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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

Below is a list of WAYS 102 Seminars that will be offered in Spring 2021.

Africa is Cities

This course examines city life in Africa since 1900 c.e. Africa is the world’s fastest-urbanizing continent, which means the western world’s tendency to focus on rural villages, safaris, or lions is missing what’s really happening, from malls to traffic jams to middle class suburbs. We’ll look at the evolution of cities, portrayals of urban life, and examine issues some of Africa’s biggest cities (including Lagos, Johannesburg, and Cairo) have been facing.

Frankenstein and How We Learn

Have you ever wondered how we learn, on our journey from infancy to adulthood? Mary Shelley's 1818 classic Frankenstein explored those questions through the monster brought to life by Dr. Frankenstein. How can the ways the monster learned help us understand how we learn? Join us to explore, write, and research about nature vs. nurture, and the many elements that make up our "education," from books we read to family relationships to mentors and teachers.

Gen Ed - Why It Matters

If you could create the perfect liberal arts degree program here at SUNY Potsdam, would you include mandatory General Education? Yes? No? Maybe? Could you effectively persuade others to adopt your position? Join us as we analyze the skills and techniques of published writers who have addressed this question, and as we work on honing our own persuasive writing skills.

Mysteries of the Maya

Who were the mysterious Maya? Did they really predict the end of the world? Why did they make those magnificent pyramids, observatories, and temples? Better yet, who are the Maya, and what does it mean to be Maya in a globalized world today? In this course you’ll be introduced to the modern Maya as recipients of one of the most important cultural legacies of the history of Mesoamerica and learn about ancient and modern mysteries surrounding this fascinating civilization.

Plural Feminisms

Do women of color or women with disabilities face different hurdles than women who do not share those identities? How have women fought against multi-layered discrimination? Intersectional feminists recognize the complexity of identity and the need to address interlocking systems of privilege and oppression. This course uses readings from a variety of disciplines to explore origins, current issues, and future directions of intersectional feminist activism.

Real Teachers, Please Stand Up

From American colonialism to the present, stereotypical teacher identities reveal the political contexts of contemporary education. Discover these identities in popular culture, media, archives, literature, policy, and research. Develop strategies to write persuasively about who teachers need to be to stand up for equitable education and justice for all.

Rethinking the Limits of the Human

As we move into the twenty-first century, we face an ever-increasing array of new possibilities for human potential, both positive and negative. In this course, we will examine and discuss a range of texts, from the 14th to the 21st century, and consider how these texts envision humanity and its interactions with the nonhuman. Your writing in this class will engage with these texts to consider the ways that literature can help us think through the complexities of “post-human” existence and revise our understanding of human/nonhuman boundaries.

Samurai Ink

This course examines the rise and fall of the warrior or samurai elite during Japan’s Tokugawa period (1603-1868). How did they emerge? How did they gain, maintain, and lose power? Using art, laws, and literature, we explore the period’s political, cultural, and intellectual currents that shaped the role and image of the samurai class.

Writing and Wellness: Are You Buying What They’re Selling?

This course investigates both current and past theories surrounding wellness: everything from strange workout machines to dog petting to meditation and outdoor therapies. We will explore different kinds of resources, including articles and advertisements, for you to critically analyze, evaluate, and respond to in writing. What really works versus what’s pure novelty? After research and discovery, you will develop a proposal for an innovative campus/community wellness program for a college just like ours to adopt.