Thinking Matters Course Videos

Watch selected faculty describe their Thinking Matters course.


Cari Costanzo (Anthropology)

Abraham Verghese (Internal Medicine, School of Medicine)

This course introduces students to the idea that, viewed through the lens of medicine, the body is a text that offers clues to health and illness, yet such clinical readings are never entirely objective.  Students will look at how culture informs and distorts how we examine, accept, reject, and analyze our bodies.  Looking at literary, medical, ethical, and anthropological texts, the course asks how representations of the body affects the way we diagnose and experience illness, embody gender and racial identities, and understand our rights (or lack of rights) to control our own bodies. Students will critically examine and debate some of the most complex and sensitive issues surrounding the body, from the ethics of medical research trials to end of life decisions.

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Larry Diamond (Hoover Institution and FSI)

James Fishkin (Communication)

This course provides an overview of the challenges and aspirations facing ideals of democracy. It deals both with competing visions of what democracy might be, and their actual realization not only in the US but around the world. It will begin with the debate over the American founding and move eventually to the “third wave” of democratization around the world in the late 20th century as well as its more recent retrenchment.  The problems of democratic reform are continuing and recurrent around the world. Democratic institutions are subject to a living dialogue and we intend to engage the students in these debates—at the level of democratic theory and at the level of specific institutional designs.

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NPR article on deliberative polling

Stanford News Report