First-Year Seminars


Students in lab

Seminars are taught each fall by faculty from a range of disciplines throughout the university. Seminar topics focus on exciting and important questions that provide students with the opportunity to explore issues, gather and evaluate evidence, and develop their ideas through writing. By participating in a First-Year Seminar, students develop essential academic skills that they will use throughout their time at KU.

Student FAQs

  • Taking a First-Year Seminar will enable you to explore an unfamiliar area that intrigues you or delve into a topic related to your academic interests.
  • First-Year Seminars are designed to help you develop university-level skills in critical thinking and writing that you will use at KU and throughout your professional career.
  • All First-Year Seminars have fewer than 24 students. You will get to know other students in your class and your professor.
  • First-Year Seminars involve active learning, discussion, and engagement with peers in your class.
  • First-Year Seminars provide hands-on experiential learning opportunities, such as field trips, laboratory research, service projects, or attending artistic performances or exhibits.
  • The only prerequisite to enroll in a First-Year Seminar is first-year status. Prior knowledge of the subject matter is not expected.

Fall 2024 First Year Seminars

AMS 176 - On Drugs: Heroin Users and American Drug Policy

Prepare to dive deep into the heart of America’s “war on drugs” in this thrilling First-Year Seminar! Forget everything you think you know about drug users and American drug policy. This course isn't just about challenging stereotypes and propaganda—it's about tearing them down. Join us as we forge partnerships with those on the front lines: the research subjects and practitioners with real-life experiences in the drug economy. You’ll develop a powerful empathy for all individuals caught in the drug war, pushing past societal labels to foster meaningful change in drug policy. We'll tackle some of the most pressing questions: Who exactly are the drug users? How does drug use correlate with crime in America? What are the societal and legal responses? And how do scholars approach these complex issues? Get ready to explore the intertwining worlds of homelessness and drug addiction in modern America, focusing particularly on street heroin users. Through dynamic discussions, compelling oral presentations, and innovative writing assignments, you’ll engage with the challenging realities that continue to impact American communities and families. With a spotlight on the recent surge in heroin and opioid use among teens—across both urban and suburban areas—this class offers crucial insights into shifts in the opioid epidemic. Prepare to be more than just a student; be a part of the solution. Join us as we explore, debate, and contribute to the conversation on one of America’s most pressing social problems. Get ready for a semester that will challenge, inspire, and transform!  

Meet the Instructor... Margaret Kelley

Where you know me from…

I teach AMS177 On Drugs: Heroin Users and American Drug Policy, AMS321 Being Deviant in America, AMS340 American Gun Culture.  

When I was a Freshman in college...

I played volleyball at Wichita State University and lived in the dorms. I was super busy and have lots of amazing memories. I’m still in Facebook contact with many of my dorm friends.  

Pro-Tip for Success at KU 

Use the Writing Center!! And make sure you get to know everyone on your dorm floor.  

Currently Streaming… 

Law and Order SVU and Alone 

Furry Family Members 

Tazzy, a 6-year-old Border Collie mix 

Last Concert I attended… 

Taylor Swift 

Amos Lee 

 

 

ANTH 177 - Indigenous Traditions of Latin America

Meet the Instructor...Brent Metz

Where you know me from… 

I am currently the Director of the Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies and Professor of Anthropology.  Among the courses I have taught recently are “Varieties of Human Experience”, “Indigenous Traditions of Latin America”, “Indigenous Development in Latin America”, “Mexamerica: Mexico-U.S. Relations”, and “Field Methods in Cultural Anthropology.”  I have taught 24 different course titles in my career, including on gender, folklore, religion, Central American cultures, South American cultures, Intellectual Heritage, Anthropological Theory, Global Indigenous Movements, Ethnography, and more. 

When I was a Freshman in college...

I was a first-generation college student and only had my uncle to rely on for experience. My high school guidance counselor shepherded me into engineering because I was good at math and science and there were plenty of well-paying job opportunities for engineers. I wasn’t really interested in engineering, though. I wanted to be a pilot, but hopes of that were “shot down” when I failed gain entrance into a military academy or win an ROTC scholarship. While I won some small state and university scholarships at Western Michigan University and entered its Honors College, I was starting with lack of confidence, indecision, and social awkwardness. But I was determined to make the best of the experience and took college more seriously than my friends. Without the interruptions of family, friends, and pets back home, I actually found college to be easier than high school. By the end of my first year, I switched majors from Industrial Engineering to History. 

Pro-Tip for Success at KU 

Find and set aside physical space and time for studying if you want to get the most out of your education. KU offers many activities for an enriching student experience, and you should take advantage of some of those, but protect your study time if you expect to keep up with your classes, instead of cramming for exams, which almost never ends well.  College is about building skills for careers, so take advantage now or you’ll regret it later. Social relationships, though, are a fundamental part of those skills. Find a balance. 

When you visit my office…

You will undoubtedly find me very busy with teaching, advising, service to a variety of disadvantaged populations, and more, but I will drop everything to give you your money’s worth of advising. My advisors provided crucial career and emotional support, and I feel an obligation and satisfaction to pass that on. 

Currently Streaming… 

I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t been streaming in several weeks.  I think the past series I was watching in March was The Crown.  I like sci fi and movies and series that take provocative twists and turns. 

You may be surprised to know… 

I played on the University of Michigan’s ultimate frisbee/disc team.  We made it to the finals (along with KU) 2 years in a row and won the national championship in 1990. I also speak Spanish and Ch’orti’ Maya fluently. Ch’orti’ is the descendent language of that spoken by Classic Maya elites. 

Furry Family Members (Or not so furry)… 

I love all kinds of animals, had cats and dogs growing up, and had 2 dogs until about a decade ago when my first of 2 daughters was born.  I haven’t been able to manage pets and kids both with all the travel I’m doing. My wife is from Mexico, and we travel to Mexico twice per year for a total of 4-6 weeks. Spanish is our first language in the home, although I grew up speaking English in rural Michigan. 

 

Last Concert I attended… 

 

My softball teammates from Topeka insisted I go to a concert with them at Liberty Hall on May 3.  I was too busy to investigate the 4 bands.  Turned out they were metal and punk bands.  By accident, I ended up in the mash pit and was banged around all over the place.  Someone cut the back of my legs out from under me, sending me backwards over another guy’s back down some stairs and landing on my back.  A complete 5400.  2 other large men proceeded to fall on top of me like bowling pins.  Fortunately, no major injuries.  I’ll do my research next time. 

BIOL 176 - Being Human at KU

The importance of making connections is vital for success in college, especially for freshman students as it build a community of support while transitioning to life at a large institution like KU. Furthermore, a relationship-rich education promotes collaboration and mentorship among university students, staff, and faculty, while contributing personal growth and wellness.  

This first year seminar will promote forming meaningful connections through broad discussions of belonging. Being Human at KU is an interactive course that introduces first year KU students to student services, campus museums, and support staff and faculty teaching large enrollment courses at KU to explore issues related to inclusion and belonging at the University of Kansas and beyond. The course combines academic inquiry, individual stories, field trips and community engagement opportunities to provide students with opportunities to begin making their network of connections for a success journey at KU.  

Meet the Instructor... Mark Mort

Where you know me from…

In addition to teaching Being Human at KU, I teach honors introductory Biology (BIOL 153) as well as occasionally Biology Senior Seminar (BIOL 599).  

When I was a Freshman in College... 

I am a first-generation college student and it took me a semester to really learn how to navigate a college campus and course work.  My first few weeks I felt overwhelmed and kind of lost, but I had faculty who cared and helped me learn how to be a successful student.  

Pro-Tip for Success at KU 

Best advice is to go to class and even if it feels uncomfortable, introduce yourself to your professor before/after class or in their office hours.  We are here to help you and we want to get to know you better! 

When you visit my office… 

I try to have some snacks in case you don’t have time to grab food before or after we meet.  I will welcome you with a sincere smile and a genuine interest in getting to know who you are person, while hopefully showing you that I am a human that you can talk to when you want.   

Currently Streaming… 

I have two boys (10 & 12) and we are very much excited to watch Myth Busters a few evenings each week to spend time as a family.  I am also a new junkie and listen to NPR and the BBC quite often.  And for fun…I love my Elton John and Jimmy Buffet Pandora channels.  

You may be surprised to know…
As an undergraduate my least favorite class by far was a 5 credit Plant Biology course that I refused to take until my last semester.  However, I now have a Ph.D. in Botany and am a huge plant enthusiast.  
Furry Family Members (Or not so furry)… 

Two adorable cats – Peaches and Bugs – and they are sisters! 

Last Concert I attended… 

Alison Krause and Robert Plant – Raise the Roof Tour - at Starlight in KC.  I am going to see Graham Nash in Salina, KS this coming fall and I am very excited to see that concert.  

COMS 176 - Sex, Fate, & Death

Humans are obsessed with depictions of sex and violence—not just in popular culture, but in literature, mythology, and world history. At the same time, stories about destiny—time travel stories that fix (or cause!) temporal paradoxes, prophecies about a “chosen one,” or a character living the same day lived over and over—are everywhere. This course argues that these are all linked together: We are drawn to narratives about destiny, of time travel, and prophecy to manage our anxieties around questions we have about sex and death. COMS 176: Sex, Fate & Death addresses the diversities of experiences in American life through these themes of desire, time, and mortality, points to why we repeat our obsessions, and whether it’s possible—or desirable—to find a way out. Students will study films, works of art, short fiction, and television shows to interpret these course themes, and produce original interpretations of their own chosen texts.  

Meet the Instructor... Robert McDonald

Where you know me from… 

COMS 454: Rhetoric and Popular Culture; COMS 131: Honors Public Speaking; COMS 355: Intro to Rhetoric and Social Influence  

When I was a Freshman in College… 

I took a first-year seminar on the writing of George Orwell at the University of Texas and I loved it! 

Pro-Tip for Success @ KU 

Visit museums!  Visit the LIED Center!  Visit the Library and take notes by hand. 

When you visit my office… 

Have a cup of coffee, check out my Back to the Future DeLorean Lego set, talk about European soccer 

Currently Streaming… 

Noir films on the Criterion channel 

You may be surprised to know… 

I’m a season-ticket holder for the KU Current and I play soccer three times a week. 

Furry Family Members 

Man-Dog Ramierz, my beagle son 

Last Concert I attended… 

The Chicks (at T-Mobile Center) 

Tech Nine (at CPKC stadium) 

FREN 177 - Knights, Damsels, and Magical Lands

When you picture the Middle Ages what do you think of? Maybe the gruesome violence of Game of Thrones? The high fantasy of Lord of the Rings? The fairy tales you learned as a child? While, thanks to this kind of modern fantasy story, you may think you know all there is to know about knights in shining armor, the medieval narratives that inspired them have a lot more to say for themselves than you might think. In this course, we will explore the fascinating collisions between real and magical worlds in medieval narrative by studying authentic medieval stories and comparing them to more recent cultural products, including film, television, and art. In so doing, we will discover that medieval fantasy universes provide fascinating and often surprising perspectives on many of the same social issues we still grapple with today, including gender, sexuality, cultural difference, and political power.  

Meet the Instructor... Christine Bourgeois 

Where you know me from… 

I teach lots of different classes in the French Department.  I love teaching my area of expertise – the Middle Ages – but some of my other favorite classes are on translation and contemporary France. 

When I was a Freshman in college...

I was taking advanced Shakespeare, remedial Math and a ballet class for P.E. (I wasn’t very good). 

Pro-Tip for Success at KU 

Remember that professors are here for you!  Come see us during Office hours, email us with questions, never hesitate to be in touch! 

When you visit my office you can expect… 

A BIG mess on my desk 

Currently Streaming: 

Dr. Who 

You may be surprised to know… 

I learned how to drive after I got my PhD (I was thirty)! 

Furry Family Members… 

I don’t have any pets, but I do have a two-year-old son whose interests include chasing squirrels and playing with sticks. 

FREN 177 - Subversive Science Fiction

We are all familiar with science fiction and, even if we are not huge fans, the chances are that there is something we like, be it Star Wars, Hunger Games, or Dune. While sci-fi is often categorized or even dismissed as mere entertainment, it has and continues to play a significant role in exploring who we are and what we do. In 2019, the French government revealed that it employs science-fiction writers and specialists to assist its military in identifying and predicting future threats. This class looks at a variety of science-fiction works (TV, movies, texts, graphic novels) and how they comment on issues affecting human society, from social media to AI. It will also explore ways in which sci-fi can challenge institutions and attitudes through the strategy of distance, in other words, presented a fictional, faraway world that really represents our own.  

Meet the Instructor... Paul Scott

Paul Scott is a dual UK and US citizen and has lived in France, Greece, and Canada, which broadened his cultural horizons and helped show him that the unfamiliar has as much to teach as the familiar. He teaches classes on French literature and culture in addition to French and South Korean science fiction. He enjoys discovering new places both in the USA and overseas. His high-school English teacher was mentored by J. R. R. Tolkien. 

GERM 177 - Marx & Marxims German Culture & Beyond

Even been interested in radical politics and the intellectual roots of socialism? This seminar provides a timely introduction to the work of Karl Marx (1818-1883) and the writers, theorists, and filmmakers of the 20th- and 21st-century who were influenced by Marx’s critique of capitalism. We will learn about Marx’s central concepts and how they have been interpreted within different historical, political, and cultural contexts. We will discuss Marxism as a global phenomenon that has influenced social and political movements, art and culture. We will relate Marxism to pressing issues concerning racism, feminism, and the climate crisis. And we will continually ask ourselves about the ways in which Marxism provides a lens through which we can better understand the interrelated crises of our current moment.

Meet the Instructor... Ari Linden

Where you know me from… 

GERM 177. I also teach German-Jewish culture and a Capstone seminar. 

When I was a Freshman in college… 

I owned a “desktop” computer. 

Pro-Tip for Success at KU 

Attend your classes! Get enough sleep. 

When you visit my office… 

You will find a very welcoming environment. 

Currently Streaming: 

In the Know and Baby Reindeer 

You may be surprised to know… 

I am from southern California. 

Furry Family Members (or not so furry)… 

Epsy and Clarence (cats) 

Last Concert I attended… 

Big Thief 

HIST 176 - History of Gaming

Today, millions of Americans find joy and community by playing various board and video games, industries that have a combined value in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Perhaps you are one of them! In this seminar, you will learn about the historical development of games and gaming and how they became an important vehicle to both promote and challenge particular conceptions and assumptions within American culture. Through various readings, assignments, and game labs, you will learn about the historical development of gaming and the creation of gamer culture, while a semester project will teach you how to produce an academic research project on a fun and engaging topic

JWSH 176 - The Jewish American Story through Literature, Letters, and Latkes 

Jewish Americans arrived to the US in three waves between the 18th century and the early 20th century, coming from different parts of the world. We will focus on the largest wave of immigration which occurred between 1881-1925, bringing about 2.8 million primarily Eastern European Jews to the United States. Many of these immigrants settled in New York City, creating rich immigrant literature and culture such as the musical theater, and now familiar Jewish American institutions such as the Jewish deli. We will read immigrant stories from the period, read the fascinating letters that Jewish people sent to advice columns, and watch early movies about Jewish American life. We will learn about theatre and musical culture, the changes in language, and the emergence of a distinctive Jewish American food culture. Our class activities will include reading and watching primary sources, engaging in group discussions in person and via online discussion groups, and enjoying guest lectures from other KU professors. We will have short oral and written assignments throughout the semester to develop your competence and confidence leading to the final assignment. 

JWSH 177 - Life, Death, and Afterlife in Modern Israel's Society

This course concerns beliefs and practices about life, death, and the afterlife in Israel's diverse religious and ethnic communities. Our larger question for this seminar is: How do religious beliefs and practices shape social identity in modern Israeli society? We will discuss loss, funeral practices, grief, remembrance, and bereavement while exploring differences between genders, between civilians and military personnel, and levels of religiosity. We will explore various religious views of the sanctity of life and the importance of burial. The most exciting item for students will be learning about the various beliefs and practices regarding the afterlife, such as reincarnation in the Jewish Kabala (Gilgul) and among the Druze (Taqamus). The goal is for each student to speak intelligently about these religious beliefs and practices and their connection to social identity in modern society while using the case of communities in Israel. These communities include, for example, Ultra-Orthodox Jews, Mizrahi or Ashkenazi Jews, Russian Jews, Ethiopian Jews (Beta Israel), Sunni-Muslims, Bedouins, Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Druze, and Baha'i. 

Meet the Instructor... Rami Zeedan 

Where you know me from… 

I teach classes about Israeli history, politics, and society.  Examples: Israeli Politics and Government; Palestinian Society in Israel; Israel/Palestine: The 1948 War 

Pro-Tip for Success at KU 

Communication with peers, staff, and faculty.  Ask for help! 

When you visit my office… 

You can have a candy and ask for my help with your assignments or anything else. 

Last Concert I attended… 

Kadim al Sahir 

LA&S 176: Creativity and Mindset in American Culture 

This seminar explores how America's cultural diversity fuels creativity and innovation by examining how diverse social identities—such as age, ability, culture, language, class, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, ethnicity, indigeneity, and race—influence creative thought and societal transformation. Engage with interdisciplinary topics ranging from neuroscience to philosophy and the arts, harnessing the full potential of creativity. The course incorporates interactive elements like improvisation, meditation, and prototype building, and tackles themes such as mindset, happiness, failure, and flow through practical activities. You will explore personal identity and storytelling through selected films and readings, gaining deeper insights into how cultural narratives inspire innovation. Designed to challenge and expand your critical and creative thinking, the curriculum encourages you to redefine your perspectives on creativity. By participating, you develop skills to address real-world challenges innovatively and effectively. This comprehensive educational experience not only boosts your creative capabilities but also prepares you to make meaningful contributions in a globally interconnected world. 

Meet the Instructor...Meg Kumin

Where you know me from… 

LA&S 176 Creativity and Mindset in American Culture and I am a KU photographer.

When I was a Freshman in college… 

I did very poorly and almost dropped out.  

Pro-Tip for Success at KU 

Create opportunities for yourself and get connected on campus!  I recommend joining five organizations your first semester. In anything that interests you. Not everything will stick, but doors of adjacent possibilities will open. 

When you visit my office… 

The nature of my work schedule (I'm a photographer for KU) is unpredictable and constant flux – and I am often away from my office. However, I will always make time for you and am happy to meet you anytime and anywhere. Please email to coordinate. 

Currently Streaming… 

I don’t watch much of anything, unless I’m sick.  I tend to like documentaries. 

You may be surprised to know… 

I own a 1967 Volkswagen Beetle.  It is two-toned baby blue and white.  

LING 176 - Language, Thought, and Culture

In this seminar, we will ask whether language influences the way we think, and how language and culture are related. You will explore questions such as whether knowing different languages makes people see the world in different ways, whether different genders use language in different ways, and what "language" even is.  

 

During the semester you will discuss your own experiences and ideas with language, and read about theories and experiments examining language to see what the evidence says about our ideas. Our exploration of language, culture and thought will draw on ideas from fields including linguistics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and neuroscience. You will visit labs at KU that are conducting research about language and thought, and will visit a showcase of seniors' research posters to get a taste of the work that KU students can do in this area. 

 

Once you've gotten familiar with the ideas and research surrounding this topic, you will work on developing your own creative project that uses those tools to explore something about language and us. Your project will not just be a paper or presentation that only the professor will read, but will be something to be shared outside of class, something that will be useful to the world. In addition to all that, you will do activities throughout the semester that introduce you to different parts of KU and different resources KU has to offer, to prepare you for further university-level study. 

Meet the Instructor... Stephen Politzer-Ahles

Where you know me from… 

Intro linguistics, psycholinguistics, statistics & research methods for linguistics 

When I was a Freshman in college… 

I was on the cross-country team, and took a mix of classes including intro and upper-level. The ones I particularly remember were intro sociology, abnormal psychology, upper-level French, an English class on the Canterbury Tales, and a two-semester intro poli sci class called “The Quest for Justice”. Few of these were very relevant to what I ended up doing with my major or my life, but I learned a lot from just the experience of talking about those topics with lots of smart people from different backgrounds. I also made friends with a lot of upperclassmen through being on cross-country and taking some upper-level classes, so I thought I was cooler than everyone else. (Spoiler alert: I was not.) 

Pro-Tip for Success at KU 

Care about what you’re learning about and what you’re doing – not just your grade! If you care about something and are interested in it, you’re going to do a good job and enjoy it no matter how hard it is. 

When you visit my office… 

You’ll be able to talk with me about your class or whatever else you’re going through. Or play board games. 

Currently streaming… 

The Dungeons & Dragons liveplay campaign “Dungeons of Drakkenheim”. 

Furry Family Members 

Margie and Evie. Margie is from Hong Kong and came to Lawrence with us when we moved here. Evie is from the Topeka.  

LING 176 - Toward Linguistic Justice

This seminar invites students to explore three interrelated questions: 1) How do we use language to create our identities? 2) How can sociolinguistic tools help us to appreciate and value diversity?, and 3) How can linguistic research work toward justice? Students are introduced to contemporary issues in the study of language, gender, & sexuality, specifically orienting to a newly emergent framework known as "trans linguistics." Students will work together to do novel research that addresses real-world problems from the perspective of trans linguistics, learning how linguistics can be a tool for "the empowerment of trans people and others at the margins"(Zimman 2020: 15).  

Using TikTok as a data source, this class invites students to understand the "transformation, fluidity, and movement"in language and identity, showcasing trans agency and highlighting "ways in which trans [and gender-diverse] people to use language not only to survive, but thrive" (Konnelly 2021: 79). Students will learn the steps of collaborative research, including crafting their own research questions, identifying and reviewing relevant literature, collecting and analyzing data, and presenting their work.  

Meet the Instructor... Phil Duncan

I was born in Lubbock, Texas, and pretty much grew up in Kansas. So, you might could hear me say things like "might could" ;) or "I do that a lot anymore." I took my first class in linguistics having absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into, but I quickly fell in love with it. I'm currently an Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Linguistics. My degrees are in Linguistics and Indigenous Studies, and I received my Ph.D. from none other than the good ol' University of Kansas! LFK forever I guess /hj

I like to nerd out on lots of language-y things, like word and sentence structure, their relationship to meaning,  and abstract modeling that accounts for how we build language units. I’ve had the privilege of working with Indigenous communities and languages in the U.S., Mexico, Guatemala, Nigeria, and Ghana, and am deeply invested in doing work that supports communities’ language reclamation and revitalization efforts. I also enjoy investigating things that pertain to social life of language, looking into how our beliefs, attitudes, knowledges, and identities shape and are shaped by language use. I tend to gravitate toward language work that is connected to and a manifestation of  justice.

When I'm not teaching and doing research, I'm usually having a good time with my fantastic partner and kids. Currently we’re all trying to beat Tears of the Kingdom.

ITAL 177-That's Amore: Fragments of a Discourse on Love

Perhaps Emily Dickinson was right when she wrote, “That Love is all there is, / Is all we know of Love”, for what do we know about it after all? The main goal of this course is to investigate love as a mysterious, most pleasant and most deceitful subject, while in the process becoming better readers, critical thinkers and writers. Through the analysis of novels, short stories, poetry, music and live theater, we will consider how humans relate to love relationships as a main bond among individuals and as a tool of self-discovery as well. Read about Dante’s lustful souls in the Inferno, debate Boccaccio bawdy tales from the Middle Ages, and listen to Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Verdi’s La Traviata. A comparative literature course with an Italian core and focus on close reading.   

Meet the Instructor... Patrizio Ceccagnoli

Where you know my from… 

I normally teach in the Italian Program.  You might have met me in Hell, Dante’s Inferno. 

When I was a Freshman in college… 

I was in Italy. I was a student of classics in my hometown Perugia. 

Pro-Tip for Success at KU 

Focus on studying, work hard. 

When you visit my office… 

You’ll find me available and pleased to know you better. 

You may be surprised to know… 

I am a decent tennis player. 

Last Concert I attended… 

Lawrence Brownlee’s concert at the LIED center.  Brownlee is an American operatic tenor. 

MUS 177 - Music Scenes and Culture  

This course has been specifically designed to offer students the opportunity to explore and analyze both mainstream and underground music trends, while also delving into key aspects of the music industry that have a significant impact on our lives. A particular focus of the course will be examining how different locations influence the music industry. It is important to note that this course is heavily discussion-based. Throughout the semester, there will be four main assignments: 1. Objective/Integrative Assignment: As part of this assignment, students will be tasked with creating three hypothetical concert plans targeted towards University of Kansas college students, in collaboration with the Lied Center. These plans will need to be justified using data and information gathered from various sources. Students will be provided with assigned readings, which will include a range of music articles, artist biographies, and excerpts for analysis. The final project for this course will serve as a culmination of the research and discussions conducted throughout the semester. Students will be grouped in teams of three and will prepare group presentations. These presentations will involve proposing three distinct concert experiences to Derek Kwan, the executive director of the Lied Center. This experiential proposal will take place at the Lied Center at the end of the semester. a. Event in the Lied Center Pavilion b. Event on Lied Center main stage c. Event on campus at a venue of their choice (alternative space/online etc.) 2. Event reflection writing assignment 2 pages (Lied Center) 3. Term Paper on the Future of Music Scenes 5 pages double spaces 12 pt font. 4. Lawrence Kansas Music Scene History – small group poster presentations. (Spencer Archives)     

Meet the Instructor... Brandon Draper

Where you know me from… 

Music Business, Drum Set, and Audio Production  

When I was a Freshman in college… 

I produced concerts, toured, and took 22 credit hours. 

Pro-Tip for Success @ KU 

Love Garden and the Merc Salad Bar 

When you visit my office… 

It’s always busy and DRUMS! 

Currently Streaming… 

Melvins, Phoebe Bridgers – Music I need to learn for upcoming shows. 

You may be surprised to know… 

I skate board and ride a Harley. 

Furry Family Members  

Max and Luna (Golden Retrievers) and Pumpkin, Puff, Pearl, Popcorn, and Pinto (cats) 

Last Concert I attended… 

Bomby Bicycle Club, Pixies 

PORT 177 - Amazon: Environmental Issues in Literature and Film

This seminar will explore environmental issues in the Amazon through the lens of literature and film.  How do narratives of place shape our understanding of our relationship to the natural world?  What role do novels and films play in bridging local realities to a broader global context?  Students will read news stories and journal articles to establish a framework for present-day environmental challenges in the Amazon.  Through course activities, students will critically examine how different sources build understanding and serve as catalysts for change.  Additionally, students will consider how the lessons of the Amazon apply to local and national debates about preservation issues, for example, through investigations of the Baker Wetlands and the Badlands of South Dakota.

Meet the Instructor... Luciano Tosta

Luciano Tosta is Associate Professor of Brazilian Literature and Culture. Born in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, and the grandchild of a Tupinambá woman, the Amazon Rainforest has been dear to him his whole life. As a professor, he continues to be fascinated by the region, which contains the second largest river in the world, produces 20% of the Earth’s oxygen, and is home to countless animals and plants. The region is also under constant threat by mining, bio-piracy, poaching and deforestation. His research focuses on hemispheric American studies, with the goal of discussing Brazilian cultural production from a comparative perspective.  In his spare time he plays capoeira and the mandolin. 

Meet the Instructor...Jackie Brinton 

Where you know me from… 

I teach classes on Islamic Studies and comparative ethics. 

When I was a Freshman in college...

I did a hike in the White Mountains (New Hampshire) as part of my Freshman Experience. 

Pro-Tip for Success at KU: 

Remember we are all people trying to do our best, whether we are professors, first-year students, deans, or office workers. 

When you visit my office… 

I will check-in with you to see how you’re doing generally. 

Currently Streaming… 

Baby Reindeer 

You may be surprised to know… 

My undergraduate college did not have grades or exams.  We were evaluated through written feedback and our self-evaluations. 

 

Furry Family Members… 

Shadow is my four year old, beautiful Aussie/Border Collie mix. 

 

Last Concert I attended… 

Robert Glasper  

UNIV 176 - Voices of Change

In this course you will explore KU’s past, present, and future through the lens of student activism and social justice. Using previous KU Common Books, you will consider how gender identity, ability, race, ethnicity, social class and their intersectionality can affect a person’s lived experience, including their values, behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs. You will also reflect on your own background, interests, skills, and experiences to better understand the person you are and the person you want to become—both here at KU and in your future career.  

Meet the Instructor... Rachel Davis

Where you know me from… 

This semester, I’m teaching UNIV 176: Voices of Change. I’ve also taught UNIV 101: Orientation Seminar, LA&S 372: Preparing for Programs in the Health Professions, and LA&S 470: Job Search Skills for Liberal Arts Majors

When I was a Freshman in college… 

I was excited and terrified. I was a good student and was really looking forward to learning more about the things that interested me most (for me, that was literature and the social sciences), but making new friends and juggling work and family obligations was daunting. Eventually, I found my routine and made friends, but it took some time to settle into.

Pro-Tip for Success at KU

Be brave. As a certified scaredy-cat, I know it’s not easy to go outside of your comfort zone. But whether it’s trying something new or asking for help, a little bravery can go a long way.

When you visit my office… 

I’ll be ready to talk about class, answer a question you might have, or just chat about how things are going for you. You can also try to figure out what all of my pop culture knickknacks are in reference to, borrow a book, or grab a snack.

Currently Streaming…

I watch too many shows, but some of my favorites are Yellowjackets, Hacks, and Saturday Night Live.

WGSS 176 - Pregnancy in Modern Literature

What did people write about pregnancy in the twentieth century? How did political and social debates - over birth control, abortion, or eugenics, to name just a few - change these depictions? Did writers have an impact on history? And what do writers from the last hundred years have to teach us about today's debates surrounding reproductive justice for queer, trans, and non-binary people? This course draws together voices from literature, history, and feminist theory to consider questions like these, deepening your understanding of the ways nationality, class, race, ability, and gender affect what we think about when we think about pregnancy. 

Meet the Instructor... Aimee Wilson

Where you know me from… 

I’ve taught Introduction to Feminist Theory, Feminist Methods, and World Literature, as well as several graduate-level classes.  

When I was a Freshman in college...

I attended the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. I was a Journalism and Mass Communication major, with a Spanish minor.  

Pro-Tip for Success at KU 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! It’s the best way to understand a subject. If you’re confused by something, a classmate probably is, too. They’ll be glad you asked.  

When you visit my office… 

I’ll be sitting around waiting for students to drop in and chat. It's a good idea to drop in if you didn't understand something covered in class. You don't need to make an appointment if you want to meet during office hours, though it's a good idea to let me know if you’re planning to come by in case I need to pull together materials for you.

If you have class or other obligations during my office hours, email me to set up an appointment. I prefer that you provide several windows of time when you're available to schedule a meeting (i.e., "I am available on Monday between 10 and 12 and again between 3 and 4. On Tuesday and Thursday I'm available any time except 11-1.").