College Courses and Seminars


College courses at the 100-level are available only to entering first-year students. These courses are interdisciplinary, fall outside the continuing curriculum of any department or program, and focus on active engagement and interaction. Because of their interdisciplinary nature, these courses give first-year students a good introduction to the various areas of the curriculum at Hamilton.

101 S Special Topics in Leadership: Levitt Leadership Initiative Commitment Project Lab.
This course extends content taught in the Levitt Leadership Initiative (LLI) through expanded coverage of organizational and team leadership processes. Ongoing study of leadership theory in practice is offered. Study and use of appropriate design, development, implementation, and evaluation protocols is offered. Culminating activity is the implementation of students’ Commitment Project Proposals into actionable ventures in the local or larger community. Prerequisite, Enrollment restricted to Levitt Leadership Initiative participants. Quarter credit. Maximum enrollment, 12. Susan Mason.

105 S A World of Impending Disaster.
Explores natural hazards, both modern and historical, and their effect on humanity. The course seeks to provide students with an accurate data-driven framework for understanding catastrophes of a non-human origin while contrasting scientific with media accounts of these disasters. Investigates geologic, hydrologic, celestial, and biological hazards, and their impact on society; will contrast quantitative and qualitative reports, including government data, accounts in popular media, and scientific reports. Course culminates in a research project on a particular disaster. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) (Proseminar.) Prerequisite, One year of high school algebra. Maximum enrollment, 16. Ben Smith.

110 S Special Topics in Leadership: Leadership Experience and Preparation (LEAP) for First-Year Students.
Designed for first-year students to explore and apply leadership practices within our College community from interdisciplinary perspectives, e.g. humanities, sciences, arts, and social sciences. Using readings, guest lectures, peer tutors, and projects, students learn about their personal leadership styles and pursue activities that will connect them with other first-year students across diverse academic and co-curricular interests. Topics addressed include: self-awareness, individual and group communication and networking approaches within the Hamilton Community. (Proseminar.) Only open to first-year students. Grading satisfactory/unsatisfactory. Quarter credit. Maximum enrollment, 16. Mason.

204 S Narrating “Natural” Disaster in the US.
This course explores the stories that get told (and those that don’t) about natural disasters, who tells those stories, and for what purposes. Focusing on 21st century catastrophes—both within and beyond U.S. borders—such as Hurricanes Katrina,and Maria, the Haiti earthquake, the Greensburg,KS tornado;the Indian Ocean tsunami;and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster,we will analyze how disaster narratives are shaped by race, class, economic and financial considerations, bureaucracies, science, technology, news media, and attempts to define America as a nation, a society, and a culture. (Writing-intensive.) (Same as Communication 204.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Jennifer Ambrose.

217 F Beyond speeches: Genres of oral communication.
Oral communication is much more than political speeches or boardroom presentations. This course explores genres of oral communication as they vary across disciplines and contexts, while also considering how technology has impacted the ways in which people express themselves. By examining the development and use of oral communication approaches, students will develop a deeper understanding of the constraints and opportunities offered by various genres of communication. (Speaking-Intensive.) (Same as Communication 217.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Amy Gaffney.

220 F,S Forever Wild: The Cultural and Natural Histories of the Adirondack Park.
Study of America's largest inhabited wilderness. Survey of natural and cultural histories of the park and examination of ecological, political and social issues. Study of literary, scientific, historical and political texts. Exploration of environmental issues such as acid rain, development and land-use, predator re-introduction and population controls. Prerequisite, one course in literature, biology, geology or environmental studies. May count toward a concentration in environmental studies. Field trip required. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors in the fall. Oral Presentations (Fall-2 sections); Writing-intensive (Spring). (Same as Environmental Studies 220.) Maximum enrollment, 14. Environmental Studies and related faculty.

[223 S] Gender and Violence in the Middle Ages.
An introduction to the field of medieval and renaissance studies. Drawing on multiple disciplinary perspectives, including those of literature, law, history and art, examines the intersection of ideas about the body, gender and violence in the European Middle Ages. Readings may include the Bible and early patristic writings; the lives of saints; poems and advice manuals on courtly love; depictions of women in the Crusades; Icelandic sagas; and perspectives on the trial of Joan of Arc. Prerequisite, one 100-level course in literature or history, or AP 4 or 5 in English or History. (Same as Literature 223.) Maximum enrollment, 24.

225 F Nature, Art, or Mathematics?.
How do humans perceive or impose patterns onto the natural world and onto their lives? What is “really” out there and how do we describe it? An examination of chaos theory, fractal geometry, landscape architecture, and theories of tragedy in relation to Tom Stoppards’s play Arcadia. Prerequisite, any course in literature, mathematics or theatre. Maximum enrollment, 24. Bedient, Thickstun.

[229 F,S] The American Founding: Ideals and Reality.
An intensive analysis of the philosophical ideals of the Founding Era (1763-1800) and their uneven realization. Social histories of various races, genders and classes will help illuminate the inherent ambiguities, weaknesses, strengths and legacies of the social and political philosophies of late 18th-century America. Prerequisite, Government 117, Philosophy 117 or a 100-level course in history. May count toward a concentration in either history or government. Not open to students who have taken History 240 or 374. (Political Theory) (Same as History 229 and Government 229.) Maximum enrollment, 24.

236 F Thought for Food: The Culture and Politics of Food.
A multi-disciplinary approach to study of the food system. Examination of the origins of culinary traditions, contemporary politics of the food movement, the GMO debate, food sovereignty, hunger and food security, and Slow Food. Laboratory sessions include activities in the Community Farm, tastings, and cooking instruction with the college. (Same as Environmental Studies 236.) Maximum enrollment, 12. Guttman.

237 S Food for Thought Introduction to the Science of Food.
An interdisciplinary exploration of food with focus on nutrition biology of food and food science; the history of food and contemporary issues related to food production and the food industry. Tastings, films, gardening. (Proseminar.) Prerequisite, one course in Biology or Chemistry. (Same as Environmental Studies 237.) Maximum enrollment, 16. J Townsend.

[258 S] Opera.
Study of literary and musical dimensions of operas by major composers from Monteverdi and Mozart to the present. Emphasis on the transformation of independent texts into librettos and the effects of music as it reflects language and dramatic action. Includes such works as Orfeo, The Marriage of Figaro, Otello, The Turn of the Screw and Candide. Prerequisite, two courses in literature or two in music or one in each field, or consent of instructors. Maximum enrollment, 12.

[260 F] Leadership: Theories and Practices.
This course offers an introduction to the basic theories, concepts, methods, and practices of leadership in all types of organizational cultures and settings. Review and critical evaluation of classical and emerging theories of leadership is offered. Emphasis is placed on the impact and influence of power, ethics, public discourses, and technology on 21st century leadership strategies and practices. Maximum enrollment, 20.

340 S Ethnography of Leadership in Organizations.
Study and investigation of organizational leadership theories and practices from a liberal education standpoint. Specific attention to how organizational culture, ethics, and communications systems influence leadership practices and decision-making processes. Review of contemporary leadership models that address diversity, globalization, transformational leadership, change dynamics, and uses of power. Prerequisite, Minimum overall GPA of 2.5. Open to students who successfully complete Levitt Leadership Institute (LLI) week one or an equivalent experience. LLI students conduct their field study projects during LLI week two in Washington, DC. Other students must gain approval for their field study project and document a 30 hour field study placement within an organization. Permission of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12. S Mason.

370 F Wilderness, Culture, Science: Reading the Adirondacks (Intensive Seminar, Adirondack Program).
The place we know as the "Adirondacks" is produced by a process of reading and inscribing across multiple disciplines, perspectives, and eras. Legal, political, literary, and scientific texts—from the 19th Century to the present—all help to define, frame, and regulate our understandings and use of this vast local wilderness. Students will examine such texts in situ for their ability to deepen and complicate our sense of wilderness and place. Students will also produce their own critical and creative writing to explore how their visions can transform the landscape of this complex resource. This credit is discipline-specific in its credit bearing designation, in accordance with the Faculty-in-Residence’s home department or program or by permission from the student’s major/minor department or program. Maximum enrollment, 20. Onno Oerlemans.

371 F Stewardship and Sustainability in the Adirondack Park (Common Experience Seminar, Adirondack Program).
This Common Experience Seminar is an interdisciplinary course taught jointly by several faculty members and guest speakers in consultation with the Faculty-in-Residence and General Director, and is designated as a College Course. This course focuses on a particular shared topic or issue over a three-to five-year span (e.g. “stewardship and sustainability”), in order to introduce students to the diverse and intersecting issues at play in the Adirondacks through expert voices from around the Park and to showcase how the research and interests of current Hamilton faculty speak to, reflect and inform these issues. Does not count toward Concentration. Maximum enrollment, 20. TBA.

372 F Field Component, Adirondack Program.
The field component allows for practical applications of the theories and methodological approaches that students will be studying in their two seminars during the Adirondack semester. Structured readings will accompany the field work/research, and a final project and/or presentation will be required for completion of this credit. Does not count toward Concentration. Maximum enrollment, 20. Janelle A Schwartz, in consulation with a variety of organizations within the Adirondack Park.

373 F Independent Capstone Project, Adirondack Program.
The independent capstone project is a culminating project to be determined by individual students, or students working in small groups, in consultation with the Faculty-in-Residence and General Director. The capstone project will demonstrate the knowledge and skills acquired during the students’ semester study in the Adirondack Park within a framework of real world perspectives and possible career paths. This credit will require a cumulative project and/or presentation for completion. This credit is discipline-specific in its credit bearing designation, in accordance with the Faculty-in-Residence’s home department or program or by permission from the student’s major/minor department or program. Maximum enrollment, 20. Faculty-in-Residence and Janelle A Schwartz.

395 F,S Hamilton in New York City: Special Topic.
Topic changes each term to reflect the discipline of the director of the Program in New York City. For a more specific description, see May count toward the concentration in the department or program of the director. Open only to program participants. Maximum enrollment, 16. The Faculty.

396 F,S Hamilton in New York City: Independent Research.
An independent study supervised by the director of the Program in New York City and based on an internship and additional research. For a more specific description, see May count toward the concentration in the department or program of the director. Open only to program participants. Maximum enrollment, 16. The Faculty.

397 F,S Hamilton in New York City: Internship.
Internship with firm, organization, agency or advocacy group appropriate to the theme of the semester. For more information, see Does not count toward concentration credit. Open only to program participants. Maximum enrollment, 16. The Faculty.

398 F,S Hamilton In New York City: Seminar in Global Processes.
Foundational course of the Program in New York City. Perspectives on the influence of global markets, transnational culture and political forces on contemporary life. Organized around readings, student debates, guest discussion leaders and field trips within New York City.For more information, see Does not count toward concentration credit. Open only to program participants. Maximum enrollment, 16. The Faculty.