First Year and Pre-Major Program (FYPP)

Spring 2019 Discovery Core III




Individual and Societies (I&S) Options:

Practicing the Good Life: Ethics and the Rhetoric of Work, Leisure, and Consumption
B CORE 118A, I&S

Instructor: Ian Porter
Monday/Wednesday 1:15pm - 3:15pm

What makes a good life? We all answer this question for ourselves, perhaps unconsciously, as we make decisions about what we do for work and leisure, where we live, what we consume, and how we spend our time. Of course, these decisions are constrained by the material, social, political, economic, and cultural worlds we inhabit. Some people have more power than others to choose how they live. In addition, the cultural worlds we inhabit convey messages about what makes a good life, such as when advertisements show us images of the good life to sell products. In this class, we will examine various ways of thinking about, talking about, and practicing the good life. To clarify our work, we will focus on discourses that link everyday life, work, leisure, and consumption with values such as autonomy, community, sustainability, and justice. By reflecting on and refining your own understanding of the good life at the end of your first year of college, you will be better prepared to imagine the kind of life you want to live and therefore to articulate your short- and long-term personal, academic, and professional goals. In addition, such reflections will be useful as you complete your Discovery Core portfolio and reflection essay.

Democracy, Politics, and Freedom
B CORE 118B, I&S

Instructor: Jason Lambacher
Tuesday/Thursday 8:45am - 10:45am

Few would argue that freedom is a central value of democracy, yet our political discourse and policies reveal substantial disagreement about what freedom means.  In this class, we will read authors who approach the issue of freedom as a question with many different answers.  We will examine what they see as the most pressing threats to it, as well what social conditions best permit it to flourish, from a range of perspectives including liberalism, existentialism, Marxism, anarchism, communitarianism, and critical race theory.  In so doing, we will also consider how their visions of freedom and related critiques of domination and oppression are nested in broader theories concerning selfhood and identity, economics, and the role of government in ordering social life.  By exploring freedom as a democratic question, we will gain a deeper understanding of freedom as a concept, as well as appreciation for the diversity of democratic ideals.

Artificial Intelligence: Facts and Fictions
B CORE 118C, I&S

Instructor: David Nixon
Tuesday/Thursday 11:00am - 1:00pm

Advances in machine learning coupled with the rise of Big Data has meant that the field of AI has been growing in leaps and bounds in the past 10 years. We can already see it all around us, from self-driving cars to algorithms that learn our shopping preferences, target advertisements, and make movie suggestions. AI is being used in drone warfare, to write newspaper articles, and to make original scientific discoveries. Some predict that millions of jobs will be lost to AI in the coming decades. In this class we both examine the history and current state of artificial intelligence as well as critically analyze fictional depictions of AI in literature and film. Our aim is to get a handle on the huge social, ethical, and philosophical implications of this exciting, fast-moving, and sometimes downright scary field of AI.

Reflection in Memoir: Study and Practice of Self Reflection
B CORE 118D, I&S

Instructor: Loren Redwood
Tuesday/Thursday 1:15pm - 3:15pm

This course will use memoir in a variety of formats (diary, graphic novel, creative nonfiction) from a variety of civil rights, immigrant rights, and indigenous rights activists in order to examine the role of reflection in social and personal transformation. The course will provide multiple opportunities for students to examine methods and practices of reflection as they prepare to reflect upon their own writing, progress, and complete the required capstone project for the year. Examining texts from multiple sources allows students to gain insight into the authors who are reflecting on their professions, social relationships, and the time in which they lived; while making connections between these aspects of their lives. 


Natural World (NW) Options:

Reflections: The Art and Science of Light

Instructor: Kim Gunnerson
Tuesday/Thursday 8:45am - 10:45am

Scientists and artists share a common desire to understand light through thoughtful observation and reflection to develop a deeper understanding of this phenomena that has fascinated humans since prehistoric times.  This class is designed to allow students to explore light through both the lens of the scientific method and the creative perspectives of artistic representation of nature. Students' explorations will allow them to reflect on the parallel nature of scientific and artistic understandings of light.  Additionally, students will be completing their Discovery Core portfolios to aid in their reflection about their first-year college experience.

Chronic Toxicity and Health

Instructor: Grace Lasker
Monday/Wednesday 11:00am - 1:00pm

This course specifically investigates chronic toxicity and human health in the context of major scientific disciplines: physiology, biochemistry, toxicology, and sustainability. Students will view their environment through a critical lens supported by course content and inquiry-based activities. 


Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA) Options:

Rehearsing for Change: Applied Theatre and Community Building

Instructor: Deborah Hathaway
Tuesday/Thursday 11:00am - 1:00pm

This course explores how theatre can be used for social change and to provide opportunities for empathy and dialogue. We will define applied theatre and explore many diverse examples of individuals and groups evaluating the objective of theatre and it's role as a social change agent. In addition to the focus on the work and ideas, we will question ourselves in our thoughts about applied theatre. What do we struggle with? What communities do we identity with? What exciting and challenging elements are involved?  At the end of the quarter, each individual/group will complete a community-based capstone project designed to apply their understanding of the methods and tools of community building through applied theatre. 

Reading and Writing the Literature of Social Engagement

Instructor: Linda Watts
Tuesday/Thursday 3:30pm - 5:30pm

This course takes its inspiration from psychiatrist Robert Coles, who for many years taught an enormously popular course at Harvard entitled, "The Literature of Social Reflection." As an educator, Coles advanced the premise that lifespan exposure to literature - particularly works of social observation - could inform and enhance readers' experiences within, and contributions to, the lived world.  Such a reading practice prioritizes character, courage, and compassion. Members of this class will join in a quarter-long exploration of this premise as it might prove relevant to our own lives and those of people we contact through daily life. Throughout the course, class members will be encouraged to explore and help transform the literature of civic engagement. Along the way, we will employ course materials, assignments, and activities as means by which to cultivate and enhance capacities crucial for constructive encounter with difference (creative coexistence) - such as generous reading, active listening, attentive observation, dialogue, reflection, negotiation, and conflict resolution. 

The Art of the Myth: Bringing Sacred Stories to Life

Instructor: Gavin Doyle
Monday/Wednesday 3:30pm - 5:30pm

Through an exploration of folk tales, myths, and sacred stories selected from a diverse range of cultures, students will work to parse out universal truths - looking for differences, commonalities, and meaning. Students will learn to re-imagine stories and to communicate their interpretations to an audience through creative writing, visual arts, stage movement, and spoken word. 

Readings, assigned essays, and class discussions will pair with class exercises. Student artifacts from the course will be taken up and transformed into final group artistic Showcase.

Picture Yourself

Instructor: Howard Hsu
Tuesday/Thursday 3:30pm - 5:30pm

This DC III course is structured around photography as a means of personal expression. Students will look introspectively at their past, present, and future and incorporate aspects of themselves into their photography. 

Applying photographic concepts and techniques, students will engage in self-portraiture, experimentation with different formats or processes, and discussions among classmates on personal identity, cultural perspectives, and ideological views of the world. 

The course will culminate with the creation of the DC III portfolio incorporating past work and new work into a cohesive theme that is an insight into the photographer's personality, history, aspirations, and unique way of seeing the world. 

Sustainable Arts

Instructor: Carol Shaw
Tuesday/Thursday 1:15pm - 3:15pm

Is art the highest expression of human experience? The Arts may represent the greatest callings of culture and society, the ultimate products of human inspiration, a source of immortal life, legendary beauty, lasting influence and truth. Much as we value art for art's sake - aesthetically, intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally - art is also big business and big philanthropy. This course examines art and its intersections with commerce and culture, the place of art in society, and the practical aspects of supporting and sustaining the arts. The cross-influences of money and the arts can create major waves in society. We will consider the ongoing transformation of economic and social models of patrons, audiences, and communities that support or hinder artists and art programs and public and private art.

Students will work on creative/artistic projects as well as critical/analytical projects as they explore the intersections of artistic motivation and economic and business models that drive and sustain the arts and the entertainment industry. As a literary case study, students will conduct analysis of the hero's journey, through archetypal tales that have crossed over from oral tradition to print, to film, and now into the realm of virtual media. We will look at the history and archetypes of story-telling and the place of story-telling in human psychology as represented across literature, theatre, film, music, dance, visual arts, and emerging mixed-genre, mixed media arts. The power of story preserves tradition and also drives change and evolution in human thinking and experience. Students will contemplate and interpret concepts from ancient legends, the legendary teachings of Joseph Campell, and their epic embodiment and lucrative commercialization in today's entertainment world.