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Classes Offered by Other Departments: Descriptions

For students interested in the Western Hemisphere, we have compiled the following list of relevant classes offered at MIT. (A one-page summary — class numbers and titles only — is also available; but for current information, see the MIT Bulletin.)


17.55J/21A.224J/21F.084J Introduction to Latin American Studies

Interdisciplinary introduction to contemporary Latin America, drawing on films, literature, popular press accounts, and scholarly research. Topics include: economic development, ethnic and racial identity, religion, revolution, democratization, transitional justice, the rule of law, and the changing roles of women. Country examples draw on a range of countries in the region, especially Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. This subject focuses on Latin American politics and society using classic works of film and literature, as well as scholarly research and articles from the popular press. Themes include colonialism and conquest, economic development, race and ethnicity, religious experience, revolution, democracy, market-oriented reform, and the rule of law. The subject will be taught by Chappell Lawson (Course 17), with guest lectures on indigenous identity, race relations in Brazil, the work of Colombian writer Gabriel GarcÌa M·rquez, and economic policy. C. Lawson

17.02 Liberty: An Introduction to the Practice of Political Theory

Liberty is widely held to be a primary political value. But what is liberty? Why is it valuable? And what form of state (if any) is required to protect it? These are the basic questions addressed in this introductory subject in political theory. First part examines the concept and value of liberty. Second part considers whether respect for liberty is compatible with acceptance of the state, in any form. Third part examines the scope of specific basic freedoms (e.g., of expression, association). Fourth part explores the relationship between liberty and economic equality. A. Lever


3.982 The Ancient Andean World

Examines development of Andean civilization which culminated in the extraordinary empire established by the Inka. Archaeological, ethnographic, and ethnohistorical approaches. Particular attention to the unusual topography of the Andean area, its influence upon local ecology, and the characteristic social, political, and technological responses of Andean people to life in a topographically ``vertical'' world. Characteristic cultural styles of prehistoric Andean life. H. N. Lechtman

3.983 Ancient Mesoamerican Civilization

Examines origins and florescence of the civilizations of ancient Mesoamerica using archaeological and ethnohistorical evidence. Identifies technological, environmental, social organizational and ideological variables leading to the translation to food production and sedentary life, and development of Olmec, Maya, Teotihuacan, and Aztec civilizations. D. Hosler

3.986 The Human Past: Introduction to Archaeology

Archaeology reconstructs ancient human activities and their environmental contexts. Drawing on case studies in contrasting environmental settings from the Near East and Mesoamerica, considers these activities and the forces that shaped them. In laboratory sessions students encounter various classes of archaeological data and analyze archaeological artifacts made from materials such as stone, bone, ceramics, glass, and metal. These analyses help reconstruct the past. H. V. Merrick

21A.450 First Americans

The native peoples of North America in anthropological and historical perspective, with emphasis on ethnographic case studies of representative cultures, past and present, including the Apache, Iroquois, Tewa, Kwakiutl, and others. Topics include: hunting and agriculture, religion and cosmology, humor, and Indian non-Indian relations. J. Howe

21A.220 The Conquest of America

The five-hundred-year encounter between native peoples of the Americas and European power and culture. Exploration and conquest. European ideology and fantasies about ``savages.'' Colonialism, resistance, and adaptation. Missionizing and culture contact. Cases include struggles of Maya, Iroquois, and native New Englanders. Students learn to use primary documents. J. Howe

21H.802 Modern Latin America: Revolution, Dictatorship, and Democracy, 1808-Present

Selective survey of Latin American history from the wars of independence at the start of the nineteenth century to the present. Issues studied include: independence and its aftermath, slavery and its abolition, Latin America in the global economy, relations between Latin America and the US, dictatorships and democracies in the twentieth century, and revolution in Mexico, Cuba, and Central America. J. Ravel


11.002J Fundamentals of Public Policy (Revised Content and Units)

Provides an introduction to policy-making. Explores policy questions from the perspective of different focal actors, including administrative agencies, citizen and interest groups, and the media. Examines the interplay between policy development and institutions, and reviews normative and empirical models of policy-making. Considers the significance of the democratic context for policy-making. Primary focus on domestic policy. D. Laws, S. M. Meyer

11.003J Methods of Policy Analysis

Provides students with an introduction to public policy analysis. Examines various approaches to policy analysis by considering the concepts, tools, and methods used in economics, political science, and other disciplines. Students apply and critique these approaches through case studies of current public policy problems. Staff, J. M. Schuster

17.471 American National Security Policy (Revised Content and Units)

Examines the problems and issues confronting American national security policy since 1945, with special attention to the politics of policymaking. The nature of the international system (post-World War II), the theoretical requirements for deterrence and defense, and alternative strategies for implementing American national security policy are discussed. The roles of the President, National Security Council, Department of Defense and armed services, the Congress, and public opinion in formulating national security policy are examined. Subject fulfills undergraduate public policy requirement in the major and minor. S. M. Meyer

17.483J US Military Power (Revised Content)

Examines the evolving roles and missions of US General Purpose Forces within the context of modern technological capabilities and Grand Strategy, which is a conceptual system of interconnected political and military means and ends. Topics include US Grand Strategies; the organization of the US military; the defense budget; and the capabilities and limitations of naval, air, and ground forces. Also examines the utility of these forces for power projection and the problems of escalation. Analyzes military history and simple models of warfare to explore how variations in technology and battlefield conditions can drastically alter effectiveness of conventional forces. 17.483 fulfills undergraduate public policy requirement in the major and minor. Graduate students are expected to explore the subject in greater depth. B. Posen, T. Postol

17.503 Language and Politics (New)

Explores the multiple roles that language plays in politics and the study of politics. Themes covered: the place of language in political action (can speaking itself be a form of political action?); linguistic relativism and political reality (are political views shaped by the language one speaks?); language as a political resource (how is language used as an instrument of both domination and resistance?); language and concealment (what are the roles of truth, lying, and jargon in politics?); and the language of political inquiry (what is required of a language of scientific research?). Graduate students are expected to explore the subject in greater depth. F. Schaffer

17.507 Democratization and Democratic Breakdown

Examines the dynamics of regime change, both transitions to democracy and the collapse of democratic systems. Readings focus on several case studies, from the collapse of democracy in Weimar Germany to political transition in Mexico today, that help to illustrate broader theoretical issues. Graduate students are expected to explore the subject in greater depth through reading and individual research. C. Lawson

17.51 Politics, Economics, and Democracy

Surveys the major types of democratic institutions, including parliamentary and presidential regimes, federal and unitary systems, coalition governments, and several other important distinctions. Explores the implications of these institutional arrangements for stability, good government, and economic development. J. Rodden

17.53 Democratization in Asia, Africa, and Latin America

Recent years have seen an astonishing spread of democracy to many Asian, African, and Latin American countries. Subject explores the causes of these dramatic political transitions; the challenges democratizing countries in the Third World face; and the question of whether these new democracies will endure. Subject explores these questions using film, fiction, popular journalism, and scholarly research as a basis for discussion. Focus on a small number of countries (Brazil, Mexico, Sri Lanka, India, Singapore, Senegal, and Nigeria) allows exploration of relevant topics in greater depth. F. Schaffer, C. Lawson

17.919 Declassify This! The Secret History of the United States

Reading and discussion of special topics in the field of social science. What Uncle Sam didn't want you to know: Study of United States foreign and domestic policy through declassified documents. Topics may include the motivations and methods of U.S. foreign policy in Latin America, the Middle East, Indonesia, Vietnam, Afghanistan, as well as domestic political repression (such as Cointelpro). Lecturers include Prof. Noam Chomsky and many local academics and activists. Classes will cover background material, and students will do original research on declassified documents. There will be weekly discussions and project presentations by the students, as well as potential publication of student projects. Monday-Thursday classes will be lectures and Friday will be discussion and research progress report back. Brice Smith. (See also:


11.018 Solving the Infrastructure Crisis

Examines the influence of infrastructure planning and development on cities and regions. Identifies the political, physical, and economic forces that influence the construction (and maintenance) of roads, bridges, water and sewer lines, etc. Considers different strategies for repairing crumbling infrastructure, including privatization.

11.123 Big Plans

Explores social, technological, political, economic, and cultural implications of ``Big Plans'' in the urban context. Local and international case studies (such as Boston's Central Artery and Curitiba, Brazil's bus transit system) are used to understand the process of making major changes to the city fabric. The efficacy of top-down and bottom-up planning and the applicability of planning strategies across cultural boundaries are considered.

14.42 Environmental Policy and Economics

Evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of different ways in which the government can act to protect the environment: pollution standards, marketable rights, taxes, and citizen empowerment. Emphasis on economic analysis, but also compares other policy perspectives including law and politics.

14.54 International Trade

Introduction to the theory of international trade and finance with applications to current policy issues.

14.64 Labor Economics and Public Policy

Theory and evidence concerning the functioning of the labor market. Particular emphasis on the roles played by government and institutions. Topics include minimum wages, labor market effects of social insurance and welfare programs, the collective bargaining relationship, discrimination, human capital, and unemployment. J. Angrist

14.74 Foundations of Development Policy

Explores the foundations of policy making in developing countries. Goal is to spell out various policy options and to quantify the trade-offs between them. Special emphasis on education, health, gender, fertility, adoption of technological innovation, and the markets for land, credit, and labor. K. Basu

14.75J Theories of Economic Development

Focus on alternative approaches to one basic question of why some countries are rich and others poor. Reviews growth theory and the corresponding evidence, goes on to examine approaches to under-development which stress failure in assets and labor markets, and concludes with a discussion of approaches based on the political economy of developing countries. A. Banerjee

21A.336 Globalization: From Mercantilism to Microchips

Examines economic, social, and cultural impacts of globalization on people living in different parts of the world. Explores the dynamics of globalization both historically and in the present, focusing on such contemporary phenomena as the impact of new technologies in Nigeria, Tibet, and the US; changes in the daily lives of workers in Java and Silicon Valley; and the dynamics of cultural encounters, as experienced by immigrants in France, tourists in the Amazon, and baseball players in Tokyo. C. Walley


11.020 Poverty, Public Policy, and Controversy

Introductory subject to the study of poverty in the United States, viewed from an international perspective. Much social controversy in the 1990s has been concerned with how society should respond to poverty, race, and the related issues of the politics of welfare, out-of-wedlock births, homelessness, crime, and drugs. Subject investigates how particular research findings are brought to controversies. Examines both knowledge about poverty and related behaviors from social science research and how this knowledge is incorporated into public discourse and politics. Experience of other countries is introduced to make explicit the assumptions on which American approaches to poverty are based. M. Rein

11.166 Law, Social Movements, and Public Policy

Examines the role that courts and grassroots groups play in shaping public policy, at the global level and in selected countries. Primary focus on the impact of the relationship between courts and grassroots activism, on current issues like trade, environmental regulation, and human rights enforcement. In addition to recent international public policy institutional processes including the World Trade Organization and the World Bank, case studies from key countries like the US and India are examined. Introduction to theoretical frameworks from legal and social movement theories applied to court opinions, legislation, treaties, law-related articles, and policy-oriented materials. B. Rajagopal

11.122 Environment and Society

Examines the environment and social impacts of industrial society with a focus on the regulation of pollution, eliminating sweatshops, urbanization, and new risks. Analysis of current and emerging policies and programs that seek to respond to environmental problems, including governmental, private sector, and non-governmental responses through policies, plans, and campaigns. D. O'Rourke

17.509 Social Movements in Comparative Perspective

Subject explores why people join mass political organizations and social movements; what accounts for the ultimate success or failure of these organizations; how social movements have altered political parties and institutions. Critically considers a range of theoretical treatments and a variety of national cases. Graduate students are expected to pursue the subject in greater depth through reading and individual research. M. Nobles

17.513J Human Rights and Political Trials

Explores ways in which politics and international human rights norms intersect in the international courtroom. Students become familiar with human rights standards, with a focus on gender-based discrimination. Examination of international juridical institutions and the characteristics and limitations of public adversarial proceedings. Consideration of historic as well as current conflicts. M. Burnham

17.523 Ethnicity and Race in World Politics

Ethnic and racial conflict appear to be the hallmark of the new world order. What accounts for the rise of ethnic/racial and nationalist sentiments and movements? What is the basis of ethnic and racial identity? What are the political claims and goals of such movements and is conflict inevitable? Introduces students to dominant theoretical approaches to race, ethnicity, and nationalism, and considers them in light of current events in Africa, Europe, and the Americas. M. Nobles


21F.701 Spanish I

Introduction to understanding, speaking, reading, and writing Spanish. Maximal use of fundamentals of grammar in active communication. Audio- and video-based language laboratory program coordinated with and supplemented to class work. M. Ribas Groeger

21F.702 Spanish II

Increased practice in listening comprehension, reading, and group interaction A. GutiÈrrez Gonz·lez

21F.703 Spanish III

Aims at consolidation and expansion of skills in listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. Uses short stories and other readings, Hispanic television programs, and interactive video to study issues of current interest in Hispanic culture. D. Morgenstern

21F.704 Spanish IV

Continued study of the language, literature, and culture of Spanish-speaking countries. Materials are from Spain and Latin America and include films, short stories, novels, plays, poetry, and journalistic reports in various media. A. GutiÈrrez Gonz·lez, M. Ribas Groeger

21F.705 Oral Communication in Spanish

Gives students the necessary language skills to successfully employ Spanish in a variety of social situations. Focus on oral communication. Uses popular media for listening practice. Student projects involve reading, oral presentations, and classroom interaction. Emphasizes communication skills needed by students in engineering and management for work in Latin America or Spain. D. Morgenstern

21F.711 Advanced Spanish Conversation and Composition: Perspectives on Technology and Culture

Subject designed as a logical complement to Advanced Reading and Writing in Spanish. Unlike 21F.713, which focuses primarily on literary language, subject focuses on expository and journalistic writing that examines the social and cultural impact of science and technology in Hispanic societies. Topics considered are: family structure and community, personal identity, gender relations, relationship to natural world, value systems and religion, education and work-life. Ethical implications of technological decision-making also discussed. Improves oral and written skills through discussions of audiovisual materials, simulations, interviews, guided compositions, regular journal writing, and participation on an online forum. Readings include: journalistic reports, essays, and literary selections offering diverse perspectives. Taught in Spanish. M. Ribas Groeger

21F.712 Spanish Conversation and Composition

Systematic training in spoken and written skills to improve fluency and style. Oral reports by participants on individual topics. Discussions with native speakers, analyses of selected literary texts, periodicals, and Spanish-language media. D. Morgenstern

21F.713 Advanced Reading and Writing in Spanish

Students read and discuss works by authors from diverse quarters of Hispanic culture, consider basic problems of interpretation, improve their ability to read, discuss, and write about literary texts, and review advanced Spanish grammar. Materials for class discussion and composition include: Hispanic novels, novellas, short stories, plays, and poems. A. GutiÈrrez Gonz·lez; N. Wey-Gomez

21F.714 Spanish for Bilingual Students

Designed for students of Hispanic descent and raised in the US. Expands oral and written grammar study and increases contact with standard Spanish. Studies recent fiction and poetry as well as specific historical, social, economic, and political aspects of Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, and Cuban cultures. Many of the nonliterary readings are in English; class discussions in Spanish. D. Morgenstern

21F.716 Introduction to Contemporary Hispanic Literature

Studies important twentieth-century texts from Spain and Latin America that represent the principle fictional genres -- poetry, theatre, short story, and the novel. Includes works by Bombal, Lorca, Neruda, Vallejo, Machado, and GarcÌa M·rquez. Not offered Spring 2002. N. Wey-GÛmez, M. Resnick

21F.729 Making the Other Speak: Narratives From the Spanish Conquest of the New World

Explores how New World people might be thought to ``speak'' in key stories of Spain's colonization of America, and how individual and collective, Old and New World views shape these stories. Selections include: Columbus on the Discovery; Cortes on his conquest of Mexico; Sahagún's Indian informants on Mexico's fall; Las Casas on the unlawfulness of Spain's expansionism; Cabeza de Vaca on shipwreck and survival; Cieza, Garcilaso, and various Andean chroniclers on the conquest of Peru; and Ursua on Aguirre's search for El Dorado. Includes some cinematic versions. Students asked to reflect on the relationship among storytelling, ideology, and historical truth. N. Wey-GÛmez

21F.730 Twentieth-Century Hispanic American Literature

Concentrates on the classics of this century, with a few surprises: Quiroga's and Borges' short stories, poetry by Vallejo and Neruda, Teresa de la Parra's Las memorias de Mama Blanca, Rulfo's Pedro P·ramo, GarcÌa M·rquez's Cien aÒos de soledad, and more. E. Garrels

21F.735 Advanced Topics in Hispanic Literature and Film

Close study of a cluster of works reflecting a theme, a grouping of authors, or a historical period not covered in depth in other subjects taught in Spanish. N. Wey-GÛmez

21F.736 The Short Story in Spain and Hispanic America

Studies the evolution of the short story in Spain and Hispanic America from the sixteenth century to the present. Considers the short story as a genre with unique possibilities for expression. Some semesters students write their own short stories in Spanish. Authors include: Borges, Cort·zar, Quiroga, Cervantes, Maria de Zayas, Emilia Pardo Baz·n, and Ana Lidia Vega. E. Garrels

21M.665 Theater of Latin America

Explores Latin America's cultural richness and socio-political diversity through the work of major Latin American playwrights. Students experience Latin American collective creation methods through classroom exercises. Subject is a blend of academic study and theatrical play. Students have the option of doing reading and writing assignments in Spanish. B. Cotto-Escalera

21M.851 Special Topics in Drama, Afro-Brazilian Dance

I. Oliviera

21F.010 Introduction to European and Latin American Fiction

Studies great works of European and Latin American fiction. Attention to a variety of forms including: the picaresque, epistolary, realist, naturalist, and magical realist fiction. Emphasizes ways in which the unique history of each country shaped the imaginative responses of its writers. Authors include: Cervantes, Laclos, Goethe, Mann, Dostoevsky, Flaubert, Zola, Unamuno, Wolf, GarcÌa M·rquez, and Allende. Taught in English. A. Bannerjee

21F.018 Topics in Bilingualism: Language, Culture, and Experience (Revised Content)

Topic for Spring 2002 is The Childhood Memoirs of Bilingual Writers. Explores the linguistic, historical, political, psychological, cultural, and literary aspects of bilingualism in the US and internationally. Examines the history of hegemonic languages and of linguistic and cultural resistance. Covers issues of immigration, exile, and borderlands. Focuses on the personal alienation and enrichment to which bilingualism leads, on generational conflict, and on the role language and culture play in the construction of identity. May be repeated for credit with permission of the instructor. Taught in English. I. de Courtivron

21F.020J After Columbus: Literature of Exploration, Exile, and Cultural Contact

Examines writing inspired by the experience of peoples brought into contact by the commercial, colonial, and military expansion of Europe beginning in 1492. Geographical and historical focus may vary, but always includes several literatures (e.g., colonial French, Anglo-American, South Asian, African, and Latin American) and non-English works read in translation. Readings vary from term to term, but include literary works (novels, poetry, and song lyrics) and non-fictional writing (diaries, historical accounts, and legal documents). S. Raman

21F.022J International Women's Voices (Revised Content)

Introduces students to a variety of fictional works by contemporary women writers. Subject's international perspective emphasizes the extent to which each author's work reflects her distinct cultural heritage and to what extent, if any, we can identify a female voice that transcends national boundaries. A variety of interpretive perspectives, including sociohistorical, psychoanalytic, and feminist criticism is used to examine the texts. Authors include: Mariama B‚ Isabel Allende, Anita Desai, Maxine Hong Kingston, Toni Morrison, Doris Lessing, Alifa Riyaat, Yang Jiang, Nawal Al-Saadawi, and Sawako Ariyoshi. Taught in English. M. Resnick

21F.028J Sex Roles in Fiction: Europe and Latin America (Revised Content)

Examines the representation of sexual roles in fiction. Studies works by European and Latin American authors in their cultural and historical contexts. Themes include: bourgeois women, women rebels, and redefinition of sex roles. Comparative analysis of works by de Laclos, MoliËre, Zola, Lorca, Wolf, Wittig, Machado de Assis, Colette, and Puig. Materials include: films by Godard, BuÒuel, Saura, M. v. Trotta. Taught in English M. Resnick

21F.053 Topics in Global Culture (Revised Content)

The globalization of capitalism, the proliferation of media and communications networks, and the increasing mobility of the world's population have in recent decades destabilized conventional notions of ethnicity and nationhood, redefined the meaning of community and led to the emergence of new hybridized forms of culture. Each year subject examines new forms of cultural production in a variety of media and discourses. Topic for Spring 2002: Redrawing the Borders: Nationhood, Ethnicity, and Artistic Commitment in Contemporary Africa and the Caribbean. Taught in English. O. Cazenave

21F.082 Contemporary US Hispanic Literature and Film: Lives in Translation

Examines the experience and dilemmas of Cubans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and other established and immigrant US Hispanic/Latino groups by studying recent writers and filmmakers. Topics include: marginality, transculturation, and acculturation in works such as Julia Alvarez's How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent, Gloria Anzaldua's Borderlands, Sandra Cisneros' Woman Hollering Creek, Jesus Colon's A Puerto Rican in New York, Oscar Hijuelos' The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, and Richard Rodriguez's Hunger of Memory. Includes TV series ``I Love Lucy'' and the film Mambo Kings. Taught in English. N. Wey-GÛmez

21F.222 Expository Writing for Bilingual Students

Formulating, organizing, and presenting ideas clearly in writing. Reviews basic principles of rhetoric. Focuses on development of a topic, thesis, choice of appropriate vocabulary, and sentence structure to achieve purpose. Develops idiomatic prose style. Gives attention to grammar and vocabulary usage. Special focus on strengthening skills of bilingual students. Successful completion satisfies Phase I of the Writing Requirement. P. Brennecke