Carnegie Mellon University

Ten Dietrich College Classes You Don’t Want to Miss

July 31, 2018

Ten Dietrich College Classes You Don’t Want to Miss

By Stefanie Johndrow

When it comes to classes offered in Carnegie Mellon University’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the possibilities are endless. From the exploration of animal minds to why creative writing matters, there’s still time to discover many of this fall’s exciting and unique courses.

66-224: dSHARP Seminar: Evolution of Artificial Intelligence and the Ethics of Creation

Published 200 years ago, Mary Shelley's “Frankenstein” warns of possible sacrifices for knowledge and hints toward the costs to man and society while exploring how new knowledge can redefine human existence and experience. As science-fiction literature and media have matured since then, the themes of “Frankenstein” have been re-interpreted and applied to debates regarding atomic weapons, nuclear energy, cloning, bioengineering, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). This course explores the evolution of AI and the ethics of creation in modern American scientific and science fictional culture.

This course counts toward the Dietrich College Reflecting GenEd requirement.

80-263: Approaching Chinese Philosophy: Basic Texts and Implications

Relevant to cultural, languages, history and philosophy of science studies, this course focuses on ancient texts of Chinese philosophy, which have had a foundational role in Chinese society and culture. The course seeks to connect classic Chinese texts and practice with modern perspectives on science, metaphysics, mind/body dualism and causation. Students will take characters, hexagrams and physical forms from ancient texts or practices as points of departure for exploration. Knowledge of the Chinese language is not needed.

This course counts toward the Dietrich College Reflecting GenEd requirement.

76-222 A: Creative Writing Matters

This course explores the word "matters" as in "is of importance" and "things, concerns." Through reading and writing in various genres, students will discover how creative writing engages with the world while also learning some of the important techniques of writing creatively in various genres. Students will read a wide variety of books and have the opportunity to interact with authors through public readings and classroom visits. In addition, the class will take advantage of other literary events happening around Pittsburgh.

This course counts toward the Dietrich College Creating GenEd requirement.

84-318 A: Politics of Developing Nations

Be it on our feet, in our grocery bags or in the news, our daily lives connect us to people in the developing world. Despite such an intricate relationship, we tend to know very little about developing nations and their challenges beyond a common stereotype of poverty. This course explores the socio-economic and political issues that developing nations face and takes special care to adopt different perspective. By addressing the unequal power balance between developed and developing nations as well as among developing nations, students will enrich their world view and understanding of major global issues, such as development.

This course counts toward the Dietrich College Deciding GenEd requirement.

85-271: Animal Minds

With intricate cultures, impressive technology and layered social lives, humans seem to stand apart from their animal kin. However, humans and non-human animals share many aspects of their mental lives, and, upon closer inspection, some animals even reveal cognitive abilities far beyond the capacities of humans. Through comparing and contrasting human and non-human cognition, students in this course will learn about human psychological uniqueness, its evolutionary origins and fundamental properties of cognitive processes in general.

88-255: Strategic Decision Making: Cooperation and Competition in Social Interactions

When should someone cooperate and when should they be selfish in a social interaction? How can a business establish strategic partnerships and at the same time battle with competitors? Strategic decision making requires a framework to think through the implications of cooperation and of competition. This course gives students a systematic approach to understanding how people, firms or countries interact with one another to achieve their own goals. Students will learn to apply behavioral strategic principles to analyze strategic situations arising in business, politics, international relations, domestic policy, organizational management and everyday life.

This course counts toward the Dietrich College Deciding GenEd requirement.

82-283 A: Language Diversity & Cultural Identity

Culture, language and identity are intimately tied together. This course focuses on contexts of multilingualism, where two or more languages are used. Adopting a comparative case study approach, students will explore the historical underpinnings of language diversity and its consequences for cultural identity today; how language diversity and cultural identity shapes, and is shaped by, local, regional, national and international politics; the relationship between language diversity and language use and visibility in public spaces; relations between linguistic communities and the sense of belonging to a culture.

This course counts toward the Dietrich College Reflecting GenEd requirement.

79-391: Stardom, Gender and American Film

Film stardom remains a vibrant force in American culture, but it has a long history, beginning with the emergence of movies in the early 1900s. This course examines the history of American film stardom from the silent cinema to the current era. In particular, students will investigate how issues of gender intersect with stardom and celebrity, noting the differences between traditional expectations for male versus female stars. In examining particular film celebrities, students will comprehend and analyze the individual’s “star text,” which entails biography, personality, publicity, film roles and critical reception.

84-388 A2: Concepts of War and Cyber Wares in American Political Institutions

This course examines traditional theories, concepts and practices in international relations and warfare and relates them to the emerging dynamics of cyber war. Students will be challenged to consider how the introduction of cyberspace as a warfighting domain in 2009 affects the ways that modern day scholars and practitioners conceive of and practice warfare. This course focuses on a discussion of traditional concepts of warfare in the physical domains, and a discussion of cyber war and its intersection with these traditional concepts.

This course counts toward the Dietrich College Deciding GenEd requirement.

76-333 A: Race and Controversy in the Arts

Over the last three years, social media has given artists and consumers of art a platform to engage with the commercial art world as both activists and critics. In 2017, the hashtag #oscarssowhite remarked on long-standing issues of inclusion within filmmaking in the United States. News was also spread on Twitter from art worlds that were not always in the limelight, including Dana Schultz's painting "Open Casket" at the Whitney Biennial. This course puts this and other controversies surrounding the politics of representation in the arts into broader historical and artistic contexts. Students will approach the topic through case studies that highlight the confluence of social, political and artistic forces that frame these controversial works.

View more information about these courses, including full descriptions, meeting times and instructors.