A sound liberal arts education should enable students to participate as quickly as possible in thought-provoking academic discussion.  Freshman Seminars are intended to facilitate this process by providing students a setting for intellectual and creative engagement.  These seminars introduce and support our institutional value of academic achievement through close student-faculty relationships.  Seminars are designed to foster a lively and respectful interaction, both among students and between students and faculty, around a topic of the faculty member′s choosing.

               Open to freshmen only.  Enrollment limited to 16 students per seminar.  These seminars are designated Writing courses.

Fall 2015

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  105A  THE SEARCH FOR LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE  An examination of how humans scientifically search for extraterrestrial life.  Questions include;  What is the universe made of?  What is life?  What constitutes a habitable planet?  What is the Drake Equation?  Where and how might we search for life in this solar system?  What would be the societal impacts of finding extraterrestrial life?  L. Brown

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  105B  PLANTS THAT SHOOT PROJECTILES:  ETHNOBOTANY OF ARCHERY  For millennia, humans have been carefully selecting plants for specific functions related to archery.  Critical for survival, the bow is not simply a stick with a string, but consists of intentionally selected plant materials.  This seminar will examine ethnobotanical and historical uses of plants necessary to produce effective bows.  M. Lizarralde

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  105C  TRANSMIGRANTS IN NEW ENGLAND:  AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE  An examination of the processes of migration to New England.  Multiple migrant communities from various places in the world will be considered.  Special consideration will be given to the cultural impacts on migrants and the host community.  Governmental and non-profit responses to migration will be critically examined through community-based learning.  J. Bennett

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  105D  ILLUMINATING DISEASE  The lights and colors of bioluminescent proteins are used to discuss diseases, modern medical research and the use of molecular methods to study gene expression.  Fluorescent proteins are commonly used in biomedical techniques –we will examine their application in cancer, heart disease, malaria, AIDS and dengue fever research. Seminar is open to Freshman NSF Science Leaders only.   M. Zimmer

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  105F  THE WORLD ACCORDING TO MICROBES  Microbes do far more than just cause disease: they can change cloud patterns, destroy valuable artworks, make stone-washed denim and stinky cheese, generate electricity, and even change the course of history.  In this seminar, students will study how microbes do what they do, and come to appreciate the amazing power that these tiny, unseen organisms have on our world and our life.  A. Bernhard

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  105H  A COURSE CALLED HOME  An examination of expressions of "home" through the lenses of culture, class, ethnicity, race, and geography. The seminar will interrogate concepts of "home" expressed in sacred text, poetry, the novel and story, including fables, cultural history, philosophy, and a variety of expressions from the arts. C. Highbaugh

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  105J  SPORT IN AMERICA:  AN EXAMINATION OF SPORTS CULTURE  An exploration of the nature and history of sport as our national passion and obsession.  We will also approach the study of sport with a global perspective in mind.  A critical analysis of sport that leads to the understanding of social issues associated with sport in our society and sport as a social phenomenon.  A variety of community service learning will be part of the class experience.  J. Ward/E. Kovach

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  115A BIOLOGY IN POPULAR MEDIA  Biology often runs amok in popular books, movies, and television programs, typically as a result of human interactions.  This seminar examines in depth the biological basis, together with the technical and ethical details, for some of these occurrences.  Periodic laboratory experiments or observations using cellular and biotechnology instrumentation.  This course satisfies General Education Area 1.  P. Owen

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  125A  ROBOTICS AND PROBLEM SOLVING  An introduction to robotics and problem solving through robot construction and the programming of controllers.  Students will discuss readings, make presentations, and work in teams to design and program LEGO Mindstorms robots to solve a series of problems that are of increasing complexity.  No previous knowledge of computer programming is necessary.  This course is not intended for computer science majors.  This course satisfies General Education Area 2.  G. Parker

FRESHMAN SEMINARS   125B  INTIMATIONS OF INFINITY  An investigation of the concepts and controversies connected with the idea of infinity.  Students will examine a variety of attempts to understand the infinite, including theories set forth by the ancient Greeks, by medieval theologians, and by modern mathematicians.  This course satisfies General Education Area 2. C. Hammond

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  135A  WORK IN AMERICA  This course will ask the following questions about the American workforce in historical perspective:  Who works and why?  What are people paid and why?  What happens to people who don't or can't work?  The role of slavery, immigration, the household and unions will be considered for their impact on the shape of the American workforce. This course satisfies General Education Area 3.  C. Howes

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  135B  YOUR BRAIN AND YOU:  A PARTNERSHIP OF ONE  The human brain dictates mental development and undergoes massive and surprising changes from birth to adulthood.  Through a series of case studies and influential works, this course will explore the organization, development, and experiences of the adolescent brain.  This course satisfies General Education Area 3.  N. Garrett

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  145B  EMBODIED RESISTANCE  A critical investigation of dance as resistance and social protest.  Students will examine educational, dance, and social science theories and methods through Afro-diasporic dance.  Considerations of text, film, and performance will address the ways in which narratives of social protest are embodied and resistance to social injustice is enacted.  Students will dance at least once a week.  No previous dance background is required.  This course satisfies General Education Area 4.  R. Roberts

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  145C   FRANCE/AFRICA:  THE STORY OF AN ENCOUNTER  Historically, the relationship between France and Africa has been characterized by a permanent tension.  We will use literature and film to reflect on the historical events and, socio-political processes that have shaped the encounter between France and Africa.  How are African and French novelists/filmmakers responding to this relationship?  Topics include: the colonial encounter, World War II, decolonization and immigration.  Conducted in English.  This course satisfies General Education Area 4.  N. Etoke

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  145D  AFROFUTURISM An examination of Afrofuturism, the artistic representation of fantasies of black futures.  The course surveys Afrofuturist philosophy, literature, music, film, and new media to explore this important movement in black art.  This course satisfies General Education Area 4.  E. Reich

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  145E  HISTORY AND THE FANTASTIC IN LATIN AMERICA (In English)  An interdisciplinary exploration of historical processes, events and themes in Latin America through the analysis of novels, short stories, cultural essays, and historical texts.  The course engages the complexities experienced by Latin America communities and investigates major issues from vital critical transnational perspectives.  This course satisfies General Education Area 4.  A. Heredia

FRESHMAN STUDIES  145F THE ARTIST AND THE SCIENTIST:  FROM MICHELANGELO TO GALILEO  A study of the interplay of art, religion, and science in Medicean Florence and Papal Rome. Special attention will be given to Michelangelo′s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel and to Galileo′s discovery of the moons of Jupiter.  Students may not receive credit for both this course and Italian 409.  The course is taught in English.  This course satisfies General Education Area 4.  R. Proctor

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  145G  WHO ARE YOU?  QUESTIONS OF IDENTITY IN CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE AND CULTURE  What gives you your unique identity?  Is your identity biologically-determined or socially-constructed, static or dynamic?  Does a person have one identity or many identities?  This interdisciplinary seminar will focus on the topic of personal and social identity and how literature and other cultural artifacts, such as art, film, and music create and put into question identity.  This course satisfies General Education Area 4.  M. Reder

FRESHMAN SEMINAR 145H  THE NET GENERATION  Examination of global youth cultures in the Internet age, focusing on institutions and practices that socialize children as national subjects.  Topics include the family, education, student life, youth activism, popular culture, marginalized youth, and social networks.  Includes real-time discussions via teleconference with Russian students from the Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg and from other universities abroad.  This course satisfies General Education Area 4.  A. Lanoux

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  145I  REPRESENTING THE HOLOCAUST  An overview of the various debates surrounding artistic representations of the Holocaust, focusing on questions of trauma, memory and history, facts versus fiction, and the ethics of remembering.  Primary sources include texts and films by Primo Levi, Ruth Klüger, Art Spiegelman, and others.   This seminar satisfies General Education Area 4. K. Machtans

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  155A  MUSICAL STRUCTURES:  A COMPOSER'S PERSPECTIVE  An overview of commonly used forms in the creation of music.  Designs from different countries and distinct historical periods are examined and compared.  Student composition, both acoustic and electronic, is encouraged.  Prior musical experience is helpful but not required.  Discussions include works by Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Armstrong, Bartok, Ligeti.  This seminar satisfies General Education Area 5.  A. Kreiger

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  155B  WRITING NARRATIVE FROM IDENTITY:  THE SELF AND THE OTHER  Writing narrative, whether as fiction or nonfiction, is always strengthened by accuracy concerning one's own identity.  Who are you in terms of gender, race, class and nationality, and where are you located on the planet and in history?  We will read, write and revise autobiographical fiction and nonfiction, as well as try some reporting on who we are not.  This course satisfies General Education Area 5.  B. Boyd

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  155C  THE MAKING MAKER  Making things is inextricably human. In this class we will be using tools and materials to actually make things and examine how our resources expand with knowledge.  Our readings and discussions will be centered on the perception of reality, how attitude is key to experience, and how we can be influenced to think and do things that may not be in our best interest.  This course satisfies General Education Area 5.  G. Bailey

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  165A  JEWISH THOUGHT  A historical survey, from ancient times through today.  Beginning with the Torah and the Talmud, we’ll explore Jewish perspectives on philosophical topics such as theology, free will, and ethics; on particularly Jewish questions (of prophecy, redemption, mitzvot, etc.); and on how (or whether) ancient wisdom can adapt to modern times while remaining true to itself.  Figures studied include Philo, Maimonides, Spinoza, Mendelssohn, Soloveitchik.  This seminar satisfies General Education Area 6.  A. Pessin

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  165B  SOCRATES  In this courses we will investigate the life and ideas of the enigmatic philosopher Socrates.  What do I know?  How should I live?  By studying Socratic approaches to such questions, we will also develop critical skills useful in every facet of life.  This course satisfies General Education Area 6.  T. Myers

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  165C  WOMEN AND RELIGION IN INDIA  Focusing on Hinduism, this course investigates women′s observance of religion in India.  Engaging the premise that gender cannot be understood without knowledge of the particularization effected by caste and class, it exposes students to ideas about social status legitimized by myth/ritual and challenged by various subaltern voices, including low-caste and no-caste men and women.  This course satisfies General Education Area 6.  L. Harlan

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  165D  SOCIAL INNOVATION:  MAKING AND UNMAKING WORLDS  What can we do to address human suffering? FYS explores strategies for social innovation that engage real world problems, especially by generating creative solutions through the liberal arts life of the mind.  Identifies critical approaches to tackling social problems such as dehumaniziation based on race, sexuality, gender, class, and ability.  This seminar satisfies General Education Area 6.  D.K. Kim

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  165E  TRAGEDY, COMEDY, AND PHILOSOPHY  Life can be tragic, but also comic.  We shall explore how philosophy arose in ancient Greece against the background of tragedy and comedy, and how Plato and Aristotle put the tragic and comic aspects of life into a holistic perspective.  Our readings will focus on the classical Greek context:  the tragedians Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, the comedian Aristophanes, and the philosophers Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.  This course satisfies General Education Area 6.  L. Vogel

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  175B  PUBLIC HOUSING IN AMERICA  Throughout the twentieth century, public housing has been a central concern for architects, urban planners, and government officials and has been lauded for its successes and reviled for its failures.  This course will examine the architectural, social, cultural, and political aspects of public housing in America with a particular attention to local examples and concerns.  This course satisfies General Education Area 7.  E. Morash

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  175C  SEX, CLASS, AND THE BODY IN WESTERN ART  Course examines the sexual body in art from the Renaissance to Abstract Expressionism.  Topics include the rise of a Renaissance bodily aesthetic, ideas on sexuality, deified and demonized female bodies (angels, goddesses, witches, hysterics, and femme fatales), the male nude, and class and the body (beauty, ugliness, grotesque).   This course satisfies General Education Area 7.  R. Baldwin

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  175D  THE SOCIAL HISTORY OF WARFARE IN EUROPE  An examination of the experience of soldiers and civilians in wartime, focusing on four wars:  the Thirty Years’ War, the Seven Years’ War, the Napoleonic Wars, and World War I.  Readings will include diaries, letters, and other eyewitness accounts, as well as novels and other representations of the wartime experience and the memories of that experience.  The course will introduce students to the methods and concerns of historians. This course satisfies General Education Area 7.  M. Forster

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  175E  (MIS)REPRESENTATIONS OF ASIA  An examination of the history of discourses representing ″East″ and ″West″ within the context of transnational encounters between Japan, Europe, and the U.S.  A repertoire of cultural icons, such as the geisha, the barbarian, and the samurai, will be scrutinized and deconstructed under the critical lenses of gender, race, and ethnicity.  This course satisfies General Education Area 7.  A.M. Davis

FRESHMAN SEMINAR  175F MUSIC AND SOCIAL ACTIVISM A comparison of the use of music by social activists in several different times and places, along with an exploration of whether the corporate control of the music industry today still allows for music and politics to be linked.  This course satisfies General Education Area 7. B. Knapp