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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 oral presentation.


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 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.

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?

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.

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.

Government 112W - Comparative Politics

Introduction to the study of non-American national political systems, emphasizing authority, legitimacy and processes of state- and nation-building. Comparison of alternate forms of political development in selected Western and non-Western countries.

Government 116W - The American Political Process

Introduction to the study of American national institutions, the public policy-making process and, in general, the distribution of political power in American society.

History 118 - Animals and the Post-Human World

Are animals people? An American court recognized chimpanzees as persons in 2015. The very notion of what it means to be human has historically been inextricably linked with the non-human world. The course treats animals as subjects of history, noting how the relationship between humans and non-humans has changed over time and what this suggests about larger historical transformations. Through class discussions of readings and films focused on the US and India, students will gain insights into the new field of the post-humanities.

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.

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 119W - Literature as/of medicine

Writers from Longinus to Toni Morrison believe that literature itself can heal, that it can make us better, and is itself a kind of medicine. In this course we will examine this idea in poetry, novels, plays, and non-fiction, in the context of representations of the lives of doctors and patients, medical history and theory, and disease. Texts include works by Chaucer, Shakespeare, Mary and Percy Shelley, Kafka, Sontag, Amis, and Gawande.

Literature 119W - Literature as/of medicine

Writers from Longinus to Toni Morrison believe that literature itself can heal, that it can make us better, and is itself a kind of medicine. In this course we will examine this idea in poetry, novels, plays, and non-fiction, in the context of representations of the lives of doctors and patients, medical history and theory, and disease. Texts include works by Chaucer, Shakespeare, Mary and Percy Shelley, Kafka, Sontag, Amis, and Gawande.

Literature and Creative Writing 125W - Monsters

A focus on monsters and the monstrous in literature. Readings will include Beowulf, Frankenstein, Dracula, stories by Poe and Angela Carter, a selection of poems, and the movie Aliens. Throughout the semester, we will question what makes something monstrous and how monsters function in literature and culture. We will also examine how monsters intersect with the categories of gender, race, sexuality and class.

Literature 125W - Monsters

A focus on monsters and the monstrous in literature. Readings will include Beowulf, Frankenstein, Dracula, stories by Poe and Angela Carter, a selection of poems, and the movie Aliens. Throughout the semester, we will question what makes something monstrous and how monsters function in literature and culture. We will also examine how monsters intersect with the categories of gender, race, sexuality and class.

Literature and Creative Writing 129W - Truth and Justice, the American Way

Truth is often a difficult thing to determine. The difficulty is compounded when the stakes of debate over the truth are high, as they are in searching for justice for individuals or communities. We will read poetry, drama, fiction and films that suggest the peculiarly American factors that shape notions of truth when justice is under debate. We will read recognized literary authors such as Hawthorne, Melville, and Baldwin, as well as lesser-known writers who experienced imprisonment.

Literature 129W - Truth and Justice, the American Way

Truth is often a difficult thing to determine. The difficulty is compounded when the stakes of debate over the truth are high, as they are in searching for justice for individuals or communities. We will read poetry, drama, fiction and films that suggest the peculiarly American factors that shape notions of truth when justice is under debate. We will read recognized literary authors such as Hawthorne, Melville, and Baldwin, as well as lesser-known writers who experienced imprisonment.

Literature and Creative Writing 154W - "Unpacking my library": The Book, The Burke, and the 20th Century

As the book has undergone a rapid century of changes, how have poets, fiction writers, and theorists imagined and come to terms with “the book” and “the library”? How do ideas of “the library” and “the book” vary in theory and practice? In the era of e-readers and nearly infinite digital storage capabilities, why own books at all? This course will examine the contested status of the printed object in the 21st century as a development of events in the 20th. Readings include Benjamin, Borges, Danielewski, Drucker, Howe, Kittler, McLuhan, Van Vliet, and several film screenings.

Literature 154W - "Unpacking my library": The Book, The Burke, and the 20th Century

As the book has undergone a rapid century of changes, how have poets, fiction writers, and theorists imagined and come to terms with “the book” and “the library”? How do ideas of “the library” and “the book” vary in theory and practice? In the era of e-readers and nearly infinite digital storage capabilities, why own books at all? This course will examine the contested status of the printed object in the 21st century as a development of events in the 20th. Readings include Benjamin, Borges, Danielewski, Drucker, Howe, Kittler, McLuhan, Van Vliet, and several film screenings.

Music 108W - From Words to Song

An exploration of the relationship between words and music — of the many and different ways in which the meanings and emotions of the words have (and have not) been expressed through music in the last millennium.

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 110W - Introduction to Philosophy

An introductory examination of a number of perennial philosophical questions and their treatments by both classical thinkers and more contemporary philosophers. Topics to be discussed may include the existence of God, the possibility of knowledge, the problem of induction, identity and material constitution, the nature of mind, the nature of the good, and the relationship between the individual and the state.

Philosophy 120 - Philosophical Perspectives on the Self

What is a self? Does each person have one? Does each person have only one? How is the self related to the soul? Is it unchanging or in constant flux? What is the relationship between the self and the body? Examination of personal identity, the self and the soul as these topics are addressed in traditional philosophical texts, literature and neuropsychology.

Philosophy 122W - Infinity

An introduction to philosophy by way of the infinite. We’ll look at the puzzles and challenges raised for our understanding of ourselves and the world by examining different views about infinity, from Zeno’s paradoxes and Aristotle’s actual/potential distinction; through the medieval concept of syncategorematicity, Galileo’s paradox, and infinitesimals in calculus; to Cantor’s transfinites and thefoundations of mathematics. We’ll read works of fiction as well as more traditional philosophy. No particular mathematical background will be assumed, but we will do some basic set theory.

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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