First-Year Seminars by Semester

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Seminars are open to first-year students only. All first year seminars can be scheduled through LionPATH.

Spring 2020

CAS 84 (3 cr) Public Discourse about LGBTQIA Lives (GH)

Class #26216 | TuTh 3:05PM - 4:20PM | Instructor: Pamela Vanhaitsma

Seemingly everywhere we turn, questions about gender and sexuality are under public discussion. Laverne Cox graces the cover of Time magazine, which declares 2014 the year of the “Transgender Tipping Point,” and the U.S. Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage in 2015. But just five years later, politicians, pop stars, and the public at large are still debating the basic freedoms of everyday LGBTQIA individuals to use public restrooms, serve in the military, and adopt children. This course introduces students to critical theories and vocabularies for understanding, historicizing, and analyzing this public discourse as it unfolds.

PLSC 83 (3 cr) First-Year Seminar in Political Science (GS)

Class #17547 | TuTh 4:35PM - 5:50PM | Instructor: Robert Packer

PLSC 83 is a course on current topics in international politics. Each week we review major issues raised in media (newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, and television news programs) that deal with international politics and American foreign policy. Attention is given to applying political science arguments in analyzing major news events and trends. Topics include the resurrection of Russia, the rise of China, global economic problems, Middle East conflicts, and proliferation concerns.

RUS 83 (3 cr) Putin's Russian and Its Protest Culture (GH/US/IL)

Class #28607 | TuTh 1:35PM - 2:50PM | Instructor: Yuliya Ladygina

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 caught most observers by surprise and has led Russia on a path of political, economic, and cultural liberalization of an unprecedented scope. But despite the initial excitement, post-Soviet Russia has emerged as a state characterized by authoritarianism and crony capitalism. Why did Russia follow this particular trajectory? What are the factors that gave rise to and sustained Vladimir Putin's regime? What are its key pillars and contradictions? What is the Russian people's response to Putinism and its new vision of Russia's national destiny? This course seeks to answer these questions by examining the relationship between individuals and the state in present-day Russia. Study materials include works by representative writers, filmmakers, visual artists, journalists, human rights activists, political observers, and cultural critics. Students are evaluated through short written assignments, class discussions, individual oral presentations, and collaborative group projects. The course is taught in English, fulfills General Humanities requirement, and is designated as an International Culture course.

WMNST 83N (3 cr) First-Year Seminar in Women's Studies (GH/GS/US)

Class #26681 | TuTh 10:35AM - 11:50AM | Instructor: Dara Walker

This course introduces first-year students to the complex and interdisciplinary field of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Students develop an understanding of how a feminist approach to understanding stratifications of power and privilege in society not only impacts but co-constitutes constructions of gender and sexual identity that are sometimes at odds with an individual's lived experience.

Students learn that social variables such as gender, age, social class, religion, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, and place of residence affect the way people view the world, behave, and communicate. Students will develop the ability to locate, organize, and evaluate information about these identity intersections from a variety of sources, and use them to synthesize and analyze their own lived experience as a gendered being. Through the reading of texts, discussions, debates, and individual and collaborative projects, students are introduced to: feminist analysis of current topics and issues in women’s and gender studies; to using women’s and gender studies as a discipline and form of critical engagement; to the concepts of interdisciplinary vs. multidisciplinary research and scholarship; to intersectional analysis of identity, power, and oppression; to scholarly conduct and responsibilities.

Students will be expected to develop an understanding of current issues and debates within and beyond the field of women's and gender studies as they relate to contemporary fiction and nonfiction writing as well as feminist thought through social media. Students will recognize that social variables such as gender, age, social class, religion, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, and place of residence affect the way people view the world, behave, and communicate. Students will develop the ability to locate, organize, and evaluate information about these identity intersections from a variety of sources and to use them to synthesize and analyze their own ideas as well as come to an understanding regarding the stratification of power and privilege in society.

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