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 2022 First-Year Seminars

REL 177, MW 03:00 - 04:15 PM, SMI 108

Who was Jesus, really? Over the past two thousand years, countless authors and filmmakers have reimagined the figure of Jesus in their works. This seminar will explore portrayals of Jesus in literature and film, analyzing the ways that Jesus has been characterized and the motivations behind these characterizations. Through in-class discussions and writing assignments that have students act as literary and film critics, we will collectively examine pieces of literature and film containing Jesus throughout history. As it turns out, reshaping the figure of Jesus goes all the way back to the Bible itself, which contains multiple biographies of Jesus that all give very different impressions of what he was like. We will read depictions of Jesus in ancient Christian writings deemed too scandalous to be included in the Bible and texts from other religious traditions like Judaism and Islam. We will also watch several contemporary films about Jesus such as Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, and the musical Jesus Christ Superstar.

First-Year Seminar Instructor, David Woodington

David Woodington has been interested in the cultural impact of the Bible ever since he began studying religion as an undergraduate student at the University of Alabama. He received an MA at Florida State University and a PhD at the University of Notre Dame before coming to KU in 2020. He is an expert in the literary analysis of the Bible and religious narratives, and this led him to become an avid watcher of movies about religion as well. In his spare time, he enjoys video games, fantasy novels, and hanging out with his dog Brooks (who is the best). Along with his teaching role in the Department of Religious Studies, he serves as an academic advisor at KU and is passionate about working with first-year students.


JWSH 177, TuTh 01:00 - 2:15 PM, WES 4075

This course deals with various issues related to 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, Mizrahi or Ashkenazi Ultra-Orthodox Jews, Russian Jews, Ethiopian Jews, Sunni-Muslims, Bedouins, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Druze, Armenians, and Baha'i.

First-Year Seminar Instructor, Rami Zeedan 

Rami Zeedan is an Assistant Professor of Israel Studies in the Jewish Studies Program and has been at KU since 2018. He was born and raised in an ethnoreligious minority in northern Israel and was the first person in his extended family ever to attend college. After completing a double major BA in Statistics and Israel Studies at the University of Haifa (Israel) in 1999, he started a compulsory service of three years in the Israeli Defence Forces. He became an IDF officer, was promoted to the rank of Major and decided to retire after 14 years of military service to fulfill his dream to integrate into academia. He completed an MA with a thesis in 2004 and a Ph.D. in 2013, both at the University of Haifa, during his military career. Dr. Zeedan then left Israel to take opportunities in academia. He was a postdoctoral fellow at New York University in 2014-2015 and the Leibniz Center for the Modern Orient (Berlin, Germany) in 2015-2016. After that, he was a visiting Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkely, in 2017-2018. At KU, Dr. Zeedan mainly teaches Israeli history, politics, and society. His research examines aspects of Israeli politics, the history of modern Israel, Middle Eastern politics, ethnic politics, urban affairs, local governments, and public opinion. His current project focuses on the Druze religion and people, including the connection between the belief in reincarnation and social identity.

ANTH 177, MW 11:00AM-12:15PM, ROB 150

The earth isn’t flat, vaccines aren’t poison, there are no secret videos of politicians eating children, and California exists. But educated, intelligent people believe otherwise and invest their time and money in ideas like these. Sometimes, they even lose their freedom or their lives for utterly irrational beliefs.

In this course, you will explore how unreasonable beliefs spread among reasonable people. We will look at a variety of different beliefs, from prominent ideas like anti-vaccine conspiracy theories and QAnon to more obscure notions such as pseudolaw and secret Martian slave colonies. As we do so, we will see how individuals react to these ideas and how groups form to promote them, which will help us understand how they spread.

We will examine which of these beliefs are harmless and which are dangerous for believers and the outside world. That will help us understand why it is important to resist the spread of harmful irrational beliefs, both in general and in our own lives, and what tactics are available for doing so.

We will use the world around us to conduct this exploration. You will read or watch primary accounts by conspiracy theorists as well as experts’ analyses and rebuttals to their beliefs. In class, we will discuss the material and put the beliefs in question into context: How do believers fall into these ideas? Who, if anyone, is harmed by them? What, if anything, would discourage the spread of these beliefs?

As part of the course, you will write short papers about several conspiracy theories and choose one to study more closely. Your final project will present that idea and discuss how both spreads and how society should respond to it.

Note that this class is appropriate even if you believe in one or more of the ideas being examined.

First-Year Seminar Instructor, Colin McRoberts

Colin McRoberts is an attorney and teaching professor of law in the School of Business. He specializes in the practice of negotiation, and has traveled the world training and advising business, nonprofit, and diplomatic deal makers in dozens of countries. He applies the lessons of negotiation to understand how fundamentally broken ideas become persuasive, and how people can (sometimes) change their own minds. His research has led him to engage with conspiracy theorists, sovereign citizens, and other irrational thinkers from professional creationists to outright fraudsters (such as a felonious financial advisor who convinced his followers that he reformed the international financial system by collaborating with fairies and elves). He bikes to work, plays games, and does a little art on the side.

ITAL 177, TuTh 11:00 - 12:15 PM, FR 219

To paraphrase Raymond Carver, What do we talk about when we talk about love? How is love represented in cultural products (literature, music, theater, cinema, etc.)? How are we affected by these representations and their changes over time? 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.

First-Year Seminar Instructor, Patrizio Ceccagnoli

Born in Perugia, an Etruscan city in the center of Italy, Patrizio Ceccagnoli received his Ph. D. in Italian from Columbia University in 2011. He joined KU in 2014 and is currently the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Italian. Trained in classics, he is an expert of the Italian avant-garde movement called Futurismo and works as literary critic and translator in a comparative perspective. He equally loves Franz Kafka and Roger Federer. As a kid, he wanted to be Oscar Wilde, when he grew up, or at least Sherlock Holmes. Now he wishes he could have had a gelato with the Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi.

ARCH 177, MF 12:30 - 01:45 AM, MAR 216A

Have you ever thought about big ideas while building in Minecraft? With limited resources on the earth, this Minecraft collaboration class explores topics of how we design and build cities while preserving waterways and the environment. Students learn the fundamental aspects of how to design a city through the “Garden City Movement”, understand the impacts of engineering dams, and develop strategies for preserving the environment. Students collaborate through sharing ideas on how to build and create for a better tomorrow. Each week we have a small lecture focused on issues around the built environment, explore campus, and downtown Lawrence to experience how buildings work in cities. Together, we respond to the conversation by developing a new world in Minecraft. This collaboration is open to all fields of study and teams will be comprised of students in a variety of majors. 

First-Year Seminar Instructor, Thom Allen

Thom Allen is an urban designer and community planner. He received his Bachelor in Architecture from Kansas State University in 2005, and his Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University in 2013. He has worked as a civil servant in Washington DC and New York City on community-focused projects and has also taught at Kansas State University, Montana State University, Catholic University, and MIT through the program Urbanframe. He began lecturing at the University of Kansas in 2010 and teaches architecture foundation studios and the theory of urban design. He currently serves as a commissioner for the Lawrence Multi-model Transportation Committee and is an affiliated faculty member with the Kansas City Design Center.

GERM 177MW 11:00 - 12:15 PM, WES 4075

The immense popularity of the Bernie Sanders campaign, urgent discussions about the need for a "Green New Deal," and looming economic and environmental collapse have prompted a renewed interest in socialism as both a critical perspective and a political movement. This First-Year Seminar thus provides a timely introduction to the work of the German social theorist Karl Marx (1818-1883) and to the writers, thinkers, and filmmakers of the 20th- and 21st-century who were influenced by Marx's systematic critique of capitalism. First engaging in close readings of Marx's foundational texts, we will next examine Marx's impact on the modern cultural and intellectual history of Germany, Europe, and beyond. Ultimately, we will place Marxism in dialogue with racism, feminism, democratic socialism, and the global pandemic. We will continually ask ourselves: How can we understand Marx’s central concepts and how have they been interpreted across time and space? And to what extent does Marxism still provide a lens through which we can better view – and subsequently understand – the interrelated crises that constitute our contemporary moment?

First-Year Seminar Instructor, Ari Linden

Born and raised in Long Beach, California, Ari Linden is an associate professor of German Studies, having received his PhD at Cornell University. His teaching interests are wide-ranging, and include German language, literature, and philosophy. He is particularly interested in teaching and reading about Critical Theory – or, as Karl Marx calls it – the “ruthless criticism of all that exists,” and the way that Critical Theory intersects with modern German-Jewish culture. When he is not reading up on Marxist perspectives on the world, he is probably spending time with his family, watching new TV series, playing or watching basketball, listening to podcasts or electronic music, taking walks with his infant, or cooking and eating.

COMS 177, MW 11:00 - 12:15 PM, BA 105

Human beings are obsessed with depictions of sex and violence—not just in popular culture, but in literature, mythology, and throughout world history. Simultaneously, contemporary popular culture is full of stories about destiny—time travel stories that fix (or cause!) temporal paradoxes, narratives about a heroic “chosen one,” or the same day being lived over and over by the main character. This course argues that these two phenomena are two sides of the same coin: We are drawn to narratives about destiny, of time travel, and prophecy to manage our anxieties around inescapable questions we have about sex and death. To that end, we will study films, television shows, books, works of art, and other artifacts of popular culture to figure out why we collectively keep looping back to these same questions, and whether it’s possible—or desirable—to find a way out.

First-Year Seminar Instructor, Robert McDonald

Robert McDonald is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies, and has never seen a time travel film he hasn’t liked. Originally hailing from Massachusetts, he received his undergraduate degrees and his master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and his PhD from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, so he is a proud Longhorn, Tarheel, and Jayhawk. When not teaching courses on popular culture, speech interpretation, and persuasive speaking, he studies how depictions of economics in culture and politics shape the ways that ordinary people view the economy as a whole.

EVRN 177, MW 12:30 - 01:45 PM, LIN 307

The larger question for our class will be: what role can apocalyptic literature play in our understanding of and approach to climate literature? The apocalypse metaphor has been used to imagine the end of the world based on various causes: alien or monster invaders, nuclear war, and environmental destruction. These threats symbolize a crisis that authors and filmmakers represent in order to speculate on potential outcomes or solutions. Climate change presents a contemporary crisis that literature, broadly defined, increasingly grapples with, and so much so, that scholars now refer to “cli-fi,” or literature that examines the impact of human-caused climate change during the Anthropocene. In this class, we will examine novels, films, TV shows and/or short stories that use narrative techniques to shape our conception of global warming. We will address debates surrounding ethical human-environment interactions, the role technology plays in environmental solutions, and will reflect on the social conflicts that are heightened in climate-changed futures. The larger question for our class will be: what role can literature play in our understanding of and approach to climate change?

First-Year Experience Instructor, Ali Brox

Ali Brox was born in Kansas, and her interest in literature and the environment started young; family travels often involved trips to national parks and forests. Always a reader, Ali’s research interests solidified while she attended graduate school at the University of Nevada, and her brother’s family had to evacuate New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. She watched the situation unfold on the news, and her experiences in the city after people were allowed to return influenced her decision to research the way environmental disasters are represented in literature and the media. Ali has a deep connection to the University of Kansas. Her parents met at a dormitory on campus, and she completed both her B.A. and B.S. degrees while competing as a varsity athlete at KU. She is a lifelong Jayhawk.

ECON 177, Th 01:00 - 03:20 PM, WES 4068

What were the economic, political, medical, and public health issues that the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was designed to address? This seminar will examine the most extensive reorganization of health care in the United States since the 1960s from numerous angles: the problems that the federal government was trying to solve, the strengths and weaknesses of the solutions it offered, the trade-offs made to ensure its passage in Congress, the accuracy of its predicted outcomes, the problems that arose when it became law, and the prospects—for better or for worse—for starting over (“repeal and replace”). All these complicated dimensions of the ACA are intertwined, and ongoing efforts to repeal it bear serious implications for policy, politics, and the millions of people who would be affected by such a change. We will approach these issues in the framework of Health Economics, which examines the intersection of the economy, medicine, and the healthcare industry; we will learn about such concepts as one's "health stock", health care as a product or “consumption good” and as a “production industry,” and health insurance as a tool to prevent disruptions to one’s quality of life. We will also explore the analytical concepts of efficiency and equity in the realm of public policy. We will read, analyze, and discuss sections of articles and books tied to these issues that have been written by several individuals who have shaped and influenced our understanding of this controversy, including Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economics professor and key architect of the ACA, and Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist, professor of medical ethics and health policy, and advisor to the Obama White House on health care reform.  Over the course of the semester, each student will develop a policy recommendation for a change that would improve the current situation. We will also hear from many guest speakers with expertise on health insurance, public policy, and other aspects of this topic. Past speakers include Kathleen Sebelius, former Health and Human Services Secretary and Kansas Governor and Sandy Praeger, former Kansas Insurance Commissioner. 

First-Year Experience Instructor, David Slusky

David Slusky is the De-Min and Chin-Sha Wu Associate Professor of Economics and the Executive Director of the American Society of Health Economists. He is originally from Philadelphia. As the son of a stroke rehabilitation physician and an executive with an MBA in health care administration, he has always been fascinated by health and health care.  As a professor he focuses on access to healthcare, infrastructure and environment, and health insurance. He has done work on women’s health, the Flint water crisis, Uber, Catholic hospital, and Medicaid expansion. He earned his PhD at Princeton with professors who have worked with the federal government at the highest level, including a former chair of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisors, and he earned his undergraduate degree at Yale, where he majored in physics and international studies.

HIST 177, TuTh 01:00 - 02:15 PM WES 4008

The body is a site of contradiction. It is the primary place where we assert ourselves as individuals but is governed and judged by society’s laws and norms. It offers a seemingly blank canvas for self-expression but is limited by the stubbornness of flesh and bone. These tensions between individual expression and social expectation make the body a valuable historical tool. The ways in which the body is perceived as beautiful, fat, healthy, unclean, or perverse tells us as much about the political and social values of a particular time and place as any government document or politician’s speech. In this wide-ranging, globally focused seminar we will examine the pain and pleasure of foot-binding in China, the rehabilitation (and sometimes mechanization) of soldiers’ bodies after WWI, medical responses to intersex persons in early America, and the connections between soap and conquest in colonial Africa. Join us to explore not only how perspectives on the body have changed over time, but how history itself is written onto our skin

First-Year Seminar Instructor, Marie Grace Brown

Marie Grace Brown is an Associate Professor of Middle East History, and has been at KU since 2012. She traveled to the Middle East for the first time when she was a junior in college and didn’t speak one word of Arabic. It was the best foolish decision she’s ever made! She ate pounds of hummus, got lost in an oasis town, and slept under the stars in the middle of the Sahara Desert. In graduate school, Marie realized that so many of our histories—especially those of women, people of color, or queer communities—can’t be captured by the written word alone. In her work, she argues that the shapes and scars of our bodies can also serve as an important historical text. When Marie is not teaching or writing history, she can be found in and around Lawrence knitting, gardening, or boxing.

SLAV 177, MW 12:30 - 01:45 PM, ONLINE KULC

How do turbulent political events and natural disasters affect the social conditioning of young people? How do individuals born in the same period come to form an identifiable “generation”? How can novels create a sense of community and generational identity?

Unlike familial generations, social generations are not born, but made. The members of an age group become transformed into a generation only when many of them realize that they are bound together by the experience of a major social cataclysm. The development of a distinctive generational consciousness does not necessarily take place in the midst of the formative event. This may happen years later when the individual memories gradually amount to a more or less coherent generational discourse.

In this course we will examine how the classical genre of the ‘coming-of-age’ novel is used to validate collective experiences of major political and social upheavals. We will read and interpret several Polish and American coming of age novels whose protagonists’ transition into adulthood overlaps with equally transformative events in their countries’ socio-political life. We will examine literary, historical, sociological and psychological studies related to the concepts of the coming-of-age novel and generation formation and explore how knowledge from one field of study can illuminate another.

First-Year Seminar Instructor, Svetlana Vassileva-Karagyozova

Svetlana Vassileva-Karagyozova was born and raised in Bulgaria. She grew up under communism and witnessed the fall of the totalitarian regime during her freshman year of college. Her first book focused on pseudo-autobiographical novels of contemporary Polish writers, who like her, experienced a cataclysmic political change on the threshold of their early adulthood, and pondered the existential questions “Who am I now?” and “How should I live my life?” Professor Vassileva-Karagyozova speaks 5 languages and has spent time in 15 countries in Europe, America and Asia. She has a soft spot for ethnic jewelry and never comes back from a trip without a new item for her growing collection.

LING 177, TuTh 11:00 - 12:15 PM, BL 108

Our identities are complex, and expressed in different ways – how we dress, what we participate in, and how we talk. Many of us are familiar with language reflecting something about us, such as where we are from. If someone says “y’all” they might be from the Southern U.S., or if someone says “I’m knackered” then there’s a good chance they’re British. But, someone from Wisconsin might could say "y'all" because they want to be and show that they're gender-inclusive, even if they've never been to the south. Despite awareness of language being a marker of who we are, we don’t always think critically about the role language plays in how we create and recreate our identities. This seminar examines the role of language in the construction of identity. We’ll focus largely on issues related to gender and sexuality additionally touching on topics like race, ethnicity, social class, and geographic region.

First-Year Experience Instructor, Phil Duncan

I was born in Lubbock, Texas, and pretty much grew up in Kansas. So, you might hear me say things like "might could" - like I did in the course description in case you missed it ;) - 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 Assistant 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! My research investigates word and sentence structure (morphology and syntax), and how these interact with other components of grammar, such as the component responsible for building meaning (semantics). Within these sub-disciplines, I have had the privilege of working with Indigenous peoples and languages in the U.S., Mexico, Guatemala, Nigeria, and Ghana, recognizing the inherent value of Indigenous languages and the need for diversity in order to understand what human language is. In addition to theoretical linguistics and linguistic documentation, I also spend time 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. When I'm not teaching and doing research, I'm usually having a good time with my fantastic partner and kids. 

GIST/LAC/PORT 177, TuTh 01:00 - 02:15 PM ST 338B

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.

First-Year Experience 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. 

ASTR 177, MWF  12:00 - 12:50 PM, MAL 2005

This course will address the discipline of cosmology, which is the study of the origin, structure, and evolution of the Universe. The big questions in cosmology that this seminar will address (not in order of presentation) are: How did the Universe begin? What is the structure of the Universe? What is the Universe made of? How was all matter created? How has the Universe evolved over the last 13.8 Billion years? What is our place in the Universe? What is the future of the Universe? The compelling nature of these questions is highlighted by the award of multiple Nobel Prizes in cosmology in recent years, in topics similar to the ones outlined above. As they relate to our most fundamental origins, these questions have motivated great thinkers since the dawn of time and continue to fascinate the public today. In this class you will learn the basis for our modern understanding of cosmology. At its conclusion, you will be able to critically evaluate the evidence for our understanding, you will be able to evaluate claims in the general media about cosmological topics, and you will be able to translate your new knowledge into terms understandable by your family and friends.  I will pay special attention to the contributions made to this field by those who have traditionally been underemphasized in the historical record, namely individuals from historically and currently marginalized groups.

First-Year Seminar Instructor, Greg Rudnick

Planck-Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Heidelberg, Germany to follow his adviser, who became director of MPIA. After his Ph.D. he moved to the Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics in Garching (by Munich), Germany for a postdoc, followed by a four-year stint as the Leo Goldberg Fellow at NOAO in Tucson. He started as a faculty member at the University of Kansas in 2008 and has been there ever since. He is currently a Professor and the Director of Graduate Studies in the Physics and Astronomy Department.

Dr. Rudnick is an observer who studies the evolution of galaxies using observatories on the Earth and in space. He is especially interested in studying how galaxies are affected by the regions in which they live. When not doing that he runs an outreach program at a local high school, and loves cooking hiking, biking and being with his family.

ANTH/LAC 177, MW 11:00 - 12:15 PM WES 4002

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to discover a lost city? Or how to tell the difference between real discoveries and hoaxes? This seminar will use real and imagined archeological discoveries in order to understand how the scientific method and critical thinking are equally vital components of inquiry in this and other scientific fields. Through our studies of how the imagination, creativity and new technologies are used to solve mysteries and produce new understanding about the ancient past, we will examine the excitement of scientific discovery, along with the dangers of errors in method and interpretation.

First-Year Experience Instructor, John Hoopes

John Hoopes is an archaeologist who has done lots of fieldwork in Central and South America. He has been featured in numerous film documentaries about ancient mysteries and the scientific realities behind them. He's an internationally recognized authority on topics such as Maya calendar prophecies, the stone spheres of Costa Rica, and the "Lost City of the Monkey God" in Honduras, as well as the archaeology of Latin America. He also supervised a research project that used satellite imagery to study ancient irrigation systems in Afghanistan.

FREN 177, TuTh 11:00 - 12:15 PM WES 4068

What do Beauty and the Beast, Planet of the Apes, and zombies all have in common? These and similar-themed stories have been told and retold over the centuries in different cultures, nations, and circumstances. Story-telling is as old as humanity and is part of our deep quest to understand ourselves, who we are, and why we are here. This seminar will look at how depictions of the non-human can be used as a means of tackling serious issues such as racism, gender stereotypes, sexuality, and identity. We will look at some well-known stories involving animals and the non-human involving highly evolved apes, transformed monsters, and the walking dead. As well as dealing with these familiar themes with new eyes, we will look at French and American versions of the same topic to examine how these different variations function in a specific cultural and political context, be it France before the Revolution, the 1960s in America, or Trump and Biden’s America emphasizing the rich potential of fantasy and science fiction to challenge and provoke.

First-Year Experience Instructor, Paul Scott

Paul Scott is originally from the UK and has spent almost 20 years in the US 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 French literature and culture and publishes on science fiction, fairy tales, eccentrics and eccentricity, and the fashion history. He is an affiliate faculty member of the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction and the Ad Astra Center for Science Fiction and the Speculative Imagination at KU. He enjoys discovering new countries and food, and is a trained barista. His high-school English teacher was J. R. R. Tolkien’s personal student.

ARCH 177, MW 12:30 - 01:45 PM, MAR 305

Have you ever seen a building and wondered why it looks the way it does? When you've seen pictures of campus, are you inspired or intrigued by the architecture? This seminar will be an introduction to analyzing and critically understanding architecture for those who appreciate, but do not necessarily want to major in architecture studies. We will take behind-the-scenes tours of campus buildings, visit archives to see original historic building drawings and photos, and hear from guest speakers about KU campus architecture. We will try drawing exercises, 3D scans, and documentation of buildings to analyze architecture. All the techniques used in the class are ones that “real” architects use, but will be presented in an introductory and accessible method. No special equipment is required for the students.

First-Year Seminar Instructor, Amy Van de Riet

Amy Van de Riet is a licensed architect in Kansas. She received her Bachelor in Architecture from the University of Kansas in 2003, and her Master of Science in Historic Preservation from Columbia University in 2005. She worked in New York City as a preservation architect until 2012 when she began teaching adjunct for Florida Atlantic University School of Architecture. In 2016 she began teaching adjunct at the University of Kansas School of Architecture and Design. Amy’s courses taught include Foundation Studios ARCH 108 and ARCH 109. Amy also teaches ARCH 649 Historic Preservation Technology, one of four courses that constitute the Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation. Amy has been on the council for Douglas County Heritage Conservation Council since May of 2019.

ART 177, TuTh 09:30 - 10:45 AM CHAL 423

Is there a role for the “Artist” in our future, or has the proliferation of images (and the ease with which they seem to be made) rendered the artist obsolete? Is everyone an “Artist,” and if so, is this a problem?

Images are constantly being created (and recycled) at a rapid pace, created using technologies that have become widely available. Participants in this course will explore the intersection of “looking” and “making” in art and visual culture, examining the use of digital tools and technologies in contemporary art practice. We will attempt to analyze and critique this situation in kind: capturing images with our cell phones and surfing the Internet for pictures, we will embrace lo-fi and hi-tech, and consider how images might be recycled into new “works of art.”

First-Year Seminar Instructor, Luke Jordan

Chances are that Luke Jordan is looking at, thinking about, or making photographs at any given moment. To help support this habit (and provide cover), Luke teaches in KU’s Department of Visual Art, works as a Specialist in Photography at the Spencer Museum of Art, and is the staff photographer for the KU University Theatre. Luke is enthralled by 19th Century Photography and Contemporary Art; he is also obsessed with soccer and music (garage, punk, soul, blues, and jazz).

ENTR 177, TuTh 11:00 - 12:15 PM CAPF 3011

Entrepreneurs are passionate, creative, idea people. They ask the tough why not questions, they seek and seize opportunities, they rarely accept the status quo, and throughout history entrepreneurs have developed innovative answers to the most challenging issues in technology, business and society. This course will allow students to become rigorous, versatile and agile thinkers by flexing their own critical thinking muscles through an examination of the entrepreneurial mindset. What made entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mary Kay, Mark Zuckerberg, and Oprah so wildly successful? We’ll look at them, and look at ourselves to see if and how to apply their innovative techniques to our own pursuits.

First-Year Seminar Instructor, Lisa Bergeron

Lisa Bergeron was born in New Jersey but spent the majority of her childhood in Manhattan, Kansas.  She attended her first Capital Budgeting class, taught by her dad, at age 7 when her mom had a last minute meeting, so her dad had to take her with him to class. She knew from that day forward she would be involved with business and finance. While her dad was Dean of the School of Business at K-State, Lisa came to KU for her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Business. Lisa has worked at Hallmark in the New Ventures Group where she was involved with many new business acquisitions and new product launches. She now enjoys teaching about the entrepreneurial mindset to students at KU. In her spare time, Lisa enjoys attending sporting events, traveling and spending time with her family.

MUS 177, TuTh 02:30 - 03:45 PM, MUR 240A

This First-Year Seminar is designed to allow students the opportunity to research and discuss mainstream and underground music trends while addressing key aspects of the music industry that shape our lives. How do places shape the music industry? How are the music industry, music “scenes” and even music itself shaped by technology and changes in our culture and society? Are the spaces and places used to organize and understand music changing? We will study the industry from a variety of perspectives and engage with participants of the industry (musicians, technicians and managers) to develop an awareness of these complex questions. At the end of the semester, students will apply what they’ve learned to design 3 hypothetical concert (live music) plans with University of Kansas college students as the audience.

First-Year Seminar Instructor, Brandon Draper

Brandon Draper is a drummer, DJ, producer, composer and educator, involved in every genre of music. He has performed in both traditional classical music settings and in contemporary/jazz settings. He recorded and toured the U.S. with the “live-tronica” pioneers Particle. He has performed in the critically acclaimed world premiere of the new hiphop musical "Venice" (Los Angeles, Fall 2010), and he premiered his own original work “Bass Darabukas” with the “cirque” performance group Quixotic and with the Kansas City Symphony (Spring 2011). More recently, Brandon has joined KU’s music faculty, where he teaches jazz drums, world percussion and steel band, while also directing KU’s Music Enterprise Certificate, an innovative academic program combining music business and entrepreneurship. According to, "Draper mashes up his DJ and percussion talents into a world-music dance party with some of the most polyrhythmic beats you'll hear this side of the Atlantic Ocean."

FMS 177, TuTh 02:30 - 03:45 PM, WES 1015

Ukraine is on top of the U.S. headlines: what is the authentic image of Ukraine represented through its own national cinematography? How can I understand better the experience of my own nation, race and country through the Ukrainian experience? The seminar is designed to teach the ‘critical thinking of Ukraine’ through film history and theory. We regard the Ukrainian film history primary source timeline in relation to the timeline of Ukrainian national history with a strong focus on the most important episodes of XX-XXI centuries in a struggle for independence and democracy. We examine the question of identity in relation to the Ukrainian national identity manifested in the film art as well as to the general identity of the spectator as a subject. We examine what the ‘filmic language’ is and what is the potential of learning the Ukrainian language through the film. The seminar includes full-length screenings and short fragments of Ukrainian films and online meetings with the representatives of the contemporary Ukrainian film industry. The feedback from students might involve both their critical thinking and their creative skills such as scriptwriting, filmmaking, and storytelling with digital media. The first-year students face the opportunity to get the first-person narrative of Ukraine from the bearer of both Ukrainian academic experience and the war trauma.

First-Year Seminar Instructor, Olga Kyrylova

Dr Olga Kyrylova comes from Kyiv, Ukraine where she held the position of the Full Professor of Cultural Studies at the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy (the first Ukrainian-American bilingual educational project for Liberal Arts which was revived in Post-Soviet times on the basis of the eponymous legendary Ukrainian collegium/university of XVII-XVIII centuries). Master of Philosophy in European Literature, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (Jesus College, Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics, Department of Slavonic Studies). Dr Kyrylova participated as a film critic in many international film festivals. She interviewed most of Ukrainian actors, filmmakers, stage directors working as a journalist and as a film critic for ‘Kino-Teatr’ film magazine at the Kyiv Mohyla Academy since her student years. In her later years, Dr Kyrylova focused on the archival research having discovered unknown findings of early Ukrainian silent films of the fin-de-siècle decadence. Apart from that, Olga Kyrylova is a winner of a number of awards for Ukrainian-speaking writers (poetry, short prose, translation).