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Courses


Transitioning to College Level Work: Consider Taking a Course Designed With First-Year College Students in Mind

Because one size does not fit all with respect to education, Hamilton offers a range of courses dedicated to first-year students to help them transition to college-level work. While all these courses devote attention to the academic acculturation of new college students, they vary in approach and type of engagement. Hamilton offers four types of courses exclusively for first-year students.


Introductory Courses exclusive to first-year students

Introductory courses to a discipline are often restricted to first-year students. These classes vary in size, and the curriculum is specifically targeted to beginning college students.


First-Year Course (FYC) Program

For students who are interested in a course with a more intentional approach to college transition, Hamilton offers a First-Year Course Program. FYCs are a set of courses that provide an opportunity for close interaction around a disciplinary topic or question and support students’ transitions to and immersion in college academic life.  Low enrollments (a maximum of 16-20 students) support the development of strong relationships among students and instructors. Courses with the FYC designation focus on one of the College's basic competencies: writing, quantitative and symbolic reasoning (QSR) and speaking.


FYCs with experiential learning

The Leadership Experience and Preparation (LEAP) First-Year Course incorporates a weekly out-of-class experiential learning component of approximately 2-3 hours for the students in addition to class meeting times. The experiential component will focus on developing leadership skills with Levitt Center student mentors.

First-Year Course Descriptions

The following courses are open to first-year students. Click on the title of course to view the course description.

Africana Studies 103 - Principles of Geoscience: Geology and Human Events in North Africa and the Middle East

An interdisciplinary study exploring the influence of environment, water resources, climate change and bedrock geology of North Africa and the Middle East on prehistory, history, international relations and prospects for the future. Special emphasis on developing GIS skills.

Africana Studies 190W - Stand: New Voices of Protest

This course explores the contributions of a new generation of black leadership including students, women and community organizers during the civil rights and Black power movements. We will consider the contributions of well-known figures like Huey Newton and Malcolm X and lesser known figures like Septima Clark, the director of the freedom schools.

American Studies 129W - Native American Spiritualities

In order to develop a broad understanding of the religious lives of Native Americans, we explore diverse practices and worldviews. We begin with an examination of how Native American worldviews are unique and differ from modern-Western worldviews. With this grounding, we delve into explorations of the multifaceted history of Native American traditions including the Ghost Dance, the Sun Dance, religious freedom issues pertaining to the use of peyote, struggles over sacred places, and complex native engagements with Christianity.

Archaeology 106 - Principles of Archaeology

An introduction to the fundamentals of archaeology, with emphasis on human biological and cultural records. Topics include a review of archaeological field methods such as sampling, survey and excavation, and analytic methods such as dating, typology and formation processes. Three hours of class with lab exercises embedded within that time. Occasionally two sections of this course are offered.

Art History 152W - Proseminar in Art History

A writing-intensive course designed to introduce students to ways of critically evaluating differing viewpoints on the meaning and social significance of art. Writing assignments provide opportunities to engage students in a critical examination of the power of images to promote certain social values and to shape viewers'' understanding of themselves, their relations to others, and to the world around them.

Communication 103W - Free Speech: Privacy and Advocacy

Focuses on speech, privacy, and advocacy in order to explore the liberties and constraints of living in community with others. Instantaneous access to information via social media contributes to emerging questions regarding privacy and challenging new experiences of community. The course focuses on four related questions: Why do our communities require privacy? What does the American tradition teach us about privacy? How can advocacy weaken or strengthen community? What new forms of advocacy challenge our understanding of privacy?

Computer Science 110 - Introduction to Computer Science

The first course in computer science is an introduction to algorithmic problem-solving using the Python programming language. Topics include primitive data types, mathematical operations, structured programming with conditional and iterative idioms, functional abstraction, objects, classes and aggregate data types. Students apply these skills in writing programs to solve problems in a variety of application areas. No previous programming experience necessary.

Computer Science 112 - Problem Solving and Data Structures

An accelerated first course in programming. Students demonstrate skill in writing programs to solve problems using Python in a variety of application areas. Concentrates on the implementation of dynamic structures for data representation. Students will write programs in the C++ programming language to implement classic data structures. Course discussion will emphasize recursion, efficient implementations in terms of memory space and running time, computational complexity of algorithms, and introduction to two important fields of study: searching and sorting.

Environmental Studies 156W - Making Modern Cities

This course examines the design of buildings and cities by professional architects, urban planners, and developers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It also addresses utopian projects and theoretical texts that have influenced modern design. We will furthermore illuminate in western and non-western contexts the relationships between the architecture of cities and economic and political processes.

Geosciences 103 - Principles of Geoscience: Geology and Human Events in North Africa and the Middle East

An interdisciplinary study exploring the influence of environment, water resources, climate change and bedrock geology of North Africa and the Middle East on prehistory, history, international relations and prospects for the future. Special emphasis on developing GIS skills.

History 119W - History of Urban Form

This course presents a history of urban form from a global perspective by focusing on how ‘ordinary’ and ‘extraordinary’ urban patterns have developed in dynamic relationships with various social, political, and economic forces across time and space. From monumental spaces to everyday spaces of poverty and ingenuity, the course explores how those with and without power influence the form of the city. The course will be structured around key themes and moments in urban development between the ancient and modern eras.

History 126W - Conquest of the Americas

This class follows the violent emergence of a new society in the Americas in the half-century from Columbus’s encounter with the Caribbean in 1492 through Cortés’s and Pizarro’s lightning conquests of the Aztec and Inca Empires. It examines the interactions between indigenous peoples and Europeans in conjunction with Spain’s moral crisis over the brutality of its own imperial regime. Analyzes primary sources (Spanish, indigenous, and mixed) and explores how historians make meaning out of the past by using texts, records of warfare, bodies, and the environment as sources of evidence.

History 150W - Myth and History of the Middle Ages

The Middle Ages continue to be one of the most tantalizing, but misunderstood, periods in European history. This course takes on some of the biggest preconceptions and myths about medieval culture -- religious violence, barbarian hordes, witch hunts, intellectual stagnation -- and subjects them to critical scrutiny using original sources. What we discover is that the "real" Middle Ages was a far more fascinating, and perhaps stranger, period than you imagined.

History 156W - Making Modern Cities

This course examines the design of buildings and cities by professional architects, urban planners, and developers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It also addresses utopian projects and theoretical texts that have influenced modern design. We will furthermore illuminate in western and non-western contexts the relationships between the architecture of cities and economic and political processes.

Literature and Creative Writing 115W - Disability in Literature and Filme

This course engages disability studies to explore how representations of physical and cognitive difference reinforce but also challenge stereotypical or stigmatized images of disability. Readings may include Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, Hawthorne’s “The Birth Mark,” Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Morrison’s Sula, O’Conner’s “The Lame Shall Enter First,” Stein’s Three Lives, and Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway; critical essays by disability studies scholars and activists; films such as Freaks, The Miracle Worker, My Left Foot, Awakenings, and The Sessions.

Literature 115W - Disability in Literature and Filme

This course engages disability studies to explore how representations of physical and cognitive difference reinforce but also challenge stereotypical or stigmatized images of disability. Readings may include Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, Hawthorne’s “The Birth Mark,” Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Morrison’s Sula, O’Conner’s “The Lame Shall Enter First,” Stein’s Three Lives, and Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway; critical essays by disability studies scholars and activists; films such as Freaks, The Miracle Worker, My Left Foot, Awakenings, and The Sessions.

Literature and Creative Writing 116W - Literary Labor and the Work of the Humanities

Is writing productive or unproductive? Do writers make anything of substance or just rearrange arbitrary marks on a page? These are old questions, to be sure. But we will take them up anew by asking how a range of writers have defined the nature and value of what they do. Crossing literary traditions and periods, we will trace how the relationship between intellectual and manual labor has changed over time and track the push-and-pull between the marketplace of ideas and the marketplace proper. Readings may include works by Aristotle, Arnold, Emerson, Dickinson, Howells, Gilman, and O’Hara.

Literature 116W - Literary Labor and the Work of the Humanities

Is writing productive or unproductive? Do writers make anything of substance or just rearrange arbitrary marks on a page? These are old questions, to be sure. But we will take them up anew by asking how a range of writers have defined the nature and value of what they do. Crossing literary traditions and periods, we will trace how the relationship between intellectual and manual labor has changed over time and track the push-and-pull between the marketplace of ideas and the marketplace proper. Readings may include works by Aristotle, Arnold, Emerson, Dickinson, Howells, Gilman, and O’Hara.

Literature and Creative Writing 148W - Echoes and Encores: Repetition in Literature

An exploration of literary repetitions of different kinds, both within and across texts. How might the repetition of a single detail—an image, a character, even a phrase—yield multiple interpretations? What changes when a story moves from one genre, language, or cultural context to another? How are classics like Shakespeare’s The Tempest or Valmiki’s Ramayana rewritten to speak to contemporary concerns? Considering multiple “tellings” of a single story, we will probe concepts like originality, authenticity, homage, and plagiarism. Work by Chimamanda Adichie, Aimé Césaire, and Junot Díaz.

Literature 148W - Echoes and Encores: Repetition in Literature

An exploration of literary repetitions of different kinds, both within and across texts. How might the repetition of a single detail—an image, a character, even a phrase—yield multiple interpretations? What changes when a story moves from one genre, language, or cultural context to another? How are classics like Shakespeare’s The Tempest or Valmiki’s Ramayana rewritten to speak to contemporary concerns? Considering multiple “tellings” of a single story, we will probe concepts like originality, authenticity, homage, and plagiarism. Work by Chimamanda Adichie, Aimé Césaire, and Junot Díaz.

Literature and Creative Writing 149W - Finding Identity

“Know thyself." Young people struggled with this injunction long before Hamilton adopted the motto. This course explores how young people in literature—from medieval tales of adventure through 21st c. graphic novels—attempt to define their own identity in relation to their families and societies. We’ll explore how intersections of gender, sexuality, race, and culture come together in the construction of identity. Texts may include anonymous medieval works, as well as novels by Jane Austen, Alison Bechdel, Charles Dickens, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Art Spiegelman. (FYC Spring 2018)

Literature 149W - Finding Identity

“Know thyself." Young people struggled with this injunction long before Hamilton adopted the motto. This course explores how young people in literature—from medieval tales of adventure through 21st c. graphic novels—attempt to define their own identity in relation to their families and societies. We’ll explore how intersections of gender, sexuality, race, and culture come together in the construction of identity. Texts may include anonymous medieval works, as well as novels by Jane Austen, Alison Bechdel, Charles Dickens, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Art Spiegelman. (FYC Spring 2018)

Literature and Creative Writing 152W - Literature and Ethics

Study of literature as a vehicle for moral and political concerns and of the ways that literature shapes its readers. Special emphasis on popular literature, feminist criticism and the problems raised by censorship and pornography. Selected novels and plays by such writers as Ibsen, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Wright, Highsmith, Doris Lessing, Burgess and others.

Literature 152W - Literature and Ethics

Study of literature as a vehicle for moral and political concerns and of the ways that literature shapes its readers. Special emphasis on popular literature, feminist criticism and the problems raised by censorship and pornography. Selected novels and plays by such writers as Ibsen, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Wright, Highsmith, Doris Lessing, Burgess and others.

Literature and Creative Writing 156W - Shakespeare on Film

Since the earliest days of silent film, William Shakespeare''s works have been adapted on screen: hundreds of times in diverse settings from the Wild West to medieval Japan. After analyzing four Shakespeare plays, we will turn to film adaptations and their use of the formal elements of film, like editing and mise-en-scene. How have directors around the world re-imagined Shakespeare on screen? What is the effect of combining modern film language with Shakespeare’s language? Texts and film adaptations of Titus Andronicus, Othello, Macbeth, and Much Ado About Nothing.

Literature 156W - Shakespeare on Film

Since the earliest days of silent film, William Shakespeare''s works have been adapted on screen: hundreds of times in diverse settings from the Wild West to medieval Japan. After analyzing four Shakespeare plays, we will turn to film adaptations and their use of the formal elements of film, like editing and mise-en-scene. How have directors around the world re-imagined Shakespeare on screen? What is the effect of combining modern film language with Shakespeare’s language? Texts and film adaptations of Titus Andronicus, Othello, Macbeth, and Much Ado About Nothing.

Mathematics 113 - Calculus I

Introduction to the differential and integral calculus of a single variable. Topics include limits, continuity, derivatives, max-min problems and integrals. For students matriculating in 2013 or later, this course may not be counted toward the concentration or minor.

Philosophy 100W - Critical Thinking

An introduction to informal methods of evaluating claims and arguments in everyday life. Emphasis on the recognition of bad reasoning, nonrational persuasion, and the evaluation of explanations and arguments. Includes lecture, discussion and small group interaction.

Philosophy 114W - Ethics of Belief

“You shouldn’t hold those racist beliefs,” “You should trust evidence,” But it’s not obvious that our beliefs are up to us: you can’t just decide to believe that there is an elephant flying by! Psychological studies suggest that a lot of our beliefs are formed at a subconscious level. So how can we be responsible for them? This course focuses on such puzzles. We will learn analytic writing and reading skills by carefully studying the notion of responsibility for belief. The topic has implications for our attitudes towards everyday scientific, moral, and religious belief-forming practices.

Religious Studies 129W - Native American Spiritualities

In order to develop a broad understanding of the religious lives of Native Americans, we explore diverse practices and worldviews. We begin with an examination of how Native American worldviews are unique and differ from modern-Western worldviews. With this grounding, we delve into explorations of the multifaceted history of Native American traditions including the Ghost Dance, the Sun Dance, religious freedom issues pertaining to the use of peyote, struggles over sacred places, and complex native engagements with Christianity.

Religious Studies 133 - American Freedom and Religious Thought

The Bible has been used throughout American history to justify various oppressions including slavery, gender inequality, and homophobia. Through exploring the biblical material that has historically supported such injustices, and the religious thought that has contributed to liberation movements, this course will seek to discover the meanings of the defining American mantra of “freedom.” We will examine such “theological” thinkers as Jefferson, Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Reinhold Niebuhr, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and James Baldwin.

Theatre 100 - Playing—Introduction to Making Theatre: Theory and Practice

This is the gateway course for all theatre courses. This class combines the study of theatre and drama as it reflects, represents and interprets diverse cultures with a hands-on examination of how theatre is made. Through readings, lectures, discussions and projects the class will explore the ideas, strategies and languages of theatre (acting, directing, playwriting, designing) that theatre artists use to create contemporary theatrical performance.

Women's and Gender Studies 101W - Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies

An interdisciplinary investigation of past and present views of women and their roles, treatment and experiences in institutions such as the family, the state, the work force, language and sexuality. The diversity of women’s experiences across age, class, ethnic, sexual, racial and national lines introduced, and theories of feminism and of women’s studies discussed.

Contact Information


Tessa Chefalo

Director of Orientation and First-Year Programs
315-859-4846 tchefalo@hamilton.edu
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