First-year Seminar Topics

Fall 2019

See Zagweb for days/times.

BIOL 193, FYS: Art and Science of Dance. This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of one of the quintessential human activities, dance. Students and faculty will engage with art and creative process through dancing and choreography. Simultaneously, we will explore physiological and evolutionary questions of how and why we dance by conducting scientific studies. By the end of this course, students will be incorporated into the scholarly community of Gonzaga, and they will be able to think and act like dancers and scientists. Professors Swanson & Ostersmith

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: “Making the West": Space, Place and Unsettling the American West. How do we come to know "The (Wild) West?" How have myths and legends helped shape our perceptions of this imaginary and very real place? How do they continue to shape our encounters with space and place? What histories and events are memorialized, and which stories are forgotten? What might the future of the American West look like? In this FYS, we engage with the politics of space and place, focusing on the American "West" as contested and un-settled space. We study how the region is made meaningful as a phenomenon of maps, myths, minerals, and monuments, of art, geography, geology, and ecology. This semester, we are particularly interested in local spaces and places, where we critically encounter everyday politics of the "West." We approach our topic (topos, or place) via diverse disciplinary perspectives, and will engage with a range of literature, scholarly work, and media. Coursework will include discussions, writing in dialogue with readings and classwork, and a student-centered research-project, all of which help us cultivate the intellectual capacities relevant for university life. Fulfills a social justice designation.* Professor Gordon.

COMM 193, FYS: Intergroup Dialogue: Promoting Racial Consciousness. Promoting Racial Consciousness develops intergroup communication skills through sustained dialogue and analysis. Through a number of disciplinary lenses, this course also explores the ways race and ethnicity are constructed and experienced in US culture. Members of the classroom community will develop and apply the critical thinking, reasoning, and analytical skills necessary for organizing, writing, and presenting an analysis of how race and ethnicity shape cultural artifacts. Ultimately, this course encourages self-reflection on the importance of race and ethnicity to our identities and social structures, and aims to build bridges across differences to begin the process of racial healing and transformation. Professors Click and Alvarado-Young.

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? Fulfills a Global Studies designation.* Professor Herzog.

ENGL 193, FYS: Genius. How do we define genius and to what or whom do we afford this category? Is genius an inherent quality or is it learned? Today we use the term genius to refer to high intelligence and exceptional creative ability; however, this definition of genius is a relatively new one. In this course, we will discuss the historical evolution of genius from its roots in Greek and Roman antiquity to our understanding of it today. To this end, we will explore the function of genius in different cultural and historical contexts as well as different disciplinary contexts. Professor Naraghi.

ENGL 193, FYS: Fake News/Alternative Facts. In a world of constant media feeds, how can we differentiate fact from rumor? What is real news and what is hype? How can we count on information to be accurate? This course will explore the phenomenon of fake news and alternative facts through the lenses of mass media, popular culture, personal bias, science and fiction. Along with one novel, we will read recent essays and reports from various information sources in order to examine the current social issues and hone our skills in distinguishing accurate information from alternative facts. Fulfills a Social Justice (SJ) designation.*Professor Cooley

ENGL 193, FYS: ENGL 193.04 FYS: Getting Wild in Words, Places, and Cultural Spaces. This section of the FYS will focus on the topic of the wild and wildness, specifically how people wonder about, label, resist, seek out, embrace, linger in, reject, escape to, and retreat from interior and exterior wilds. In the context of your transition to college, we will explore how several academic and artistic disciplines inquire into and represent what are often characterized as wild uses of language (from experimental fiction and poetry to conspiracy theories); wild places (from designated wilderness areas to war zones and Fukushima); and wild cultural spaces (from remote indigenous tribal gathering spaces to Burning Man and the Kennel Club). We will encounter wild and tame ideas and interrogate their origins. Our intellectual journey also will take us into the heart of Gonzaga’s Jesuit mission and the question of whether it is wild enough—and whether we are, ourselves. Professor Eliason.

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. Fulfills a Writing-Enriched (WE) designation.* Professor Butterworth

ENGL 193, FYS: ‘Making the West’: Space, Place and Unsettling the American West. What is ‘the West’? How have myths, stories, histories, events, and technologies produced this place, real and fictional, called 'the West?' In this FYS, we’ll begin with ideas of ‘space’ and ‘place’ in order to focus on the American ‘West’ not only as a phenomenon of geology, ecology, and topography, but also as a place produced by histories, land uses, cultural encounters, art, and more. We’ll approach the West from diverse disciplinary perspectives, also attending to our own attachments to place. Coursework will include student-led presentations and discussions, weekly and sustained writing in dialogue with readings and classwork, and a research-project. Texts will include selected literary readings, essays from diverse fields, as well as a variety of visual media. Throughout, a central focus will be reflection on ourselves as learners beginning college-level studies. Professor Easterling.

ENGL 193, FYS: The Time of Your Life. Time. Is it a measurement? A state of mind? Fluid? Who knows best—physicists? Computer Scientists, Poets? Philosophers? Monks? Shamans? Children? The questions about time are as infinite as time (purportedly) is itself. Still and yet, one central truth is undeniable: time matters. A lot. Students in this class will explore the concept of time from multiple perspectives, disciplines, and cultures. Students will manipulate their understanding of time and the value placed personally on how it is spent through student-led experiments and the experiments of others. Students will read, discuss, ask, and do. By semester’s end, students will consider the value of time as it relates to their future. This class is team-taught with ENGL 193.02 and ITEC 193.01. Fulfills both a Social Justice (SJ) and a Writing-Enriched (WE) designation.* Professors Bryant and Halliday.

HIST 193, FYS: Pompeii - Fact and Fiction. Can we truly reconstruct the past? How do we differentiate between historical fact and fiction, as we explore and interpret events of the past? This course will pursue answers to these questions through examining one of the most fascinating (and deadly) episodes in ancient history: the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE and the subsequent destruction of Pompeii and its neighboring cities. Using archaeological, anthropological, art historical and textual/historical evidence (e.g., everyday objects, ancient graffiti, skeletal remains, world-class art and monuments), this seminar will investigate what we both do and do not know about the Pompeii’s origins, its vibrant culture, its downfall, and its rediscovery nearly 250 years ago. Furthermore, we shall employ that knowledge to understand the ways in which Pompeii and its people – women and men, citizens, slaves and foreigners – have been received and reinterpreted within modern historical fiction and current public imagination, through the critical analysis of books, films and other media. Professor Goldman

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: The Time of Your Life. Time. Is it a measurement? A state of mind? Fluid? Who knows best—physicists? Computer Scientists, Poets? Philosophers? Monks? Shamans? Children? The questions about time are as infinite as time (purportedly) is itself. Still and yet, one central truth is undeniable: time matters. A lot. Students in this class will explore the concept of time from multiple perspectives, disciplines, and cultures. Students will manipulate their understanding of time and the value placed personally on how it is spent through student-led experiments and the experiments of others. Students will read, discuss, ask, and do. By semester’s end, students will consider the value of time as it relates to their future. This class is team-taught with ENGL 193.02 and ITEC 193.01 Fulfills both a Social Justice (SJ) and a Writing-Enriched (WE) designation.* Professors Bryant and Halliday.

MDLA 193: FYS: Imagining Colombia: Beyond Coffee, Cocaine, and Conflict. How do we pursue knowledge and cultivate understanding, particularly when approaching a culture different than our own? In this course, we will examine the construction of Colombian identity. How we, in the United States, imagine Colombia has been reduced to a series of stereotypes and simplifications, the most common of which surround narco-trafficking, the coffee industry, or years of civil conflict, terrorism, and current attempts at a lasting peace process. What does it mean to be Colombian? Who are the Colombians? How has the history of this country affected the identity of the people? How does Colombia “sell” itself to international tourists, in film, and in literature? Throughout the semester, we will examine Colombia from various perspectives: historical, economic, cultural, etc. with a special emphasis on the construction of ethnicity, race, and representation of indigenous and afro-descendant peoples in this socially diverse and culturally rich country. Fulfills a Global Studies designation.* Professor Stephanis.

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, how our encounters with strangers affect our perceptions of ourselves, and how and why what is familiar can become strange again to us. Through the lens of moral philosophy we will also examine just how far we should be willing to go for the sake of strangers, and what we owe to them. Lastly, we will reexamine one of the most fundamental pieces of advice we were all given as children: should we talk to strangers? The course is designed as a Community-Engaged Learning (CEL) course, where students commit to performing 20 hours of service outside of class. In this way, students are encountering, learning from, and serving persons who are members of marginalized communities in the Spokane area. Professor Weidel.

PSYC 193, FYS: Coming of Age in a Global Context. This First-Year Seminar explores “coming of age” across diverse cultural contexts. Together we will explore emerging adulthood (i.e., the transition from adolescence into adulthood), focusing on topics such as identity exploration, relationships, college/work commitments, risk-taking, faith development, and so forth, and how this period of the life-course is shaped by culture. As participants in this multi-disciplinary First-Year Seminar, we will approach our study of coming of age from multiple perspectives including social science (i.e., developmental and cultural psychology, sociology), biology, art, and literature. Fulfills a Global Studies (GS) 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: 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.

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 103, FYS: Indigenous Peoples and Global Issues. This course explores contemporary issues of indigenous peoples throughout the world. We begin by examining the concept of a "Fourth World." Who are indigenous peoples and how have they been categorized in relation to "ethnic groups," colonization, and the international system of states? We examine current debates within the United Nations about indigenous peoples and human rights. We take a look at law and economics of colonialism and emerging issues of globalization. Through films, literature and social science readings, this course looks at those issues, and focuses on how indigenous peoples are actively working to oppose their oppression and create sustainable futures. Fulfills a Global Studies (GS) designation* Professor Baraza

THEA 193, FYS: Art and Science of Dance. This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of one of the quintessential human activities, dance. Students and faculty will engage with art and creative process through dancing and choreography. Simultaneously, we will explore physiological and evolutionary questions of how and why we dance by conducting scientific studies. By the end of this course, students will be incorporated into the scholarly community of Gonzaga, and they will be able to think and act like dancers and scientists. Professors Swanson & Ostersmith

EDTE 193, FYS: Learning Theories/Epistemologies. 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.

WGST 193, FYS: Feminist Activism in Latin America and the Caribbean. This seminar will examine women’s activism in relation to issues of social justice—such as immigration, poverty, environmental and civil rights, etc.—in Latin America and the Caribbean. By looking at this topic from feminist perspectives, we will explore the intersections of social justice and gender, race, class, sexuality, among other social identities. We will learn the historical, socio-political, economic, and cultural contexts of those countries and its relationship to women’s political actions and social justice. Fulfills a Social Justice (SJ) designation.* Professor Rodriguez-Coss.

* 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 3/21/19