FSEM Courses

Welcome! Here you’ll find a full list of all Fall 2021 First-Year Seminar (FSEM) offerings. Browse through the pages of classes, select a course from the first drop down menu, or browse by subject area. Please note that this site shows the FSEMs regardless of whether or not they are full, so there is no guarantee that a course will still be open at the time of your registration


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    FSEM 100 H2 | The Idea of Cool

    What is Cool? Who decides? This first-year seminar studies the elusive but ever-so-attractive idea of Cool by looking at both historical and contemporary ideas of that quality. From its post-WWII emergence from the world of jazz into subgroups like the …

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    FSEM 100G4 | Race & Revolution

    In this course, we will explore the life and work of James Farmer, an exemplary leader of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement who taught at Mary Washington during the 1990s. We will investigate the history of the concept of race and its impact on how we perceive ourselves and the world.

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    FSEM 100M6 | The Grail Legend

    The origins of the Grail Legend are buried too deeply in our mythographic history to be clearly established. Students will examine how the Grail Legend takes on a life of its own in the literary history of Europe, and they will develop an independent project that reflects solid methodology appropriate to their topic.

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    FSEM 100M9 | Down the Rabbit Hole

    In Lewis Carroll’s classic story Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the title character falls into a land of magical and unpredictable characters, actions, and communications, which is an experience you might share as you enter the new world of college. This seminar will have at its core Carroll’s literary works and photography in a study that will lead us into examinations of philosophy, identity, sexuality, language, authority, hallucination, justice, visual art, madness, ethics, gender, psychology, film, logic, childhood, mathematics, the body, narrative, education, social codes, memory, time—and reality itself.

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    FSEM 100R4 | Forbidden Texts

    This FSEM is an exploration of forbidden texts, defined broadly, through in-depth examination of texts which were banned at some point, somewhere, in some fashion.

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    HIST 201 | First-Year Seminar: European History: The Early Crusades

    What were the Crusades? Were they the first stirrings of European colonialism, medieval style? Were they the heroic attempts to rescue Jerusalem from the Infidel (whether the infidels were Christian or Muslim)? In this seminar, you will have the chance to answer these questions by reading the words of participants and witnesses to these brutal, cataclysmic, and apocalyptic wars for control of sites holy to three religions.

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