Department and Program Recommendations for First-Year Students

The information contained in this section is written specifically to address common concerns and interests of first-year students and to give general information about academic departments.

We encourage you to call or email the faculty members designated by each department with your specific questions about their course offerings, recommended sequences, or requirements for majors, minors or concentrations.

Questions?

For general questions, contact the Academic Programs and Advising Office at 651-696-6036, or the Registrar’s Office at 651-696-6200 or visit the Registrar’s webpage.

Academic Departments/Programs A-H  Academic Departments/Programs I-W 
African Studies Interdepartmental Program
American Studies
Anthropology
Art and Art History
Asian Languages and Cultures
Biology
Chemistry
Classics
Community and Global Health
Critical Theory
Economics
Educational Studies
English
Environmental Studies
French and Francophone Studies
Geography
Geology
German Studies
Hispanic and Latin American Studies
History
Human Rights and Humanitarianism
International Development
International Studies
Latin American Studies Program
Legal Studies Program
Linguistics
Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science
Media and Cultural Studies
Middle Eastern Studies and Islamic Civilization
Music
Neuroscience Studies
Philosophy
Physical Education
Physics
Political Science
Premedical Program
Psychology
Religious Studies
Russian Studies
Sociology
Theatre and Dance
Urban Studies
Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

African Studies Interdepartmental Program

Macalester’s African Studies program gathers faculty from eight departments (Anthropology, French, Geography, Geology, International Studies, Music, Political Science, Sociology) to offer a range of courses and an interdisciplinary concentration focused on the diverse histories, cultures, and societies across the African continent.  Beyond this, the great majority of our concentrators study abroad in a program on the continent for a semester in their junior year.

Incoming first-year students are encouraged to enroll in the African Studies “Tier One” course offered this fall: History 114 History of Africa to 1800. More advanced students might consider Anthro 394: Children and Youth in Africa..

Our first-year-appropriate African Studies “Tier Two” courses (meaning partial but not total focus on African issues) this fall include Geog 232: People, Agriculture and Environment; Anth 246: Refugees and Humanitarian Response; and HIST 251:Pirates, Translators and Missionaries: Indian Ocean World Connections.  Additional courses are available at higher levels: for more information on them, or any other questions, please contact the 2017-2018 African Studies program director William Moseley at .

Our website is http://www.macalester.edu/academics/africanstudies/

Contact:
William Moseley
651-696-6126

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American Studies

As the field of American Studies has evolved in the last fifty years, it has shifted from an emphasis on American exceptionalism to consider broad questions of nation, national identity, and difference. At our founding in 2003, we described ourselves as “the academic site for the study of race and ethnicity” on Macalester’s campus. More than a decade later, we remain the key site where Macalester students gain exposure to and become versed in critical scholarship on and central debates regarding race and ethnicity. By providing up-to-date and critical scholarship focused primarily on the racialized dimensions of U.S. history and contemporary social life, we offer an indispensable set of research and analytical tools that we believe enhances the Macalester community and student experience as a whole. Macalester's  American Studies Department embraces a range of methodologies to consider such complex issues as how we define borders, who is a citizen, and how movements for social change have shaped society. At the start of the 21st century, the President of the American Studies Association, Michael Frisch, underscored the centrality of multiculturalism to the field. “The third axis [of American Studies] is the transformative exploration of multiculturalism, ethnicity, race, class, and gender that has been recasting for several decades now the most basic outlines of American history and culture as a contested, interactive field of forces. It almost goes without saying, but not quite, that this has not simply altered our understanding of things “within” American culture and society, but has been leveraging our capacity to re-imagine the connections of the U.S. and its peoples to everything and everyone else in the world. . .”

Department website: http://www.macalester.edu/academics/americanstudies/

Contact:
Duchess Harris

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Anthropology

The Anthropology Department emphasizes the holistic study of the human condition. Our interests range from world cultures and global challenges, to human rights and human origins.

Faculty are committed to a creative alliance between teaching and research, as well as constructive dialogues among different theoretical perspectives.  Our topical specialties include transnational migrations, violence and human rights, environmental and political movements, issues of development and sustainability, human variations, human health, and human evolution.  Our geographic specialties include Africa, Europe, Latin America, North America, and South Asia.

Our graduates are well-positioned for careers in business, medicine, public health, law, education, higher education, social work, and non-profit organizations - anywhere that requires a global perspective, a flexible mind, and a willingness to consider other people’s views. Our students learn methods for studying peoples and cultures in the field. We encourage students to plan summer work, internships, and coursework in light of their general career objectives. They also develop theoretical tools for the critical analysis of human issues.

Many of our students spend a semester off-campus, and most develop their experiences into senior capstone papers and honors theses. In addition, many of our majors pursue concentrations and minors in African Studies, Asian Studies, Community and Global Health, Critical Theory, Human Rights and Humanitarianism, International Development, Latin American Studies, and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

The Anthropology Department’s Ethnographic Laboratory, designed to help students with individual and class projects, includes state-of-the-art computers, printers, recorders, transcribing equipment, and digital cameras. Computers are equipped with ATLAS.ti, a qualitative data analysis software package. The Human Relations Area File is available online for students.

The Biological Anthropology Laboratory houses the department’s skull cast collection. The collection contains examples of some of the most important fossil finds in human evolution from the past seven million years as well as numerous casts of living primates from around the world.

A major in anthropology consists of five required courses and five elective courses:

For further information see the department website:  http://www.macalester.edu/academics/anthropology/

Contact:
Scott Legge

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Art and Art History

The Art and Art History Department provides students the opportunity to create and study works of art. Studio classes are offered in Painting, Drawing, Design, Printmaking, Sculpture, Photography and Ceramics, while Art History courses focus on the historical, social and cultural aspects of artistic production. The Art and Art History Department offers majors with emphases in art history and studio art.

A dual degree Architecture Program is also available. New students are welcome to take courses in any medium or area of art history at the entry level. First-year students and nonmajors are welcome.

Contact individual faculty to inquire about upper level courses with pre-requisites. Additional information can be found on the department website, http://www.macalester.edu/art/.

Contact:
Kristi Fackel
651-696-6279

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Asian Languages and Cultures

The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures serves as a home for the study of Asia, both for broad comparative and cultural studies of the history, geography, literature, film, art, music, and society in Asia, and for the more focused study of Japanese or Chinese language and culture. The department offers an Asian Studies Major and Minor, a Chinese Language and Culture Major and Minor, and a Japanese Language and Culture Major and Minor.  See the department website at http://www.macalester.edu/academics/asian/majorsminors/  for more information on the structure of each major and about the faculty and fields of study involved.  In Fall 2017, we offer a first year course "CHIN 194: Teachers and Students." This seminar will explore these questions in a range of contexts, Chinese and Western, historical and modern. Genres studied will include literature and film, as well as philosophical and religious texts.

Contact:
Xin Yang, Chinese

Satoko Suzuki, Japanese

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Biology

Biology will offer one first year course this year, BIOL 270: Biodiversity & Evolution, which is one of the four introductory core courses required for the Biology major.

Biodiversity and Evolution provides an introduction to the diversity and history of life. This course surveys the major groups of organisms (their morphology, physiology, reproductive cycles) and their evolutionary origins and relationships. Using recent findings from such diverse fields as molecular phylogenetics, developmental biology, and paleontology, this course introduces students to the major branches on the tree of life. All students in the course must also sign up for the accompanying lab section.

If you are considering majoring in Biology, the most important thing for you to do in the fall is to get started in the chemistry sequence.  Most students interested in majoring in Biology should register for General Chemistry I, CHEM 111.  If you have a good high school chemistry background, you could consider enrolling in CHEM 115, Accelerated General Chemistry, which compresses the two-semester introductory chemistry sequence into one semester.  An alternative option if you have a good chemistry background is to skip General Chemistry I and enroll in General Chemistry II in the spring.  If you are interested in either of these options, you should take the online chemistry placement exam.  Contact Professor Keith Kuwata () for instructions and the link to take this exam. You may take this exam over the summer or when you arrive on campus.  It is not necessary to register for one of the four core biology classes (Genetics, Cell Biology, Ecology, and Biodiversity and Evolution) during the first semester, although if you can get into one of the classes, that’s great.  Whether or not you register for one of the four biology core courses during your first semester, you should register for one during your second semester.

For further information, see the department website www.macalester.edu/academics/biology

Contact:
Mary Montgomery

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Chemistry

CHEM 111 (General Chemistry I) and CHEM 112 (General Chemistry II) together provide an in-depth introduction to modern chemical ideas.  CHEM 115 (Accelerated General Chemistry) is a more advanced introductory course which covers key topics from both 111 and 112 in a single semester. CHEM 111 and 115 are offered only in the fall, and CHEM 112 is offered only in the spring.  All entering students considering majors in chemistry or biology, and those seeking admission to medical school upon graduation, should take either 111 or 115 in their first semester.  One can place into 115 with a score of 4 or 5 on the Chemistry Advanced Placement test, a score of 5 or higher on either the higher or standard level Chemistry International Baccalaureate exam, or with a strong performance on the online chemistry placement test.  (Please contact Prof. Keith Kuwata () for access to the placement test.)  Please see the Chemistry Department web site (http://www.macalester.edu/academics/chemistry/) for more information.

Contact:
Keith Kuwata

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Classics

Classics is an area studies program with a focus on the ancient and medieval periods of the Mediterranean and Middle East. Here students may study the languages and literatures of Arabic, ancient Greek, Hebrew or Latin (all of which fulfill the Second Language Requirement), as well as explore art and archaeology, myth, history, and the religions, political structures and ideas that arise from this part of the ancient world. Classics is an international field and the Macalester Classics Department hosts an archaeological conservation summer field school in Israel as well as a January in Rome program.

This fall the Classics department will offer the First Year Course Trauma and Drama on the lasting psychological injuries depicted and explored in ancient Greek tragedy and epic poetry.  Students will investigate the growing body of scholarship around how authors such as Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes respond to the aftermath and consequences of war, as well as how modern understandings of combat trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) help us understand injuries endured by familiar figures in the Greek mythic tradition. Additionally, this course introduces first-year students to academic work and writing at the college level, and will seek to deepen students' familiarity with Macalester, its resources and its many opportunities.

Other good approaches for students interested in Classics would be to begin a classical language or enroll in an introductory context course, such as CLAS 122 Roman World or CLAS 194: Frenemies -- the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic Caliphate. For further information on majors and minors, study abroad programs, and what faculty and students are up to in Classics, please see our website: http://www.macalester.edu/academics/classics/. Specific questions can be addressed to department chair Beth Severy-Hoven at . We look forward to seeing you around the Classics Department!

If you have studied Latin previously, please consult the department website for how to place yourself into the right Latin course:   http://www.macalester.edu/academics/classics/majorsminors/wheretostart/.

Contact:
Beth Severy-Hoven

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Community and Global Health

The Community and Global Health concentration brings together a variety of disciplines and perspectives to important issues in population health and applies these approaches to civic engagement projects, independent research, as well as in classroom settings. The concentration builds on the strong ties between the liberal arts and the core concepts of public health—a diverse, multidisciplinary field unified around the examination of health, illness, and healing in local and international communities.

For additional information, please consult our website (www.macalester.edu/cgh) or the program's director, Eric Carter ().

Contact:
Eric Carter

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Critical Theory

This concentration provides students an opportunity to engage in the interdisciplinary study of Critical Theory, one of the most influential movements in inciting thought and society to critical self-reevaluations.

Critical Theory can be described as the application of philosophical thought to cultural and social phenomena with the aim of identifying formations of knowledge and the relations of power underlying them and making them possible. It is, therefore, defined not through the objects analyzed—which are found across the arts, humanities, social sciences, and even natural sciences—but through its distinctive methodology.

A concentration in Critical Theory consists of a total of 24 credits: five (5) courses—selected from two lists of courses: Core Courses and Elective Courses—and one (1) course or project that involves a major research paper.

For more information and specific courses offered, please see the Critical Theory website:  Critical Theory.

Most of the critical theory courses offered in the fall semester are appropriate for first-year students (regardless of course number), and students are encouraged to contact the instructor of the course they are interested in.

For questions regarding the CT Concentration, please contact the director of the Program.

Contact:
Kiarina Kordela

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Economics

Throughout human history, from early hunter-gatherers to modern industrial societies, people have engaged in the production, trade and consumption of goods and services to satisfy basic needs and improve well-being.  Principles of Economics, the gateway course for the major, which is being offered as our first year course this year, introduces students to basic economic concepts and theories so that they can begin to understand how market-based systems function to serve these goals.  

The course is split into three parts.  In the first, students are introduced to the methodology of economics -- i.e., how to “think like an economist" -- and begin to learn about markets.  We investigate cases where markets work well to allocate goods and services and cases where “market failures,” such as the presence of externalities or public goods, necessitate government intervention.       

The second part of the course investigates (1) the optimizing behavior of individual consumers and firms, (2) implications of different market structures (i.e., competitive markets versus monopoly), and (3) markets for factors of production (labor, natural resources, capital, etc.) which help us understand the causes of income and wealth inequality.    

The final part focuses on the financial system and macroeconomics—the study of economy-wide “aggregates” such as Gross Domestic Product, the Consumer Price Index and the unemployment rate.  One important goal here is to examine why there are disparities in material living standards across nations.  Another is to learn about the business cycle and the role that fiscal and monetary policy play to mitigate them.      

For more information about the Economics Department, please see the department website www.macalester.edu/academics/economics

Contact:
Pete Ferderer
651-696-6093

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Educational Studies

Educational Studies is an interdisciplinary field centered on social inquiry, imagination, and advocacy. The major includes participation in thematically related courses (32 credits), civic engagement experiences, and completion of an advanced integrative project. Students may select from one of two emphases – Teaching & Learning or Education & Society.

The Teaching & Learning emphasis is designed to support students interested in entering the teaching profession. Students may begin their teacher education at Macalester and then complete their preparation through a variety of different programs immediately after graduation. Areas of teaching supported include a broad spectrum of licenses serving public school students on elementary, secondary, and K-12 levels. The Teaching & Learning track also provides excellent preparation for students intending to enter teaching through programs that do not require state licensing such as Urban Teaching Fellows, World Teach, Peace Corp, JET, Montessori or Waldorf training, adult basic or ESL education, museum education, artists-in-residence, community education, etc.

The Education & Society emphasis provides opportunities for interdisciplinary exploration of pressing social and educational issues on local, national, and international levels. Students selecting this track begin by proposing an integrative theme. Suggested themes include: Education, Equity & Diversity, Education Policy, Environmental Education, Urban Education, Civic Education, Youth Development, Media Literacy, Aesthetic Education, Feminism & Education, International/Development Education, Education for Social Justice, and individually designed focal areas.

Students majoring in Educational Studies are also required to complete a supporting Major relevant to either their interests in teaching or their selected integrative theme. A 20-credit Minor provides opportunities for students to explore their interests in Educational Studies without committing to completion of a second major.

See the department website for more information www.macalester.edu/academics/education

Contact:
Ruthanne Kurth-Schai
651-696-6035

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English

The English department is offering two exciting first-year courses Fall 2017. One is ENGL 150-05, Introduction to Creative Writing: Poetics for Misfits, Free Thinkers and Paradigm Shifters, taught by Professor Wang Ping. This is an opportunity to learn the craft of writing creatively from a globally known poet and artist. In this writing workshop, you will study masterpieces by visionary international and American writers and examine the nature of poetry and storytelling and how they connect us with the world. You will study poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction writing and will learn how to use imagery, figurative language, sound, rhythmic structures, voice, plot, character, and point of view.

The other first-year course is ENGL 137, Novel. In this course, taught by the prominent scholar of American literature and human rights, Professor James Dawes, you will read some of the most popular novels ever written in the United States. They will be heart-wrenchingly beautiful, tear-jerkingly sad, gut-bustingly funny, and seriously weird. You will discuss love, death, the meaning of life, beauty, cruelty, freaks, war, and comedy.

Other English courses appropriate for first-year students include any numbered from 105-194; these courses have no prerequisite. 200-level English courses also have no prerequisite, though first-year students are advised to wait until the spring semester to register for them. All 100-level courses will provide an introduction to college-level study of literature or creative writing, with a heavy emphasis on the development of writing, critical thinking, and close reading skills. First-year students who have an interest in creative writing are encouraged to enroll in ENGL 150, Introduction to Creative Writing during their first year. It is the prerequisite for all other creative writing courses at Macalester.

For more information about the English Department, see the department website www.macalester.edu/academics/english

Contact:
Daylanne English

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Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies is an interdisciplinary department that offers students the opportunity to develop a holistic understanding of environmental issues. The program emphasizes multidisciplinary tools and perspectives from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. The program encourages depth of disciplinary knowledge, breadth of cross-disciplinary perspectives, and integration through core courses and a required off-campus internship. Students may major or minor in environmental studies.  For more information see the department website www.macalester.edu/academics/environmentalstudies.

The first year course offered by the ES department this year is U.S. Environmental History (ENVI 234 - and yes, it’s designed for first-year students even though it is a 200-level class). 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 environment 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.

Other appropriate introductory courses for those interested in environmental issues include The Earth’s Climate System (ENVI 140), Lakes, Streams and Rivers (ENVI 144), Climate and Society (ENVI 150), Dynamic Earth and Global Change (ENVI 160) among others.

Contact:
Dan Hornbach, Chair

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French and Francophone Studies

The Department of French and Francophone Studies welcomes all students of French and offers the possibility of studying French at all levels in Fall 2017 (French 101, 111, 203, 204, 305, or 306). Students may enter the sequence at the appropriate level by demonstrating their proficiency in the language. If you have taken French in high school or elsewhere, your proficiency level is verified by the score attained on the Macalester language placement test. For advanced students, your level is verified by the score obtained on the French AP exam or the SAT II exam for French. If you are in an IB program, please consult the department chair or one of the professors listed below in Summer Contacts. For more specific placement information, including test scores, please refer to the guidelines on our website: http://www.macalester.edu/academics/french/languageplacement/

In Fall 2017, Professor Andrew Billing will be offering a First-Year Course in English titled "Revolutionary Thought in France, 1789-2017." This course is open to all students, including those with no background in French. The course will begin with the French Revolution, often understood as the defining event in modern French history and the moment in which the French nation is born. Students will examine the intellectual forces that contributed to its outbreak at the end of the eighteenth century, and study the influence it exerted on writers, thinkers, and artists in France and in its colonies through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in particular during the Paris Commune, the anti-colonial movements of the 1950s, and May 1968. Students will also explore how the Revolution continues to shape political and intellectual life in France in 2017.

The FRENCH MAJOR is nine courses:

1) 306 and either 305 or an equivalent 300-level course (308, 309, or 310)

2) six advanced courses (300 and 400 level courses) beyond 306, including a) at least one course on a Francophone region, b) one course on a period preceding the 20th century, and c) one course on French or Francophone culture.

3) the Senior independent study (which includes a capstone project or an Honors Project)

4) a study abroad experience in a French-speaking country (two of the six advanced courses may be taken during the study abroad program)

The FRENCH MINOR is five courses:

Two courses at the 300 level (usually 305 and 306) and three additional French courses at the 300 or 400 levels. The department also strongly recommends that minors take 306, as it is required for all 400-level topics courses.

For more information on the French academic program, French House, study abroad, and other student opportunities, please visit our website: http://www.macalester.edu/academics/french/

Contact:
Andrew Billing, Chair (May 15 to May 31)
abilling@macalester.edu

Joëlle Vitiello (June 1 to June 30)

Juliette Rogers (July 1 to July 31)

Martine Sauret (August 1 to August 31)

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Geography

Macalester's nationally and internationally recognized Geography Department is unusually broad in scope for an undergraduate liberal arts college. The department leads students through an exploration of urban and regional planning, environmental geography, cartography, geographic information science and socio-economic development in various regions of the world. Students may major or minor in geography.

Human Geography of Global Issues (Geography 111) and World Regional Geography (Geography 113) are gateway courses, which each introduce students to issues of human settlements, land use and political order.  Regional Geography of Latin America (Geography 249), and Geography of World Urbanization (Geography 261), are also being offered as First Year Courses in the fall and would likewise be excellent introductions to the department.  Additionally, courses at the 200 level without prerequisites are open to incoming students, such as People, Agriculture and the Environment (Geography 232), Urban Geography (Geography 241), Regional Geography of U.S. and Canada (Geography 242), Medical Geography: The Geography of Health and Health Care (Geography 256), Geography of World Urbanization (Geography 261).  Other upper division courses may be appropriate for students with the necessary background (such as AP Human Geography).  Contact the department chair with specific questions or see the department website at www.macalester.edu/academics/geography.

Contact:
Holly Barcus
651-696-6139

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Geology

The introductory courses in geology are designed to serve students interested in learning more about the geosciences and environmental sciences.  They provide an appreciation of the scientific principles and techniques used to investigate the Earth, and serve to inform students about the composition, materials, major processes, and history of our planet.  These courses count toward the major and minor, and fulfill general education requirements in the Science/Math category.  Many of our courses satisfy part of the quantitative thinking requirement at Macalester.  All of our courses include at least one field trip during the semester. In Fall 2017, we have two First Year Courses being offered – Dynamic Earth and Global Change (GEOL160/ENVI160) and History and Evolution of Earth (GEOL 165). Any of our intro courses, including our First Year Courses, would be an excellent way of exploring the department and the field!

See the department website for more information  www.macalester.edu/academics/geology

Contact:
Ray Rogers
651-696-6434

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German Studies

The Department of German Studies covers all levels of German language; German literary, intellectual, and cultural history; and literary and critical theory in conjunction with the Critical Theory Program. Beyond the language program, we offer interdisciplinary courses in German or in English; critical theory, cinema, and first-year courses are routinely taught in English. Other highlights are residency in the Deutsches Haus and our half-year study abroad program in Berlin and Vienna (also open to qualified non-majors).

Our Fall 2017 first-year course is Vampires, from Monsters to Super Heroes; featured on the German Studies website. Also, for students interested in theory/philosophy, “Value: The Bad, the Ugly, and the Cheap” explores how aesthetics relate to ethical and economic values.

Language Placement: Students with no background in German should register for German Studies 101; students who have studied another foreign language may alternatively register for German Studies 110: Accelerated Elementary German. Students with any prior training in German or any extended exposure to the language must take the placement test. Advanced students (scoring above 550 on the placement test or above 620 on the SAT II) should consult with Prof. Rachael Huener about which course is best for them. Some possibilities are German Studies 305: German Through the Media; German Studies 308: German Cultural History I; and German Studies 309: German Cultural History II.

For more information, see the department website www.macalester.edu/academics/german

Contact:
Linda Schulte-Sasse

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Hispanic and Latin American Studies

The Department of Hispanic and Latin American Studies welcomes students into dynamic language courses in elementary and intermediate Spanish and Portuguese, as well as advanced courses in literature, culture and linguistics, all taught in Spanish. All of our courses emphasize active language acquisition and application within meaningful, contemporary contexts. We believe that language is the pathway to true understanding of culture.

Macalester students take language courses for many practical reasons: as requirements for their major or minor area of study, as linguistic preparation for study abroad, to achieve a deep knowledge of the cultural, intellectual and artistic traditions of the countries they study, and to enhance career opportunities.

If you have questions about satisfying the foreign language department through Spanish or Portuguese, or about majoring in Hispanic Studies, please contact Toni Dorca, chair (), or visit our website: www.macalester.edu/hispanicstudies

The department of Hispanic Studies offers a First Year Course every fall semester. In 2017, Prof. Galo González will teach “Susurros del pasado: Whispers towards the 21st century.” The course will explore the definition of “Indigenous peoples” and its implication within the context of the Americas, and provide a forum for discussion of the suffering, oppression and discrimination experienced by this particular population. The course will also outline the continuing struggle for freedom, for cultural and even their physical survival, by examining specific literature and cultural production authored by 20th- and 21st-century indigenous and non-indigenous authors from North, Central and South America.  The course will be conducted in English.

If you have questions about the department or about majoring in Hispanic Studies, please contact Antonio Dorca, chair (), or visit our website: www.macalester.edu/hispanicstudies

Contact:
Toni Dorca

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History

The discipline of history seeks to investigate events and cultures of the past by focusing on specific historical eras, particular geographic areas, and compelling thematic issues. It uses a wide range of written visual, oral, and material evidence as the basis for constructing contemporary accounts about the past. Historical accounts suggest not only how the past has shaped the present but how any contemporary arrangement represents only one possible result of previous struggles and contingencies. In this sense, history highlights discontinuity as well as pattern, difference as well as similarity, conflict as well as consensus, trauma as well as triumph.  For further information on the department and course offerings, please consult the department website at http://www.macalester.edu/academics/history/about/

Incoming students are welcome to enroll in 100- and 200-level classes.  Examples of Fall 2017 courses that First-Year Students might find interesting include:

HIST 114-01   History of Africa to 1800
HIST 140-01   Introduction to East Asian Civilization
HIST 181-01   Introduction to Latin America and the Caribbean
HIST 219-01   In Motion: African Americans in the United States
HIST 250-01   Science, Magic and Belief
HIST 251-01   Pirates, Translators, and Missionaries: Indian Ocean World Connections
HIST 294-01   Vodou and Santeria: African Diasporic Religious History
HIST 294-02   Cold War Latin America
HIST 294-03   Iberian Frontiers: Convivencia and Conflict, 711-1492
HIST 294-06   Race and Immigration in Europe
HIST 294-08   Technology and the Environment in the Pre-Modern World
HIST 294-10   The Once and Future King: Arthur in History, Literature and Art

The History Department has two classes for Fall 2017 that are designed specifically as First Year Courses.  These are Hist 194-01: Influential Indians: A Biographical Approach to American Indian History and Hist 194-02: Sex, Love, and Gender in History.

Contact:
Linda Sturtz

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Human Rights and Humanitarianism Interdepartmental Program

This concentration provides students an opportunity to engage in the interdisciplinary study of human rights and humanitarianism. The objectives of the concentration are to cultivate in students:

  • a familiarity with major developments in the history of human rights and humanitarianism;

  • an understanding of the institutional frameworks governing human rights and humanitarianism, including international law, international organizations, and civil society movements;

  • an understanding of the theoretical and philosophical debates about the meanings of human rights and humanitarianism;

  • a capacity to understand and evaluate practical debates over the methods, motivations, and consequences of human rights and humanitarian action, including but not limited to questions of policy-making, fieldwork, and media and artistic representation;

  • a familiarity with a range of current and past global (including local, national, and international) human rights problems.

Given that students and faculty approach the study of human rights and humanitarianism from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, the program permits students to complete this concentration in conjunction with a wide array of majors.

A concentration in Human Rights and Humanitarianism consists of five courses selected from two lists: Framework Courses and Specialized Courses. Of these five courses, at least two courses must come from the list of Framework Courses and one from the list of Specialized Courses. The HRH concentration also includes an optional 2-credit Senior Colloquium.

Students in the HRH program are encouraged to pursue internships and take study away courses in the areas of human rights and humanitarianism. These may be counted toward the completion of the concentration with the approval of the program coordinator.

Contact:
Wendy Weber

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International Development

The International Development concentration examines long-run transitions in social, economic, political, and cultural institutions that have accompanied industrialization in modern states, particularly focusing on states in the Global South. The field seeks to understand how these historical and contemporary shifts affect people’s welfare and opportunities and how change has affected patterns of wealth and resource distribution within and between countries.

A concentration in International Development requires six courses. These six courses must come from at least three different departments and no more than three courses may come from any single department with no more than two courses coming from a department in which a student is majoring. In addition, a student completing a concentration, minor, or major in an area studies department or program may include no more than two courses from that area studies plan on an International Development concentration plan.

For more information see www.macalester.edu/academics/internationaldevelopment

Contact:
Amy Damon

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International Studies

International Studies is one of Macalester’s flagship majors, and is configurable – often in conjunction with other majors, minors, and concentrations – for a vast range of purposes and interests. It focuses on the interdisciplinary confrontation with globalization, across all regions and in many domains. We offer introductory courses (any of INTL 110-114) that explore key questions in today’s international life and introduce students to our department. Each version has its own focus, and students may choose any of them. There are no prerequisites: thus anyone interested in internationalism at Macalester is warmly welcomed to enroll. Our 200-level courses (especially those on human rights and public health) are suitable for first-years with some prior familiarity with, and/or very keen interest in, their specific subject matters.

For more information about the International Studies Department see www.macalester.edu/academics/internationstudies

Contact:
Nadya Nedelsky

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Latin American Studies Program

Students with an interest in Latin American Studies (LAS) should follow these steps:

  1. Send a brief email to LAS Director Olga Gonzalez () communicating your interest in Latin American Studies. This will allow you to be informed about opportunities to meet Latin American Studies students and attend LAS events.

  2. Register for a 100- or 200-level Latin American Studies course.  

  3. Register for an appropriate Spanish or Portuguese course.

   4.  Visit Latin American Studies Program to learn more.

Contact:
Olga Gonzalez

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Legal Studies Program

The Legal Studies Program offers students a variety of curricular and co-curricular opportunities for students who have interests in law—whether as a career or an intellectual pursuit. In the curriculum, the Legal Studies concentration provides students a course of study that places law within the tradition of the liberal arts, encouraging students to develop a deeper, lasting engagement with Macalester’s mission and their future work. As an interdisciplinary concentration, students find sustained engagement of law-related issues from a variety of perspectives intellectually stimulating and rewarding. As a six-course concentration, it is not essential for students to begin a legal studies concentration during the first year; however, we often find that first year students really enjoy our courses and that they build on these course experiences throughout their time at Macalester.

See www.macalester.edu/academics/legalstudies for more information.

Contact:
Patrick Schmidt
651-696-6147

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Linguistics

Linguistics is the scientific study of language, the medium in which we do almost everything that makes us human.

Here are a few introductory courses suitable for first year students.  These courses have no prerequisites.

Linguistics 100 - Introduction to Linguistics.  In the film Arrival, a linguist is asked to decode an alien language.  In real life, what do linguists study? The aim of this course is to introduce you to linguistics - the science of language. We will explore topics such as the sounds of the English language,  endangered languages, dialects of English, child language acquisition, and slang and cursing.

Linguistics 194 – Time and Space in Linguistics.  Human languages exhibit incredible diversity when it comes to talking about time and space. In English, we can't mention an event without situating it in the past, present or future, while most Southeast Asian languages get along just fine without marking time at all. Some languages talk about direction with cardinal terms like 'north' and 'south', while others make distinctions like 'toward the river' versus 'away from the river'. This course is an introduction to linguistic diversity through the lens of time and space.

For more information, check out our webpage: http://www.macalester.edu/academics/linguistics/

Contact:
Christina Esposito

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Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science

Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science (MSCS) is a large department with faculty expertise and course offerings in theoretical math, applied math, statistics, and computer science. We offer many great options for first year students. Our first-year course next year is an interdisciplinary course, “Introduction to Data Science.” It has no prerequisites and it will emphasize visualizing and computing with data. Other regularly offered courses that are popular with first year students are the calculus courses Applied Multivariable Calculus I, II, and III (MATH 135, 137, and 237), Discrete Mathematics (MATH 279), Introduction to Statistical Modeling (MATH 155), and Core Concepts in Computer Science (COMP 123). The department offers three different majors, and four minors, including a new Data Science Minor. Course descriptions, information about our majors and minors, advice on which course to take first and other placement information can all be found on our department website, www.macalester.edu/academics/mscs.  Outside of the classroom, there are many activities for you that take place throughout the year. These range from seminars on interesting topics and aimed at a student audience, to popular problem-solving competitions (from low-key and open to all who wish to participate, to more competitive events requiring deeper background), to informal meetings about various topics like “What’s there to know about study abroad and MSCS?” We begin each year with our annual MSCS Scavenger Hunt and picnic; come meet us and take part! And, be sure to check out the Math & Society Lecture in October.

Contact:
Tom Halverson

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Media and Cultural Studies

The Media and Cultural Studies major analyzes the poetics, politics, and production of media texts, in alignment with the College’s commitment to internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement, using theories and methods drawn from the humanities.  The department's FYC in Fall 2017, Mass Incarceration and the Media, is an excellent example of this interdisciplinary approach.

The department offers an innovative ten-course major that includes opportunities for students to combine analysis, history, criticism, and production.  The major provides students with a working knowledge of historians and critics of new media, film, newspapers, radio, and television; helps students develop an ability to explicate a specific body of culture or type of media in depth; and provides students with opportunities to appreciate different kinds of media and to produce original work.

Students take at least ten courses toward the major. Four courses are required:

  • The introductory course, Texts and Power: Foundations of Media and Cultural Studies (MCST 110), which covers the history of cultural analysis, broadly defined, from traditional to contemporary approaches, providing students with a foundation in major writings and acquainting students with issues of continuing debate in media studies. Completion of or enrollment in 110 is required for admission into the major program.

  • MCST 128, Film Analysis and Visual Culture.

  • MCST 126, Local News Media Institutions, or INTL/MCST 202, Global Media Industries.

  • MCST 488, capstone Advanced Topic Seminar, in which students work on an independent project in line with the theme of the seminar and share their scholarship with a scholarly community, integrating what they have learned in the major. The capstone experience involves close analysis of cultural artifacts that examine at a higher level issues first raised in the introductory course. In exceptional cases, students with sufficient preparation may take the seminar prior to their senior year. Students may complete their honors projects in the capstone seminar.

The major also requires one advanced course in media/cultural theory, two courses on race or gender/sexuality and the media, one course in analyzing or making media, and two approved electives in media studies. Additional professional courses are available at the University of St. Thomas and other ACTC schools.

The media studies minor is for students interested in journalism or media studies or a combination. It requires five courses, including MCST 126, Media Institutions, or INTL/MCST 202, Global Media Industries. The minor concentrates on media studies and offers opportunities for critical research as well as for pre-professional experience in media production.

Students in the department have found opportunities for internships with arts and other nonprofit organizations and with media companies. Graduates have found employment in the media, in government, and in social and cultural institutions as well as opportunities for further study in doctoral programs and professional schools.

Students who enroll as majors or minors are invited to department events and notified of internships, conferences, and other off-campus opportunities. While enrolling as a major or minor requires a tentative course selection, students may change their selections before their last semester, provided they remain within major or minor requirements. More information is available  at: Media and Cultural Studies.

Contact:
John Kim

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Middle Eastern Studies and Islamic Civilization Interdepartmental Program

The broad goal of this concentration is to provide students with an opportunity to engage in the interdisciplinary study of the Middle East and the broader Islamic world. Somewhat more specifically, the objectives of the concentration are to cultivate in students (a) a basic familiarity with culture, politics, religion, philosophy, literature, economy, and geography of both the Middle East and the wider Islamic world; (b) an understanding of some of the major theoretical and/or methodological approaches to the study of both the Middle East and the Islamic world; (c) an appreciation of the social, political, and cultural diversity/complexity of the Middle East and Islamic World; (d) a sympathetic understanding of a relevant worldwide or cultural perspective different from his/her own; (e) a capacity to engage thoughtfully and constructively in potentially difficult dialogues regarding some of the more contentious issues affecting the region/civilization (e.g. US intervention in Iraq, the Arab-Israeli conflict); and (f) if possible, facilitate knowledge of a language that is spoken natively by people of the Middle East or Islamic world.

Given that students and faculty approach the study of Middle East and Islamic civilization from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, the program permits students to complete this concentration in conjunction with a wide array of majors. The program promotes breadth by requiring that students complete courses (in several departments) dealing with both the Middle East and the wider Islamic world; it promotes depth by requiring a capstone project focused on a relevant topic.

For more information, go to www.macalester.edu/academics/mesic

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Music

All students may participate in the Music Department, which offers courses, ensembles, and lessons in a variety of musical traditions. Our first-year course, “Music, Empathy, Alienation,” will be appropriate for any student interested in studying music at Macalester. Students considering the major or minor in music should register for Theory I (offered in fall semesters only). Courses appropriate for general students include Music Appreciation, Chinese Music, and Get in Formation: Black Protest Music. Students are encouraged to audition for any of our ensembles—African Music Ensemble, Asian Music Ensemble, Macalester Concert Choir, Macalester Chorale, Macalester Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Mac Jazz Band, Jazz and Popular Music Combos, Pipe Band, Early Music Ensemble, Chamber Music Ensembles—at the beginning of each semester. Private lessons are available for an extra fee to all Macalester students. Registration for lessons and ensembles takes place during the first week of classes.

See the department website for more information www.macalester.edu/academics/music

Contact:
Rachel Hest

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Neuroscience

Students interested in majoring in Neuroscience should complete a number of introductory level courses in biology, chemistry and psychology before taking courses specifically related to neuroscience beyond the introductory course, Neuroscience 180: Brain, Mind and Behavior. If you are interested in this major, in addition to the Brain, Mind and Behavior course, you should consider taking several of the following courses during your first year: Biology 260 (Cell Biology) and Biology 265 (Genetics), Chemistry 111 (General Chemistry I), Chemistry 112 (General Chemistry II) and Math 155 (Introduction to Statistical Modeling)

See www.macalester.edu/academics/neuroscience for more information.

Contact:
Darcy Burgund

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Philosophy

This fall the Philosophy Department is pleased to offer two First Year Courses:
Introduction to Philosophy--Prof. Sam Asarnow
Introduction to Symbolic Logic--Professor Janet Folina

The Department is also offering a number of regular courses suitable for first-year students:
non-FYC versions of Introduction to Philosophy and Introduction to Symbolic Logic
Ethics--Prof. William Wilcox
Philosophy of Technology--Prof. Diane Michelfelder

More information about these and other philosophy courses can be found at the Registrar's website or the department website or by contacting the department chair, Prof. Geoffrey Gorham.  http://www.macalester.edu/academics/philosophy/

Introduction to Philosophy (Phil 100) and Ethics (PHIL 121) provide excellent introductions to the field of philosophy. Introduction to Philosophy addresses a wide range of philosophical topics and enables students to gain an understanding of philosophy in general. Ethics provides a more focused introduction to the field of moral philosophy and is required for a major in philosophy. Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics sometimes have a special focus even though they cover a range of topics.

Introduction to Symbolic Logic (PHIL 111) and Critical Thinking (PHIL 110) are also introductory level courses that are suitable for first-year students. They focus on formal and informal reasoning (respectively), rather than traditional philosophical issues such as right and wrong, truth, or reality. They provide students with important tools of criticism and analysis that are useful in all coursework and beyond college.

At the 200-level there are several more courses that are somewhat more specialized, but that do not have pre-requisites. New students are welcome to take, for example, Philosophy of Technology, Modern Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Human Rights, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Yoga and Animal Ethics.

Contact:
Geoffrey Gorham

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Physical Education

The department of physical education provides students the opportunity to develop or improve skills in activity classes and/or compete in a wide range of recreational, intramural, club and intercollegiate sports.  Visit our website  to learn more.

ACTIVITY COURSES

A variety of activity classes are offered through the department of physical education. Students may earn a maximum of four credits toward graduation for participating in four different physical education activity classes. Each class is one credit and all activity classes are graded S/NC.  Consult the Fall Schedule  for current options and availability,

Contact:
Kim Chandler

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Physics

In the fall of 2017, the Department of Physics & Astronomy will offer a first year course (FYC) on Nanoscience  (PHYS194) taught by 2017 Excellence in Teaching Award winner Prof. James Heyman (). Nanoscience is the emerging field of science concerned with the control of matter on the atomic and molecular scale. This interdisciplinary field sits at the convergence of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Materials Science and Electrical Engineering. The course will introduce science at the nanometer length scale, the fabrication of nano-scale systems and some of their technological applications. This quantitative course will use mathematics at the introductory calculus level, and high-school physics and calculus are recommended.

For first-year students interested in physics and not enrolled in the physics FYC on Nanoscience, the recommended starting point is to enroll in PHYS226 ("Principles of Physics I") and MATH135 ("Applied Multivariable Calculus I") during the fall semester of the first year.  Previous experience and testing may warrant placement in more advanced courses; please contact Prof. Heyman or Professor Tonnis ter Veldhuis (), Chair, Physics & Astronomy, with any questions.

 Details about the physics major and required courses can be found at http://www.macalester.edu/academics/physics/majorsminors/.

Contact:
James Heyman
651-696-6369

Tonnis ter Veldhuis
651-696-6838

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Political Science

Political Science is offering two First Year Courses. Professor Wendy Weber’s POLI 120: Foundations of International Politics introduces students to the classic problems and cutting-edge topics in international affairs, from the relations of countries to governance at a global level. Professor David Blaney's POLI 160: Foundations of Political Theory engages the enduring questions of political life and reads classic texts from the classical Greeks, to Hobbes and Marx, to contemporary voices.

In addition to the sections of these courses being taught as First Year Courses, the department also reserves places for entering students in all of our Foundations courses, including Foundations of U.S. Politics, Foundations of Comparative Politics, and an additional section of Foundations of International Politics. Also, students may consider any of the more focused courses that we offer at the 200-level, and you should feel free to contact individual faculty members if you would like to talk over whether those courses would be a good fit for you. For more information, also visit: http://www.macalester.edu/academics/politicalscience/ or contact the department chair, Patrick Schmidt, at .

Contact:
Patrick Schmidt

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Premedical Program

For those of you interested in medical school or veterinary school or dentistry, you should seriously consider enrolling in General Chemistry 111 or 115 during your first semester (see the Chemistry section for details). All medical schools require the equivalent of one year (2 semesters) of general chemistry and an additional two to three semesters of advanced chemistry.

In addition, all medical schools require two – five semesters of biology with lab and two semesters of physics with lab. For biology courses, we recommend taking at least Genetics (BIOL 260) and Cell Biology (BIOL 265). If you are considering taking a biology course your first semester, you should take Genetics (BIOL 260) or Biodiversity & Evolution (BIOL 270). Cell Biology is generally taken in the sophomore year due to the prerequisite of Chemistry 112 or 115. In addition to these courses, medical schools are also increasingly requiring a course in the behavioral sciences, which can be satisfied by taking either PSYC 100 or SOCI 110. Statistics and courses that demonstrate writing proficiency are also common requirements for medical school.

If you are interested in any premedical area (medicine, nursing, dentistry, public health, etc.) you should consult one of the health professions advisors [Professor Devavani Chatterjea/Biology, Professor Mary Montgomery/Biology, or Professor Lin Aanonsen, Director of the Health Professions Advising Committee/Biology] very early in your first year for academic advice. You should also contact Patty Byrne Pfalz (HPAC Administrative Assistant) in the biology department to be included on the Health Professions mailing list (pfalz@macalester.edu). For information on health professions advising at Macalester go to: www.macalester.edu/hpa/.

Contact:
Mary Montgomery (Biology)

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Psychology

​The Psychology Department will offer a First Year Course called "The Psychology of Right and Wrong​."

One of the most consequential ways that we interact with our social world is by morally evaluating people’s behavior. In this course, we’ll explore how this process works, gaining insight into understanding and improving our own moral behavior. What sort of acts do we see as immoral, and how do we hold people accountable for them? How do we atone for past moral failings? What role does empathy play in producing more fair and equitable behavior? We will take an interdisciplinary approach to examining these questions, considering research from various subfields in psychology, as well as perspectives from philosophy, sociology, and artificial intelligence.

​If you scored a 4 or a 5 on the AP exam in Psychology, received a 5, 6, or 7 on the IB higher level Psychology exam, or submitted qualifying GCE A-level grades, you may get credit for PSYC 100 and are welcome to take any intermediate-level class in the psychology department. If you ultimately decide to major in psychology, you will get placement credit for intro psych but you will still take 11 courses for the major.

For more information, go to www.macalester.edu/academics/psychology

Contact:

Joan Ostrove
651-696-6775

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Religious Studies

Religious Studies is a broadly interdisciplinary investigation that takes its place among the humanities and social sciences. The department works with students who wish to focus on the academic study of religion, as well as those who seek courses in religion to help them frame and interrogate issues provoked in other academic areas. As a key part of human culture and history, Religious Studies encourages critical thinking about cultural, moral, and ethical processes unfolding in the world; majors bring this perspective with them when they enter fields as diverse as journalism, law, medicine, education, professional life in the parish ministry/rabbinate, and community activism.

First year course for fall: Catholics: Culture, Identity, Politics, with Jim Laine.  This course offers a study of the religious tradition of Roman Catholicism. Some attention will be given to the theology and historical development of the Roman Catholic Church, but major emphasis will fall on the relationship of the Catholic religion to various Catholic cultures, including Ireland, Mexico, Poland and the United States.

These classes may also be of interest:
RELI 111 Introduction to Buddhism (Erik Davis)
RELI 120 Who Wrote the Bible? (Ryan Dulkin)

Introductory courses are broad in scope, even as they seek to be selective enough to allow an in-depth encounter with source documents situated within their historical, literary, and social contexts. Methods of instruction include not only lectures and small group discussion, but also opportunities for independent study and research, one-on-one engagement with faculty, and site-specific projects in the Twin Cities and beyond.

For more information, go to www.macalester.edu/academics/religiousstudies

Contact:
Susanna Drake
651-696-6544

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Russian Studies

Russia and the former republics of the Soviet Union comprise the vast geographic space called Eurasia, stretching from Petersburg to Beijing. The former Soviet Union is composed of Russia, the Central Asian republics, the Caucasus nations and Siberia, where Russian is widely spoken, and the Baltic states. If a student of international affairs were to journey into that space to explore its unknown cultures and geographies, and could do so knowing only one language, that language would be Russian. Current events tell us that becoming familiar with that world is imperative; but in the longer term, its cultural and historical riches alert us to the benefits of entering the post-Soviet world. Macalester students and faculty have keen interest in regions like East Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe – and countries such as China, North Korea, Iran, and Afghanistan. Only the former Soviet Union borders all of those regions and countries, and Russian language is understood throughout that space. Russia itself is both European and Asian, and has more Muslim citizens than Jordan, Lebanon, and the Palestinian Territories combined. The speaker of Russian can travel from Petersburg to Beijing, confident that they will be understood.

Russian scholars in literature, history, anthropology, politics, cultural studies and more are now fully engaged from the get-go in globally important comparative studies of race, ethnicity, world literature, world culture, and much else. Studying Russian is an integral part of Macalester's internationalism.

Our courses explore Russia’s language, literature, visual arts, theater, music, and cinema. Many of our courses are taught in English and students at various levels of preparation are welcome.

For detailed information about the Russian Studies faculty, course offerings, the structure of the major and minor, study abroad, and opportunities to get involved with the Russian-speaking community in the Twin Cities, see the department website at http://www.macalester.edu/russian

Contact:
Jim von Geldern


Julia Chadaga

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Sociology

We invite you to visit our webpage: http://www.macalester.edu/academics/sociology/index.html

A piece of advice to first year students: Discover sociology at Macalester early. Many students who take their first course in the department during their junior or senior year regret not having the earlier exposure. Why? Because studying sociology:

  • Provides new insights about your life and the world around you;

  • Builds a range of tangible skills, related to the variety of evidence we use (from richly detailed accounts based on observing people as they go about their daily lives to analysis that reveals broad patterns that might otherwise remain invisible);

  • Fosters creativity by providing a variety of perspectives on the topics that we study; and

  • Involves learning about interesting and relevant topics, including how inequalities emerge and affect people’s lives; how practices of social life affect interaction and ideas; how distinct ways of arranging activities matter; and how organizations operate.

The department has reserved seats for incoming students in the following courses, none of which require prior experience, for Fall 2017:

Public Schooling in America (First Year Course): Universal public education started in the United States. How did public schools come to be and what has influenced the subsequent directions that they have developed? What do these patterns tell us about contemporary debates about education and the future of public schools?

Introduction to Sociology: How can we understand the influences on the wide range of inequalities that characterize the contemporary United States?

Immigrant Voices: How do the process of immigration and the experience of being an immigrant vary for different people and in different times and places?

Class Cultures and Class Identities: How does social class affect how people understand themselves and interact with other people?

The Rise of Right Wing Populism: How do we understand Donald Trump’s election as part of a larger pattern of backlash against the existing political, economic, and social order? Why does this backlash also target people (immigrants and racial/ethnic minorities) who are not powerful?

Work, Identity, and Inequality: Work forms such a deep part of our identity that when strangers meet, a first question often is “What do you do?” But the type of work available to people has changed over the past decades. How can we understand the changing nature of work and its effects on families and individuals? 

Contact:
Erik Larson

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Theatre and Dance

Welcome to Theatre & Dance (THDA) – the place to study, research, design and embody the histories and ambitions of live performance! Taking a THDA class counts for your Fine Arts requirement, and any course in the Department is guaranteed to be a discussion-based small class, where theory and praxis meet and enliven each other! Through most courses in THDA, you will see on- and off-campus theatre and dance productions. As part of our department desires, you will meet a range of local and national artists, learn vocabularies for talking about what you see, and deepen your commitments as aspiring performers, directors/choreographers, designers, researchers, technicians and playwrights. New to Theatre & Dance? You are most welcome here, in courses, onstage and backstage.

The following Fall 2017 courses are open to first-year students and excellent for exploring Theatre and Dance department offerings.

THDA 105 - Theatre and Performance in the Twin Cities (FYC in Fall 2017). The goal of this course is to introduce first-year students to live performance in the exciting arts scene of the Twin Cities. Students in this class learn approaches to studying theatre and performance events and texts, and begin to practice the vocabularies of scholarship in the field of theatre and performance studies. We attend performances at professional theatres, and at Macalester College. In this process of studied spectatorship, students learn how to critically attend, discuss, and write about theatre and performance events, learning the vocabularies of the field.

THDA 110 - Introduction to Theatre Studies This course is an initiation for the drama student to learn about the worlds of theatre and performance: an initiation that focuses on the critical tools necessary to begin exploring and identifying practices of thinking, reading, and researching the theater, performance, and the worlds that the critical arts address.

THDA 194-01 Crafting the Tangible  As our society shifts away from a human connection to the tangible, this course seeks to reconnect the student to the tangible object. Our focus will be on the process of “thinking through making.” Through a series of project based learning opportunities, students will develop an understanding of themselves, the process of “critical making,” and current performance production technologies. This course will meet in a seminar format 2-3 times a week and a studio format 1 time a week. This topics course fulfills the Technical Theater requirement of the Theater and Dance major.

THDA 220 - Voice And Speech is an introduction to the fundamentals of correct and successful playing of the vocal instrument of the individual human body.  Essential for all theatre and performing arts majors, including singers, and extremely useful for anyone choosing a career such as law, teaching, politics, leadership, etc., which demands speaking to groups and public presentations. 

THDA 255 –Lighting Design  This course is an introduction to basic lighting design and the history of lighting. While emphasis is on theater, it also teaches the lighting design of film, television, dance, opera, and environmental settings. This course is primarily an approach to lighting design, but the student will be expected to have a basic grasp of lighting hardware as well. The first aim of the course is to make the student more aware of color and light around him/her every day. Demonstrations are an integral part of the lectures.

If you are interested in any of the 200-level courses please email the THDA Chair, Claudia Nascimento at  with a brief statement of your interest in the courses.

THE 2016-17 THDA PRODUCTION SEASON

The Theme for this season is "Site/Insight: Performing in Provisional Spaces" – this is in response to the college decision to build a new theatre and dance building which will be under construction for a portion of Fall 2017 through Fall of 2018.

As Theatre and Dance at Macalester takes leave of the Janet Wallace Theatre building, our home since 1964, laden with memories and meanings infused in our relationships and identities, our productions over the course of three semesters will be spread throughout the campus and community.  These provisional sites provide new compositions of meaning and invite all to “re-perceive” performance and our ways of knowing and belonging within familiar places.  To re-perceive the presence of performance in a lecture hall, a gym, a field; to re-perceive the power of performance in a library, a lobby, a garden.  As we await the performance spaces that will emerge in 2019, we invite you to witness our shared sense of place—reconnecting  to who and what has come before while generating new relationships, new encounters, and new stories animated in live theatre and dance.

PERFORMANCES:

Student Staged Reading :   VENUS IN FUR by David Ives

September 8, 9    7:30 PM  Limited Seating   Black Box Studio Theatre

Fall Family Fest Weekend:  No Child Left Behind by Nilaja Sun directed by Faye Price, Sr. Acting Project of Niara Williams ‘18

Performances: October 13, 14  7:30  PM  

THE CHERRY ORCHARD by Anton Chekov directed by Beth Cleary
Campus auditions open to all: Sept 10
Performances: November 2, 3, 4, 5

FALL DANCE CONCERT:  Faculty and Student works
Performances: November 17, 18  

SLUT The Play  by Katie Cappiello  directed by Signe Harriday

Performances:  February  21, 22, 23, 24  Site TBD

POP UP THEATRE – TBD – directed by Harry Waters Jr.

Performances:  April 12 – 14    Sites TBD

SPRING DANCE CONCERT: Student Produced and Choreographed
Performance:  April 27, 28 

RECENT THDA GRADUATES

These are difficult times, and artists’ contributions are needed more than ever! Macalester and THDA prepare our students to get jobs in their chosen field, and to enter excellent graduate programs. Please go to the “After Macalester” tab on THDA’s website for more information on the range of work and research our grads are engaged in.

THEATRE AND DANCE OPEN HOUSE FOR NEW STUDENTS

INTEREST SESSION: September this annual event will be held in the Theatre & Dance Department on the mainstage at 4:30 pm on the first Friday afternoon of the first week of school. If the Student Org Fair is at the same time, you can swing by both! Meet faculty, returning students and guest artists, and get information on auditions, backstage work opportunities, the curriculum and courses, and special events.  For more information check out THDA's Website.

THEATRE AND DANCE AUDITION INFORMATION

Auditions for theatre productions and dance concerts are open to all students. First-year students regularly are cast in shows and in dance concert pieces! Exact dates/times for Fall Auditions will be available in the Fall. Stay tuned!

Contact: Claudia Tatinge Nascimento - Chair
651-696-6000
cnascime@macalester.edu

For more information visit our website: http://www.macalester.edu/theateranddance/

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Urban Studies Interdepartmental Program

The Urban Studies concentration is designed for students who major in a variety of disciplines and are interested in urbanization and wish to gain an interdisciplinary perspective on city life.  Geography 241 or any of the 100- or 200-level electives from contributing departments (e.g. American Studies, Educational Studies, History, Political Science, Theatre and Dance) provide an appropriate introduction to the urban studies program for first-year students.  Please see the website for further information: http://www.macalester.edu/academics/urbanstudies/

Contact:
Laura Smith

Dan Trudeau

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Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) as an academic program grows out of a history of struggles by women and other minorities for social and political justice.  The classes are based in that historical understanding of ourselves as people who enjoy the privileges and bear the responsibilities of those efforts.  Students in WGSS develop practical and theoretical skills for understanding and engaging the social, cultural, economic, and political contexts shaping our world.  If you are interested in taking a WGSS course in your first semester, we recommend either “Introduction to WGSS—Gender & Sport” (WGSS 100-01) which is being taught as a first year seminar or “Introduction to WGSS—Transnational Perspectives” (WGSS 100-02). WGSS 100 will provide a strong foundation on feminisms and gender in the matrix of race, class, and sexuality and will prepare you for the core course, “Feminist & Queer Theories and Methodologies (WGSS 200) in the spring semester.  Please see the WGSS website for course descriptions and more information about our major and minor (www.macalester.edu/WGSS).

Contact:
Lin Aanonsen

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