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First Year Seminar Course Listings for Fall 2016


Beauty, Body Image, and Feminism

TR      10:50-12:05PM 
TR      2:05-3:20PM
A 318
A 318
M. Matacin
In this course, we will study a variety of topics as they relate to uses of beauty and body image, keeping in mind the historical and social context in which women have been viewed.  A feminist framework will provide the lens with which we will examine a variety of topics including beauty, eating/eating disorders, sexuality, weight, media portrayals of females, patriarchy, and how women are taught to view their own bodies.
CRN: 43724
CRN: 50055
Credits: 3.00

Born this Way?

MWF 12:30-1:20PM
A 318
T. Tucker
“Nasty, brutish, and short”: It was with these words that Thomas Hobbes described human existence before government. Is he right? Are people so naturally self-interested that a government is needed to prevent chaos? Or are people naturally kind and government a mere convenience? Or is government actually the problem because humanity's innate goodness has been corrupted by it? Are people determined by biology or are they essentially free? These and other questions will be explored through readings from Golding, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Midgley, Dawkins, and others.
CRN: 43620
Credits: 3.00

Celts, Clans, and Kilts

MW 1:30-2:45PM
H 251
S. Grantham
How do cultural expectations guide our behavior and how do these expectations change, or remain the same, over time?  In this seminar, we will read the first three books in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series to explore 18th century relationships to determine if the methods of discourse and cultural norms are unique to that time frame or are still present in today’s culture. 
CRN: 43719
Credits: 3.00

Emerging Media and Network Society

MW 4:50-6:05PM
UT 116
S. Muppidi
The proliferation of innovative media and communication technologies has spawned an extensive expansion of theoretical, research, and creative explorations within the media, communication, and affiliated fields.  While such theoretical frameworks are still being thrashed out and the research/creative explorations are only in their infancy, the pervasiveness of ‘new’ media innovations in people’s personal, public, and professional lives renders them an important area worthy of study.  This course broadly examines the theoretical, historical, social, creative, and economic trajectories arising out of the production, dissemination, proliferation, and convergence of emerging media and communication technologies and how they are contributing to reordering how we function personally, socially, and institutionally in present-day society.
CRN: 43721
Credits: 3.00

Energy, Oil, and Development

MW 2:55-4:20PM
H 130
M. Cupolo
Through interactive classes, team research, and case studies, this course introduces the relations between energy and oil central to the current debate on sustainable development, and explains how and why oil supply and demand have been crucial in the recent history of Mexico, United States, and Venezuela.  (In the last decades, Mexico and Venezuela have been among the main suppliers of the US oil market.)
CRN: 43725
Credits: 3.00

Gangs, Drugs, and Violence in American History

MW       2:55-4:10PM
A 422
A. DiChiara
This first year seminar explores the historic nature of gangs, drugs, and violence in American society from the 1800s until today.  Each of these social problems is explored in terms of the structural foundations of the problem, the triggering events that motivate government to act, and how specific individuals and events have shaped the public’s views of these problems and created versions of social reality that may not be accurate.
CRN: 43720
Credits: 3.00

Google Play in Pop Culture

TR       8:00-9:15AM
A 318
B. Kovacic
This class will examine the significance of Google in two ways.  First, we will discuss new practices and behaviors relevant to pop culture that we can engage in due to Google’s portfolio of products and services.  Second, we will examine media coverage and other media representations of Google.  Then we will connect the two threads of our discussion.
CRN: 43715
Credits: 3.00

Introduction to Energy

MWF       10:30-11:20AM
A 318
H. Mohottala
The focus of this first year seminar is to study the fundamental science of energy.  In relation, we plan to discuss its usage, and the environmental, economic, and societal impacts of coal, petroleum, natural gas, waste combustion, biomass, hydrogen, nuclear fission/fusion, solar, hydroelectric, wind, and geothermal power, etc.  Students are expected to do research on renewable energy sources and share the findings in the class on a weekly basis.  Students will eventually gain knowledge necessary to understand the decisions about global energy policies and analyze how individuals or nations (communities) make decisions about their energy consumption.
CRN: 43714
Credits: 3.00

Jobs, Happiness, and You

TR      3:30-4:45PM
A 318
O. Sharp
An average person can be expected to spend about 100,000 hours at work over his or her lifetime.  For many of us, a job is not just a source of income but also an important part of our self-identity.  It can be a source of satisfaction and pride as well as a cause of stress.  In this seminar we will explore the world of work by reading book chapters and watching several films about the workplace.
CRN: 43726
Credits: 3.00

King Arthur Then and Now

MW 4:50-6:05PM
H 312
A. Walling
How did we get from ancient legends of a British warrior chieftain to Spamalot?  In this course, we will look at  how and why the story of King Arthur has been reinvented for different times and places, ranging from medieval stories to modern films such as Excalibur and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. We will pay special attention to Hartford’s own Mark Twain, whose Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court uses Arthur to define American identity. We will use literature, art, film, and popular culture to understand what has made the legend of Arthur so powerful for so many centuries. 
CRN: 43728
Credits: 3.00

Live, Laugh, Love

TR      2:05-3:20PM
E 105
J. Nicklin
This course will explore the world of work through a positive psychology lens.  Using timely readings and popular movies and television shows, we will discuss how to become a better leader and enjoy more success in your careers by embracing concepts from positive psychology, such as mindfulness, self-compassion, and gratitude.  You will learn about your strengths and weaknesses, and develop your teamwork, writing, and public speaking skills.
CRN: 43733
Credits: 3.00

Making the Self

TR       3:30-4:45PM
TR       4:50-6:05PM
A 423
A 318
N. Ealy
The topic for the course is “constructing the self.”  How do you know who you are?  Is your “self” something stable and fully formed, something still being constructed, or possibly even something that is fictional?  In this class we will explore these questions through a study of myth, literature, film, and television, all the while considering various definitions of the self that influence our identities in the digital age.
CRN: 47113
CRN: 43716
Credits: 3.00

Plays Written about 9/11

MWF 10:30-11:20AM
CC 117
P. Siegel
There have been dozens of critically acclaimed plays in which the events of 9/11 are featured prominently.  We will be reading a sample of such works.  They are not all political plays:  one is about an adulterous pair planning to use the tragedy as a way to run away together with new identities, another is about a Minneapolis couple who choose not to cancel their blind date the evening of the morning attacks.  You need not be a budding thespian to enjoy this FYS, but neither should you be too shy about reading from the plays in class, since that is much of what we will be doing together.
CRN: 43723
Credits: 3.00

Poker: Theory and Applications to Life

TR       4:50-6:05PM
R. Decker
An introduction to various forms of poker (holdem, stud, Omaha, hi-low games). In addition to learning how to play the games, students will learn proper strategy (outs, pot odds, implied odds, semi-bluffing, free cards, etc.) by learning probability theory as applied to poker (especially expected value). Students will read and respond to poker articles and/or books. The course will conclude with applications of poker thinking to business and life. 
CRN: 43916
Credits: 3.00

The Problem of Evil: Lessons from History

MW      1:30-2:45PM
A 110
A. Patt
Why are ordinary people capable of perpetrating extraordinary evil?  What leads simple people to do harm to others?  And conversely, why do otherwise average people make the exceptional choice to engage in acts of rescue to prevent evil?  What enables some individuals to survive against improbable odds and conditions of extreme persecution?  In this seminar we will examine the social and psychological underpinnings of human morality through a series of historical case studies spanning from the Holocaust, to the Vietnam War, the genocide in Rwanda, the Islamic State, and beyond.
CRN: 43718
Credits: 3.00

Science Fiction vs. Science Fantasy

MWF     2:30-3:20PM
UT 116
J. McDonald
Science fiction began as a type of fantasy literature, became a fringe literature for the tech-savvy, and is now a mainstream genre.  Early science fiction writers were often scientists who were scrupulous about having plausible technology in their stories.  Later writers were not so fastidious, using devices that violated natural laws in service of moving their stories forward.  Even so, science fiction was often used to comment on the current society of the writer and stories focused as much on people’s reactions to technology as the technology itself.  This is not a survey course but will emphasize what Clarke called “realistic science fiction.”  We will examine some “big ideas” appearing in science fiction, learn about the science that would be involved in creating them, and speculate on what is in our future.  This course may be used for elective credit by majors in English.
CRN: 43717
Credits: 3.00

Storytelling Out Loud

MWF     12:30-1:20PM
A 324
E. Striff
Want to learn how to tell a story?  In this interactive class you will perform a story based on life experience in the style of the Moth Story Slam, create narrative “on the spot” through comedy improvisation, perform a five minute TED-style talk, and even collect a piece of oral history inspired by Storycorps.  This is a great class for those who want to improve their speaking skills, learn to build narrative, develop creativity, and listen to others’ stories.
CRN: 50068
Credits: 3.00

Talking Trash: Marine Debris and Pollution

TR       10:50-12:05PM
A 323
K. Owens
Marine debris is the term for the accumulation of plastics, derelict fishing gear, trash, and storm wreckage in global waterways.  Marine debris is a global problem that not only impacts the environment but also wildlife, human health, and the economy.  While an omnipresent effect of the modern convenience- and plastics-based society, researchers believe marine debris is at its core a problem that can be solved.  Experts believe that only by focusing on the sources of marine debris and by taking local context into account will we realize appropriate solutions at multiple scales.  This course puts the issue of marine debris into context by providing an overview of marine pollution and examining the policies (from local to global) that address international water resources.
CRN: 43731
Credits: 3.00

The Queer Moment Film/Politics/TV/Criticism

MW       6:10-7:25PM  
H 303
R. Lang
The ultimate aim of this FYS is to address the centrality of queerness in modernity, with a special focus on theory and popular culture in the new millennium.  Throughout the semester, whether we are examining the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeat Act of 2010; or considering the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2015 in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide; or analyzing episodes of Modern Family or South Park…we shall attempt to come to some conclusions about what we could call “the new hetereonormativity.”
CRN: 43727
Credits: 3.00

The Roots and Routes of EDM

MWF    12:30-1:30PM
A 321
N. Highberg
EDM (electronic dance music) may seen like a relatively new genre with the popularity of superstar DJs such as David Guetta, Daft Punk, Avicii, and Deadmau5 and sold-out festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival, TomorrowLand, and Shambhala.  Actually, there is not too much new about EDM.  In this seminar, we’ll explore the roots, or history, of EDM by examining the genres – disco, house/techno, hip-hop, and others – upon which it has been built.  We’ll also examine the routes, or places, where today’s EDM has been formed and transformed – Chicago, Detroit, Ibiza, Mumbai, and Seoul among others.  Take this class because it has a good beat and you can dance to it.  Meowingtons will be pleased.
CRN: 43722
Credits: 3.00