(Fall 2013) NRS 295 Frankenstein's Dilemma: The Brain and Society (Rempel-Clower, 4 credits)
** ** Can count as elective credit for the Neuroscience, Policy Studies, and Technology Studies concentrations; can count as cognate credit toward the Biology major.
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, first published in London in 1818, was inspired by exciting advances in studying the nervous system and popularization of new scientific discoveries throughout Europe. In the early 19th century, science was a hot topic in classrooms and drawing rooms alike. Shelley's famous novel is a stunning reflection of that fascination, exploring as it does the angst of a society at once drawn to and repelled by the possibilities of science at the edge. This course will focus on how our understanding of the brain has influenced various aspects of society for 200 years and continues to today. Topics will include the neuroscience of love, trust, decision-making, stereotyping, and mental illness, and consideration of the interaction between neuroscience and medicine, public policy, ethics, economics, marketing, and education. Class periods will be a combination of lecture and discussion, with readings from both the popular media and science journals. The class will visit local science museums, neuroscience laboratories, and meet researchers engaged in many of the course topics. Prerequisites: none.