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 2018 First Year Seminar Course Offerings

AHT 199 Renaissance Venice

Professor Fassl

Venice is different - from Florence or Rome or any other city. Surviving as an independent city-state for a thousand years, Venice at the height of its power, by the close of the fifteenth century, ruled an empire extending from the Aegean well into Lombardy. A center of trade and an embarkation point for pilgrimages to the Holy Land, it stood at the crossroads of east and west, north and south. This seminar will examine the major protagonists of the Venetian Renaissance-Bellini, Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese-with respect to the international environment in which they lived and worked. Renaissance Venice will put Venetian art into its greater context and students will think about the implications of cultural exchange. Like all First Year Seminars, this course will cultivate the fundamental skills considered necessary for succeeding at the university level.

AHT 199 The Culture of Display: The Display of Culture

Professor Warden

The course will explore the manner in which art, material culture, and cultural heritage are interpreted through their display in public venues. Site visits and case studies will allow students to analyze critically both the theoretical and practical aspects of display. Topics will include theoretical approaches (phenomenology, semiotics, and aesthetics), the history and culture of collecting and display since the mid-19th century, as well as contemporary critiques of institutional ethics, exclusion, or misrepresentation. Like all First Year Seminars, this course will cultivate the fundamental skills considered necessary for succeeding at the university level.

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.

ENV 199 Glaciers No More? Climate Change

Professor Hale

Climate change has been named one of the most important issues facing our society and globe today. At particular risk are regions at high latitudes and altitudes, including the Alps. This course examines the complex issue of climate change, considering the scientific background of climate and how it changes, the impact of those changes on ecological and human systems, and possibilities for mitigating these impacts. The course will focus on the situation in the Alps, but will also examine climate change in a global context. An integral and required part of the course will be a weekend visit to the Rhone glacier. Like all First Year Seminars, this course will cultivate the fundamental critical and academic skills necessary for succeeding at university.

ENV 199 Biological Invasions: Introductions of Non-Native Species

Professor Della Croce

Human-mediated introductions of species outside of their native range have long been part of human history. While initially the introduction of non-native species to new habitats was seen mostly positively and even as advantageous for the local biodiversity, to date, biological invasions are widely recognized as one of the major threats to biodiversity and native species. Yet, the rate of introductions of non-native species worldwide is still increasing. Using, among others, the story of the introductions of rainbow trout in the United States and examples from Ticino and the Alps, this seminar will explore the history of human-mediated biological invasions, the reasons behind the introductions of non-native species, and the effects of non-native species on the local species, the local ecosystems, and on us. Field trips, including possibly a weekend in the Alps, will be integral and required parts of the seminar. 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.

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 Drawing and Creative Process

Professor Zdanski