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CHID 490

CHID 490: Research Seminar is designed to help students conceive of, undertake, and finish significant research projects within the limited time of a single quarter. Each seminar will take up a broad theme around which the readings and research projects will be organized. This theme will change each quarter CHID 490 is offered. This class is designed to help students who are having a difficult time identifying a thesis topic.  This course counts for the CHID thesis requirement. 

CHID 490 courses being offered 2014-2015 academic year will be:  

CHID 490/ Autumn 2014

"Mapping Desire and Affect" - Instructor: Keith Harris (

This research seminar is intended to help facilitate the development and completion of an intensive research project over the course of one quarter. The completed project can either be applied toward the CHID thesis requirement or can serve as a stand-alone research project. Our central concern will be to determine how a sensitivity to the concepts of desire and affect might bolster the traditional forms of inquiry that are often limited to the discursive or representational realm: that is, for example, what is written in a text, uttered in an interview, framed in a photograph, or rendered in a painting. This course will engage with attempts from different disciplines ? anthropology, cultural and literary theory, education, geography, landscape architecture and urban design, media studies, and political science ? to work with desire and affect. Through a series of readings and discussions over the half of the quarter, we will both tangle with what scholars working in a Deleuzoguattarian lineage mean when they use these concepts, and explore emerging methodologies that strive to bring this conceptual framework to empirical studies of social collectives, spaces and places, and political movements. The second half of the quarter will be devoted to independent research, strategic discussions and small workshops meant to support the students in their individual endeavors.

 CHID 490/ Winter 2015

"Food for Thought" - Instructor: Dr. Nancy C. White (

CHID 490: Food for Thought is a seminar designed to allow students to produce substantial research projects within the limited time span of one quarter. To that end, students will examine the topic of food through a variety of lenses—food as sustenance in times of hardship, food as a way to bring family together, food as a source of childhood and childlike amazement, food as an economically and politically charged entity, food as a form of memoir, and food as a career (amongst others)—and will complete several assignments in order to build towards one significant piece of work, which they will present at a CHID thesis presentation in the final week of the quarter. Throughout the quarter, in addition to weekly readings and discussions, students will be asked to formulate and develop their projects with the help of their instructor and their peers.

The topic for the course—food—has been chosen because of its universality and significance. As humans, we must interact with food on a daily basis. Sometimes these interactions are commonplace and banal, but they can also be charged and difficult, satisfying and rewarding, or influential and life-changing. In this course, we will explore the decisions we make every day when we eat (as well as the decisions made for us) in order to think about where the food we eat comes from, how it gets to us, and who affects that journey.


"Vision & Violence" - Instructor Nara Hohensee (

This course will examine photography in the context of power and violence. We will look not only at images of violent events (such as war, terrorism, and torture), but also at ways in which the act of taking a photograph has been theorized as a violent act. We will spend the first half of the quarter doing intensive readings of texts and images, and students will begin to develop or further their own photography practice by creating reading responses via the medium of photography, and writing about this process. During the second half of the quarter, students will engage in an intensive research project on either a genre of photography, the documentation of a specific historical event, or a specific photographer. This research will culminate in each student producing his or her own set of photographs in response to this work, plus an artist statement which illuminates the connections between their research and the images they have created.

 That's the long version. Basically, you can tell them that the course will examine photography and violence, and that students will be making their own photographs throughout the course. So if they like to do creative things, or are interested in visual theory, the politics of representation, or even in issues of power and difference in general, this will be a great class for them.