Please see the Class Schedule for the current semester’s offerings. A brief description of the honors courses for the coming semester is given below.
Non-Honors students interested in taking an Honors course should follow the Procedure to Take Honors Courses
Architecture of the Synagogue 1650H
Sec 361 T 6:45 - 9:30
Study the forms, materials, and structural systems of synagogues, the centers of Jewish communal life and prayer, from their beginnings in the ancient world to the present. Using the comparative method, we shall explore regional influences in addition to links between liturgy and architectural form. We shall discuss when and why structural and stylistic forms were adopted, why certain innovations were introduced, and why certain symbolic elements were expressed. Whenever possible, we shall compare synagogues to their antecedents in other traditions as well as to secular buildings. Site visits to synagogues in New York will allow us to examine materials and forms first-hand.
Genesis and Literature 2010H
Sec 341 T R 4:30-5:45
The primary goal of this course is the study of selected topics in Bereshit, including creation, the original sin, Cain and Abel and the akeda. As in all my work, the approach is literary-theological, and we will use the entire history of Jewish Bible study, from the Second Temple period down to today. In this course, however, we shall devote substantial time to the echoes and reworking of the Biblical material in Western literature. Prominent among these are Gilgamesh Epic; Augustine, City of God; Milton, Paradise Lost; Byron, “Cain”; Unamuno, Abel Sanchez, and other modern poems and short fiction; Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling and The Concept of Anxiety; Israeli poetry and fiction, including Amichai and A.B. Yehoshua.Several short writing assignments and one culminating paper.
Sec 311 T 1:05-2:45
Topics: Stem Cells 4934H
Sec 461 R 6:45-8:25
Topics in Stem Cells takes a careful look at contemporary breakthroughs in stem cell research as reported in the scientific literature. Through these findings, students will be introduced to cutting-edge molecular and cellular research methods and versed in the interpretation of scientific data. Areas to be covered in this course include: embryonic stem cells and cloning, somatic and hematopoietic stem cells, and induced pluripotental stem cells and cellular reprogramming. The final portion of this course deals with ethics and legislation.
Chemical Analysis 1122H
Sec 241 M W 4:30 - 5:45, W 6:45-9:45
This one-semester course introduces science majors and pre-health students to the principles and practice of analytical chemistry. The course begins with an introduction to analytical chemistry, including the analytical process, sampling, sources of error, statistics, and data interpretation. The course also covers major types of analyses, including wet methods, spectroscopy, chromatography, and potentiometric techniques. Classroom topics, discussions and problem solving exercises are closely coordinated with laboratory analyses. Honor session has higher requirements in laboratory practices.
Roman Empire in Theory and Practice 1002H
Sec 231 M W 3:00-4:15
This course examines various ways of understanding the figure of the Roman emperor, by focusing on the first emperor Augustus. We will consider a range of textual and visual sources for the emperor, including poems, historical accounts, ruins, and coins, and place the emergence of the emperors within Rome’s political, religious, and cultural traditions. Assessment will be by exams and a range of short papers.It differs from the regular version of this course by involving more intensive discussion of modern responses to Augustus, student presentations on particular objects and poems. It also includes a visit to see the early Roman imperial material in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Economics of the Law 2005H
Sec 241 M W 4:30 - 5:45
Economics is the most advanced of the social sciences, and the legal system contains many parallels to and overlaps with the systems that economists have studied successfully. The interaction of economics and the law since the early 1960s has changed the nature of legal scholarship, the common understanding of legal rules and institutions, and even the practice of law. Legal theory has assimilated many economic concepts, such as incentive effects, opportunity costs, risk aversion, transaction costs, free-riding, the prisoner’s dilemma and other game theoretic tools (such as Nash equilibrium and dominant strategy), asymmetric information, collective choice, open-access resource, median rule, regulatory capture, rent-seeking, credible commitment, moral hazard and adverse selection, market failure, monopoly power, price discrimination, Pareto efficiency, cost-benefit and, and so forth. As knowledge of quantitative methods diffuses, we foresee increasing use and sophistication of statistical methods in legal scholarship. More recently, economists have realized that effective property and contract rights are fundamental to economic growth and development and have, as a result, begun to pay attention to the effect of the legal system on the economy. This realization has opened economics to an infusion of legal concepts, such as litigation costs, property rules, liability rules, default rules, strict liability, independent judges, third-party enforcers, corruption, judgment-proof injurers, reliance damages, priority in bankruptcy, inside-trading, public firms, non-government organizations, customs, norms, internalized values, reasonable actors, and non-monetary sanctions. The concepts in this course will benefit both, the students who will have future careers in law and those with future careers in economics. Prerequisite: ECO 1011/1041
Shakespeare and the Arts 1003H
Sec 331 T R 3:00-4:15
This INTC core course will explore both Shakespeare’s ability to meld different genres and forms of art and later artists’ visions inspired by Shakespeare. Drawing on close reading, textual studies, genre studies, genre theory, media studies, film studies, art criticism, art history, literary studies, Shakespeare studies, influence studies, historical studies, and cultural studies, we will focus on how each medium, each genre, each form of art, and each artwork creates meanings; when we can assess an interpretation as partial, implausible, or downright impossible; and how interpreters can arrive at probable or even compelling interpretations of individual creative works within the literary, visual, and performing arts.
Writing about Illness and Medicine 1655H
Sec 261 M 6:45-9:15
Post Modern Fiction 2083H
Sec 231 M W 3:00-4:15
In the age of competing “histories from below” and from the margins, of docudramas and historical metafiction, and of technologies that render historical evidence increasingly falsifiable and suspect, the traditional idea of history as an objective chronicle of the past has been challenged as never before. In this course, we’ll examine how postmodern novelists have participated in and responded to these challenges through their depictions of World War II and 9/11. Novels we’ll be reading may include Sebald’s Austerlitz, Spiegelman’s Maus, Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, Zusak’s The Book Thief, Colon’s The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation, Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Spiegelman’s In the Shadow of No Towers, and DeLillo’s Falling Man. We’ll also be reading McCloud’s Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art and essays by Lyotard, Hutcheon, Williams, and Freud.Requirements: Three papers and an exam.Prerequisite: ENG 1101 or 1931H or FYWR 1010/H; Satisfies Lit.1 or Lit.2 requirement only for students who were on campus prior to April 2012. For students on campus starting April 2012, this course can be used toward major or elective requirements only.
Law and Society 1008H
This course will explore social-scientific understandings of law. It explores how social change affects law and legal institutions, how legal change affects society, and the roles and institutions of the formal legal system in the United States. This will not be a class in law or legal history, and it will not teach you how to be a lawyer; it will focus on the social, political, cultural, and historical contexts of law in practice rather than legal doctrines, statutes, or decisions. We will address questions such as: What is the purpose of law? What is the relationship between laws and norms? Why do people obey the law, and why and how do we punish lawbreakers? Does the practice of law undermine or reinforce social inequality? The goal will be to understand the manner in which social scientists study law as an institution and as a profession, as well as to explain some patterns and dynamics of law in various social settings.
International Crimes 2607H
Sec 341 T R 4:30-5:45
This seminar explores the emergence and incidence of genocide and other crimes against humanity in the 20th century. First we will examine the history of modern international atrocity, including the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire, atrocities of colonization, the Holocaust, and more recent examples in Cambodia, Rwanda and Darfur. Then we will consider how the international community has responded, and the emergence of international law after the Second World War.
Modern Jewish History 1400H
Sec 231 M W 3:00 - 4:15
Dead Sea Scrolls 3220H
Sec 331 T R 3:00-4:15
The unearthing of the Dead Sea Scrolls, arguably the most important Jewish manuscript discovery of the 20th century, has furnished students of Jewish history, religion and literature with a trove of documents, most never seen since antiquity and largely fragmentary, ranging from biblical texts, to general Second Temple literature, to uniquely sectarian texts. They encompass a wide range of literary genres: biblical interpretation and “halakhah,” liturgy and poetry, theology and eschatology. The Qumran “library” is a window through which we can observe directly, without the interference of the last 2000 years, many aspects of Jewish life and thought during the Second Temple period. Careful reading of the Scrolls can inform us not only about those texts and the community or communities that produced them, but about the broader Jewish matrix in which they were produced, about Jewish history and beliefs, as well as the practice of Judaism, in the last centuries before the Common Era, shortly before the destruction of the Second Temple. These texts have engaged the interest and curiosity of scholars and public alike, but have also, in the process, posed some unique challenges to both scholarly investigation and to public comprehension. The religious biases of some scholars, especially in the early decades of Scrolls scholarship, both heightened public interest, on the one hand, but hindered their interpretation on the other. The popular press has promulgated to the public audience a variety of myths, rumors, stories and scandals that have often interfered with the ability of the broader interested public to assess and comprehend the importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The “hype,” as often happens, gets in the way of the evidence. In the course of the semester, we shall attempt to remove as many of those obstacles as we can, so that you can better focus on the texts themselves and the important issues that they raise. We shall therefore spend most of our time in the classroom reading and discussing the Dead Sea Scrolls, based on their original Hebrew (and occasional Aramaic), and learning how to employ them effectively as sources for intellectual, social and religious history. The Qumran corpus as a whole will also be surveyed in English translation. Carefully chosen readings from the vast secondary literature on the Dead Sea Scrolls will aid in contextualizing the texts we read and in alerting you to the diverse ways in which modern scholarship has interpreted them. This course places a strong emphasis on writing and research, and, in addition to the final examination, there are written assignments designed to develop the student’s skill in reading and interpreting primary and secondary texts from several perspectives.There are no technical prerequisites for the course, other than the willingness to read ancient unvocalized Hebrew texts and a good dose of intellectual curiosity. It does not fulfill any general education requirement at YC.
Elementary Latin I 1101H
Sec 261 M W 6:45-8:00
At Yeshiva, Latin, like classics in general, is an interdisciplinary experience. Whereas most programs see the introductory sequence as a time purely for language acquisition in preparation for Roman authors, we embrace our connection to those ends from day one, allowing students to engage with ancient texts via adapted – and quite soon, unadapted – sentences and passages throughout the first semester; moreover, inherent in the process, students develop a familiarity with the authors and poets themselves by analyzing their literature critically and drawing regular comparison to the parallel rabbinic tradition from Talmudic and other sources. En route, students are expected and encouraged to connect the works of Cicero, Horace, Martial, Catullus, and numerous others to the rest of their college curriculum. Additionally, we complement our reading of texts in the fall term with a close look at roughly one hundred and fifty English derivatives that come from Latin roots, which culminates in a student-produced essay – often an historical exploration or work of historical fiction – wherein they can take full ownership of these more challenging English words by employing them to express their own ideas.
Problem Solving Seminar I 1401H
Sec 251 M 5:50-6:40
Calculus I 1412H
Sec 341 T R 4:30-5:45
Mat 1412 Honors Calculus is intended for students who have a serious interest in mathematics. The focus will be on understanding and using the concepts of calculus. In addition to the usual calculations and applications, as in MAT 1412, a major goal is to give students the ability to read, understand, construct and critique proofs.
Topics: Network Science
Music and the Brain 1829H
Section 361 T R 6:45-8:00
The course begins with an examination of the origins and psychobiology of musicality. We will examine hypotheses and evidence from evolution, cognitive semiotics, the history of ritual, neuroscience and neuroimaging.The course continues with a look at musicality in infancy. Here we examine infant rhythms as expressions of musical companionship and the voices of shared emotion and meaning.Next we turn to musicality and healing. We examine therapeutic dialogues in music from several points of view, psychobiological, social and aesthetic.In the fourth part of the course, we turn to musicality in childhood learning, looking at studies of musicality in talk and listening, spontaneous musicality, vitality in music and dance as basic life experiences, and intimacy and reciprocity in improvisation.In the final part of the course, we look at musicality in performance, from ceremonial ritual and the developmental biology of rhythm to body movements and creative participation in performance, including advanced performance.
Frontiers of Science 1002H
Professors Barrios L./Steinhauer/Peter
Sec 231 M W 3:00-4:15
Without training in formal logic, human beings are not good at telling what follows from what; sometimes even in the case of very simple arguments. Does “There is something such that if it is magnetic then everything is magnetic” follow simply from the premise that “Something is magnetic”? (Yes.) Does “There is no largest integer (no integer larger than all other integers)” follow simply from the premise that “For every integer there is a larger integer”? (No.) Socrates wishes to see Plato only if Plato wishes to see Socrates. Plato wishes to see Socrates if and only if it is not the case that Socrates wishes to see Plato. (Quick: Does Plato wish to see Socrates?) Is the following argument valid?It is not the case that: there is at most one created thing if and only if everything is uncreated.
Therefore: There is something which either creates itself or is such that it and only it is created.This course is a rigorous introduction to formal logic, designed to produce mastery of the predicate calculus with identity. Textbook: E.J. Lemmon, Beginning Logic.
Ancient and Medieval Philosophy 2170H
Sec 341 T R 4:30-5:45
What is the world like, at bottom? What can we know about it? How ought we to live? From the very inception of philosophy more than 2500 years ago, philosophers have relentlessly contemplated these fundamental questions. Ancient philosophy – running roughly from 600 BCE to 300 CE, and comprising the work of the pre-Socratics, the Sophists, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Epicureans, the Stoics, and the Skeptics (among others) – presents us with a remarkably diverse and seminal set of answers, each buttressed by arguments. We will reconstruct and critically examine their answers and arguments, in an attempt to find our own. Along the way we will discuss why the ancient philosophers thought philosophizing to be central to a good human life.
General Physics I 1051H
Sec 231 M W 3:00-4:15 M 5:50-6:40
The course is the first semester of a four semester sequence (which we are offering this semester for the first time) which will cover and review the developments of physics since its inception by the Greeks until the great theories that revolutionized Physics at the beginning of the XX century and marked the birth of modern Physics.In this first semester we will focus on the part called Classical Mechanics, which discusses the origin of motion and its characteristics. From the development of the first general laws at the origin of our discipline, in the ideas of Galileo Galilei, to the formulation of the laws of motion of particles, as presented by Newton in the late XVII century, through the development ofthe ideas of Energy in the XIX century. We will then apply these laws to the motion of collections of particles, and collisions, through the ideas of conservation of momentum, and then to the rotation and motion of extended bodies (the so called mechanics of rigid bodies). We will discuss the main ideas of the Newtonian theory of gravitation, and the motion of planetary systems. We will study specific types of motion like oscillations which are fundamental to later understand the motion of matter at the atomic scale, and we will discuss the fundamental laws of the motion of non-rigid bodies like fluids (gases and liquids).In the honors version of this course, while we will be covering the same ground as non-honors versions, we will present more realistic examples that require to use more sophisticated use of mathematics, and some computational illustrations and applications will be presented. For example, while discussing oscillations, we might not restrict ourselves to harmonic oscillators, but we might discuss some non-harmonicity, and when we discuss fluids we might introduce some ideas of internal friction (viscosity), and while we discuss conservation of momentum we might discuss examples of motion of rockets, and other objects of variable mass.
Religion and Politics 2176H
Sec 241 M W 4:30 - 5:45
In the contemporary United States, religion and politics are often seen as opposed; politics should stay out of religious affairs, while religion should stay out of politics. There are very good reasons for this, such as the desire to prevent a religious theocracy, as well as the desire to prevent religious persecution. However, if we look at religion and politics solely through this lens, their complex relationship becomes oversimplified.Throughout history, there has been a complex conversation between political thought, philosophy, and theology, and we are going to examine some of its latest forms. Beginning with the work of Søren Kierkegaard, whose religious philosophy helped inspire many contemporary strands of philosophy and theology (both Christian and Jewish), we will explore the nature of his religious ethics. We will then try to imagine the social and political consequences of truly living these ethics, by asking if there is a religious and ethical imperative to engage in politics. Following this, we will then focus on later thinkers and political activists, to see how people within both the Christian and Jewish traditions came to see how their own faith compelled them to engage in issues of social justice. Among those we might potentially study, are Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as religious texts from both the Christian and Jewish traditions.
Israeli Political Thought 2440H
Sec 631 F 11:00-1:30
This course focuses on the process in which Israeli political identity is being created. It addresses, inter alia, the role of collective memory, the evolution of Zionist thought, the impact of immigration, the interplay of conflict and political socialization, the function and meaning of secularism in the Jewish state, the consideration of ethnic/religious minorities in the formation of this identity. It will also look at Israel “between West and East.” The basic text will be Anita Shapira’s Israel (Brandeis.2012), awarded the National Jewish Book Award for 2012. Students will work on projects exploring Israeli political identity and give oral presentations on these projects at the end of the semester. Guest lecturers are anticipated.
Honors Experimental Psychology 2100H
Sec 341 T R 4:30-5:45, R 6:00-7:45
This course provides an overview of the research methods used in psychological science, with an emphasis on experimental methods. Students will learn about the principles and pragmatics of conducting research studies to evaluate theoretically driven hypotheses about psychological phenomena. Course content will also include statistics used for analyzing data from psychological studies. Weekly labs will focus primarily on the use of statistical software to analyze data from psychological studies. A major component of this course is the conduct (in small groups) of an original research project. For this project, students will collect original data with human research participants, analyze the data, prepare a poster that reports the research, and prepare a paper that reports the research. The Honors version of this course involves additional readings of scholarly papers reporting empirical research, as well as additional oral and written presentations of these papers.
Law and Society 1008H
Intermediate Spanish I 1201H
Sec 231 M W 3:00 - 4:15
This is the first semester of a two-semester Intermediate course. Intermediate Spanish I is designed to develop the four language skills, listening, speaking, reading, and writing in Spanish, and to deepen the students’ exposure to the variety of cultural aspects within the Hispanic world. The primary objective of both sequences is to help the students reach a level in their command of the language that would allow them to communicate proficiently both in speaking and writing. The methodology used in the course will be primarily communicative, that is, actually using what the students already know and presenting the new material in authentic contexts. The complete two-semester course is intended to present students with a variety of Spanish and Latin American literary forms and authors. In Intermediate I, students will be exposed to original texts by well-known Hispanic authors. These literary texts will be presented to the students within the context of the new vocabulary or structures that are being introduced in each particular case. During the course of the semester there will be also be cultural activities both inside and outside of YC. These activities will be related to various aspects of the Hispanic cultural life in New York City and will include visits to museums and attendance to performances of plays by Hispanic authors. Participation in these activities will be mandatory and students will be expected to prepare a brief summary of each activity with their personal impressions. To the maximum extent possible, both sequences of the course will be taught in Spanish.For students enrolled in the new curriculum, Intermediate Spanish I satisfies the Cultures Over Time core requirement.
Intro to Statistics 1021H
Sec 241 M W 4:30-5:45
This course provides an introduction to how we use numerical data to describe and explain the social world. Our coverage of statistical analysis starts simple and gets gradually more involved. We start with distributions of single variables, next move to relationships between pairs of variables, and conclude with statistical control and basic multivariate analysis involving three or more variables at once. In each case, we will study graphical approaches to displaying data, descriptive statistics for summarizing a body of data, and inferential statistics for generalizing beyond those data to some larger population of interest. Key ideas in statistics are common to all three areas, and will be introduced early and used often. This course will also touch on topics such as the goals of social science research and the logic involved in pursuing these goals, including conceptualization and measurement. We will also give some attention to methods of data collection, particularly surveys, but also experiments; this will occur mainly in developing examples. These forms of social science data are those most often studied with the aid of quantitative methods.
500 West 185th Street
New York, NY 10033
500 West 185th Street
New York, NY 10033
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