First-Year Seminar (FP 0006)

Explore a focused topic you are interested in by reading selected texts, writing papers, and participating in classroom discussions. First-Year Seminar (FP 0006) is a dynamic, three-credit course for first-year students that fulfills the Seminar in Composition requirement.

Spring Term 2214

Class Number Day(s) Time Theme
31747 Tuesday and Thursday 1:15 - 2:30 p.m. Fun & Games
32126 Monday and Wednesday 5:00 - 6:15 p.m. On A Quest
24033 Monday and Wednesday 11:05 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. Rereading Popular Culture
24034 Tuesday and Thursday 11:05 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. Capitalism: Do You Buy It?

Fun & Games
Class Number 31747
Tuesday and Thursday
1:15 - 2:30 p.m.

What is fun? Why do we play? Is it an escapist distraction? Or is play an important element to development and health? What makes certain types of activities (like counting or problem-solving) fun in the context of a game, but in the context of work, the same activities are considered mind-numbing or drudgery? Using the twin pillars of theory and experience as our guides, in this course we will write to understand the role of fun and games in our lives. No previous game experience necessary, but students should be game to try new things. We’ll pay special attention to the importance of this ideas in the midst of a pandemic and social and political unrest. What is the role of Fun & Games & Play during a pandemic? In social and political unrest? Why do we play? What role does fun have in our lives in a time such as this?

On A Quest
Class Number 32126
Monday and Wednesday
5:00 - 6:15 p.m.
The Knights of the Round Table Summoned to the Quest by the Strange Damsel
Number 1 of the Holy Grail tapestries woven by Morris & Co. 1891-94 by Edward Burne-Jones.
Wool and silk on cotton warp. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

Important quests.  Important questions.  What does it mean to go on a quest? What does it mean to question?  From representations of quests in the earliest recorded myths to contemporary TV and films, quests and the questions they raise are seen as a way humans discover, learn, and find out about themselves and the world around them.  In this seminar we’ll read ancient and modern stories, look at examples from TV and film, including science fiction, and consider what quest narratives in these media are telling us.  You’ll write essays which draw on what is read and watched, the questions they raise and you consider, and think about how quests are relevant in our contemporary world.  This seminar will be a kind of quest in itself, where important questions are asked and perhaps important answers are found through reading, watching, discussing, and writing.

Rereading Popular Culture
Class Number 24033
Monday and Wednesday
11:05 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.

This seminar uses contemporary popular culture as its subject matter.  We are all immersed in popular culture, both experiencing it and authoring it.  Through an examination of the history and contexts of popular culture in the United States, we’ll discover how it has been formed into this all-pervasive construct.   We will explore film, television, video games, fashion, food, and other cultural phenomena that tell us a great deal about who we are individually and as a society.  We will also examine the extraordinary impact the digital age is having on our world, even as the Internet and the myriad devices we access it with continue to evolve at a rapid pace.  Through a series of reading and writing assignments, as well as out-of-class explorations, we will develop new lenses and ways of seeing the dynamic world we live in with the aim of becoming more curious, critical, and active participants in culture.

Capitalism: Do You Buy It?
Class Number 24034
Tuesday and Thursday
11:05 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.

We make choices about what to do with our money every day. Businesses invest millions of dollars every year to gain our money and trust, via advertising and marketing campaigns. The profits we help generate are then used to make decisions that affect our lives, communities, and planet. How can we be more aware of our role in this process? In this class we will investigate the rhetoric of corporate capitalism through readings, documentaries, and exploration of the ads we see and hear daily. We will also study how activists work to expose and critique the rhetoric of corporate capitalism. Together we will investigate the marketing messages we receive and our responses to them, in order to discover: Why do we buy what we buy?