This class will explore the ways in which Americans express their religious identities in and through material objects, rituals, and performances. Religion is not just a set of beliefs; it is also a collection of interactive practices that directly engage physical things, spaces, and persons. We will investigate various texts in literary studies, anthropology, sociology, film, and religion to better appreciate the diversity of religious expressions in America. A crucial component of this course will be to bring these theoretical accounts to bear on actual material practices. We will take advantage of the religious sites and architecture in surrounding neighborhoods of Haverford College, and work with primary materials that touch on the material lives of religious practitioners. Students will learn about material religion by visiting these sites in and around Philadelphia, and by working in the special collections archive at Haverford College. Over the course of the five week class, students will develop research projects that they will share in a symposium for the Haverford community. (1 credit)
Students selected as Chesick Scholars will attend a five-week summer session from the beginning of July to the first week in August.
Each student will enroll in 2 classes:
- 1-credit quantitative/science class meeting 8 hours per week
- 1-credit writing-intensive class, meeting 8 hours per week
Both courses will have regular daily assignments and exams, and will be graded. The topics of these courses will be listed elsewhere, as they will change from summer to summer.
This is a residential program, so all students will live together in the dorms, participate in classes during the week and recreational activities and trips during the weekends.
There will be a graduate residential director (RD) and two student residential assistants (RAs) living with the Chesick Scholars during the summer program. They will help with orientation to the campus and resources, organize evening and weekend study sessions, and plan weekend activities.
Summer Courses 2014
Each Chesick Scholar chooses ONE of Course A or B and ONE of Course C or D
Course A: Material Religion
Course B: Reproduction or Mobility: Analyzing Social Class Theory through Ethnographic and Empirical Research in Schools
Is the United States the land of opportunity or an unjust nation that reproduces inequality based on social class and race? Investigating the role that social class plays in society is a concern dominating studies in the fields of sociology, anthropology and education. Despite the persistent narrative of the American Dream and our commitment to education’s role in mitigating inequality, qualitative research done in school settings has offered tremendous insight on how social class might be reproduced and the role that schools play in this process.
This course actively investigates theories of social class and reproduction through the lens of ethnographies of school sites. Looking through critical lenses throughout the semester, we discuss theoretical conceptions of education and social reproduction. Issues of culture and identity (race, gender, social class, sexual orientation, ability, family and community) are also considered through the ethnographies discussed and analyzed. We will also explore what qualitative research is and practice collecting qualitative data ourselves. Over the course of the five week class, students will develop research projects that they will share in a symposium for the Haverford community. (1 credit)
Course C: New Materials and Nanotechnology: A Study of Molecules, Big and Small
Can networks of molecules be used as tiny filters to separate greenhouse gases? Can supramolecular structures deliver drugs to specific human target sites? Can molecules self-assemble to form large structures of a particular size and shape? How can organic molecules, like proteins, be used as natural adhesives or electrical conducting devices? This course will explore the fundamentals of molecular structure, bonding, and the three-dimensional configuration of molecules. It will then focus on how supramolecular frameworks and complex networks are assembled to produce materials that have a wide range of applications in solar cell design, gas filtration, drug delivery, electron transport and medicine. The course will include both lecture and extensive work in the lab. (1 credit)
Course D: Applied Mathematics: Dynamical Systems and Modeling
This course will focus on using math to study real-world situations: how populations grow, the spread of information or disease, ways two groups can interact (competition, symbiosis, predator-prey), sustainability and climate change, and the appearance of chaos in an otherwise orderly system. Ideas from calculus will be developed as needed, so it is not necessary to have studied calculus to take this course. Students will mix theoretical learning with experiments using computer simulations. (1 credit)