Seminars and Course Offerings

SPRING 2017

MBC 700/ANT 585: The Evolution of Childhood

Thursdays 5:30 - 8:30 pm

Mel Konner, PHD

Department of Anthropology 

Content:   This course will cover the evolutionary and anatomical foundations of psychological, especially social and emotional, development, as well as comparative socialization and cross-cultural varieties of enculturation. We will read the instructor’s new book on the subject, which has four major sections (evolution, maturation, socialization, enculturation) and a concluding section. Among the topics covered will be relevant parts of: life history theory, evolution of ontogeny, evolutionary developmental psychology, neural and neuroendocrine development from fetal life through puberty and parenthood, comparative socialization with an emphasis on primates and other mammals, early experience effects, stress responses in animal models and children, hunter-gatherer childhood as the human cultural baseline, cross-cultural comparisons of childhood and childrearing, theories of culture and personality, cultural evolution, human universals, and a proposed “culture acquisition device” common to all (normal) human brains and minds. Among the questions we will consider are: How did parent-offspring conflict figure in human evolution? What in social and emotional development depends as much or more on “postnatal neuroembryology” as on experience? How do socialization and enculturation differ? What are our legacies from mammalian, primate, ape, and earlier hominin development? Is “maternal sentiment” a human universal? Is culture unique to humans? How do genetic and cultural evolution interact? Are there commonalities of process at varied levels of analysis such as evolution, brain development, learning, socialization, and enculturation? And, finally, what are the unique features of human childhood?

Prerequisites: None.

Text:   Konner, Melvin. The Evolution of Childhood: Relationships, Emotion, Mind (Harvard University Press, 2010)

Additional Weekly readings: Journal articles to be determined. The text of the book was completed in 2009, and one key goal of the course will be to read studies and review papers bringing each topic up to date.

Requirements: Class participation, oral presentations, and a final paper. Written work should look critically at topics in the book and even argue with it.

MBC 600: Research Group Seminar

TBD
PAIS 464

Dietrich Stout, PhD
Lynne Nygaard, PhD

Center for Mind, Brain, & Culture 

Content: This is a one-credit course that meets monthly to discuss research topics and readings from a multidisciplinary perspective. Students will have the opportunity to nominate topics and readings and/or guest speakers. Students are required to complete two semesters of MBC 600, and may enroll in any two semesters prior to graduation. 

Particulars: Day and time will be determined by consensus.

MBC 797: Directed Reading and Research 

VARIES

Content: This is a variable-credit course that allows student pursuing the certificate in Mind, Brain, and Culture to engage in directed research and reading relevant to their course of study. 

Particulars: Permission is required for enrollment.

FALL 2017

MBC 501: Core Course in Multi-disciplinary Approaches to Mind, Brain, and Culture

Tuesdays 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm 
PAIS 464

Robert N. McCauley, PhD

Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture

Content: We are our own greatest mystery.  We, our brains, our minds, and our cultures remain the most complex things that we know of in the universe.  Scholars who study human brains, minds, and cultures have developed means for fathoming that complexity and for getting to the heart of questions about our identity. 

This seminar will examine two sorts of inquiries.  The first is a substantive inquiry -- to carry out a multi-disciplinary investigation of the species Homo sapiens and, this semester, an investigation of our penchant for religiosity and the resulting social systems that seem centered thereon.  The second is, basically, a philosophical inquiry -- to examine how readily the characteristic theories and research of different disciplines can (or cannot) be connected with one another in such multi-disciplinary inquiries.  This includes ascertaining conditions under which multi-disciplinary inquiries in science may evolve into inter-disciplinary inquiries. 

The substantive inquiry about Homo sapiens will approach our species generally and human religiosity, in particular, at a variety of levels, including the neural, the psychological, and the socio-cultural, and with a variety of methods, including, among others, the experimental, comparative, observational, and ethnographic.  Readings will look at being human through investigations of human brains, minds, and cultures either from a synchronic perspective or from diachronic perspectives or from both.  The seminar will include scrutiny of works from a variety of disciplines, such as neuroscience, anthropology (biological, psychological, and cultural), archaeology, psychology (cognitive, clinical, developmental, comparative, and evolutionary), and philosophy. 

The philosophical issue of how and why the relevant scientific disciplines hang together as complementary inquiries in the service of acquiring knowledge constitutes the seminar’s secondary project.  The readings, from the philosophy of science, will also provide analytical tools to guide reflection on the epistemological and metaphysical implications of the substantive readings in the seminar. 

Not even narrowly focused seminars presume to be comprehensive.  It goes without saying that a seminar, which undertakes as broad a set of inquiries as this one, does not involve such presumptions either.  The seminar is an introduction to multi-disciplinary inquiry about our species and to the underlying philosophical issues that such inquiries occasion.  Both the substantive and the philosophical readings are intended to be representative only. 


Particulars:  This course, offered every 3 or 4 semesters, is designed to (1) introduce students to the history and philosophy of science as it applies to the social, psychological, and brain sciences, (2) provide an overview of different types of disciplinary and methodological approaches to the study of mind, brain, and culture, and (3) highlight how exemplary research using approaches from different levels of analysis either converge or not but, in either case, provide  insights not readily gleaned from pursuing a single disciplinary perspective.  This semester’s focus will be on the multidisciplinary study of religiosity and religious systems.

This course is required for students seeking the Graduate Certificate in Mind, Brain, and Culture, however enrollment in the course is not confined to such students.   Other students are also welcome to enroll.  Certificate Program students are encouraged to complete this course prior to completion of electives when feasible.  All enrolled students will write a paper and take responsibility for facilitating the discussion of at least one reading. 

MBC 600: Research Group Seminar

TBA
PAIS 464


Dietrich Stout, PhD 

Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture

Content: This is a one-credit course that meets monthly to discuss research topics and readings from a multidisciplinary perspective. Students will have the opportunity to nominate topics and readings and/or guest speakers. Students are required to complete two semesters of MBC 600, and may enroll in any two semesters prior to graduation. 

Particulars: Day and time will be determined by consensus in early January.

MBC 797: Directed Reading and Research 

VARIES

Content: This is a variable-credit course that allows student pursuing the certificate in Mind, Brain, and Culture to engage in directed research and reading relevant to their course of study. 

Particulars: Permission is required for enrollment.

SPRING 2016

MBC 600: Research Group Seminar

Robert N. McCauley, PhD
Lynne C. Nygaard, PhD 

Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture

Content: This is a one-credit course that meets monthly to discuss research topics and readings from a multidisciplinary perspective. Students will have the opportunity to nominate topics and readings and/or guest speakers. Students are required to complete two semesters of MBC 600, and may enroll in any two semesters prior to graduation. 

Particulars: Day and time will be determined by consensus in mid-January.

MBC 700: Music, Mind, and Emotions

Richard Patterson, PhD 
Don Saliers, PhD

Content: Why is musical experience so valuable in human life—emotionally, socially, spiritually and even evolutionarily? Drawing on resources in psychology, philosophy, neuroscience and religion, this course identities and explores multiple factors that shape our experiences of music, with attention to neural and material underpinnings. Specific questions will include: What is emotion and are there"aesthetic" emotions? How does music arouse and/or express emotion? What role does music play in religious and spiritual desire and practice? How is music related to language and especially to poetry—rhythmic, prosodic and syntactic features of spoken language? Is music a cultural innovation or an evolutionary adaptation?

Texts: A. Patel, Language and the Brain; J. Robinson, Deeper than Reason: Emotion and Its Role in Literature, Music and Art; and significant essays and articles

Particulars: A distinctive feature of the course will be live sessions of musical performances (including Emory's Vega String Quartet), and special lectures by Aniruddh Patel and Jenefer Robinson.

Open to undergraduate and graduate students by permission of the instructor(s).

MBC 797: Directed Reading and Research 

VARIES

Content: This is a variable-credit course that allows student pursuing the certificate in Mind, Brain, and Culture to engage in directed research and reading relevant to their course of study. 

Particulars: Permission is required for enrollment.

FALL 2015

MBC 600: Research Group Seminar

TBA
PAIS 464


Robert N. McCauley, PhD
Lynne C. Nygaard, PhD 

Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture

Content: This is a one-credit course that meets monthly to discuss research topics and readings from a multidisciplinary perspective. Students will have the opportunity to nominate topics and readings and/or guest speakers. Students are required to complete two semesters of MBC 600, and may enroll in any two semesters prior to graduation. 

Particulars: Day and time will be determined by consensus in mid-January.

MBC 797: Directed Reading and Research 

VARIES

Content: This is a variable-credit course that allows student pursuing the certificate in Mind, Brain, and Culture to engage in directed research and reading relevant to their course of study. 

Particulars: Permission is required for enrollment.

SPRING 2015

MBC 600: Research Group Seminar

TBA
PAIS 464


Robert N. McCauley, PhD
Lynne C. Nygaard, PhD 

Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture

Content: This is a one-credit course that meets monthly to discuss research topics and readings from a multidisciplinary perspective. Students will have the opportunity to nominate topics and readings and/or guest speakers. Students are required to complete two semesters of MBC 600, and may enroll in any two semesters prior to graduation. 

Particulars: Day and time will be determined by consensus in mid-January.

FALL 2014

MBC 501: Core Course in Multi-disciplinary Approaches to Mind, Brain, and Culture

Tuesdays 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm 
PAIS 464

Robert N. McCauley, PhD
Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture

Content: This course, offered every other fall, is designed to (1) introduce students to the history and philosophy of science as it applies to the social, psychological, and brain sciences, (2) provide an overview of different types of disciplinary and methodological approaches to the study of mind, brain, and culture, and (3) highlight how exemplary research using approaches from different levels of analysis converge to provide synthesis and insights not readily gleaned from examining a single disciplinary perspective.

Particulars: Students planning to complete the Certificate Program are encouraged to enroll in this course prior to completion of electives when feasible.

MBC 600: Research Group Seminar

TBA
PAIS 464


Robert N. McCauley, PhD
Lynne C. Nygaard, PhD 

Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture
Content: This is a one-credit course that meets monthly to discuss research topics and readings from a multidisciplinary perspective. Students will have the opportunity to nominate topics and readings and/or guest speakers. Students are required to complete two semesters of MBC 600, and may enroll in any two semesters prior to graduation. 

Particulars: Day and time will be determined by consensus in early September.

MBC 700: Mapping Memory: History, Culture, and the Brain

Cross-listed with CPLT 751 and ILA 790
Tuesdays 1:00 - 4:00 pm
422 Woodruff Library 

Angelika Bammer, PhD 
Hazel Gold, PhD

Content: This seminar explores the relationship between history (events that happened) and memory (how we remember those events) to explore the complex dynamics between past and present. How does the past shape how we live our present and how does the present, in turn, affect how we know the past? Why do we remember some aspects of the past and forget others? Is there an ethics to remembering and forgetting that we control? How are memories passed across generations and are they still memories when they become stories? We will explore questions like these through a range of diverse materials from the arts (film, literature, photography, music), humanities (history, cultural studies), social sciences (sociology, anthropology), and the biological and medical sciences (psychology, cognitive neuroscience). Through dialogue and collaboration across these different fields students will engage one another in discussions about methods, materials, rules of evidence that are normative in their fields, but don’t necessarily translate easily into the work of other disciplines. In this way, this course will function as a kind of virtual lab for the kind of interdisciplinary and collaborative work that the study of memory arguably calls for.

Texts: Daniel Schacter’s Searching for Memory: The Brain, the Mind, and the Past will serve as a framework for our inquiry. All other materials will be made available online through Emory’s library reserve system. They will involve selections from among the following: (1) Memory and Trauma Studies (P. Connerton, C. Caruth, F. Yates, J. Young, R. Terdiman, M. Hirsch, N. Fresco, F. Nietzsche, J. Derrida, A. Margalit, P. Nora, M. Halbwachs); (2) Literature and the Arts(J.L. Borges, C. Friedman, P. Levi, D. DeLillo, J. Cercas, M. Mellibovsky, H. Kore-eda, G. del Toro, A. Folman, G. Kofman, S. Reich, J. Adams, D. McCullin, L. Saltzman, Sh. Attie, K. Walker, M. Lin, J. Gibbons, Z. Libera, D. Levinthal); (3) Psychology and Neuroscience (L. Barsalou, R. Fivush, S. Freud, D. Laub, R. Buckner & M. Wheeler, Ch. Menzel, S. Zola, L. Carver & P. Bauer).

Particulars:
A. Each week, students will submit a brief (c. 250 word) response to that week’s materials, identifying the primary issue at stake and focusing on one of the texts to define (a) the problem addressed; (b) the methods and materials used to address it; (3) the findings/outcome that result. The response will include the student’s assessment of the usefulness and/or success of the study in question.
B. Once during the semester, students will team up with others in the class to prepare a framework for that week’s discussion, drawing on the materials assigned for that week.
C. Over the course of the semester, students will work collaboratively to design an interdisciplinary research project that addresses a problem of memory pertinent to the framework of the class. Each team will identify the problem their project addresses (which should be of sufficient scope and/or complexity to sustain a team-based, collaborative inquiry), the methods and materials used to address it (including how and why this particular problem calls for, and stands to benefit from, an interdisciplinary approach), and the projected outcome (including a critical assessment of the range of methods and materials used). Each student will contribute to the project from the vantage point of her/his particular field of specialization and will be responsible for executing a discrete part of the project in line with their training and expertise. This contribution can take any number of forms, from a scientific experiment through a creative art work or podcast to a conventional research paper. The course will conclude with a public presentation of these research projects.

SPRING 2014

MBC 600: Research Group Seminar

TBA
PAIS 464


Robert N. McCauley, PhD
Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture

Lynne C. Nygaard, PhD
Department of Psychology


Content: This is a one-credit course that meets monthly to discuss research topics and readings from a multidisciplinary perspective. Students will have the opportunity to nominate topics and readings and/or guest speakers. Students are required to complete two semesters of MBC 600, and may enroll in any two semesters prior to graduation. 

Particulars: Day and time will be determined by consensus in early September.

MBC 700: Religion and Science: Cognitive Foundations

Thursdays, 10:00 am until 1:00 pm
PAIS 464


Robert N. McCauley, PhD

Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture

Content: This interdisciplinary seminar will examine the relationship of religion and science from a somewhat unusual angle, since it will consider the cognitive (and cultural) foundations of these two human activities.  This is another way of asking perennial questions about human nature as we inquire about which of these two activities seems to be more deeply rooted in what look to be our natural cognitive dispositions, and, conversely, as we inquire about which of the two seems to depend on more elaborate and extensive cultural support.  Answers to those questions have interesting implications  (a) for some of the long-recognized conflicts between religion and science (at least since the time of Galileo) and  (b) for assessing which of the two poses the greater threat to the persistence of the other.  The seminar will include discussions of works by scholars from a variety of disciplines, including anthropology, archaeology, biology, philosophy, religion, and psychology (cognitive, clinical, developmental, social, comparative, and evolutionary), and I hope that the disciplinary backgrounds of the seminar's participants will prove just as diverse.  No one including me (most assuredly) is an expert in all of these areas.  Everyone will have opportunities to help all of the other participants fathom texts from disciplines with which they are unfamiliar.

Texts: Religion Explained, Pascal Boyer

Other readings will arise from the following books:
The Adapted Mind, Jerome H. Barkow, Leda Cosmides, John Tooby (editors)
Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not, Robert N. McCauley
Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not, Robert N. McCauley
The Prehistory of the Mind, Steven Mithen
Conjectures and Refutations, Karl Popper
Explaining Culture, Dan Sperber
The Unnatural Nature of Science, Lewis Wolpert

In addition, the seminar will include other required and supplementary readings that will be available electronically through Woodruff Library.  These will include works from such anthropologists as Robin Dunbar and Harvey Whitehouse, such cognitive psychologists as Michael McCloskey, Kevin Dunbar, Daniel Kahneman, Amos Tversky, Ryan Tweney, and Peter Wason, such comparative psychologists as Frans de Waal, such development psychologists as Alison Gopnik, Christine Legare, Andrew Meltzoff, such evolutionary psychologists as Denise Cummins and Merlin Donald, such social psychologists as Ara Norenzayan, such philosophers as Peter Carruthers, Jerry Fodor and Steven Stich, such scholars of religion as Walter Burkert, E. Thomas Lawson, Ilkka Pyysiäinen, and Uffe Schjoedt, and such polymaths as Robert Hinde.

Particulars: Of a piece with the interdisciplinary character of this seminar, all participants will be asked to take some responsibility for facilitating discussions of readings during the semester.  Graduate students taking the seminar for a grade will write a longer final paper.  Graduate students taking the seminar S/U can either write a longer final paper or write a shorter paper and take responsibility for facilitating discussions of at least two different reading assignments. 

FALL 2013

MBC 600: Research Group Seminar

TBA
PAIS 464


Robert N. McCauley, PhD
Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture

Lynne C. Nygaard, PhD
Department of Psychology


Content: This is a one-credit course that meets monthly to discuss research topics and readings from a multidisciplinary perspective. Students will have the opportunity to nominate topics and readings and/or guest speakers. Students are required to complete two semesters of MBC 600, and may enroll in any two semesters prior to graduation. 

Particulars: Day and time will be determined by consensus in early September.

SPRING 2013

MBC 600: Research Group Seminar

TBA
PAIS 464


Laura L. Namy, PhD
Department of Psychology

Content: This is a one-credit course that meets monthly to discuss research topics and readings from a multidisciplinary perspective. Students will have the opportunity to nominate topics and readings and/or guest speakers. Students are required to complete two semesters of MBC 600, and may enroll in any two semesters prior to graduation. 

Particulars: Day and time will be determined by consensus in early January.

FALL 2012

MBC 501: Core Course in Multi-disciplinary Approaches to Mind, Brain, and Culture

Tuesdays 10:00 am - 1:00 pm 
PAIS 464


Robert N. McCauley, PhD
Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture

Content: This course, offered every other fall, is designed to (1) introduce students to the history and philosophy of science as it applies to the social, psychological, and brain sciences, (2) provide an overview of different types of disciplinary and methodological approaches to the study of mind, brain, and culture, and (3) highlight how exemplary research using approaches from different levels of analysis converge to provide synthesis and insights not readily gleaned from examining a single disciplinary perspective.

Particulars: Students planning to complete the Certificate Program are encouraged to enroll in this course prior to completion of electives when feasible.

MBC 600: Research Group Seminar

TBA
PAIS 464


Robert N. McCauley, PhD
Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture

Content: This is a one-credit course that meets monthly to discuss research topics and readings from a multidisciplinary perspective. Students will have the opportunity to nominate topics and readings and/or guest speakers. Students are required to complete two semesters of MBC 600, and may enroll in any two semesters prior to graduation. 

Particulars: Day and time will be determined by consensus in early September.

MBC 700: Race, Brain, and Psychoanalysis

Cross-listed with ILA 790, IDS 385, PSP 789
Wednesdays 1:00 - 4:00 pm
Emerson Hall E101


Sander Gilman, PhD
Department of Psychiatry 


Content:The course will examine how neurology (brain science) was central in shaping psychoanalysis and psychiatry in the 19th and early 20th centuries and how it impacted its critical relationship to biological models of race.  The first half of the course will read Freud on race and mind; the second half will examine the impact of psychoanalytic theories and models of race in response to Nazi Germany (Reich and Adorno), South Africa (Sachs), France (Fanon), and the United States from ‘Brown vs. the Board of Education’ to the 1990s.

Texts:
William Cross, Shades of Black: Diversity in African American Identity (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991) 
Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (New York: Grove Press, 1967)
Sigmund Freud/ Wilhelm Fliess, The Complete Letters of  Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess:  1887-1904, ed. J.M. Masson(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986) 
Sander L. Gilman, Freud, Race, and Gender (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995)
Joel Kovel, White Racism: A Psychohistory (Columbia University Press, 1984, paper)
Wulf Sachs, Black Hamlet (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, paper).
Elizabeth Young-Bruehl, The Anatomy of Prejudices (Cambridge:  Harvard University Press, 1996)