general studies
“The Seven Liberal Arts,” by Marten de Vos Seven, 1590

General Studies 145, 146 Encounters (The First-Year Experience)

A two-semester introduction to the liberal arts and the academic construction of knowledge. Organized around a variable theme, this course takes as its broad topic the examination of encounters between peoples and cultures, and the formation and transformation of dominant and competing worldviews. The study of primary sources, discussion, writing, and the construction of knowledge across academic fields will be emphasized. The two semesters will be taught as a single year-long course. The P-D-F grade option may not be elected for this course. The theme for the 2018-2019 academic year will be “Encounters: Transformations.” There are approximately 30 faculty from across the college teaching Encounters. The Director of Encounters is Helen Kim, Associate Professor of Sociology.

General Studies 245 Critical Voices

 This one-semester extension of the First-Year Experience will call into question the dominance of traditional western world views by critically examining the historical and ideological roles played by “others.” The aim is to learn to listen to these voices in their own contexts. Such voices will include those geographically “non-western,” as well as those excluded or subordinated by way of race, gender, and/or class within Europe and North America. Prerequisites: General Studies 145 and 146.


General Studies 145-146: The First-Year Experience

This course is taught in many small sections, but provides a common intellectual experience for all first-year students through the shared reading schedule, plenary lectures, Common Course Description and Common Procedures and shared Learning Goals.

The reading list changes slightly from year to year.  Here is the current list of texts and editions we are using.  (Reading lists from prior iterations of the course can be found here)

Schedule of Readings, Plenary Lectures, and Screenings

Fall 2018 and Spring 2019

Except where page numbers are given, assignments refer to sections, books, parts, acts, or chapters.

Fall Semester 2018

Unit I – Trauma and Transformation
Wed 8/29 Instructor's Choice
Fri 8/31
Kate Brown, Plutopia, Introduction, Chs. 1 and 3
Mon 9/3 Plutopia, Chs. 4-9
Wed 9/5 Plutopia, Chs. 10, 12, 14, and 16
Fri 9/7 Plutopia, Chs. 19-20, 22, and 30
Mon 9/10 Plutopia, Chs. 31, 34, and 36
Wed 9/12 Plutopia, Chs. 37-39 and 43
Fri 9/14 Instructor's Choice
Mon 9/17 Avard Fairbanks, Marcus Whitman Statue
Wed 9/19 A Proper Monument, Maxey Museum
Fri 9/21 W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk, Forethought-III
Mon 9/24 The Souls of Black Folk, IV-VI
Wed 9/26 The Souls of Black Folk, VIII and X
Fri 9/28 The Souls of Black Folk, XI, XIII, XIV, and Afterthought
Mon 10/1 The Souls of Black Folk, Whole Text
Wed 10/3 Primo Levi, The Periodic Table, Argon, Zinc, and Hydrogen
Fri 10/5 NO CLASS: Fall Break
Mon 10/8 The Periodic Table, Potassium, Nickel, and Mercury
Wed 10/10 The Periodic Table, Phosphorous, Gold, Cerium, and Survival in Auschwitz (excerpt online)
Fri 10/12 The Periodic Table, Chromium, Tin, Silver, Vanadium, and Carbon
Mon 10/15 Instructor's Choice
Unit II – Rewrite
Wed 10/17 Octavia Bulter, Parable of the Sower, Chs. 1-5
Fri 10/19 Parable of the Sower, Chs. 6-13
Mon 10/22 Parable of the Sower, Chs. 14-20
Wed 10/24 Parable of the Sower, Chs. 21-25
Fri 10/26 Mark 4:1-20, Matthew 13:1-23, Luke 8:4-15
Mon 10/29 Synthesis Day
Wed 10/31

William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Acts I-II

Fri 11/2

The Tempest, Act III

Mon 11/5

The Tempest, Act IV

Wed 11/7

The Tempest, Act V

Fri 11/9 Aimé Césaire, A Tempest, Act I
Mon 11/12 A Tempest, Act II
Wed 11/14 A Tempest, Act III
Fri 11/16 Synthesis Day
Mon 11/26 Plato, Apology, 17a-35d
Wed 11/28 Apology, 36a-42a
Fri 11/30 Plato, Crito
Mon 12/3 Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail (online)
Wed 12/5 Synthesis Day
Fri 12/7 Instructor's Choice
Wed 12/12 2-4 pm, Encounters final exam block (not all sections will have a final exam)


Spring Semester 2019

Unit III – Revolutions
Mon 1/14 Karl Marx, Selected Writings, pp. 54-62
Wed 1/16 Selected Writings, pp. 62-68
Fri 1/18 Selected Writings, pp. 68-79
Wed 1/21 NO CLASS: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Wed 1/23 Selected Writings, pp. 157-169 
Fri 1/25 Selected Writings, pp. 169-176 and 185-186
Wed 1/28 Instructor's Choice
Wed 1/30 Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality, Preface & Treatise I.1-9
Fri 2/1 On the Genealogy of Morality, Treatise I.10-17
Mon 2/4 On the Genealogy of Morality, Treatise II.1-12
Wed 2/6 On the Genealogy of Morality, Treatise II.13-25
Fri 2/8 On the Genealogy of Morality, Treatise III.1,8-15
Mon 2/11 On the Genealogy of Morality, Treatise III.20, 23-24, 27-28
Wed 2/13 Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, pp. 3-10 (end with "...Other")
Fri 2/15 The Second Sex, pp. 10-17 (start with "But a question...")
Wed 2/20 The Second Sex, pp. 21-48
Fri 2/22 The Second Sex, pp. 62-75, 159-163, and 266-274
Mon 2/25 The Second Sex, pp. 279, 283, and 341-382
Wed 2/27 The Second Sex, pp. 753-766
Fri 3/1

Instructor's Choice

  Screening in Maxey Auditorium, 7pm, 3/3
Mon 3/4 Gillo Pontecorvo, The Battle of Algiers
Wed 3/6 The Battle of Algiers
Fri 3/8 The Battle of Algiers
3/11-3/22 SPRING BREAK
Unit IV – Transforming the Self
Mon 3/25 Hallisey, trans., Therīgāthā: Poems of the First Buddhist Women, pp. 2-65 and 277-279
Wed 3/27 Therīgāthā, pp. 66-109
Fri 3/29 Therīgāthā, pp. 110-181
Mon 4/1 Therīgāthā, pp. 182-239
Wed 4/3 Therīgāthā, pp. xxxvii-xli and selections from alternative translations (online)
Fri 4/5 Instructor's Choice
Mon 4/8 Malcom X and Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcom X, Chs. 1 and 3
Wed 4/10 The Autobiography of Malcom X, Chs. 9-11
Fri 4/12 The Autobiography of Malcom X, Chs. 12 and 14
Mon 4/15 The Autobiography of Malcom X, Chs. 16-17
Wed 4/17 The Autobiography of Malcom X, Chs. 18-19
Fri 4/19 The Autobiography of Malcom X, Whole Text
Mon 4/22 Audre Lorde, "The Black Unicorn", "A Woman Speaks", and "Coniagui Women" in The Black Unicorn
Wed 4/24 "Eulogy for Alvin Frost" in The Black Unicorn
Fri 4/26 "Power", "Sister Outsider", and "Between Ourselves" in The Black Unicorn
  Screenings in Maxey Auditorium, 4 and 7pm, Sunday 4/28
Mon 4/29 Pedro Almodovar, All About my Mother
Wed 5/1 All About my Mother
Fri 5/3 All About my Mother
Mon 5/6 Instructor's Choice
Tues 5/14 9-11 am, Encounters final exam block (not all sections will have a final exam)

Last updated July 12th, 2018. Maintained by Timothy Doyle.