All entering Middlebury students take a First-Year Seminar during their first semester on campus. These seminars are writing intensive courses, limited to 15 students and are taught by regular, full-time faculty members who also serve as students' academic advisers during their first three semesters at Middlebury.
2012 First-Year Seminars Affiliated with Cook:
FYSE 1021 A - Love and Death Paul Monod
Love and Death in Western Europe
History is not just names and dates; it also encompasses how ordinary people lived and felt. Emotions have a history because they have changed over time. This seminar deals with aspects of the history of desire and fear in Western Europe from the Middle Ages to the industrial era. Topics will include sex, marriage, child-rearing, disease, suicide, and the belief in immortality. In addition to works of historical analysis, we will read literary and theoretical sources, including Dante, Goethe, and Freud. Our aim is to understand how common emotions have been altered by social and cultural circumstances.
FYSE 1062 A Econ/Culture Great Depression Carolyn Craven
Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? Economy and Culture in the Great Depression
The Great Depression of the 1930s changed economics forever. It also brought forth a period of distinctly American, socially-engaged literature and visual art. New relationships were forged between the U.S. government and working people, the arts, and the market. In this seminar we study economics to understand the collapse of the American economy; we study painting, photography, music, drama, and oral history to understand the rapid social change taking place. As a group, students will develop a digital media project representing one or more aspects of the 1930s experience.
FYSE 1174 A The Art & Era of Andy Warhol John Hunisak
During his lifetime, Andy Warhol was often regarded as a charlatan, but since his death in 1987, his art, life, and career have been the subjects of unceasing investigation and speculation. Was his art a put-on? How should we interpret his often-contradictory statements? What is his place in the history of art and of his era? We will study his art works closely, evaluate his own words, and consider the evaluations of others in an attempt to understand his significance.
FYSE 1246 A Race/Difference in 20th-C Amer William Hart
Race & Difference in Twentieth-Century America
In this seminar we will investigate "race" as a social, cultural, and political phenomenon in the United States across the 20th century. By examining a variety of primary source material, including novels, autobiographies, and essays (e.g., Nell Larson’s Passing, 1929; Piri Thomas’s Down These Mean Streets, 1967; Ruth Frankenberg’s White Women, Race Matters, 1993; and Vicki Nam’s Yell-Oh Girls, 2001), and films (e.g., Birth of a Nation, 1915; Imitation of Life, 1959; and Crash, 2004), we will analyze how the concept of race changed over time and how individuals and institutions defined and experienced race. Themes and topics to be covered include race and popular culture, race and identity, and race and social relations.
FYSE 1287 A LA Immigratin & Amer Dream David Stoll
Latin American Immigration and the American Dream Transnational migration, especially from Latin America, is transforming the ethnic composition of the United States at a time when our class inequalities are widening and our consumption levels are becoming unsustainable. In this seminar we will focus on migration streams from Mexico, Central America, and other parts of Latin America, and explore the implications for future generations. Will large migration streams make American society more tolerant and increase economic opportunities for the poor? Are large migration streams the product of inevitable historical forces, or do they instead result from decision-making by American elites?
FYSE 1335 A Cold War Culture Holly Allen
“Without the Cold War, what’s the point of being American?” So asks Rabbit Angstrom, the main character in John Updike’s 1990 novel, Rabbit at Rest. In this course, we will examine the Cold War’s impact on American culture throughout the period 1945-1991, with a focus on art, literature, television, film, consumer culture, and politics. Texts will include Luce, The American Century; Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking; Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle; and Plath, The Bell Jar. Films will include The Thing from Another World!/, /Dr. Strangelove, and Terminator.
FYSE A 1344 A Culinary History of Italy Illaria Brancoli Busdraghi
Time Around A Table: A Culinary History of Italy
Food is a window into the culture and values of any society. In this seminar we will explore the history of Italian culture by investigating the ever-changing issues relating to food, through books, articles, films, recipes, and cooking. How did production and consumption change over time? What did the Ancient Romans eat? What was Italian cuisine like before pasta and tomatoes? What triggered the Italian appetite to change? Such questions allow us to examine what culinary choices reveal about today’s Italy.