Still Need a Class This Semester?

CSPL/CGST480 ENGAGED PROJECTS is a new 1-credit course in which students study a topic of their choice and produce a final project for a public audience. EPs deepen student learning and self-reflection, ease the undeniable challenges of online learning, and introduce students to their own agency and positionality in society.

Interested students should contact the instructor (Makaela Kingsley,, submit a proposal on Handshake (instructions at, and submit an enrollment request in WesPortal.

Two New Courses

Civil Rights Litigation Since 1978: A Practitioner’s Perspective
CSPL 217        Times: Th 6:00-9PM, Location: ONLINE

This course will examine major themes in modern civil rights litigation in the United States between 1978 and 2020.  The course will review major cases challenging police misconduct, school and housing segregation, including exclusionary land use policies, sexual harassment and bullying as well as cases supporting voting and gay rights. Students will be asked to present argument before their peers regarding the issues raised in and by these cases and will also be presented with imaginary fact patterns and asked to discern the critical legal issues raised and apply both the settled law and aspirational law as we develop it through Socratic method. In addition, students will select an area of civil rights litigation and writing about its evolution.

Understanding the 2020 Presidential Election
CSPL399    Times: M.W. 1:20-2:40PM, Location: ONLINE

In understanding the 2020 Presidential Election, students will learn how to read skeptically the political press and how to write critically about presidential campaign politics. Along the way, the course will touch on electoral history, political and social thought, public policy, media criticism, and much more. Students will read past examples of thought-provoking and influential commentary. They will read current coverage in the legacy press of the 2020 presidential election and come to class prepared to discuss the most important stories and issues of the week. Students will have the opportunity to learn about electoral politics and political writing alongside a veteran journalist. Students who have experience working for political campaigns will have a chance to share their knowledge and help the class incorporate their experience in a larger historical framework. They will have a chance to see their work published in the Editorial Board, the lecturer’s daily politics newsletter. Students will attempt to do what political writers do in real-time: explain what’s happening from a unique, particular, and informed point of view for the benefit of like-minded citizens seeking to achieve the ideal of self-government. In the end, the hope is that students see that campaign politics is simpler and more complex than it appears, but that neither is obvious without study, focus, and understanding.

Course Selection Tips from the Academic Peer Advisors

I’m going to give a brief introduction on the seminal period of your first Pre-Reg and tips on course selection that will hopefully clarify some questions that come to mind. Also, you can always feel free to email me, Quentin ( or the Academic Peer Advisors email where one of us will answer your questions (

What you are encouraged to do, and will find very helpful, is to read through the Advising Guidelines here (don’t skip this!). A big theme emphasized is balance. It’s going to be your first semester at Wesleyan, meaning you will have many more semesters to take classes you won’t be able to take right now, so don’t feel pressured to take all major requirements or all one-specific type of class. You have several opportunities to solidify your class schedule, extending two weeks after the first day of classes, so don’t stress!

The Process

There are 3 stages of choosing classes that lead to being enrolled in four full credit courses (or maybe 4.25 or 4.50 if you take a lab class, which are half or quarter credit).

  1. Pre-Registration Planning.  This phase begins in July. Freshmen will be ranking seven first-year seminars and seven introductory courses. If you are a transfer, you’ll be ranking seven introductory and/or upper-level courses from WesMaps. First year seminars aren’t mandatory, but highly encouraged! The extensive meetings with professors, emphasis on developing your writing skills, and small classroom setting that first-year seminars provide really helped prepare me for taking a wide range of classes at Wes. Wesvising is a great tool for looking at the different departments at Wesleyan and getting an idea of where you may want to look for classes on Wesmaps.
  2. Pre-Registration Adjustment.  In late August, you’ll see a list of your scheduled courses in your WesPortal. After seeing your schedule, you’ll meet with your faculty advisor during orientation to talk about your current courses and what you want your academic experience at Wesleyan to look like. You will then have an opportunity to change, drop, or add courses before classes start during a period called Pre-Registration Adjustment.
  3. Drop/Add.  Starting on the first of classes for two weeks is the Drop/Add period. You can go to the classes of the courses you are enrolled in, and those for which you aren’t, and continue to modify your schedule. It’s a great opportunity to see the syllabi for classes or drop in for a session or two to decide if they are right for you.

Factors to Consider for Course Selection

General Education Expectations.  Wesleyan doesn’t have any core requirements, true. But the General Education Expectations, commonly called Gen Eds, are an important cluster of classes to pay attention to for fulfilling certain majors and for getting the most out of the breadth of classes offered at Wes. More than that, it is also a fulfillment that aligns with Wesleyan’s ethos of encouraging innovative academic explorations and fostering interdisciplinary understanding! It is good to start thinking about Gen Eds in your freshman year. If you are having trouble thinking about the mix of classes to take, Gen Eds can help with structuring your course selection.

Here are the basics:

    • The Gen Eds are divided into three divisions: Humanities & Arts (HA), Social & Behavioral Sciences (SBS), and Natural Sciences & Mathematics (NSM).
    • While the courses in many departments (such as Biology and Astronomy) all belong to a single division, this is not always the case. For example, the Philosophy department holds the distinction of offering courses that span across all three divisions! Therefore, it is important to keep an eye out on the Gen Ed division the course belongs to on WesMaps rather than just the department itself.
    • There are 2 stages that can be fulfilled in Gen Ed:
      • Stage 1: Two course credits from each of the 3 divisions, all in different departments, by the end of the 4th semester.
      • Stage 2: An additional third course in any department in each division by your graduation
    • Some majors require your Gen Eds fulfilled for the completion of the major or honors. For more information on the specific requirements for each major, please check out this page.

Going Abroad?  It may seem really far off, and especially given how uncertain the world has become in the age of COVID-19, but if you are thinking of studying abroad after the completion of your first academic year, it would be good to consider taking language courses in your freshman year as most of the non-English speaking programs require one or two years of language.

So if you want to go abroad Junior year, you should consider taking the language for the country you want to study in freshman year. You can explore the study abroad programs here and also check their respective language requirements here.

Think About Course Balance.  Here’s the big thing to consider while you select your courses: Balance! Listed below are some factors you’ll want to think about when choosing classes:

    • Class size and lecture vs. discussionSome classes are larger lectures while others are smaller discussions. It’s great to have a mix of lectures and discussions that way you can engage in your classes by both listening and taking notes and participating, and have a balance between the two.You can gauge the number of people in a class by looking at the Total Enrollment Limit box on WesMaps.
    • NSM, HA, or SBSDon’t just go for the same division in your cornucopia of courses – think about having a mix and spicing it up! If you’re dead set about declaring a NSM major, let’s say, you may want to only take NSM classes. However, this can get overwhelming, and you may find yourself having the same type of class assessments and weekly problem set due dates, which can be tedious overall. This idea holds true for all 3 divisions.While it’s always good to have identified your academic area of focus or interest early on, pigeonholing all your courses into one division. To say nothing of fulfilling your General Education Expectations (covered in the section above!), your freshman year is the best time for daring academic explorations, and the first year seminars are the masts that help you set sail! Try to take one class out of your comfort zone, or that is different in subject area than what you are most comfortable with.
    • AssessmentsOn WesMaps, look at the types of assessments used for each class so that you can try to choose classes that will give you the chance to demonstrate your understanding in different ways. For example, some classes will heavily incorporate papers and presentations as a part of their assessment, while others might lean more towards closed-book exams.
    • Grading ModeOn WesMaps, you can also take a look at the grading mode of the courses and take them into account while charting your classes. Course credits at Wesleyan are recorded in one of two grading modes: Graded (A-F) or Credit/Unsatisfactory (CR/U). Some courses offer students a choice of grading mode.
    • Days of the weekAside from the content of the courses, you should also consider the pragmatic aspect of attending them. While seemingly insignificant at first blush, you would find that how your courses are spread out over the week could make the difference between stifling and comfortable as the semester progresses.If you take all four of your full credit classes on Tuesday and Thursday, you’ll probably find yourself very tired these days and possibly wanting some more structure on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. While it may be tempting to have a “reverse schedule” where your “workdays” and “weekends” are flipped, try to space out your classes over the span of the week for some breathing space.Click on the “Planning Calendar” link in the list on the bottom right of your WesMaps planning pages to visualize what your schedule would look like!
    • Time of the Day.  Like the factor above, this one may seem trivial compared to the other factors listed above, but I cannot stress how important it is to take the time of the day of your prospective courses into account! If you are taking classes on campus, try spacing out your classes across the day so that you would have enough time to proceed or prepare for your next class. Trust me, it is no fun immediately running from one building to another after class ends so that you can make it in time for your next class that starts in 10 minutes!If you are generally averse to waking up early, it may be important for you to consider the time of your classes as well. While having to wake up for two 8:20 am classes a week may sound doable on paper, you might find it physically and mentally taxing – to the point of taking a toll on your general well-being – if it does not align well with your sleep schedule!
    • Choosing in the Time of COVID-19: Online or In-Person?  With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world into territories unknown, taking classes in-person is no longer a certainty or something that is a given. As you make your decision on whether to return to campus in the fall, you should pay close attention to how the classes would be conducted by looking at the top bar of the course description on WesMaps. Learn more about the different instruction modes here.

I know there is a lot of info above, but if you have any questions feel free to email me or the other peer advisors ( See you at virtual orientation; we can’t wait to meet you!

About Course Registration

Course registration at Wesleyan is a three-step process.  The first step of this process, which opened on July 20, is Pre-Registration Planning.

During pre-registration planning, you should be selecting courses of interest and ranking them in your preferred order. Be sure to build full list(s) to maximize your chances of getting a desirable schedule during the scheduling process.

Once planning closes, the scheduling process will be run. Your schedule will be viewable on August 14.  Once your schedule is available, you’ll be able to prepare for the Adjustment Period, which is the second part of the registration process and takes place August 17-20. During the adjustment period you will be able to make modifications to the schedule that has been assigned to you, pending approval from your faculty advisor.

The third step of the course registration process is the Drop/Add Period, which will take place from August 24-September 11. During drop/add courses can be added and dropped from your schedule with the approval of the instructor and your faculty advisor.

As the summer progresses, you will receive email for updates from the Registrar’s Office as we enter into each phase of the course registration process.

The following questions might guide your course planning:

  • Do I select a course about something I love?
  • Do I need to add a gateway course for a department or major?
  • Do I need to continue or begin a language?
  • Could I explore something new and interesting?

Course planning involves much more than just the subject matter. You should aim for variety in subject as well as the kind, size, format, and time of day of the courses.

There are a few curricular pathways that require special attention, such as pre-healthpre-law and dual degree engineering programs. There is a three-year option. There are three majors that require declaration during the spring semester of the first year: College of Social Studies, College of Letters and the College of East Asian Studies.

Course Pre-Registration Opens July 20

The Course Pre-Registration system opens July 20.  Until the system closes on August 6, you will be able to browse WesMaps and rank your course preferences for the fall semester.  You will be informed of your course placements in mid-August.

You should begin to think in terms of building a manageable course of study that offers challenge as well as flexibility for you to explore the curriculum and discover new interests. As you pursue your educational goals, keep in mind the idea of constructing a schedule that is balanced, challenging, and interesting. An academic schedule is balanced when:

There is a combination of small and large classes, lecture and discussion, and variations in course content and focus (e.g., reading, writing, quantitative work, artistic activity). This can provide breadth and stimulate academic curiosity while keeping a schedule manageable yet challenging.

There is variation in class days and times and instruction mode. For some students, this is as important a consideration as what courses to choose. Without sacrificing intellectual rigor or interest, students should try to distribute their courses across the week and throughout the day in the way that works best for them.

Free Shipping for Summer Course Materials Ordered from Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore

Summer Special! Attention Class of 2024, purchase your Summer Sessions course materials from Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore and receive FREE SHIPPING. Visit to find your textbooks and enter coupon code FREESHIP2024 at checkout.

Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore, located on Main Street in Middletown, serves both the Wesleyan and Greater Middletown communities. We offer course materials; Wesleyan gear and insignia merchandise; school supplies, the latest bestsellers; and unique gifts, games, and greeting cards. Thank you for supporting your local independent bookstore!

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the bookstore at or (860) 685-3939.

Preparing for Course Pre-Registration

We will be entering into the pre-registration period in July, so it is a good idea to start thinking about your possible course selections now.

Students typically welcome Wesleyan’s feast of course offerings with great enthusiasm. Some even imagine a scenario in which they may immerse themselves in the endless study or performance of their scholarly or artistic interests. Your goal should be to create a manageable course of study that offers intellectual challenge as well as flexibility for you to explore the curriculum and discover new interests as you pursue your educational goals.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “prior preparation prevents poor performance”? This applies well to selecting courses in college too. The Advising GuidelinesWesvising, and WesMaps combine to form a powerful trio of services through video and text that will facilitate your exploration of Wesleyan’s diverse liberal arts curriculum. You will get advice from faculty and students as they discuss different academic disciplines, pathways, and the General Education Expectations, among many other things so that you can create a balanced, challenging and interesting course of study for your first semester at Wes.

Summer Course Request Form Now Available

The Summer Course Request Form is now available through WesPortal.  Courses will take place from Monday, July 6 through Friday, August 14, 2020. Fifteen First-Year Seminars are being offered in addition to one lecture course.

Use the form to indicate your ranked preferences for the courses in which you would like to enroll.  We will do our best to place every student in a course, but due to space limitations we cannot guarantee placement. To access the form, navigate to:

WesPortal > New Student Checklist & Resources > Summer Course Request Form

The form must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 21. You may return to the form anytime to adjust your rankings until the deadline.

No additional tuition will be charged for enrolling in a summer course; the cost is included in the regular academic year tuition fee. The course will be added to your academic history and applied towards the 32.00 credits required for graduation when you matriculate as a full-time student in the Fall.

If you have any questions, please contact David Phillips, Dean for the Class of 2024, at

Summer Courses for the Class of 2024

Wesleyan is offering students in the Class of 2024 the opportunity to take an online course this summer before matriculating in the university this fall.  The Summer Course curriculum includes fifteen writing-intensive First-Year Seminars (FYS) and one lecture course.  Summer courses will take place from Monday, July 6 through Friday, August 14.  No additional charge will be incurred for enrolling in a Summer Course; tuition is included in the regular academic year tuition fee.

The official registration process for Summer Courses will take place later in June. In the meantime, if you think you may be interested in taking a summer course, please let us know through this form.

COL 119F: Narrating Pandemics (FYS)
Joe Fitzpatrick

With COVID-19 bringing a combination of stressful social isolation and unusual amounts of free time, people have been turning to representations of pandemics in fiction and film both as a kind of ironic escapism and as a potential source of comfort and insight into present

This course will look closely at some of these fictional representations, especially from the genre of speculative fiction, to get a sense of how pandemics are narrated and of what aspects of our social world are illuminated by this narrating. While we will look briefly at the history of pandemics from the Black Death through the 20th-century developments in virology, immunology, and epidemiology, our primary focus will be on more recent texts—ones responding to the AIDS crisis of the 1980’s along with ones inspired by more recent outbreaks of Ebola, avian flu, H1N1, etc. The selection of texts will not attempt to give a representative overview of the genre, but rather a set of starting points for thinking about narrative form and representational strategies in relation to the depiction of pandemics.

Readings will be determined in part by availability, but are likely to include novels by Samuel Delaney, Emily St. John Mandel, and Ling Ma; critical works by Susan Sontag, Samuel Delaney, Priscilla Wald, and Mike Davis; and a selection of Hollywood blockbusters and less-widely-circulated foreign films.

AFAM 171F: The Prison State: Race, Law, and Mass Incarceration in U.S. History (FYS)
Jesse Nasta

This first-year seminar course explores the history and effects of the United States’ mass incarceration crisis. The U.S. incarcerates more people than any other country in the world. And people of color make up a highly disproportionate number of the over 2 million individuals incarcerated in the U.S. today. Beginning with slavery and continuing through the rise of prisons, debt peonage, Jim Crow, and the Black Lives Matter movement, the course will explore how efforts to police, detain, and control black bodies have been at the center of U.S. law and legal practice since the nation’s founding. At the same time, we will compare and contrast how race, gender, and sexual orientation have been policed, controlled, and shaped through incarceration practices throughout U.S. history.

AMST 110F: Hawaii: Myths and Realities (FYS)
J. Kehaulani Kauanui

This course explores the symbolic myths of Hawai’i and Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) in contrast to material realities relating to colonialism, land, nation, gender, race, rank, class, self-determination, and contests over indigenous and Western sovereignty. The course covers the pre-colonial period, examines Captain Cook’s ventures in the Hawaiian Islands, the founding of the Hawaiian Kingdom, constitutional development of the Hawaiian Nation, the Kamehameha Dynasty, Calvinist missionization, the history of written literacy, the privatization of Hawaiian land use, gender transformations, the colonial regulation of sexuality, plantation labor, Kalakaua’s governance, the reign of Queen Lili’uokalani, and the US-backed overthrow of the monarchy. From the US takeover, the class examines the unilateral annexation and 20th-century colonial policy to 1959 statehood with an emphasis on indigenous self-determination, decolonization, and indigenous nationalism through the contemporary period in relation to both US federal policy and international law with a focus on land struggles.

CCIV 120F: From Democracy to Autocracy: Demagogues, Tyrants, and Popular Media in Ancient Greece and Rome (FYS)
Andrew Szegedy-Maszak

Although different, the political systems of Greece and Rome, many of which serve as a model for our own government, were carefully designed to balance military, social, and political participation and empowerment, and to defend against the consolidation of power by any single citizen or group. Eventually, both Greek democracy and the Roman Republic failed. Why? This course examines in depth the political and legal structures of two ancient societies which began with participatory or representative governments and slid toward autocracy. Drawing on a range of sources in translation (historical, legal, poetic), we will explore the emergence and evolution of political systems, from the rise of democracy in Greece to its lapse into oligarchy, and from the Roman Republic to its subversion by charismatic leaders and the advent of empire. Along the way, we will discuss the rise of a celebrity culture and the impact of the increasing importance of public spectacles and entertainments as a vehicle for the demoralization of citizens and the slide into autocracy. Where did they go wrong?

COL 101F: Truth and Lies in Crime Writing (FYS)
Charles Barber

This course will explore a range of crime fiction and nonfiction, from literary classics to genre-based texts. Readings will include Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment,” Nabokov’s “Lolita,” Raymond Chandler, and P.D. James, and nonfiction works such as “In Cold Blood,” Robert Kolker’s “Lost Girls,” and Charles Barber’s “Citizen Outlaw.” A theme of the class will be the duplicitous and elusive nature of truth and objectivity in both the journalistic and fictional accounts. Students will have the opportunity to write a short piece of crime fiction or narrative nonfiction, in addition to analytical papers.

E&ES 111: As the World Turns – Earth History, with Life’s Ups and Downs (FYS)
Joop Varekamp and Ellen Thomas

An introduction to the major events that shaped our modern Earth over the 4.5-billion-year history of our planet. We discuss the composition of the early atmosphere devoid of oxygen, the great oxygenation event related to the emergence of photosynthesizing bacteria, Snowball Earth, origin and evolution of life prior to 500 million years ago (the so-called ‘boring billion years’), followed by a treatment of the major asteroid impacts, mega-volcanic periods, and other disasters that catastrophically modified the Earth and influenced all that lived on it. We close with possibly the biggest disaster of them all: the human era, with the climate crisis, pollution, and possibly the largest extinction event ever? We use the Earth and environmental sciences, astronomy, and the basic sciences to introduce and explain the processes that ultimately shaped our modern world, highlighting the environmental stresses that shaped the course of life’s evolution, but also the role that organisms have played in creating Earth’s environments.

ENGL 150F: American Crazy (FYS)
Sean McCann

Among the industrialized nations of the world, the United States has long had unusually high levels of crime, violence, and imprisonment. This course will explore five especially prominent cultural explanations for American violence. We will consider the origins of these explanations in American myth and history, and we will investigate their appearance in literary expression, journalistic reporting, popular culture, and social science.

ENGL 156F: Contemporary American Literature (FYS)
Jennifer Wood

This course will explore contemporary American literature by focusing on novels written by Jhumpa Lahiri, Colson Whitehead, Junot Diaz, Tommy Orange, Ocean Vuong, Mbue Imbolo, Marianne Wiggins and a play by Lynn Nottage. Extra readings will include poems and short stories. We will consider the portrayals of race, class, ethnicity, religion, trauma, citizenship, migration and sexuality in these works, as well as the ways in which these authors conceptualize and problematize American identity.

ENGL 176F: August Wilson (FYS)
Rashida McMahon

During his lifetime, the world-renowned African American playwright August Wilson graced stages with award-winning and -nominated plays from his “Pittsburgh Cycle.” This course examines the 10 plays of this cycle in the order that the playwright wrote them, from JITNEY (1982) to RADIO GOLF (2005). We will pay special attention to the playwright’s use of language, history, memory, art, and music within his oeuvre.

FILM 158: Form, Story, and Genre: An Introduction to Wesleyan Film Studies
Scott Higgins

What does it mean to “study film” at Wesleyan? Get a taste of the College of Film’s approach to visual storytelling in this online course featuring genres and filmmakers from across our curriculum. We will consider how film guides viewers on an emotional journey through image and sound, with classes devoted to melodrama, comedy, action, horror, documentary, film noir, and the movie musical. In all cases, we explore the moment-by-moment experience of the viewer as guided by specific cinematic choices of editing, cinematography, staging, performance, sound, alignment, point-of-view, and placement of the audience. Instead of interpreting what films mean, we will seek to understand how they capture our attention, how they absorb us into stories, and how they make us feel.

GOVT 157F: Democracy & Dictatorship (FYS)
Peter Rutland

In this introduction to politics in industrialized capitalist, state socialist, and developing countries, we explore the meaning of central concepts such as democracy and socialism, the strengths and weaknesses of different kinds of political institutions (e.g., presidentialism vs. parliamentarianism in liberal democratic countries), the causes and consequences of shifts between types of political systems (e.g., transitions from authoritarian rule), and the relations among social, economic, and political changes (e.g., among social justice, economic growth, and political democracy in developing countries).

MATH 123F: Deduction with Calculus (FYS)
Karen Collins

Topics covered include techniques and applications of integration and an introduction to sequences and series, with an emphasis on mathematical writing. Weekly papers will be required.It is suitable for students who have already taken calculus and are interested in pursuing the mathematics major. Students may not receive credit for both MATH 122 and MATH 123. MATH 121 (or the equivalent of Calculus 1) is a pre-requisite for this course.

MUSC 125F: Music and Downtown New York, 1950-1970 (FYS)
Eric Charry

This course will explore the history, interconnections, and simultaneous flourishing of four distinct music communities that inhabited and shaped downtown New York during two particularly rich decades in American culture: Euro-American experimentalists; African American jazz-based avant-garde; blues and folk revivalists; and Lower East Side rock groups. Much of the course will be devoted to understanding their points of convergence and divergence, especially in conversation with broader currents of the time (e.g., the Civil Rights Movement and related notions of freedom, shifting youth subcultures, and avant-garde aesthetics). We will read about and listen to recordings of a wide variety of musicians, identify aesthetic and cultural trends, and study the local industry that supported them. Student research, interpretation, and writing will be emphasized throughout the semester.

RELI 275F: Religions Resisting Modernity (FYS)
Peter Gottschalk

Why did some Native Americans turn to dance while resisting federal troops? Why do creationists reject evolution? How did Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam challenge white supremacy using religious traditions more than a millennium old?  Why do some French Muslims wear a veil when their mothers didn’t? Throughout the last century, resistance has risen to what some call “modernity,” and religion has played an increasingly important role in challenging the globalization of modern Western values. Through discussions of first-person accounts and scholarship, this seminar will explore how Europe reimagined itself as a “modern society” in ways that had worldwide influence through imperialism. Then it will investigate how the Lakota Sioux, Christian creationists, Malcolm X, and French Muslims each have used religion in an attempt to resist some aspect of modernity, either outside the Western world or within it. No background in the study of religions is necessary. Ultimately, the course will challenge our very understandings and expectations of modernity.

RL&L 123F: Love, Sex, and Marriage in Renaissance Europe (FYS)
Michael Meere

This writing-intensive seminar compares literary depictions of love, sex, and marriage from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries by writers from England, France, Germany, Italy, the Low Countries, Spain, and Sweden. (N.B. Students will be able to study writings from other parts of Europe over the course of the semester should they so choose.) We will read texts composed by women and men in genres including poetry, the short story, the essay, the maxim, the travel narrative, and the sermon. Though the seminar is focused on literature, we will also consider painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts (e.g., wedding chests). We will explore questions such as: How were love and marriage related during the Renaissance? What role did sex, gender, and violence play in relationships between couples and within society, and how were they represented in literature (and art)? How do gender and genre affect the ways in which love, sex, and marriage are depicted? How did cultural differences influence writers’ and artists’ interpretations of love, sex, and marriage? And what about homosexual love and same-sex unions? Other topics will include virginity and celibacy, erotic literature, religion, friendship, family and class structures, and divorce.

WRCT 120F: Uncertainty & the Future (FYS)
Tess Bird

The world we live in is full of risk and uncertainty. Science, politics, and economics all tell us that this is a hazardous era in which great changes are inevitable and catastrophes are possible. How do people manage living in such an uncertain world? This first-year seminar introduces students to research and writing in the social sciences by studying a driving factor in the human search for knowledge: the uncertainty of the unknown future. We will consider how the ways in which humans define, relate to, and experience uncertainty influence social well-being and the production of the future. We begin with the anthropological study of uncertainty, which is rooted in the study of ritual and magic, and then consider perspectives in psychology, economics, and ecology. While we will reflect on the “negative” side of uncertainty, such as risk, precariousness, and insecurity, we will also examine the way the creative management of uncertainty is sometimes romanticized and consider the opportunities for creativity, adaptation, resilience, and imagination in uncertain times.