Freshman Seminar Program

Winter Quarter 2019 Enrollment Information

Freshman Seminars are open first to all freshman including first-year freshman with sophomore standing during the freshman enrollment period. Incoming freshmen with sophomore standing should use the campus Course Pre-Authorization system to be cleared to enroll in a seminar and then use WebReg to enroll in seminars during your enrollment time.

Early enrollment is encouraged due to the small class size.

Visit the Schedule of Classes to see enrollments (select all departments and 87.) Use WebReg to enroll in seminars during your enrollment period.

Sophomores may enroll directly in freshman seminars by using WebReg after the freshman enrollment period and if seats are available.

Please use the campus Course Pre-Authorization system if you have an enrollment question.

Please use the Virtual Advising Center, VAC to contact the advisor of the department or program offering the seminar for all non-enrollment questions.

Department of Anthropology

Discover Anthropology
ANTH 87 A00
Section ID: 958527
Semendeferi, Ekaterini (
Location: SSB 105
Mondays, 12:00 p.m. to 12:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

The seminar introduces students to the various disciplines within anthropology, library and laboratory resources, faculty research and mentoring opportunities in the department.
Esperanto & the Anthropology of Language
ANTH 87 D00
Section ID: 964060
Jordan, David (
Location: SSb 105
Fridays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

As the only artificial language in widespread spoken use, Esperanto can provide a window into linguistic, social, and cultural aspects of language in general. This class provides an overview both of Esperanto and of the anthropology of language.
The Anthropology of Sriracha
ANTH 87 B00
Section ID: 958528
Kang, Byung (
Location: SSB 105
Wednesdays, 4:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

In this course, we explore the history and anthropology of Sriracha as a case study of uniquely American food that comes together in relation to broader geopolitical forces. Topics will include: Foods indigenous to the Americas, "traditional" cooking, the global trade in food, "ethnic restaurants", and Asian Fusion. We conclude with student presentations on a contemporary food product or trend of their choosing.
The Aztecs
ANTH 87 C00
Section ID: 958529
Jordan, David (
Location: SSB 105
Fridays, 12:00 p.m. to 12:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Origins and evolution of pre-Columbian Aztec society and culture. Sources are a mix of archaeological findings and early colonial writings.

Division of Biological Sciences

Earth's Fragile Biosphere
BILD 87 B00
Section ID: 961858
Saier, Milton (
Location: APM 3880
Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This freshman seminar will focus on all environmental issues including global warming, human population growth, stratospheric ozone depletion, effects of pollution on human and biosphere health, and many other topics. Students will be asked to organize a short presentation or a class discussion on a topic of interest to them.
The Philosophy of Science and the Science of the Supernatural
BILD 87 A00
Section ID: 961857
Saier, Milton (
Location: APM 3880
Thursdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This freshman seminar will focus on many aspect of philosophy, science, and religion, including Creation stories versus the Big Bang, Human Paranormal Phenomena, Epigenetic control of phenotypes, Out of Body experiences, Communication by mental telepathy, and many other topics. Students will be asked to organize a short presentation or a class discussion on a topic of interest to them.

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Teaching Science: The Challenge
CHEM 87 A00
Section ID:
Brydges, Stacey (
Location: NSB 3211
Tuesdays, 12:30 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9

Why do so many students seem unable or unwilling to learn science? Is this due to ineffective instruction, or are the difficulties inevitable? How can teaching make science intrinsically stimulating for all students? How can a teaching career be fulfilling and rewarding?

Department of Cognitive Science

How Minds and Groups Make Religion and Superstition
COGS 87 A00
Section ID: 964026
Deak, Gedeon (
Location: TBA
Date and Time: TBA
Meeting Dates: TBA

Why do humans, individually and in groups, attribute natural events to supernatural agents? How does the human brain accept religious beliefs, even in the face of contradictory evidence? We will examine how cognitive, developmental, and cultural factors work together to cause humans to believe in the supernatural.

Department of Computer Science & Engineering

Neural Networks as Models of the Mind
CSE 87 A00
Section ID: 964027
Cottrell, Gary (
Location: EBU3B B220
Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-6

We investigate how neural networks can be used to model how we see, read, remember, and learn. We use simple demonstration programs that implement these models. We teach a neural network to recognize faces, facial expressions, and gender. We also get some insight into the latest trends in neural networks, Deep Learning.

Critical Gender Studies

Are Prisons Obsolete?
CGS 87 A00
Section ID: 964025
Hankins, Joseph (
Location: CCC ArtSpace
Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet January 15 -March 5

Are Prisons Obsolete? In her book by the same title, Angela Davis argues that they are: that prisons, as a means of fostering healthy societies, fail. This seminar will examine the rise of prisons in the United States, their relationship with slavery and ongoing racial control, how they rely on sexual and gender violence, and the ways in which people resist the logic of incarceration and instead build other systems of social support that are making prisons obsolete.

Eleanor Roosevelt College

God, Satan, and the Desert - $95 field trip fee required
ERC 87 A00
Section ID: 964049
Herbst, Matthew (
Location: ERC 115
Tuesdays, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Camping trip will be a weeknd in February

This seminar offers an introduction to cultural and religious perspectives on the desert, which has been viewed as a cursed wasteland, but also as source of enlightenment. This course includes a weekend trip in the desert . Website:

Film Studies

Banned films
FILM 87 D00
Section ID: 964032
Rahimi, Babak (
Location: MCC 221
Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet Jan. 9 - March 6

This seminar examines the relationship between law, politics and cinema and why governments have banned certain films throughout history. We will examine films such as This is Not a Film, Sweetness of Spirit, Battleship Potemkin, LAge dOr, The Bohemian Girl, Clockwork Orange, Goldfinger and others.
Cult Films of 1950s-2000s
FILM 87 A00
Section ID: 964029
Havis, Allan (
Location: GH 144
Thursdays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet Jan. 10- March 7

Cursory look at enigmatic cult film classics from 1950 to today. Basic aesthetics and ideas of cult films will be celebrated. Films will probably include PSYCHO, THE WICKER MAN, ROAD WARRIOR, BLADE RUNNER, DELICATESSEN, RUN LOLA RUN, HAROLD & MAUDE.
Fantasy, Sci Fi, & Horror the Last 60 Years
FILM 87 B00
Section ID: 964030
Havis, Allan (
Location: GH 144
Thursdays, 12:00 p.m. to 12:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Jan 10 - March 7

An entertaining and analytical survey from the 1950s to today of memorable and strange feature films probably including THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN, PSYCHO, RUN LOLA RUN, ROAD WARRIOR, BLADE RUNNER, METROPOLIS, DARK CITY, and THE RING. Technical achievement, visual power, and personal nuance will be emphasized.
What Film Could Teach Us About Life
FILM 87 C00
Section ID: 964031
Rahimi, Babak (
Location: MCC 221
Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet Jan. 9 - March 6

This seminar is about how film can reflect and change our lives. We will discuss movies such as: I Love you, Beth Cooper,American Beauty, Sliding doors, Seventh Seal, Happiness, La Dolce Vita, Taste of Cherry, Do the Right Thing, Christmas Story and others.

Department of History

Ming China in Short Stories
HITO 87 A00
Section ID: 959214
Schneewind, Sarah (
Location: HSS 4025
Mondays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

We will read dramatic and amusing short stories from the Ming period (1368-1644) along with short scholarly articles related to them, and discuss what they reveal about Chinese society, government, religion, economy, and ideology. We will meet emperors, officials, and beggars; wives, prostitutes, and go-betweens; monks, nuns, and Daoist mystics; and gods and ghosts.
Opening the Door to the Past: Practice in Historical Analysis
HITO 87 B00
Section ID: 969425
Hendrickson, Mark (
Location: HSS 6008
Wednesdays, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 1-8

Are you thinking of studying History? Heres a chance to meet History faculty in an informal classroom setting, and practice reading and thinking like a historian. Each week a different History professor will lead a discussion of a selected reading.

Department of Literature

Dystopia in Film and Literature
LTWL 87 A00
Section ID: 964023
Lampert-Weissig, Lisa (
Location: LIT 237
Tuesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-6, 8-9

George Orwell’s dystopian classic, 1984, recently shot to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list. What does this novel, written in 1949, have to say to us today? We will explore political, environmental, and technological dystopias in works such as Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Butler’s The Parable of the Talents, Collins’ The Hunger Games, and the UK television series Black Mirror.
Vampires in Literature and Film
LTWL 87 B00
Section ID: 964024
Lampert-Weissig, Lisa (
Location: LIT 237
Thursdays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-6, 8-9

We will examine the portrayal of vampires in a series of films ranging from Murnau's 1922 classic Nosferatu to the shows like True Blood and the Vampire Diaries. How has the representation of vampires changed over the years? Students will watch the films outside of class to prepare for our discussions. Visit for more information.

Department of Mathematics

Math in the Movies
MATH 87 A00
Section ID: 964033
Bunch, James (
Location: APM 6402
Wednesdays, 3:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Jan. 9, 16, 23, 30

Does studying math lead to mental instability and madness, or to social awkwardness and nerdiness? We will view four films and discuss the portrayal of math and mathematicians in them.

Department of Physics

Introduction to LaTeX: typeset your own science/engineering papers
PHYS 87 A00
Section ID: 962921
Grinstein, Benjamin (
Location: MYR-A 4623
Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

LaTeX is the standard mark-up language for professional typesetting of scientific and engineering documents (from papers to books). This is a hands on seminar, covering from LaTeX and editor installation to producing a document with tables, figures and equations. Students have a choice to work on their laptops or use computers in the computer lab.
Thinking Like a Physicist
PHYS 87 B00
Section ID: 962922
Murphy, Thomas (
Location: SERF 329
Thursdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This seminar views the world around us through a quantitative lens, fearlessly estimating and approximating our way to a big-picture understanding of our physical world. Topics include the energy challenge, everyday life phenomena, personal physical performance, and more.

Department of Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Climate change science: the IPCC process
SIO 87 A00
Section ID: 964037
Talley, Lynne (
Location: Eckart 236
Wednesdays, 9:00 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change provides the international consensus synthesis of findings about climate change: observations, forcings, attribution, and prediction. SIO has many observational and some modeling programs that contribute to the IPCC. We will examine the IPCC process, its findings, its most recent activities, and include visits to SIO lab facilities that have contributed to IPCC science.
Sustainable Landscapes
SIO 87 C00
Section ID: 964039
Willenbring, Jane (
Location: York 3030
Wednesdays, 3:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 1, 2, 4, 5, 6

A major objective of human civilization has been to make nature less hazardous and more predictable. Often this involves direct manipulation of the landscape on which we depend: agriculture and irrigation, dams and levees, and fire suppression and timber harvesting, for example. Coast lines, river banks and desert dunes are artificially held in place in attempts to force the dynamic landscape to be static.
Treasures of the Earth: Minerals, Crystals, and Gems
SIO 87 B00
Section ID: 965038
Cook, Geoffrey (
Location: York 3030
Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-5

Spectacular specimens and multimedia presentations will introduce students to nature's geologic treasures. Using the mineral kingdom as a platform, students will learn about the fascinating processes and products of the Earth and will gain awareness of their societal importance.

Sixth College

"It’s the End of the World as we Know It:” Technology, Film, and the Politics of Disaster
CAT 87 A00
Section ID: 964701
Bronstein, Phoebe (
Location: PCYNH 240
Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This Freshman Seminar will examine disaster and post-apocalyptic films from Creature From the Black Lagoon and King Kong to Wall-E and The Hunger Games. Each week, we will use a different film to tackle how disaster is narrated, with special attention to how anxieties about the intersections of technology--i.e. like the atomic bomb--and politics are articulated on-screen.

Department of Sociology

Seeing the Invisible: How Gender and Sexuality Shape Opportunity
SOCI 87 B00
Section ID: 964042
Blair-Loy, Mary (
Location: SSB 101
Fridays, 12:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 1-5

Today does everyone in the U.S. have a similar chance to create the life they want? This seminar explores social scientific research on how schools and workplaces continue to provide different opportunities to people based on their gender and sexual identity.

Warren College

Space Physiology and Exploration (meeting location is at the School of Medicine)
WARR 87 A00
Section ID: 964043
Hargens, Alan (
Location: MET
Mondays, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet Weeks 1-10

Space Physiology and Exploration will include physiologic adaptations to gravity and adaptations to the microgravity of spaceflight for cardiovascular, bone, muscle and other physiologic systems. Countermeasures to maintain health of astronauts will include radiation protection and various forms of artificial gravity such as centrifugation. Meeting Location: Medical Education and Telemedicine (MET) Building here on the School of Medicine campus in La Jolla.

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