This seminar will analyze the politics of abortion in the United States and around the world through social media, legal cases and legislative battles. Over the past three years, hundreds of laws have passed in various states restricting access to abortion. Social media plays a major role in shaping public discourse regarding this politically volatile issue. This seminar will analyze the Roe decision as well as the heated controversies which have grown up around the pro-life and pro-choice movements.
What is a photograph of HIV/AIDS? This Byrne Seminar explored the relationship between photography and HIV/AIDS. We began by considering how American photographers have constructed the “face of AIDS” since the 1980s. We asked questions: what enables such images to persuade, criticize, celebrate, educate, or produce a particular emotional response? As our conversations unfolded, the students came to a consensus that they wanted to raise awareness on campus about HIV/AIDS, not by disseminating facts but by sharing the questions they had with others.
What are the global geopolitical and policy implications of climate change? This seminar will introduce students to global climate change that is occurring in response to increasing levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases. After an introduction to the science of climate change, we will focus on potential future changes in water resources, both globally and in New Jersey, including the potential for increased floods and droughts, sea-level rise and coastal salt-water intrusion, and changes in groundwater reservoirs. Hands-on assignments will include learning about the sources of water in students’ hometowns, how the water is obtained and processed, and what local companies are doing to address climate change. This seminar may include a boat trip on the Raritan River and/or a field trip to a local water processing plant.
What is Ecology of the Jersey Shore? In this Bryne Seminar, students who love the beach learn what makes these ecosystems tick. The students engage with the professor and a graduate student in exploring how the New Jersey shore was formed, and what critters call it home. The course requires students to collect data from salt marshes and barrier islands during two day-long field trips. With the help of the instructors, they then visualize their data using standard software. Through this exercise, the students gain a fuller appreciation of the unique beauty and character of the shore.
Adventure is often associated with escaping community, leaving civilization, and “entering nature,” in part because of the common view that human beings are separate from nature. But in Professor Michael Rockland’s Byrne Seminar, students are challenged to assume the opposite: that the environment humans have built—including cities, highways, and even sewers—is a part of nature and also a place of adventure and wonder. Reading select chapters from books that explore the human built environment (including Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike and The George Washington Bridge: Poetry in Steel), students will learn to see the familiar world differently, to engage their imaginations in relation to their surroundings, and to have fun.