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"Everybody in the class is a freshman, so everybody has the same questions and the same concerns. It helps you transition and makes you feel more prepared."

— Sabrena Myers,
Harpur College student

"I wanted to show that I was a hardcore student, I wanted to produce that image of myself. "

— Jerry Pomeranz,
Harpur College student

Fall 2013 Semester

This fall, Harpur College will offer several seminars for freshmen designed to connect first-year students with one of Harpur's best faculty members, allowing them to explore an intriguing intellectual issue, hone critical-thinking and writing skills, and make a successful transition to university life. Each seminar is limited to 20 students and is taught by a team that includes an outstanding senior faculty member and an experienced Student Affairs professional.

These two-credit courses meet for two hours each week, with one hour devoted to an academic topic that reflects the professor's research interests and the second hour focused on issues students will face as they make the transition from high school to a highly selective university (time management, effective study skills, selection of a major, navigating a research library, thinking about a career).

All seminars are designated as "W" courses and will help students satisfy the Harpur College writing requirement. Students may not register for multiple sections of HARP 101. In addition, students will not receive credit for both HARP 101 and HDEV 105.

For more information on the courses below, view the schedule of classes on BU Brain.

HARP 101A, Are Museums Good for You?

Associate Professor Pamela Smart

Since the opening of formerly private collections to the public in the second half of the Nineteenth Century and through the Twentieth Century, perhaps the most powerful argument on behalf of the value of public museums has been that museums serve the public good--they produce and communicate knowledge, they serve to protect cultural patrimony for future generations, they afford uplift through exposure to the great achievements of humanity, and they function as rare moments of respite from the commodification of daily life. In order to foster these public functions museums have, in many parts of the world, been funded by the state, or, in the US, through private philanthropy (though with state support in the form of various tax dispensations). In this seminar we will examine the various claims concerning the civic virtues of the museum and the mounting suspicion among critics since the late Twentieth Century that perhaps it is only the interests of some that are served by museums and at the expense of everyone else. We will examine the complexities of questions like: Should museum artifacts be repatriated to their place of origin? If museums market themselves primarily as tourist destinations should they be forced to compete with commercial tourist operations, without the benefit of not for profit tax breaks? Given increased immigration and globalization have museums become even more important in fostering respect for other cultures? Are art museums inevitably elitist?

HARP 101B, Bond, James Bond: 007 in Context

Associate Professor Ingeborg Majer-O'Sickey

Since the first 007 film appeared on screens world wide (1962), nine US presidents went across the White House stage; four popes resided in the Vatican; the Soviet Union went into oblivion; the Berlin Wall was built and demolished; and Cold War ceased; and the entire film industry changed radically—and globally. The 007 films registered world social and political changes with seismic accuracy. The secret agents began with the glamorous and moved to the brawny but, they remain electrifyingly intense. We will see the most influential Bond films in separate screenings, and in class, discuss ways that they refract (and reflect) the turbulent social and cultural times in which they were produced and first viewed. Goals for Bond, James Bond OO7 in Context are to: 1) Gain an overview of the James Bond films from their genesis to today, 2) Attain a tool box of film technical terms that are useful for smart analyses of film, 3) Learn how to think dialectically about the intersections of film and real life.

HARP 101C, Understanding Islam

Lecturer Moulay-Ali Bouânani

This course will introduce participants to the religion of Islam by way of a survey of the religious scene in Arabia prior to Islam, the advent of Islam, its dogmas and the person of Mohammed the Prophet. The spread of Islam and the responses of the local populations to the new religion and its advocates; the Arabs and the Mawalis (non-Arabic converts) are also addressed. As well, we’ll investigate how Muslim’s reacted to non-Muslims living in their midst. In addition, we will discuss the various political and dogmatic schisms that appeared, along the centuries, in the various geographically and culturally distinct Islamic communities. We will examine the interaction of Muslims with non-Muslims, minorities living in the lands of Islam and how the image of Islam and Muslim was/is construed.

HARP 101D, Sustainable Energy Solutions

Professor Wayne Jones

Energy is a fundamental challenge for the future of our society. How can we generate sufficient energy to support continued growth and technology in the modern world? What role will fossil fuels play? What alternative energy sources exist? What role should conservation play? These questions will be addressed in the context of science, technology, and policy reports and publications that will be the basis for the reading assignments. Students will work in teams to develop a plan and recommendation for future generations.

HARP 101E, What is an Image?

Associate Professor Tom McDonough

Today more than ever, we are under the sway of the image – whether on film, television, or computer; it orients and saturates our gaze, shaping and educating it . . . or distorting it. Humanity turns naturally to images – myths, symbols, paintings, photographs, films, and dreams – to give meaning to events, to the world and to all that exceeds it. But are we not just as often caught in their trap? What is their relationship with reality? Are they just pale copies of their model or simulacra? And while they may be seen as a danger to rational thought, don’t they also offer us the chance to constantly build new connections to reality? This seminar brings together the most important thinkers on the image, from ancient Greece to the present, in order to examine how these questions have been answered.

HARP 101F, Haunted America

Professor Elizabeth Tucker

This section will study Haunted America. Ghosts and the spectral are everywhere in contemporary American fiction and film. This seminar explores our fascination with the spectral and asks what it tells us about contemporary American culture.

HARP 101G, Relaxation: Key to Creativity

Professor Anne Brady

Through a series of imaginative exercises, students will tap into and explore their own creative process utilizing a variety of art forms. Students will be improvising, moving, writing, acting, drawing, and sharing their work not only as individuals, but also with partners and in groups. This workshop will focus on teaching students to awaken creative thinking and problem solving and to approach questions from the point of view of an artist. Students will learn to access the rich creative voice that lies just beneath the surface of their consciousness. No prerequisites. No prior experience or training necessary.

HARP 101H, East Asian Worldviews Today

Professor Michael Pettid

The worldviews that dominated East Asia for thousands of years have seemingly come through the full cycle of being dominant, discarded as stagnant, and again revered as ethical pillars in an otherwise morally rudderless world. Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism and shamanic worldviews are quite distinct and oftentimes in opposition with one another, but nonetheless offer very different understandings of the world, human nature, and the cosmos than what we can find in typical Western thought. Through close readings of primary texts and discussion, this seminar will focus on the essential nature of these worldviews and how they can positively influence today's world.

HARP 101J, Coral Reefs

Professor Robert Demicco

This course will explore the hows and whys of coral reef ecosystems: complex areas of the Earth surface where physical, chemical and biological factors produce the most productive and diverse communities in the oceans. We will also discuss the long history of reefs on Earth and how different organisms took turns in the limelight. In addition, the future of coral reef ecosystems as populations grow, atmosphere chemistry changes, and ocean chemistry changes will be considered.

HARP 101K, Noah's Problem: How Do We Save All the Animals and Plants?

Associate Professor Julian Shepherd

The growing numbers of people and their increasing consumption of natural resources are pushing most species of living organisms into ever smaller niches. As supposed masters of our environment on Earth, how many species can we or do we want to save? We'll explore the problem, its major causes, and what we can do about it. Presuming that we would like to save as much as possible, we'll consider the impact of nature reserves and explore our Nature Preserve as an example, we'll consider the value of zoos and gardens and visit the Ross Park Zoo, and especially, we'll examine the options for personal life-styles which can enhance conservation of biodiversity.

HARP 101L, To Jam or Not to Jam: A Course on Play

Lecturer Joseph David Weil

Parents and teachers can be obsessed with what they call structured play, goal orientation, and the big picture, but there's a contradiction at the center of all this focus and processing: the greatest innovations, and the most long lasting contributions to both the humanities and sciences often come from what I call constructive sloth-- goofing off, day dreaming. What happens when we are not sure we are trying to make anything happen? This course will be a study in hanging out, in play, in fostering the power of the perhaps. We will work towards becoming idea people by not being merely passive recipients of information. Bring paints, bring instruments, bring a willingness to improvise, and think large.. Bring friends (provided the room doesn't get over crowded). Course will include music and poetry by upper class students, some song writing, painting, and brain storming. Your ideas will be put into action. Be ready.

HARP 101M, Bilingualism

Professor Cynthia M. Connine

Ludwig Wittengenstein said "The limits of my language are the limits of my mind. All I know is what I have words for." Is Wittengenstein right? The goal of this course is to introduce the topic of bilingualism from the perspective of Cognitive Psychology/Psycholinguistics: how does the human mind/brain learn, represent and process more than one language? Drawing from Francois Grosjean's Bilingualism blog the course will focus on topics such as What is bilingualism? Who is bilingual? How does a bilingual process and keep track of two languages? Do bilinguals think differently about the world when using one or the other of their languages? Do cognitive processes such as attention operate differently in a bilingual? We will also touch on some cultural/sociological dimensions of bilingualism (bilingualism and biculturalism) but the primary focus of the course is language processing. A second goal of the course is to begin the development of scientific literacy by discussing research based findings on bilingualism and by including readings from research articles on language processing in bilinguals that will be part of class discussion.

HARP 101N, Classic Political Novels

Professor David L. Cingranelli

We will read three classic novels—Animal Farm, 1984 and Brave New World. Each of these books describes a fictional dystopia—a world gone wrong. Using the warnings contained in these works, we will explore some fundamental debates in American and international politics such as the use of technology to control society, the conflict between community and freedom, why governments grow, the dangers of an all-powerful State, why people rebel against dictators, the corruption of revolutions by their leaders, the role of science in society, policymaking dilemmas caused by advances in reproductive technology, why political institutions matter, the role of ideology in public affairs, the use of scapegoats, and the difference between political education and indoctrination.

HARP 101P, Contami-Nation: Racial Anxieties as Extraterrestrial Fantasies

Associate Professor Gladys Jiménez-Muñoz

The course will explore how heavenly-visitation and/or space-abduction narratives, as a genre, have a peculiar tendency to configure themselves as stories about race. Coursework and class discussion will be grounded in recent film criticism, social science literature, and cultural theories by women and men of all races.

HARP 101Q, The Facts Behind Gas Drilling

Associate Professor Jeffrey S. Barker

Whether or not New York should allow high-volume hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale is an issue charged with emotion and politics. There are pros and cons to both sides of the debate, but what are the facts? In this course we will consider the supply and demand for shale gas, the methods of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, the storage and delivery of natural gas, the disposal of fracking fluids and the various environmental problems that can result. We will also peruse New York's dSGEIS (draft supplemental generic environmental impact statement).

HARP 101R, How to be a Professional

Professor Anthony Preus

The course will look at professional ethics (and etiquette), including the philosophical basis for ethical behavior in the professions, as well as the practical aspects.

HARP 101S, What is a Romantic?

Associate Professor Robert Micklus

In this course we will discuss some of the popular conceptions of the word "romantic," and we will read selections from Hawthorne, Poe, Dickinson, and Wolfe to determine what it means to be a true Romantic.

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Last Updated: 7/18/13