First-Year Seminars by Semester

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Seminars are open to first-year students only. All first year seminars can be scheduled through LionPATH.

 

Fall 2018

ANTH 83 (3 cr) Historic Archaeology of 19th Century Rural Pennsylvania (GS)

Class #17442 ~ MoWeFr 11:15AM - 12:05PM ~ Instructor: Claire Milner

The vast majority of Americans lived on farms during the 19th century. It is therefore not surprising that the most common archaeological sites in the United States are farmsteads. Yet archaeologists have only recently begun to explore this rich source of information about 19th century rural lifeways. By studying the artifacts from four seasons of PSU excavations of Pennsylvania farmsteads, students will learn how archaeologists dig sites and analyze artifacts to reconstruct and interpret the past. They will use these data to assess the often romanticized view of farm life, and transformations of the rural economic and cultural landscape due to enormous changes in consumerism, markets, infrastructure, industrialization, urbanization, and new technologies during the 19th century.

APLNG 83 (3 cr) Environments for Language Learning (GS)

Class #17337 ~ TuTh 3:05PM - 4:20PM ~ Instructor: Celeste Kinginger

This course will provide an introduction to the study of second language acquisition through reading and discussion of stories about various contexts in which language and culture are learned. These will include stories about the experiences of refugees arriving in the United States from around the world, of immigration in childhood or adulthood, of growing up in multilingual families, or of voluntary learning of foreign languages at home and abroad. Along the way we will encounter questions about the role of language learning in social justice as well as questions about the ways in which gender, power, and social class influence our pathways in pursuit of a satisfying sense of self through education. The stories we read will also introduce basic research questions in several related fields, including applied linguistics, bi- and multilingualism, and language education (such as: How can we understand the processes of language acquisition and attrition? What is the role of age in ultimate attainment? What are the cognitive benefits of bilingualism?). The class will conduct a service learning project to better understand the issues faced by language learners in our local community. International students will be warmly welcomed to join this course.

ASIA 83 (3 cr) Wider World of Sports (GH)

Class #17509 ~ TuTh 12:05PM - 1:20PM ~ Instructor: Jessamyn Abel

Sports are much more than just games.  Viewing sports from various perspectives, this course will examine what meanings have been attached to the participation in and planning of athletic events and institutions by Asian peoples and nations.  We will focus on the introduction of Western-style athletics; the international relations of sports mega-events, like the Olympics and FIFA World Cup; specific activities, such as Japanese baseball; and the changing meanings of Asian sports like judo and karate as they spread to other parts of the world.  The aim of this course is not only to build understanding of distant places and disparate peoples, but also to gain new perspectives on our own society through the shared activity of sports. 

CAS 84 (3 cr) Communication and Mindfulness (GH)

Class #25508 ~ MoWe 2:30PM - 3:45PM ~ Instructor: Jeremy Engels

Today, mindfulness is all the rage. At every turn, we are urged to be more mindful, about what we say, about what we do, about what we eat, about our relationships with others and with the world around us. In this course, we will investigate mindfulness together, learning what it means to be more mindful, especially in how we communicate. We will explore a number of questions, including: What is mindfulness? Does it have a history? How do we practice it? What is the scientific evidence for its benefits? How can mindfulness inform how we communicate with others, and also with ourselves? And, finally, how is mindfulness related to social change?

CAMS 83 (3 cr) Life, Love, and Death in Pompeii (GS)

Class #17850 ~ TuTh 1:35PM - 2:50PM ~ Instructor: Pamela Cole

In 79 CE the small Roman city of Pompeii was buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and lay buried until its 'discovery' in the 18th Century. In this seminar we will look at the amazing physical remains uncovered by archaeology of streets and shops, houses and temples, amphitheater and baths and attempt to put together the everyday life of the inhabitants of this prosperous city. We will look at the treasure of artifacts, paintings, luxury goods and everyday household items, what they read and how they wrote all in an attempt to discover who these people were.

HIST 83 (3 cr) India: History, Politics, and Identity (GH)

Class #18448 ~ TuTh 10:35AM - 11:50AM ~ Instructor: Jyoti Balachandran

This course is an inter-disciplinary introduction to India in the globalized world of the 21st century. What are the implications of global economic connections and inter-dependence on personal, social, religious and gender identities in India? How do Indians, in India and abroad, negotiate the old and the new? What is the role of "ancient" India in "modern" times? By asking these questions, the course will focus on the multiple and often paradoxical understandings of contemporary India, and provide an appreciation for the aspirations and challenges that underlay the creation of India as a nation-state in 1947. Through an inter-disciplinary inquiry that includes working with historical materials, journalistic writings, fiction and movies, students will be encouraged to critically reflect on their own assumptions about India and what it represents to them.

JST 83 (3 cr) First Year Seminar in Jewish Studies (GH)

Class #27154 ~ MoWeFr 10:10AM - 11:00AM ~ Instructor: TBA

Description forthcoming

LER 83 (3 cr) Critical Approaches to the Dimensions and Direction in Labor and Employment Relations (GS)

Class #17276 ~ MoWe 2:30PM - 3:45PM ~ Instructor: TBD

The course will provide students with the opportunity to study Labor and Employment Relations in their first semester at the University. This experience will serve as a preparation for additional courses in Labor and Employment Relations as well as an introduction to college-level study generally. Students will write essay exams, and critique a published study on the relevant topic of their own choices in teams. Class periods stress discussion of assigned readings, debates, and collaborative research projects. Class participation is required. 

PHIL 83 (3 cr) Critical Introduction to Ethics and Bioethics (GH)

Class #17430 ~ TuTh 10:35AM - 11:50AM ~ Instructor: Nicholas DeWarren

This first-year seminar introduces students to foundational moral theories before exploring two topics in bioethics: the use of drugs and abortion. We will discuss and evaluate arguments for the ethical permissibility of drug use in various contexts (medicinal, recreational, athletic) and consider various positions in the pro-life and pro-choice debate on abortion. As a first-year seminar, the course will explore learning tools and resources available at Penn State, introduce students to philosophy and fields of study relating to bioethics, and provide tools for students to develop relationships with other students, faculty, and groups at Penn State.

PLSC 83 (3 cr) First Year Seminar in Political Science (GS)

Class #17446 ~ MoWeFr 1:25PM - 2:15PM ~ Instructor: Gretchen Casper

PLSC 83 is a course on current topics in international politics. Each week we review major issues raised in media (newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, and television news programs) that deal with international politics and American foreign policy. Attention is given to applying political science arguments in analyzing major news events and trends. Topics include the resurrection of Russia, the rise of China, global economic problems, Middle East conflicts, and proliferation concerns.

PSYCH 83 (3 cr) Sleep and Dreaming in Everyday Life (GS)

Class #17279 ~ TuTh 12:05PM - 1:20PM ~ Instructor: Brian Crosby

During the course of your life you will spend more time sleeping than in any other single activity. Yet scientists cannot definitively answer the question of why we sleep. Although the answer won’t be discovered in this course, we will explore scientific evidence regarding the sleeping brain and dreaming mind. Three primary goals will guide this exploration: 1) provide an introduction to the study of sleep and an overview of sleep and dreaming, 2) discuss the relation between sleep and brain function, and 3) review abnormalities of sleep that occur in clinical disorders. With these goals in mind, we will explore answers to questions like: How much sleep do I need? What happens if I don’t get enough sleep? How can sleep affect my academic performance? Why do I dream and what do my dreams mean? Should I take naps? It is expected that students will leave the course with an understanding of the value of sleep and the role it plays in our everyday life.

WMNST 83 (3 cr) Women, Writing and Resistance (GH)

Class #17513 ~ TuTh 10:35AM - 11:50AM ~ Instructor: Manini Samarth

Can a novel or a poem be experienced as a form of personal, social and political interrogation -- and still remain, primarily, a work of art? Without recourse to essentialist definitions of 'women's writing,' can we postulate ways in which an awareness of 'female' identity influences acts of literary resistance across cultures and historical periods? In framing our responses to these and related questions, we'll explore the evolutionary directions of this sometimes implicitly and often directly subversive literature. Additionally, through our analysis of short stories, essays, and poetry by women, we will chart the progressive development of women’s social and political identity as a force for change.

 

Spring 2018

CAS 84 (3 cr) First Year Seminar in Communication Arts and Sciences (GH)

Class #17820~ Tu Th 12:05 PM - 1:20 PM ~ Instructor: TBD

Popular music sends powerful messages about the lives and values of the people who produced, performed, and consumed it. A close examination of musical practices over time and space can illuminate fundamental issues in American culture and history including the influence of technology, ideology, class, gender, and race on various genres of music -- jazz, swing, gospel, country, rhythm and blues, and rock; the multiple forms and influence of African American music; and songs and social movements, including the union, suffrage movement, and Civil Rights movements to what we have today.

PLSC 83 (3 cr) First Year Seminar in Political Science (GS)

Class #18089 ~ Tu Th 12:05 PM - 1:20 PM ~ Instructor: Robert Packer 

PLSC 83 is a course on current topics in international politics. Each week we review major issues raised in media (newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, and television news programs) that deal with international politics and American foreign policy. Attention is given to applying political science arguments in analyzing major news events and trends. Topics include the resurrection of Russia, the rise of China, global economic problems, Middle East conflicts, and proliferation concerns.

SOC 83 (3 cr) Environmental Sociology (GS)

Class #17896 ~ M W F 11:15 AM - 12:05 PM ~ Instructor: Erik Nielsen

This course explores the complex interaction between society and the environment. Environmental factors can shape social phenomena and human societies can alter the natural environment. The field of environmental sociology attempts to integrate these connections systematically into social science research. In this course, we will examine several dimensions of the human-environment interface. 

WMNST 83 (3 cr) Theorizing Social Justice (GH)

Class #25082 ~ Tu Th 10:35 AM - 11:50 AM ~ Instructor: Hilary Malatino

How do our sexualities, gender identities, and racial/ethnic backgrounds influence the way we experience and interact with the world around us? How do these aspects of identity influence the social and political distribution of rights and privileges? Focusing on the intersections and interactions of forms of sexual, gender, and racialized discrimination in the contemporary United States, this class examines how injustice is produced in and through certain identity categories, as well as how such forms of injustice can be addressed. We’ll learn about hip hop feminism, sexual double standards, LGBTQIA rights movements, and the historical emergence and contemporary goals of trans activism, among other topics.

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