Suggested Courses and Opportunities for Spring 2021

In this unusual year, L&S Advising have talked to many students who are having challenges feeling engaged with their peers, their campus community, and with their futures. 

To help, this page highlights ways to get more engaged through the classroom and outside of it. 

  • Inside the classroom: We asked L&S College Advisers and L&S Major Advisers to share some of the courses they are most excited about for Spring 2021. We hope this page of course highlights will allow you to find your own way to engage with the world this Spring. 
  • Outside the classroom: Scroll down for a sampling of opportunities that are active for Spring to help you get connected. 

Build Community and Engage Remotely

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The courses in this list include opportunities to build community and/or to engage in a hands-on way, even in a remote world. 

  • AFRICAM 159 Writing About the Climate Crisis: An Intersectional, Multi-genre Writing and Study WorkshopHave you or your community been affected by the climate emergency? Have you watched as other communities have been impacted by this worldwide crisis? This course is for current or aspiring, activists, poets, essayists, short story writers, filmmakers, journalists, podcasters, or others who want to learn more about, discuss, and write about the climate emergency, with a goal of joining the worldwide cacophony of voices demanding change. All genres welcome. No experience in climate writing or activism is necessary. We will break down the science and the politics to create an inclusive classroom for everyone regardless of their prior knowledge. We will consider the origins of this crisis as well as current proposed solutions and obstacles. Our investigation of root causes will be intersectional, looking at how race, gender, class, nation, and neoliberalism have played a role in getting us to this point. We will explore intersectional solutions, including the Green New Deal, defunding police, and Indigenous community solutions. 
  • GWS 101: Doing Feminist ResearchOpportunity for research experience. In this course, students will learn to do feminist research using techniques from the arts, humanities, social sciences, and sciences. The teaching of interdisciplinary research skills will focus on practices of gender in a particular domain such as labor, love, science, aesthetics, film, religion, politics, or kinship. Topics will vary depending on the instructor.
  • LS C12 / UGBA C12: Berkeley Changemaker: A Discovery Experience: The course is a discovery experience: Students discover their own leadership styles, and they discover how they can create teams – and act upon the world – to effect positive change. Students will learn how to imagine better futures, and then learn how to mobilize others to help create them. Changemakers make their impact through scientific breakthroughs, artistic imagination, social action projects, and entrepreneurial ventures. Online class sessions will cover both theoretical and practical topics, such as critical thinking, persuasive communication, problem framing, hypothesis testing, and leading and working with teams. The ultimate goal of the course is to help incoming students discover their own identity as Berkeley Changemakers.
  • HUM 196: All the Feels: Art and the Culture Politics of EmotionIncludes an introductory opportunity for hands-on researchJoy, grief, shame, fear, hope: emotions are a familiar part of private experience, but they are also public, social, and political. In this course, we will consider the role that emotions play in galvanizing social movements and shaping our understandings of ourselves. We will begin by reading different theoretical perspectives (e.g. philosophy, feminist theory, psychology) paired with artworks that explore how emotions are inflected by race, gender, and sexuality in American life. Art and emotion have long been closely linked, and we will be especially interested in thinking about the role that artistic practice and representation can play in amplifying or resisting certain emotions. After an introduction to research methods in the arts and humanities, students will undertake a collaborative research project, as well as a final project that creatively represents an emotion in literary, visual, or sonic form. The course will culminate in a conference and a concluding exhibition.
  • UGBA 192: Topics in Responsible Business: Plant Futures: The Plant Futures course is an innovative and collaborative effort between UC Berkeley Haas, Public Health, Engineering, Public Policy, and the Berkeley Food Institute that will bring together experts from a variety of fields and disciplines to highlight the significance of plant-based foods as a critical lever for food systems change. The market for plant-based foods has accelerated in response to climate change, the pandemic, and a variety of public health concerns. Plant Futures will provide a unique opportunity for students to gain rapid and direct exposure from sector leaders and explore plant-forward opportunities through interdisciplinary team work, networking, and mentorship. The Plant Futures course will be a two-part course where graduate and undergraduate students can enroll in one or both components. The 1 unit symposium is a prerequisite to participate in the 2 unit Lab.
  • UGIS 140: The Hand-Printed Book in its Historical ContextThe "Hand-Printed Book" is a studio course taught in the Bancroft press room. Using antique presses and 19th century type, each class produces by hand a rare first edition of a work from the Bancroft collections that has never been published before. As students learn how hand-produced books have been made in the west for the last 500 years, they are also taught about the history of the book, using examples from Bancroft's rare books and manuscripts collection. This course emphasizes practical experience in the printing of the hand-made book. Students will closely examine rare books and artifacts and print a small book using 19th and 20th century handpresses. Assigned readings, discussions of the history of book design and production, and the history of publishing are all important parts of the course. 

For Sophomores: 

  • UGIS 98 (001): Sophomore Success in L&SSophomore Success in L&S supports second-year students to create community and develop personalized academic plans which incorporate their multiple interests. Using self-reflective learning, students will build a clearer picture of themselves, their resources, their major, and their career. This fully-online course is for all third and fourth semester students. To build community, synchronous attendance and active participation during class will be required. First-generation college students are especially encouraged to enroll!
  • UGIS 98 (002): Sophomore Success in L&S: Arts & HumanitiesSophomore Success in L&S’ Arts and Humanities is designed to help second-year students exploring the Arts and Humanities to develop a clearer picture of themselves, their resources, their major(s), and their career. Through a variety of activities, students will broaden their sense of what’s possible at Cal and refine their chosen pathways. There will also be a focus on personal health and wellness. This course will facilitate the discovery of curricular and co-curricular opportunities, campus resources, and mindsets needed for success at Cal. This course is for all third and fourth semester students. First-generation college students are especially encouraged to join. 

Other Course Types to Explore: 

  • Berkeley Connect Courses: Berkeley Connect connects you with your own personal mentor and other students who share your interests. In the Academic Guide's Class Schedule, find the filter for Berkeley Connect Courses under "Course Types."
  • Freshman/Sophomore Seminars: These courses provide opportunities for faculty members and small groups of lower-division students to explore a scholarly topic of mutual interest together, following an often spontaneous flow of dialogue and interchange in the spirit of learning for its own sake. In the Academic Guide's Class Schedule, find the filter for Freshman/Sophomore Seminars under "Course Types."

Race, Ethnic Identities, & Gender

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  • AFRICAM 5B: African American Life and Culture in the United StatesEmphasis on the social experience of African Americans. An interdisciplinary approach designed to help students understand the forces and ideas that are influencing the individual and collective African American experience. 
  • AFRICAM 28AC: Globalization and Minority American CommunitiesAn examination of the movement of individuals, ideas, ideologies, and institutions between minority American communities in the U.S. (African Americans, Asians, Chicanos) and their cultures of origin, in the 19th and 20th centuries. The course will utilize the concepts of "migration," "diaspora," "otherness," "multiculturalism," and "global village" and will draw largely on social science perspectives.
  • AFRICAM 159: Art and Social Justice in the Harlem RenaissanceThis class focuses on a creative boom between 1919-1940 known as the Harlem Renaissance or the New Negro movement. It was a time when complex representations of African Americans started to infiltrate a popular culture previously dominated by racist stereotypes. During this period of intense American cultural nationalism, people from all walks of life were confronted with art that asked them to think in new ways about the meanings of race and social justice. In this seminar, we will read, view, think, write and talk about a diverse selection of Harlem Renaissance literature and visual art. In the process, we will identify key themes, controversies, and creative connections that characterized this unique era.
  • ASAMST 20A: Introduction to the History of Asians in the United StatesIntroductory comparative analysis of the Asian American experience from 1848 to present. Topics include an analysis of the Asian American perspective; cultural roots; immigration and settlement patterns; labor, legal, political, and social history.
  • ASAMST 122: Japanese American HistoryThis course will be presented as a proseminar with selected topics in order to give students an opportunity to participate in the dynamics of the study of Japanese American history. Topics include immigration, anti-Japanese racism, labor, concentration camps, agriculture, art and literature, and personality and culture.
  • ASAMST 132AC: Islamophobia and Constructing OthernessThis course will examine and attempt to understand Islamophobia, as the most recently articulated principle of otherness and its implications domestically and globally. The course will also closely examine the ideological and epistemological frameworks employed in discourses of otherness, and the complex social, political, economic, gender-based, and religious forces entangled in its historical and modern reproduction.
  • ETHSTD 10AC: A History of Race and Ethnicity in Western North America, 1598-PresentThis course explores the role of "race" and ethnicity in the history of what became the Western United States from the Spanish invasion of the Southwest to contemporary controversies surrounding "race" in California. Rather than providing a continuous historical narrative, or treating each racialized "other" separately, the course works through a series of chronologically organized events in which issues of racial differences played key roles in creating what became a western identity.
  • GWS 10: Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies: Introduction to questions and concepts in gender and women's studies. Critical study of the formation of gender and its intersections with other relations of power, such as sexuality, racialization, class, religion, and age. Questions will be addressed within the context of a transnational world. Emphasis of the course will change depending on the instructor.
  • GWS: 131: Gender and ScienceExamines historical and contemporary scientific studies of gender, sexuality, class, nation, and race from late 18th century racial and gender classifications through the heyday of eugenics to today's genomics. Explores the embedding of the scientific study of gender and sexuality and race in different political, economic, and social contexts. Considers different theories for the historical underrepresentation of women and minorities in science, as well as potential solutions. Introduces students to feminist science studies, and discusses technologies of production, reproduction, and destruction that draw on as well as remake gender locally and globally.
  • HISTORY 100D: Latinx Histories: Today, Latinx peoples make up the largest ethno-racial minority group in the United States. How did this come to be? How have terms like “Latina/o,” “Latinx,” or “Hispanic” come to stand in for so many diverse peoples? Taking up these questions, this class examines the historical experiences of Mexican Americans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans, and other Latin American communities in the United States. Although often perceived as “aliens” or foreigners, regardless of citizenship, Latinx peoples have lived in what we now call the United States long before the nation spread from the Atlantic to the Pacific and beyond. The histories of these communities therefore allow us to understand how colonialism, imperialism, migration, and exclusion have shaped Nuestra América from precolonial times to the present. As historian Vicki Ruiz importantly put it, “Our America is American history.” Understanding the full complexity of this history requires that we center the experiences of historically marginalized communities across U.S. geographies from the U.S.-Mexico borderlands to Florida, Michigan, Louisiana, and New York. As we move across these different regions, we will examine Latinx cultural practices, migrations, social movements, processes of community formation, intellectual trajectories, and responses to U.S. empire and white supremacy.
  • HISTORY 125A: African American History and Race Relations: 1450-1860This course is a survey of African-American history from its beginnings through emancipation. Classes and coursework will examine African origins of black Americans, the history of the middle passage, the development of plantation slavery, and the many historical changes that shaped African-American life and culture thereafter—from the American Revolution to the Civil War. Topics will include the impact of the Haitian and American Revolutions on African-American life; the abolition of slavery in the post-Revolutionary North, the development of a free black community there; the expansion of slavery in the South, antebellum enslaved people's culture, and their resistance to enslavement. Some readings will explore the African American body under slavery. Other topics that will be covered include the use of enslaved African Americans in early medical research and experimentation, enslaved women’s reproduction, the role of enslaved people in the healing and medical treatment of others within the community, and enslaved African Americans love and intimacy. The readings will be attentive to the ways that gender shaped the experiences of slavery and freedom for African Americans and we will also read about the experiences of enslaved children.
  • NATAMST 20B: Introduction to Native American Studies II: Cultural Practice, Art, and IdentityThis course explores Native American identify practices in written and oral traditions in literature, art, dance, theatre, ceremony, and song. The place of these traditions in the contemporary day will be emphasized as creative struggles for maintaining and elaborating on Indian identity in the context of colonialism.
  • THEATER 141: Intermediate Modern Dance Technique: Codified Techniques of the African DiasporaThis intermediate course assumes students have had at least one year of dance technique, has a good sense of aligntment for African diasporic dance as well as modern and contemporary dance, and musicality. This course will focus on Dunham (Haitian), Silvestre (Brazilian) and Talawa (African and Caribbean) Techniques. All of these systemized technques are based on codified classical African dance traditions that captive Africans retained despite the one of the most heinous periods in world history - the transatlantic slave trade. Through these techniques students will acquire the kinetic and spiritual intelligence to more easily access the various African diasporic movement borrowed by modernd and contemporary dance. Students will learn the authors, evolution, spirituality and political implications of the techniques. 

Around the Globe

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  • ANTHRO 122E: Andean Archaeology: People of the AndesThis course covers the archaeology and history of the indigenous societies of the Andean region of South America. The lectures and readings emphasize major political, economic, social, and symbolic processes in the development of the Andean civilizations. Particular attention is paid to the development of the early states along the coast of Peru. The development of major centers in the highlands, and the relationship between the political, economic, and religious systems of the later empires and earlier political structures and social processes, are also emphasized.
  • ANTHRO 146: Cities of the Global South: During the last fifty years, cities in the Global South have exploded: they have become the condensers and conductors of extraordinary urbanization. This course examines their culture and politics. It focuses on the insurgent practices of the urban poor, middle classes, immigrants, youth, street dwellers, under-employed laborers, and “marginals” who not only build these cities but who also, in doing so, transform, derail, and reconstitute the development projects of states, corporations, and world agencies imposed on them in their residence and work. Their insurgent practices include the disruptions of old citizenships, social movements (political, religious, cultural, racial, sexual), illegal land occupations and housing constructions, illicit economies, and transgressive artistic productions. In our study of the insurgent, we will emphasize conceptualizations and materializations of metropolitan life by investigating urban practice, political imagination, and cultural innovation.
  • AFRICAM 112A: Political and Economic Development in the Third WorldAn examination of the structural and actual manifestations of Third World underdevelopment and the broad spectrum of theoretical positions put forward to explain it. Underdevelopment will be viewed from both the international and intranational perspective.
  • AFRICAM 120: Africa From Revolution to GlobalizationThis course offers a panorama of the African historical experience from the political economic dynamics of Africa at the onset of European colonization in the late nineteenth century, through the colonial period, to our age of globalization. For better or for worse, African history and culture have shaped and have been shaped by European colonial rule and its aftermath, but we shall also give due attention to postcolonial-era structures and processes in the general context of Africans’ attempts to remake their world. This course takes the thematic, rather regional, approach but will remain sensitive to interregional variations at every juncture.
  • CHINESE 7B: Introduction to Modern Chinese Literature and CultureThe second of a two-semester sequence introducing students to Chinese literature in translation. In addition to literary sources, a wide range of philosophical and historical texts will be covered, as well as aspects of visual and material culture. 7B focuses on late imperial, modern, and contemporary China. The course will focus on the development of sound writing skills. 7A not required.
  • CLASSIC 17B: Introduction to the Archaeology of the Roman WorldThis course provides a broad-based introduction to the archaeology of the ancient Romans from Rome’s origins in the Iron Age down to the disintegration of the Roman empire in the sixth century A.D. It aims to familiarize students with the more significant archaeological sites, monuments, artifact classes and works of art relating to the Roman world, and to introduce them to the important research questions in Roman archaeology and the methods that archaeologists employ to investigate these.
  • EALANG 118: Sex and Gender in Premodern Chinese Culture: This course explores Chinese cultures of sex and gender from antiquity to the seventeenth century. We concentrate on three interconnected issues: women’s status, homoeroticism, and the human body. Our discussion will be informed by cross-cultural comparisons with ancient Greece, Renaissance England, and Contemporary America. In contrast to our modern regime of sexuality, which collapses all the three aforementioned issues into the issues of desire and identity intrinsic to the body, we will see how the early Chinese regime of sexual act evolved into the early modern regime of emotion that concerned less inherent identities than a media culture of life-style performance.
  • ITALIAN 120: The Sounds of Italy: An experience of acoustic immersion into historical and contemporary aural spaces, this course explores Italian culture through sound, including music. The course is organized as a series of case studies, among which: religious festivals; movie scenes (may include films by Federico Fellini, Giuseppe Tornatore, Emanuele Crialese) and TV ads; healing rituals; sound in public spaces (music festivals, sport events, etc.); soundscapes of Renaissance Italy; the use of radio for political propaganda; the use of music in migrant contexts. We will see and listen to how some sonic practices have favored processes of settlement, experiences of mobility, power relations, and the emergence of both national and transnational identities. Embracing the possibilities offered by the theoretical framework of sound studies, as well as by an ecological and sensory approach to sound environments, we will explore the ways in which various communities, artists, activists, individuals, both in the peninsula and abroad, have enacted cultural practices whose sonorous aspects have contributed to shape Italy’s many sonorous identities.
  • HISTORY 112B: Modern South Africa, 1652-PresentThis course will examine three centuries of South African history that account for the origin and development of the recently dismantled apartheid regime. Our aim is to understand the major historical forces that progressively shaped what became a turbulent socio-cultural, economic, political, and racial frontier.
  • JAPAN 7B: Introduction to Modern Japanese Literature and CultureAn introduction to Japanese literature in translation in a two-semester sequence. 7B provides a survey of important works of 19th- and 20th-century Japanese fiction, poetry, and cultural criticism. The course will explore the manner in which writers responded to the challenges of industrialization, internationalization, and war. Topics include the shifting notions of tradition and modernity, the impact of Westernization on the constructions of the self and gender, writers and the wartime state, literature of the atomic bomb, and postmodern fantasies and aesthetics. All readings are in English translation. Techniques of critical reading and writing will be introduced as an integral part of the course. 7A not required.
  • KOREAN 7B: Introduction to Modern Korean Literature and Culture: A survey of modern Korean literature and culture in the 20th century, focusing on the development of nationalist aesthetics in both North and South Korea. Topics include "new woman" narratives, urban culture, colonial modernity, war and trauma, and diaspora. Texts to be examined include works of fiction, poetry, art, and film. All readings are in English. 7A not required.
  • NESTUD 153: Synagogues, Cathedrals, and Mosques: The Rise and Fall of Islamic SpainThis course focuses on the cultural history of Islamic Spain (Al-Andalus) from the Muslim conquest of 711 until the expulsion of Moriscos in 1609. Topics covered include the history, literature, architecture, arts, and music of Al-Andalus. The major aim is for students to develop an understanding of and a sensibility to the history, politics, and cultures of Al-Andalus as well as its social and cultural relevance to contemporary audiences.
  • NESTUD 190: Emergence of the Modern Middle East: WWI to the Present: The course will trace the birth of the modern map of the Middle East, explore the development of new nation-states, the emergence of various social-religious movements, anti-colonial struggles, and forging national identities as well as the erasure of others. We will explore the emerging national projects and contestations in Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and the un-making of Palestine. The course will explore the emerging and continued instrumentalization of ethnic, religious, and cultural differences by domestic and external forces, and the continued mobilization of colonial discourses in the post-colonial era.
  • SCANDIN 60: Heroic Legends of the North: A hamstrung goldsmith. A cross-dressing god. A teenage dragonslayer. A warrior who fights in the form of a bear. A deceived queen who takes a terrible revenge on her closest family. The most beautiful and intelligent woman in Iceland, who buries three husbands. These are just a few of the remarkable stories which have survived almost a thousand years from when they were composed by anonymous Scandinavian poets and authors. What gave these narratives their contemporary relevance, and why have they survived so long? The time these stories come from (c. 800-1300 CE) was a period of radical change in Scandinavia, from the pagan warrior societies of the Viking Age, to the Christian, literate, centralized world of the Middle Ages. In this course, you will learn about the literature and other media of Viking Age and medieval Scandinavia, and explore how these stories of gods, kings, warriors, shield-maidens and tragic lovers relate to the social changes taking place at the time they were enjoyed by their first audiences. 
  • SLAVIC 170: Socialist Modernism: A Survey of Literature from the Former Yugoslavia, 1945-1991The impact of Yugoslavia’s distinct approach to socialism was felt even more in the sphere of cultural production, where modernism (rather than socialist realism) became a state-sponsored aesthetic. Yugoslavia became a rare socialist state to foster artistic experimentation and invest in new forms of expression, giving birth to a historically unique form of socialist modernism across the fields of literature, film, theatre, music, architecture, performance art and more. In this course we will focus primarily on the form socialist modernism took in Yugoslav literature over almost half a century of its existence. We will read the works of Miroslav Krleža, Ivo Andrić, Meša Selimović, Aleksandar Tišma, Danilo Kiš, Dubravka Ugrešić, and Milorad Pavić. All readings are in English and no prior of knowledge of South Slavic history or literature is required.

Health & Environment

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  • DEMOG 130: Demography of Deaths, Diseases, and Disasters:Fundamentals of demographic analysis of health and mortality with a special focus on global public health challenges including those induced by climate change. Class will focus on essential concepts from demography and public health, global and historical shifts in mortality and morbidity patterns, and the determinants of health and mortality over the life course, including environmental determinants. Students’ will develop their own research project related to health and mortality using real-world demographic data. Students will learn to interpret, construct, and calculate common demographic and public health indicators, and will develop a basic toolkit for analyzing health and mortality data.
  • EPS 3: The Water PlanetAn overview of the processes that control water supply to natural ecosystems and human civilization. Hydrologic cycle, floods, droughts, groundwater. Patterns of water use, threats to water quality, effects of global climate change on future water supplies. Water issues facing California.
  • EPS C20: Earthquakes in Your BackyardIntroduction to earthquakes, their causes and effects. General discussion of basic principles and methods of seismology and geological tectonics, distribution of earthquakes in space and time, effects of earthquakes, and earthquake hazard and risk, with particular emphasis on the situation in California.
  • GEOG 130: Food and the EnvironmentHow do human populations organize and alter natural resources and ecosystems to produce food? The role of agriculture in the world economy, national development, and environmental degradation in the Global North and the Global South. The origins of scarcity and abundance, population growth, hunger and obesity, and poverty.
  • HISTORY 103D: Proseminar: Race, Gender and Medicine in U.S. HistoryThe 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has exposed structural inequities in the American health care system, the racialization of infectious disease, and the gendering of public health practices as reflected in the disproportionate number of cases and deaths among African-Americans and Latinx, the attribution of disease causation to particular ethnic groups, and the depiction of mask wearing as emasculating. These issue have a much longer history in American medicine. This seminar explores how American medicine, its practitioners and institutions, approached race and gender from the nineteenth century to the present, as well as the response of everyday people to those unequal practices. 
  • INTEGBI 114: Infectious Disease Dynamics: Many of the challenges of managing infectious disease are essentially ecological and evolutionary problems. Disease follows the rules of species interactions as it spreads through host populations while resistance to antibiotics occurs through the rules of evolutionary biology. The key aim of the module is to teach ecological and evolutionary principles in the light of infectious diseases affecting human populations and societies as well as agriculture and wildlife. This is applied ecology and applied evolution writ large. 
  • ISF 100K: Health and DevelopmentDevelopment is often defined as a process of economic growth. Only recently there has been a growing disagreement about this definition and scholars argue that development should be understood as a process of improving human conditions. Health is an important indicator of human development. It is still not conclusive whether economic growth automatically translates into better population health and whether healthy population is a precondition of economic growth because there are other factors that affect both health and development. This course will focus on this debate and examine social, political, demographic and epidemiologic determinants of health in relation to levels of economic development.
  • LS C30V: Environmental IssuesOur environment, as we discover, plays an enormous role in our happiness and well-being, and in the well-being of nations. We examine the changing face and participants in environmentalism. We examine the important, and sometime crippling, concepts of environmental amnesia, environmental fatigue, and environmental anxiety. In conclusion, Environmental Issues is organized loosely around five key questions: 1. What will the world look like when you are 50?, 2. Do we have anywhere else to go?, 3. What would Bono do?, 4. What was the person who cut the last tree down on Easter Island thinking?, and 5. What is important to you? If you are intrigued by these questions, join the class and learn what the answers might be, and how they might affect the way you see the world.
  • LS C46: Climate Change and the Future of California: Introduction to California geography, environment, and society, past and future climates,  and the potential impacts of 21st-century climate change on ecosystems and human well-being. Topics include fundamentals of climate science and the carbon cycle; relationships between human and natural systems, including water supplies, agriculture, public health, and biodiversity; and the science, law, and politics of possible solutions that can reduce the magnitude and impacts of climate change.  
  • LS 70C: Living on the Edge:Introduction to natural and human-induced hazards and their impacts on current and future development. The course explores dangers posed by geologic-, atmospheric-, pandemic-, and climate change-hazards and their impacts on human health and well-being. Examples of these dangers include earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, the C0VID-19 pandemic, extreme heat, and drought. The course evaluates these hazards in the context of long-term hazards and risks to society and options for future adaptation and mitigation. The course explores the way scientists and engineers understand and evaluate hazards, vulnerability, and risk: three central and unifying concepts explored throughout the semester.
  • MCELLBI 50: The Immune System and DiseaseCourse will discuss how the immune system resolves, prevents, or causes disease. A general overview of the immune system will be covered in the first five weeks followed by five weeks discussing infectious diseases including anthrax, mad cow, herpes, malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV. In addition, other lectures will focus on current immunology topics including vaccines, autoimmunity, allergy, transplantation, and cancer. 
  • PBHLTH 116: Seminar on Social, Political, and Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine: This course offers an introduction to issues and perspectives related to health and medicine. Guest lecturers speak about the week’s topic, which can include a variety of topics such as public health, violence, chronic illnesses, environmental health, and health care economics. Speakers share their first-hand experiences in their fields, discuss current issues, debate ethical dilemmas, and pose and answer questions. During the weekly discussion sections, students delve deeper into the issues, not only exploring and perhaps questioning their own thoughts and beliefs, but also learning from the experiences and perspectives of their fellow students.
  • PBHLTH 126: Health Economics and Public PolicyThis course focuses on a selected set of the major health policy issues and uses economics to uncover and better understand the issues. The course examines the scope for government intervention in health markets.
  • RHETOR R1A: Rhetoric of Science and Public Health CrisisThis course is an introduction to the rhetoric of science and technology, with an emphasis on the power of persuasion in producing scientific knowledge, technological artifacts, and public understandings of scientific and technological developments. How, we will ask, is science rhetorical? What can rhetorical analysis tell us about the relationships between science, technology, politics, and society? Perhaps most pressingly, how might we think about COVID-19, as well as other public health crises, as rhetorical phenomena, and why is this important?
  • ENERES 160: Climate JusticeClimate change is transforming our world in ways we are only beginning to understand, and in ways we cannot yet imagine. At the same time, COVID-19, both bio- and cultural-biodiversity loss, and inequality are both changing the physical landscape, and altering our ability to respond to the pressures that come with life on a hot, crowed, interconnected, and deeply unequal planet. One of the emerging theoretical and practical perspectives which we can use to examine and understand this new world is that of the co-evolving lenses of social and environmental justice (EJ). Our response to crises from COVID to climate change is informed by experiences that are themselves shaped by race, gender, socioeconomic status, and age.


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  • BUDDSTD 190: Topics in the Study of Buddhism: Heavens, hells, and other Buddhist wonderlandsThis course explores the many otherworldly spaces of Buddhist traditions. Beyond a philosophy of selflessness or an ethic of renunciation, we will look at how Buddhists also imagined and created heavens and hells, pure realms, distant paradises, hidden lands, mandalas, mountains, and parks. One goal is to learn about some Buddhist cosmological and theological discourses and the traditions or doctrines associated with them. Another is to think comparatively about the religious imagination and the spaces it creates. We will also raise larger theoretical questions about the value of imagining utopian or dystopian spaces as a social and political practice.
  • CELTIC 173: Celtic ChristianityThis course considers the evidence for the presence of early Christian believers in the so-called "Celtic" areas of western Europe. Students will examine how the Celtic peoples received Christianity in the context of native (pagan) religion; they will look specifically at how the Roman Church doctrine influenced the doctrinal stands of the early Celtic church(es), and vice versa, with particular attention to the Pelagian controversy, the date of Easter, the monastic tonsure, and the use of penitentials. The period covered is approximately 70 CE to 800 CE.
  • CHINESE 186: Confucius and His Interpreters: This course examines the development of Confucianism in pre-modern China using a dialogical model that emphasizes its interactions with competing viewpoints. Particular attention will be paid to ritual, conceptions of human nature, ethics, and to the way that varieties of Confucianism were rooted in more general theories of value.
  • EALANG C128: Buddhism in Contemporary SocietyA study of the Buddhist tradition as it is found today in Asia. The course will focus on specific living traditions of East, South, and/or Southeast Asia. Themes to be addressed may include contemporary Buddhist ritual practices; funerary and mortuary customs; the relationship between Buddhism and other local religious traditions; the relationship between Buddhist institutions and the state; Buddhist monasticism and its relationship to the laity; Buddhist ethics; Buddhist "modernism," and so on.
  • LS C60V: Moral Provocations: Job, Abraham, Moses: In this Discovery course we will focus on three biblical narratives that have frequently been interpreted as teaching moral lessons, namely the story of Job, the story of Abraham and the binding of Isaac, and the story of Moses giving the law. These stories have been interpreted variously in moral terms--e.g. as demonstrating the virtues of faith, obedience, mercy, and forgiveness, and as teaching us about guilt, punishment, reward, and human frailty. They have also been analyzed as existential parables, psychological dramas, and political allegories. The goal of this course is to examine how a range of different, and often provocative, interpretations of these stories’ moral lessons rest on particular ways of reading; what we focus on and what we bring to a story shape the moral we perceive it to be communicating. We will also contrast classic “moral readings” of these stories with provocative readings that produce less common moral interpretations, or interpretations that have nothing to do with morality at all.
  • LS 120C: The Bible in Western Culture: The ways that people understand the Bible are deeply linked with their ways of understanding and living in the world.  We will explore the changes in biblical interpretation over the last two thousand years as a key to the shifting horizons of Western culture, politics, and religion.  Topics will range widely, from the birth of the Bible to ancient heresies to modern philosophy, science, and literature.  This will be a genealogy of western thought as it wrestles with its canonical text. 
  • MONGOLN C117: Mongolian BuddhismThis course covers the history of Mongolian Buddhism from its inception in the Yuan dynasty to the present. The importance of Mongolian Buddhism to the greater dharma lies not only with the ways of its priests but also with the means of its patrons, the Mongol aristocracy, in forging a distinctive tradition in Inner Asia and disseminating it throughout the world. While maintaining a historical thread throughout, this course will examine in detail some of the tradition’s many facets, including Mongolian-Buddhist politics, the politics of incarnation, the establishment of monasteries, economics, work in the sciences, astral science and medicine, ritual practice, literature, sculpture and painting, music and dance, and more.
  • NESTUD 125: The Assyrians and Other Religious Minorities in the Middle East: “Assyrians” is a common way of referring today to Christians of the Church of the East living in the Middle East or in the diaspora, and sometimes more broadly to Christians of the Middle East. The word originally meant an ancient empire that dominated a large part of the antique Middle East. Now, the Assyrians see themselves as a “minority” and have chosen a different name from that of the rest of the population. One can ask when the question of minorities arose in the Middle East and what the reality of life as a minority was. The aim of this course is to go through the history of the Middle East, on the one hand, to study the formation of different minorities over a long period of time, and on the other hand to better understand the shift in the meaning of the word “Assyrian” from an ancient empire to a current Christian community. It will offer an immersion into the religious complexity of the Middle East and will be a good introduction to the more general history of this part of the world since the course will cover several landmark moments during the last two millennia.
  • NESTUD 134: Contemporary Judaism in Israel: Swaying Religion and NationalityThis course shall study the divergent forms of Judaism in Israel since the 1990's, apprehending the ideological and social fluctuations each stream has experienced over the last three decades as it parted from its previous formulations, and noting the way every major expression of Judaism in Israel at this time is in the midst of an identity crisis. It will also examine the tense relations between religion and state in Israel, analyzing the clashes and concurrences between different Israeli-Jewish identities and explaining Religious Jewish radicalism on the one hand, and the secular/spiritual "Jewish Renaissance" on the other.
  • NESTUD 190D (002): Islam, Media Representation, and OrientalismThe course examines the ongoing 'Orientalist-debate' centering on the representation of Islam, the interface of media production, history, post-colonial theory, and War on terror discourses. The course is structured around certain key moments, places, and themes, which have shaped Western imagination of Islam and the Middle East in contemporary expression.  
  • NESTUD 190I: Religion and the State in Iranian HistoryThis course examines the relationships between religious ideologies and institutions, on one hand, and states, rulers, and political structures, on the other, throughout Iranian history. Beginning with the Achaemenids and Sasanians, under whom a kind of imperial Zoroastrianism was developed, the course will progress through the early Islamic era to the Safavids and Qajars, and finally to the various states of 20th century Iran. Concentrating on how the major political structures of these eras expressed religious ideologies, consolidated power via relationships with religious institutions, and exerted control over various minority groups (including Jews, Eastern Christians, Manichaeans, Baha'is, and Zoroastrians), students will engage with primary texts from a spectrum of political and religious backgrounds on the way to theorizing more generally about state-religion relationships throughout history.
  • (Freshman/Sophomore Seminar) SLAVIC 39 (001): Literature in a God-forsaken World: This seminar is designed as a brief history of the idea of God as told through literature. As such, the seminar will tell a story of what is arguably one of the most consequential human creations: the idea of a transcendent being. We will read selections from the books of Genesis and Job in the Hebrew Bible; from The Brothers Karamazov, a nineteenth-century masterpiece of Russian and World Literature by Fyodor Dostoevsky; and from Saša Stanišić’s How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone, a moving contemporary work of transnational literature. The seminar is open to all freshmen and sophomores, and it will appeal in particular to students interested in studying the humanities, Slavic and comparative literature, philosophy, and global studies.

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  • ANTHRO 160AC: Forms of Folklore: A world-wide survey of the major and minor forms of folklore with special emphasis upon proverbs, riddles, superstitions, games, songs, and narratives.
  • DATA 94: Introduction to Computational Thinking with DataThis course is an introduction to computational thinking and quantitative reasoning, designed to prepare students for further coursework in data science, computer science, and statistics (in particular, Foundations of Data Science, Data C8). This course emphasizes the use of computation to gain insight about quantitative problems with real data from the social sciences.
  • CLASSIC 28: The Classic Myths: The society, culture, values and outlook on life of the ancient Greeks as expressed in their mythology; their views on life, birth, marriage, death, sex and sexuality; on culture and civilization, the origin and meaning of the world. Their use of myth to think about, and give order to human experience. The course includes some of the most important works of Western literature in English translation (the 'Odyssey', the 'Theogony', twelve plays by leading Greek dramatists (Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides), along with their historical and religious context, as well as drawing on material evidence (vase paintings, sculpture, archaeological sites).
  • EPS C12: The Planets: A tour of the mysteries and inner workings of our solar system. What are planets made of? Why do they orbit the sun the way they do? How do planets form, and what are they made of? Why do some bizarre moons have oceans, volcanoes, and ice floes? What makes the Earth hospitable for life? Is the Earth a common type of planet or some cosmic quirk? This course will introduce basic physics, chemistry, and math to understand planets, moons, rings, comets, asteroids, atmospheres, and oceans. Understanding other worlds will help us save our own planet and help us understand our place in the universe.
  • HISTORY 182A: Technologies of Occupation | Tools of Liberation: Where do science and technology come from? How did they become the most authoritative kinds of knowledge in our society? How do technology, culture, and society interact? What drives technological change? The course examines these questions using case studies from different historical periods. We shall discuss the emergence of science as a dimension of our modernity, and its relations to other traditions such as magic, religion, and art. The aim of the course is for students to learn about how science and technology shape the way we live and, especially, how technological change is invariably shaped by historical and social circumstances.

  • HUM 10: Reading Refugees through Law, Lit & Film: What makes someone a refugee? What kinds of lives can refugees build, what kinds of communities can they forge, even when they are in exile, in transit, or in detention? In this course, we will read and discuss legal and political texts on refugees and their rights, and we will closely analyze literature, photography, and cinema representing refugee experience. We will consider the status of the refugee in relation to that of the citizen and will work to understand how refugees' lives are shaped by both humanitarian impulses and security-driven practices of surveillance and control. In the face of often dehumanizing treatment, how do refugees tell their own stories, and on what terms?
  • LATIN 1: Elementary Latin: Multliple times available in class schedule. Latin 1 is the first half of a two-semester language sequence in which students will learn to read and translate Classical Latin. The course focuses on the dialect of Latin used by classical authors like Caesar, Cicero, Vergil, and Ovid. However, students will also have success going on to read later texts such as the works of Augustine, the Latin translations of the Hebrew and Christian Bibles, the works of Isaac Newton, and even the Latin translation of Harry Potter.  Moreover, while this is not a Greek/Latin roots course, studying Latin will give students access to Latin terms and phrases used in law and bio-scientific disciplines. So if you want to learn to read the language that Caesar used to address the senate, that the Sibyl used to instruct Aeneas in his descent into the underworld, and that Petronius used to write one of the first novels, this course is the first step in gaining the skills you need to do so.
  • LS 25: Thinking Through Art and Design@Berkeley: Time-based Media ArtThis course introduces students to key vocabularies, forms, and histories from the many arts and design disciplines represented at UC Berkeley. The spring course explores the history and future of time-based media art for students of all disciplines. In addition to exploring experiments in form, he course will introduce students to experiments in content, considering how media artists creatively address the pressing issues of our time, from climate change and globalization, to gender identity, racial inequality, and scientific and technological transformations.  The course will be offered in Spring 2021 in conjunction with Berkeley Arts + Design’s highly successful public lecture series A+D Thursdays at BAMPFA.
  • LS C120T: Ideas of Education: What is the purpose of education? Should the university prepare students for the job market or emphasize the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake? Is knowledge a value in itself? This course explores these questions, among others, while concentrating on the German idea of Bildung. It introduces students to the classical idea of education and self-formation by reading a wide range of texts from German philosophy, intellectual history, and literature. Furthermore, the course traces the history of this idea by exploring how Bildung informs contemporary literary works and film. Emphasis will be on issues of class, race, and gender.
  • LS C20T: Introduction to Western Art: Renaissance to the Present:  An introduction to the historical circumstances and visual character of Western art from the Renaissance to the present. Not a chronological survey, but an exploration of topics and themes central to this period. For example: What tasks did painting and sculpture perform in the past? For whom, at whose expense? How do the rise of landscape painting, the cult of the artist, and the new emphasis on the nude relate to the emergence of modern society? Do stylistic labels like Classicism, Realism, Impressionism, and Modernism help us answer such questions?