First-Year Program Fall Course Descriptions | St. Lawrence University First-Year Program

First-Year Program Fall Course Descriptions

Fall 2019

London College
I Was a Teenage Teenager: A Study of Teen Culture
Abroad: London
Alternately feared and revered by adult society, teens have consistently been the topic of considerable research and debate.  If they are neither children nor adults, then what, exactly, are they?  In this course, we will investigate what factors of the 20th century conspired to create something altogether new in that tenuous space between childhood and adulthood: the teen.  A central focus for the course will be on the concept of teenagers as perceived in both Britain and the United States, and we will regularly examine the similarities and differences between the two subcultures. Using a variety of British and American media, texts, music, films, fads, and fashion, from the 1940s through the early 21st century, we will also explore the evolution of “the teenager,” in an attempt to understand this unique social invention and its impact on Western popular culture and society. From sock hops to punk protests; zoot suits to parachute pants; Walkmans to cellphones – teens have developed a distinct and memorable voice. In what ways will their experiences speak to yours?  This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.

If you are interested in learning more about the London FYP College please contact: CIIS Office: Karen Smith, Associate Director of Off-Campus Programs - Questions about eligibility, program logistics, and other off-campus opportunities. Students admitted to St. Lawrence are able to apply to the London FYP on-line. Applications are due by Wednesday, May 22, 2019 and students will be notified of acceptance before they arrive in August. A link to the application can be found on the CIIS website

Please complete the FYP College Preference Form, which will appear on your Application Status Page around mid-April.

Children's Literature and its Life-Long Lessons: from Wonderland to Diagon Alley (CBL)
Strong claims have been made regarding the power and influence of children’s books.  Alison Lurie, for example, suggests that they provide “…other views of human life besides those of the shopping mall and the corporation.”  Sherman Alexie believes “…the age at which you find the book with which you truly identify determines the rest of your reading life.” Are stories for children a delightful distraction—or powerful forces that shape the adults we become?  Much like the lemonade stand at the end of the driveway that first taught us how to turn a profit, stories teach us life lessons while engaging our imaginations.  In this class, we will examine how literature for children can both reflect and shape culture through its depiction of families, animals, and even historical events.  We will also explore the ways these depictions have been expressed, from allegory to fantasy to realist fiction.  Eventually, you will create your own piece of children’s literature, using what you have learned in the class to make purposeful decisions about its shape and its content. This course includes an experiential learning component known as Community Based Learning (CBL). The CBL component will require students to participate in a community placement off-campus, and outside of class time, on a weekly basis throughout the semester; on average students can expect to spend at least two hours per week in the community over the course of the semester. This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

African Myth and Reality
Popular portrayals of Africa and the people who live there are often clouded by myths and stereotypes. Images of untouched landscapes filled with wild animals, "tribal violence" and endemic disease dominate many everyday conversations about the world’s second largest continent. But how have these contemporary descriptions been historically produced? And who is responsible for their production? This course will require students to consider the representation of Africa and Africans in a range of cultural texts from feature films, television documentaries and artworks to novels, travel writing and newspapers. Students will gain not only an understanding of the changing historical image of Africa from beyond the continent's borders, but also pay particular attention to the important role Africans themselves have played in shaping and combating these notions. This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

Taking it to the Streets: Art Activism in Graffiti and Street Art
This course will explore links between resistance movements and some key elements of letter-based graffiti and character-based street art. The primary intention of this course is to initiate a dialogue about the historical impacts that both graffiti and street art have had in many activist movements and underline the works’ functions for the artists, the viewers, and the city as a whole. Beginning with a historical review of subway and train graffiti, we will move into a discussion about the criminalization of these art practices, the evolution in contemporary urban art practices within the context of their locations, and the power behind these messages. We will work towards comparing the different uses of graffiti and street art in resistance-based movements on an international scale and develop a language to help discuss the realities of working within these mediums. Over the course of the semester, students will have the opportunity to make art in a few different mediums and to meet with some practicing artists. This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

Silent Seasons: Human Impacts on Our Natural World
This course explores the themes of environmental sustainability and responsible living. We will examine the impacts that human activities have on the environment, and consider them from a variety of perspectives, including scientific, economic, and cultural. Our principal text is Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, often credited for sparking environmental awareness. We will discuss this book within its historical context, and also consider its relationship to other environmental issues. The course includes fieldtrips to nearby wildlife centers, farms, and fish hatcheries. This course also provides a foundation of important college-level skills, including study strategies, oral and written communication skills, and critical thinking. Students will also make connections to a cohort of peers who share similar interests in the natural world.  This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

Peace Begins with Me (CBL)
By spending approximately 2 hours a week at local, off-campus social service agencies or other sites, students will enrich their exploration of our course’s core questions:  What does "peace" mean?  How might we, even in our everyday lives, help to create a culture of peace and compassion?  We will read about peace, non-violence, and compassion and consider moral doctrines advocating alternatives to violence.  We'll scrutinize examples of nonviolent social and political movements and consider advice for resolving conflicts from the interpersonal to international levels and building a positive peace.  Experiential components of our course will have us practicing mindfulness and meditation and engaging in other contemplative exercises as means for achieving focus and self-awareness, as well as connection with others. This course includes an experiential learning component known as Community Based Learning (CBL). The CBL component will require students to participate in a community placement off-campus, and outside of class time, on a weekly basis throughout the semester; on average students can expect to spend at least two hours per week in the community over the course of the semester. This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

The Pen & The Knife: Poetry and Printmaking
If you want to make original art, this course is for you. You’ll be learning how to make woodblock prints—which you’ll carve and critique—and about creative writing—which you’ll draft and workshop. You’ll keep a sketchbook for daily practice at the serious play that goes into making art. You’ll spend time at the Brush Gallery and the library’s Special Collections learning to analyze and write about images and poems. At the end of the semester, you’ll formally present your own work in public. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.

Great Debates in Physics
All First Year Program courses share the goals of helping students to begin to acquire the intellectual habits of mind, the writing, and the speaking skills that are central to a liberal arts education.  In this particular course we will focus on these habits and skills as they pertain to the practice of science.  How do scientists communicate and why?  We will encourage you to think more deeply about your interest in physics, and science in general, by examining controversies, both within science and between the scientific community and the larger society. Examples of controversies include: is light a wave or a particle? Should scientists believe in atoms they cannot see? Should electricity be transmitted via direct or alternating current? How vulnerable is the electric grid to space-weather?  Should we use federal research funds to support the search for extraterrestrial intelligence?  Is cold fusion real?  Does evidence support the claim that climate change is caused by human activity?  We will all bring to bear our critical thinking skills and scientific reasoning, including investigating the physical world through lab activities, to help us think through the evidence invoked in these questions. In the process, we will help you develop successful learning strategies for all of your college-level courses.  Written and oral assignments will expose you to various kinds of scientific literature, develop your capacity to communicate scientific information clearly for different audiences, and teach you to formulate arguments based on various kinds of evidence.  This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

Lord of Fantasy: J. R. R. Tolkien and the Creation of Middle-earth
This course will explore J. R. R. Tolkien’s imagined world of Middle-earth through The Lord of the Rings and other writings, while also placing his creative work within the context of the real world in which he lived. Through historical investigation of twentieth-century Britain and Europe, literary analysis of his novels, and exploration of his personal life, religious beliefs, and scholarship in Medieval cultures, we will gain a rich understanding of Tolkien and his work.  Please note that this course is focused on Tolkien’s novels, not Peter Jackson’s movies (although we might spend a little time on the movies toward the end of the semester). This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

Reading, Writing, Prison: Essays and Discussion on Corrections Today
Based on the “Inside-Out” Prison Exchange model, this course is an opportunity for a small group of first year students from St. Lawrence University and a group of residents of the Riverview Correctional Facility to study together.  The “outside” students (SLU students) will travel to, and meet in, the Riverview Correctional Facility Educational wing of the prison twice a week with the “inside students.”  You will gain a deeper understanding of the contemporary criminal justice system – the correctional system– and its social impacts.  Participants will read contemporary literary nonfiction as a means of understanding potential causes of crime, and the social implications of punishment, with special attention given to concepts of power, context, opportunity and choice.  A primary goal will be facilitate trust and create a community amongst class members.  These two characteristics – trust in each other, and connection /community – once established, will help us exchange our ideas and experiences, while remaining open to being persuaded by each other to change our minds about how corrections operates.  This course, situated in the First Year Program, has the additional goals of helping participants attain college-level proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking. This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

Scientific Discovery
Science provides both understanding of our universe and solutions to practical problems. We will explore broad scientific ideas that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. Moving through the scientific process, we will see how research builds from an initial concept to reach publications, patents, or products. Research and discovery processes vary between scientific fields; we will examine disciplinary differences, as well as the bridges formed by interdisciplinary approaches. We will also explore writing and reporting styles and special topics such as scientific ethics, entrepreneurship, and funding of research. This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

What’s That Sound?
When Buffalo Springfield sang “stop, children, what’s that sound? Everybody look what’s going down” in 1966, the song “For What It’s Worth” became an anthem of the tumultuous political and social change of the sixties. This class is centered on the question that Stephen Stills posed: what is “that sound,” and what role does sound have in people’s lives?  We’ll explore sound from the perspective of physics, biology, medicine, folklore, history, politics, craftsmanship, technology, and music.  Sound is not just the topic of this course, but also a primary method we will use to learn.  We will engage sound by meeting and speaking with men and women whose lives and careers are centered on sound.  In a typical semester we've workshopped with world-class musicians in residence on campus, taken off-campus field trips to meet folklorists and guitar builders, climbed the bell tower to see our campus bell ringers at work, and toured the facilities of our local public radio station during broadcast.  We will also make our own sounds, write and perform raps about our lives, and learn to use music recording and sampling technology to create our own compositions.  We will, in short, shape sound, and explore how sound shapes us.  So, as musicians say, "get your ears out," and let’s explore sound. This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

Health Activism: Fighting for a Healthier Future (CBL)
Gun violence, drunk driving, lead poisoning, addiction, inequality – what threatens our health? Whose responsibility is it to keep us healthy? What changes will lead to a healthier world? Questions about health have drawn people into social movements advocating for change. Grass-roots movements have been driven by diverse and sometimes deeply controversial ideas: that everyone should have access to life-saving medications, clean tap water, or sanitary products; that people should have the freedom to choose how they give birth or whether to vaccinate their children; that patients’ perspectives need to be heard; that effective, affordable healthcare is a human right. In this FYP, we will spend time uncovering examples of health activism locally, here in the North Country, and globally, across the world. Together we will focus on the stories and texts produced by activists in the past and in the present so we can learn about their arguments and strategies, their successes and failures. We will consider how ideas about race, gender, sexuality and disability have shaped the health issues that lead people to take action and impact their activism. And you will have the opportunity to examine your own ideas about health, citizenship and community: to think about where they come from and to consider which issues could drive you to advocate for a healthier future. This course includes an experiential learning component known as Community Based Learning (CBL). The CBL component will require students to participate in a community placement off-campus, and outside of class time, on a weekly basis throughout the semester; on average students can expect to spend at least two hours per week in the community over the course of the semester. This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement

Question Everything: The Art of Information Activism
This course is for students who want to be activists for change and activists for truth. Activists are people who seek to transform dominant social structures through collective action that often stretches beyond the official political system. Activists start by asking deep questions about the world. Why is there so much injustice? How can we envision a better world and work toward making it happen? How can we get free from the forces that constrain us? Answering these questions requires the ability to navigate through the “information overload” of today’s world. Activists understand how to use information effectively and ethically, how to make their own media, and how to use the resources available to them to build community, promote truth, and pursue change. In this course we will explore powerful examples of activists who are asking big questions and using information creatively to develop solutions from the ground up. We will develop critical perspectives that connect the local to the global and the personal to the broader social world. We will learn important skills of investigation, analysis, and activism and put those skills to work in ways that (hopefully) promote truth and positive change. This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

Myths and Monsters
Myths are powerful tales of the human condition, of gods and monsters, of supernatural beings and human heroes. They are “fictions” that reveal fundamental “truths.” In this class we will consider myths in their ancient contexts from Babylon, Egypt, Greece, and Palestine and modern contexts (e.g. Star Wars, the Terminator). This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

How Did I Get Here?: Local, Public, and Digital History
Between 1845 and 2019, the Canton community saw the opening of St. Lawrence University, the boat-building and canoe design renovations of Henry Rushton, the development of the intentional agricultural community Birdsfoot Farm, and the founding of the Women Together feminist collective. In this course, we will explore stories like these and the sources used to tell them. We will visit sites of local scholarship such as the St. Lawrence Country Historical Society, the Canton Village Archives, and Traditional Arts of Upstate New York (TAUNY), and SLU’s Special Collections. We will also talk with people who continue the practices of this area including luthier Tracy Cox and local farmers. While we will employ traditional methods of reading paper archives and conducting oral history interviews, we will also learn about digital methods to collect and share local histories such as the use of data visualization, scanning documents and photographs, and the creation of digital timelines and story maps. This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

Markets and Morality: The Ethical and Philosophical Dimensions of Business and Economics
It’s common to hear people argue for the value and efficiency of the free market—but what is a market and why should we want free markets? Moreover, can we sell anything in a market or are some things too sacred to sell? Should we be allowed to sell our organs or endangered animals? Should children be allowed to sell their labor? This course introduces students to disputes and controversies about the relationship between free markets and our moral values. We will begin with a basic introduction to some important ethical and economic concepts and then move on to explore questions about the moral limits of markets, closely examining arguments on different sides of the issues. Through in-class presentations, papers, and activities, we will explore whether we are morally allowed to sell our votes, our bodies, or our reproductive abilities, among other things. This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

Your Place in the World: What it Means to Be “Local” (CBL)
This course asks how we develop our understanding of culture, our sense of place, and what it means to be "local.” By examining a broad range of topics, from local issues in St. Lawrence County to food systems and factory farming in America, we will consider how we contribute to and draw from our local environment. We will explore this theme through various texts, including memoirs, fiction, poetry, and documentaries; these works help us question how we interact with and fit into our sometimes strange world. This course includes an experiential learning component known as Community Based Learning (CBL). The CBL component will require students to participate in a community placement outside of class time, on a weekly basis throughout the semester; on average students can expect to spend up to/at least two hours per week in the community. (CBL) This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

Guns, Health, and Climate: Cutting through the Noise to Find the Facts
In the age of the constant dissemination of “alternative facts” and application of the label “fake news,” it can be difficult to distinguish objective reality from agenda-driven misinformation. A simple Google search about any current issue can result in seemingly official studies and reports that insist on opposite conclusions. Caught in the whorl of information overload, how do we navigate towards informed opinions--backed with evidence--about the issues that matter to us? And how do we communicate that information and create forums for inclusive discussion in which we can simultaneously respect others while disagreeing with them? In this class we will explore three of today’s most controversial issues using widely-respected journalism and scholarly papers. We will communicate our research in oral and written formats, focusing on the research topics of second amendment rights, healthcare, and climate change. This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

Identity and Belonging in the St. Lawrence Valley
Your university sits in the St. Lawrence River Valley, which has occupied an important place in the history of North America since the pre-contact period between First Peoples and Europeans. It has served simultaneously as a place of residence, transportation route, conduit of commerce, and sometimes national symbol. French explorer Jacques Cartier christened it the “River of Canada.” Indeed, the capital and technological flows between Europe, Montreal, and the Great Lakes region spurred new opportunities and migrations that owe so much to the force of this majestic river. In this course, we will focus on the differing local and national cultures of the United States and Canada as seen in the St. Lawrence Valley. Using a roughly historical approach, we will trace early contact between First Peoples and European settlers, the portrayal of cultures and identities, colonization and expansion, and the development of each nation to the contemporary period. Our prime concern will be the definition of this borderland region as part of the two nation-states and the continuing role its First Peoples play in it. Case studies include differing approaches to Western expansion, models of settlement, trade (the fur trade to free trade), environmental issues, and approaches to social policy. We will expand our exploration of the cultural experiences of Canada and the United States, both mythic and real, outside the classroom through at least one field trip. This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

We Are Our Stories: Family History, Storytelling, and Identity
Joan Didion says, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” But how do we decide what stories we tell and why? This course will explore the role of storytelling in the creation of family history and personal identity. How do the stories we tell construct our reality or particular versions of reality? How can stories shape how we view ourselves and how we are viewed by others? What stories do we not tell and why? To answer these questions, we will consider our own histories and family stories. We will practice telling and listening to stories and discuss how rhetorical decisions affect their impact. We will examine works by writers that explore issues of identity in the face of complicated personal and family histories. Together we will explore how we can create a unified sense of self on and off the page, at home, and in our communities at large. This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

Thoroughly Modern Muslims: Contemporary Culture in the Modern Middle East
Interest in the Muslim Middle East is booming in the West.  It is in the news.  It is a focus of foreign and military policy.  Its classical religious texts are quoted and misquoted.  Yet much of this interest – perhaps most of it – assumes the basic foreignness of the Middle East and Islam.  This course attempts to turn that assumption on its head by looking at how people in the Middle East experience everyday life.  How do people date, fall in love, and get married?  How do people engage with politics and, in contexts of political violence or repression, survive or seek hope?  How have people adopted and adapted to new technologies and the challenges of globalization? In exploring these questions, students will have the opportunity to hone their own academic skills as they explore varied sources, including fiction, film, music, and scholarly literature in multiple disciplines. This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

Extreme Physiology and Medicine
What happens to the body and mind at the limits of human endurance? How do humans acclimate physiologically to extreme environments, such as Mt. Everest, Antarctica, the Sahara Desert, the ocean depths, and space? This course investigates how geographic exploration has transformed modern medicine and our understanding of how the human body is capable of surviving extreme duress. You will learn core principles of cardiovascular, respiratory, water balance, and stress physiology by studying human performance under adverse conditions. You will learn the physiological basis of conditions like hypothermia, high altitude pulmonary edema, decompression sickness, nitrogen narcosis and dehydration, as well as how to treat these. This course is designed for students interested in the health sciences. This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

The Science of the Self
What makes you you? How much of you is explained by your physical, social, and emotional worlds? Do you feel like a different person when you are speaking with your best friend compared to your parents or siblings? Do you feel different when you are at school, at home, or by yourself? What does it mean to “lose yourself” in a moment or “find yourself” in another? In this class, we will combine perspectives from social psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and other disciplines to examine both popular and primary source literature (journal articles) for a range of ways to understand the self. We will investigate the neural basis of self-concept, including memories, personality, and consciousness, as well as their representations in literature and film. We will also consider psychological theories and curious experiments that illustrate phenomena such as split brain, amnesia, body integrity disorder, and the doppelgänger effect that try to answer the question of what it means to be a person. This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

Dinosaurs, Climate Change, and Mass Extinction
This course will provide students with opportunities to explore Earth’s past with a view toward understanding the present and future of our planet. Using the fossil record of dinosaurs and the environments they inhabited, we will study the conditions that led to their mass extinction, explore the scientific underpinning of natural processes such as climate change, and practice communicating scientific results and findings to a general audience. We will examine how science itself is portrayed in the media and discuss the importance of accurate and accessible scientific communication for both public policy and individual choices directing how we live. This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

Impactful Leadership: Theory and Practice (CBL)
What makes a good leader? Are the traits of leaders inborn or learnable? Throughout the course, we will explore leadership theory and discuss how it applies to real life situations in our ever-changing world. Students will be introduced to various leadership philosophies, practices, and perspectives. Relevant leadership topics include: Mindfulness, privilege, diversity, motivation, vision, energy, inclusivity, and overcoming adversity. Communication will also be a central course theme. Clear communication is essential in academia and leadership. Students will develop their oral, written, and multimodal communication abilities through various course assignments. Students will also have the opportunity to apply their evolving leadership skills in the community. This course includes an experiential learning component known as Community Based Learning (CBL). The CBL component for this course will require students to participate in a community placement off-campus, and outside of class time, on a weekly basis throughout the semester; on average students can expect to spend at least two hours per week in the community over the course of the semester (last year students worked with schoolchildren, senior citizens, adults with developmental disabilities, local organic farmers, etc.). CBL promotes academic learning and civic engagement. This connection between academic theory and real world practice is fundamental to the course. This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

The Consequences of Choices: Modeling Consumer Choice
Life is a series of choices: every action taken involves balancing benefits and costs, weighing accomplishments against consequences in order to do the best that we are able.  In this course we will develop a framework to understand how economists model decision making on the part of individuals.  The framework will allow us to consider how individuals respond to incentives, why firms design complicated pricing schemes, and what are the intended and unintended consequences of government policies.  This course will make use of mathematical tools including algebra; therefore, a solid mathematics background, though not required, will be helpful. This course meets the FYP graduation requirement.

An Outdoor State of Mind
*All FYP members of this college will attend a St. Lawrence University pre-orientation trip in August, and two full weekend wilderness trips over the semester. No outdoor experience is necessary, but a desire to be active in the outdoors for extended periods of time, to go camping, and to challenge one's self is required.*

Why do many of us seek out the natural world as a place to play, experience adventure, relieve stress, and rest our minds?  What is it about spending time and engaging in physical activity in the outdoors that seems to attract and heal many of us? In this course, we will explore different ways to experience the outdoors, through hands-on experience, reading, and reflection. As part of our inquiry, we will critically examine our own experiences in nature, and practice basic skills needed for safe and responsible recreation in nature. Prior experience with outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping, and paddling are not required; anyone with an interest in the outdoors, and a willingness to safely step outside their comfort zone, will do well in this college. Students will spend time in outdoor activities on a regular basis while the weather permits. This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

All FYP members of this FYP course will attend a St. Lawrence University pre-orientation trip (Wed., 8/21/19 arrival on campus; trip 8/22-8/25); a spot is automatically held for students enrolled in this FYP.  A surcharge of $375 applies to all students enrolled in this FYP.  When enrolled, a detailed letter outlining requirements of the trip (equipment needs; clothing; schedule, etc.) will be sent to you via your SLU email.  Please contact the Student Activities office at 315.229.5757 with any questions regarding pre-Orientation trips. Additionally, two overnight weekend trips (no extra cost) are also scheduled; students should plan on attending both of the weekend trips. Note that practices and games for fall sports and International Student Orientation will conflict with the pre-orientation trips and weekend trips for this course. Otherwise, any incoming student, of any skill level, is eligible to participate.

If you are interested in this course, please complete the North Country pre-trip application form for the Adirondack Adventure pre-trip, and select this course (An Outdoor State of Mind) as one of your course choices on the First Year Program College Preference Form. You will find both forms in the Admissions portal.

How To Tell a True War Story: The American War Movie Since Vietnam
We will interrogate Hollywood's "war movie" genre, focusing on those produced since roughly 1980, screening films like Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, Saving Private Ryan, The Thin, Red Line, and American Sniper.  Though these films are considered “popular,” each engages with historiography (the composing of history and histories) by presenting the viewer with a narrative vision of the past, one which deserves close critical scrutiny since these films may be the only “texts” younger generations will encounter which deal with these conflicts.  We will ask whether it's in fact possible to tell a true war story or whether combat is in fact an incommunicable experience; whether it is good to tell a true war story (or make a good war film) or if to represent war is to perpetuate what Tim O'Brien calls "a terrible, old lie;" and whether many of the best war movies are actually ANTI-war movies.  We'll look at representations of race and gender in these films, and consider the ways we respond to movies, trying our hands at movie reviewing and more formal film criticism. *Popcorn not included.  This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

Rural Dreams: Surveying the Plight and Promise of America’s Small Towns (CBL)
While rural areas currently account for less than a fifth of America’s population, small towns have played an outsized role in the nation’s history, political economy, and understanding of itself, even as they have faced existential challenges for much of the past century.  In this course, we will closely examine the histories, present circumstances, and potential futures of rural America; debate whether small towns and their way of life need or deserve special protections; and consider what we can do about rural poverty, environmental problems, and the urban migration of talented young people.  The class will put special emphasis upon learning about Canton and its surrounding communities. To fulfill this goal, students will be asked to engage with texts from local authors, listen to the stories from our neighbors in New York’s North Country, and participate in the Community-Based Learning (CBL) program. This course includes an experiential learning component known as Community Based Learning (CBL). The CBL component will require students to participate in a community placement off-campus, and outside of class time, on a weekly basis throughout the semester; on average students can expect to spend at least two hours per week in the community over the course of the semester.This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

Mediterranean Living through Literature, Art, and Film
Mediterranean living suggests romance, the constant pursuit of pleasure, and excellent taste in food, fashion, and design. In this course, we will examine how the myth of “Mediterranean living” was created. We will also challenge its veracity by looking at cinema, art, and literature, including travel writing by non-binary writers and bisexual intellectuals. Some of these works will be used as a starting point for exercises in creative writing upon the themes of nostalgia, melancholia, and wanderlust; others will be used as subjects for scholarly essays and presentations. The course is particularly suited to art lovers, avid readers, and students considering an abroad program in Italy, France, or any other Mediterranean country. This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

Theatre for Social Change
Artists! Performers! Future educators, social workers, and leaders! Challenge the division between play and social change by using live theatre techniques to create and evolve cultural structures of power. Throughout this class, you will grow your ability to apply interactive theatre as a collaborative tool for understanding, communicating, and transforming issues of social justice. You will develop and write scenes based on contemporary memoirs from diverse perspectives, or from your own life. Together, we will study issues of race, gender, sexuality, class, religion, nationality, age, and ability. These live theatre techniques are used internationally by educators and leaders for community building and problem-solving in groups of all sizes. By developing skill in this area, you will enhance your abilities as artists, educators, and catalysts for positive social transformation. This course fulfills the FYP graduation requirement.

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