First-year Seminar Topics

Fall 2020

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: Art of Walking: Movement as Meaning. Walking, hiking, and other forms of movement along a set or improvised path are rooted in the contemplative traditions of cultures and societies throughout history and around the globe. From treks of religious pilgrimage to recreational quests of skill and discovery, from walkabouts as rites of passage to everyday strolls and routines, each moment of movement along a path alters the mover and the pathway itself. This course examines “the art of Walking” as a form of action and reflection, with repercussions for the individual, the environment, and the larger community. We will encounter and discuss epistemological differences rooted in variations of body and mobility; challenges posed by ableist cultures and spaces; justice issues related to avenues for and against movement; philosophical traditions of walking and strolling; cross- and inter-cultural experiences of walking and movement; pilgrimage and rites of passage/spirituality; walking and marching as forms of protests and civic engagement; and more. And we will explore our own spaces, identities, and understandings by engaging in reflective movements of our own, on and around campus. Professor Schmitt.

ENGL 193, FYS: Citizenship. What does it mean to be a citizen? What rights are granted by this status? What obligations does a citizen have? In this course, we will explore how we pursue knowledge and cultivate understanding through an interdisciplinary examination of the concept of Citizenship. Coursework will include reading, research, and writing in various academic disciplines, personal reflection about our roles as citizens, and field work in the communities to which we belong. Professor Miller.

ENGL 193, FYS: Being Human in Post Human World. This seminar will take an interdisciplinary approach to investigate “the Human” as both an idea and also an analytical category that a broad array of literary texts, works of art, religious ideologies, philosophical treatises, and scientific advances have sought to define throughout history. By tracing Humanism from its Renaissance roots to the present potential of Post-Humanism, we will consider what it has meant to be human, what being human might mean to us right now, and how the intersection between the Humanities and Sciences continues to shape the human experience. In this class, we will explore historical and current views of the place humans occupy in our world, examine the borders that separate the human from the inhuman, and extrapolate possible futures. Professors Roden & Watson.

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.

ENSC 193, FYS: STEM in Developing Countries. An introduction to the complex interaction of engineering technologies, the natural sciences, and the social sciences within the context of development projects focused in peaceful regions of developing countries. This course uses readings, project evaluation, and group discussion to explore the complex decisions and constraints involved in pursuing technical projects (e.g., water development/treatment, electrification, construction) in developing countries. The course examines: (i) multiple development strategies with emphasis on the interplay of technologies, culture, economics, and local participation, and (ii) multiple arguments regarding ethical underpinnings (or lack thereof) for various development strategies. Professor Silliman

HIST 193, FYS: History through a Lens. This course will examine the impact of visual media (photography and videography) on the discipline of history. We shall consider how visual media may be used as sources for constructing historical accounts, become more aware of the biases and problems inherent in visual media, and we will also learn how to research, script, and produce video documentaries in order to convey historical information. Professor Goodrich.

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: Language and Identity. This course focuses on learning how the role of language plays a vital part in the construction of social identities, analyzing the way speakers of a language (or dialect) enact, legitimate and even dispute their culturally assigned place in society through communicative interactions. In the multicultural society of the United States different groups at times form their identities using distinct ways of speaking English. These groups include gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity, socioeconomic class, and nationality among others. We will discuss the connection between language and identity through various forms of literature, media, court documents, and film. Fulfills a Writing-Enriched (WE) designation.* Professor Isabelli.

MUSC 193, FYS: Music-A Human 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: 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: Loneliness & 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. Professor Howard.

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. 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 intellectually and emotionally 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 engagement in the human condition. Fulfills a Social Justice (SJ) designation*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

WGST 193, FYS: Extraordinary Bodies. Drawing from the fields of Women’s and Gender Studies, Disability Studies, and Fat Studies, students in this course will study the ways that the human body has been studied as either “normal” or “deviant” in both historical and contemporary contexts. Students will learn how human dignity has been denied to people whose bodies are marked by science/medicine as “extraordinary” with respect to disability, fatness, sex category, and race, among other embodiments. Through this course of study, students will address the first-year core question “How do we pursue knowledge and cultivate understanding?” Students will develop an understanding of how various academic disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences study the human body and make sense of bodily difference. Students will also explore both the social consequences and liberatory possibilities of a life lived in a body marked as “extraordinary.” Finally, students will choose a local problem that affects a marginalized group and complete an action-learning project to address that problem. Through the readings, written assignments, and class project, students will have the opportunity to integrate the principles of Gonzaga’s mission with their academic, personal, and spiritual interests. Fulfills a Social Justice (SJ) designation. Professor Diaz.

EDTE 201, Learning Theories/Epistemologies. This education course also fulfills the FYS core requirement. 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.

* 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.