Opinion
Tufts Occupy. Photo - Gaia Garden Tufts Occupy. Photo - Gaia Garden  

Outlandish college courses: The Dirty Dozen for private (non-Ivy League) schools

Georgetown University, Women’s and Gender Studies: The Breast: Image, Myth, and Legend

Feminist historian Marilyn Yalom once wrote that “In the beginning was the breast.” Sacred, sensual, sexual, political, and societal, the female breast has been transformed through image, myth, and legend to render multiple meanings from nurture and sustenance to enslaving obsession and civic virtue. The symbolism of the female breast has traversed and been formed by religious, political, and social ideas all of which have been depicted in the arts. Understanding the visual arts as primary evidence in the study of history and reflective of societal perceptions of sexuality and gender, this chronological survey of the breast in Western art and culture reveals the potential lightning rods and miscues in how our 21st-century eyes interpret history and meaning especially with regards to women and gender. Beginning with the Paleolithic mother goddesses whose large breasts signified fertility and lactation, we will examine the multiple meanings in the historical transformations of the image of the female breast from the Christian symbolism of the Maria Lactans (Nursing Mother) to the Renaissance exaltation of female sensuality and the Enlightenment tradition of the republic as woman and political symbol of liberty to the voyeuristic obsessions of 20th-century advertising and entertainment.

Duke University, History, American Dreams/American Realities

Examines the role of such myths as “rags to riches,” “beacon to the world,” “the frontier” and “foreign devil” in defining the American character and determining hopes, fears, dreams, and actions throughout American History. Attention given to the surface consistency of these myths as accepted by each immigrant group versus the shifting content of the myths as they change to reflect the hopes and values of each of these groups.

Stanford University, History: Social Democracy from Marx to Gross National Happiness

The history of the ‘short twentieth century’ is often told as the struggle between Capitalism and Communism, as if there were no further alternatives. But the search for a “Third Way” between them was a constant feature of the 20th century, with roots deep in the 19th. One such system, Social Democracy, has a strong claim to be providing its citizens with both prosperity and justice. Explores the relationship of ideas and politics and about Social Democracy considered as a “third system”: a social, economic and political system in its own right and, at the same time, a radical critique of both Capitalism and Marxist Communism. Topics include: the development of Social Democratic thought, movements, tactics policies and practices to be examined through the analysis of the writings of Marx, Bernstein, the English Fabians, and the 20th century Scandinavian and German thinkers and practitioners of Social Democracy; the history and practice of political parties, labor movements, and governments; the institutionalization of Social Democracy in Britain, Western, Central and Northern Europe, and in the so-called “developing societies”; contemporary debates as “Social Europe” and “Gross National Happiness”; and the growth of a “social democratic sensibility” and culture. Several films will be screened during the course.