A seminar for first-year students

In your first semester, you must take a First-Year Course. There are many options for you to choose from, on a wide-variety of topics, representing diverse disciplinary perspectives. Some students choose this course based on the topic; others because they want to explore a department in which they might major or minor. Either approach is fine. Because this is only one course out of four, and it only lasts one semester, there are plenty of opportunities throughout the first year to explore majors or interest areas beyond the First-Year Course.

Many courses also utilize student preceptors to provide additional academic support and peer mentoring.

Abbreviations Key

  • WA = Argumentative Writing, WC = Writing as Craft, WP = Writing as Practice

First-Year Course Offerings for Fall 2022

Department Instructor Course Name Residential Writing Designation
American Studies Karin Aguilar-San Juan AMST 194-F1:  What’s After White Empire (and is it already here)? Yes WA anticipated
Anthropology Arjun Guneratne ANTH 194-F1:  Food and Culture
WA
Art & Art History Chris Willcox ART 234-F1:  Painting 1 None
Art & Art History Serdar Yalcin ART 280-F1:  Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt Yes WA
Biology Mary Heskel BIOL 170-F1/ENVI 170-F1 + BIOL 170-L1/ENVI 170-L1:  Ecology and the Environment Yes WA
Chemistry Susan Green CHEM 111-F1/L1:  General Chemistry I: Structure and Equilibrium and Lab Yes WA
Chinese Rivi Handler-Spitz CHIN 194-F1:  Women, Warriors, Secrets, and Snakes Yes WC
The Classical Mediterranean and Middle East Beth Severy-Hoven CLAS 194-F1:  Sex, Slavery and Sacrifice: Life in Roman Literature WA
Computer Science Brianna Heggeseth COMP 112-F1/STAT 112-F1:  Introduction to Data Science Yes None
Economics Felix Friedt ECON 119-F1:  Principles of Economics None
Economics Liang Ding ECON 129-F1:  Calculus-based Principles of Economics WA
English Daylanne English ENGL 125-F1:  Studies in Literature: Ecstasy and Apocalypse, Literature of the Extreme WA
English Matt Burgess ENGL 150-F1:  Introduction to Creative Writing WC
Environmental Studies Louisa Bradtmiller ENVI 150-F1:  Climate and Society Yes WA
French and Francophone Studies Juliette Rogers FREN 194-F1:  Persist, Resist, Rebel: Women of France and Canada WA
Geography William Moseley GEOG 243-F1:  Geography of Africa: Local Resources and Livelihoods in a Global Context Yes WA
Geography Holly Barcus GEOG 254-F1/ENVI 254-F1:  Population 8 Billion: Global Population Issues and Trends Yes WA
Geology Alan Chapman GEOL 160-F1/ENVI 160-F1; GEOL 160-L1/ENVI 160-L1:  Dynamic Earth and Global Change: Geo-forensics–deciphering the volcanic, tectonic, and climatic stories that rocks tell Yes WA
German Studies Britt Abel GERM 174-F1:  Vampires – from Monsters to Superheroes Yes WA
German Studies Michael Powers GERM 194-F1:  Marx and Art Yes WA
History Jessica Pearson HIST 113-F1:  Time Travelers: Tourism in Global History WA
International Studies Ahmed Samatar INTL 110-F1:  Introduction to International Studies:  Globalization–Homogeneity and Heterogeneity WA
Linguistics Morgan Sleeper LING 194-F1:  Language and Music WP
Media and Cultural Studies Tia-Simone Gardner MCST 194-F1:  Cultural Politics of Difference WA
Music Michael McGaghie MUSI 194-F1:  J.S. Bach and the Modern Passion Tradition Yes WA
Philosophy Geoffrey Gorham PHIL 100-F1:  Introduction to Philosophy:  Philosophy of the Future WA
Philosophy Sam Asarnow PHIL 121-F1: Ethics WA
Physics James Heyman PHYS 194-F1:  Nanoscience Yes WA
Political Science Lisa Mueller POLI 242-F1:  Political Economy of Development WA
Psychology Cari Gillen O’Neel PSYC 100-F1:  Introduction to Psychology Yes WA
Religious Studies William Hart RELI 110-F1:  Big Questions WA
Sociology Erika Busse Cardenas SOCI 258-F1/LATI 258-F1:  Immigrant Voices in Times of Fear WA
Spanish and Portuguese Molly Olsen SPAN 194-F1/LATI 194-F1:  This Is Not Your Private Island: Caribbean Cultures of Decolonization WA
Theater and Dance Mina Kinukawa THDA 294-F1:  Dance and Performance Design None

Course Descriptions

AMST 194-F1: What’s After White Empire (and is it already here)?  (R)
Karin Aguilar-San Juan, American Studies Department

From the Philippine-American War (1898-1910) to the global uprisings of May 2020, white supremacy and US imperialism have marched hand-in-hand, buttressed by cultures of violence and literal guns and tanks. Yet cracks in the walls of racism and empire have also always existed, with gestures of solidarity and whole solidarity movements pushing forward with new possibilities and imagined futures. In this discussion-based course, we will look for the common threads that link David Fagen (Black U.S. army soldier who defected and joined the Philippine nationalists in 1899) to the Vietnam antiwar movement (1955-1975) and to Grace Lee Boggs (Chinese American philosopher activist based in Detroit, 1905-2015) along with many other individuals and events. Among the significant questions we will consider are: What makes an insurrectionist different from an ally or a rabble rouser or a survivalist? What lessons can be drawn from the global COVID pandemic and the Russian war in Ukraine? How can we replace a culture of violence with a culture of peace? Books and films include: The White Racial Frame (Joe Feagin), How to be an Anti-Racist (Ibram X. Kendi), “Amigo” (John Sayles), “American Revolutionary” (Grace Lee).

Class meets TR 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Writing designation: WA anticipated

Living arrangements:  Single-gender rooms on co-ed floors.  Single-gender bathrooms are available on all floors and some floors also have all-gender bathrooms in addition to the single gender bathrooms.

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ANTH 194-F1: Food and Culture
Arjun Guneratne, Anthropology Department

Human foodways aren’t just about nutrition. That is perhaps the least of their significance. What people eat, how they eat and with whom they eat (and don’t eat) is about identity and belonging, social status and gender relations, power and dominance—in short, it is about being human. Anthropology is the study of what it means to be human. Anthropologists study how our species evolved, how it varies over time and space, to discover what all human beings, who appear so different from each other in custom, habits and ways of being in the world, have in common. To be human is to imbue things with meaning; we are the meaning making animal, and our behavior is shaped by the meaning we give to things. So it is with food. We separate what is edible into food and not-food and we are the only animal that can starve in the midst of plenty.

This course introduces you to how anthropologists study the relationship of food to culture. We begin with the transition to agriculture from foraging and hunting (the foodway that dominated most of human existence) and then focus on how food creates community and shapes identity, class and gender, how it foregrounds social hierarchies and shapes communal solidarities. In doing so, it introduces you also to the discipline of anthropology. No exams, but a lot of writing.

Class meets MWF 8:30 am – 9:30 am

Writing designation: WA

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ART 234-F1:  Painting I
Chris Willcox, Art and Art History Department

The Painting I class will introduce you to the fundamentals of creating oil paintings on canvas, paper and panels.  You’ll be shown the techniques and mechanics of painting in order to develop foundational painting habits and skills. We’ll discuss the principles of both drawing and painting, proportion, form, color, color mixing  and the elements of design used in a painting. Once we work on the basics, we’ll delve into topics that foster more individual self-expression. Historical and contemporary paintings will be discussed and analyzed, along with in-class critiques of student work, homework assignments, and weekly, in-class studio assignments. My goal is for you to grow to love the medium of paint so that when you leave Macalester, you still find ways to incorporate painting into your life! We’ll take a trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) and most importantly, experience the joy and satisfaction that comes from working with paint. We meet twice a week for 3 hours and we paint together, put our work up and discuss it, listen to music, and enjoy the friendly, community atmosphere of the painting room.

An additional 5 or 6 hours spent painting outside of class is typically needed to complete assignments by their due dates.

Class meets TR 1:20 pm – 4:30 pm

Writing designation: none

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ART 280-F1: Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt   (R)
Serdar Yalcin, Art and Art History Department

Ancient Egyptians invested immense resources in beautifully designed and crafted artworks and architectural spaces, many of which have survived, presenting spectacular views to contemporary beholders. Why did this ancient society assign such a high value to images? What were the purpose and meaning of art and architecture? Focusing on these key questions, this course will explore the making, function, and reception of Egyptian art and architecture in its socio-economic and political contexts from pre-dynastic times (ca. 5300 – 3000 BCE) through the end of the New Kingdom (ca. 1550-1070 BCE). The lectures and class discussions will focus on concepts of design, representation and aesthetics in Egypt, and explore the uses of art objects and monuments in politics, religion (both state and private cults), and burial practices. Addressing various topics such as pharaonic ideology, imperialism, gender, and afterlife this course will help students comprehend the fundamental place of art and visual culture for the creation and sustenance of one of the oldest civilizations in the world.

Class meets TR 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Writing Designation: WA

Living arrangements: Single-gender rooms on co-ed floors.  Single-gender bathrooms are available on all floors and some floors also have all-gender bathrooms in addition to the single gender bathrooms.

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BIOL 170-F1/ENVI 170-F1 + BIOL 170-L1/ENVI 170-L1:  Ecology & the Environment   (R)
Mary Heskel, Biology Department

Ecology & the Environment examines how species, populations, communities, ecosystems, and biomes function in our changing climate. We emphasize biological nutrient and energy cycling, population dynamics, animal and plant species interactions, disturbances and response to disturbances, and processes in urban and agricultural landscapes. We apply  four conceptual ‘lenses’: Climate Change, Environmental Justice, Land Use, and Ecosystem Services, that provide critical insight into how scientists, policy makers, land managers, and other stakeholders evaluate complex ecological and environmental systems. Labs will be field and data-based, and emphasize the development of hypotheses, novel field data collection at Ordway Field Station, and statistical analysis. Three hours lecture and one three-hour laboratory each week.

Class meets MWF 9:40 am – 10:40 am. Lab meets Thurs 1:20 pm – 4:30 pm

Writing designation: WA

Living arrangements: Single-gender rooms on co-ed floors.  Single-gender bathrooms are available on all floors and some floors also have all-gender bathrooms in addition to the single gender bathrooms.

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CHEM 111-F1/CHEM 111-L1: General Chemistry I: Structure and Equilibrium  (R)
Susan Green, Chemistry Department

Chemistry 111 offers a rigorous, foundational treatment of atoms and molecules and is a foundational course for further chemistry courses such as General Chemistry II (CHEM 112), Organic Chemistry (CHEM 211 & 212) and Biochemistry (CHEM 351). 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 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 coursework in chemistry. This FYC version of Chemistry 111 will emphasize writing and carries the WA writing designation. Laboratory work also allows students to learn the writing of reports and the keeping of a lab notebook.

This course is especially appropriate for students interested in majoring in chemistry, biology or neuroscience and/or interested in fulfilling pre-medical requirements.

Class meets MWF 9:40 am – 10:40 am. Lab meets Thurs 8:00 am – 11:10 am.

Writing designation: WA

Living arrangements: Single-gender rooms on co-ed floors.  Single-gender bathrooms are available on all floors and some floors also have all-gender bathrooms in addition to the single gender bathrooms.

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CHIN 194-F1: Women, Warriors, Secrets, and Snakes  (R)
Rivi Handler Spitz, Asian Languages and Cultures Department

One woman discovers she’s secretly a snake; another becomes a man to save her country. This course examines Chinese tales of transformation from ancient times to the present. Students will probe the physical, moral, psychological, and gender transformations at the heart of these tales and also study the ways in which these classic tales themselves have mutated – from poetry and fiction to movies, comics, theater, and animation. Through close readings of primary texts and creative assignments – both visual and verbal – students will try their hands at further transforming these tales. And who knows – students may even undergo a transformation themselves!

Class meets MWF 10:50 am – 11:50 am

Writing designation: WC

Living arrangements: Single-gender rooms on co-ed floors.  Single-gender bathrooms are available on all floors and some floors also have all-gender bathrooms in addition to the single gender bathrooms.

CLAS 194-F1: Sex, Slavery and Sacrifice: Life in Roman Literature
Beth Severy-Hoven, Classical Mediterranean and Middle East Department

How can we use literature to help us understand life in an ancient world? Novels, poetry and satire provide a window into the Roman Empire — a window tantalizing for its details, humor, foreignness and familiarity, as well as clouded by its elite, male and slave-owning biases. Together we will explore a variety of Roman literary texts and how scholars have used them to reconstruct everyday life. We’ll supplement these studies with remains of material culture as we delve into topics such as the family, sexuality, slavery, and dining. We will read a lot of ancient literature and modern scholarship, and class will be based primarily on discussion. This course also carries a WA designation, so we will devote time to the study and practice of crafting and supporting an academic argument in writing.

Class meets MWF 10:50 am – 11:50 am

Writing designation: WA

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COMP 112-F1/STAT 112/F1: Introduction to Data Science  (R)
Brianna Heggeseth, Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science Department

Data science provides a powerful approach to understanding complexity in our social lives, the natural world, and our digital universes. This course will empower students to act on broad societal questions by 1) translating them to specific data-driven questions, 2) wrangling, analyzing, and visualizing data, and 3) communicating key findings to a broader audience. We will find and wrangle datasets related to our questions, conduct analyses, and create maps and other visualizations. Along the way, students will develop proficiency in R, learn to communicate data insights, and gain experience in a variety of modern data science techniques. This course is designed for students from any background. In particular, it welcomes and will support students with *no* prior experience with data science, statistics, or programming. This course is residential (students will live together in the same dorm), it is not a writing-intensive course, and it will fulfill the QT2 general education requirement.

Class meets MWF 1:10 pm – 2:10 pm

Writing designation: None

Living arrangements: Single-gender rooms on co-ed floors.  Single-gender bathrooms are available on all floors and some floors also have all-gender bathrooms in addition to the single gender bathrooms.

ECON 119-F1: Principles of Economics
Felix Friedt, Economics Department

The production, exchange, and consumption of goods and services have been cornerstones of human societies throughout history. Daily, we engage in these activities to satisfy basic needs and improve well-being. This introductory course offers a broad overview of the principles guiding individual decisions as well as aggregate economic systems that function to serve these goals.  This course is divided into three sections:

1) Students are exposed to some of the most fundamental models of economics, including the production possibilities frontier, the notion of comparative advantage, and market supply and demand. Our discussions will shape the students’ economic thinking and point to one of the key issues in economics: the efficient allocation of scarce resources.

2) We study the behavior and conceptualize the decision making process of individual consumers and firms in the economy and investigate the sensitivity of these choices to different market structures. In addition to final products, we also consider markets for factors of production (labor, natural resources, etc.).

3) In contrast to these microeconomic topics, we also focus on macroeconomic issues, such as national income, the inflation rate, or the unemployment rate, and explore the connections between them. We consider the drivers of economic growth, causes of business cycles, and the role of fiscal and monetary policy in determining these key macroeconomic variables.

Class meets MWF 9:40 am – 10:40 am

Writing designation: None

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ECON 129-F1: Calculus Based Principles of Economics
Liang Ding, 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 first part of the course covers microeconomics. Here we focus on the economic decisions of individual households, workers and firms and how these decisions interact in markets. The second part of the course covers macroeconomics. Here, we focus on the study of economic aggregates (e.g., GDP, inflation, and unemployment) and the forces that cause them to change over time. The first objective of this class is to introduce students to a wide range of economic theory and to help students understand how markets work to allocate goods, resources and income in society. The second objective is to provide students proper scientific methods and tools to discuss economic issues, solve economic problems and make good policy decisions. This course also aims to provide economic majors the appropriate background and foundation for future coursework in the economics major.

Class meets MWF 10:50 am – 11:50 am

Writing designation: WA

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ENGL 125-F1:  Studies in Literature: Ecstasy and Apocalypse, Literature of the Extreme
Daylanne English, English Department

In this discussion-based first-year course, we will study how literature represents extreme human experiences, both joyful and miserable. As we closely read a wide range of works, we will ask ourselves aesthetic and ethical questions: Must literary form stretch to represent the extreme? Must artists, musicians, and writers invent new forms when faced with unprecedented traumas, including pandemic and climate change? How might literature help us to understand the end of a world, or a people, or a way of life? Might literature also help us imagine a future in these seemingly apocalyptic times? How might it offer us understanding and solace, even joy, in the present? We will read primarily fiction, along with poetry, nonfiction and a graphic narrative, to investigate whether other genres and modes work differently at, and with, the extreme. We will also view films and listen to music to discover whether other media may offer alternative, and possibly better, ways to represent ecstasy and apocalypse. Texts, among others, may include: A Handmaid’s Tale, MAUS, Life on Mars, Parable of the Talents, The Book of Delights, and Silent Spring.

Class meets TR 9:40 am – 11:10 am

Writing designation: WA

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ENGL 150-F1: Introduction to Creative Writing
Matt Burgess, English Department

This first-year introductory course will focus on the basic elements of creative writing. Students will be asked to read and discuss published work by writers across a wide range of cultures, to support one another through peer workshops, and to write multiple drafts of short fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Throughout the semester our focus will be on creating an artistic community that encourages everyone to discover and nurture their own individual creative voice, and then to express that voice with force and conviction.

Class meets MWF 9:40 am – 10:40 am

Writing designation: WC

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ENVI 150-F1: Climate and Society  (R)
Louisa Bradtmiller, Environmental Studies Department

Seasonal and annual patterns of temperature and precipitation influence the development and success of civilizations. This regional climate determines numerous things about how humans adapt to survive, including the type of shelter needed, the length of the growing season, and the availability or scarcity of freshwater. Abrupt changes to regional climate may test a society’s resilience, whether shifts are the result of natural or human causes. Using a combination of scientific and historical evidence, this course will provide a brief introduction to the climate system and will then focus on how changes in climate affected several societies throughout history. In the later part of the course we will discuss observed global warming in the modern world, what the potential benefits and consequences may be, and what history might teach us as we seek to adapt to a world changing faster than at any point in human history.

Class meets MWF 9:40 am – 10:40 am

Writing designation: WA

Living arrangements: Single-gender rooms on co-ed floors.  Single-gender bathrooms are available on all floors and some floors also have all-gender bathrooms in addition to the single gender bathrooms.

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FREN 194-F1: Persist, Resist, Rebel: Women of France and Canada
Julie Rogers, French and Francophone Studies Department

What are the influences that cause certain women to become revolutionaries or activists, outcasts or criminals? How does gender identity, social class, race and education affect those decisions? To answer these questions, this course will examine representations of women who push boundaries and break the rules in films and texts from France and Canada. We will also study certain historical figures from both countries, including Marie-Antoinette, Coco Chanel, Jeanne Mance, and Marguerite Bourgeoys, as well as activists today who continue to question the limits that society tries to impose.

NOTES:

– The entire course, including readings and discussions, will be in English. No previous knowledge of French culture or language is required for this course.

– This is a WA course and counts for the INTL (Internationalism) gen ed requirement.

Class meets TR 1:20 pm – 2:50 pm

Writing designation: WA

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GEOG 243-F1: Geography of Africa: Local Resources and Livelihoods in a Global Context  (R)
William Moseley, Geography Department

From the positive images in the film Black Panther, to the derogatory remarks of former President Trump, the African continent often figures prominently in our collective imagination. This class goes beyond the superficial media interpretations of the world’s second largest region to complicate and ground our understanding of this fascinating continent.  Africa South of the Sahara has long been depicted in the media as a place of crisis – a region of the world often known for civil strife, disease, corruption, hunger and environmental destruction. This perception is not entirely unfounded, after all, Ebola in west and central Africa, the kidnapping of school girls in northern Nigeria, or the civil war in Ethiopia are known problems. Yet Africa is a place of extraordinarily diverse, vibrant, and dynamic cultures. Many Africans also expertly manage their natural resources, are brilliant agriculturalists and have traditions of democratic governance at the local level.  As such, the African story is extremely diverse and varied. The thoughtful student must work hard to go beyond the shallow interpretations of the vast African continent and appreciate its many realities without succumbing to a romanticized view. As geographers, we will place contemporary African developments in a historical and global context. Africa has a long history of influencing and being influenced by the outside world. Among other issues, we will explore how colonialism, and even more recent ‘development’ initiatives, have influenced current structures in Africa. Furthermore, we will examine what restrictions, if any, the current world economic system places on development possibilities for the continent. We cover a broad range of sectoral themes, including: health and population dynamics; food and agriculture; cities and urbanization; rural life; parks and peoples; development and underdevelopment; politics and governance; and sociocultural geography and music.

Class meets TR 9:40 am – 11:10 am

Writing designation: WA

Living arrangements: Single-gender rooms on co-ed floors.  Single-gender bathrooms are available on all floors and some floors also have all-gender bathrooms in addition to the single gender bathrooms.

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GEOG 254-F1/ENVI 254-F1:  Population 8 Billion: Global Population Issues and Trends  (R)
Holly Barcus, Geography Department

This course challenges students to critically examine contemporary global population issues and link these patterns and processes to local events and situations. Using the lens of Geography, we will investigate the dynamic interplay between individual, local, regional, national, and international scales and the implications of scale, culture and perspective in dissecting current population issues. We will also use individual countries as case studies to examine population policies. Students will acquire a working knowledge of the data and methods used by population geographers to describe and analyze changes in human populations at sub-national scales, and will implement these skills in an independent research project.

Class meets MWF 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Writing designation: WA

Living arrangements: Single-gender rooms on co-ed floors.  Single-gender bathrooms are available on all floors and some floors also have all-gender bathrooms in addition to the single gender bathrooms.

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GEOL 160-01/ENVI 160-01/L1: Dynamic Earth and Global Change:  Geo-forensics–deciphering the volcanic, tectonic, and climatic stories that rocks tell   (R)
Alan Chapman, Geology Department

Every rock tells a story; the earth is a collection of rocks and therefore has many stories to tell.  This course is designed to teach first-year students the language of rocks and the earth, empowering them to listen to the wisdom that earth materials have accumulated over billions of years.  Some rocks tell stories involving massive volcanic eruptions, others recount episodes of mountain building, and some remember vastly different ancient environments.  Some materials even recall the conditions under which the solar system, the earth, and the moon formed.  Students will emerge from this class with an understanding of the scientific approach geologists use to learn from the earth, as well as provide a forum for examining the human relationship with the planet.  An optional NSF-sponsored field trip to southern Oregon-northern California will expose participants to an active geoscientific project and will provide opportunities for interested students to engage in this research.  This introductory-level Geology course is cross-listed with Environmental Studies. It is appropriate for students interested in either a science major OR a degree outside of the science division. This course satisfies Quantitative Thinking (Q2) and Argumentative Writing (WA) general education requirements.

Class meets MWF 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm. Lab meets Thursdays 1:20 pm – 4:30 pm

Writing designation: WA

Living arrangements: Single-gender rooms on co-ed floors.  Single-gender bathrooms are available on all floors and some floors also have all-gender bathrooms in addition to the single gender bathrooms.

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GERM 174-F1: Vampires—from Monsters to Superheros  (R)
Britt Abel, German Studies Department

Vampires are cyclical. Every few years we see vampires take the stage in our media again, most recently within the Marvel franchise in Morbius. Vampires have always been popular fodder and will continue to be so, even as the image of the vampire shifts dramatically over time. The popularity of vampires has waxed and waned for over a hundred years, partially because vampirism can be used as a metaphor for almost anything—from the plague to sexuality to addiction. We will juxtapose classic tales of vampires as monsters (Dracula, Nosferatu, Carmilla) with the more recent generation of vampires (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Bit, The Gilda Stories). What happened to change our imagination of vampires from monsters into hip, outsider superheroes? And what can the examination of vampires tell us about the context in which they were created?

In this discussion-based course we’ll analyze a number of novels, films, and tales. We’ll learn about information literacy by searching for secondary literature related to our texts in the library databases, and we’ll write a lot about vampires. We’ll gather outside of class time and enjoy some snacks with our film screenings. And along the way, we’ll talk about college life and academics at Mac.

Content Warning: please note that the course material includes gory content and sexual assault.

This is a residential first-year course that is designed for non-majors and requires no prior knowledge of vampirism or German. It fulfills the WA (argumentative writing) general education requirement.

Class meets MWF 10:50 am – 11:50 am

Writing designation: WA

Living arrangements: Single-gender rooms on co-ed floors.  Single-gender bathrooms are available on all floors and some floors also have all-gender bathrooms in addition to the single gender bathrooms.

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GERM 194-F1:  Marx and Art  (R)
Michael Powers, German Studies Department

Karl Marx revolutionized how we think about power and capitalism. But what is the role of art for Marx and later Marxists? What is art’s revolutionary potential? Should art be political, and if so, how? In this discussion-based course, we will examine how artists and intellectuals have grappled with these issues in light of Marx’s insights into the relation between power, ideology, and consciousness. Guided by introductory readings in Marxist philosophy and art theory, we will explore literary and visual artworks, from socialist fairy tales, avant-garde poetry and theater, to street murals, performance art, and film. Sample discussion topics include: labor, alienation, and modern technology; perception and the politics of the senses; global capitalism and colonialism; and revolutionary and utopian thought.

Class meets MWF 9:40 am – 10:40 am

Writing Designation: WA

Living arrangements: Single-gender rooms on co-ed floors.  Single-gender bathrooms are available on all floors and some floors also have all-gender bathrooms in addition to the single gender bathrooms.

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HIST 113-F1: Time Travelers: Tourism in Global History
Jessica Pearson, History Department

This first-year course explores the global history of travel and tourism in the modern world. We will consider how tourists engaged with transnational processes like war, decolonization, and global economic shifts that allowed for the slow and uneven democratization of leisure travel over the course of the twentieth century. We will also investigate the ways that racism and other forms of discrimination have become deeply embedded in global travel networks and infrastructure. Over the course of the semester we will “visit” a wide range of locales, traveling from the United States and its Pacific empire to Antigua, the Soviet Union, and Peru. As we “tour” the globe, we will contemplate a range of transportation options, including the role that cars, trains, and planes played in shaping the evolution of global tourism. In this history course we will engage in multidisciplinary approaches to studying the past as you develop your own scholarly projects. We will also work to foster a supportive community as we grow as writers, researchers, and humans.

Class meets TR 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Writing designation: WA

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INTL 110-F1: Introduction to International Studies: Globalization – Homogeneity and Heterogeneity
Ahmed Samatar, International Studies Department

The hallmarks of the age of globalization are everywhere. How to understand this contested phenomenon and act prudently in such demanding ambience is imperative for individuals, communities, and all societies. This course offers at once an exciting and challenging intellectual journey to explore the history and the contemporary contours of globalization. Specific attention is given to ecological, economic, cultural, and political spheres. Careful reading, rigorous thinking, and self-lucidity in speaking and writing are stressed on all occasions.

Class meets TR 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Writing designation: WA

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LING 194-F1: Language and Music
Morgan Sleeper, Linguistics Department

Language and music are two uniquely human enterprises with a number of parallels: both rely on sound and/or signs, display hierarchical organization and culturally-specific practices, and can convey both communicative and social meaning. This course examines the intersection of language and music from a linguistic perspective. We will engage with questions such as: How can language change when it’s sung instead of spoken? How do speakers of tone languages understand lyrics in sung melodies? Is hip hop different in different languages? How are signed languages used in music? Can music help people learn languages? How do drummed and whistled languages work? How can music contribute to language revitalization? Does the way we talk about music affect how we perform or listen to it?

This class will be a mix of discussion, hands-on explorations, and in-class group activities. Students will also conduct real-world participant-observation research, and complete a final project in radio broadcast form. No musical experience is required!

Class meets MWF 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Writing: WP

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MCST 194-F1: Cultural Politics of Difference
Tia-Simone Gardner, Media and Cultural Studies Department

The theorization of difference is an important aspect of cultural theory. In this class we will look at the role of difference as it is understood through representation, cultural production and practices and the production of knowledge. We want to examine the turn to difference within cultural studies and how this move has shifted how we think about power relations and meaning making in society. We will look at the foundational work of cultural theorists like Stuart Hall and bell hooks as well as more recent work by Nicholas Mirzoeff and Tina Campt on difference and images. We will also look at the work from cultural producers like filmmakers Trinh Minh-ha and Khalil Joseph. The class will expose students to a range of material including print, digital media, film, television, and internet and social media.

Class meets TR 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Writing designation: WA

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MUSI 194-F1: J.S. Bach and the Modern Passion Tradition  (R)
Michael McGaghie, Music Department

The word “Passion” refers to the arrest, trial, and death of Jesus as narrated in the Christian gospels. This course will examine the rich tradition of vocal music inspired by this story, which includes secular works composed for concert performance. We’ll begin with the two exemplar settings by Johann Sebastian Bach, his St. John Passion of 1724 and his St. Matthew Passion of 1727. Then, we’ll discuss how Bach’s models became a rich template for modern composers, who adapted the Passion story to address contemporary topics: class, race, gender, queerness, and more. Along the way, we’ll read works of theology, music scholarship, concert reviews, and of course: we’ll listen to lots of incredible music. The history of anti-Judaism looms large in relation to the Passion story; we will address this at length throughout the course. Assignments will consist mostly of short written responses with one longer paper. Class meetings will be a mix of lecture, listening/viewing sessions, and discussion.

Class meets MWF 1:10 pm – 2:10 pm

Writing designation: WA

Living arrangements: Single-gender rooms on co-ed floors.  Single-gender bathrooms are available on all floors and some floors also have all-gender bathrooms in addition to the single gender bathrooms.

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PHIL 100-F1: Introduction to Philosophy: Philosophy of the Future
Geoffrey Gorham, Philosophy Department

We all hope and work for a bright future, even if we sometimes fear the worst. But what exactly is this future we care so much about, and for what sort of future should we strive? This class introduces fundamental problems of philosophy by exploring metaphysical, epistemological and ethical problems about the future. We begin with the central concerns of philosophy itself: What is real? What do I know? What is good? What really matters? We then consider the puzzling nature of the future, which we value immensely, and worry about, as though it is fully real. Are the past and present more real than the future? This raises interesting questions of our moral attitude to the future: do we have obligations to persons and generations that do not yet exist or no longer exist? Might we have an obligation to ensure that someone does (or does not) exist in the future? Future humans will face ethical issues that are worth thinking about in the present. For example, is it acceptable for future humans to colonize other planets as past humans have colonized other continents? There are a number of threats that may prevent a human future altogether: pandemics, war, climate change. How do we gauge these threats and act accordingly? And if it turns out we are doomed, how would this affect the meaning of the life we have left? If we survive, human nature is likely to undergo significant change with the rise of technologies like artificial intelligence, genetic engineering and biomedical enhancement. Are these enhancements good for us? Are we ready to become ‘trans-human’? Finally, how can we (in the present) ensure a good future for those to come?

Class meets TR 9:40 am – 11:10 am

Writing designation: WA

PHIL 121-F1: Ethics
Sam Asarnow, Philosophy Department

What matters in life?  Is happiness the only thing that matters? If so, whose happiness should I pursue—just my own, my family’s, or everyone’s? Does suffering matter, too? What about the suffering of non-human animals? Is it okay for me to make animals suffer in order for me to enjoy the pleasure of eating their flesh? Or how about the suffering of people who are really far away from me—say, on another continent? Is it okay for me to spend money on cool stuff when instead I could donate it to help people who are suffering very badly far away?  If things in life other than happiness matter too, what are they? People who oppose torture think that it’s wrong to hurt one person really badly even in order to prevent a large number of people from being hurt.  Are they right?  Is it always wrong to treat someone as merely a means to an end? Is it in general wrong to do things to people without their consent?  Why? When do people deserve to be praised or blamed for their actions? What kind of person should I be?  Should I try to be happy? Or should I try to be virtuous? Is virtue its own reward? Or are we all inevitably faced with a choice between being virtuous and being happy?  If we are faced with that choice, which one should we pick? In this discussion- and writing-based course, we will consider these questions, and others.

Class meets MWF 1:10 pm – 2:10 pm

Writing designation: WA

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PHYS 194-F1: Nanoscience  (R)
James Heyman, Physics and Astronomy Department

Nanoscience is the science of matter on the nanometer length scale.  This interdisciplinary field sits at the convergence of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Materials Science and Electrical Engineering.  Our course will discuss the properties of  nanometer scale objects and how they are fabricated and introduce some of their technological applications.  This quantitative course will use mathematics at the introductory calculus level, and high-school physics and calculus are recommended.  Assignments will include readings, problem sets, short papers and a research paper.

This will be a residential course.  This course will satisfy the distribution requirement WA.

Class meets MWF 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Writing designation: WA

Living arrangements:  Single-gender rooms on co-ed floors.  Single-gender bathrooms are available on all floors and some floors also have all-gender bathrooms in addition to the single gender bathrooms.

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POLI 242-F1: Political Economy of Development
Lisa Mueller, Political Science Department

This course will help you answer questions about politics and economics in the developing world. For example: What explains global disparities in peace and prosperity? Is democracy good for the poor? Does foreign aid work? Our main objective is to use social science and argumentative writing to describe and explain development outcomes. Although we will also address what can be done to solve problems such as poverty and civil war, this course will not provide any panaceas. If you finish the term unsatisfied and frustrated, you will have done something right! You will have begun to understand the complexity of development issues, which will equip you to contribute in a sophisticated way to ongoing scholarly and policy-oriented debates.

Class meets TR 1:20 pm – 2:50 pm

Writing designation: WA

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PSYC 100-F1 + Lab: Introduction to Psychology  (R)
Cari Gillen O’Neel, Psychology Department

This course will introduce you to essential ideas, controversies, and research in the broad field of psychology. Through lectures, reading, writing, discussion, and activities, you will learn the biological, cognitive, social, and cultural factors that influence how and why humans think and behave in the ways that we do. Because this class is introductory, we will move quickly through many topics. For almost every area that we will cover, there are intermediate and advanced courses offered in the department. I encourage you to take more courses on any topic that particularly interests you! This course also has a lab component. You will meet in a separate lab section for an additional 1.5 hours per week. This is a wonderful opportunity to gain hands-on experience with psychological research. The lab section has its own syllabus and requirements. As an active participant in this course, you will:

  • Identify the major subfields of psychology and summarize the major research findings in each of these subfields
    • Learn how to think like a psychologist and use some of the methods that psychologists use to answer questions about human thought and behavior
    • Become an informed consumer of research claims
    • Achieve a greater understanding of yourself and others by applying psychological findings to everyday life

Class meets MWF 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm (you must register for the required lab when you complete the rest of your schedule-several different meeting times are available).

Writing designation: WA

Living arrangements: Single-gender rooms on co-ed floors.  Single-gender bathrooms are available on all floors and some floors also have all-gender bathrooms in addition to the single gender bathrooms.

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RELI 110-F1: Big Questions
Bill Hart, Religious Studies Department

What is religion? What causal powers does religion produce? How does religion work? Why are people religious? What is the future of religion? In the process of addressing these five questions, we will consider others such as: What are the broad similarities and differences among various religions across culture and time? Some people describe themselves as spiritual but not religious. What does that mean? We shall explore religion as a practice of constructing similarities and differences that recruits virtually every issue that humans find important. Birth, puberty, and death; sex, money, and power; ethics and politics; humanity, divinity, and animality, earth and sky are all part of the religious imagination.

This course carries the General Education markers “Writing Argumentative” and “Internationalism.”

Class meets MWF 8:30 am – 9:30 am

Writing designation: WA

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SOCI 258-F1/LATI 258-F1:  Immigrant Voices in Times of Fear
Erika Busse-Cardenas, Sociology Department

In 2019, according to the International Organization for Migration, the United States had the largest foreign-born population in the world. During this same year, immigrants represented 15% of the United States population; 53% of the foreign-born migrants came from Latin America. Immigrant Voices in Times of Fear will examine recent U.S. immigration from a sociological viewpoint. That means we will consider migration as part of a global phenomenon, as the outcome of historical processes, and as a part of lived experiences. The course will include consideration of how immigration relates to social institutions such as the family, the nation-state, and work. We will also learn about different immigration policies—including those before and after the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Services Act (commonly known as the Hart Celler Act), which eliminated the quota system to prioritize family reunification, employment, and refugee status. While we will become familiar with immigration policies, we will also pay attention to the experiences of immigrants, particularly those coming from Latin America. We will explore questions such as: What motivates people to migrate? How does migration reconfigure social relations, such as parental and community relations? How do immigrants adapt to the new country? How are immigrants received by the larger society? This is a discussion-based course and includes guest speakers and a community engagement project with a local organization

MWF 9:40 am – 10:40 am

Writing designation: WA

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SPAN 194-F1/LATI 194-F1: This Is Not Your Private Island: Caribbean Cultures of Decolonization
Molly Olsen, Spanish and Portuguese Department

The Caribbean islands are home to some of the most vibrant, multiethnic cultural landscapes in the world. In fact, the Caribbean was global centuries before the term globalization came into vogue. But the historical traumas of conquest, slavery and colonialism continue to fuel contemporary struggles against neocolonial structures that serve tourism, “free” trade, and a worldwide culture of consumption. In this course, our objective is to explore the ways in which Caribbean literature, art and performance offer powerful tools of decolonization in the struggle to protect cultural sovereignty as well as ecological diversity. To that end, we will learn how Caribbean writers, intellectuals, artists, and musicians confront the various challenges that islands of the region face, including political domination, racism, poverty, sexism, toxicity and transmigration. The course will challenge commonly-held notions of the Caribbean as merely a site for leisure and pleasure. This course is taught in English and seeks to build skills in critical thinking and argumentative writing. As such, it is discussion-based, prioritizes student-led learning, and is designed to satisfy a WA graduation requirement. Reading expectations are moderate (50-60 pages per week).

Class meets TR 9:40 am – 11:10 am

Writing designation: WA

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THDA 294-F1: Dance and Performance Design
Mina Kinukawa, Theater and Dance Department

The unique qualities of dance as an art, a form of expression, and a mode of communication present fascinating opportunities for designers. The bodies of dancers exist in a dynamic relationship with visual and sound environments, and in this way designers can play crucial roles in helping dancers communicate with their audiences and heightening the sensory impact of a performance. In this course, we will examine the design elements (scenery, costume, light, sound, and projection design) of a variety of dance performances with an emphasis on contemporary productions. We will attend dance performances at professional venues such as the Walker Arts Center, Northrop Auditorium, and Cowles Center.

Class meets TR 9:40 am – 11:10 am

Writing designation: None

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