First Year Seminar
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Course Offerings

Legend, Myth, and Hero in Art
Rebecca Bilbo, Department of Art

This course examines the role of the hero in art, myth, and legend.

Revolutionary Brothers: The Spirit of '76 and the "Real" Greatest Generation
Patrick M. Eagan, Department of History

Have you ever asked yourself why the generation of our "Founding Fathers" was able to combine revolutionary ideas and politics so effectively? What were the values that these men and women shared and made them so unique in comparison with today's political leadership? Do you wonder why subsequent generations have had such difficulty in doing so? If you have, then join us as we take an in depth look at the formation of the American governmental system through the lives of the "Founding Generation." This course will explore a wide range of material; from 18th century primary sources to modern American political science as we try and answer the question of whether the "Revolutionary Generation" was the best America has yet to offer.

Invasive Species, Menace or Myth?
Shannon Galbraith-Kent, Department of Biology

In this FYS course, we will use a combination of various readings, case studies, guest lectures, and field trips to explore the impact of invasive species in the Greater Cincinnati Area.

Thinking about Listening: Blues and Jazz
Jerome Langguth, Department of Philosophy

This class will explore the historical and cultural legacy of jazz and the blues. The readings for the class come from poets, novelists, and philosophers who have thought deeply about these rich and diverse art-forms. The course may also involve attending a number of concerts at various local venues.


The Churches and the Third Reich
Jim McNutt, Department of History

This class explores the historical expressions of hatred for the Jewish people and their faith throughout the past 2000 years. From the earliest Church Fathers, through the Crusades, Reformation, Enlightenment, Nazi Germany, militant Islam, to the liberal left of postmodern pop-academia; prejudice towards Jews has left a bloody stain. This class explores the nature of this hatred and how it expressed itself under the cloak of religious piety, enlightened reason, and contemporary politically-correct agendas.

Though selected readings and audio-visual presentations, the student will be challenged to confront an uncomfortable past and uncertain present. The course seeks to help develop critical thinking and writing, along with providing the student with historical-critical tools to responsibly evaluate past sources and contemporary media reports in order to better make crucial, independently based decisions in today’s world. A firm foundation for the future can only be found in a responsible grasp of past and present realities.

What’s All the Twitter About?
MaryJo Nead, Department of Communication and Drama

You’re probably used to using Facebook, You Tube, Twitter and other new media. But have you stopped to consider how these new media merge art and technology? Or how your communication experience is no longer linear? We will delve into these ideas as we explore how new media has influenced our lives. You’ll be asked to view new media from many perspectives: philosophical, psychological, and business. We’ll look at comics, TV, radio, music, video games, and electronic publishing. We’ll view the history of new media and examine the current convergence of old and new media. Finally, you’ll create your own new media. Not just another Facebook page but something creative and uniquely yours.

The Life of the Mind
Robert Riehemann, Department of Mathematics and Physics

What kinds of projects do “intellectuals” attempt? We will look at a wide variety of such individuals, from philosophers to folk singers who rode the rails during the depression, from saints to poets, novelists to mathematicians.

Climatopolis
Malcolm Robinson, Department of Economic

The globe is undeniably warming; the climate is certainly changing.  We can argue over whether or not these alterations are man-made; however, it is clear that the times will be a changin'. How will we respond to our new world?  In particular, since we organize our lives in cities, what will our urban future look like?  This class will provide an economic perspective as to how cities and regions will become transformed as we change our behaviors in response to our new environment.

Fairy Tales and the Bard
Jim Schuttemeyer, Department of English

At first glance fairy tales and Shakespearean drama seem to have little in common. One derives from ancient folk tradition, and is considered by modern readers to be an art form meant for children, with simple format, messages, characters, and language. The other was created by a single “genius,” and is considered by modern readers to be a “high art” form filled with complex characters and poetic language intended for a sophisticated adult audience. However, this course will explore the notion that fairy tales have more in common with Shakespeare than it first may seem. They often explore darker serious themes: sexual infidelity, the misuse of patriarchal power, physical and psychic violence, ethnic prejudice, cannibalism, rape, infanticide, mutilation, murder, famine, incest, and all seven deadly sins. We will begin by examining fairy tales through the lenses of various psychological theories, asking strange, interesting questions such as: Why do mothers (and witches) always die? Why do girls with red hoods pop into bed with lascivious wolves? Why does the magic donkey poop gold coins? Why go into the woods? We will then explore a selection of Shakespearean plays influenced by fairy tale concerns and structures, and continually zero in on the central question of the course:
How do fairy tale motifs illuminate Shakespeare? Note: the course includes an excursion to the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s production of The Comedy of Errors, Thursday evening November 20. Tickets: $20.

Business Enterprise in American History
Richard Shuey, Department of Business

This course will look at the good, bad, and ugly ways used by American business in the development of capitalism from slavery to riches. We'll look at how the American character was developed through self-reliance, industrialization, unionization, greed, and social responsibility. Special attention will be devoted to the role of Greater Cincinnati in the development of American business enterprise. A field trip to the Cincinnati Museum Center will be a required part of this course.

Becoming a Successful Dictator
J.T. Spence, Department of History and Political Science

In this class students will have the chance to explore perspectives on politics while developing experiences in dialogue, speaking, writing, and interacting with their peers and with faculty. The material presented and the required academic assignments are meant to help students develop or refine important academic skills and methods of inquiry, including critical thinking, methods of research, and applying and presenting analysis in a written and oral format. Through this interdisciplinary experience students will have the opportunity to make important connections between diverse areas of study and, hopefully, develop a heightened understanding and respect for the scholastic community.

The Dignity of Work
Father Gerald Twaddell, Department of Philosophy

This seminar will explore the nature of work and its value for the worker from a variety of perspectives including philosophical and theological insights. Students will develop skills for college level critical reading and writing as well as oral presentation.

Makers of World History (Honors Only)
Raymond Hébert, Department of History

“Are men and women able to force change upon history by their skill and wits, their nerve and daring? Are they capable of altering history’s course by their actions? Or are they hopelessly caught in the grinding process of great interpersonal forces over which they have no great control?” Historians and students of history have long grappled with these questions. These courses will examine the careers and impact of a number of figures who have significantly influenced modern world history or who have embodied much that is significant about the periods in which they lived. In doing so, the course will also introduce students to the chief varieties of historical interpretation and the process known as historical method.

The Films of Wes Anderson
Sarah Vogt, Department of English

In this first year seminar course we will explore the films and scripts of writer, director and producer Wes Anderson. Few contemporary filmmakers create films that are as visually arresting and instantly recognizable. All of his films have a style that is uniquely "Andersonian."  It is for this commitment to style that he is both praised (by fans) and derided (by critics). During this course we will view some of Anderson's most iconic films: "Rushmore," "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou," and "Moonrise Kingdom" — paying particular attention to the style, themes, and methods that make his work unique.

Understanding Comics
Kirk Mayhew, Department of Art

Consider the Graphic Novel aesthetic and its rebirth in American Media. This class will educate students about the visual vocabulary inside the image panels and narrative as well as the phenomenon in-between.