First-Year Courses

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The First-Year Course

A Seminar for First-Year Students

During their first semester all first-year students take one course designated as a first-year course. The course is limited to 16 incoming students and is taught in seminar style by a faculty member who becomes the advisor for each of the students. This means that new students have immediate access to their advisor for academic and other questions and that their advisor will know them.

All first-year courses pay particular attention to writing and library research to ensure that all students are introduced to Macalester’s high academic expectations for these skills. Many of these courses are regular department offerings that have been tailored to the needs of incoming students. Those courses meet requirements for a major in that department and serve as pre-requisites to more advanced courses.

Some first-year courses are designated (R) as residential courses. Students who enroll in one of these courses live near one another in the same residence hall, usually on the same floor. This facilitates discussion and group work outside of the classroom. Many courses also utilize student writing preceptors to provide additional writing support and peer mentoring.

MWF = Monday, Wednesday, Friday; TR = Tuesday, Thursday

First-year course offerings for fall 2014

DepartmentprofessorCourse NameResidential
American Studies Karin Aguilar-San Juan AMST 103-01: The Problem of Race in US Social Thought and Policy (R)
Anthropology Olga Gonzalez ANTH 194-01: The Politics of Memory in Latin America (R)
Art & Art History Kari Shepherdson-Scott ART 149-01: Introduction to Visual Culture (R)
Asian Languages and Culture Satoko Suzuki ASIA/JAPA/LING/WGSS 150-01: Language and Gender in Japanese Society (R)
Biology Sarah Boyer BIOL 194-01: Creatures and Curiosities (R)
Biology Devavani Chatterjea BIOL 194-02: Bodies on Fire:  Inflammatory Diseases in the 21st Century    (R)
Chemistry Katy Splan CHEM 111-01: General Chemistry  and Lab 9 (R)
Classics Nanette Goldman CLAS 194-01: Tenors in Togas: Greek and Roman Myth in Opera
Economics Raymond Robertson ECON 119-03: Principles of Economics (R)
Economics Amy Damon ECON 119-06: Principles of Economics
English Kristin Naca
ENGL 150-01: Introduction to Creative Writing
Environmental Studies Christopher Wells ENVI 234-01/HIST 234-01: American Environmental History (R)
French Andrew Billing FREN 194-01: Loving and Loathing our Posthuman Future: Science Fiction and Technology in French Film and Literature (R)
Geography Dan Trudeau GEOG 201-02: Introduction to Urban Studies (R)
Geography William Moseley GEOG 243-01: Geography of Africa: Local Resources and Livelihoods in a Global Context       (R)
Geology Ray Rogers and Jeff Thole GEOL 165-01 & GEOL 165-L1: History and the Evolution of the Earth and Lab (R)
German and Russian Studies Linda Schulte-Sasse GERM 255-01: German Cinema Studies - Art/Horror (R)
Hispanic Studies Toni Dorca HISP 305-01: Introduction to Hispanic Studies: Oral and Written Expression (R)
History Ernesto Capello HIST 181-01/LATI 181-01: Introduction to Latin America
International Studies Ahmed Samatar INTL 110-01: Introduction to International Studies: Globalization – Homogeneity and Heterogeneity 
Math Karen Saxe and Julie Dolan MATH 116-01/POLI 194-01: Politics and Mathematics of Elections
Math Alicia Johnson MATH 155-05: sixfiveone.org: A Twin Cities Statistics Collaborative (R)
Media and Cultural Studies John Kim MCST 194-01: Screens (R)
Music Mark Mazullo MUSI 155: Music and Freedom
Music Victoria Malawey MUSI 194-01: Cover Songs (R)
Philosophy Diane Michelfelder PHIL 225-01/COMP 154-01: Ethics and the Internet (R)
Philosophy William Wilcox PHIL 121-01: Ethics (R)
Physics Sung Kyu Kim PHYS 111-01: Contemporary Concepts
Political Science Zornitsa Keremidchieva POLI 101-01: Argument and Advocacy (R)
Political Science Julie Dolan and Karen Saxe POLI 194-01/ MATH 116-01: Politics and Mathematics of Elections
Political Science Patrick Schmidt POLI 316-01: Information Policy, Politics, and Law (R)
Psychology Darcy Burgund PSYC 194-01: The Origin of Consciousness
Sociology Khaldoun Samman SOCI 194-01: Moral Panics and the Other
Theatre and Dance Harry Waters Jr. and Eric Colleary THDA 105-01: Making the Musical: Introducing Theatre Studies 
Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Sonita Sarker WGSS 105-01: Transnational Perspective on Gender, Race, Class, and Sexuality

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COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

((R) = students in the class will live near each other and, in most cases, will have a roommate who is also in this class) (TR = Tuesday, Thursday) (MWF = Monday, Wednesday, Friday)

AMST 103-01: The Problem of Race in US Social Thought and Policy (R)
Karin Aguilar-San Juan, American Studies Department

In this discussion-based and residential course, we will explore the hypothesis that 21st century racism has morphed from simple and evil formulations of bigotry and exploitation into decentralized and seemingly benign systems of cultural camouflage and ideological control. We will focus particularly on the ways that “structural” inequalities inform complex racial formations, and consequently, individual life chances. We will consider the idea that racism involves a “hidden curriculum” that is promoted by well- intentioned and highly educated people. Our interdisciplinary and integrative approach will employ multiple methods of inquiry and expression, including: self-reflective essays and maps; a scavenger hunt in the Twin Cities; library research; and deep, critical analysis of arguments about race/ethnicity/assimilation/multiculturalism. We will hone writing and speaking skills through highly structured assignments paired with open-ended conversations in order to discover the questions that truly matter to each of us.

Class meets MWF, 1:10 pm – 2:10 pm in Neill Hall 217.

Living arrangements: Single gender rooms, co-ed floor.

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ANTH 194-01: Politics of Memory in Latin America (R)
Olga Gonzalez, Anthropology Department

This course examines and critically analyzes various approaches to the study of how different individuals and communities in particular historical and cultural scenarios in contemporary Latin America create meanings about their past experience with political violence. The course addresses questions related to the tension between remembering and forgetting, the presence of conflicting memories and truths and how these are negotiated or not through distinct forms of representation. The cultural analysis of different means of representation: human rights and truth commissions’ reports, testimonials, film, art and memorials will be the basis for class discussions on different notions of truth and different forms of truth-telling. A close examination of these forms of representation will reveal the extent to which they can conflict with each other while at the same time feed on each other, creating “effects of truth” and leaving room for secrecy as a mode of truth- telling. Finally, the course will also compel students to think about what consequences the politics of memory have for the future.

This course will combine lectures and class discussions. It will have a strong writing component with a series of short papers and one longer final research paper. There will be one final exam. Grades will be based on written assignments in addition to oral presentations and participation in class discussions.

Class meets TR, 1:20 pm – 2:50 pm in Carnegie 06B.

Living arrangements: Single gender rooms, co-ed floor.

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ART 149-01: Introduction to Visual Culture (R)
Kari Shepherdson-Scott, Art & Art History Department

This course considers the production and reception of multiple visual culture forms, from
standards of fine art practice such as painting and sculpture to mass media including TV, film, advertising, and the Internet. Students will learn different theoretical paradigms and techniques for visual analysis in order to understand how visual media inscribes power, difference, and desire as it mediates numerous social, economic, cultural and political relationships. We will investigate diverse types of visual culture through lectures, exhibitions, guest speakers, film, historical art and media and, of course, those proliferating images that define our daily experiences.

No prerequisites.

Class meets MWF, 9:40 am – 10:40 am in Art Commons 102.

Living arrangements: Single gender rooms, co-ed floor.

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ASIA/JAPA/LING/WGSS 150-01: Language and Gender in Japanese Society (R)
Satoko Suzuki, Asian Languages and Cultures Department

Japanese is considered to be a gendered language in the sense that certain linguistic forms are associated with gender. Male characters in Japanese animation often use boku or ore to refer to themselves, while female characters often use watashi or atashi. When translated into Japanese, Hermione Granger (a female character in Harry Potter series) ends sentences with soft-sounding forms, while Harry Potter and his best friend Ron use more assertive forms. Do these fictional representations reflect reality? How did gendered language come about? Are Japanese women and men always expected to sound feminine/masculine? How do people who do not align their identity with femininity or masculinity deal with gendered forms? These are some of the questions discussed in this course. Students will have opportunities to learn about historical background of gendered language and find out about current discourse on language and gender. No Japanese language ability is required.

Class meets TR, 9:40 am – 11:10 am in Neill Hall 110.

Living arrangements: Single gender rooms, co-ed floor.

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BIOL 194-01: Creatures and Curiosities (R)
Sarah Boyer, Biology Department

This course deals with unfamiliar, mysterious, beautiful, grotesque, and overlooked animals all around us: the invertebrates. We will explore animal evolution and focus on the biology of creatures such as jellyfish, insects, starfish, spiders, and corals. In addition, we will discuss the cultural role of animals as curiosities – as specimens in cabinets and museums, or the subjects of phobias and urban legends – and the history and significance of the visual arts in zoology. Drawing on topics in marine biology and entomology, students will learn about the ecology, life cycles, and anatomy of major groups of animals through lectures, observation of live animals, and dissections. Two 1-hour lectures and one 1-hour lab per week. We will take several field trips outside of class time to Macalester’s field station and local natural history and art museums – these will be scheduled to ensure that every student can participate in at least two excursions. This course is appropriate for biology majors and non-majors alike, but it is not part of the biology major’s required core curriculum.

Class meets MWF, 1:10 pm – 2:10 pm in Olin-Rice 170.

Living arrangements: Single gender rooms, co-ed floor.

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BIOL194-02: Bodies on Fire: Inflammatory Diseases in the 21st Century (R)
Devavani Chatterjea, Biology Department

Complex cascades of inflammation orchestrate our bodies' response to our environment. Inflammation (der. ignition; setting alight) resolves infections, heals wounds, and restores internal balance to the body. However, these same inflammatory responses, when uncontrolled, can destroy the body with frightening rapidity. Diabetes, obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease, allergies and asthma, neuro-degenerative conditions, pain and depression are some of the most pervasive and confounding health challenges that confront the global population today. Chronic inflammation underlies all of these diverse pathologies. In this course, you will be introduced to the beautifully elaborate world of the immune system through lectures, discussions and critical reading of scientific and popular texts on the global pandemic of inflammatory non-communicable diseases. You will have opportunities to share ideas through reflective and analytical writing, oral presentations with additional possibilities for art and community-engagement projects.

Class meets TR, 9:40 am – 11:10 am in Olin-Rice 205.

Living arrangements: Single gender rooms, single gender floor.

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CHEM 111-01: General Chemistry 1 and Lab 9 (R)
Katy Splan, Chemistry Department

This course, along with General Chemistry II (CHEM 112), which is typically taken in the spring semester of the first year, together satisfy the prerequisites for Organic (CHEM 211) and Analytical (CHEM 222) Chemistry. General Chemistry I offers a rigorous, foundational treatment of atoms and molecules. We study the nature of chemical bonding and how bonding gives rise to the three-dimensional structure of matter. We explore how the macroscopic properties of substances can be interpreted in terms of atomic and molecular structure. We also learn mathematical and conceptual tools for quantifying chemical equilibrium, with an emphasis on the reactions of acids and bases. Laboratory work reinforces concepts in lecture, and also provides a review of fundamental topics, such as stoichiometry, gas laws, and solution-phase reactions, that are essential for future course work in chemistry. Writing is another important part of this course. Writing assignments will include both formal reports on laboratory work and a research paper due at the end of the semester. Students planning to enroll in this course should have taken one year of chemistry in high school, and should already be familiar with topics like nomenclature, oxidation states, stoichiometry (including balancing chemical equations and calculating solution concentrations), and simple chemical reactions in solution.

Class meets MWF, 8:30 am – 9:30 am in Olin-Rice 301.

Living arrangements: Single gender rooms, co-ed floor.

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CLAS 194-01: Tenors in Togas: Greek and Roman Myth in Opera
Nanette Goldman, Classics Department

Composers and librettists of opera and musical theatre have long mined the rich sources of Classical myth and literature for their subjects. From Orpheus and Eurydice to the Roman emperor Nero, from Renaissance Europe to 20th century Broadway, figures of classical antiquity have found vibrant musical afterlives. In this course we will examine the connection between the classical ideas and their subsequent musical renderings. Course time will be divided between reading the Greek and Roman material in its original context and listening to the operas and musicals that treat it. We will develop skills in formal speaking, argumentative writing, critical reading and analytical listening, while examining a variety of aesthetic and socio-political issues that accompany the scholarly study of these genres. We’ll plan to attend a musical performance or two in the Twin Cities and meet with local singers experienced in operatic productions. A few examples of our likely foci include Ariadne (Hesiod, Catullus, Strauss), Orpheus (Pindar, Apollodorus, Gluck) Odysseus (Homer, Monteverdi, Berlioz), Dido and Aeneas (Vergil, Purcell), Elektra (Sophocles, Strauss), Hades and Persephone (Hesiod, Homeric Hymns, Stravinsky), Alcestis (Euripides, Gluck), Julius Caesar (Caesar, Cicero, Suetonius, Handel), Titus (Josephus, Suetonius, Cassius Dio, Mozart) and Nero (Tacitus, Suetonius, Seneca, Monteverdi, Handel). No prior experience with Latin, Greek, Music History, Theory or Performance is assumed.

Class meets MWF, 2:20 pm – 3:20 pm in Old Main 011.

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ECON 119-03: Principles of Economics (R)
Raymond Robertson, Economics Department

This class provides a foundation in economic theory and addresses many major topics in economics. We will discuss and apply economic theory to behavioral and policy questions and develop tools needed to critically evaluate international events and policies. The goal of this class is that you, the student, be introduced to a wide range of economic theory and be able to approach policy decisions with the tools and information necessary to make good decisions. This class uses examples from Latin America and supports the Latin American Studies program.

Class meets MWF, 1:10 pm – 2:10 pm in Carnegie 304.

Living arrangements: Single gender rooms, co-ed floor.

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ECON 119-06: Principles of Economics
Amy Damon, Economics Department

This course is an introduction to economic concepts and basic economic theory. The course is split between the study of microeconomics, which focuses on the decision making of individual consumers and firms and macroeconomics with focuses on aggregate level economic questions such as interest rates and government spending, among others. In this course we will develop economic tools to analyze and evaluate public policies, poverty and welfare questions, and other applied topics.

Class meets TR, 8:00 am – 9:00 am in Carnegie 06A.

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ENGL 150-01: Introduction to Creative Writing
Kristin Naca, English Department

This course introduces students to the study of technique, convention, form and genre that engrosses writers of literary texts. Student writers engage in analysis of model literary works and frequent writing exercises that lead to longer - more complex and polished - pieces. We also practice dissecting student writing in workshop and learn how to provide the kinds of feedback that lead to meaningful revisions. Our goal is to inspire greater risks and experimentation in each other’s writing through rigorous yet compassionate dialogue.

Through writing exercises, students learn to engage the reader’s senses by gaining fluency with concrete language. Through discussion of prose and poetry arguments, student writers learn what shapes persuade the reader to reflect on life experience. Typically, we read one collection of short stories, one collection of poetry, and one book on writing conventions and process—all by contemporary authors.

Class meets MWF, 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm in Old Main 001.

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ENVI 234-01/HIST 234-01: American Environmental History (R)
Christopher Wells, Environmental Studies Department

People have always had to contend with the natural world, but only recently have historians begun to explore the changing relationships between people and their environments over time. In this course, we will examine the variety of ways that people in North America have shaped the environment, as well as how they have used, labored in, abused, conserved, protected, rearranged, polluted, cleaned, and thought about it. In addition, we will explore how various characteristics of the natural world have affected the broad patterns of human society, sometimes harming or hindering life and other times enabling rapid development and expansion. By bringing nature into the study of human history, and the human past into the study of nature, we will begin to see the connections and interdependencies between the two that are often overlooked.

Class meets MWF, 9:40 am – 10:40 am in Olin-Rice 300.

Living arrangements: Single gender rooms, co-ed floor.

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FREN 194-01: Loving and Loathing our Posthuman Future: Science Fiction and Technology in French Film and Literature (R)
Andrew Billing, French and Francophone Studies Department

We live in a society obsessed with the promise and the perils of technology. We love our computers, tablets, smartphones and other electronic gadgets, our video games and our social media apps. Yet we also fear the zombification caused by technology addiction; electronic surveillance and its threat to privacy and freedom; and the possibility that in the near future robots might take our jobs. Moreover, some thinkers foresee that we will soon arrive at a moment of “singularity” in our relationship to technology with the creation of new forms of intelligence including super intelligent biologically-enhanced "posthumans," a possibility alternately exciting and frightening.

These fears and desires have been shaped by a long and often suspicious history of reflection on technology in western culture, including a particularly rich French literary and cinematic tradition. In this course, we will gain perspective on our contemporary situation and attitudes through the analysis of French fiction, film and graphic novels associated with the genre of science fiction. The works we will study are drawn from a wide range of contexts and historical periods, but all take as their principal themes speculation on technology and science; travel in time and space; human nature and its limits and our differences from other terrestrial and extra-terrestrial beings; and utopian or dystopian representations of the future.

Guiding our discussions will be the following questions: 1) what do these French science fiction works tell us about how we should understand technology as a distinct form of human endeavor? 2) and what do they also tell us about what it means to be human or even posthuman? 3) are French science fiction works a projection or "journey into fear" reflecting only the anxieties of the historical moments that produce them, or can they suggest real possibilities for radical social transformation? and 4) how have French science fiction works contributed to the development of the science fiction genre, and to what extent do they reflect a specifically French attitude to technology and science?

Texts and films studied will include some prophetic early literary works such as Cyrano de Bergerac's The Other World: The Societies and Government of the Moon (1657) and Louis-Sebastien Mercier's 1771 novel The Year 2440; Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon (1865); Pierre Boulle's seminal sci-fi classic Planet of the Apes (1963) and its cinematic adaptations; graphic novels including Jodorowsky and Moebius's The Incal (1982); and films including Marker's The Jetty (1962); Franju's classic take on plastic surgery Eyes Without a Face (1960); Godard's Alphaville (1965); Laloux's Fantastic Planet (1973); Jeunet and Caro's City of Lost Children (1995); Besson's Fifth Element (1997); and Happy End (2009).

This residential course will be taught in a mixed format made up of class discussions and short lectures. Coursework will include oral presentations, reading responses, two essays and a longer final research paper. The course will also include direct instruction in college-level writing. No knowledge of French is required for this course: all materials and discussions will be in English or English translation.

Class meets MWF, 9:40 am - 10:40 am in Art Commons 202.

Living arrangements: Single gender rooms, co-ed floor.

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GEOG 201-02 Introduction to Urban Studies (R)
Dan Trudeau, Geography Department

This course offers an interdisciplinary overview of urban life. We will draw on the disciplinary perspectives of history, geography, political science and sociology to examine how the built environment of cities are shaped by human activity and how, in turn, urban life is shaped by the built environment. This introduction to urban studies will have a special emphasis on exploring the history, geography, economics and politics of St. Paul and the surrounding metropolitan area. We will take advantage of our urban location by engaging the urban environment of the Twin Cities through local case studies, field study exercises, and visits to cultural institutions in the community. We will draw
on our engagement with the local urban environment to demonstrate broad themes in the
interdisciplinary literature on urban studies (e.g., the effect of transportation systems on urban development; city government, metropolitan fragmentation and regionalism; the search for community in urban settings; urban growth and neighborhood change; and, the effect of the global market economy on individual cities) at a more personal level. Directed field study exercises will help you learn analytical skills. Writing assignments will help you synthesize knowledge from exercises, lectures, and assigned readings. An independent project will help you hone your argumentative writing and ability to conduct college-level research.

Other details: This course provides you with a great opportunity to leave campus and engage people and places in Minneapolis-St. Paul. This will require from you a willingness to explore the city by bus, bike, foot, and train. It will also require a solid work ethic to complete the field study exercises in a timely fashion. You will be rewarded with foundational knowledge of St. Paul and the greater Twin Cities region that you will draw upon throughout your career at Macalester.

Class meets: MWF, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm in Carnegie 105.

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GEOG 243-01: Geography of Africa: Local Resources and Livelihoods in a Global Context (R)
William Moseley, Geography Department

This class goes beyond the superficial media interpretations of the vast African continent to complicate our understanding of this fascinating region. As geographers, we will place contemporary African developments in their historical and global context. The course provides a basic background in African history and physical geography, leading to discussion of advanced topics in contemporary African studies. The course covers a broad range of contemporary topics, including: human-environment interactions (forest and drylands management); population dynamics (population growth, distribution and mobility); medical geography (disease, health care and policy); agricultural development (traditional farming systems, cash crops, policy); urban economies (evolution of the urban structure, industry, housing); political geography (democratization, conflict); culture and change (religion, modernization); development (ideology and economic development, Africa in the global economy); and social geography (African women and development, education).

Class meets TR, 8:00 am – 9:30 am in Carnegie 107.

Living arrangements: Single gender rooms, single gender floor.

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GEOL 165-01 & GEOL 165-L1: History and Evolution of the Earth and Lab (R)
Ray Rogers, Geology Department, and Jeff Thole, Geology Department

History and Evolution of the Earth will provide an overview of Earth history that spans~4.54 billion years. Students in the class will explore the concept of geologic time as they delve into the vast past of our evolving planet. Major emphasis will be placed on tracking the evolution of life, from the simplest single-celled organisms of the ancient Earth to today's diverse floras and faunas. Another major focus of the course will be the linkage and various feedbacks among abiotic and biotic systems—the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere did not and do not evolve independently. The laboratory component of the course is designed to familiarize students with the rocks and fossils that archive the history of Earth. The class will include a field trip to local areas of geologic and paleontologic interest. This course is required for geology majors and minors.

Class meets MWF, 10:50 am – 11:50 am in Olin-Rice 187. Lab meets R, 9:00 am – 11:10 am in Olin-Rice 187.

Living arrangements: Single gender rooms, co-ed floor.

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GERM 255-01: German Cinema Studies: Art/Horror (R)
Linda Schulte-Sasse, German Studies Department

One often hears horror movies referred to as trash. Does horror necessarily deserve this condemnation (or plug)? Why does an occasional horror film like The Silence of the Lambs win respectability or even a best-picture Oscar? What are the criteria by which we determine whether any film or work of art is good, bad, or perhaps not art at all? The course will examine horror films from various periods and places, some of which were repudiated at their release only to be recuperated later as art house classics. But all challenge cultural assumptions about art and horror as mutually exclusive categories, and all employ shock, horror, and gore as compelling means of representing social anxieties and historical traumas. Our objective will be to reflect on questions of aesthetic valuation, and to explore the themes, narrative strategies, and audience effects of horror; we will draw on a variety of theoretical approaches like Freud’s notion of the uncanny or Todorov’s of the fantastic. Likely examples will include pre-World War II Germany (Wiene, Murnau, Lang), depression-era USA (Tod Browning), the invention of body horror (Franju, Powell, Hitchcock), and contemporary “post-modern” horror (Argento, Romero, Cronenberg, Haneke).

Course prerequisite: guts. First, films like Tod Browning’s Freaks (1932) or Franju’s Les Yeux sans Visage (1960) will disabuse you of any notion that Quentin Tarantino invented grossness. Second, you may find that by seriously engaging film studies, introducing theoretical concepts, and doing what some call “over”-reading, the course will “ruin the fun.” My hope is that the opposite will be the case (and that fun and work are no more mutually exclusive than art and horror). The course counts for credit toward a German Studies major, although it is international in focus. German cinema was especially important in the early days of horror, and I will work with students who wish to have a particular German focus.

Student obligations: a series of short papers, oral presentations, and one longer research paper. Two exams and an informal log responding to class readings. Hopefully the Twin Cities will offer some cultural events relevant to our theme that we can visit as a class.

Class meets MWF, 10:50 am – 11:50 am in Neill Hall 401, plus evening film screenings; usually Tuesdays.

Living arrangements: Single gender rooms, co-ed floor.

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HISP 305-01: Introduction to Hispanic Studies: Oral and Written Expression (R)
Toni Dorca, Hispanic Studies Department

This course is primarily designed to improve oral communication and to strengthen the students’ written proficiency and their awareness of grammar intricacies. In relation to writing, it serves as a bridge to upper-level courses. Conversations and compositions are based on critical issues related to the Hispanic world such as identity, resistance and assimilation, historical memory, stereotypes, imagination, and humor.

Class activities include oral presentations, grammar explanations and practice, critical analysis of written and visual texts, writing strategies, and self-correction exercises. Other course requirements are weekly readings appropriate to the level and a final paper.

Class interactions are conducted exclusively in Spanish.

The course has a residential component.

Prerequisites: A score of 620 or higher on the SAT II test, with listening component; or a score of 4-5 on the Spanish Language and Culture Advanced Placement Test; or a score of 550 or higher on the Webcape exam.

Class meets TR 1:20 pm - 2:50 pm in Neil Hall 214.

Living arrangements: Single gender rooms, co-ed floor.

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HIST 181-01/LATI 181-01: Introduction to Latin America
Ernesto Capello, History Department

The idea of “Latin America” was concocted by French and Brazilian intellectuals in mid-19th-century Paris as a means to establish cultural links with Spanish America.  Does such an invented term properly describe the complex region that ranges from the US Southwest to Tierra del Fuego? What are the implications of conjoining the histories of the heterogeneous peoples and societies encompassed in “Latin America”?  And just how does the whole process of colonialism and neocolonialism fit into this picture? 

These are some of the questions we will address in this course, which presents a roughly chronological survey of Latin American history.  Given this broad scope, the course emphasizes three critical moments.  The first concerns the great upheaval of the Conquest with an emphasis on the sixteenth-century establishment of a “colonial” order.  The second traces the dissolution of this society and the transition to national states with an emphasis on the twin conceits of “science” and “progress.”  The third emphasizes the twentieth century with special attention to the rise and fall (and rise) of corporate populism and the role of the United States as patron, interventionist, and foil.  As a special project dovetailing with this year’s International Roundtable, the theme of migration to, from, and within “Latin America” will provide an additional through-line to this course.

Class meets TR, 9:40 am – 11:10 am in Olin-Rice 370.

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INTL 110-01: Introduction to International Studies: Globalization – Homogeneity and Heterogeneity 
Ahmed Samatar, International Studies Department

Globalization is upon us, resulting in unprecedented cultural interpenetrations and civilizational encounters. Most of what animates this condition is old. However, the contemporary velocity, reach, and mutations of these forces suggest a new “world time,” full of contradictions, perils, and promises. This course introduces students to globalization by posing the following questions: What is globalization, and how does one study it? What are the paramount ecological, cultural, economic, and political factors that shaped and propel it? What are the consequences, and how do we respond?

Class meets TR, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm in Carnegie 404.

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MATH 116-01/POLI 194-01: Politics and Mathematics of Elections  
Karen Saxe, Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science Department, and Julie Dolan, Political Science Department

It’s fall 2014 and so it’s time for midterm elections! Will the Republicans take control of the US Senate? How many governorships and state legislatures will change party hands? How do elections work in the U.S. and in other democracies? What is meant by a ‘representative’ democracy? How is it decided how many Congressional representatives each state has? What are the costs and benefits of political participation?

We will focus on the various ways that mathematics and political science interact. Topics covered will include the role of elections and representative government in the United States, comparison of electoral systems used around the world, the apportionment problem, redistricting and gerrymandering, weighted voting systems and voting power, the costs and benefits associated with political participation, and how to predict electoral outcomes.

Work during the semester will include some ‘math’ problems (associated, for example, with weighted voting); student predictions on the outcome of numerous competitive congressional and gubernatorial elections across the country; and several short written assignments.

This First Year Seminar will be taught jointly by Julie Dolan (Professor of Political Science) and Karen Saxe (Professor of Mathematics). Important facts about the course:

  • It has no prerequisites, either in math or in political science.
  • It satisfies either the Social Science (if you sign up for POLI 194) OR the Natural Science/Math (if you sign up for MATH 116) distribution requirement. But, it is the same course no matter which way you sign up!

 Class meets MWF, 1:10 pm – 2:10 pm in Carnegie 06A.

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MATH 155-05: sixfiveone.org: A Twin Cities Statistics Collaborative (R)
Alicia Johnson, MSCS Department

Websites such as fivethirtyeight.com have highlighted the power of statistical modeling at the national level. As sixfiveone.org we will bring this local, examining a broad range of issues impacting the surrounding Twin Cities community.  In doing so, we will provide a statistical consulting service for partnering organizations, from the Frogtown neighborhood to the West Side. Course activities will include community site visits and material will cover topics in multivariate statistical modeling including hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, and data visualization. No previous statistics experience necessary.

Class meets TR, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm in Olin-Rice 243.

 Living arrangements: Single gender rooms, co-ed floor.

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MCST 194-01: Screens (R)
John Kim, Media and Cultural Studies Department

We spend our lives staring at the screens of computers, phones, movies and televisions.  And the amount of time we spend before them is anything but insignificant.  According to a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 8-18 year-olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes using entertainment media across a typical day (more than 53 hours a week)!  Because they spend so much of that time "media multitasking" (using more than one medium at a time), they actually manage to pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes worth of media content into those 7½ hours.

The screen is one of the most important technological innovations of recent memory, for it has such a wide range of influences on our experience of the everyday. From social networking to television news, email and SMS to Hollywood movies, our knowledge of the world is largely mediated by screens. Screens substitute real world experience for a world created in a display of colored lights and accompanying sounds. Given this dependence, what influence do they have on our perception of the world, of others, of ourselves, of news, of reality? Do screens, in fact, contribute to what Anne Friedberg has called a "dematerializing of reality"? Should we be worried about their pervasiveness?

In this First Year Course, we will ask these and related questions. We will begin to develop our own answers to them by reading and writing about, analyzing and critiquing various aspects of the media. This course is designed for students who have a strong interest in critical and philosophical type analysis of society and will introduce you to the field of Media Studies in order to help you come to an understanding of the importance of screens in mediating our experience of and interactions with the world.

Class meets TR, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm in Neill Hall 402.

Living arrangements: Single gender rooms, co-ed floor.

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MUSI 155: Music and Freedom
Mark Mazullo, Music Department

The concept of freedom both lies at the heart of human rights discourse and provides the spark that ignites any number of musical movements. Intended for students with strong interests in the intersection between the performing arts and the humanities, this course serves as an introduction both to the concept of freedom as it has developed in Western societies since the late eighteenth century and to the history of music in the cultures that have fostered such ideals. It intends to introduce students to the study of music (and, by association, the arts in general) from social, cultural, and critical perspectives, using the framework of freedom as a common theme. It also aims to contextualize the discourse of human rights within the history of arts and ideas, providing students with a sense of the term's changing meanings and emphases over time and across space. We will explore traditions in both Western art music (also known as "classical music") and American popular (recorded) music in a search for the ways in which music has served social-political ideologies -- overtly through the aims of its composers and performers, and unintentionally through the conditions of its reception. Historical readings on the concept of freedom from a variety of disciplinary perspectives (history, philosophy, political science, critical theory) will introduce students to several of the most influential thinkers on the subject and the central concerns and questions that animate the discourse on freedom. No prior background in music is required for the course, although it is assumed that students will have a true interest not only in popular music of the twentieth century but also other traditions and genres, such as opera and symphonic music. "Freedom" signifies a number of ideals, which operate in real-political and abstract-aesthetic realms. Music can represent, convey, and "mean" freedom in infinite ways, and it is the intention of this course to introduce students to this diversity.

Class meets MWF, 1:10 pm – 2:10 pm in Music 228.

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MUSI 194-01: Cover Songs (R)
Victoria Malawey, Music Department

This course will examine cover versions of previously recorded songs and how the intersection of gender, sexuality, race, class, and genre through changing socio-historical and cultural contexts shape different meanings listeners ascribe to the songs. We will explore how artists covering other people’s songs can emulate, pay homage to, comment upon, subvert meaning, and create parodies of previously recorded works. We will examine critically the concept of authenticity and its role in music criticism. Musical analysis and transcription will aid the understanding of musical processes at play in various cover songs. Assignments will involve reading, listening, and writing on a daily basis, and the class meetings will emphasize discussion. As this course contributes to the College’s writing program, several class periods will be devoted to research skills and the writing process, and accordingly you will be required to write a substantial argumentative paper. The class will culminate in a collaborative final project in which students will create and record their own cover songs. Some experience with music (as a performer or avid enthusiast) is ideal. Some readings will require a basic knowledge of Western music notation.

 Class meets MWF, 10:50 am – 11:50 am in Music 219.

Living arrangements: Single gender rooms, co-ed floor.

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PHIL225-01/COMP 154-01: Ethics and the Internet (R)
Diane Michelfelder, Philosophy Department

In this course, we will spend time with ethical questions connected with the Internet as we know it today: an online environment where content is generated and shared through user activities such as blogging, media sharing, social networking, tagging, tweeting, virtual world gaming, wiki developing, and the like.   

The course will roughly be divided into two parts. In the first half, we will take a close look at ethical issues predating the Internet but which, because of its development, have taken on new dimensions. We will consider how the Internet opens up new forms of censorship (think the censorship of social networking services themselves); new forms of surveillance (think dataveillance), and new issues related to privacy (think the controversial “right to be forgotten”).  We will also look at the moral values undergirding, and the contentious debates surrounding, current copyright law in the US. In the second half of the course, we will consider some ethical questions connected to the integration of the Internet into devices other than the personal computer and mobile phone, developments that open up the prospect of a world of “ubiquitous computing” or integrated networked systems. What are some of the impacts of such integration on our everyday ethical relations with others and on the overall quality of our lives? How might being networked affect the meaning of being human? 

This course is also designed to give you a broad exposure into different ways of “doing philosophy,” from blogging, podcasting, and writing essays for public media to more traditional forms of expressions such as journal articles and books. On occasion we will join forces with another First Year Course--Information Policy, Politics, and Law--taught by Political Science professor Patrick Schmidt.  You’ll have many opportunities to write, including a major paper in which you imagine yourself as a philosophical consultant providing ethical perspectives and advice to designers interested in developing a new “smart” device or social media platform.

 Class meets MWF, 10:50 am – 11:50 am in Old Main 011.

Living arrangements: Single gender rooms, co-ed floor.

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PHIL 121-01: Ethics (R)
William Wilcox, Philosophy Department

Ethics addresses three sorts of questions. The first sort asks about the status of moral judgments, e.g. judgments about right and wrong, or good and bad. Is it possible for moral judgments to be true? Can they be objective? Can they be universal? The second branch of ethics, normative moral theory, aims to discover and develop the most general and basic elements of moral thought. For example, two quite different approaches to normative moral theory differ over the old issue about ends justifying means. Consequentialism maintains the right thing to do is whatever will bring about the best consequences. In other words, the ends justify the means. Kantian ethical theory denies this, maintaining that morality is not just about trying to bring about the best consequences. The final area of ethics, practical or applied ethics, is less abstract than the other two, focusing on particular practices or moral problems and trying to figure out what moral judgments it is reasonable to make about those practices or problems. Examples would include debates about abortion, euthanasia, and just wars. All three areas of ethics will be considered during the semester, but much of our focus, especially in the second half of the semester, will be on distinctive political values such as justice and equality.

Class meets TR, 9:40 am – 11:10 am in Carnegie 204.

 Living arrangements: Single gender rooms, co-ed floor.

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PHYS 111-02: Contemporary Concepts
Sung Kyu Kim, Physics and Astronomy Department

This course is specifically designed for the liberal arts student who desires an essentially non-mathematical, yet wholly faithful, acquaintance with the fundamental concepts of contemporary physics. Topics include special relativity, curved space-time and black holes, the Big Bang universe, light, quantum theory, and elementary particles. These are presented so as to demonstrate the power of “pure thought” and scientific creativity at its best. The underlying assumption of the course is that physics approached as a way of thinking can be vitally relevant and challenging to students of all intellectual persuasions.

 Class meets MWF, 2:20 pm – 3:20 pm in Olin-Rice 150.

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POLI 101-01: Argument and Advocacy (R)
Zornitsa Keremidchieva, Political Science Department

With a focus on the role of advocacy in the policy making process, this course expands your understanding of how arguments operate in our political culture and to cultivate your ability to read critically and creatively, make pertinent and well-substantiated claims, assess opposing arguments charitably, and communicate your judgments appropriately and effectively both orally and in writing.

Class meets  TR, 1:20 pm – 2:50 pm in Carnegie 206.

  Living arrangements: Single gender rooms, co-ed floor.

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POLI 194-01/ MATH 116-01: Politics and Mathematics of Elections
Julie Dolan, Political Science Department and Karen Saxe, Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science Department

It’s fall 2014 and so it’s time for midterm elections! Will the Republicans take control of the US Senate? How many governorships and state legislatures will change party hands? How do elections work in the U.S. and in other democracies? What is meant by a ‘representative’ democracy? How is it decided how many Congressional representatives each state has? What are the costs and benefits of political participation?

We will focus on the various ways that mathematics and political science interact. Topics covered will include the role of elections and representative government in the United States, comparison of electoral systems used around the world, the apportionment problem, redistricting and gerrymandering, weighted voting systems and voting power, the costs and benefits associated with political participation, and how to predict electoral outcomes.

Work during the semester will include some ‘math’ problems (associated, for example, with weighted voting); student predictions on the outcome of numerous competitive congressional and gubernatorial elections across the country; and several short written assignments.

This First Year Seminar will be taught jointly by Julie Dolan (Professor of Political Science) and Karen Saxe (Professor of Mathematics). Important facts about the course:

  • It has no prerequisites, either in math or in political science.
  • It satisfies either the Social Science (if you sign up for POLI 194) OR the Natural Science/Math (if you sign up for MATH 116) distribution requirement. But, it is the same course no matter which way you sign up!

Class meets MWF, 1:10 pm – 2:10 pm in Carnegie 06A.

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POLI316-01: Information Policy, Politics, and the Law (R)
Patrick Schmidt, Political Science Department

It is easy to be amazed by changes in information technology, that is, the ways that information is produced, distributed, and consumed. If you love your cellphone, share music with your friends, are addicted to social media, enjoy digital books, or worry about your privacy, you might be familiar with some of the issues. In this course, we go much deeper: how do governments and institutions (such as corporations) shape the flow of information? What's at stake in the design of the policies and law governing information? We explore those questions across a range of topics, including surveillance and searches, privacy, transparency, copyrights, patents, and the regulation of the internet.

Students can come to this course from many different starting points. Some students are interested in policy-making and politics but haven't thought much about information policy, which is simply one area, like environmental policy, health policy or anything else. Other students follow technology closely, but haven't given much thought to government, politics and regulation. Still others are interested in the broadest historical and sociological questions: is the world different today because of how information technology has changed? If so, how? And, isn't my iPhone the most amazing invention in human history...or not? However often the class discusses the latest technological developments, we will never be far from the questions, "so what?" and "what does it all mean?".

This course will offer a variety of learning experiences. Class time will include introductory lectures, guest speakers, and "seminar style" discussions. On occasion we will join forces with another First Year Course: Ethics and the Internet, taught by Philosophy professor Diane Michelfelder. Other weeks, students will write essays for discussion in tutorials (small group meetings in my office). The class also will work on a project assisting Macalester College in the development of its own information policies.

Class meets MWF, 10:50 am – 11:50 am in Carnegie 204.

Living arrangements: Single gender rooms, co-ed floor.

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PSYC 194-01: The Origin of Consciousness 
Darcy Burgund, Psychology Department

In the book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind psychologist Julian Jaynes argues that humans became self-conscious only about 3000 years ago, and before that operated as virtual automatons obeying hallucinated voices that they attributed to gods. Described as both “consummate genius” and “complete rubbish”, the book provides a vehicle for exploring the psychology of language, religion, decision-making, creativity, mental illness, and of course, consciousness. This course will discuss these topics while reading Jaynes’ book as well as supplemental texts from psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, and philosophy. The class will be writing intensive, and students will write (and re-write) commentaries; personal, analytic, and argumentative essays; and a research paper. No prior knowledge is required; however, a strong interest in psychology and/or the human mind will help.

Class meets TR, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm in Olin-Rice 370.

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SOCI 194-01: Moral Panics and the Other
Khaldoun Samman, Sociology Department

This course will focus primarily on how fears spread and become moral panics of our time. We will deal with a number of issues like pedophilia, gangs, and drug scares, but fear of Muslims and Islam will be the most visible example of the course. Through the works of Foucault (discursive formations and incitement), Laclau and Mouffe (hegemony and articulation), and others, this course will attempt to restore the most significant contribution Moral Panic theory offers: the constitutive nature of moral panics in the production of new racial and political identities. A major sub theme of the course will be to trace the incitement process through certain networks and what sociologists call “claims makers” and “moral entrepreneurs” (think tanks, groups like Jihad Watch, the Military Industrial complex), especially right wing groups but also liberals, mainstream feminists, academics, and other experts. We will also look at the construction of crime waves, but of a particular sort, the kind that reconstitutes the way we understand cultural differences, human rights, immigration, culture and crime, gender inequality, patriarchy, domestic abuse, military occupation, and so on.

Class meets TR, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm in Carnegie 208.

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THDA 105-01: Making the Musical: Introducing Theatre Studies
Harry Waters Jr., Theatre & Dance Department, and Eric Colleary, Theatre & Dance Department

For nearly 150 years, the American musical has been one of this country’s most popular performance genres both at home and abroad. From minstrelsy and vaudeville revues to Rent and Avenue Q, from Bert Williams and Fanny Brice to Nathan Lane and Audra McDonald, the musical has both imagined and reflected American national identities. The musical has also been a forum where the social issues of the day are given voice, sometimes using the guise of popular entertainment as a strategy of subversion. In this course, we will explore the musical’s rich historical tradition, digging deeply and critically into several performance texts. Students will participate in acting, dance, and design workshops, and have the opportunity to attend theatre performances in the Twin Cities. All students will also participate in the creation of Macalester’s fall semester production of The Cradle Will Rock, either as performers or stage technicians. Throughout the semester, students will be taught to engage in critical thinking and writing about performance – skills which apply directly to future studies in the arts, humanities, and sciences.

Previous theatre or performance experience is not required. Prospective majors are allowed to take this course. Due to the production schedule of The Cradle Will Rock, students enrolled in this course will not be able to take night courses during the Fall semester.

 Class meets MWF, 9:40 am – 10:40 am in Theater Studio and Theater 205.

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WGSS 105-01: Transnational Perspectives on Gender, Race, Class, and Sexuality 
Sonita Sarker, Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Department

Could it be possible that your own gender, race, class, and sexuality as well as your questions about them, are intimately related to global politics and culture?  How does your life connect to a corporate executive’s in Thailand, a migrant laborer’s in Italy, a sweatshop worker’s in Colombia, and immigrant professionals’ in Silicon Valley?  And how do different histories of women’s and gender studies intersect to expand this matrix of identities? 

Through feminist analyses of actual events and phenomena such as globalization and transnationalism, this course offers surprising and exciting discoveries surrounding these questions that reveal how our past and present are linked.  It uses historical documents, film, fiction, ethnographies, and autobiographies to show how we accept, negotiate, resist, and recreate where we belong in the world and how we interact with others, through texts such as Women’s Lives: Multicultural Perspectives and Gender Through the Prism of Difference. Some writers included are bell hooks, Adrienne Rich, R.W. Connell, Alice Walker, Nawal el Saadawi, Richard Falk, Barbara Smith, and Gloria Anzaldua.

We will debate and critique diverse identities from activism and academia—from Latina to Norse, from Black to Indigenous, from the First to the Fourth World.  We will study how feminists and their allies have fought economic exploitation, challenged racial discrimination, protested gender oppression, redefined environmental and industrial relations, and gained strength from political and cultural coalitions.  The Madres de la Plaza de Mayo, the Love Canal protesters, voting and reproductive rights activists, the Narmada Dam resisters, the Nike shoemakers, the diasporic Asian gay filmmaker, Hurricane Katrina and BP Oil Spill and Occupy activists, male feminists—these are some of the peoples whose inspiring stories have contributed to the vibrant histories in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies.

No prior acquaintance with WGSS ideas is required.  Come and explore!  If you’re eager about, and even if you’re resistant to, feminist/women’s/gender/sexuality studies, this course welcomes and invites you to analyze and situate your identity, your commitments, and your responsibilities in relation to the academic and other bodies of knowledge that form the foundation of a liberal arts education. 

There are so many ways to engage each other—reading, group discussions, writing, interviewing.  The major assignments in this course are two research essays, class presentations, periodic journals, and discussion-based participation.  The emphasis is on discussion and lectures are included wherever appropriate or necessary. 

 Class meets MWF, 10:50 am – 11:50 am in Old Main 009.

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