Note: This is an approved LA&PS General Education course: Humanities Note: This course will not fulfill a History majors 1000 level requirement.
Through a series of case studies concerning the social history of ancient Rome, this course introduces students to the written texts and other media that are used to understand human societies of all periods. Special emphasis will be given to the diverse interpretative approaches that one can bring to such texts and artefacts.
Special Features: Come spend a wonderful year learning and thinking about how we human beings make money meaningful. What is money? How does it make us? How does it make our world? “Making Money” is a General Education course. It is open to all students; it requires no math skills, no prior experience (or even interest) in banking, economics or business.
Calendar Description: This course explores 12 distinct but interrelated questions about money, that elusive substance with which all of us are preoccupied, but to which few us have brought great amounts of critical intellectual attention. The course examines money from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including anthropology, archaeology, economics, history, literature, political science, psychology, religious studies, and sociology, devoting two weeks to each enduring and apparently simple question. As an introduction to one of the fundamental ideas/substances of human life, the course brings interdisciplinary knowledge, breadth, and a range of scholarly approaches to a particular subject.
Note: This is an approved LA&PS General Education course: Humanities
Note: This course does NOT count towards the LAPS History major/minor requirement to complete 6 HIST credits at the 1000 level.
Expanded Course Description:
What You Will Learn:
How and why is money meaningful? This course examines money, the "stuff" with which all of us are preoccupied, but about which few have spent much time thinking critically. As an introduction to one of the core substances of human life, the course conveys the powerful and mind-bending notion that money is not a single “thing” but a construct that changes enormously over time, across cultures, and on account of the questions we ask about it. It explores a set of dazzling issues, problems, and themes from the dawn of human life to the digital age, including the tensions between risk & reward, freedom & security, individuals & systems, power & value.
How You Will Learn:
The course aims to develop some of the skills that are necessary for successful university careers: critical thinking, engaged reading, clear speech, and polished writing. You will not need a calculator. The year of learning is divided into 12 distinct two-week units, each of which asks a deceptively simple question. In order to answer these questions, the course draws on readings from a variety of print media and scholarly fields, as well as film clips, music lyrics, sources from far and wide, past and present.
The questions we’ll explore, two weeks at a time, include:
- Do I make money or does money make me?
- Why did money begin?
- How did time become money?
- Goes God hate money?
- Is there anything that money can’t buy?
- What’s the price of nature?
- More money, more happiness?
- Is there democracy without capitalism?
- How beautiful is money?
- How sick is gambling?
- When I think about money, what’s happening in my brain?
- Is digital money safe?
The readings for the course are diverse: there are articles and book chapters from popular books and magazines (like the New Yorker), as well as specialized but readable articles by research specialists, published in peer reviewed scholarly journals. All of the readings are easily available, and they won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
- Improved your scholarly skills so as to:
- Sharpen your critical thinking
- Successfully write with a small set of distinct “voices”
- Engage in various scholarly disciplines’ conversations
- Acquired knowledge and insight so as to:
- Be an active discussant in any non-technical discussion about money
- Be able to apply what you know about money to new questions that arise about it in the future
Tentative Grade Breakdown/Overview of Assessment:
- Childhood Memories of Money Reflection (3pgs) 10%
- One Unit, In Depth (4 pgs) 10%
- Revisions of “One Unit” 10%
- Participation 8%
- Quizzes 12%
- Image of Money Analysis (3pgs): 10%
- Comparing Two Units (4 pgs): 10%
- Revisions of “Two Units” (4pgs): 10%
- Participation: 8%
- Quizzes: 12%