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Freshman Seminars
Fall 2013

Get your academic career started right with an exciting and rewarding Freshman Seminar! 
This brand new program features small, seminar-style courses that are open only to First-Year Students, and offer narrowly-focused topics to introduce you to the inner workings of a field of interest or an area of potential major.  

Through significant interaction with a dedicated faculty member and a group of like-minded students, you will gain a rewarding academic experience, digging deeply into a topic with some of the Mount’s best professors, while forming a lasting bond with students of similar academic interests that will serve you well in the years to come.

FSEM 101 Caught in the Rye: Understanding the Works of J. D. Salinger
FSEM 102 Just War Stories    
FSEM 103 Writing from New York
FSEM 104 What Will You Explore?
FSEM 105 Patriots, Radicals, and Hackers: Dissent in American Culture
FSEM 106 Don Quixote: Revolutionary, Artist, or Fool?
FSEM 107 Economics of Hollywood
FSEM 108 Science or Pseudoscience
FSEM 109 Art and Empire

FSEM 101 CAUGHT IN THE RYE: Understanding the Works of J. D. Salinger
In this course, we will read and discuss some of Salinger's finest works, seeking to better understand what he had to tell us about love, loss, family, fame, alienation, art, and God. We will cover the Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey, Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters, and The Catcher in the Rye. The written assignments will contain a creative option, a chance for students to write their own work of short fiction for credit.  
 (Lee; 3 credits of Category B: Humanities/Literature Core)

This class examines the experience of war from the perspective of the individual soldier. War stories show us the impact of decisions to go to war (ad bellum decisions by policy makers) as well as the demands of combat on behavior (conduct in bello) through combatants’ actual experience of war. Soldiers play a role in (international) law enforcement and embrace the age-old ideals of warriors that exist in every culture. Yet, soldiers face conflicts which expand beyond warfare. When is a war actually “just” (characterized by justice) and what is the moral and emotional impact of warfare if it violates such standards as “just cause,” war as a “last resort,” “noncombatant immunity,” and “proportionate response” – principles referred to as “just war” standards? What does the war story teach us about combat and its impact? Stories will include Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.’s Slaughterhouse-Five, Thom Jones, “The Pugilist at Rest,” as well as excerpts from Homer’s The Iliad  and Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
(Zubeck; 3 credits of Category B: Humanities/Literature Core)

This course examines the evolution and continuous reinvention of New York City as a major site of literary and cultural production. Beginning with early New York literary production and continuing to the present, we will examine a range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and film to reveal a variety of New York experiences. Students will learn about the city’s cultural history; note the development of writing about New York in the context of American literary history; think about the relationship between literature and other artistic forms and media; and explore various spaces of literary and artistic culture in New York City today, through field trips and site visits, in order to illuminate and enhance our understanding of the course materials.
(Friedel; 3 credits of Category B: Humanities/Literature Core)

Start becoming a professional now. Want to know how research works? Learn by doing it.
Design your own study through an interdisciplinary approach to learning. You will pursue your
own intellectual property by structuring the backbone of a methodological design and carry it
out. The sky’s the limit. Psychology majors could design a research program to study the effect
of self-esteem on addiction. Nursing or Biology majors could look at issues in public health or
social epidemiology. English majors might investigate how males versus females place on the
continuum of literacy. Art majors may do a content analysis of media images or music lyrics.
What will YOU explore?                                                                                                                     
(Nagi; 3 credits of Category C: Social Science/Sociology Core)

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FSEM 105 PATRIOTS, RADICALS AND HACKERS: Dissent in American Culture (honors)
The Hunger Games. The Pilgrims. The Declaration of Independence. Seneca Falls. Geronimo, the Underground Railroad. The Freedom Riders. Muhammad Ali. WikiLeaks. What do these texts, events, and people all have in common? One word: DISSENT.  Dissent—meaning to differ, especially from the majority opinion—has been a crucial concept from the earliest American colonies until today. By evaluating a range of texts and historical moments, this class will grapple with the different manifestations of this seemingly quintessential American concept.
(Alumbaugh; 3 credits of Category B: Humanities/Literature Core)

FSEM 106 DON QUIXOTE: Revolutionary, Artist, or Fool?
To understand and study Don Quixote is to learn how to live. Copies of Don Quixote’s adventures have been found in the private libraries of revolutionaries, artists and common citizens. We will explore the novel is a product of war, racism, the sexual frustrations of an overly suppressed empire, and an overwhelming desire to flee the monotony of a boring life and escape to a world where windmills become giants, old men become knights, and everyday situations can be an epic adventure. 
(Wong; 3 credits of Category B: Humanities/Literature Core)

The course introduces the student to principles of economics and business through the storylines and plots of Hollywood movies. Seven movies will be chosen to introduce the basic concepts of underlying economic theories, while making a connection to real-world economic phenomena. Subjects such as the structure and role of financial markets, the role of financial institutions, employee relationships, ethical business, mergers and acquisitions, technology and innovation, and international economic relations will be discussed while analyzing the content of such movies as “The Pursuit of Happiness”, “Other People’s Money”, “Barbarians at the Gate”, “The Capitalist”, “Glengarry Glen Ross”, “Margin Call” and “Up in the Air.”
(Ritsatos; 3 credits, Category C: Social Sciences/Business and Economics Core)

FSEM 108 – SCIENCE OR PSEUDOSCIENCE (2 sections available!)
Why do people believe weird things? It may be surprising to learn that strange beliefs can develop from the normal ways the human brain processes information. It may be less surprising to know that people sometimes take advantage of this and use ‘sciencey’ language to spread (or sell!) their own strange beliefs. The goal of this course is for students to be able to figure out for themselves if the next weird thing they encounter is too strange to be true. Students in this class will develop a healthy skepticism by learning to distinguish real science from pseudoscience and to think critically about evidence and sources of evidence. Students will also explore normal psychological processes; such as decision-making and judgment, that allow us to develop and maintain strange beliefs and that make pseudoscience so appealing. The class will focus on separating real psychology from ‘pop’ psychology, but developing a healthy skepticism can help students evaluate weird things in any area!
(Berger; 3 credits, Category C: Social Sciences/Psychology Core)

FSEM 109 – ART AND EMPIRE: Exploring Ancient America
We will explore the relationship between art and imperial domination using two early modern American case studies, the Aztec in Central Mexico and the Inka, in Western South America. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, both American empires developed unified cultural systems that were harnessed to support and resist domination by subject groups; however, the Aztec and the Inka had distinct approaches to artistic production and its control. Through writing exercises, group projects, and an online exhibition, we will analyze and interpret what we now call Aztec and Inka art.  
(Emily Engel - Fine Arts; Category B-3: Humanities/Fine Arts Core)

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How to Register
Once you send in your deposit, you will register for a Summer Orientation Slot. At that time, you will be able to fill out a course preference form online. The Freshman Seminars will be included on that form, so you can select your desired seminar at that time.
But don’t delay! These courses have limited enrollment, and are offered on a first come first served basis. Any questions? Contact Sarah Stevenson.  

Sarah Stevenson
Director of the Core Curriculum 
Phone: (718) 405-3723