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 2019-2020 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 2019 and Spring 2020

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

Fall Semester 2019

Wed 9/4 Instructor's Choice
Fri 9/6
Jacob Hashimoto, When Nothing Ends, Nothing Remains
Mon 9/9 Plenary Panel (Hashimoto)
Wed 9/11 Yuichi Seirai, "Shells"
Fri 9/13 Kate Brown, Plutopia, Introduction and Chs. 1, 3
Mon 9/16 Plutopia, Chs. 4-9
Wed 9/18 Plutopia, Chs. 10, 12, 14, and 16
Fri 9/20 Plutopia, Chs. 19-20, 22, and 30
Mon 9/23 Plutopia, Chs. 31, 34, and 36
Wed 9/25 Plutopia, Chs. 37-39 and 43
Fri 9/27 Instructor's Choice
Mon 9/30 Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, pp. 3-17
Wed 10/2 The Second Sex, pp. 21-48
Fri 10/4 The Second Sex, pp. 62-75, 159-163, and 266-274
Mon 10/7 The Second Sex, pp. 279, 283-303, and 341-365
Wed 10/9 The Second Sex, pp. 753-766
Fri 10/11 NO CLASS: Fall Break
Mon 10/14 Karl Marx, Selected Writings, pp. 54-68
Wed 10/16 Selected Writings, pp. 68-79
Fri 10/18 Selected Writings, pp. 157-169
Mon 10/21 Selected Writings, pp. 169-176 and 185-186
Wed 10/23 Instructor's Choice
Fri 10/25 Audre Lorde The Black Unicorn, "The Black Unicorn", "A Woman Speaks", "From the House of Yemanja", "Coniagui Women", and "A Rock Thrown Into the Water Does Not Fear the Cold"
Mon 10/28 The Black Unicorn, "Harriet", "For Assata", "Walking Our Boundaries", and "Eulogy for Alvin Frost"
Wed 10/30 The Black Unicorn, "A Woman/Dirge for Wasted Children", "Recreation", "Contact Lenses", "Bicentennial Poem # 21,000,000", "Sister Outsider", "Power", and "Between Ourselves"
10/30 Film Screening, 7pm, Olin Auditorium
Fri 11/1 Pedro Almodovar, All About My Mother
11/3 Film Screening, 7pm, Maxey Auditorium
Mon 11/4 All About My Mother
Wed 11/6
All About My Mother
Fri 11/8

William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Acts I-II

Mon 11/11

The Tempest, Act III

Wed 11/13

The Tempest, Act IV

Fri 11/15

The Tempest, Act V

Mon 11/18 Aimé Césaire, A Tempest, Act I
Wed 11/20 A Tempest, Act II
Fri 11/22 A Tempest, Act III
Mon 12/2 W.E.B. Du Bois,The Souls of Black Folk, Forethought-III
Wed 12/4 The Souls of Black Folk, IV-VI
Fri 12/6 The Souls of Black Folk, VIII and X
Mon 12/9 The Souls of Black Folk, XI, XIII, XIV, and Afterthought
Wed 12/11 The Souls of Black Folk, Whole Text
Fri 12/13 Instructor's Choice
Tue 12/17 2-4 pm, Encounters final exam block (not all sections will have a final exam)


Spring Semester 2020

Wed 1/20 NO CLASS: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Wed 1/22 Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality, Preface and Treatise I
Fri 1/24 On the Genealogy of Morality, Treatise II, 1-12
Mon 1/27 On the Genealogy of Morality, Treatise II, 13-25
Wed 1/29 On the Genealogy of Morality, Treatise III, 1 and 8-15
Fri 1/31 On the Genealogy of Morality, Treatise III, 20, 23-24, and 27-28
Mon 2/3 Instructor's Choice
Wed 2/5 Therigatha: Poems of the First Buddhist Women, pp. 2-65 and 277-279
Fri 2/7 Therigatha: Poems of the First Buddhist Women, pp. 66-109
Mon 2/10 Therigatha: Poems of the First Buddhist Women, pp. 110-181
Wed 2/12 Therigatha: Poems of the First Buddhist Women, pp. 182-239
Fri 2/14 Therigatha: Poems of the First Buddhist Women, pp. xxxvii-xli and selections from alternative translations
Wed 2/19 Malcolm X and Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Chs. 1-3
Fri 2/21 The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Chs. 4 and 9-11
Mon 2/24 The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Chs. 12 and 14
Wed 2/26 The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Chs. 16-17
Fri 2/28 The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Chs. 18-19
Mon 3/2 Instructor's Choice
Wed 3/4 Primo Levi, The Periodic Table, pp. 3-49
Fri 3/6 The Periodic Table, pp. 50-78 and 109-138
Mon 3/9 The Periodic Table, pp. 139-146 and Survival in Auschwitz, pp. 13-55
Wed 3/11 Survival in Auschwitz, pp. 101-108, 136-144, and 151-173
Fri 3/13 The Periodic Table, pp. 200-233
Mon 3/16-3/27 Spring Break
Mon 3/30 Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower, Chs. 1-5
Wed 4/1 Parable of the Sower, Chs. 6-13
Fri 4/3 Parable of the Sower, Chs. 14-20
Mon 4/6 Parable of the Sower, Chs. 21-25
Wed 4/8 Mark 4:1-20, Matthew 13:1-23, and Luke 8:4-15
Fri 4/10 Gillo Pontecorvo, The Battle of Algiers
Mon 4/13 The Battle of Algiers
Wed 4/15 The Battle of Algiers
Fri 4/17 Instructor's Choice
Mon 4/20 Ross Gay, The Book of Delights, “My Birthday, Kinda”; “Inefficiency”; “Flower in the Curb”; “Blowing It Off”; “Writing by Hand”; “‘Joy Is Such a Human Madness’”; “Umbrella in the Cafe”; “Weirdly Untitled”; “Ghost”
Wed 4/22 The Book of Delights, “Stacking Delights”; “Bird Feeding”; “Kombucha in a Mid-century Glass”; “‘My Life, My Life...’”; “Understory”; “‘Joy Is Such a Human Madness’: The Duff Between Us”
Fri 4/24 TBD
Mon 4/27 The Book of Delights, “Found Things”; “Found Things (2)”; “Cuplicking”; “Heart to Heart”; “Caution: Bees on Bridge”
Wed 4/29 The Book of Delights, “Still Processing”; “Fireflies”; “My Scythe Jack”; “Loitering” ; “Grown”; “My Birthday”
Fri 5/1 Sophocles, Philoctetes, Lines 1-312
Mon 5/4 Philoctetes, Lines 313-867
Wed 5/6 Philoctetes, Lines 878-1199
Fri 5/8 Philoctetes, Lines 1200-end
Mon 5/11 Instructor's Choice
Tues 5/19 2-4 pm, Encounters final exam block (not all sections will have a final exam)

Last updated Aug 13th, 2019. Maintained by Timothy Doyle.