Spring 2024 Freshman Seminar Course Descriptions
FSEM 101-01 (CRN: 10343) “Games and How to Win Them”
Professor Breeanne Swart
Co-requisite: FSWI 101-01 (CRN:10344)
In this FSEM 101, we will explore a variety of deterministic combinatorial games, including impartial and partisan games. For each game, we will determine winning strategies. Justifications will play an important role in this course. Games investigated may include Nim, Hex, and Hackenbush. We will explore the history and culture of games.
FSEM 101-02 (CRN: 10345) & FSEM101-03 (CRN:10347) “Growth Mindset“
MWF 09:00-09:50, MWF 11:00-11:50
Professor Suzanne Jones (Mabrouk)
Co-requisite: FSWI 101-02 (CRN: 10346) & FSWI 101-03 (CRN: 10348)
TR 9:30-10:45, TR 11:00-12:15.
Can we increase our intelligence, abilities, and talents or are they determined at birth? Are our minds fixed or can we grow them? Did you know that we can build new neural pathways that will allow our brains to function in new ways? Come and explore how our brain is a muscle, like others in the human body. In this course, we will explore how our brains learn. We will come to see obstacles as challenges and mistakes as opportunities for growth. We will also develop our resiliency and grit. We will learn what a growth mindset is and how to cultivate it. We will apply the growth mindset as we increase our intelligence and talents in the areas of art, communication, math, and science. This course will help you to become a lifelong learner. Register for this course to develop a growth mindset.
FSEM 101-04 (CRN:10449): “Soccer & Latin American Culture”
Professor Vicente Gomis-Izquierdo
Co-requisite: FSWI 101-04 (CRN: 10450)
Why are Latin Americans so passionate about soccer? The answer to this question is a complex and multifaceted one. The history of this passion goes back to the mid-19th century when British workers were sent to Latin America to build railroads and operate railroad companies. Along with them, soccer arrived in the region. The first documented match took place in Argentina in 1867. Since then, soccer quickly spread out over Latin America to become the most popular sport — by a large margin — in nearly every country. In this course we will examine the history of soccer in Latin America and its links to politics, culture, racial issues, and gender discrimination.
We will start with its origins, how it came to the continent and how it developed over the decades. We will learn about the fans, who they are and what kinds of connections they create through the sport. This class will also look at the different competitions in Latin America, such as the Copa Libertadores and Copa América, along with the Latin American countries that have won the World Cup. We will also discuss the most important figures of the sport. Names like Maradona, Messi, Pelé, Hugo Sánchez, or Marta have shaped soccer into a global phenomenon. As such, soccer has influenced and has been influenced by the social, the political, the economic, and more. Through readings, videos, and other multimedia representations we will have a more complete picture of the meaning of soccer in Latin America.
FSEM 101-05 (CRN:10349) “Bloody Eiffel Tower”
Professor Beatrice Frask Ramos
Co-requisite: FSWI 101-05 (CRN:10350)
Come and learn about the chic, the good, the bad and the ugly of French culture from the late 18th century, up until today! This class will start at the French Revolution, look at Napolean’s ascent into power and his demise, the building of the Eiffel Tower, and what those events meant for France and the world. Ideas, philosophers, artistic movements (including impressionism and post-impressionism, cubism, realism), architecture, poetry, military strategies, and even culinary arts will be part of the program. We will attempt to uncover what makes the French so French to this day!
FSEM 101-06 (CRN:10351) “Folk and Fairytales”
Professor Laura Means
Co-requisite: FSWI 101-06 (CRN: 10352)
MWF 10:00-10:50 MWF 900-950
“Once upon a time” is a phrase that evokes strong associations with well-known stories from childhood, such as Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. This course explores the origins – often bloody, violent, and not at all suitable for children – of those stories (in English) via the Brothers Grimm and introduces many lesser known fairy and folk tales. Additionally, this course takes a critical look at the value and function of the fairy tale in society.
FSEM 101 13 (11503): “Living Latin America”
MFW 11:00- 11:50
Professor Adelaida Bidot-Lopez
During the semester, students will understand: What does it mean to be Latino? How cultural and ethnic qualities are manifested through Art? What is the image that Latin Americans export of themselves? How do we interpret them? It’s beyond history, it’s about people, focus in the present: what they do now, the way they see the word, our similitudes and differences like human beings… The course will bring students closer to the knowledge of Latin America using its global and particular culture. They will experience part of the idiosyncrasy of the Hispanic and Latin American continent through artistic projects of sculpture, music, multimedia (including films and short films), painting, and a brief sample of his literature: specific contemporary texts that are part of universal literature. We will, also, experience how art transcends their cultural space and is part of caring for the environment, studying different projects on Art made with recycling and inorganic and technological waste. We intend the course to be more of an artistic, cultural and dynamic experience than a theoretical one. For this reason, the creation and critical analysis of students will have greater weight in the evaluation than tests based on information and data. The course is an adaptation for Freshman of ELES304 course, “Experiencing Latin America”.
FSEM 101-08 (CRN: 10366) “The History of the FBI”
Professor Melissa Graves
Co-requisite: FSWI 101-08 (CRN:10367)
Professor Graves’s seminar looks at the history of the Bureau since its inception in 1908: its early years fighting criminal gangsters; forays into Latin America to hunt Nazis during World War II; its Cold War mission to preserve democracy amid a raging Soviet Union; its struggle against the Radical Left in the 1970s; finally, its shift to the War on Terror, both domestically and abroad. We will examine who has told the FBI’s history and exactly how they’ve done so—the sources they used, their views of the Bureau’s “culture,” and how the time in which they wrote influenced how they saw the FBI.
FSEM 101-09 (CRN: 10368) “Monstrous Bodies: Latin Horror“
Professor Jhoanna Mendez
Co-requisite: FSWI 101-09 (CRN: 10369)
In this course, we delve into the ever-evolving concept of “monstrosity” in relation to U.S. Latino identities. Through diverse narratives—including films, comics, short stories, poetry, and performances—by Latino creators, students critically analyze themes such as immigration, belonging, the multiplicitous nature of identity, and the intricacies of the Latin America-U.S. relationship. By the course’s conclusion, students develop a nuanced understanding of distinctions among Latin American nations, cultural artifacts, and experiences shaped by racialization and gender. This culminates in presenting arguments, bolstered by artifacts they design, to showcase skills they refine in class. If you have any questions, please email me (email@example.com) or stop by Capers 2153 to chat during my office hours.
FSEM 101-10 (CRN: 10370) “The Military & The Environment”
Professor James Berry
Co-requisite: FSWI 101-10 (CRN: 10371)
The relationship between the military and the environment is unique. Rarely do humans intentionally cause complete and lasting destruction of the environment as they do during times of war. In this course, we will explore some of the environmental impacts of military actions and warfare, and examine alternatives.
FSEM 101-11 (CRN: 10370) “SAD: Standard American Diet“
Professor Andrea Gramling
Co-requisite: FSWI 101-11 (CRN: 10373)
Food is a fundamental need and a basic requirement for life, yet food choice in America is confusing and can have potential health consequences for individuals and our society. Professor Gramling’s seminar will explore the forces that shape the industrialized food system and our modern understanding of health and nutrition. Through independent research and analysis, students will develop a deeper understanding of the personal, cultural, and public health consequences of the Standard American Diet.
FSEM 101-14 (CRN: 11293) & FSEM 101-15 (CRN: 11294) “Conspiracy Theories and Critical Thinking”
MWF 10:00-10:50, MWF 13:00-13:50
Professor Holly Bevsek
Co-requisite: FSWI 101-14 (CRN: 11483) & FSWI 101-15 (CRN: 11484)
MWF 09:00-09:50, MWF 11:00-11:50
Whether it’s the belief that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, that reptilians run our government, that unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs aka UFOs) are alien spacecraft, or even that the government does not tell its people the truth all the time, almost everyone believes at least one conspiracy theory. One could just discount every conspiracy theory; however the fact is that some conspiracy theories turn out to be true, e.g., the Tuskagee Syphilis Experiment. So how is one to decide what to believe? In this class you will learn tools to help you decide whether a fantastical claim is definitely true, likely to be true, likely to be false, definitely false, or truly unknown. Some of the topics we will discuss are:
-The anti-vaccination movement
-QAnon and the Satanic Panic of the 1980’s