Fall Semester 2012 House Courses

59.01 Understanding Web Applications

Tuesday, 6:20-8:20 p.m., 205 Alexander D

Department:      Computer Science, Jun Yang





Class limit:  20

The objective of this course is to explore web application design and development through creating a web application with a team of students. In order to accomplish this, students will learn the necessary programming skills, which will immediately be put into practice. Classes will be used primarily as reinforcements for the assigned readings as well as help hours for the students to refine their products and ask questions about the material.

59.02 Exploring Hindu Mythology

Thursday, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Keohane 4B 402 Seminar Room

Department:      Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Satendra Khanna

Instructors:         Praveen Tummalapalli          

                             Shweta Shukla                                        

Class limit:  20

For millennia, Hindu mythology has fascinated Hindus and non-Hindus alike. Hindu mythology comes from a rich oral and literary tradition that has given rise to works ranging from simple didactic tales meant to reinforce moral values to epics with deep philosophical implications subject to numerous and varied interpretations.

This course looks at some of the most important legends of the Hindu tradition and has students discuss their own responses to and interpretations of the text before studying different ways these legends have been interpreted, analyzed, and reimagined over the years. Students will also look at different versions of these myths, from modern retellings to film interpretations.

This course will utilize selected readings, guest lecturers, and in-class discussion and debate to explore topics such as the common themes and recurring elements of these myths, their literary and anthropological significance, and how the analyses of these stories have changed over time.


59.03 “California Here We Come” The O.C. & Self-Aware Culture of 21st Century America

Thursday, 5:30-7:00 p.m., Keohane 4D 201 Seminar Room

Department:      English, Thomas Ferraro

Instructors:         Dayna Uyeda           

                             Katie Contess         

Class limit:  20

“Everybody is hyper self-aware. We live in a post-everything universe.”

-  Josh Schwartz, executive producer of The O.C. and Gossip Girl

If Josh Schwartz is correct in saying that we live in a post-everything universe, a post-postmodern world, how do you innovate? You do it with a nerdy, comic book reading, plastic horse loving, half-Jewish sailor with a keen taste in music named Seth Ezekiel Cohen. Seth inhabits the land of Southern California, where cardio barre, yogalates, and rehab are not so much vernacular as they are facets of quotidian Orange County life.

“Welcome to the OC, bitches. This is how it’s done in Orange County.” Welcome to a world where popular culture is turned on itself, where alcoholism is as normal as high school, where Death Cab for Cutie went “mainstream” and liked it, where guns, sex, social awkwardness, cage fighting, and rage blackouts can’t tear apart the fantastic foursome of characters that rules like the royal family. (Everyone on the show is related in some way or another by the end of 2007). We’ll explore the “hyper self-awareness” unique to The O.C. and analyze Californian exceptionalism and singularity in history and popular culture, girl culture, 21st century suburban revivalism, the indie music scene, the meta-series, and more. We’ll go on the excessive journey of the foursome that captured the hearts of millions and changed teen television dramady forever.  Get out your surfboards (or skateboards, if you’re more a land shark).  California, here we come.

Don’t get settled in Newport Beach though.  We’ll also travel south to Laguna Beach, behind the gates of Orange County’s private neighborhoods of the Real Housewives, up to The Hills of LA, to get like, really real, and finally to New York City for a serene(a) ride to get out of the bla(i)ring sun.                                                 

You know you’ll love it, xoxo Your Instructors

59.04 Know your Status: Interdisciplinary Inquiry into HIV/AIDS

Tuesday, 7:00-8:30 p.m., Kilgo House N: N 001-SEM

Department:      Christina Meade, Psychology & Global Health Institute.

Instructors:         Rebecca Kahn           

                              Suvam Neupane       

                              Kate Pearson            

Class limit:  20

HIV/AIDS is a global epidemic that has affected millions of people worldwide.  Traditional study into this subject has largely focused on gaining a better understanding of the science behind HIV/AIDS.  This house course will provide a multidisciplinary approach to the subject, exploring topics and issues that go far beyond the science, issues that are just as important to comprehending the effect of HIV/AIDS.  Topics explored range from faith to gender to contemporary media portrayals, all revolving around HIV/AIDS.  This course was created from the Duke University club, Know Your Status and looks to increase awareness about the different issues related to HIV/AIDS within the Duke population.

59.05 Introductory Perl for Genomics

Tuesday, 7:00-8:30 p.m., Keohane 4D 201 Seminar Room

Department:      Computer Science, Raluca Gordan

Instructors:         Kenneth Hoehn        

Class limit:  15

From full genome sequencing to the development of biological databases, advances over the past few decades have changed biology from largely laboratory work to a highly integrative discipline with an increasingly significant input from computer science. A working understanding of the intersection of these disciplines, and some programming experience can be invaluable to biologists. However, this is an area that many students with no programming background often find difficult to grasp. This course will aim to teach students with little to no programming background basic Perl programming applied to biological problems. This will provide a basis for other topics of the course, which will include use of Unix/Linux servers, use of stand-alone BLAST toolkit and other relevant software, and various applied and scholarly issues in bioinformatics. The course is intended act as a supplement to other courses in that area, such as the Genome FOCUS courses, and as a preparation to more advanced courses in the area such as Compsci 160 (Introduction to Computational Genomics).

The approach we want to take is to teach the basics of the Perl programming language, but entirely applied to biological problems. This will continually reinforce the relevance and interest of students with moderate biological backgrounds, but no programming backgrounds. The goal of each class is to begin with a biological problem, and end with a functioning, self-written Perl program which moves each student closer to answering it. The first four weeks will begin with an informative biological measurement – the GC content of sequences – and teach the core of the Perl language by first analyzing GC content of single sequences, then multiple sequences, then large files of sequences, and finally logging into an external Linux server and running programs from a command terminal. Once the core language is taught, we will move on to more applied and advanced topics reinforced with speakers and in-class projects, ending with a final 5 page paper outlining an open question in bioinformatics of the student's choosing.


59.06 An Intergenerational Perspective on Contemporary Issues and Practical Ethics

Sunday, 2:00-3:30 p.m., Bell Tower 113

Department:      Education, Betsy Alden

Instructors:     Gregory Moore                                   

                          Dominique Beaudry      


Class limit:  8

This course explores different generations’ perspectives on ethical issues relevant in our country today. The issues, topics of social and political interest with ethical grounding, will be discussed with a view toward current events and also with respect to historical and theoretical context. By examining such issues through an intergenerational lens, the course seeks to apply this ethical discussion specifically to the university, a community in which undergraduates interact with faculty and administrators from different generations.

59.07 Positivity in Action

Monday, 6:00-7:20 p.m., Keohane 4D 201

Department:      Psychology & Neuroscience, Robert J. Thompson Jr.

Instructors:        Isabel Dover          

                            Andrew Hall            

                            Taylor Knight           

Class limit:  12

Positivity in Action provides an introductory view of positive psychology and its applications within university culture. Students will be provided with the skills that they need to perform to their best abilities, learning the basics of meditation, the importance of balance, and how to show appreciation, among other things. By the end of the course, they will begin to view their psychosocial well-beings in a more positive light.

This course is heavily based in action. Students will be encouraged to apply the teaching to their own lives in order to make themselves achieve their highest potential. Once they have applied the basics of positive psychology in their lives, they will spread their knowledge through the Duke community in the form of personal projects. These projects will involve action outside of the classroom, aimed at spreading the notions of positive psychology to other students. Examples include organizing yoga on the quad, working with wellness on a joint student-led initiative, and starting a positive awareness week. Students in the house course will work in groups on a project throughout the semester, which they will eventually implement in the campus culture. Support will be provided by the instructors, who will help guide students through the approval process.

59.08 A History of Duke: Issues in Development

Monday, 7:00-8:30 p.m., McClendon Tower Level 2 Media Room

Department:      History, Raymond Gavins

Instructors:        Michael Hammett     

                            Melina Lopez              

                            Ibe Alozie                     

Class limit:  25

This course will explore the development of Duke University, both chronologically and thematically, from its founding until present day. Some of the topics to be explored include the Presidents, architecture, the role of religion, the evolution of Duke into a top-tier university, the history of Duke’s sports programs, protest and social movements, Duke relations with Durham, and Duke in the media. We wish to give students a solid background in the history of the university they attend, while keeping in mind the challenges of innovatively adjusting old standards to fit an evolving world. We expect constant attendance, participation in discussions, as well as the completion of one group presentation for a class session and one 1500 word essay.

59.09 A Tour Inside Your Brain

Monday, 7:30-9:00 p.m., Keohane 4D 201 Seminar Room

Department:      Psychology & Neuroscience, Herbert Covington

Instructors:        Michael Farruggia     

                             Tuğçe Capraz            

Class limit:  12

The human brain--that wrinkled lump of tissue characteristic of all human beings. Weighing only three pounds in the average adult, it contains about 100 billion neurons that give us the ability to see, smell, move, weep, talk and read. Furthermore, all we experience and remember--every little thing that makes us who we are--is rooted in the brain. 

Within the past century, researchers have learned much about the fundamental workings of the brain, making tremendous gains in knowledge about the molecules that make it run. Neuroscientists have identified genes for receptor proteins that detect smell and taste. They determined that the stuff of memories is, literally, a cascade of biochemical changes at the connections or, synapses, between neurons. And belying an old view that the nervous system is hardwired from birth, experts found that its cells retain some capacity to adapt and reorganize in response to experience, an ability coined “plasticity.”

Now, armed with the human genome and a combination of cutting-edge genetic methods and brain imaging techniques, neuroscientists are exploring the neural circuitry in ways they could likely have never dreamed of 20 years ago. Rather than scrutinizing one or two neurons at a time, they aim to study how networks or systems of the cells function to influence behavior--opening up a plethora of new fields such as neurogenetics, neuroeconomics and neurolinguistics, among others. Whether you have existing knowledge about the subject, or are simply curious about the field, this course is intended to guide you through what we believe to be the most interesting of these advancements, providing a framework for exploring the power of the brain.

59.10 Women and International Development

Monday, 8:00-9:30 p.m., Keohane 4B 402 Seminar Room

Department:      Biology, Sherryl Broverman

Instructors:        Anne Martin             

                            Adria Kinney            

Class limit:  15

This course is an overview of the issues facing women in international development. We will focus on women in developing nations, and each class will cover a different pertinent topic, from HIV/AIDS to access to secondary education. We will examine these issues from multiple perspectives, including public policy, cultural anthropology and human rights viewpoints. The main topics covered are women’s health, women’s education and women’s economic contributions. Throughout our discussions, we will be exploring organizations dedicated to ameliorating gender disparities.

59.12 Exploring Gender, Race, and Sexuality

Monday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Keohane 4B 402 Seminar Room

Department:      Janie Long, Women’s Studies

Instructors:        Diana Ruiz                      

                             Sebastian Cifuentes       

Class limit:  15

This course aims to give students both perspective and voice in issues of race, gender and sexuality. The course will employ a variety of activities: readings, activities, documentaries, and – most importantly – sustained and meaningful dialogue. We will explore the overarching framework that surrounds race relations, then dig deeper into these issues and our personal experiences. How do these concepts influence our personal development? How exactly do we contribute and become a part of the larger framework? Individuals’ ideas and perceptions of these concepts influence not only our own lives, but also the Duke community as a whole. We will examine the impact and consequences of racial, gender, and sexual identities.

Through the assigned readings, we will connect academic concepts and viewpoints with our own experiences. Students will be able to approach issues from new angles, and gain insight into how they can individually – as well as institutionally – transcend conventional boundaries and affect change.

Class discussion will alternate between a large group setting and a small group setting, creating opportunities for a wide range of perspectives as well as more intimate conversation.