Start strong: choose your team

All new students at Franklin pursuing their Bachelor’s degree request a First Year Seminar, ranking them according to preference. You are assigned a seminar based on availability; the earlier you apply, the better your chances of getting your first choice. The three-credit, semester-long seminar is distinct from the rest of your courses because you have a student Academic Mentor as well as your Academic Advisor there to support you.

The Franklin Faculty member that teaches your freshman seminar becomes your Academic Advisor; the seminar provides a platform for you and your classmates to get to know your advisor. The student Academic Mentor is chosen for his or her expertise in the subject matter and participates in the class to help new students understand the opportunities and expectations of academic life at Franklin.

Fall 2019 First Year Seminar Course Offerings

AHT 199 The Display of Culture - The Culture of Display

Professor Warden

The course is about the way that museums, galleries, and public institutions display art, material culture, and heritage. The class will discuss theory and practice, and visits to museums and galleries, along with case studies, will allow students to analyze critically both the nature of culture and the manner of its display. Like all First Year Seminars, this course will cultivate the fundamental critical and academic skills necessary for succeeding at university.

CLCS 199 The Pursuit of Happiness

Professor Ferrari

The course provides a platform for scholarly exploration of the concept of happiness as articulated across a variety of cultures and from multiple disciplinary perspectives: psychology, sociology, linguistics, philosophy, religion/spirituality, literature, and film. Students enrolled in this class will work collectively to analyze and reflect on the ideological implications and possible cultural bias implicit to diverse texts that purport, through various means, to render happiness more accessible to and sustainable for the general public. What can be learned about happiness discourse through guided efforts in close reading, focused critical thinking, theoretical reflection, and comparative textual analysis? Widely popularized theories of happiness frequently merge with compelling stories of a hero's inward and outward journey; the individual pursuit of an inalienable and self-evident right. This seminar invites students to consider this heroic journey in terms of a symbolic construct, assessing its possible strengths and weaknesses; the certain promises it holds, and the likely consequences it may also engender. Like all First Year Seminars, this course will cultivate the fundamental skills considered necessary for succeeding at university.

COM 199 The Maker Movement: Crafting the Future Out of the Past

Professor Vogelaar

We are living in an era of renewed interest in making and crafting (e.g. do-it-yourself home improvement, craft brewing, artisanal baking, open source software). What does this surge of interest in making tell us about the societies in which we live in? Why are individuals, communities and corporations so invested in nostalgic forms of making and crafting? This class explores making as a movement—a highly mediated cultural trend expressive of the fears, hopes and preoccupations of a community. It considers moreover the movement’s diverse and often competing interests and communities (from activists using craft to challenge mass consumerism to corporations using craft to sell more products). In order to understand what this complex movement says about our times, the class will analyze and engage in maker practices (with a specific focus on media-making) and reflect upon what, how and why we make. Like all First Year Seminars, this course will cultivate the fundamental critical and academic skills necessary for success at the university level.

ECN 199 Fair Trade: Fighting Poverty or Shoppers’ Guilt?

Professor Dasgupta

International free trade is an integral part of the modern economic system. It is believed that free trade leads to many economic benefits including lower prices and greater product variety for the consumers, lower production costs for firms and economic growth for the countries involved. However, there are many critics who believe that free trade often leads to loss of livelihoods for many, increases economic inequality within and between nations and impacts the environment adversely. In the wake of such criticisms, fair trade is seen as a viable alternative to the traditional free trade model. This course will introduce students to the idea of fair trade and the ideology behind it. Through this course, students will learn about the processes that are involved in getting a fair trade certification and how this helps the final producers of goods. Students will learn about cooperatives and consumer groups involved in the fair trade movement. This course will also examine the impact of fair trade on development, poverty, role of women and the environment. Finally, students will also be exposed to the criticisms of fair trade. The course will use different teaching tools including lectures, class activities, field trips, documentaries etc. Like all First Year Seminars, this course will cultivate fundamental critical and academic skills necessary for succeeding at the university level.

ENV 199 Sushi Anyone? The Past, Present, and Future of Our Last Wild Food

Professor Della Croce

Where does our food come from? In most cases, nowadays, what we eat is farmed or cultivated. During our history, as population has grown and technology improved, we have increasingly turned to farming to sustain ourselves. Yet, today, there is still one kind of food that is essentially wild: seafood. In fact, whether farmed or wild, our current hunger for seafood is eventually satisfied by wild fish stocks. But can wild fish stocks endure our pressure, and what happens when wild stocks collapse? Using examples from fisheries across the globe, and drawing parallels with the field of herbal medicine, this course will (a) illustrate the effects of seafood harvesting on wild fish stocks and the oceans at large and (b) search for solutions that will allow us to satisfy our demands while maintaining wild fish stocks. Like all First Year Seminars, this course will cultivate the fundamental critical and academic skills necessary for success at the university level.

HIS 199 Hiroshima: Japan's Nemesis and the World's Bomb

Professor Hoey

On the morning of 6 August 1945 an entire city was almost entirely destroyed by an attack from a single plane. How humanity reached such a point of destruction and the ways people have dealt with this tragedy ever since are the focus of this course. Topics to be explored include Japan’s rapid modernization from the nineteenth century and its twentieth century military culture, scientific advances, the difficult decisions of wartime, popular memory and commemoration, Japan’s enduring ‘nuclear allergy’ and its effects on politics and popular culture, the prospect of imminent destruction throughout the Cold War and the continuing diplomatic standoffs regarding the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The course makes use of a variety of sources including texts, original documents, manga, films (including Japanese anime) and other media. Like all First Year Seminars, this course will cultivate the fundamental critical and academic skills necessary for succeeding at the university level.

LIT 199 Home-Coming and Going: Narratives of Belonging

Professor Peat

POL 199 Key Ideas in Global Politics

Professor Bucher

Understanding politics is key to analyzing contemporary (world) events and to meaningfully participate in societies. At the same time, the key ideas that inform our political debates and decisions are seldom critically analyzed and discussed outside of University departments. This course seeks to familiarize students with the development and content of (some of the central) ideas of political thinking. We will focus on contemporary debates (e.g. limits of free speech, taxation, environmental protection, democracy, legitimacy of whistle-blowing, limits of sovereignty, ect.) to a) provide an overview of the discipline of political science and to b) further develop the skills needed to enter into critical debate and studying at a university level.

POL 199 Exploring Leadership: Managerial and Political Perspectives

Professor Cordon

The course will review various aspects of leadership, particularly as they relate to political institutions and the management of organizations. Are good politicians and managers necessarily good leaders, or vice versa? Students will consider the various types of leadership, including charismatic, intellectual, authoritarian, motivational and organizational leadership styles. The biographies of various world leaders will be reviewed and discussed in their managerial, social, and/or political contexts. Finally, the course will also incorporate practical and experiential activities on the leadership/management duality. An integral and required part of the course will be a weekend retreat in the nearby mountains and a full-day on-campus leadership exercise, exploring some of the issues discussed in class. Like all First Year Seminars, this course will cultivate the fundamental critical and academic skills necessary for succeeding at university.

SJS 199 Ethics and the Environment

Professor Roy

This First Year Seminar course explores ethical reasoning through our complex and problematic relationship with the environment. The course examines introductory philosophical concepts in ethics and applies them to major environmental concerns of our time, among others: water use, sustainable consumerism, vegetarianism, animal rights, social justice, climate change, environmental refugees, and population growth. Students will engage with a variety of media to examine these issues, from texts to films, blogs to actual policy. Several off-campus trips will also be required. The main goal of the course is to provide students with an "ethical toolbox" that they can use to consider environmental issues from an informed, engaged, and analytical point of view. We will pay particular attention to environmental issues that affect Franklin as a community and students will discover the Franklin campus through the ethics and environment lens. As with all First Year Seminars, this course will also cultivate the fundamental critical and academic skills necessary for succeeding at university.

VCA 199 Desire and Consumption: The Photographic Image

Professor Gee

This course takes as a starting point the proliferation of photographic images in the late 20th Century and early 21st Century. The expansion of photo-imagery has come to conquer both public and private sphere. It has become an inevitable component of social and political life, not to mention an inescapable economic incentive. Photography is used to sell goods in magazines, on billboards and products themselves. It is still a major contributor to the documentation and interpretation of political events conveyed through newspapers and web fluxes of information; and with the increased accessibility of camera devices, its presence in the private sphere has become a "natural" entity, furthering the projection of singular and collective identities through ever stronger social networks. It is a medium of representation that is closely bound to an anticipation of its consumption by its public. It aims to trigger desire to modify the balance of the world. Its very immobility (compared to the moving image) is a guarantee of its iconic powers. Is it possible to counter the voracious appetite of the photographic image? It is certainly possible to decode its intentions and impact. This course aims to provide a reading of a range of contemporary photographic productions, unveiling their social and economic foundations and framework, while underlining their historical roots in the development of the medium in the 19th and 20th Century. In addition to the form, content, production, and dissemination analyses, this discussion-based class will help students refine the critical thinking, writing and research skills that facilitate college success. Like all First Year Seminars, this course will cultivate the fundamental critical and academic skills necessary for succeeding in college. Like all First Year Seminars, this course will cultivate the fundamental critical and academic skills necessary for succeeding in college.