induced hyperreligiosity, hallucinations and out-of-body experiences, psychedelic mystical experiences, and our brain’s ability to construct reality. By the end of this class, we will not only be at the forefront of comprehending the changes that occur in our brain as a result of spiritual practice but also be able to foster discussion in our community on the contemporary interplay between science and religion.
59.14 Tell Me More: Leading Change Through Sustained Dialogue
Thursday, 6:30-8:80 p.m., Keohane 4B, Rm 402
Sponsor/Department: Tony Brown, Public Policy
Class limit: 12
In our increasingly globalized world, leadership is no longer individual. From government and business to entrepreneurship and nonprofits, leaders need the skills to resolve conflict across difference.
Sustained Dialogue is a five-stage change process, based on Dr. Harold Saunders’s experiences mediating the Arab-Israeli conflict as Deputy Assistant to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. In a world primarily focused on immediate results, this leadership skill is unique in that it takes the time to focus first on transforming change-blocking relationships, and then on solving problems.
This course will explore the theory behind this innovative model and ultimately consider how Sustained Dialogue applies to our own personal visions for change. Be prepared to get your hands dirty because we’ll also be trying it out for ourselves. Participants will receive an abbreviated Sustained Dialogue Facilitator Training and work together to convene dialogue groups around personally-relevant issues on campus. Come ready to deepen your understanding of change-making and leadership, and to resolve tensions within the Duke community.
59.15 Data Visualization in the Context of the NC Government
Monday, 7:00-8:30 p.m., Keohane 4B, Rm 402 201
Sponsor/Department: Ken Rogerson, Public Policy
Class limit: 15
In recent years, ther rise of "big data" and data visualization has completely transformed both the business and government sectors. This course is focused on teaching students how to create data visualizations using the popular tool, Tableau, with the state government of North Carolina acting as a case study. We will look at various departments and metrics and map them out. In addition, we will learn how to use Excel and review basic statistics. This will prepare students to understand the role data plays in our world and be able to be literate and potentially prepare for a job in the field.
59.16 Genomics: Implications and Controversies of Innovations in a Rapidly Developing Field
Monday, 5:15-6:45 p.m., Keohane 4D, Rm 201
Sponsor/Department: Susanne Haga, Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy
Class limit: 15
Advances in genome research are becoming increasingly relevant in our everyday lives. While these steps forward in research are revolutionizing fields such as medicine and agriculture, they also raise a plethora of ethical issues regarding privacy, interpretation of test results, and more. In this course, we’ll explore several topics in genomics that have already emerged into the public sphere, as well as several that will surface in the very near future.
The course will focus on controversial topics with no obvious right or wrong answers. These topics involve two or more opposing viewpoints, each backed up with quite legitimate arguments. In this course, we aim to understand both sides of these complicated issues, and then to brainstorm solutions for ensuring that each side’s concerns will be heard. Class format will include weekly readings, in-class debates, and occasional guest speakers. Students will be expected to spend a small amount of time thinking about the issues outside of class so that we can have interesting and productive debates during our weekly meetings.
59.17 Gender Violence: Abuse and Oppression
Wednesday, 6:15-8:00 p.m., Few FF 101 Common Room
Sponsor/Department: Kathi Weeks, Women’s Studies
Class limit: 15
This course explores the ways in which structural gender inequities and its societal forces – privilege, patriarchy, identity and cultural norms – contribute to gender violence, as well as how gender violence maintains the status quo. Gender violence can assume many forms and degrees, including sexual harassment, relationship violence, stalking, and sexual assault. Along with discussing how these regular incidents are related to one another, we will also investigate how they are relevant in our own communities, culturally, geographically and nationally. We will introduce why gender violence is so frequently perpetrated and ignored, as well as dive deeper into how the solutions to these problems abet gender violence and create structural power dynamics between victims and the state, as well as among different minority groups. The spheres of influences and industries that will be inspected in this course include medicine, law and order, nonprofit organizations, penal systems and politics. Finally, we will tie together connections between gender and other forms of identity, including race and sexuality and socioeconomic and sociocultural backgrounds, and its violence to show that violence and its derivatives do not occur singularly, but are part of a larger byproduct of oppression.
59.18 The Mathematics of Poker
Wednesday, 4:45-7:00 p.m., Few GG 6th Floor Commons
Sponsor/Department: Rick Durrett and David Herzog, Mathematics
Class limit: 18
Poker is a zero-sum game of imperfect information that we contend is every bit as strategic and rewarding as Chess or Go. No-Limit Hold 'Em has exploded in popularity in recent years with increased exposure on television. While anyone can get lucky, only those who have mastered the theoretical underpinnings of the game can be successful in the long-run. First, we consider the fundamentals of probability theory and combinatorics, as applied to odds in poker. We follow this up with topics in game theory, helping players make optimal decisions under conditions of uncertainty. Finally, we consider the use of Bayesian updating to process information.
Each meeting will consist of a lecture, discussion of the homework, and some hands of poker. Students will be able to see their play improve, as they learn to apply concepts from class in practice. It is our hope that students will become proficient at reasoning logically and quantitatively about outcomes that are fundamentally random. A careful study of poker can help people mitigate human shortcomings, lik risk-aversion, confirmation bias, and other flawed patterns of thought.
59.19 Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage
Monday, 7:00-8:30 p.m., Bell Tower 110
Sponsor/Department: Charles Thompson, Documentary Studies
Class limit: 10
This course explores the culture of the Gullah Geechee, descendants of enslaved Africans from various ethnic groups of west and central Africa, brought to the New World and forced to work on the plantations of coastal North and South Carolina. Through readings, films, discussions and guest lectures, we will study Gullah Geechee history, agriculture, music, crafts, religious practices, language and their direct connections to the West African coast. We will also discuss the new Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, recently approved by the Secretary of the Interior, and the Corridor Commission’s mandate to promote cultural tourism meant to benefit the Gullah Geechee community. Students will investigate how to best collaborate with Gullah Geechee community partners to help communities achieve the goals set out by the Commission.