Beyond the Binary in Science and the Arts
Revised Last Updated: 05/12/2009
Fall and Winter quarters
Major areas of study include biology, evolutionary biology, American studies and ethnic studies.
Class Standing: This Core program is designed for freshmen.
Accepts Winter Enrollment: This program will accept new enrollment, without signature. Interested students should contact faculty for a packet/handout which new students are encouraged to study over Winter Break in order to catch up with the class.
This two quarter program will explore issues of identity and our tendency to see the world in binary (that is, “either/or”) terms. We all rely, in varying degrees, on certain categories and labels to help us understand ourselves and our environment. What if those categories blurred or merged and we began to see plants, animals and people in “and/both” terms rather than “either/or” fashion? What does it mean to be “black and white” or “male and female” or “human and machine”? One of the goals of this program is to expose flaws in binary forms of thinking and analysis and, in the process, help students question the very foundations of what is considered normal in our world.
A variety of biological and humanities perspectives, methods, texts and films will guide us, and the program will feature lectures, labs, workshops and field trips. In fall quarter, the sciences will inform our investigation. Topics will include race, biology, and genetics; the fusion of human and machine (cyborgs, artificial intelligence, implants and prostheses); and diversity, gender, and sexuality in nature (for example, marine invertebrates that have both male and female sex organs or transgender expression among hummingbirds). In winter quarter, popular culture will be the primary site of our exploration. We will explore how the literature of mixed-race and transgender identity helps challenge the mythologies of race and gender, and what cinematic representations of vampires, monsters and aliens can teach us about the meanings of "human" and other topics.
Our learning goals will include development of analytical/critical thinking, reading, and writing skills; communication skills; and the ability to work across disciplines and differences.
Credits: 16 per quarter
Special Expenses: $12 for tickets.
Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in biology, the humanities and environmental studies.
Planning Units: Programs for Freshmen
|May 12th, 2009||Winter enrollment details added.|