Ethics and Fairness

Courses in this cluster will examine the multifaceted ways in which surveillance impacts privacy and individual freedoms, the art of concealment in personal and public spheres, and the role of spectacle in shaping our understanding of the world around us.

Course Descriptions

CC103: Mathematics, Fairness, and Social Choice

Instructor: Beth Malmskog
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Formal Reasoning & Logic
CRN# 15386
Block: 1

What is the best or most fair way to make choices as a group? How can we quantify or measure fairness? Can we mathematically describe power and equity? How can mathematics play a role in identifying and combatting gerrymandering? This course will consider these questions and hopefully generate many more. We study how mathematicians have attempted to understand fairness and power, how mathematics underlies important aspects of voting and representation, and how math can help illuminate many important social and political issues. Topics: Fairness, Gerrymandering, Voting Systems, Arrow’s Theorem, Apportionment, Power, and additional topics as time allows.

Potential field trip to meet legislators.

CC120: Failure

Instructor: Adam Light
CRN# 15387
Block: 3

Failure is at the heart of science. Experiments whose results are consistent with expectations do little to challenge our views, practices, culture, or boundaries. Nevertheless, we operate in competitive systems with success-based metrics, participate in culture that elevates those who are deemed successful, and often judge ourselves harshly when we fail. This course will explore what it means to fail and how we tell the story of failure, particularly in the field of physics. Who writes the stories? When and how is failure justifiably framed as success? How can we think and communicate about failing in healthy and productive ways? In the process of considering these questions, we will investigate a variety of scientific genres, texts, and practices. We will also embark on independent projects for students to practice the process of failure and communicate about their work.

At least one evening or afternoon performance to attend.


CC105: The Science and Ethics of Genome Editing

Instructor: Darrell Killian
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Scientific Analysis
CRN# 15388
Block: 1

Recent technological advances have empowered scientists with molecular tools that facilitate the modification of the blueprints of life¬—the genomes within living organisms. Students in this course will learn about the science behind genome editing by performing genome-editing experiments in the context of addressing a biological research question. Students will learn about how scientists use (or plan to use) genome-editing technology for applications such as biotechnology, gene-edited foods, pest control, and gene therapy. With such vast applications, genome editing has raised important questions about its ethical use. Students will be challenged to consider the possible benefits, alternative approaches, and unintended negative consequences of genome editing. Meets requirements for Learning Across the Liberal Arts: Scientific Analysis; not intended for Molecular Biology majors.

This course includes a wet lab component and students can expect to have afternoon lab time commitments on about 4-5 days of the block.

CC120: Russia: An Introduction to the Language, the Literature, and the Film

Instructor: Alexei Pavlenko
CRN# 15389
Block: 2

CC120 Russia: Introduction to the Language, the Literature, and the Film is an emphasis-on-writing course focused on exploring and practicing written expression through an analysis of Russian culture, particularly its literature and film. By the end of this course students will be able to demonstrate in their research essays a contextualized understanding of samples of Russia’s prominent writers, film directors, and politicians, as well as a familiarity with Russian intellectual movements from 1840s to the present.


CC106: Markets and Morality (I)

Instructor: Dan Johnson
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Societies and Human Behavior
CRN# 15390
Block: 1

As the social science devoted to decision-making, economics is a mathematical analysis of how to optimize outcomes. But how do we make choices when the yardstick isn’t obvious? How do we assess outcomes that are more moral than financial, more holistic than quantitative? Even more challenging, how do humans interact effectively when we don’t agree on how to assess the outcomes, or don’t even agree on the value systems we might use to evaluate the outcomes? This course is about how we make economic decisions, but more importantly it is about how we think about our own morality and the morality of those around us as we make decisions together. So each day we will advance your knowledge of the core principles of economic theory while reflecting on them critically to ascertain their implicit cultural assumptions (and therefore, also our own positionality as scholars and citizens). Our conversations will range from the historical to the contemporary, from the micro to the macro, from the theoretical to the intensely practical (including Excel skills, policy proposals, and innovation/creative thinking).

CC120: Markets and Morality (II)

Instructor: Dan Johnson
CRN# 15391
Block: 2

In this writing-intensive sequel to CC106: Markets and Morality I, we will explore how micro-level behaviors affect macro-level outcomes. We will explore how economic policy works (and how it doesn’t), the inevitability of difficult tradeoffs, and most importantly, how to write a policy proposal to empower social change. We will focus on identifying and describing specific imperfections in the world, ranging from social injustice to environmental concerns, then learn how to communicate effectively in order to inspire, educate, and create prototypes while respecting the importance of inertia, context and cultural norms. We will learn how to use disciplinary forms of communicating, from writing to spreadsheet skills, to convey our messages.


Report an issue - Last updated: 06/16/2023