Your First Year

Course Descriptions

FYS 101-10  War Over Wolves

Andrew Case, Environmental Science and Studies

The goal of this course is not to figure out which side is right or wrong, but rather to use the war over wolves as a way to better understand the conflicted role of wildlife-and wild nature in general-in our modern lives. After exploring the history that shaped attitudes and actions towards wolves and ultimately their near eradication in the lower 48 states, we will explore wolf reintroduction and the changing fates of large predators on an increasingly crowded globe. Along the way, we will explore the “lenses” through which ranchers, ecologists, ethicists, and political leaders have viewed wolves and debate our own values in the process. Students will tackle critical questions while also developing their research, writing, and rhetorical skills.

Our exploration of wolves will be placed in a global perspective by comparing the animal’s North American story with places like Scandinavia, Russia, Iran, and Japan. We will study inadvertent as well as intentional efforts at “rewilding” in Western Europe and ask whether the wolf can have a place in the countryside in our times. In addition, we will explore developments in “carnivore coexistence” in places across the global South as a means of understanding the strategies that societies and cultures have developed for living with predator species. The course will feature a number of guests who will discuss varying perspectives on wolves and wildlife and students will conduct a number of in-class debates to develop the skill of developing an argument and presenting evidence. A field trip may be part of the course if circumstances permit.

FYS 101-11  Afro Latin America

Elena Deanda-Camacho, Modern Languages

Effective citizen leadership requires the ability to consider questions and issues from multiple perspectives with a thoughtful and critical eye. The required first-year seminar offers students the opportunity to engage in nuanced critical inquiry in a small, seminar-style course. Topics vary widely and reflect diverse disciplinary and multidisciplinary perspectives. All FYS courses introduce students to library research and information literacy; offer instruction on the writing process, rhetorical knowledge, and academic conventions; and include significant research, writing, revision, and presentation. FYS courses satisfy the W1 component of the Writing Program.

FYS 101-12  Neuroscience and Reversing Depression

David Townsend

Effective citizen leadership requires the ability to consider questions and issues from multiple perspectives with a thoughtful and critical eye. The required first-year seminar offers students the opportunity to engage in nuanced critical inquiry in a small, seminar-style course. Topics vary widely and reflect diverse disciplinary and multidisciplinary perspectives. All FYS courses introduce students to library research and information literacy; offer instruction on the writing process, rhetorical knowledge, and academic conventions; and include significant research, writing, revision, and presentation. FYS courses satisfy the W1 component of the Writing Program.

FYS 101-14  Here Be Monsters

Courtney Rydel, English

Werewolves. Dragons. Zombies. Exploring these three types of monsters and their manifestations over the past thousand years, we will examine poetry, short stories, television, and film across cultures. What are the origins of these monsters? Who created them? Which cultural fears do they symbolize and express? How are they defeated? Most importantly, why do they still fascinate us? Our explorations will span from ancient Greece to medieval England, from Chinese folklore to Haitian anthropology, and to present day popular media such as iZombie and The Hobbit. Texts will include Beowulf, Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, fairytales from the Brothers Grimm, Marie de France’s “Bisclavret,” and Zora Neale Hurston’s Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica. While we will primarily investigate using the tools of literary studies, we will also venture into interdisciplinary fields, such as zombie studies and ecocriticism. In addition to short papers responding to these works we read as a class, you will research, present, and write a paper on one mythical creature or monster of your choice. This course will prepare you for your later coursework-as well as a lycanthropy outbreak, the zombie apocalypse, or a dragon attack, whichever comes first.