Freshman Seminar Program

Spring Quarter 2018 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 Bioengineering

Introduction to Bioinstrumentation
BENG 87 A00
Section ID: 943007
Omens, Jeff (
Location: PFBH 291
Thursday, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet 4/5, 4/12, 4/19, 4/26, 5/3, 5/10, 5/17, 5/24, 5/31, 6/7

This course will explore biomedical instrument design in a hands-on laboratory setting. The goals of the course are to design, test, and document a biopotential amplifier/recording system, specifically for recording and analyzing the human electrocardiogram (ECG) with a working prototype hardware/software system.

Division of Biological Sciences

Mighty Microbes: Their Lives and Times
BILD 87 A00
Section ID: 935642
Saier, Milton (
Location: APM 3880
Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Apr 3, 10, 17, 24, May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, June 5

Microbes comprise 99% of all the life forms on Earth. They have been estimated to comprise ~50% of the Earth's biomass and have been here for at least 3.6 billion years. Their morphological, molecular and developmental diversity far exceeds that of all macrobiota. They have metabolic capabilities that are lacking in or substantially different from those in the entire eukaryotic domain of life.
Sugar: A Bitter-Sweet Story
BILD 87 C00
Section ID: 935644
Hampton, Randolph (
Location: APM 3880
Thursdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Apr 5, 12, 19, 26, May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, June 7

Sugar is part of our lives to an incredible degree; the average person on a "western diet" eats something like 80 or 90 lbs of sugar a year! We love sweet things, and in the last 200 years, we have gone to enormous effort as a civilization to get that much sugar into the human supply chain. But along with the clearly positive features of more sweet things, and lots of them, there is a dark side to the "sugarization" of human culture. From the vicious fiscal and societal tactics used to generate this commodity, to the clear metabolic problems that come from the sudden massive uptick of consumption, to the corporate structure that ensures the constant production and consumption of this enticing food, to the unknown effects of artificial sweeteners, there is much to learn from this simple molecule, and the ways it shapes the lives of our ancestors, ourselves, and our futures. Sweets will be served!!
The Philosophy of Science and the Science of the Supernatural
BILD 87 B00
Section ID: 935643
Saier, Milton (
Location: APM 3880
Thursdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet Apr 5, 12, 19, 26, May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, June 7

This seminar will consider the philosophy of science and the science of faith. Topics to be included are: 1. The Creation Story 2. The Ptolemaic Universe 3. How to explain the supernatural 4. Copernicus and Galileo 5. Kepler's analyses 6. Sir Isaac Newton 7. Darwin and Evolution 8. Koch's Postulates 9. Mental illness 10. The Scientific Method.

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Science Policy: Learn, Create, Share
CHEM 87 B00
Section ID: 935647
Schmidt, Valerie (  &
   Schimpf, Alina (

How do government officials make policy decisions with scientific implications? How can we be a part of the conversation? In this seminar we will discuss how scientific research makes its way to government science policy, look deeply at selected issues, and generate multimedia projects to share publicly.
Teaching Science: The Challenge
CHEM 87 A00
Section ID: 935646
Bussey, Thomas (

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: 935648
Deak, Gedeon (
Location: CSB 180
Mondays, 12:00 p.m. to 12:50 p.m.
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: 935649
Cottrell, Gary (
Location: EBU3B B230
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

Who Cares?
CGS 87 B00
Section ID: 947059
Hankins, Joseph (
Location: STCTR E209
Tuesdays, 1:00 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet April 12-May 31

When does the pain of another matter to us? Whose pain might matter, whose pain might we ignore? How do we learn to care? In this seminar we will discuss the labor of caring - for other humans, for life forms beyond the human, for the environment. Who has to do it, who doesn't, and what kind of politics might be built out of compassion? Meeting Location: LGBT RC, Conference Room

Education Studies

Learning Computer Science -- The Teaching Opportunity
EDS 87 B00
Section ID: 949320
Simon, Elizabeth (
Location: PCH 440
Tuesdays, 12:30 p.m. to 2:10
Seminar will meet weeks 1-4

Why does everyone need to know how computers work? How can we use knowledge of how brains work and how people learn to support students in learning how to program? How do we support students with diverse backgrounds in learning to think computationally? This seminar is for those interested in how to teach computing.

Eleanor Roosevelt College

Refugee World: Who and what is a refugee?
ERC 87 A00
Section ID: 935653
Herbst, Matthew (
Location: ERCA 115
Tuesday, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Who and what is a refugee? This seminar offers an introduction to the topic, providing an historical overview and presenting contemporary policy issues, ranging from security and re-settlement to social integration and education. The course also introduces organizations which support refugees and incorporates voices of refugees themselves.
Sacred Mountain (required field trip fee $95) - 15 student limit
ERC 87 B00
Section ID: 935654
Herbst, Matthew (
Location: ERCA 115
Tuesday, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This seminar explores mountains in religious and philosophical traditions, from divine encounters to poetic expressions and mountaintop musings of Thoreau and John Muir. This seminar includes a weekend experience in the mountains of Southern CA (field trip fee $95).

Film Studies

Banned films
FILM 87 E00
Section ID: 942243
Rahimi, Babak (
Location: MCC 221
Thursdays, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

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 G00
Section ID: 942245
Havis, Allan (
Location: MCC 221
Tuesdays, 3:30 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

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 H00
Section ID: 942246
Havis, Allan (
Location: MCC 221
Thursdays, 4:30 p.m. to 5:20 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

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.
Third World Cinema
FILM 87 D00
Section ID: 935660
Rahimi, Babak (

Examines films from the Global South, in particular Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. It surveys themes such as post-colonialism, resistance, women rights, nationalism and censorship, as well the cinematic genre.
What Film Could Teach Us About Life
FILM 87 F00
Section ID: 942244
Rahimi, Babak (
Location: MCC 221
Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

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

Global History of Drugs
HITO 87 B00
Section ID: 935660
Edington, Claire (
Location: HSS 4025
Mondays, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-8

This seminar introduces students to the history of drugs from a global perspective. Topics include the opium trade in Asia, the origins of international drug control, the war on drugs in the United States and Latin America and the rise of the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the recent opioid epidemic.
What is American Capitalism?
HITO 87 A00
Section ID: 935659
Kwak, Nancy (
Location: HSS 4025
Mondays, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-8

How did capitalism begin and how did it evolve in the US? Did a capitalist economy dampen or fuel class inequality across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? And what is the role of the state in a capitalist system? In this class, we will discuss the basics of the history of capitalism and read core texts.

Department of Literature

Asian Horror
LTCS 87 C00
Section ID: 935663
Nguyen, Hoang (
Location: LIT 455
Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-8

The course focuses on the explosion of horror, thriller, and suspense movies across Asia in the new millennium. Our investigation of this wildly popular genre will be framed by the politics of gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, and national identity. Case studies will include productions from Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines. Students willl learn foundational skills in formal film analysis.
Dystopia in Film and Literature
LTWL 87 A00
Section ID: 935664
Lampert-Weissig, Lisa (
Location: LIT 237
Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-8

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.
Love at First Sight
LTCS 87 B00
Section ID: 935662
Nguyen, Hoang (
Location: LIT 237
Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-8

The course looks at the relationship between love and time in contemporary romantic comedies. It examines movie relationships that follow traditional life courses and relationships that reject romantic chronology altogether. Films may include Beginners, 50 First Dates, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, I Give It A Year, Her, and Weekend. Students will learn foundational skills in formal film analysis.
Reading Television: American Popular Culture
LTCS 87 D00
Section ID: 940236
Wesling, Megan (

This course is an introduction to TV studies. We will discuss how television shapes our ideas about gender, race, and American identity. Students will participate in selecting shows to analyze and discuss.
Television and American Identity
LTCS 87 A00
Section ID: 935661
Wesling, Megan (

This course examines aspects of how TV shapes our perceptions of the world we live in. We will focus on questions of race, gender, and sexuality in popular media and politics. Students will participate in selecting shows to analyze and discuss.

Department of Mathematics

Calculus and the Art of Bicycle Racing
MATH 87 A00
Section ID: 935666
Wulbert, Daniel (

Topics Include: Power on climb, Counter steering vectors, Rotating mass, Track stands, Cornering lines. Students can choose topics ranging from arithmetic and trig calculations through to Taylor Series and Lagrange Multipliers.
Teaching Math: The Challenge
MATH 87 B00
Section ID: 935667
Stevens, Laura (
Location: APM 2402
Mondays, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 2-9

Why do so many students seem unable or unwilling to learn mathematics? Which of the difficulties students have in mathematics are due to ineffective instruction and which are inevitable? How can teaching make mathematics stimulating for all students? How can a teaching career be fulfilling?

Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Introduction to Environmental Engineering
MAE 87 A00
Section ID: 935665
Kleissl, Jan (
Location: EBU2 105
Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. to 6:20 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

Unlike other majors, the Environmental Engineering does not have a dedicated introductory course for freshmen. Through the proposed seminar, local alumni and other industry speakers would be invited to campus to provide the following: (1) Career perspectives, (2) Advice on courses, (3) Advice for extracurricular activities, (4) Internship tips. Professionals are from different environmental engineering fields such as building energy efficiency, water resources, compliance, sustainability, and other.

Department of Music

Beauty in Madness: Critiquing the Operatic Mad Scene
MUS 87 A00
Section ID: 935668
Guy, Nancy (
Location: CPMC 166
Tuesdays, 2:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-4

This seminar explores madness as portrayed in European opera, Japanese kabuki, and Chinese kunqu. Mad scenes often allow singers creative freedom in realizing their characters' insanity. What makes a performance chillingly brilliant? This seminar develops attention to interpretive detail.

Department of Philosophy

PHIL 87 A00
Section ID: 935669
Rickless, Samuel (
Location: HSS 7077
Wednesdays, 12:00 p.m. to 12:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet April 11-June 6

In this seminar, we will consider various famous paradoxes and try to solve them, including the Barber Paradox, The Heap, the Ship of Theseus, the Lottery, and the Unexpected Examination.

Department of Physics

From Quarks to Cosmos
PHYS 87 B00
Section ID: 940725
Fuller, George (
Location: SERF 383
Thursdays, 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

A fascinating interplay of the very small and the very large has governed the evolution of the universe. The stuff we are made of was cooked in the early universe and in the hellish interiors of massive stars. The lion's share of the matter and energy in the universe is in unknown forms that must have bizarre properties
Introduction to LaTeX: typeset your own science/engineering papers
PHYS 87 A00
Section ID: 935670
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.

Department of Political Science

Current Foreign Policy Crises
POLI 87 A00
Section ID: 935671
Roeder, Philip (
Location: SSB 353
Wednesday, 2:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet 4/4, 4/11, 4/18, 4/25

Each week we will discuss a foreign policy crisis confronting American decision makers, such as the South China Sea confrontation or the Kurdistan conflict. Students will select each week's topic from a list of over a dozen topics in the Great Decisions series.

Department of Psychology

What's So Funny: The Psychology of Humor (cross-listed with PSYC 192)
PSYC 87 A00
Section ID: 935672
Christenfeld, Nicholas (
Location: Mandler 1507
Thursdays, 4:00 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1, 3, 5, and 7

We will explore theories of why and when people laugh, with explanations ranging from simple novely, surprise, and incongruity to more complex notions of disguised aggression, hostility and sexuality. We will also examine funny things themselves, and develop our own theories. Concurrent with senior seminar PSYC 192 (enrollment limited to 10)

Department of Scripps Institution of Oceanography

An Introduction to Volcanoes
SIO 87 B00
Section ID: 935674
Cook, Geoffrey (
Location: YORK 3030
Tuesdays, 11:00 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-5

Students will be introduced to the fascinating world of volcanoes using a combination of hands-on activities, analogue demonstrations, and a wide variety of multimedia including videos, photos, and computer simulations.
Rocks that Rock! An exploration of exciting, unique and otherwise fascinating Earth materials
SIO 87 A00
Section ID: 935673
Cook, Geoffrey (

Students will learn about rocks, the rock cycle, and the myriad of Earth materials that make up the planet and solar system. Exciting hand-specimens and multimedia presentations will enhance and augment the presentation.

Department of Sociology

Globalization and the Exploitation of Children
SOCI 87 A00
Section ID: 935676
Evans, Ivan (

This course examines the plight of children in different parts of the world. An examination of slavery, child soldiers, sex trafficking and the rampant sexualization of childhood raises questions about the treatment of children in both developing and developed countries.

Department of Theatre & Dance

Dance Movement Exploration
TDGE 87 A00
Section ID: 935677
Rincon, Patricia (
Location: GH 320
Wednesays, 2:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 1-4

An introduction to dance movement and understanding your body; a contemporary approach to dancing and its many genres as an expressive medium and form of communication. No dance training necessary. Prerequisites: none
Theatre in Performance
TDGE 87 B00
Section ID: 935678
Oates, Charles (
Location: GH 247
Fridays, 12:00 p.m. to 12:50 p.m.
Seminar will meet weeks 3-10

This seminar will follow the rehearsal and production process of the Theatre and Dance department's production of Peer Gynt. Led by Charlie Oates, who will be directing Peer Gynt, students will receive an in-depth, behind the scenes view of the creating the performances, the design and all production elements.

Thurgood Marshall College

Principles of Clarity
TMC 87 B00
Section ID: 943165
Dobkins, Karen (
Location: Women's Center
Thursdays, 9:30 a.m. to 10:20 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

This is a course in positive psychology and mindfulness. It teaches how to be clear in our needs and choices, communicate those needs effectively and clearly to others, and accept full responsibility for the outcome. It combines a short lecture with workshop style exercises.
Women of Color Activism: Davis, Huerta, & Kochiyama
TMC 87 A00
Section ID: 935679
Amorao, Amanda (
Location: SEQUO 119
Tuesday, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Meeting Dates: TBA

In this freshman seminar, we will explore the work of three women of color activists who have impacted US society through their writing about and organizing for justice. We will read portions of Angela Davis's autobiography chronicling her time as a political prisoner, Dolores Huerta's accounts of her role in the California farm workers movement, and Yuri Kochiyama's biography tracing her path from Japanese internment during WWII to her alliances with the black power movement.

Warren College

Space Physiology and Exploration (meeting location is at the School of Medicine)
WARR 87 A00
Section ID: 941077
Hargens, Alan (
Location: MET 215
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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