Each First-Year Seminar offers an opportunity for entering students to develop skills in writing, reasoning, and research that will be of critical importance throughout their academic careers. Enrollment is limited to fifteen students to ensure the active participation of all class members and to permit students and instructor to concentrate on developing the skills necessary for successful college writing. Seminars typically focus on a current problem or a topic of particular interest to the instructor. First-Year Seminars are not open to upperclass students. They carry full course credit.
General Education. One designated seminar may be used in fulfilling General Education requirements. In addition, one designated seminar may be used to fulfill the quantitative requirement. Designations are listed in the introductory paragraphs of departments in the Catalog.
FYS 071. Ancient Stories to Modern Ears.Much of the literature that has survived from antiquity, including the scriptures of the world's major religious traditions, was once communicated orally. Through analysis of storytelling technique and the impact of oral delivery on hearers, the course addresses the problem of how to interpret stories from remote ages and varying ethnic and religious traditions, and how meaning has been affected in the shift from events of communication between persons to literary works. Students examine stories from Homer, Aesop, Genesis, the Gospels, Jewish Rabbinic and Hasidic sages, early Christian hermits, and the Islamic Hadith. Enrollment limited to 15. R. Allison.
FYS 084. Anatomy of a Few Small Machines.One can treat the products of technology as "black boxes"—plain in purpose but mysterious in function. A more flexible and exciting life is available to those who look on all such devices as mere extensions of their hands and minds—who believe they could design, build, modify, and repair anything they put their hands on. This course helps students do this primarily through practice. Only common sense is required, but participants must be willing to attack any aspect of science and technology. Field trips are required. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. G. Clough.
FYS 090. Visions of Community.An investigation of the concept of community in selected political arguments. These arguments include radical, liberal, conservative, and other positions on a variety of issues, such as community power, cultural difference, cooperative living, faith-based community, and public ownership. Students learn to identify, analyze, and to evaluate specific positions on these and other issues. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. W. Corlett.
FYS 135. Women in Art.Beginning in the 1970s in response to the feminist movement, the investigation of women's roles in the production of visual culture has expanded the traditional parameters of art history. Now a leading method of analysis, this approach provides exciting insights into fields ranging from Egyptian sculpture to contemporary photography. This seminar discusses women as subjects, makers, and patrons. Topics include Egyptian royal imagery, women as Renaissance subjects and painters, Venus in Renaissance marriage paintings, women as Impressionist painters and subject matter, artists and models in the twentieth century, and women in the New York art world since World War II. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. R. Corrie.
FYS 150. Hamlet.This course undertakes an intensive study of Shakespeare's play, with particular emphasis on the various ways it has been interpreted through performance. Students read the play closely, view several filmed versions, and investigate historical productions in order to arrive at a sense of Hamlet's changing identity and enduring importance. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. M. Andrucki.
FYS 152. Religion and Civil Rights.Traditionally, the civil rights movement has been viewed as a political and social reform movement initiated to secure the citizenship rights of African Americans. This seminar supplements this view by exploring how religion shaped the vision and experience of civil rights activists. Topics include such dimensions of the movement as the centrality of the black church, the prominence of religious leaders, the use of theological language, the ritualization of protest and the prevalence of sacred music. Enrollment limited to 15. M. Bruce.
FYS 172. Power and Perception: Cinematic Portraits of Africa.Most Americans have "seen" Africa only through non-African eyes, coming to "know" about African society through such characters as Tarzan and such genres as the "jungle melodrama" or the "nature show." In this seminar, films from the North Atlantic are juxtaposed with ethnographic and art films made by Africans in order to examine how to "read" these cinematic texts. Related novels and ethnographic texts help to answer central questions about the politics of representation: what are the differences in how African societies are depicted and why are different issues and points of view privileged? First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. E. Eames.
FYS 177. Sex and Sexualities.This course studies the representation of sex and sexualities, both "queer" and "straight," in a variety of cultural products ranging from advertising and novels to music videos and movies. Topics may include connections between sex and gender queerness suggested by the increasingly common acronym LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer); the advantages and inadequacies of using such labels; definitions and debates concerning pornography, sex education, public sex, and stigmatized sexual practices such as sadomasochism; the interrelations between constructions of sexuality and those of race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, and class; and the necessities and complexities of ensuring consent. Enrollment limited to 15. E. Rand.
FYS 187. Hard Times: Economy and Society in the Great Depression.The Great Depression was a watershed in the experience of Americans and Europeans, bringing a transformation in many dimensions of life, such as unemployment, poverty, agriculture, unions, financial markets, and leisure. This seminar examines the Depression years, focusing on economic and social issues, and the debate about the role of government in citizens' lives. First-Year Seminar no longer offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. Staff.
FYS 190. The Changing Climate of Planet Earth.The climate of planet earth is constantly changing over vast spatial and temporal scales, from short-term and local to long-term and global. The geological records for the mid-latitudes of North America, for instance, illustrate periods alternately dominated by tropical reefs, lush coal forests, glaciers, and expansive arid deserts. This seminar investigates the evidence, possible causes, and impacts of climate change through studies of climate records ranging from glacial stratigraphy, tree rings, written historical accounts, and recent instrumental data. A special focus is directed toward understanding the possible effects of a human-induced global warming and its potential environmental, societal, and political impacts. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. M. Retelle.
FYS 198. Childhood and Literature.Many writers, especially in the last two centuries, have turned to childhood for inspiration and subject matter. Whether the childhood they write about is their own or another, imagined or observed, these writers find in the early years of life a mysterious and fertile wilderness, a place to think evocatively and clearly about the most essential human questions. Such questions shade from the psychological to the social to the metaphysical and aesthetic, but they provide multiple windows upon cultural habits, and some excellent opportunities to think across disciplines. Students read, discuss, and frequently write about many different sorts of literature and childhood - memoirs, poetry, essays, short fiction, and novels. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. R. Farnsworth.
FYS 201. Using the Land.Land use is one of the most significant environmental issues we face today. This course examines the relationship between humans and land, as well as issues such as the ability of current land management practices to ensure the survival of human and other species, and the relative rights of human and other species to the land. Readings represent an American perspective and include Walden, Wilderness and the American Mind, Sand County Almanac, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and Desert Solitaire. Not open to students who have received credit for Environmental Studies s26. T. Wenzel.
FYS 221. Medicine and the American Civil War.Relatively little improvement in Western medical science and care occurred between the time of the American Revolution and the Civil War. By 1861, both the United States and the Confederate States of America were faced with the sudden appearance of large numbers of sick and injured people, which overwhelmed the existing medical care systems. This course examines the state of medical science in North America in the mid-nineteenth century and looks at the impact that one of the bloodiest conflicts in human history had on medical care. Topics include the development and operation of military medical care systems, the impact of these systems on the population as a whole, and changes in medical science that resulted from the war experience. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. T. Lawson.
FYS 225. Utopias and Dystopias.Is an "ideal" or "perfect" social order possible or desirable? Can a state of dystopia or "wretchedness" be avoided? What factors distinguish one condition from the other? This course draws upon a number of genres—fiction, political treatises, and historical writings—in order to explore the notion of utopian and dystopian societies. Such exploration encourages us to ask how our current social order could be re-envisioned by challenging taken-for-granted norms and institutional structures for social interaction, political decision making, and resource distribution. Enrollment limited to 15. S. Smith.
FYS 227. Montaigne.Montaigne had the unprecendented idea of focusing his one great book, The Essays (1580), on himself. Because he was so perceptive and so candid in carrying out this project, we can get to know him more intimately and more completely than any prior person. Because he had filled his head with the Greek and Latin classics, we can watch him use these ancient materials to fashion a modern self. Finally, because he was never quite content with the first form of any essay, but returned to revise and re-revise in an effort to improve his thinking and writing, we apprentices and journeymen can go to school with a past master of prose composition. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. J. Cole.
FYS 233. Religion and the Arts in Russia."Beauty will save the world." These words belong to a character from a Dostoevsky novel, but many Russian writers and artists have felt the arts have a fundamentally religious role to play in human life and in society. This course examines Russian fiction, art, film, and music as a way of understanding how religious traditions and religious questions have shaped that country's artistic life. While the focus is on Eastern Orthodox Christianity as Russia's dominant religion, students examine other traditions as well, Judaism and Islam. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. J. Costlow.
FYS 234. The U.S. Relocation Camps in World War II.During World War II, the United States government interned more than 110,000 American citizens of Japanese descent and resident Japanese in "relocation camps" far away from their homes. This course studies the history of Asian immigration to the United States; the political, social, and economic conditions of the United States prior to internment; the relocation camps themselves; and the politics of redress leading to the presidential apology over the wartime "mistake" a half-century later. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. A. Hirai.
FYS 242. Identities: Whiteness.Aspects of ourselves we hold most dear, most changeless, are in actuality socially fashioned. "Whiteness" is one such mode of social assortment. How does whiteness come to be, and how is it lived and experienced? What is its relationship to other ethnic and racial categories and how does it intersect with issues of class and gender? How did some immigrant groups, like Jews and the Irish, become white? Drawing on perspectives from literature, anthropology, and critical race theory, students reflect on the historical and symbolic formation of whiteness and the silences that surround its pervasive presence. Enrollment limited to 15. C. Carnegie.
FYS 243. Science of Alternative Medicines.Americans spend a great deal of money on herbal remedies and other nutritional supplements and make frequent visits to nontraditional healers. This course investigates the science behind these alternative medicines, first by defining what "alternative medicines" are, and then by analyzing the medicines" are, and then by analyzing the scientific bases of these therapies. Course activities include small group discussions of readings, presentations by practitioners and other experts in the field, and student presentations of findings from the literature. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. N. Kleckner.
FYS 249. Global Economy and Nation-State.Is the global economy actually displacing the nation-state, making it an obsolete social entity destined for extinction? This question is at the heart of a growing—and polarized—debate among sociologists and political scientists. Some argue that the nation-state is destined for disintegration; others, that the nation-state will endure, and even be strengthened by, the global economy. This seminar critically evaluates arguments on both sides of the debate. Students take the European Union (EU) and the Common Market of South America (Mercosur) as potential precursors of tomorrow's global economy, and investigate the strength of the nation-state in those contexts. Enrollment limited to 15. F. Duina.
FYS 255. The Psychology of Influence.Much of human behavior is directed toward influencing others. The field of social psychology has systematically investigated the nature of people's influence on one another. This course uses social psychological theory and research to examine the phenomenon of how people influence one another. Topics to which social psychological theory and research are applied include the Holocaust, advertising, pseudoscience, health prevention programs, cults, eyewitness identifications, and prejudice. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. A. Bradfield.
FYS 265. Ethics at the Beginning of Life.Society seems fascinated by human reproduction. Fertility treatment, cloning, and surrogacy are endlessly debated by politicians, the public, and the media. Indeed, some pregnant women remark that all of society seems to be interested in the well-being of their fetus and, more ominously, that everyone has opinions about the proper way to conceive, carry, birth, and raise children. Arguably, the public scrutiny of private decisions is at its most intense regarding reproduction. This course on the ethics of reproduction examines topics such as birth control, infertility, in vitro fertilization, cloning, embryonic stem cell research, abortion, sex selection, genetic enhancement, the medicalization of pregnancy and birth, surrogate motherhood, same-sex parenting, and imperiled newborns. Enrollment limited to 15. F. Chessa.
FYS 271. Into the Woods: Rewriting Walden.On 4 July 1845, Henry David Thoreau declared his independence and moved to a shack in the woods near Walden Pond. Since 1845, many individuals have repeated his experiment in one form or another. This course examines a number of these Thoreauvian experiments and their historical context. Why do these individuals take to the woods? What do they find there? What do their experiences say about American culture and society? In seeking answers to these questions, students read a variety of literary, historical, and autobiographical texts. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. G. Lexow.
FYS 274. Physics in the Twentieth Century.An introduction to great twentieth-century discoveries in physics, including the wave-particle duality of light and matter, quantum effects, special relativity, nuclear physics, and elementary particles. Laboratory experiments such as the photoelectric effect and electron diffraction are incorporated into the seminar. This seminar can substitute for Physics 108 and is designed for students who had a strong background in high school physics. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. H. Lin.
FYS 277. The Fantastic in Modern Japan.From the surreal novels of Murakami Haruki to the utopian and dystopian visions of Miyazaki Hayao's animated films, contemporary Japan offers the international world a rich array of cultural products centering on the fantastic. Western response tends to see the futuristic visions of these novels and films as expressive of Japan's level of comfort with the post-industrial world of high technology, but is that impression accurate? What is the genre of the fantastic? How is it used by writers and filmmakers in Japan today? What questions do they raise about self, society, and the environment? What answers do they offer? This course examines the nature of the fantastic as an artistic genre and its expression in a variety of recent Japanese films and stories. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. S. Strong.
FYS 288. Luck and the Moral Life.Our lives are deeply subject to luck. Many human needs are subject to fate yet are necessary not only to a good life, but to a morally virtuous life as well. This course explores the relationship between luck and morality, beginning with the metaphysical problem of free will. Then, turning to Aristotle's virtue ethics, students examine the role friendship plays in the moral life and the way it protects us from bad luck. Finally, they look at Kant's attempt to make morality "safe" from luck alongside Euripides' Hecuba, which dramatically highlights the issue of whether virtue can ever be immune from misfortune. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. S. Stark.
FYS 289. The Life Story of the Buddha.The Buddha Siddhartha Gautama, also known as Sakyamuni, is famed as the founder of the Buddhist religion. Though he lived in Northern India about 2,500 years ago, most of what we know about him consists of legends that were developed by Buddhists over the centuries. The course examines these legends, with an eye on the factors that led to their evolution, and the ways in which changing conceptions of the Buddha reflect developments in Buddhist thought. At the same time, it serves as a basic introduction to the fundamental teachings and practices of Buddhism. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. J. Strong.
FYS 290. Controversies in Criminal Policy.Does the death penalty deter anyone? Do prisons rehabilitate? Should criminal offenders be "out" after "three strikes"? Should the names of registered sex offenders be made public? Should the laws of self-defense be modified to include certain forms of domestic homicide? Is anything accomplished by treating some juvenile offenders as adults? Ought the police be permitted to "profile" suspects on the basis of race? These and other questions reflect some of the issues about crime control that are debated in the criminal justice system, in the news media, and among segments of the general public. The seminar focuses on the ways by which such issues are framed, the persons and interests involved in their debate, and the effects on crime and the criminal justice system of such debate and its resolution. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. S. Sylvester.
FYS 291. E-Literacy and Identity.Viewing, gaming, and chatting are just a few of the ways we use computers to interact these days. Besides extending literacy in unexpected ways, computer technologies have profoundly influenced self-representation. On the disembodied Internet, identity is fluid and often falsified or fantasized. This seminar investigates how e-literacy shapes identity in the Internet Age. It begins by considering how the acquisition of reading and writing skills in previous historic eras contributed to a person's social identity. It concludes by exploring how current technologies engage users in new modes of reading and writing that help fashion their public and private identities. Enrollment limited to 15. M. Hanrahan.
FYS 292. Growing Up Perfect.Every one of us wonders what we would be like if we realized our full potential, and every society struggles to describe the royal road to human perfection. From Aristotle's "reflective intelligence" to J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter, the library shelves bulge with examples and advice. In this course, students read classic guides of self-improvement from 2,000 years of global culture—Roman, Chinese, American, and European—looking for the cultural supermodel that makes a bestseller, or moves a society. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. D. Grafflin.
FYS 295. American Musicals on Film.From The Jazz Singer of 1927 to Chicago of 2002, American musicals on film have been remarkably reflexive: "show business about show business." On closer analysis, they provide us with fascinating clues about American popular taste and our culture in general. The seminar examines more than twenty films, with special attention to critical perspectives on music and dance. In addition, the course explores issues of gender, race and sexuality. Not open to students who have received credit for Music s29. Enrollment limited to 15. M. Anderson.
FYS 296. From Communism to(ward) Capitalism.This seminar surveys recent developments in the Russian economy, and provides an economic-historical overview that focuses on the late Tsarist period, the Soviet period, and the transition period since 1991. Topics covered include the late Tsarist economic system, War Communism, the New Economic Policy, collectivization, nationalization, administrative planning, perestroika, economic shock therapy, and oligarchic capitalism. Enrollment limited to 15. D. Aschauer.
FYS 297. The Idea of Europe.What is Europe? Is it the cradle of all that is civilized and cultured, or the blood-soaked ground of empires, genocidal despots, and revolutions? Today, in the first years of the twenty-first century, we are witnessing the most peaceful attempt ever at creating a unified economic, political, legal, and social entity that is European. But is a European cultural identity necessary for the success of a unified Europe, and can one be created? Or is an imagined European community as illusory as Tito's ill-fated attempt to create a multiethnic, multi-religious, multi-linguistic Yugoslav community? In the seminar, students examine, critique, and propose alternatives to many of the received ideas about what it means to be European. Enrollment limited to 15. D. Browne.
FYS 298. Volcanoes and Human Populations.Volcanic eruptions such as Thera (1654 B.C.E.), Vesuvius (79 C.E.), Krakatoa (1883), and Pinatubo (1991) are devastating to human populations and profoundly affect social and cultural histories. Consequently, volcanoes and volcanic eruptions are central themes of myth, legend, contemporary description, and current scientific study. Volcanism is also an integral and inevitable part of the global tectonic cycle, ensuring that Earth remains a habitable planet. Students explore the scientific knowledge and human dimensions of volcanism through readings, writing assignments, and discussions drawn from varied literature and visual media. Small-group projects assess the volcanic hazards for populations living near major volcanoes, such as Mexico City, Seattle, and Jakarta. A field trip to Mount St. Helens in Washington, which takes place during the fall recess, is required of all students. There is a field trip fee of $100 per student. Enrollment limited to 15. J. Creasy.
FYS 299. Contemporary American Poetry.What have poets been doing for the last fifty years? How has poetry kept up with the other arts? How has poetry changed as America has changed? In this course, students examine American poetry since World War II, looking at both the established canon and less well-known experimenters. Students also discuss works of contemporary art, to see whether poets and artists are thinking about similar questions. Poets may include Elizabeth Bishop, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Duncan, Denise Levertov, Robert Creeley, and Adrienne Rich. Enrollment limited to 15. S. Dillon.
FYS 300. Exploring Education through Narratives.In this seminar, stories, once the primary way knowledge passed from one generation to another, are the basis for examining educational topics and issues. Students read fictional, biographical, autobiographical, and other narratives to learn more about some aspect of education and/or schooling. Topics include teachers and teaching; teacher/student roles; gender identity; students' experiences in school; and how race, class, ethnicity, sexuality, or other differences may cause some to feel like outsiders. Students conduct field work and independent research. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. P. Buck.
FYS 301. Border Crossings: Latino Self-Identity and Narrative.Chicano performance artist Guillermo Gómez Peña has described himself as someone who continually crosses borders. On these journeys he seeks other Mexicos, his other selves, and the many communities to which he belongs. This process, at once personal and cultural, involves writing and thinking, and it allows him to embrace multiple and often incomplete identities. This course explores the process of identity formation in narratives by Latinos, including autobiographical essays, works of fiction, and testimony. Students consider how the individual faces pressures to fit into the sociopolitical structure and fulfills internal desires for freedom and connection with others. Enrollment limited to 15. F. Fahey.
FYS 302. Understanding Namaste.This course blends theory and practice, discussion and action as it explores the history and components of a holistic understanding and practice of yoga. Readings include three sacred texts of yoga tradition, the Bhagavad Gita, the Yoga Sutras, and the Upanishads, along with materials addressing physical yoga. Students have the opportunity to practice yoga during one class per week. In reading, discussion, and practice students explore the questions: How might I lead my intellectual and daily life? What do these principles, conceptions of body, mind and breath, and yoga practice offer me as a student and individual? And what does "om" mean? First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. H. Gurney.
FYS 303. Whose Standards? Whose Knowledge?.All students devote much time to taking standardized tests. Originally intended to provide an unbiased way to determine aptitude for college, the Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SATs) are criticized today as biased instruments that favor certain students. Public officials now argue that we need to use standardized tests to hold teachers and schools accountable. In the future standardized test scores may determine not only who may move up the educational ladder, but also which institutions are worthy of public support. This seminar examines standardized testing and its impact on society. Enrollment limited to 15. D. Haines.
FYS 304. Visions of the Past: Political Film and Historical Narrative.History need not be done on a page. Visual imagination—captured in photographs and documentary film—has often proved an indispensable pathway to historical, social, and political understanding. But have historians been very well-served by Hollywood feature film portrayals of politically charged situations "based on a true story" that mix fact and consumer titillation to sell tickets? Aided by visiting experts, this course compares representative films of the "historical" genre to traditional written evidence about some controversial events in recent history. Can cinematic techniques truthfully illuminate dimensions of moral imperative and resonances of the human condition that printed words cannot? Enrollment limited to 15. H. Jensen.
FYS 305. Corporal Culture: Body and Health in America.This seminar addresses a variety of topics related to body and health, from body image to body dysmorphia. Students read both primary sources (largely research) and first-person accounts related to eating disorders, diet and nutrition, body image, drug and alcohol use, smoking, sexuality, cosmetic pharmacy, fashion, definitions of physical and psychological "health," sex and gender, exercise, and organ transplantation. The seminar involves weekly writing assignments, occasional in-class assessments, student presentations, and a final writing project. Enrollment limited to 15. K. Low.
FYS 306. The Brontës.Reading a selection of fiction and poetry by the three Brontë sisters, as well as critical and biographical studies, students consider questions of authorial intention, and discuss the relation between literature and history in the Victorian period. Particular attention is paid to the Brontës' representations of gender and class, and to the interrelations between these social categories. Enrollment limited to 15. L. Nayder.
FYS 307. Islam.This seminar aims to provide an interdisciplinary introduction to the world of Islam: the Quran, shari'a, Islamic art, Sufi poetry, religious education, and contemporary politics. Beyond this, it aims to combine an understanding of Islam with important themes in the study of comparative politics: social movements, political parties, social welfare, and the modern state. In the end, it seeks to problematize and expand our understanding of the term "political Islam," drawing students away from ordinary press coverage into a deeper understanding of the debates that animate the political imagination of Muslims around the world. Enrollment limited to 15. M. Nelson.
FYS 308. Searching for the Good Life.What are the things that bring people happiness? Does marriage, for example, bring more happiness or unhappiness to those who choose it? Does wealth make people happy? If so, how much wealth is enough to ensure happiness? Is a productive career likely to bring happiness? How well do most individuals do at selecting the things that will bring them sustained happiness? Is happiness even the right yardstick to use in measuring the goodness of life? And at the end of life, what constitutes a good death? In this seminar, students grapple with these and related topics in regular discussions, projects and papers. Enrollment limited to 15. M. Sargent.
FYS 309. Matters of Life and Death.When is it morally justifiable to engage in an action that results in death? This seminar considers some of the most difficult moral questions currently being debated in our society. Issues discussed include euthanasia, abortion, the death penalty, war, poverty and hunger, and population control. Particular case studies are explored, and careful attention is given to the ethical arguments that can be made for contending positions on these questions. Enrollment limited to 15. T. Tracy.
FYS 311. Learning and Teaching Biology.This seminar offers a way for students to investigate selected topics in biology through the development and implementation of service-learning projects at local schools. Students learn the principles, concepts, and vocabulary of selected topics in biology, which may include but are not limited to the structure and function of biological molecules, microorganisms in health and disease, and biology and medicine in the news. Enrollment limited to 15. L. Abrahamsen.
FYS 312. Myth and Modernity.What is the purpose of human life and how do we attain it? Why do modern societies, like ancient ones, use myths to answer these questions? In this course, students examine myths from ancient Greece about the origins of the universe, male and female differences, and salvation, and then consider their modern versions. Readings may include Hesiod's Theogony, Darwin's Origins of the Species, Aeschylus' Oresteia, Monica Wittig's The Female Warriors, Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus, and Tony Morrison's Song of Solomon. Enrollment limited to 15. L. Maurizio.
FYS 313. Whitelands: Cinematic Nightmares.Racial exclusion was a founding principle for the creation of American suburbs, or more appropriately, the "Whitelands." Racist government policies, banking institutions, and practices like restrictive covenants all but insured that by the 1960s the suburbs were overwhelmingly white and Christian, while the inner cities became black and Latin bantustans. This seminar examines the Whitelands in Hollywood and independent cinema, from horror classics such as The Stepford Wives and Poltergeist to the more "realistic" American Beauty and Welcome to the Dollhouse. Enrollment limited to 15. C. Nero.
FYS 314. Good Vibrations.What do stars, atoms, wine glasses, and guitar strings all have in common? They all vibrate. Strike any one of these objects and it will vibrate at frequencies determined by its own particular construction. This seminar develops the foundations of Newtonian physics through the topic of vibrations and waves. Particular attention is given to music, musical instruments, resonance, and harmony. Laboratory experiments complement classroom study. The seminar can substitute for Physics 107. Some previous exposure to introductory calculus is desirable but not necessary. Students who have been discouraged by previous experiences in physics are especially encouraged to enroll. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. E. Wollman.
FYS 315. Understanding Risk.Risk touches our daily lives in countless ways and affects our choices in such things as how we move about the planet, enter into relationships with others, choose our life's work, and attend to our physical and mental well-being. Simple acts such as eating a hamburger, buckling a seatbelt, or swallowing an aspirin invoke the long and colorful story of humankind's relentless desire to eliminate randomness and control the future. Using case studies on such topics as airplane safety, genetically engineered foods, financial markets, and entrepreneurship, students examine the role of risk in our personal lives from several disciplines. Enrollment limited to 15. R. Pallone.
FYS 316. Making and Writing Art.Guided by readings about visual art and writing, students observe, create, and reflect on their work in both disciplines. Exercises in drawing, color, and collage weave in and out of writing assignments and art viewing. By experiencing the connections among seeing, making, and writing, students build a critical vocabulary and cultivate broad, deep, and spacious thinking. The course is designed for students with or without previous art experience. Enrollment limited to 15. P. Jones.
FYS 317. Geometry in Edo Japan.The Japanese people have a custom of dedicating painted votive plaques to shrines or temples, expressing their thanks and offering their prayers. During the Edo period (1604-1867) when Japan was almost completely isolated from the Western world, mathematicians (many of them samurai), professional and amateur alike, dedicated votive tablets (sangaku) on which mathematical problems were written and solved. Most sangaku problems were geometric, usually with beautifully drawn colored figures. This seminar examines the history of sangaku and its influence on the traditional mathematics in Edo Japan. A background in high school geometry is assumed. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. P. Wong.
FYS 318. Through the Eyes of Children.Is the experience of childhood universal or culturally specific? What do children from diverse French-speaking countries have in common? Children are often the least "acculturated" members of any particular society. What can we learn about culture from a child's perspective? These questions are probed by exploring childhood in a number of French-speaking countries and communities. Students examine (in English) a selection of narratives and films from the French-speaking world that feature the points of view of children. The course not only considers the ways in which narrative and film present childhood experiences in specific cultures, but also explores perspectives on issues such as family structure, sexual and gender orientation, child abuse, and colonialism. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. M. Rice-DeFosse.
FYS 319. Emerging Adulthood.Not that long ago, most eighteen-year-olds were married, had children or were expecting children, had finished their education, and were settling into careers as homemakers or employees. Now eighteen - to twenty-five-year-olds year olds wend their way to adult commitments, pausing to focus on education and self-exploration. This has resulted in the evolution of a new life phase that falls between adolescence and adulthood: emerging adulthood. This course explores how love, identity, college, and career are experienced by emerging adults, and how these experiences are influenced by race, class, gender, and nationality. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. K. Scottham.
FYS 320. Trials of Conscience.Why would a citizen risk her life to criticize laws that she thinks are immoral? Why do governments sometimes insist on show trials whose guilty verdicts are foreordained for such individuals? In this course, students examine trials from the classical and medieval periods includeing Socrates, Rabirius, Perpetua, St. Joan, Thomas More, Galileo and examine the following questions: What role does litigation play in both generating and containing a critique of society? What rhetorical strategies do the actors in our trials deploy to shape their identities in opposition to their communities? Why do these strategies fail to convince the jury but eventually persuade subsequent generations? First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. M. Imber.
FYS 321. Indian Love Poetry Traditions.A great bulk of premodern literature in India consists of poignant and sensual love poetry, filled with pining heroines whose bodies are "scalded by moonlight" and desperate heroes whose feet are "pricked by acacia thorns." Included in this legacy are court poetry in Sanskrit, Cankam literature in Tamil, numerous regional lyric traditions and loosely linked lyric stanzas based on Persian and Arabic forms. Each of these strands of South Asian literary heritage is endowed with its own system of aesthetics and interpretation. The course features translations of classical and medieval poetry in Sanskrit, Prakrit, Tamil, Telugu, Brajbhasha, Bengali, Persian, and Urdu. Lecture connections are made between poetry and prose as well as vocal and instrumental music, dance, drama, painting, and sculpture. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. S. Sengupta.
FYS 322. Traditional Ecological Knowledge.How do people "know" things about the natural world? Cultures throughout history have relied on their own ecological knowledge in making their lives. Such knowledge includes classifications of organisms and phenomena, practices for cultivation, and traditions about the use of organisms and the land. In modern Western society, these traditional systems have been displaced by scientific and technological developments and by consumerism. Students explore the similarities and differences in systems of knowledge and their philosophical underpinnings. Discussion centers on the limits of ecological concepts, and how the intersection of disparate systems has led to discussions of intellectual and resource property rights. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. H. Ewing.
FYS 323. Modern Poetry.This course introduces students to lyric poetry written, for the most part, in the last century and in varied cultural settings from the "canonical" classics to the contemporary and transnational. Poets include a range from T. S. Eliot and Wallace Stevens to Rabindranath Tagore and W. B. Yeats, and from Meena Alexander and Audre Lorde to Joy Harjo and Cathy Song. The focus is on "close reading" with some attention to the poets' varied historical and sociocultural contexts. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Not open to students who have received credit for English 121W. Enrollment limited to 15. L. Shankar.
FYS 324. Archeology of the Celtic World.Today, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany are considered "Celtic" lands. This label emphasizes a group of traditional languages with shared histories, but the origins of Celtic cultures are more complex. Over two thousand years ago Celtic peoples were the first iron-using populations to inhabit abroad area from Spain to Romania. They were farmers, herders, and mariners who cooperated, competed, founded many settlements, raised many fortresses, and developed lively artistic traditions. Roman armies and migrating Germanic tribes fought hard to subdue the Celts, and they succeeded in many places. However, Celtic languages and many other aspects of culture were preserved in the lands of the European Atlantic fringe. This seminar examines regional case studies that use archeological methods to explore the unrecorded histories of the Celts. First-Year Seminar offered Fall 2005. Enrollment limited to 15. G. Bigelow.