Introductory Seminar in Human Ecology

Schedule of Readings and Activities

This will change, especially toward the second half of the course. When in doubt, check the online version.

This document was last modified on .

As of today, (9.11.03), most of the readings in the second half of the course are unconfirmed and quite likely to shift around some.

Class Date Reading Comments
W e e k    Z e r o
1 Thursday, September 11
Introductions. Ice Cream exercise.
W e e k    O n e
2 Monday, September 15
  • Chapters I-V, F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  • Come to class with two written questions on the reading:
    1. A big question, as big as you can think of. Something thematic or large.
    2. A "little" question. Focus on the text. Why did Fitzgerald use a certain word? Or why does he bother to tell us a certain detail?
    3 Thursday, September 18
  • Chapters VI-IX, F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  • Meet in small groups. Come to class with a few discussion questions on Gatsby
    W e e k    T w o
    4 Monday, September 22
  • Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, pages 1-49.
  • Micro handout on Aristotle
  • Political Economy of Inequality, pp. xxxix-xli
  • Come to class with a few (or more) questions/observations on Ehrenreich for discussion.
  • In class, I'll go over Gini coefficients in detail, and we'll do an example. Bring a calculator if you have one.
  • 5 Thursday, September 25
  • The Political Economy of Inequality, pp. 1-9, 33-41.
  • Each group read and be prepared to summarize and discuss one additional article from The Political Economy of Inequality.
  • Prepare for discussion with Frank Ackerman.

    Friday, September 26 First Paper Due
    W e e k    T h r e e
    6 Monday, September 29
    TBA: A few additional readings from Political Economy of Inequality
    Class discussion with Frank Ackerman. Groups should come to class with a few written questions.

    Monday, September 29. 7:00 PM, Gates Lecture Hall Talk by Frank Ackerman
    7 Thursday, October 2
  • Finish Nickel and Dimed.

  • Friday, October 3 First Problem Set Due
    W e e k    F o u r
    8 Monday, October 7
  • Amitava K. Dutt, "Consumption, Happiness, and Religion" in Dutt and Jameson (eds.), Crossing the Mainstream: Ethical and Methodological Issues in Economics, University of Notre Dame Press, 2001.
  • Read Dutt up to p. 151.
  • Finish discussion of Ehrenreich. Focus on Housing.
  • 9 Thursday, October 9
  • Mosaics of Inequality, from Bowles, Edwards, and Roosevelt, Understanding Capitalism: Competition, Command, and Change (3rd edition), forthcoming, 2004.
  • Ethics. Different notions of justice and equality.

    Friday, October 10 Second draft of first paper due
    W e e k    F i v e
    10 Monday, October 13
  • Bowles and Gintis, The Inheritance of Inequality, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 16:3-30. 2002.

  • Thursday, October 16 No class Faculty retreat
    W e e k    S i x
    11 Monday, October 20
  • Andres Solimano, Alternative Theories of Distributive Justice and Social Inequality: Liberal, Socialist, and Libertarian Perspectives. In Andres Solimano, ed., Social Inequality: Values, Growth, and the State, University of Michigan Press, 1998.
  • Class Midterm Evaluation
  • Finish Bowles and Gintis, The Inheritance of Inequality
  • 12 Thursday, October 23
  • Julian Lamont, Distributive Justice, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2003 Edition).
  • For each of the first six justice principles, be prepared to:
    1. summarize the principle
    2. give an example of something that you think should be distributed according to that principles

    Friday, October 24 First draft of second paper due
    W e e k    S e v e n
    13 Monday, October 27 Robert Nozick Introduction to modeling.
    14 Thursday, October 30 Thomas Schelling, On the Ecology of Micromotives. The Public Interest. 25:61-98. 1971. Meet with Gray's section
    W e e k    E i g h t
    15 Monday, November 3
  • William J. Wilson, The Roots of Racial Tensions: Urban Ethnic Neighborhoods. Presented at 2002 meeting of the Network on the Effects of Inequality on Economic Performance.
  • Sandra Hays, "Off the Rolls: The Ground-Level Results of Welfare Reform," Dissent, Fall 2003.
  • David Camp joins us for a discussion of enthnography.

    Tuesday, November 4. U.S. Election Day Potluck/Party with Gray's section!
    16 Thursday, November 6 Readings on Human Ecology:
  • Human Ecology, by Bill Carpenter.
  • Human Ecology: On the Cusp, by Etta Kralovec.
  • The Idea of Nature, by John Visvader.
  • Human Ecology and COA, Ed Kaelber.

  • W e e k    N i n e
    17 Monday, November 10
  • Courtroom victories. Some of the successful lawsuits filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
  • Social Change success stories
    18 Thursday, November 13
  • Erik Olin Wright, Real Utopian Proposals for reducing Income and Wealth Inequality, 1999.
  • Ken Cline and Doreen Stabinsky to visit class and talk about activism, organizing, and social change.
    W e e k    T e n
    19 Monday, November 17
  • Student Presentations

  • 20 Thursday, November 20
    Conclusions, summary, course evaluations.

    Friday, November 21 Final paper due

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