Courses tagged with "OpenCourseWare" (13)
We will explore the changing political choices and ethical dilemmas of American scientists from the atomic scientists of World War II to biologists in the present wrestling with the questions raised by cloning and other biotechnologies. As well as asking how we would behave if confronted with the same choices, we will try to understand the choices scientists have made by seeing them in their historical and political contexts. Some of the topics covered include: the original development of nuclear weapons and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; the effects of the Cold War on American science; the space shuttle disasters; debates on the use of nuclear power, wind power, and biofuels; abuse of human subjects in psychological and other experiments; deliberations on genetically modified food, the human genome project, human cloning, embryonic stem cell research; and the ethics of archaeological science in light of controversies over museum collections.
The goal of this class is to prove that category theory is a powerful language for understanding and formalizing common scientific models. The power of the language will be tested by its ability to penetrate into taken-for-granted ideas, either by exposing existing weaknesses or flaws in our understanding, or by highlighting hidden commonalities across scientific fields.
This class is divided into a series of sections or "modules", each of which concentrates on a particular large technology-related topic in a cultural context. The class will start with a four-week module on Samurai Swords and Blacksmithing, followed by smaller units on Chinese Cooking, the Invention of Clocks, and Andean Weaving, and end with a four-week module on Automobiles and Engines. In addition, there will be a series of hands-on projects that tie theory and practice together. The class discussions range across anthropology, history, and individual development, emphasizing recurring themes, such as the interaction between technology and culture and the relation between "skill" knowledge and "craft" knowledge.
Culture Tech evolved from a more extensive, two-semester course which formed the centerpiece of the Integrated Studies Program at MIT. For 13 years, ISP was an alternative first-year program combining humanities, physics, learning-by-doing, and weekly luncheons. Culture Tech represents the core principles of ISP distilled into a 6-unit seminar. Although many collections of topics have been used over the years, the modules presented here are a representative sequence.
This will be a seminar on classic and contemporary work on central topics in ethics. The first third of the course will focus on metaethics: we will examine the meaning of moral claims and ask whether there is any sense in which moral principles are objectively valid. The second third of the course will focus on normative ethics: what makes our lives worth living, what makes our actions right or wrong, and what do we owe to others? The final third of the course will focus on moral character: what is virtue, and how important is it? Can we be held responsible for what we do? When and why?
21F.301/351 offers an introduction to the French language and culture with an emphasis on the acquisition of vocabulary and grammatical concepts through active communication. The course is conducted entirely in French, and students interact in French with their classmates from the very beginning. They also receive exposure to the language via a variety of authentic sources such as the Internet, audio, video and printed materials which help them develop cultural awareness as well as linguistic proficiency. There is a coordinated language lab program.
This course is taught in rotation by the following instructors: Laura Ceia-Minjares, Cathy Culot, Gilberte Furstenberg, and Johann Sadock.
Furniture making is in many ways like bridge building, connections holding posts apart with spans to support a deck. Many architects have tried their hand at furniture design, Wright, Mies Van Der Rohe, Aalto, Saarinen, Le Corbusier, and Gerhy.
We will review the history of furniture making in America with a visit to the Decorative Arts Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and have Cambridge artist/craftsman Mitch Ryerson show us his work and talk about design process. Students will learn traditional woodworking techniques beginning with the use of hand tools, power tools and finally woodworking machines.
Students will build a single piece of furniture of an original design that must support someone weighing 185 lbs. sitting on it 12 inches off the ground made primarily of wood. Students should expect to spend approximately 80 hours in the shop outside of class time.
Preregistered architecture students will get first priority but first meeting attendance is mandatory. Twelve student maximum, no exceptions.
This course seeks to examine how people experience gender - what it means to be a man or a woman - and sexuality in a variety of historical and cultural contexts. We will explore how gender and sexuality relate to other categories of social identity and difference, such as race and ethnicity, economic and social standing, urban or rural life, etc. One goal of the class is to learn how to critically assess media and other popular representations of gender roles and stereotypes. Another is to gain a greater sense of the diversity of human social practices and beliefs in the United States and around the world.
This course gives an introduction to German language and culture. The focus is on acquisition of vocabulary and grammatical concepts through active communication. Audio, video, and printed materials provide direct exposure to authentic German language and culture. A self-paced language lab program is fully coordinated with the textbook/workbook. The first semester covers the development of effective basic communication skills.
Spanish I is very different from other classes at MIT. The central component of the text and workbook is a series of 26 half-hour video episodes. The videos allow students to learn authentic Spanish and experience its cultural diversity while following a good story full of surprises and human emotions. Students also listen to an audio-only program integrated with the text and workbook.
In the classroom, students do a variety of activities and exercises, which include talking in Spanish about the video program, practicing pronunciation and grammar, and interacting in Spanish with classmates in pairs and small groups. The class is conducted in Spanish as much as possible, but English is used where necessary for clarity and efficiency. This course deals with all basic language skills: aural comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. This class assumes no previous knowledge of Spanish.
This course explores contemporary American theatrical expression as it may be organized around issues of gender and cultural identity. This exploration will include the analysis of performances, scripts, and video documentation, as well as the invention of original documents of theatrical expression. Class lectures and discussions will analyze samples of Native American, Chicano, African American, and Asian American theater, taking into consideration the historical and political context for the creation of these works. Performance exercises will help students identify theatrical forms and techniques used by these theaters, and how these techniques contribute to the overall goals of specific theatrical expressions.
In this era of globalization, many of us have multi- or bi-cultural, multilingual or bilingual backgrounds, and even if we don't have such a background, we need urgently to understand the experiences of people who do. You will very likely work outside the United States at some point in your future; you will almost certainly work with people who speak more than one language, whose ancestry or origins are in a country other than the U.S., who have crossed borders of nation, language, culture, class to amalgamate into the large and diverse culture that is America. In this class we will read the personal narratives of bilingual and bicultural writers, some of whom have struggled to assimilate, others of whom have celebrated their own contributions to a culture of diversity. You will write four personal essays of your own for the class, each of which will receive workshop discussion in class and response from me; you will then revise the essays to polish them for possible publication. One of your essays will be an investigative one, where you will focus on a subject of your choice, investigate it thoroughly, and then write with authority about it. The process of the class will encourage you to both improve your writing significantly and gain a greater understanding of experiences of people who are in some way like you as well as those who are in some way different.