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Liberal Arts Intensive

Students choose one class for the duration of the 1-week program to be attended 9:30 am - 12:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Afternoons are an opportunity to complete assignments and engage in on and off campus activities, including Broadway shows, baseball games, exercise classes, and so much more! New for 2015, we will be offering optional afternoon activities to include museum trips, walking tours, and visits to science-centers. 

Summer 2015 Courses

Choose an area of interest:

Environmental Science  History  Journalism  Law  Literature  Philosophy  Physics  Psychology  The Arts  Urban Studies  Women & Gender Studies  Writing

Course Listing:

Environmental Science

WHAT'S UP IN YOUR WORLD? CREATE YOUR OWN SUSTAINABLE WORLD IN FIVE DAYS

In this course students are given the opportunity to envision a sustainable world over five days of class time.  The key aim for the 21st century is “sustainable development,” which the international community embraced at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development.  Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.  In other words, sustainable development seeks to reconcile environmental protection and economic development.  In this regard, science plays an active role in the pursuit of sustainable solutions in the face the environmental challenges of our day.   While sustainable development includes three key inter-related factors, namely environmental, economic and social, students will focus on the scientific aspects of sustainable development, particularly as it relates to the environment.   Overall, this course seeks to engage students in the creation of their own agenda for the environment, An Earth-Citizen Agenda For a Sustainable World, based on the broad range of environmental sciences that form the backbone of this course.

History

DISCOVERING OLD NEW YORK

Sharon Fulton

This course digs into New York City’s rich history by exploring novels, autobiographical narratives, and short sketches by some of the most renowned writers of the past: Henry David Thoreau, Charles Dickens, James Fenimore Cooper, Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Henry James, Edith Wharton, and others. In addition to reading selections in which these authors paint New York City from the 1840s through the Gilded Age, we will watch films, go on walking tours, and visit The New York Tenement Museum. The course offers a panorama of New York City’s history, and it considers the variety of human experience that the city’s literature captures.

IMMIGRANT WOMEN IN THE EMPIRE CITY

This course will focus on the complex history of European, Asian, Spanish-speaking, and Caribbean women who immigrated to New York from the 19th century to the present. Immigrant women faced great difficulties, but their American encounters differed from immigrant men. We will study the way their identity as women shaped their roles, opportunities, and the experiences available to them in the family, the workplace and the community. Our class will involve three walking tours (The Lower East Side, Brooklyn Heights-Brooklyn Bridge and Historic Harlem). The Harlem tour will conclude at a CCNY archaeology lab co-directed by Barnard archaeologists studying the everyday lives of Irish- and African-American families forcibly removed from “Seneca Village” in 1855 to make way for the construction of Central Park.

MODERNIST NEW YORK CITY 

Joanna Scutts

This course explores New York’s vibrant literature, art, film and music in the early twentieth century, an era of fast-paced and profound cultural change. We will read fiction and poetry by writers including F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, Dorothy Parker, and the writers and artists of the Harlem Renaissance; we will visit the sites that inspired them and study the art and architecture of the period through visits to MoMA and Harlem. Together we will explore how the culture of New York City responded to the challenges of a rapidly modernizing world.

Journalism

INTRODUCTION TO GLOBAL NEWS MEDIA 

Soomin Seo

How do journalists bring us news from around the world? How do news outlets differ worldwide? This course explores these issues from the world's news capital of New York City. The course is intended as an introductory course for students interested in journalism and media studies, as well as related fields such as international policy, development and new media.

Law

SCIENCE AND THE LAW

Science and Law often appear to be fundamentally different processes. Science is based on collaboration - on researchers around the world publishing their work in open journals for all to share and use. Law and the legal system are based on confrontation – on two opponents presenting their cases and arguments, with one or the other ultimately being declared the “winner.” At times, however, the two cross paths when a judge or jury is asked to rule on a case in which the issues at hand are questions of science and technology. What belongs in a high school science class? What possible uses of a new technology should be permitted or prohibited? At what point does emerging scientific evidence of potential harm warrant governmental restriction on the activities of private enterprise? In this course, we will examine landmark legal cases that have addressed these very issues. We will also compare the ways in which science and law differ, and how conflicts can arise when science and technical knowledge create new situations that fall outside existing legal principles and precedents.

Literature

DISCOVERING OLD NEW YORK 

Sharon Fulton

This course digs into New York City’s rich history by exploring novels, autobiographical narratives, and short sketches by some of the most renowned writers of the past: Henry David Thoreau, Charles Dickens, James Fenimore Cooper, Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Henry James, Edith Wharton, and others. In addition to reading selections in which these authors paint New York City from the 1840s through the Gilded Age, we will watch films, go on walking tours, and visit The New York Tenement Museum. The course offers a panorama of New York City’s history, and it considers the variety of human experience that the city’s literature captures.

Philosophy

WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY?

This five-day course offers a brief introduction to philosophy from an historical and thematic perspective. Each day is devoted to a different philosophical question, taking as its point of departure a short passage from a classic text of Western philosophy. Philosophy explores our most basic ways of thinking about ourselves and the world, so it can in principle be “about” just about anything: how to live, what is real, what (if anything) we can know, what it is to know anything, whether our actions are free or determined (or both), what freedom is, what (if anything) the soul is, whether the soul is immortal, whether the soul is part of or distinct from the body, whether God exists — not to mention countless other questions about mathematics, science, religion, society, justice, beauty, art, love, and so on and so on. This course will concentrate on the first few items on that long list, namely ethics, metaphysics, epistemology (the theory of knowledge), free will, and the existence of God.

Physics

THE PHYSICS OF BRIDGES

This course offers an overview of the science and engineering behind bridges. Hands-on activities are used to explain tension and compression and how materials react to these forces. The students then apply the concepts learned in a bridge-building competition. The course concludes with a field trip to a New York City bridge.

Psychology

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF GENDER DIFFERENCE

Judy Jarvis

Gender and sex difference research is one of the most popular fields in psychology. Psychologists seek to measure how women and men are different on every imaginable characteristic: aggression, obedience, and aptitude at math, to name a few. However, there is significant evidence to indicate that women and men are actually much more alike than different and that much gender difference research is biased toward finding differences, even if they don’t exist. In this interactive class we will act as psychological sleuths: reading psychology studies on gender and sex difference, applying gender studies concepts to psychology research, debating methods and findings, doing our own observational research, and proposing our own studies in small groups. We will also take a field trip to an art museum to explore how some of the course’s themes (such as the naturalness of gender and real or imagined differences between the sexes) also emerge in art.

The Arts

PERFORMANCE, PAGE TO STAGE: THREE LOVE STORIES 

Julie Bleha

Calling on NYC's richly diverse theatrical traditions, we will explore how the written word combines with human and environmental elements to create performance. Class conversation will range from discussions of form in dramatic literature (looking at Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet and Williams' modern classic A Streetcar Named Desire), to contemporary modes of theater-making. We will also attend a production of the Broadway hit Once* and visit with working theatre artists. The class will study the context and genesis of the shows we discuss while we also hone our critical thinking and writing skills. Thus, by the week's end, we will have experienced theatre from the perspective of practitioner, audience member, scholar and critic.
*Show may change subject to availability

Urban Studies

NEW YORK EXPLORATIONS: UNDERSTANDING URBAN LANDSCAPES

Elizabeth Pillsbury

In this course we will explore New York City neighborhoods to gain a better understanding of how cities operate.  We will use the urban landscape as our classroom, discussing the works of urban planners, theorists and fiction writers alongside historical newspaper articles and maps to examine how New York functions today and in the past.  We will explore the city, from Barnard’s campus to the Lower East Side to Washington Square Park.  We will examine urban planning controversies in New York City, and in doing so we will gain a new understanding, not only of this dynamic city, but of all cities and towns.

Women & Gender Studies

GENDER, SEXISM, AND SCHOOLING

Sara Zaidi

This course is designed to provide an overview of the major discussions and debates in the area of gender and education, and the role that feminism and feminist theory have played, focusing on the interconnections between gender, sexuality, class race and ethnicity.  Over the course of a week, we will investigate how gender is socially constructed within the institution of schools.  We will explore the ways in which our own gender identities were informed by our experiences in schools, as well as current issues around gender and education including single sex education, gender bias in schooling, sexuality education in schools, and how sexism operates within schools and in the wider society. Some of the goals of this course are to provide a forum for students to discuss issues, ideas and concepts of gender and sexuality in U.S. schools and to encourage students to challenge assumptions and to apply critical thinking skills to controversial issues.

IMMIGRANT WOMEN IN THE EMPIRE CITY

This course will focus on the complex history of European, Asian, Spanish-speaking, and Caribbean women who immigrated to New York from the 19th century to the present. Immigrant women faced great difficulties, but their American encounters differed from immigrant men. We will study the way their identity as women shaped their roles, opportunities, and the experiences available to them in the family, the workplace and the community. Our class will involve three walking tours (The Lower East Side, Brooklyn Heights-Brooklyn Bridge and Historic Harlem). The Harlem tour will conclude at a CCNY archaeology lab co-directed by Barnard archaeologists studying the everyday lives of Irish- and African-American families forcibly removed from “Seneca Village” in 1855 to make way for the construction of Central Park.

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF GENDER DIFFERENCE 

Judy Jarvis

Gender and sex difference research is one of the most popular fields in psychology. Psychologists seek to measure how women and men are different on every imaginable characteristic: aggression, obedience, and aptitude at math, to name a few. However, there is significant evidence to indicate that women and men are actually much more alike than different and that much gender difference research is biased toward finding differences, even if they don’t exist. In this interactive class we will act as psychological sleuths: reading psychology studies on gender and sex difference, applying gender studies concepts to psychology research, debating methods and findings, doing our own observational research, and proposing our own studies in small groups. We will also take a field trip to an art museum to explore how some of the course’s themes (such as the naturalness of gender and real or imagined differences between the sexes) also emerge in art.

 

Writing

PLACE AND THE PERSONAL ESSAY: BEING IN NEW YORK

Thomas March

We learn more about who we are when we pay attention to how we react to the spaces around us (and the others who inhabit them)—whether bustling or calm, expansive or close, grand or intimate. In this course, students will explore the ways in which awareness of our relationships to spaces in New York—whether natural, architectural, or social—can form the basis of personal reflections on matters of importance to them. To supplement our work, we may read selections from the work of such writers as Joan Didion, James Baldwin, E. B. White, Alfred Kazin, Fran Lebowitz, Adam Gopnik, and Colson Whitehead, among others, to provoke further discussion of a variety of methods for capturing and celebrating spaces and their impacts. At the end of the week, each student will have written a personal, discursive essay inspired by his or her experience of an inspiring space.

HOW STORIES CHANGE US AND THE WORLD: A WRITING WORKSHOP

Charlotte Friedman

Stories are about things, but stories also do things—they inspire, guide, heal and teach us.  Our stories make us laugh and cry.  Some stories change how we think.  Stories reflect who we are and what we value; they connect us to others and create community.  Our stories may be told or written; they may be made of words, images or both. In our week together, we will create, explore and examine a variety of stories—our own and those of various well-known writers and artists. In daily exercises and prompts, we will write on our own as well as co-construct stories with each other.  Our goal is to hone our abilities to closely “read” a story, to listen deeply and look carefully, and to write with imagination, perception and curiosity. Our guest visitors will include people whose understanding and use of stories is integral to their work.