McMicken College of Arts & SciencesMcMicken College of Arts & SciencesUniversity of Cincinnati

McMicken College of Arts & Sciences

Freshmen Seminars

The freshmen seminar program offers first year students the opportunity to explore an intellectually stimulating scholarly topic in the company of a small group of fellow students and a faculty member of the college. Each seminar satisfies a core requirement of the college, and introduces or develops one or more Baccalaureate Competencies (critical thinking, effective communication, knowledge integration, social responsibility), while introducing students to the expectations of college-level work.

Spring Semester 2014


Haitian Vodou (AFST1021, Section 001, 006129)
MWF 2:30pm-3:25pm, Braziel

  • This freshman seminar introduces students to Haitian Vodou through music, dance, drumming, ceremonies, and other forms of religious and ritualistic praxis, as well as the core beliefs of the religion, while dispelling negative stereotypes about “Voodoo” that are pervasive in the United States (and in other parts of the world). Vodou is an eclectic and synthesized blend of “old world” African religious traditions and rituals Yoruban, Congolese, Ibo, Dahomeyan, among others and “new world” faiths and practices particularly elements of indigenous belief from the Taino inhabitants of the island of Hispaniola and the Catholicism imported by Spanish and French colonialists in the Caribbean. We will read texts, watch films, study art, analyze dance, listen to music, and think critically about Vodou as an important religious tradition in the Americas and in the country of Haiti. By the end of the semester, we will know the difference between Vodou and the fantasies and fictions of American consciousness distilled in the stereotypes of “Voodoo.” And students will have a new appreciation for the beliefs, practices, and rituals of Haiti’s dominant religion.
    BOK: HU, DC

Fundamentals of Health and Wellness (AFST1022, Section 001, 006177)
MWF 10:10am-11:10am, Whembolua

  • This freshman seminar provides students with a comprehensive hands-on experiential learning experience of Health and Wellness.  Due to the increasing number of health disparities experienced by minority groups, health professionals have repeatedly called for culturally competent approaches to address the complexity and unique nature of ethnic minority communities.  The impact of lifestyle choices on all aspects of personal health will be discussed, including physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and environmental.  Students who take this course will use a variety of social science methods to explore topics related to exercise and fitness, nutrition, stress management, mental health, disease prevention, substance abuse, and healthy relationships. The information and skills necessary for making informed and healthful decisions to promote wellness will be discussed with an emphasis on cultural competence and self-responsibility.  Other goals of this course include: college success, development of the sense of University community, and a shared common educational experience with other freshman.
    BOK: SS, DC

Language and Globalization (ANTH1019, Section 001, 008031)
MWF 10:10AM-11:15AM, Millar

  • From social media to the new economy and global pop culture, new ways of communicating and using language are both the product and the vehicle of the economic, political and cultural changes associated with globalization. Taking an ethnographic approach, this course looks at how globalization is transforming the ways we use language in contemporary society, while critically reflecting on how new patterns of communication also contribute to structures of inequality on a global scale.
    BOK: SS, DC

At the Zoo:  Animal Behavior (BIOL1002, Section 001, 007282)
W 5:30pm-8:20pm, Wingate

  • This course is designed for non-science majors and will begin by discussing basic animal classification with an emphasis on animals displayed at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Classes of animals that will be discussed include but are not limited to mammalia, aves, amphibia, reptilia, chondrichthyes and osteichthyes. Other taxa discussed include superclass agnatha and phylum arthropoda with an emphasis on class insecta. Basic characteristics and adaptations of these taxa will be discussed. Basic ecological principles will be described including evolution, adaptations to environmental pressures and population and community ecology. Many of the taxa will be observed through Zoo tours and live animal demonstrations that will emphasize the animal's characteristics, adaptations, evolutionary relationships and basic ecological concepts.
    BOK: NS

At the Zoo:  Animal Behavior (BIOL1002, Section 002, 007284)
W 5:30pm-8:20pm, C. Christopher

  • This course is designed for non-science majors and will begin by discussing basic animal classification with an emphasis on animals displayed at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Classes of animals that will be discussed include but are not limited to mammalia, aves, amphibia, reptilia, chondrichthyes and osteichthyes. Other taxa discussed include superclass agnatha and phylum arthropoda with an emphasis on class insecta. Basic characteristics and adaptations of these taxa will be discussed. Basic ecological principles will be described including evolution, adaptations to environmental pressures and population and community ecology. Many of the taxa will be observed through Zoo tours and live animal demonstrations that will emphasize the animal's characteristics, adaptations, evolutionary relationships and basic ecological concepts.
    BOK: NS

Personal Faith in the Roman Empire (CLAS1003, Section 001, 001617)
TR 9:30am-10:50am, Hatch

  • We will trace personal religious experiences and ideas in the Roman Empire (1st to 5th cent. A.D.),  a formative period in western history, using a wide range of primary texts that include Christian writings, both canonical and non-canonical, texts from Gnostic groups, Hermetic treatises, magical papyri, Neo-Platonic philosophers, alchemists, and mystics. Students will develop critical skills through a combination of close reading, written response, and in-class discussion and will also deepen their perspective on religious culture and activity in the present.
    BOK: HP, DC

Communication and Culture (COMM1050, Section 001, 004662)
R 6:00pm-8:50pm, B. Luccioni

  • This seminar introduces freshmen to topics in communication that pertain to the development of insights into the human condition and the making of meaning. Students will analyze primary documents, discuss common readings, and complete appropriate assignments based on research with secondary and primary sources.
    BOK: SS

Communication and Society (COMM1055, Section 001, 004663)
MWF 11:15am-12:10pm, Robbins

  • This seminar introduces freshmen to topics in communication that examine the diverse personal, interpersonal, and societal factors that shape communication in everyday life. Students will analyze primary documents, discuss common readings, and complete appropriate assignments based on research with secondary and primary sources.
    BOK: SS

Communication and Society (COMM1055, Section 002, 004664)
MWF 12:20am-1:15pm, Robbins

  • This seminar introduces freshmen to topics in communication that examine the diverse personal, interpersonal, and societal factors that shape communication in everyday life. Students will analyze primary documents, discuss common readings, and complete appropriate assignments based on research with secondary and primary sources.
    BOK: SS

English Composition: Sport & Society (ENGL1001, Section 018, 000678)
MWF 10:10am-11:05pm, Beckelhimer

  • This writing-intensive course also emphasizes critical reading, textual analysis, and development of research skills. This seminar section will explore historical and modern-day sports and their impacts on American and world cultures, athletes, fans, and social issues such as violence, race, gender, nationalism, and politics. Students will study sports rhetoric through traditional sports writing, but also through websites, advertisements, scholarly sources, films and documentaries, blogs, social media, photographs, and more. Interactive assignments, field trips to UC sporting events, and guest speakers are likely.
    BOK: EC

English Composition: The Documentary Perogative (ENGL1012, Section 002, 000740)
TR 09:30am-10:50pm, Knippling

  • This 1012 Freshman Seminar will require traditional prose essays and a multimedia composition. Each student will produce a very short (around two-minute) mini-documentary with voice-over narration, based primarily on still photography scanned in high definition. The mini-documentary would take as its raw material a photographic record of a historical event researched and gathered by the students to author a mini-documentary.  Student receive hands-on instruction in video production using equipment in the Student Technology Resource Center in Langsam Library. The process of learning this authoring skill would constitute the experiential, hands-on component of this advanced first-year composition course.
    BOK: EC

Classic Film Noir (ENGL1018, Section 001, 000512)
MWF 12:20am-1:15pm, Cummins

  • Although many critics question whether film noir exists as a genre, the term describes a large number of movies made in the 1940s and 50s that probe the underside of American life, usually featuring marginal male characters who may or may not be criminals or detectives, dark urban environments, dangerous beautiful females who use sex to manipulate and mislead the males with whom they come in contact, cowardly or corrupt police officers, and scheming politicians.  "Neo noir" describes films made mostly from the 1970s onward and featuring the same sort of sleazy or disreputable characters and situations, but with the additional dimension of self-conscious reflection of or allusion to antecedents in film noir, whether introduced in homage or as parody or pastiche.  Examples of film noir that we will discuss in this course include THE MALTESE FALCON, DOUBLE INDEMNITY, OUT OF THE PAST, TOUCH OF EVIL, and others as circumstances permit; neo noirs will include CHINATOWN, BODY HEAT, BLUE VELVET, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, and others as time allows.
    BOK: HU

Enigma of Beauty (ENGL1018, Section 001, 903848)
TR 9:30am-10:50am, Dziech

  • This course will examine the ways in which physical beauty is depicted in representative literature and films. Students will use the works to analyze varying attitudes about its nature and significance and will explore and debate whether perceptions of beauty are subjective and culturally determined or  objective and influenced by biology and evolution.
    BOK: HU

Money and Class in American Fiction (ENGL1018, Section 003, 000544)
TR 2:20am-3:20pm, Person

  • This interdisciplinary seminar (literature, history, painting, film) will focus on money in American fiction and its effect on social and economic classes.  Among the novels we shall read:  Horatio Alger’s Ragged Dick, Rebecca Harding Davis’s Life in the Iron Mills, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.  We shall also read some historical documents, just as Jacob Riss’s How the Other Half Lives, Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class, Emma Goldman’s “The Traffic in Women,” and William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold.”  Where appropriate we shall watch film versions of several novels and also examine paintings by such artists as Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent.
    BOK: HU

Countercultural Literature (ENGL1018, Section 007, 000548)
MWF 2:30am-3:25am, Hennessey

  • In this class we'll focus on a short (but tremendously important) period in postwar American history where a burgeoning countercultural movement, known as The Beat Generation, radically changed the course of the 20th century, openly defying prevailing societal conventions and in the process breathed joy and life into a stoic nation.  Authors covered will include Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and Gregory Corso, and our readings will be amply supplemented with audio and video offerings.
    BOK: HU

An introduction to the Medical Humanities (ENGL1018, Section 008, 006692)
TR 9:30Am-10:50am, Reutter

  • Often we think of issues of health and medicine in a scientific light without considering the great extent to which they are, in fact, humanitarian matters.  Whether we or anyone we love is on the giving or receiving end of health care of any sort--from the laboratory to the doctor's office, from the cradle to the grave--we are all affected by the humanitarian aspects of the medical arts.  A study of literature and film involving medical and health care issues allows for exploration and critical thinking, and indeed "helps to develop and nurture skills of observation, analysis, empathy, and self-reflection."   This course will be comprised of five units: The Tyranny of the Normal; Death, Dying, and Grief; Cancer and AIDS Narratives; Issues of Race, Gender, and Class; and Ethics in Research and Patient Care.  Other issues addressed are Children's Rights, Ageism, Disabilities, Spirituality, and Aesthetics.  Genres of study may include plays, essays, films, short stories, short stories, novels, poetry, creative nonfiction, and television mini-series. Writers of note include Susan Sontag, Audre Lorde, Sharon Olds, Martha Stephens, Jodi Picoult, Oliver Sacks, and others.
    BOK: HU

Monsters in Literature (ENGL1018, Section 009, 007869)
MWF 9:05am-10:00am, Borah

  • Before Bella Swan chose Edward over Jacob or a Zombie Apocalypse loomed on the horizon, monsters in their various forms have haunted the human imagination for centuries.  From folklore to fiction to film, monsters have served as stand-ins for the unknown or misunderstood.  Traditionally, monsters in literature and the arts are the “other” whom society fears and shuns, yet depictions of monsters have also helped to provide insight into the darker parts of human experience and psychology.  Over the past seventy years, a substantial shift has gradually occurred as audiences began to sympathize with and then embrace the monster as we have recognized it in ourselves.  This course will explore the monster motifs of the vampire, the changing monster, and the created monster through their development in literature, film, and the arts and their current ascendance in popular culture.  Students will gain an understanding of horror’s psychological significance in society and how it reflects a culture’s fears, challenges, and values.
    BOK: HU

France Goes to the Movies (FREN1042, Section 001, 001517)
MWF 2:30pm-3:25pm, Jezquel

  • This course provides an introduction to contemporary French films, focusing on but not limited to the following genres: action, comedy, drama, romance, adolescent stories, children’s stories, thrillers, etc.  All of the films will be in French with English subtitles and the course will be conducted in English.  The goal of the course is twofold: 1) to develop an appreciation for current and recent French language films viewed and respected by French audiences and 2) to acquire analytical skills to enable understanding the various elements of cinema – directing, acting, cinematography, design, and more.  More than simply discussing the message of each film, we will explore how the films relay their messages through the various elements listed above.  Students will experience some of the films that French people watch when they “go to the movies.”
    BOK: HU, DC

Magic, Monsters, and Morality (FREN1042, Section 002, 001518)
MWF 11:15pm-12:10pm, Lorenz

  • The French literary canon is daunting, but if it is approached through some reader-friendly texts, a student can soon grasp the extent and importance of this world literature.  In this class we will read works of prose and poetry, including Perrault’s fairy tales, la Fontaine’s fables, Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame and even some theater of the absurd.  Students will be encouraged to relate works of literature to other fields of study, to life and to laughter.  The work of the course will include written reactions, presentations in class (perhaps even some performance pieces, if a student chooses to do so) and a final exam.
    BOK: HU, DC

Applications of Field Mapping and Survey Techniques-- Compass, Total Station, GPS (GEOG1066C, Section 001, 002024)
TR 11:00am-12:20am, Liu

  • This hands-on, experiential learning, Freshman Seminar will introduce students to basic field surveying and mapping techniques for geographical and spatial analysis. Successful completion of this course helps prepare students for field work in geography, archaeology, environmental science, biology, and geology, among other fields. In the classroom, students will learn basic concepts, principles, and techniques for field surveying and mapping. Students will acquire hands-on experience and ability to read and interpret maps (focusing on USGS topo maps), to understand map projection and map coordinate systems, to plot points on the map based on map coordinates and distance and direction from known points, and to understand the rationale and  limitations of different measuring tools and methods. In the field, the students will practice measuring the location of points of interest using the survey instruments-- compass and tape, Total Station, and Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers-- and record feature location and attributes in their field notebook. In the computer lab, the students will analyze the field data. Students will produce maps based on field data collection and present maps and spatial analysis results to the class.  The field assignments will allow the students to practice and apply the knowledge and techniques learned from the class to exploring and solving scientific problems. The overriding learning objective will be quantitative reasoning through the use of practical field mapping exercises. Student competency is assumed in high school math up through trigonometry (especially calculations using the trig functions of sine and cosine).
    BOK: QR

Freshman Seminar:  Earth Surface Processes (GEOL1002, Section 001, 005627)
MWF 11:15pm-12:10pm, Owen

  • Earth's surface is continuously changing as tectonic, climatic, geomorphic, hydrologic and biological processes constantly operate. These changes affect the way we utilize and survive on our planet. This course will examine the nature of these processes from a geologic perspective to show how an understanding of their dynamics is relevant to the well being of humankind. Specifically, we will examine: 1) the management of geological resources such as fossil fuels, minerals, water and land space; 2) the effects of natural hazards on humans and how we can mitigate the hazards; 3) how geology can be used to help in the effective design and implementation of engineering projects; and 4) waste disposal and minimizing effects of pollution. Students will complete two group projects during this course.
    BOK: NS

Earth Science and Technology (GEOL1017, Section 001, 005619)
MWF 10:10pm-11:05pm, Ward

  • This course serves as an introduction to how Earth works through interactive, computer-based explorations. Through this lens, the course focuses on the interactions between the solid Earth (plate tectonics, topography, and minerals and resources), hydrosphere (the water cycle, glaciers, and oceans), and atmosphere (weather, climate, and global change). An important recurring theme is how the ongoing development of technology has contributed to our study and understanding of Earth systems. Weekly in-class exercises will provide hands-on experience with scientific interpretation using Google Earth, digital topography, and interactive simulations of the basic physics that combine to make Earth a dynamic and exciting place to live.
    BOK: NS

Pregnancy, Birth, and Health: Sociological and Historical Perspectives on Reproduction (HIST1099, Section 001, 001919)
T 2:00pm-4:20pm, Kline

  • This UC Forward Freshman Seminar will integrate historical and sociological readings on women's health with community action through service learning. Consistent with the aims of Medical Humanities, students will study the historical, social, and political issues surrounding reproductive issues - namely, childbirth, pregnancy, midwifery, prematurity, pregnancy loss and infant mortality, adoption, abortion, infertility, and birth control. We will pay special attention to differences of gender, race, and class. Students will be invited to reflect on course material through in-class exercises and assignments that develop writing skills and critical thinking. In addition, in order to fulfill the service-learning component, students will work in groups to build strategies and provide evidence-based resources for local Cincinnati advocacy organizations.
    BOK: HP

Cold War and Atomic Tourism (HIST1099, Section 002, 001920)
MWF 1:25pm-2:20pm, Krupar

  • This seminar course will consider the establishment of the American Cold War nuclear weapons complex, the cultural, economic, environmental, and political ramifications of building this arsenal, and the recent efforts to memorialize and preserve the history of the complex. The class will specifically consider the nuclear weapons sites in the Ohio River Valley and the wide array of efforts to either save historical sites or to erase them from public memory.
    BOK: HP

Gender and Politics in the “New” South Africa (HIST1099, Section 003, 001921)
TR 11:00am-12:20pm, McGee

  • This course will review the place of women in the social, cultural, and political development of South Africa during the twentieth century.  In addition to learning the major events in South African history and why they continue to be important in the lives of South African women today, we will consider aspects of the post-1994 society that should cause us to question the extent of “change” in the nation following Apartheid.  This course is predominantly concerned with whether or not women have unique social and political needs in the “new” South Africa, and how/if those needs are being met in contemporary society.
    BOK: HP

FY Topics in Judaic Studies - Biblical Poetry (JUDC1050, Section 001, 006337)
MWF 1:10am-11:05am, Brolley

  • This course will study the poetry of the Bible and its chronological development together with its relationship to common ancient Near Eastern poetic forms. Along the way, attention will be called to the relationship of the poetry to parallel prose narratives. Students will read portions of Exodus, Judges, Samuel, Isaiah, several of the "minor prophets", Job and Psalms.
    BOK: HP, DC

Morality in Medicine (PHIL1088, Section 001, 007725)
M 12:20pm-3:05pm, Carbonell

  • This writing-intensive seminar addresses moral questions raised by emerging medical technology and new clinical practices. Topics may include clinical research, treatment vs. enhancement, organ donation, cosmetic surgery, assisted reproduction, end-of-life decision-making, religious and cultural objections to scientific medicine, and the distribution of scarce resources. In addition to exploring topics in bioethics, students can expect to hone their critical thinking and writing skills.
    BOK: HU, SE

In the Beginning (PHYS1010, Section 001, 003118)
MWF 10:10am-11:05am, Scanio

  • A detailed treatment of the physics of the first three minutes of the existence of the universe, with special emphasis on current ideas in cosmology and unified theories of elementary particle physics.
    BOK: NS

Democratic Citizenship (POL2013, Section 002, 007804)
TR 2:00pm-3:20pm, Hilty

  • Citizenship is a concept that is taken for granted, yet is increasingly complicated by the concerns of the modern world.  The goal of this course is to make students aware of and reflect upon what citizenship means both in the United States and elsewhere.  The class begins with an exploration of the theories and premises of citizenship and continues with a consideration of the factors that challenge these concepts.  Next, students will contemplate citizenship beyond legal definitions, exploring the notions of obligation, citizen responsibility, and civic engagement.  The class will conclude with a study of citizenship in the United States in order to apply the concepts learned and discover what it means to be a citizen in this country.
    BOK: SS, SE

Viva Mexico (SPAN1042, Section 001, 001526)
MWF 2:30pm-3:25pm, Bryant

  • Viva Mexico takes a journey through Mexican history and geography from the Aztecs to the Mexican Revolution to the drug wars of the 21st century, from the dry deserts with off-road racing to the sunny beaches of the Maya Riviera.  Explore the culture from bull fights to the Day of the Dead festivities.  Discover Mexican traditions, folklore, museums, cuisine and wonders.
    BOK: HU, DC

Pregnancy, Birth, and Health: Sociological and Historical Perspectives on Reproduction (SOC1099, Section 001, 008967)
T 2:00pm-4:20pm, Bessett

  • This UC Forward Freshman Seminar will integrate historical and sociological readings on women's health with community action through service learning. Consistent with the aims of Medical Humanities, students will study the historical, social, and political issues surrounding reproductive issues - namely, childbirth, pregnancy, midwifery, prematurity, pregnancy loss and infant mortality, adoption, abortion, infertility, and birth control. We will pay special attention to differences of gender, race, and class. Students will be invited to reflect on course material through in-class exercises and assignments that develop writing skills and critical thinking. In addition, in order to fulfill the service-learning component, students will work in groups to build strategies and provide evidence-based resources for local Cincinnati advocacy organizations.
    BOK: HP

Outrageous Writings by Women (WGS1052, Section 001, 002276)
MWF 11:15am-12:10pm, Hogeland

  • This Freshman Seminar examines fiction, poetry, drama, oratory, and political rhetoric that can be read as "outrageous," either contemporaneously or in its historical context. The course will consider why certain forms and/or content is or has been deemed "outrageous."
    BOK: HU, DC