For current students, registration on APR2 opens Monday, November 4 at 7:00 am and closes at 11:59 pm. First years should register for their FYS course in this window. The second registration window opens on Tuesday, November 5 at 7:00 am and closes at 11:59 pm; students should register for their second choice course at this time. The third and final course window opens on Thursday, November 7 at 7:00 am and closes on Thursday, December 12 at 11:59 pm; students should register for their last two courses (up to 5.00 units for FY students and up to 4.75 units for other class years) in this final window.
Changes to your FYS: Registration will re-open for one day only on Tuesday, January 14, the day before spring semester classes begin, from 12 noon until 11:59 pm; this is the time to make changes to your schedule, but only if there are seats available. After that date, all changes to FYS registrations and other courses must be completed using the add/drop form, which you will find on the Registrar's website. No changes to FYS courses will be accepted after Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 4:00 pm, which is also the last day for Add/Drop for all classes.
Registering for courses with (CBL) designation: FYS courses with this designation include 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 at least two hours per week at their assigned placement site (travel time to and from the site is not included and is moderate for placements beyond the Canton community). Click on the link to learn more about Community Based Learning. This year’s FYS courses w/CBL are: FRPG 2055CBL with Devin Farkas and FRPG 2111CBL with Marianna Locke.
Registering for FYS Courses That Count as a Department Course: When reviewing the FYS course descriptions, please be aware of any courses that also count as departmental courses. If your FYS is equivalent to/counts as a SLU course, you cannot register for that FYS if you already have the equivalent course on your student record, either as residential or transfer credit. For example, students in FRPG 2068 will receive credit for PCA 111; if you have already taken PCA 111 you will not be allowed to register for this FYS, and the Register's office will remove you from this FYS on Wednesday during the break in Registration, so you will be required to register for another open FYS. Other examples are listed below. Please review the descriptions for details.
Select another FYS course if you have already taken one of these departmental courses:
FRPG 2041, counts as SSES 212;
FRPG 2068, counts as PCA 111;
FRPG 2087, counts as ENG/PCA 112 and as a course in European Studies;
FRPG 2120, counts as ENG 190;
FRPG 2137, counts as SOC 169;
FRPG 2150, counts as HIST 107/PEAC 100;
FRPG 2156, counts as PHIL 100;
FRPG 2157, counts as CS 140;
CHEM 104FYS, counts as CHEM 104
CHEM 104LFYS, counts as CHEM 104L (lab)
Students may take one of these FYS courses, even if they have taken another 100 or 200 level course in that department:
FRPG 2055CBL, counts as a 100 level Outdoor Studies course;
FRPG 2070, counts as a 100 level AAH course;
FRPG 2079 and 2082, count as a 100 level HIST course;
FRPG 2012 is cross-listed with EDUC and counts for one EDUC course;
FRPG 2108, counts as a 100 level HIST and AFS course;
FRPG 2119, counts as a 200 level ECON course;
FRPG 2122, counts as a 200 level FR course, counts towards the European St. minor and is cross-listed with European Studies;
FRPG 2147, counts as a 100 level REL ST course; and
FRPG 2149, counts as a 100 level HIST course and counts towards the AFS minor.
FYS in France: Bordeaux
The Food and Wine of Southwestern France and Bordeaux
Off-Campus – France
Permission Only course. This course will take advantage of living in Bordeaux this semester. First, we will learn something about Bordeaux’s topography and its history. Second, Bordeaux is known worldwide for its viniculture; some of the best, most prestigious, and most expensive wines in the world are produced just a few miles from where we are. Through our readings, excursions, and tastings, we will be studying how wine is made, classified, sold, discussed, appreciated, and consumed. There will be a special emphasis on wines from the Bordelais. Third, of all its many cultural contributions (Realism, Naturalism, Symbolism, Surrealism, Impressionism, Fauvism, Structuralism, the Enlightenment …), has French cuisine been that people’s most important contribution to world culture? This semester we will be eating French cuisine, to be sure, but also studying how this cuisine is prepared, served, and enjoyed – and how it has changed over time. Excursions will take us to vineyards, museums, prehistoric sites, farms, and important cities in the Southwest. First-year students will complete the course by researching a topic on cuisine or wine, and writing (in English or in French) a paper on that research. This course fulfills the FYS and HU general graduation requirements.
This course is permission only. If you are interested in learning more about the France FYS please contact: CIIS Office: Karen Smith, Associate Director of Off-Campus Programs - Questions about eligibility, program logistics, and other off-campus opportunities. A link to the application can be found on the CIIS website.
Introduction to Peace Studies
Welcome to Introduction to Peace Studies! In this course we will ponder answers to questions such as: Is the propensity for violence inherent in humans? Is war inevitable? Could studying and practicing nonviolent ways to address conflicts and create a more just society help to bring about a better world for all (including non-human animals), or is this a pipe dream? We will study historical and recent examples of nonviolent social and political movements, as well as contemporary approaches recommended by scholars and practitioners for transforming conflicts at the interpersonal to international levels. We also will consider how moral doctrines have addressed alternatives to violence. Additionally, we will examine and engage in mindfulness, meditative, and other contemplative exercises as means for achieving focus, non-judgmental self-awareness, and attentiveness to others and one's surroundings in the present moment. This can help in striving for inner peace as well as peaceful relationships with others. This course counts as HIST 107/PEAC 100 and satisfies the DIV 13, FYS and HU general graduation requirements.
Green Communities: Growing a Sustainable City
This course will meet off campus at the Environmental Studies Living Laboratory; transportation will be provided. Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities. As the urban population grows, so does the demand on urban resources and the impact from energy, water, waste, air, and food. The ecology of urban systems considers the interactions of living and nonliving components and ecological planning seeks a restorative footprint. Often food resources are overlooked when designing cities and supporting healthy diverse communities. A broken food system endangers our environment and our health. Sustainable cities incorporate food—how it is grown, distributed, consumed, and disposed of—into the urban design. Eating locally and food-growing projects are rapidly evolving movements in urban settings. This course will explore sustainable communities and examine alternative food systems in cities from around the globe that are shortening their food chains, taking food security into their own hands, and bridging cultures. This course fulfills the FYS general graduation requirement.
Fake News, Real Facts?: Sociological Perspectives on Mass Media
Sociological thinking requires calling into question the structures, practices, and assumptions that are taken for granted in everyday life. When applied to media, this means asking questions such as: Who controls our media? What factors shape how information is produced, distributed, and interpreted? To what extent are we manipulated by the news and views on our feeds? In this seminar, students will learn to use theories and evidence from sociology and communication to examine the role of media in democratic societies. After an overview of contemporary media systems, including both traditional publishers and digital platforms, we will examine some common (mis)conceptions about media bias and effects. We will then turn our attention to the use of these tools for persuasion and propaganda. Finally, we will use what we learn to conduct original, critical analyses of media texts and technologies. This course counts as SOC 169 and fulfills the FYS and SS general graduation requirements.
"We hold these truths…"?: The American Struggle to Define and Achieve Economic Justice
Equality. Life. Liberty. The pursuit of happiness. Government by the consent of the governed. What is the relationship between these fundamental American political values and beliefs, as embedded in the Declaration of Independence, and the values and beliefs that have shaped our economic structures and theory: property, self-interest, efficiency, entrepreneurship? Exploring the tensions between these sets of values will be our project. We’ll conduct a number of case studies: deindustrialization today in Massena NY, slavery and freedom in colonial America, the sharp turn in economic thought in recent decades towards free-market ideals and globalization and the relationship between this trend and growing inequalities of wealth and of political influence. We’ll rediscover “lost” American economic thinkers like Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who sought to understand women’s exploitation, and Henry George, who wondered why greater economic production and efficiency should produce progress, but also poverty. We’ll meet Owen D. Young, one of SLU’s most distinguished graduates and an internationally celebrated business leader, by exploring the vast collection of his papers deposited here. Through this work we’ll develop the research skills, questions, and context to facilitate your own research on issues of interest to you that involve the ongoing struggle to reconcile our political and economic values. This course counts as a 100-level History course and fulfills the FYS and HU general graduation requirements.
Biomimicry: Using Nature as a Model for Contemporary Design
This course will emphasize the research, analysis, and exploration of natural patterns and systems as a model for contemporary design. After researching recent biomimicry developments in industry, the sciences, and other fields, students will employ several design media (including but not limited to: drawing, photography, digital modeling, and 3-D printing) as an analytical method in their investigations of nature’s “systemness.” In the words of Dr. Janine Benyus, after 3.8 billion years of research & development, nature knows what works, what is appropriate, and what lasts. The course culminates in a semester-long design project and presentation. This course fulfills the FYS and ARTS general graduation requirements.
Sport in Africa: The Culture and Politics of Play
In 2002, the West African nation of Senegal scored a shocking upset victory during the World Cup. Defeating their former colonial ruler France in soccer, sparked a declaration of a national holiday in Senegal and celebrations throughout much of the African continent. While one could view this as a victory confined to the world of sport, many Africans perceived it as a conquest over the historic legacies of racism and colonial rule. Thus what does the study of sport in Africa tell us more broadly about Africa’s place in world history? And how can sport be an important lens for studying social and cultural issues more broadly? This First Year Seminar uses the lens of global sport to examine the social and political world of Africa and the wider African diaspora. From the racial and gendered hierarchies of colonialism to the contemporary world of global sport migration and international relations, students will be challenged to analyze the interdisciplinary significance of sport far beyond the playing field. The course will introduce students to the ways the humanities and social sciences approach the study of sport in an intercultural context. By engaging critically with diverse perspectives, students will also be challenged to reflect on their own backgrounds. This course counts as a 100 level HIST course, towards the AFS minor and fulfills the FYS and HU general graduation requirements.
Programming for Everybody
Computer programs are used to design, create and showcase a diverse range of services and products from all disciplines of life. They are used not only for data analysis and processing, but also to create animations, music, art and even poetry. Therefore, everyone should have a basic understanding of how to program a computer to perform tasks in their own domain. A vital 21st century skill, programming is the art of designing and building computer applications. Problem solving, reasoning and organization are the core components of programming. Programming requires making rational and well-thought-out decisions through processing and comparing multiple alternative solutions. In this course, we will focus on learning the basics of problem solving and programming. We will use Python, which is a powerful, flexible and easy to learn language. There are no pre-requisites to take this course, except basic familiarity with math and computer usage. We will develop a wide range of applications using fundamental programming constructs. At the end of the course, students will be able to create simple programs and games. This course counts as CS 140 and fulfills the FYS and QLR general graduation requirements.
Discrimination in Labor Markets
“Are questions about the economic status of women and minorities important? They certainly are if you are a woman or a member of a minority group. That covers a lot of people. Even if you are not, I should think that any decent and curious person would want to know the facts about group differences in economic outcomes and then understand why things happen as they do.” Thus wrote Nobel Prize winning economist Robert Solow as he introduced the book Race and Gender in the American Economy. In this course, we will examine the differences in economic outcomes (the “facts”) across groups. As we become aware of the facts, we inquire into explanations of our observations allowing us to consider “why do things happen?” By developing analytical tools to help us understand why these differences exist, we will study how various public policies, both actual and potential, may impact the observed outcomes. While it is not required, it is highly recommended that you have taken some introductory economics course as a foundation for this First Year Seminar. This course counts as a 200-level ECON elective and fulfills the FYS and SS general graduation requirements.
Is Hijab Dangerous?: Thinking about Gender and Sexuality in the Contemporary Islamic World
Feminist scholarship has long taught that "the personal is political." Nowhere, however, is this more true than the contemporary Middle East, where gender rights, sexuality, and even the most basic elements of women's clothing are all hotly contested and debated. In Iran, it is illegal for women to walk with their hair uncovered. In Saudi Arabia, it is illegal for women to drive. This class aims to explore why and how gender and sexuality have become so central to broader societal debates in the contemporary Middle East. Why has the hijab, or head covering, become so central to both Western and Middle Eastern discourses about women in the Middle East? How do gender identities change over time? What does it mean to fight for LGBT or women's rights in the context of a Middle Eastern society? The class will be research based, but also include scholarship, films, and literature aimed at giving the student a sense of the sheer diversity of Middle Eastern experiences. This course counts as a 100-level History course and fulfills the FYS and HU general graduation requirements.
How to Like It: Depictions of Happiness in the Modern World
“The purpose of our life is to seek happiness. That is clear,” so says the Dalai Lama. But what makes him so sure? And what is happiness? Like pornography, do we just know it when we see it? What are the myriad definitions of happiness that flood a modern consumer, and how can we separate truths from fictions? How can a force so universally desired still be so elusive in the modern world? This course will investigate all these questions via various depictions of happiness in philosophy, literature and film. How do competing definitions of happiness compliment or contradict one another? Most importantly, which definition is right for you? Students will examine the role of happiness in their own lives as well, and hopefully come away from the course with a better understanding of themselves. Media depicting happiness will include Buddhist philosophy, fractured modern novels, news media, commercial advertising, and sexually provocative cinema. This course fulfills the FYS and HU general graduation requirements.
What's So Great About Outdoor Education, Huh? (with CBL)
In this FYS students are expected to engage in non-traditional classroom exercises, many of which will take place outside during the winter months. The term Outdoor Education (OE) has been applied to a wide range of programs including international service learning expeditions, white water rafting trips, high ropes course sessions, and geology field trips, among others. Advertising pamphlets are littered with terms like character building, leadership, and environmental stewardship. A perceptive critic, however, might wonder: how does an environmental steward reconcile the carbon footprint of transporting their class great distances; does cheering-on a peer to climb higher instill confidence or just strengthen the imperative to listen to peer-pressure; or, what does taking students outside offer that the classroom does not? This class will give students first-hand experience with current OE practices, and current practices in more traditional education through volunteering in local schools. These first-hand experiences will bring relevance to the current literature critiquing the strengths and issues with OE. This course counts as a 100-level Outdoor Studies course and fulfills the FYS and HU general graduation requirements. 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 at least two hours per week at their assigned placement site (travel time to and from the site is not included and is moderate for placements beyond the Canton community).
"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised": Reassessing the 1970s in the United States and Canada
Gil Scott-Heron’s 1970 poem and song—“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”—expressed Black rage as well as criticized consumerism and the Nixon presidency. His phrase is also an apt phrase to characterize the uniqueness of the Seventies. To some, the decade merely filled the gap between the idealistic Sixties and the shallow “Big Eighties.” However, a reassessment of the Seventies yields a different story: consider the contributions of the anti-war movement to ending the Vietnam War. As well, the period saw the evolution of Black Power, Feminism (including Title IX legislation), Gay Liberation, the American Indian Movement, and Disability Rights activism. Language laws in French-speaking Canada sparked a cultural renaissance in Québec and New Brunswick. Women’s reproductive rights in both countries were established. Earth Day was born. So, too, was the microprocessor. Free agency revolutionized labor-management relations in baseball and other sports. In hockey, the 1972 Canada-Soviet Union Summit Series became the stuff of sport legend and promoted the sport as Canada’s national game. In introducing students to primary and secondary sources—including music and film—from this decade, they will be encouraged to take up a research question that investigates how the Seventies influenced subsequent generations, including their own. This course counts as a 100 level Canadian Studies and History course and fulfills the FYS and HU general graduation requirements.
The Bible in American Culture from 1850 to the present
The Bible is a text imbued with authority. As a foundational text for defining and redefining American identity and society, the Bible has profoundly affected the lives of Americans of all personal religious affiliations. In this class, students will learn what the Bible is, how Americans have read and understood the Bible, and how they have used the Bible for political, social, and cultural purposes from 1850 to the present. After exploring the Bible in the American Civil War (1850-1865) and the Bible during the segregation era (1910-1968), students will conduct their own original research into a topic of their choosing. Possible areas of research include the Holocaust, creationism, economic policy, human sexuality, or environmentalism. Readings will include biblical texts, primary documents from American history, and secondary scholarship. No prior knowledge of the Bible or Christianity is required. Indeed, students should not expect the Bible to be read as a devotional text, but rather consider how the Bible has been read, understood, and deployed as a historical object in America. This course counts as a 100 level REL ST course and fulfills the FYS general graduation requirement.
What Does It Mean to Be Educated?
In this course we will take part in the interesting—and often very contentious—conversation provoked by a seemingly simple question: What does it mean to be educated? Across cultures and time thinkers and writers have responded to this question in very different ways, and a major goal of this course is to assess the quality of these responses while also developing our own way of addressing the question. The course will help us develop a deeper appreciation for the study of education, and it will empower us to find our own voice in this tremendously important conversation. To this end, each student will pursue a research project of their own choosing related to key themes from the course. This course is cross-listed with Education, can count for one course in the Educational Studies minor, and fulfills the FYS and HU general education requirements.
Growing Up Victorian
Some social historians claim that the notion of “childhood” as a special period distinct from adulthood has its roots in Rousseau and developed fully during the 19th century. In this course we will be exploring this idea through literature and social history, looking at many kinds of texts that focus on children and the raising of children during the Victorian period. We will be reading two Victorian children’s novels (Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess), some children’s poetry and shorter stories, and two novels written for adults whose tales are centered on a child growing up in the midst of the Victorian world (Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations). To understand the context of these stories, we will conduct and share research projects in various aspects of Victorian culture. This course fulfills the FYS and HU general graduation requirements.
Literature and Film of the Global Francophone World
In this FYS we will work on francophone writers, artists and filmmakers who have contributed to shaping the imagery of 4 areas of the world: the Maghreb (specifically, Morocco and Algeria), the Middle East (specifically, Lebanon & Iran) Canada (specifically, Quebec and Ontario) and the Far East (specifically, Vietnam and Japan). Through novels, short stories and films, we will examine the influence of French culture and French foreign policy on the conflicted history of each one of these regions or areas, as well as on their unique cultural and artistic profile. By particularly focusing on the identitarian struggles shared by Francophile local writers and French foreign travelers and/or French residents of these lands, we will explore the ideas and affections generated by an "in-betweenness" of cultures, languages, gender identities, and sexual orientations. Class material is in English. Films are often in French with English subtitles. Students have the option to read and write in French, upon the instructor’s approval. This course is cross-listed with European Studies, counts as a 200-level French course, counts towards the European Studies minor, and fulfills the FYS and HU general graduation requirements.
From Farmyard to Pets: Our Evolving Relationship with Animals
Do you own pets? Perhaps it feels more like they own you. What do our current relationships with animals look like and how do they affect us? As we begin to treat animals such as dogs and cats as family members, what issues will arise and how will we resolve them? This class will focus on our interactions with other species, starting with domestication before moving on to the many ways our life styles have impacted wildlife. With more and more species affected by climate change and habitat loss, do we have a moral responsibility to address their suffering? What is anthropomorphism and how does it factor into our treatment of other species? In Western society, why do we let dogs into our houses, but eat pigs? What does a factory farm look like and what dangers do they present? Should we be moving toward more sustainable sources of meat? These and other questions will be addressed as we make our way through the course. In addition to several non-fiction readings that address the above issues, we will explore the ways various animals are portrayed in film and fiction. If possible, we will also visit a local farm and/or animal shelter. This course fulfills the FYS general graduation requirement.
Introduction to Black Science Fiction
Wakanda. Vibranium. This nation-state and transitional rare-earth metal, respectively, effortlessly entered the lexicon of the modern world. Vibranium manages potential and kinetic energy and Wakandan technology outpaces any other on Earth. With such advancement, why does Wakanda remain unrecognized by the world and why does science create the possibility of a new, empowered black culture? What is at stake in reconceptualizing black society and black lives in the realm of the imagination? We will answer these questions by analyzing a range of texts that compose black speculative and science fiction. We will read foundational novels, adaptations, and short stories as well as a Black Panther comic. In doing so, we will explore the contours of Afro-Futurism, its transformations over time, and why it appeals to those in social justice advocacy. Assignments will include critical essays, a research project, and oral communication projects. We will also learn professionalization skills such as how to deliver an elevator pitch, craft a dynamic resume, and master the job interview. This course counts as ENG 190 and fulfills the FYS and HU general graduation requirements.
General Chemistry FYS with Lab
Permission only course. From metabolism to renewable energy, the tools of thermodynamics and kinetics provide a powerful lens through which to both understand the universe and solve practical problems. The major goals of this course are to learn, understand, and use chemical principles while developing the ability to pursue scientific research projects. Topics will include types of chemical bonding and reactions, reaction equilibria, thermodynamics, and kinetics. Writing, speaking, and laboratory assignments will provide an opportunity to demonstrate conceptual understanding and an ability to apply this to chemical problem solving. The course will culminate with each student selecting a scientific topic to research in the context of the chemical principles learned over the course of the semester. This course counts as CHEM-104 and fulfills the FYS and NS-L general graduation requirements. This course is permission only. To enroll, please contact the instructor.
Moth to the Flame: Modern Satire and Dystopia
Satirical and dystopian works often illuminate pressing issues, present humorous scenarios, and/or portray fantastic visions of post-apocalyptic worlds. While we are drawn to the fictional escape these works can provide, through them we are also encouraged to question our own realities and ponder both the best and worst humanity has to offer. In this course, we will read a variety of works, including Herland, Fight Club, and This Perfect Day, and watch films such as Idiocracy, The Meaning of Life, and V for Vendetta to examine the function of satire in modern times. We will explore themes of identity, gender, and power. Through our exploration of the topic, students will develop their research skills and refine their oral communication skills. This course fulfills the FYS and HU general graduation requirements.
Speak Up: Rhetoric & Public Speaking
What makes someone a good speaker and why are oral communication skills among the most desirable skills on the job market? This course provides an introduction to public speaking rooted in the rhetorical tradition. In addition to researching, constructing, and delivering speeches, students will learn the principles of rhetorical analysis and critique. This course counts as PCA 111 and fulfills the FYS and ARTS general graduation requirements.
London Coffeehouse Culture & Modernity
The culture of the early 1700s London coffeehouses is often seen as the spark that kindled the advent of modern democracy. The censorship of the press in England expired in 1695 and suddenly London was flooded with newspapers and pamphlets that openly scrutinized practically all aspects of public life. They were read and discussed in countless coffeehouses that soon became social institutions in their own right. Yet this idealized world of London coffeehouses also had another, much darker side. The famous British writer Daniel Defoe, who was a frequent coffeehouse patron, described them as places of scandal and depravity, infested with deception and the manipulation of information for commercial gain. In this class, we will rely on digital databases that contain early 1700s newspaper articles, essays, and pamphlets. Reading them, we will try to put ourselves in the shoes of those who lived in London at the dawn of what later became known as the Enlightenment era. Our findings will be presented in digital form on a website created specifically for this class – contributing to the St. Lawrence’s Digital Humanities project. This course counts as PCA/ENG 112, as a course in European Studies, and fulfills the FYS and HU general graduation requirements.
How Commercial Sport is Both the Destroyer and Redeemer of Our Communities: The Phoenix Effect (with CBL)
For-profit corporations have standardized and administered modern sport, leisure, and recreation as a commodity. Consequently, division exists between the emancipatory potential of sport—its capacity to revitalize a community—and its function as a product for social consumption—its capacity to financially enrich investors. This dichotomy further complicates the relationship between commercial sport and recreation enterprises and communities. Does commercial sport have the potential to renew itself—like the mythical legend of the Phoenix, to rise from its ashes into a new form of life? This seminar will challenge students to move beyond dialogue and to produce concrete solutions to this question. And in so doing, this course will continue to cultivate your critical thinking, writing, and communication skills as well as introduce students to developing research competencies. This course fulfills the FYS and SS general graduation requirements. 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 at least two hours per week at their assigned placement site (travel time to and from the site is not included and is moderate for placements beyond the Canton community).
The Good Place and the Good Life
The central question of NBC's sitcom The Good Place is 'how can we be ethically good people?' It is also one of the rare television shows with a main character who is a professional philosopher! In this course, we will take up this question, and drawing on many of the same resources from moral philosophy as the characters in the show we will try to figure out what it means to be good, what makes ethical claims true or false, and how to live a good life in a complex world. Students will read classic and contemporary works in ethics with a focus on developing research skills, including how to apply those research skills to questions of immediate relevance to students' own lives. This course counts as PHIL 100 and fulfills the FYS and HU general graduation requirements.
Energy, Our Environment, and You
Most of the major changes in civilization since the last ice age are correlated with changes in how humans harness energy. Whether it is the development of sailing (wind power), domestication of horses (horse power), development of the steam engine (fossil fuel power), or the discovery of nuclear energy, society has advanced only so far as the energy that powers it. We enjoy many of the benefits of energy exploitation, whether it is flying around the world, better healthcare, or even just eating fresh fruit out-of-season. But these benefits have not been distributed evenly around the world, nor have they come without environmental cost. Billions of people around the world live in dire poverty and the Earth is showing numerous signs that it is seriously ailing, including coral bleaching, increasing rates of extinctions, deforestation, sea level rise, glacier and permafrost melt, and, quite literally, the demolition of entire mountains. This class will examine the intimate relationship of these three variables, energy, the environment, and you, the consumer. We will read about the impacts that energy extraction and consumption has on the environment and how we, as consumers, can make practical choices to better our lives and Earth’s environment. This is not a class about how to be “sustainable,” rather it is a class about how to be a better global environmental citizen. This course fulfills the FYS and EL general graduation requirements.
The Golden Door: Immigration and Asylum in Contemporary Literature
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” intones the Statue of Liberty in Emma Lazurus’s poem “The Colossus.” To these masses, she offers the beacon of her “lamp beside the golden door.” As inhabitants of a settler colonial society, almost all US citizens can trace their history to some form of immigration; however, in recent years, immigration and asylum have taken their place amongst the most polarizing issues in the United States. In this seminar, students will examine these issues from various perspectives--from a US border patrol agent to a recently-resettled Syrian refugee--in contemporary fiction and nonfiction. By reading and analyzing these texts, students will gain insight into the individual realities of forced migration, which are often dislocated from the ubiquitous political talking points in the media. Students will lend their voices to the conversation through a culminating research project that develops their own critical perspective on the subject. This course fulfills the FYS and HU general graduation requirement.
The Psychology of Hidden Bias
For as long as people have formed social groups, prejudice and bias have existed. For nearly as long, scholars have thought and written about prejudice. The focus of this course will be on how psychologists understand this construct, exploring the ways that prejudice remains, for the most part, hidden despite its capacity to guide behavior. In addition to psychological research, we will look to artistic, cinematic, and literary depictions of inequality. The intersection of these disciplines will help illuminate topics such as the origins and persistence of prejudice, experiences of those targeted by prejudice, and techniques to reduce prejudice. Although scholars have focused on race and gender, we will also consider prejudice based on sexual orientation, age, ability, and appearance. This course fulfills the FYS general graduation requirement.
Neuroscience of Stress
When you get up to give a talk in front of your peers, your body responds just like an antelope being chased by a lion. Stress is an adaptive physiological response to stimuli that present an immediate threat to an organism present in all vertebrates. In humans this survival mechanism can be hijacked, wreaking havoc on the body and mind. This course will adopt an interdisciplinary approach to explore the science behind the relationship between stress, brain, body, and behavior. We will cover the biological mechanisms of stress and the neural pathways that coordinate the stress response. We will examine the effects of stress on health and well-being and study the physiological, neurochemical, and psychological techniques for assessing stress levels. We will try to understand the origins of resilience to adversity and explore interventions to reduce and manage stress. You will gain skills to read, understand, and analyze scientific literature and learn how to effectively communicate scientific findings in various modalities and to different audiences. This course fulfills the FYS general graduation requirement.
World of Plants (no lab)
American environmentalist Thoreau once said, “Show me a seed and I will show you hope.” But plants signify so much more than mere hope. Plants have catalyzed human civilizations through agriculture, induced the great opium wars, healed with their medicines, intoxicated with alcohols, given visions with hallucinogens, and even triggered colonization of the tropics by seducing Europe with spices. Armadas in search of green gold sailed the oceans on ships made of trees. All of these examples illustrate how dependent humans are on plants, connected to them in myriad ways. Plant species and communities also form the warp and weft of nature, weaving together various aspects of biodiversity in an ecosystem, connecting insects, birds, animals, and fungi by providing nectar, foliage, fruit, detritus, and habitat. However, we rarely think about plants unless we dabble in gardening or grow and harvest crops. Through this course, we will examine the amazing diversity of plants and their cultural and economic importance as sources of foods, fibers, dyes, medicines, poisons, and intoxicants. It will look at the role of plants in nature and human society while examining how anthropological activity has impacted plant species. We will read from textbooks and literature about how plants have historically influenced human societies and how botanical explorers have sought out plants at grave risk to life and limb. Students can choose to research an individual plant species or group of plants through biological, historical, socio-cultural, economic, and folklore literature. This course fulfills the FYS and EL general graduation requirements.
Energy & the Environment
Why have our gas prices plummeted over the last decade? Does the impending US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement matter or was the agreement too weak to have any real impact? Why are rural areas around the North Country fighting wind farm development? Will we see sustained growth in coal production thanks to the Trump administration’s policies? Decisions being made today about energy production and consumption will lead to economic, political, social, and environmental consequences that will remain with us for decades, maybe even centuries. As a result, thoughtful citizens across the country are demanding to be a part of the decision-making process. In this course, students will delve into aspects of the energy debate through course readings and discussion, as well as their own research projects. Please note that this course will make extensive use of technology, such as blogs, iMovie, and audio recordings in both the research process and for the production of the final projects. This course fulfills the FYS and SS general graduation requirements.
Everyday Artifacts: Exploring History through Family
Why do people get so attached to objects? What can those objects represent, and what can they reveal about us? This FYS explores the many roles treasured objects play in our lives. We will examine representations of “everyday artifacts” in fiction and non-fiction. We will discuss how objects can transform in value and meaning over time, how objects can stand-in for other aspects of human experience, and how, through storytelling, objects can help us make sense of our lives. Our major research project asks you to focus on one personal or familial artifact you think has something important to reveal about our relationship with objects. Which aspects of the human experience are embodied in your artifact? Which cultural practices, traditions, norms, or beliefs are upheld (or defied) in your treatment of it? To answer these questions, we will conduct primary and secondary research to investigate, interrogate, and contextualize your artifact. This course fulfills the FYS and HU general graduation requirements.
Selling Out: Exploring Music and Capitalism
To some music fans, describing a performer as a “sell out” is the worst insult they can imagine. After all, they argue, what seems worse than commercial interests influencing the artistic process? This insult has not always stung, however, and many musicians reject the idea that “selling out” is necessarily bad: don’t performers also have to eat, support their families, and pay rent? This course explores the changing ideas about the supposed divide between creativity and money, the artificial distinction between personal expression and financial concerns. We will examine the concept of “selling out” through a close examination of a variety of sources, including text, sound, and video. We will explore topics such as the idea of the musical “genius,” the rise of the popular music industry, issues of racial authenticity, and music in advertising, among others. The course will also include studies of controversial moments when musicians switched from sacred to secular genres or crossed over from a niche style into pop. You will explore some of the major questions raised by our discussions through a series of short papers, ending in a final research paper. Formal music training is not required. This course fulfills the FYS and HU general graduation requirements.
Your Inner Fish: Evolution of the Human Body
This class explores how the genetic and anatomical legacy of fish and other ancestral organisms can be seen today in the human body. The evolution of human arms, legs, necks, and lungs can be traced back to fish that started living on land some 375 million years ago. The genetic legacy of this evolutionary history can be seen in human DNA, including in the genes involved in the development of our hands and limbs. This course introduces students to fundamental aspects of modern genetics and evolutionary theory. The class is designed for prospective biology majors who are interested in learning about one of the most exciting fields of study today known as “Evo-Devo”, or evolutionary developmental biology. This course fulfills the FYS general graduation requirement.
Mokuhanga: Many Artists/Many Views
This combined studio art/research course will introduce students to mokuhanga, the Japanese style water-based woodcut process. Students will produce original woodblock prints in addition to research projects that utilize artwork from the University’s collections. We will study the history of Japanese printmaking, popular imagery, and subjects; how to analyze visual material; and, contemporary trends. Students will learn the use of tools and materials specific to this process, as well as inking, registration, and printing techniques. This course counts as a 100-level AAH course and fulfills the FYS and ARTS general graduation requirements.
Despite the cliché, music is not a "universal language!” Throughout history, music has played different roles in different cultures and meant different things to different people. This makes music a surprisingly challenging topic to understand, to describe in mere words, and to research and write about. This course will explore various facets of what music “means” and how music “works," including: Why did music evolve in human cultures? How does music stimulate our emotions? Are folk music, popular music, and "classical" music actually different from each other? We will explore these questions through learning about the various elements within music; through listening to a wide variety of musical styles; and through researching musical topics of your own interest. Previous experience in performing music or reading music notations are not necessary for this course; the only prerequisites are open ears and an open mind. This course fulfills the FYS general graduation requirement.
Safety and the Brain: A Neuropsychological Perspective
Our need for safety is so intuitive and important in our lives that it is surprising the extent that it has gone mostly under-researched in psychology. Feeling safe is part of the biology of emotions, however, and in the empirical tradition of science, we have historically put more emphasis and importance on the study of our cognitions. Thus only recently has the research into “feeling-states” begun to catch up to the study of “thoughts.” This course will focus on understanding more about how a feeling of safety is generated and detected in the body, integrated with the physiology of the heart and the lungs, and how those processes are translated into behavior, emotion, and psychological health (or psychological problems). Recently, the process of understanding these elements have been the focus of the Polyvagal Theory, which will be the focus of this course. We will also examine how the theory works with our understanding how trauma and the search for safety are intimately intertwined in our day to day choices about how to move through our world. This course fulfills the FYS general graduation requirement.
Sports and Gender: Breaking Traditional Boundaries
This class will aim to breakdown and look at traditional gender roles within sports. How do our attitudes about male and female athletes reflect culture? Are men, women, boys, and girls trained differently within athletics? Are the different genders taught to look at competition, performance, and achievements in different ways? We will also look at the history of sex roles and gender within American sports. How did Title IX affect women and men in sports? Why are so many sports stars linked to violence? How are gender roles in sports perceived in different countries; for example, field hockey is played by men around the world, but by women in the US. What is the history of women and sports? Lastly, we will look at the media and its role in winning and losing as well as in gender. Through readings, class discussion, oral presentations, research, current news, and films we will explore these issues. There will also be an opportunity to research a gender issue in sport that interests you. Students will expand on their topic throughout the semester culminating in a final paper. This course counts as SSES 212 and fulfills the FYS and SS general graduation requirements.
Introduction to Restorative Justice Practices
This course centers on the essential principles and practices of restorative justice. Throughout the semester, students will learn approaches for facilitating groups inclusively, addressing harm in communities, and restoring damaged relationships. Students will explore various models used around the world including conferencing, circles, and boards, as well as the basic principles and values of restorative justice. By engaging with role play, students will examine the potential solutions as well as the potential dangers and pitfalls of the practice. Applications of restorative justice in various contexts will be studied including criminal justice, higher education, and everyday conflict. This course fulfills the FYS general graduation requirement.
Race, Power, Resistance: Freedom Struggles in Southern Africa
In the 1960s, people in Southern Africa who had lived for generations under colonial and white settler regimes took up more radical forms of resistance to these racist power structures. That resistance took many forms: from civil disobedience, to artistic expression, to the taking up of arms. It provoked intense debates among supporters of these movements, of all races and ethnicities, about how the struggle should be fought and about what a future society should look like. From the mid 1970s, white supremacist political systems across Southern Africa were gradually defeated, and, in 1994, the world celebrated when Nelson Mandela, a former political prisoner, become the first president of a democratic South Africa. But the debates which emerged during these years of struggle continue. Today, younger generations who were 'born free' in Southern Africa question why their societies remain so unequal; they ask what can be learned from the past and how they can transform their futures. This FYS will ask you to consider these questions yourself, through researching the perspectives of Southern Africans expressed in sources ranging from political speeches, underground newspapers, memoirs and fiction to posters, films and music. This course counts as a 100-level course in HIST and AFS and fulfills the FYS and HU general graduation requirements.
The Urban Revolution
Orbital images of nighttime Earth provide visual confirmation of the centuries-long processes associated with urbanization and its planetary influence. In 1900 11 cities held populations over one million. By 1950 there were 86; in 2016 there were 436, and by 2030 the UN estimates there will be 558—60% of the population will be urban. Cities provide fundamental social, political, economic, and ecological structure for humanity. Deploying insight and methodology from diverse sources, this seminar explores the influence of this demographic revolution upon sustainable development, climate change, global security, culture, human rights, and much more. Course work will include group work culminating in an oral presentation, a directed research paper, and a journal. Course outcomes include improving critical thinking and research skills, along with refined written and oral communication. Students are encouraged to consider how the urban revolution intersects with their intended majors and career intentions. This course fulfills the FYS and SS general graduation requirements.
For January entrants - contact your advisor Elun Gabriel, who will assist you with registering for your spring classes, including your FYS course, if one is required. Use this link to go back to the New Laurentian Guide. Your online forms are due no later than Monday, December 30, 2019, and other forms that require your signature must be received five days prior to your arrival on campus. You will be notified of your housing by the Residence Life office before you arrive on campus. Keep watch of your SLU email for more information. If you have any questions during the holiday break, please contact Sarah Barber. The First-Year Program office will reopen on January 2, 2020.