Faculty and Courses Academic offerings vary widely, as nine engaging Colgate professors adapt popular class material from across the disciplines. Select three classes from the list below, one from each of our 90-minute sessions, and enjoy these courses each day during your Summer on the Hill experience.
Session 1: The Use and Abuse of The Bible in America Lesleigh Cushing
– Associate Professor of Religion & Jewish Studies; Director of Jewish Studies
From slavery to same-sex marriage, the Bible has been cited in virtually every major debate in American public life. What the Bible actually says about many of these controversial matters is quite often difficult to discern, in part because the world of the Bible and our contemporary world are at considerable remove from one another, in part because the Bible often contains multiple, even contradictory, perspectives on a particular issue. This course looks at the ways that American readers of the Bible—from both the left and the right—have read (and misread!) the Bible to make their cases.
Human Population and Global Environmental Change Ellen Kraly
– William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Geography
This course will consider the dynamic relationships between population and the environment at different scales, global, regional and local. Trajectories for population growth and redistribution through migration will be placed within the context of climate change and other environmental changes. Students will gain an understanding of the determinants of population growth and decline and emerging patterns of international migration, and will consider the implications of rising sea levels and shifting weather patterns for human settlement.
Rwanda: A Phoenix from the Ashes of Genocide? Susan Thomson
– Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies
Rwanda: A Phoenix from the Ashes of Genocide? is a study of the socio-political legacy of the 1994 genocide. In 1994, ethnic Hutu militias worked with ordinary Rwandan citizens to kill at least 500,000 ethnic Tutsi in just 100 days. Since taking office in July 1994, the Rwandan leadership has rebuilt the institutions of the state and in much of the country infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and airports have been restored and in some areas, upgraded. Rwanda since the 1994 genocide is a place where his government is renowned for increasing women's rights, reducing corruption and overseeing innovative local justice processes that have resulted in ethnic reconciliation. Through assigned readings and classroom discussion, we will analyze whether Rwanda's postgenocide reconstruction and reconciliation is sustainable. We'll also consider the depth and durability of Rwanda's recovery from the ashes of genocide to consider the longer-term effects of the country's reconstruction and reconciliation model.
Session 2: Technology and Disruption Vijay Ramachandran
– Assistant Professor of Computer Science
The course focuses on how current technological developments (e.g., social media, digital content, big data) have disrupted and will continue to affect our society and the structure of the economy. Among the issues examined are who benefits (and suffers) from disruption, the prospects for "brick-and-mortar" institutions (including universities), and possible future patterns of disruption.
Geology, Energy, and the Environment: Options, Opportunities and Risks Bruce Selleck
– Harold Orville Whitnall Professor of Geology
Keystone Pipeline, Hydrofracturing, LNG Exports, Wind, Solar, Nuclear, Climate Change. How do we make sense of energy supply, consumption and environmental impacts? This course will investigate shifts in global energy sources and examine projections for the future. We will make use of US Energy Information Agency data to assess energy sources and potential economic and environmental impacts. We will also examine the regional energy scene by considering how New York State and the local area are impacted by changes in energy policy. Updates on the status of permitting of gas shale development will be included in the workshop.
China's Cultural Icons: A Bridge to the Past Marietta Cheng
– Professor of Music; conductor of the Colgate University Orchestra
How do we define ourselves as Americans: fast food, rock, barbecue,blue jeans? Do we, as Americans, have distinct and shared cultural values? What is the core of Chinese culture? We may immediately think of rice, tea, jade, silk, yin/yang theory and Confucianism. These are icons of the past. In general, American culture views the past with less veneration because we are an exceedingly young country. In contrast, China can be proud of thousands of years of significant accomplishment. After reading Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua, we will discuss Asian parenting and educational aspirations. Are Tiger Mothers too demanding or are we too lax as parents? Which country has an edge? Our goal will be to compare and contrast the two cultures. Such insights are a necessary step to maintain and improve Sino-American relations today.
Session 3: Following 9/11: Religion Coverage in The New York Times and Beyond Chris Vecsey
– Harry Emerson Fosdick Professor of the Humanities and Native American Studies and Religion
This course examines the religious ramifications of 9/11 and its aftershocks through the lens of The New York Times, showing how America's leading newspaper presented its conventional religious themes -- regarding traditions, diversity, tolerance, institutional organization, interfaith cooperation, ethical judgment, etc. -- in the crucible of perhaps the most galvanizing religious event of our age. The course draws attention to the volatile public phrases "culture wars" and "clash of civilizations" to perceive ways in which 9/11 crystallized and recast those concepts, so important in understanding the political dimensions of religion over the past decade.
The Modern Family? Janel Benson
– Assistant Professor of Sociology
The family is a highly complex personal, social, and political institution. This course will provide students with sociological and demographic frameworks to critically evaluate contemporary debates about the modern family. We will explore questions related to family decline, the demise of marriage, parenthood and reproductive technology, work-family balance, and social policy.
Beyond Contagion: Emerging Infectious Diseases in an Era of Global Change Geoff Holm
– Assistant Professor of Biology
The 2011 film Contagion aimed to portray a realistic modern disease outbreak scenario. But how realistic is it? This course will cover basic principles of infectious disease epidemiology, and examine how global change influenced the emergence of infectious diseases, past and present.