First-Year Seminar Course Descriptions

Fall 2021

FS‐111 The Examined Life

In this course we will examine our lives by writing about them, using “lenses” from various fields (literature, history, philosophy, or psychology, for instance) to see ourselves from different angles. We will write personal narratives/memoirs of our own, using what we have learned to further explore the writing process and examine our own lives.  CORE: First‐Year Seminar

FS-112 Drama and Culture

This course will introduce students to plays from classical times to the present. Through reading, watching, discussion, and regular writing assignments, students will be challenged to understand the relationships between the theatrical worlds that playwrights have fashioned and the world in which we live. Live performances during the semester may be included as they become available.  CORE: First‐Year Seminar

FS‐116 Snow: Art & Science

This course offers an introduction to the literature, science, and technology of alpine crystals, as well as an exploration of “winter mountaintop sublimity.” Our focus will be on reading, writing, and animated discussion about snow and ice crystals as they are featured in prose, poetry, and scientific experiments. Coursework requirements include four formal essays, a longer essay with a research component, an oral presentation, and a field trip. CORE: First‐Year Seminar

FS-126 Sports Stories (Honors)

This course focuses on sports-centered stories, novels, nonfiction books, and films and explores what these works teach us about honesty, fairness, endurance, faith, solidarity, disappointment, pain, and other essential facts of life.  CORE: First‐Year Seminar; Open to Honors Students Only

FS‐140 Place and Placelessness

This seminar examines conceptions and experiences of place. We live in a world of distinct, memorable, and meaning‐infused places. By exploring spaces and places which seem to resonate with meaning, we will probe how the essence of the meaning of place can be imposed and maintained (or resisted and denied?), and how we define ourselves and others through and within places.  CORE: First‐Year Seminar

FS‐153 Peace and Justice

This course is designed as an introduction to the subject of social justice through the study of social justice issues in the context of the lives of individuals who envision(ed) a more just society and endeavor(ed) to live by that vision. We will study issues such as nonviolence, racism, and social and economic inequality, and individuals such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Paul Farmer. CORE: First‐Year Seminar

FS‐156: Memoirs: Women on Gender, Race, & Sexuality

Marking the 100th anniversary of white women’s suffrage and 50th of women’s enrollment at our college, this course examines critical autobiographies written by women from around the world that explore structural racism, misogyny, and homophobia, and that offer individual stories of self-discovery and resistance. Grounded in comparative reflections on identity in text and film, the course builds knowledge from the experience of what it means to be different and to act politically.  CORE: First‐Year Seminar

FS-158 Society, Identity, & Race

This course examines race, power dynamics in society, the creation of identity, and the nature of racial injustice. We will explore the formation of racial identity and the power of radical critique in response to powerful external forces and the inherent human drive to shape and determine one’s own self. CORE: First‐Year Seminar

FS‐182 Social Construction: Humanness (Honors)

This course will introduce students to the questions, what makes us human? To what extent do variations in characteristics (e.g., sex, gender, dis/ability, stature, body morphology, and race) impact our perceptions of humanness?  To what extent is being human biologically determined, socially constructed, or an emergent property of both? Have notions of what it means to be human been fixed or have they varied throughout history? CORE: First‐Year Seminar; Open to Honors Students Only