First-Year Program Fall Course Descriptions
Please complete the FYP College Preference Form, Housing Form, and Interests form, which will appear on your Application Status Page .
Login to your status page to complete these and all of your other required and optional forms before the May 30th deadline.
FYP Courses with Community-Based Learning (CBL)
Community-Based Learning (CBL) expands the walls of the classroom to include the community beyond SLU. Students in CBL courses actively engage in their learning by spending two hours a week outside of class time in a placement with one of our community partners. Students then bring the world outside back into the classroom to connect their placement experiences with course content.
Food and Folk: Sustaining North Country Food/Cultures (CBL)
Instructor: Camilla Ammirati
Can a seed save a song? Can a song save a seed? What does it take to sustain not only food systems but the cultural traditions and arts that both depend on and help shape how we produce and procure our food? In this class, we will examine how food systems and folklife (including traditional arts and crafts, occupations, and kinds of knowledge) interact through the experiences and perspectives of cultural groups around and beyond the North Country. We’ll consider varied foodways and related cultural traditions, whether they are going strong, slipping away, or paving the way for a more sustainable future. Through a range of sources including readings, videos, and podcasts, as well as direct documentation of regional life–including some you will do yourself–we’ll get to know more about the area’s food cultures and other living traditions, and we’ll examine how learning more about them can help us navigate current controversies around issues like food access and cultural sovereignty. 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). Students do not need a vehicle to participate in CBL classes. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement. DISCLAIMER: Due to the ongoing nature of the COVID-19 Pandemic, students should note that there is still a possibility that a CBL experience may need to pivot from being an in-person experience to being completely virtual.
Rural Dreams: Surveying the Plight and Promise of America's Small Towns (CBL)
Instructor: George Repicky
Van de Water College
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. Whatever the size of your hometown, exploring small-town America—of which Canton, NY (population 6,500) is just one example—is an opportunity to address economic, political, and social questions and explore entrepreneurial solutions to real-world problems. 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 growing urban/rural divide. The class will put special emphasis on learning about our region and surrounding communities. 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). Students do not need a vehicle to participate in CBL classes. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement. DISCLAIMER: Due to the ongoing nature of the COVID-19 Pandemic, students should note that there is still a possibility that a CBL experience may need to pivot from being an in-person experience to being completely virtual.
FYP Courses with Travel
Courses with travel: This course either meets off-site or features required field trips. For courses that meet off-site, such as at SLU’s Sustainability Farm, Living Lab, or Wachtmeister Field Station transportation will be provided, but you will want to be mindful of allowing time for travel between the off-site location and other classes on campus when you register for your other three courses in July. Most courses with required field trips arrange for trips during class time, but student-athletes should be aware that weekend field trips, which may cause conflicts with varsity athletics competitions in the fall. If you have concerns about potential conflicts, please contact the FYP office.
London: Science, Technology, and Innovation in Global London
(Abroad in London)
Instructor: Tom Greene
One of the world’s great cities and once the anchor of the British Empire, London still enfolds the physical, philosophical, and intellectual traces of the scientific and industrial revolutions. Artifacts abound in places like the Greenwich Observatory, the British Library, and Prince Albert’s museum district. Even London’s infrastructure is a monument to the engineers of the past few centuries. We will visit these places and more, but a meaningful inspection adds nuance to our understanding of both London and science. London was never an isolated society that hosted a fully evolved culture, scientific or otherwise. Even before the arrival of the Romans, London was a complex stirring of people, ideas, and places. Indeed, London may now be the world's most "globalized" city – a third of Londoners were born outside the UK, and they speak over 300 languages. Furthermore, science and technology have never been value-free, and they resulted in more than a happy history of quaint chugging and whirring machines. Hindsight reveals missteps, hubris and prejudice. These are especially apparent in the context of the multicultural city we will experience. To complete our investigation we will examine the role of multiculturalism in fostering the past and continued relevance of a city that is no longer the crossroads of an empire, but remains a magnet for innovation and discovery. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement. Students admitted to St. Lawrence will be able to apply to the London FYP on your Application Status Page. Applications are due by no later than Monday, April 25, 2022, with notification following soon after. Any questions regarding the London FYP please call CIIS at 315.229.5991 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Devil's Music
Instructor: Michelle Martin-Atwood
When rock-and-roll surged in popularity in the mid-1950s, some groups were horrified by the “savage rhythms” and the sexual double entendre of the lyrics, calling it, “the Devil’s music.” Beatles’ records were burned in 1966, and much censorship followed such as banning certain videos from MTV, numerous groups were prevented from performing on TV shows, and songs were cut from the radio. However, music censorship is not only a 20th C phenomenon, nor is it unique to any one culture. Music has been banned outright, had strict limitations placed on its dissemination, or at the very least, was labeled as a danger to the moral fabric of human society. Throughout this course, we will explore various case studies across vastly differing cultures wherein music was considered to be the work of the devil, and we will examine the impacts that such judgments had on the music. Any discussion of musical genres will benefit from a survey of the history of the genre as well as an understanding of the musical forms themselves. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
Silent Seasons: Human Impacts on Our Natural World
Instructors: Paul Siskind
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 in the US and around the world. We will discuss this book within its historical context, and also consider its relationship to other environmental issues. The course includes field trips 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 with a cohort of peers who share similar interests in the natural world. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
An Outdoor State of Mind
Instructor: Anna Carpenter
*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 is 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 general education requirement.
All FYP members of this FYP course will attend a St. Lawrence University pre-orientation trip (Wed., 8/17/22 arrival on campus; trip 8/18-8/21); a spot is automatically held for students enrolled in this FYP. An all-inclusive trip fee (for meals, lodging, equipment, and transportation from the morning of departure until the morning of return) will be assessed on a sliding scale between $50 and $375 based on demonstrated need. When enrolled, a detailed letter outlining the requirements of the trip (equipment needs; clothing; schedule, etc.) will be sent to you via your SLU email. Please contact the First-Year Program office at 315.229.5909 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 on your Application Status Page. Learn more about the North Country pre-trips - https://www.stlawu.edu/offices/first-year-program/information-first-year-students/north-country-pre-orientation-trips .
Other FYP Courses
Children's Literature and Its Life-Long Lessons: From Wonderland to Diagon Alley
Instructor: Karen Gibson
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 fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
The Power of Horror: Fear in Religion and Fiction
Instructor: Damon Berry
Religious traditions often blend images of terror with a message of sublime salvation as they describe the need for repentance; at times, such messages can be so powerful as to change the cultural histories of entire nations. With the mainstream popularity of horror as a genre of entertainment, we often find the line between religious doctrine and fiction blended in unexpected and interesting ways. In this FYP, we will examine the place of horror in both religious and popular culture to talk about how the genre of horror becomes a nexus for questions about mortality, ethics, community, and how all of this is related to our most profound personal and cultural fears and wishes. Some examples of texts we’ll explore in this course include Christian sermons, both ancient and modern; responses to 9/11, some of which blamed America’s lax morals for the terror of that day; and the horrors of racism as represented in both the Cthulhu mythos and other works of H.P. Lovecraft along with the HBO series Lovecraft Country. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
Our Animal Kin: Exploring Human-Animal Connections in Literature and Philosophy
Instructors: Mark Sturges and Katie Wolfe
Most people have an animal story to tell. What’s yours about? A favorite family pet or farm animal you raised? An encounter with a wild species? An unexpected creature in the city? This course explores such human-animal connections through the lenses of literature and philosophy. In addition to reading about animals, we’ll watch some animal films and discuss some philosophical approaches to animal studies. Students will tell their own animal stories in a creative essay and wade into ethical debates in an argument paper. Along the way, we’ll consider how humans have imagined animals over time and across cultures, what relationships we have forged with them, and what obligations and responsibilities we have to them. Not only will we confront some of the most pressing environmental issues of our time, but we’ll also challenge the boundaries between humans and animals and get in touch with our own animal selves. Most of all, we’ll take joy and pleasure in telling stories about our animal kin, our fellow travelers on this beautiful, fragile, wild planet. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
The Asian American Experience
Instructor: Alvin Henry
The last few years have seen a rise in anti-Asian hate and violence in the United States. Although the media often portrays this hate and violence as something new, it has deep roots in American history. In this course, we will explore the historical and contemporary experience of Asian Americans—a people from over twenty ethnic groups. We will look at how immigration, colonialism, legal oppression, vigilante violence, and everyday racism shaped and shapes the experience of Asian Americans. We will also look at how Asian Americans pushed back against oppression and created their own cultures. We will read about Asian American literature, art, and politics. We will also work on reading, writing, and oral communication. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
The Picture Comes Off the Page: Understanding Artist Books
Instructor: Paul Doty
People can, and do, make art out of pretty much anything. We’re going to examine making art through books, that is, examine how people use the form of the book the way a painter might use oil and canvas. You will become familiar with Artists Books, constructions based on books that create unique visual and tactile experiences. You will be examining, researching, and writing about Artists Books in the St Lawrence University Libraries collection, and you’ll be trying your hand at making one. We’ll make art together, art up from the book—no experience necessary, just a willingness to rethink something you thought you knew. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
Coldest Cold War Flicks
Instructors: JJ Jockel and James Sieja
This course will examine the earliest and coldest days of the Cold War, a period extending from the end of World War II in 1945 to the signing of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963, through a sampling of historical texts and American movies made during that time. Movies are often more than just mindless escapism: the stories and texts continually recast by our culture not only entertain but also can provide a window into who we are, and were. We will look at how the motion pictures of the day reflected the major preoccupations of the early Cold War era, chief among them dealing with nuclear weapons, responding to the Soviet communist threat and undertaking America’s new responsibilities abroad, as well as enjoying prosperity and mobility at home in the new suburbs while spawning a generation that eventually would be called the “boomers.” Special attention will be paid to the noir films of the 1940s and 1950s, family melodramas such as Mildred Pierce and Rebel Without a Cause, horror films of the 1950s such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and nuclear war films such as On the Beach and Dr. Strangelove. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
Science and Speculation
Instructors: Adam Hill and Sam Tartakoff
Science fiction has always fascinated us, asking us to consider seemingly impossible technologies and to dream about possible futures. However, science fiction also invites us look inward, at ourselves and our current society, and to wonder how well we would use the technologies that we most hope for. Whether in the reaches of space or the depths of a digital world, through genetic engineering or time-travel, there are incredible stories with real-life lessons to be learned. Using readings and films, we will look at science and societies, both real and imagined, to discuss some of the different places humanity might be headed. As part of this course, writing assignments and oral presentations will teach you to be both a better storyteller and a better scientist. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
Rebels, Hipsters, and Visionaries: The Beat Generation and Beyond
Instructor: Penny Vlagopoulos
“I had found the teachers, the soundtrack, and the proper motivation for my life,” actor Johnny Depp wrote of his introduction to the Beats when he was fifteen years old. The literary group known as the Beat Generation erupted in the late 1940s, influencing innumerable writers, artists, activists, and wanderers over the years and attracting loyal adherents in each new generation. Disrupting conventional notions of self and society and positioning themselves globally, the Beats resisted the stifling conformity of the Cold War era and restructured categories of race, gender, and sexuality. Their uniquely imaginative models for life and art flourished into new forms of social, cultural, and political radicalism in the decades to come, from the counterculture and Black and Brown power movements of the ’60 and ’70s to the punk and alternative cultures of the ’80s and ’90s up to the activist movements of the past few years. The course will focus on key figures and moments in this lineage of rebellion, leading up to a “kindred spirits” project that will give students the opportunity to repurpose the spirit of these visionaries through the particular lens of their own generation. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
Finding Global Healing in Self-Awareness
Instructors: Gabby Clover and Ashley Clover
In this course, we will explore the concept of overall well-being. We will learn about some of the social impacts (general factors acting at the level of society) on mental health, such as class, gender, family, and peer networks. We will also learn about some of the psychological factors or individual-level processes, such as trauma, grief, personality. We will reflect on ways we can emphasize human strengths, positive emotions, and well-being with reflective journaling, creative class activities, and class discussion. At the same time, this course will interrogate big questions about how we define well-being, including whether it is the same across cultures and how we can achieve it. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
"What's That Sound?"
Instructor: Larry Boyette
“Stop, children, what’s that sound? Everybody look what’s going down” sang Buffalo Springfield in a song that became an anthem of the 60s. This class is centered on the question: what is sound, and what role does sound play in our lives? We’ll explore sound from the perspective of physics, biology, medicine, folklore, history, politics, craftsmanship, technology, and music. We will engage sound by meeting and speaking with people whose lives and careers are centered on sound, and we’ll explore the sounds of the SLU campus. We will also make our own sounds, from drumming the rhythms of different cultures to learning to use music-making technology to craft our own compositions. We will shape sound, and explore how sounds shape us. So, as musicians say, “get your ears out,” and let’s discover what’s going down with sound. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
Walking Across Cultures
Instructor: Wendi Haugh
Our distant ancestors started walking over five million years ago, and we have spent most of our history as a species getting around on foot. Today we have many other transportation options, but walking still plays an important role in the lives of most people. In this course, we will consider the effects of walking on physical and psychological well-being, and we will examine how and why people walk in many different cultural contexts. Through readings, films, and experiential learning, you will encounter many different kinds of walking, from Australian Aboriginal walkabouts to pilgrimages on the Camino de Santiago, from solitary city strolls to guided bird walks, from long-distance hikes to social movement marches. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
Sherlock Holmes and the Art and Science of Reasoning
Instructor: Jeffrey Maynes
Sherlock Holmes is perhaps fiction's greatest detective. In this course, we will examine the Holmes stories through a philosophical and scientific lens in order to understand how to reason critically and responsibly. Students will learn techniques for identifying, evaluating, and creating arguments, as well as how to use these skills to communicate clearly and be more successful in all of their courses. We will also focus on how to reduce the influence of cognitive bias, how misinformation spreads through social networks, and how to reason critically about science. By the end of the course, students will be better prepared to reason through complex issues, both in and out of the classroom (but no promises about your ability to solve crimes). This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
Digital Art History: Reprocessing 30,000 Years of Creative Culture
Instructor: Matthew Burnett
Have you ever wondered what Egyptian hieroglyphics would look like in time-based media? Or the Roman empire in the digital age? What if you flattened a ceramic sculpture like the Venus of Willendorf? Today’s technology lets us take a journey through several millennia of human creative development. In this course, students will recontextualize the art and artifacts of past culture using contemporary digital tools. In addition to writing about visual art, we will use digital drawing, animation, and 3-D modeling as investigative tools to research the artistic development of past cultures. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
Markets and Morality: The Ethical and Philosophical Dimensions of Business and Economics
Instructor: Richard Lauer
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 general education requirement.
Your Place in the World: What It Means to be Local
Instructors: Josh Exoo and Rebecca Jewell
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 fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
Am I Really Me? Understanding Identity in Virtual Spaces
Instructor: Ryan Deuel
We all live a large portion of our lives in some form of virtual reality. Our identities, our relationships, our communications, and our way of seeing and understanding the world are increasingly shaped by our virtual interactions – from streamers on YouTube to influencers on Instagram; from news in Snaps and Tweets to pop culture trends on TikTok. Social media does more than connect and entertain us; it shapes our personal identity and our society as a whole. So, how do we differentiate between what is virtual and what is real? Is a follower a friend? Should we expect any level of privacy online? What happens when (mis)information online collides with real health, political, social, and environmental challenges? And, how does #FOMO keep returning us to these virtual spaces? This course will explore the different ways we interface with social media. It will consider how our identities are shaped by what we see, hear, and do online. Students will learn how to become more aware of the ways in which our virtual selves inform our real selves. It will also encourage students to consider how they might gain greater agency over their virtual selves and empower their real selves, real spaces, and real society. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
Identity and Belonging in the St. Lawrence Valley
Instructor: Neil Forkey
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 general education requirement.
We Are Our Stories: Family History, Storytelling, and Identity
Instructor: Nicole Roché
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 practice telling and listening to our own stories. We will explore the many forms storytelling can take, including the rapidly evolving world of digital storytelling. 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 (and screen!), at home, and in our communities. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
Being Young and Having Fun in the Contemporary Middle East
Instructor: Howard Eissenstat
Usually, American conversations about the Middle East focus on what we might call “hard politics.” We talk about war and diplomacy; we talk about human rights and economic crisis. Occasionally, we talk about culture, but when we do, it is often framed as something timeless and, in a sense, lifeless. This course does not attempt to deny the importance of any of those issues: war, human rights, and the economy all matter—a lot. But it tries to shift the focus away from the world of news stories and towards the intimate and the personal. How are politics expressed through music? What does economic crisis mean for young people hoping to marry and start a family? How do people meet one another and socialize? Using novels, films, music, and scholarship, we will try to build an understanding of the experience of young people in the contemporary Middle East that recognizes and celebrates all of the diversity and richness their experience holds. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
Winning the Interregnum with Social Democracy: How to Stop Fascism Again
Instructor: Jayantha Jayman
How do we acknowledge and deal with fascism in a period of potential shift in world power and leadership, or the interregnum? An increase in inequity within and between societies along with a high degree of awareness of each other has meant that our sense of justice is being challenged and we are seeing decline into forms of proto-fascism again, except this time it is global, with ‘citizens’ feeling outrage by perceiving ‘others’ gaining advantages. Yet, there is also a sense of decency and empathy, particularly among the young, as social justice has been central to our sense of morality. This course intends to build on young minds tired of conflict, to rediscover solutions to social problems. Together we will explore the first half of the 20th century that faced two world wars, genocides, mass migration, and a depression, and how we came out of it to try to maintain our humanity. What can the first half of the 1900s teach us as we face ideological disarray, genocide and colonization, extreme social division, and the threat of major war, while also dealing with an ongoing pandemic? We will read, debate, and write about thinkers from the past, and those from today, to assess how nations are meeting these challenges, with a particular focus on the most powerful nation of the world, the United States. We will consider how at this time the United States again seeks to make a difference where the world goes via liberalism, and even hints of social democracy, while competing authoritarian regimes and ideologies offer political and economic alternatives with appeal to proto-fascism. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
The Science of the Self
Instructors: Mark Oakes and Serge Onyper
How do scientists define and study a concept as abstract and philosophical as the self? We will begin by grounding our understanding of the self through a classic work by William James called The Principles of Psychology. From there we will start to unpack the self by exploring the evidence for and variations between theories of personality, identity (e.g., gender), memory and intelligence, and consciousness. We will also consider how social media and technology influence our “virtual self”, why we are prone to stereotypes and biases and what we can do to mitigate them, and how the narrative we form about ourselves is essential to our self-concept. Our unpacking of the self will acknowledge perspectives from social and cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral genetics. The source materials will consist of journal articles (research reports and reviews published by experts in their field) and chapters from several books written by scientists for general audiences, as well as the occasional literary work and film. This course is designed for students interested in the behavioral sciences and will emphasize the development and refinement of communication skills. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
Your Inner Fish: Evolution of the Human Body
Instructor: Alex Schreiber
This reading-, writing-, and content-heavy course is designed for students interested in the health sciences. How and why did humans evolve to be the way we are, and what are the implications of our evolved anatomy and physiology for human health in a post-industrial world? Why do we get sick, and how can we use principles of evolution to improve health and wellbeing? To address these questions, 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, limbs, heart, brain, and many other organs. This course introduces students to fundamental aspects of modern genetics and evolutionary theory. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
Hope and Resilience
Instructors: Liz Regosin and Jeffery Frank
These past three years have been extraordinarily challenging. They have revealed to us how important it is to live with hope and resilience. In this course we will explore examples of people, drawn from history and literature, who managed to face tragedies with grace and courage. Readings will include a broad array of thinkers—from Sophocles, to Frederick Douglass, to Vaclav Havel, to Wangari Maathai, among others —and students will be encouraged to make connections from our readings and to their own lives. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
Capitalism: Past, Present, and Future
Instructor: Ryan Acton
In the last two hundred years, capitalism—an economic system based on the pursuit of profit—has grown to dominate the globe. Even “communist” China has, according to some scholars, a capitalist economy. This course has three parts. First, we will briefly survey the rise of capitalism, especially in the United States, asking how it transformed all aspects of life, for good and for ill. Second, we will learn about the economy today, including whom the economy rewards and whom it harms. Finally, we will immerse ourselves in debates about the future. Is capitalism leading to greater freedom, affluence, and peace, as many of its defenders argue? Or is it leading to spiraling inequality, weakened democracy, and environmental disaster, as many of its critics allege? You do not need to know anything about the economy to take this course. You do need a willingness to read sometimes difficult texts, to learn about critiques of capitalism, and to engage in discussion of political topics. We will also work on presentation and writing skills. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
How To Tell a True War Story: The American War Movie Since Vietnam
Instructor: Bob Cowser
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 general education requirement.
European Cinema and the Quest for Freedom
Instructor: Alessandro Giardino
This FYP examines topics in European and trans-European cinema, including film theory, aesthetics, nationalism, and gender roles. During the term, we will focus on five directors whose films exemplify specific geographical, linguistic, and cultural areas, but also a variety of cinematographic styles, ideologies, and artistic concerns. Students will gain familiarity with the methods and terminology of classical film analysis, all the while delving into the visual layers of filmmaking, with a particular emphasis on mise-en-scène, set and custom design, and shooting techniques. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
Do-It-Yourself Theatre: Taking a Play from Concept to Performance
Instructors: Daniel Gallagher and Angela Sweigart-Gallagher
Develop your leadership, collaboration, and problem-solving skills in DIY Theatre! Students enrolled in DIY Theatre will work collaboratively throughout the semester to produce a full-length theatrical performance as part of University Theatre's 2022-2023 Season. Students enrolled in this course will learn to apply script analysis, research, and writing skills to increase their understanding of dramatic texts. Students will learn about the different roles and responsibilities that make a theatre production possible, as well as the different steps of the production process. Under the mentorship of faculty, students will serve as scenic, lighting, and costume designers, as well as performers, stage managers, box office, and house managers in order to gain hands-on experience in taking a play from production concept to final performance. First-time theatre-makers and performers are welcome! This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.
Please complete the FYP College Preference Form, Housing Assignment Profile Form, and Interests Form which will appear on your Application Status Page. Also, please complete all of the other forms listed on your status page as they appear.