First-year Seminar Topics

Fall 2018

See Zagweb for days/times.

CLAS 193.01, FYS: Spartacus: Fact or Fiction. How is the past reconstructed and what do we do with it? This course seeks to answer those questions by looking at one of the most famous figures from the world of ancient Greece and Rome: Spartacus. We’ll be looking at what we know about his life, how we know what we know (with particular attention to how different disciplines construct knowledge), and how his legacy has been understood and adapted in various modern media. Professor Oosterhuis.

COMM 193, FYS: Advertising and the Culture of Consumption. This course will examine the rise of advertising and the “culture of consumption” through a multi-disciplinary approach that expands traditional conceptions of advertising to include non-normative forms such as department stores, architecture, films, album covers and pop music. This course will develop your analytical and expressive powers, and enhance your appreciation and understanding of the process of human communication. Professor Osborne.

ECON 193, FYS: Global Economic Inequality. This course provides an introduction to the analysis of economic inequalities and the interplay between inequality and economic growth. It deals with three sets of core questions: 1) How does inequality vary across countries and evolve over the path of development? 2) What are the theories that can explain the degree of economic inequalities and its dynamic? 3) How do policies affect inequalities, and what types of policies can foster equitable growth? Carries a Global Studies designation.* Professor Herzog.

EDTE 193, FYS: Learning Theories. This course is designed to introduce the undergraduate student to the epistemology of various disciplines and to make them aware of their own personal epistemology in addition, the contributions of behaviorism, humanistic psychology, and cognitive psychology will be examined in order to give a basis for critically analyzing how and why human growth and development occur in the teaching and learning act. Based on the dynamics of respect of individual differences within the learning community, prior learning and authentic scholarly exploration of historical and current literature, students will be able to articulate, develop and seek alternatives to their theories-in-use. Professor Cox.

ENGL 193, FYS: Creativity. This course will engage in questions about creativity, innovation, and what it means to be a creative person. We will look at links between creativity, conformity, mental illness, business, and art. Students will design a creative classroom, engage in creative projects, and come up with their own creativity theories. Professor Ciesla

ENGL 193, FYS: Internet, Memes, & Digital Culture. Who makes and shares internet memes? How does one become a memelord? Can we critique internet memes as an art form? This First-Year Seminar takes an interdisciplinary look at the creation and circulation of internet memes as a cultural phenomenon. In doing this, we’ll create memes using low-threshold technical applications, drawing on best practices in visual design and multimodal rhetorics. We’ll also research how memes contribute to a sense of community by investigating an online culture of students’ choice. We’ll wrap up by turning a critical eye to ourselves, asking how we intentionally and unintentionally use memes to mark our own identities. In this course, students will be expected to create memes in a variety of forms, use writing to reflect on internet memes and digital cultures, and discuss shared readings on what it means to meme. Professor Bollig.

ENGL 193, FYS: Literature and the Search for Meaning. This FYS is designed to introduce students to learning and knowing as deliberate, creative processes by engaging the question of what makes for a meaningful life. The course will emphasize writing and reading as tools for participation in the creation of meaning. The course will focus on bulding a personal map of meaning in conjuction with a study of how literary works approach meaning, along with consideration of the approach to meaning by various works from philosophy, psychology, and religious studies. Carries a Writing-Enriched (WE) designation.* Professor Butterworth

ENGL 193, FYS: Are We What We Eat? Are we really what we eat? We’ve all heard this saying, but is it really true? This course will question this common myth by exploring the relationships between the shaping of U.S. identities and how food is made, distributed, and eaten. Throughout the course of the semester, we will reflect on the importance of food, food choices and our eating practices in the shaping of our individual and communal selves. We will examine the histories and multiple meanings of foods—such as pizza, chips and salsa, fortune cookies, or the traditional Thanksgiving dinner—and interrogate how these food practices serve to construct ethnic, gender, religious and economic borders in society, among others. Carries a Global Studies designation.* Professor Roncero-Bellido.

ENVS 193/POLS 193, FYS: Birds. Birds are everywhere among us. Birding (formerly called “bird watching”) is, per the National Audubon Society, the largest non-competitive outdoor activity in the US, with more participants than hunting, fishing, and outdoor motorized sports combined. This seminar examines the diverse things birds can teach us about the world. Beginning with history and culture, we will examine how birds led to the first animal rights movement in Western Civilization and how John James Audubon helped to invent modern naturalism and ecology. Birds also can teach us a lot about the processes or urbanization and suburbanization and the burgeoning field of urban ecology. In fact, it is in cities and suburbs that most “birding” in the US takes place. Birds can also teach us quite a bit about sustainability and climate change. Are birds migrating north earlier in the spring and staying later in the fall (hint: in many cases, “yes”)? Finally, birds can teach us about outdoor recreation, that is, the joy and relaxation involved in the world of birding. Professor Isacoff.

HIST 193, FYS: The 1960s. This section of the First-Year Seminar will discuss the political ideologies, social movements, and cultural revolutions that emerged in America after World War II—as reactions to the Cold War, social injustice, and changes in ideals—that have influenced our contemporary lives. While we will follow a historical narrative, “The 1960s” will use basic modes of inquiry and expression from a variety of disciplines, including music, literature, film, political science, and sociology. Professor Donnelly

ITEC 193, FYS: Spies, Charlatans and UFOs: Navigating the Information Age. Using aspects of the Information Age as lenses (the spies, charlatans, and UFOs of the title, along with hackers, Jesuits, visionaries, luddites, censors, and more), we will explore where information comes from, how it is created, what value it has and why — and how to navigate today's glut of information effectively. Carries a Writing-Enriched (WE) designation.* Professors Jenks & Tardiff.

MDLA 193: FYS: Contemporary Issues and Historical Fiction. This course aims at initiating a conversation about contemporary issues using selected historical fiction as a starting point. The pursuit of human dignity is a fundamental tenet of the Jesuit Mission statement of our university, yet the denial of human dignity is still found in modern societies, both in its extreme form of slavery, and in subtler forms that debase human beings. The treatment of women as chattel, the existence of white privilege, the exclusion of people from citizenship, are all issues that are still relevant today, yet can be found throughout history and are reflected in historical fiction. This course will also examine how historians, archeologists, and scientists pursue knowledge, and how that knowledge is then interpreted in historical fiction. Professor Brooke

MUSC 193, FYS: Music-An Evolutionary Obsession. The research presented in this course examines the evidence for the emergence of the capacities underlying musical behaviors, their interrelationship, development and ultimate manifestation in humans throughout history. A multidisciplinary approach is taken using archaeological, anthropological, cognitive, and behavioral evidence. Professor Hamlin.

PHIL 193, FYS: Tolkien and the Philosophy of Language. This course will look at the way language reveals truth, with a particular focus on the creation of stories through the use of metaphor and myth in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. It is an interdisciplinary course that weaves together the philosophy of language, literary theory, and Catholic sacramental theology to examine the sacredness of nature and the way that our role as creators allows us to participate in the ongoing act of divine creation. Professor Bradley

PHIL 193, FYS: Conversion & Transformation. Conversion is a process in which a person's core beliefs are significantly altered or replaced. This course will examine multiple forms of conversion—philosophical, existential, religious, antireligious, and aesthetic—and will seek to understand the nature of the conversion process. Using intellectual tools from a variety of disciplines, we will explore the roles that evidence and counter-evidence play in alteration of belief, and will consider extra-evidential factors such as emotion, group identity, and self-perception. Professor Calhoun.

PHIL 193, FYS: Strangers. This course will focus on the experiences we have when we encounter strangers: unfamiliar people, concepts, methods, experiences, and environments. We will consider how we confront and respond to strangers, the ways in which diverse disciplines approach that which is strange and attempt to make it familiar, and how our encounters with strangers affect our perceptions of ourselves. The course is also designed as a Service Learning course, so that students are encountering, learning from, and serving persons who are members of marginalized communities in the Spokane area. Professor Weidel.

PHIL 193: FYS: Loneliness and Community. It’s hard to imagine any person existing without at least some experience of feeling or being lonely. For many of us, loneliness is situational: it’s what we feel when we first immerse ourselves into a new community or when a relationship ends. For some, loneliness is a feeling they wrestle with more consistently. In this class, we will look at what it is to be and feel lonely. We won’t stop there, though. We’ll study how community and connection to other people (might) help alleviate loneliness. We’ll ask if the experience of loneliness today is unique to our time, or if there is something common to all human experiences of loneliness. We’ll ask how different scholars from diverse fields suggest we “deal” with the problem of loneliness and discover whether there are skills and practices we can adopt to lessen our own and others’ lonely feelings. Carries a Writing-Enriched (WE) designation.* Professor Howard

PHIL 193, FYS: Martyrs, Warriors, & Captives. This seminar will explore three basic ways that Christians have responded to persecution. Taking as its point of departure the Christian dictum to "turn the other cheek," the seminar will consider both early martyrs and twentieth century martyrs, the origins and development of the notion of fighting persecution justly, and the Christian experience with imprisonment in the first centuries as well as in the twentieth century. Professor Kries.

PHYS 193, FYS: Social Justice in Science Fiction. In this seminar, we will explore the role that science fiction plays in evolving our understandings and beliefs regarding social justice. We will read classic texts and watch films and television series as we consider the relationships between individuals, societies, species, and cultures in real and imagined worlds. Carries a Social Justice (SJ) designation.* Professor Fritsch.

PSYC 193, FYS: Risk & Resilience. This First-Year Seminar uses a variety of compelling case studies to explore topics around risk and adversity and their effects on human development. We will also study the concept of resilience and efforts around support and intervention for families and children who are at-risk. We will approach these topics from multiple perspectives including social science (e.g., developmental psychology, sociology, economics), neuroscience, art and literature. Trigger warning: This topic is intense. We will explore a number of difficult topics (e.g., child physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence, the plight of the Romanian orphans). Please consider whether the material in this course will be appropriate for you. Carries a Social Justice (SJ) designation.* Professor Kretchmar-Hendricks.

RELI 193, FYS: Jesuit Education: A Fire Kindling Other Fires. This first-year seminar addresses the first-year core question, “How do we pursue knowledge and cultivate understanding?” Through a multidisciplinary approach to Jesuit education by walking the cat back to St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Spiritual Exercises, and the Jesuit plan of learning (Ratio Studiorum), students will apply insights to modern educational and societal situations by placing texts and interpretations in dialogue with contemporary issues of faith, community, spirituality, learning, and social justice. Professor Kuder.

RELI 193, FYS: Science Fiction and Personhood. What does it mean to be a “person?” How do the topics of extraterrestrials, robots and posthumans help us to reflect on personhood? Join with us as we examine how Science Fiction writers imagine other planets and future scenarios in order to present their readers with a chance to contemplate their own identity along with the pressing problems/questions of their own time frame. Professor Schearing.

RELI 193, FYS: The Depths: Psalms and the Human Condition. Being a human being means at least, among many other things, to struggle with relationships; that is to struggle with one’s self as well as to struggle with others and/or the “Other.” The psalms of the Hebrew Bible embrace this most human experience with startling honesty, urgency, humility, and empathy. This multi-disciplinary course allows students to creatively explore and then enter into the worlds of the psalmists while also giving voice to a student’s own developing self and depth in human relationships. Professor Starbuck.

RELI 193, FYS: Violence and the Humanities. What insights and tools do the humanities disciplines offer students who wish to grapple with the problem of violence today? Students In this course explore various academic perspectives from the humanities, enter in to discussion about different kinds of education, and apply humanities insights to unresolved conflicts. Carries a Global Studies designation.* Professor Sheveland.

RELI 193, FYS: Citizens or Strangers: Early Christianity in the Roman World. The first Christians were sometimes martyrs, sometimes prophets, and sometimes the greatest supporters of the society of which they were a part. Using the origins of Christianity as a case study, this class looks at the nature of religion, its relation to society as a whole, and the conditions of the first Christians. Professor Hauck.

WGST 193, FYS: Masculinities. What is masculinity and what does it do? Is that a biological question? A question of gender? A social, cultural, even political question? Does masculinity have something to do with race or ethnicity? Could it be that the answer to such a question offers less insight than analysis of who is asking the question of whom? This class will explore the concept of masculinity in U.S. culture, academic, and politics. We will work from women of color feminist and queer of color perspective as we analyze how masculinity is defined by a number of disciplines and discourses. Students can expect to look at a range of texts including novels, critical and theoretical essays, academic articles, music videos, art, ads, films, and examples of drag as we discuss the relationship masculinity (and its construction) plays in our lives and the lives of others. Professor Baros.


* To fulfill university core requirements, students must complete 2 Writing-Enriched (WE) designated courses (in addition to Writing), 1 Global Studies (GS) designated course (in addition to World/Comparative Religion), and 1 Social Justice (SJ) designated course. Designations double-count. That is, students completing an FYS with a designation, get credit for the FYS and fulfill the designation it carries. Transfer students with 45 or more credits have a reduced designation requirement (1 WE, and 2 total of either 1 WE, 1 GS, and/or 1 SJ), and students with 60 or more credits, including AA/AS-T degree holders, are not required to fulfill the designation requirements.

Updated 4/24/18