Fall 2019 Drew Seminar Course Options

The Drew Seminar (DSEM) revolves around an engaging intellectual area of exploration, designed by the faculty member. These seminars are engaging explorations of a significant question, mode of inquiry, or topic. The goal is to help students develop academic skills and habits of mind that are central to higher education; faculty are invited to share their intellectual passions and welcome students into the collaborative culture of the liberal arts college.

Core skills developed in the DREW Seminar

The seminar will help students develop the following skills and habits of mind:

  • Critical thinking – the ability to analyze a situation or text and make thoughtful decisions based on that analysis, through discussion, writing, reading, and research.
  • Writing Skills – the ability to plan, draft, and revise texts for both form and content.
  • Rhetorical knowledge – the ability to articulate how audience, purpose, and context shape a text, and to apply that knowledge appropriately when writing across a range of academic and nonacademic genres.
  • Oral Communication – the ability to listen to, explore, and share ideas in discussion and informal presentations.

All First Year students must rank their top five Drew Seminar (DSEM) courses of interest on their Summer Orientation Registration form. Civic Scholars will be placed in a Drew Seminar Course specific to that scholarship program.

Below is the full list of Drew Seminar (DSEM) courses offered for the Fall 2019 semester.

DSEM Title Instructor Course Description
Latinos/as in Hollywood Raul Rosales From West Side Story to Jennifer Lopez, from I Love Lucy to Jane the Virgin, from the Latin Lover to Sofia Vergara… This Drew seminar examines U.S. Latino/a images and representations in film and television from the silent era to the present day, along with their historical and sociopolitical frameworks. We explore the construction and perpetuation of Latino/a stereotypes in mainstream media productions, and also consider how film and television have been used as political tools to subvert some depictions and promote others. In examining the history of U.S. Latinos/as both behind and in front of the camera, the seminar analyzes the interconnections between Latino/a representations on the big and small screen and the shifting discourses on class, gender, ethnicity and multiculturalism in the United States. 

2 Sections:

Personal Responsibility, Civic Duty, Social Need: The Complexities of Civic Engagement

Section 1: Amy Koritz
Section 2: Sandra Jamison
Why do we volunteer our time or resources to help others? What do we hope to accomplish? How can we maximize our impact? When might our volunteer efforts have the potential to do harm? Does everyone agree that volunteering is always the best way to address social needs and inequalities? And when should individual choice take priority over responsibility to the larger community? Do we have a responsibility to be involved with civil society through local service or political organizations, or through engaging with elected government?  Civic engagement confronts us with so many questions! In this seminar, we will explore these and other questions through the lens of current issues we face in our communities and as individuals. Topics may include immigration, use of and conduct on social media, the environment, education, violence prevention, income inequality, healthcare, and/or drug and alcohol abuse.
Muslim Matters: Communities, Culture, and Misconceptions Caitlin Killian Islam is the world’s second largest religion and the fastest growing. 1.6 billion people in the world are Muslims, and 3.3 million of them live in the U.S. Through a variety of interdisciplinary sources, we will explore Muslim immigrant experiences in the US, African-American Muslim history, the artistic and cultural contributions of Muslims around the world, representations of Islam and Muslims in the media, discrimination and the current political climate, different countries’ approaches to religion and the state, global and local violence around the world targeting or perpetrated by Muslims, and questions of religious, ethnic, and national identity. By engaging with these topics, we will develop a critical perspective on contemporary issues in the U.S. and abroad and learn about the broader themes of the social construction of ethnicity and social psychological identity work.
Jersey Landscapes: Writing the Garden State Jens Lloyd The Meadowlands. The Jersey Shore. The Turnpike. The Pine Barrens. The Garden State is an intriguing clash of landscapes. Throughout the state’s history, writers have been at the forefront of capturing this complexity. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, after a wintertime visit to the Jersey Shore, Walt Whitman came away admiring the “grim, yet so delicate-looking, so spiritual” atmosphere of the place. More recently, contemplating the state’s rapid urbanization, Maria Mazziotti Gillan found glimmers of the natural world: “Burrow under the blacktop, / under the cement, the old dark earth / is still there.” What do you make of the terrain? Whether a new arrival or a longtime resident, you must wonder about this place. After all, how we come to know our surroundings is, in a sense, how we come to know ourselves. To that end, by reading an array of Jersey-centric literature, we’ll cultivate a greater understanding of this place and, along the way, you’ll be able to understand where you fit in and where you stand out.
From Aphrodite to Lady Pink:  Women and Art Peggy Kuntz This course will explore the evolving role of women as patrons of art, makers of art, and as subjects of art.  Through a series of case studies and a variety of media we will explore the visual arts, both past and present, as a means to better understand the role of women in past cultures and in our modern society.   Some of the topics covered will include: prominent, powerful women of the past such as Egypt’s Queen Hatshepsut and Marie de’Medici Queen of France; ancient images of Venus/Aphrodite will be discussed in connection with their Renaissance reincarnation and modern images of the nude.  In addition, we will question the emergence of the female artist in the sixteenth century and the role of women today as award winning architects, street artists, and women whose work is in great museums around the world.
Shakespeare…Whodunnit? Jim Bazewicz For more than 200 years after Shakespeare’s death no one questioned who wrote his plays, but in the last two centuries scholars and highly respected thinkers of our time have begun to doubt whether the glover’s son from Stratford could have written what many agree is the greatest body of work in the English language. Many have tried to unravel the mystery of who wrote the plays attributed to William Shakespeare. This course will begin to examine the Shakespeare authorship controversy: Why it evolved, why it continues to thrive, as well as examining who the possible candidates could be. Many believe it was Frances Bacon, or possibly the Seventeenth Earl of Oxford or perhaps it was, as Sherlock Holmes brilliantly deducted, the Earl of Rutland.  Dozens of candidates have been put forward. The cadre of famous naysayers include Sigmund Freud, Mark Twain, Orson Wells, Helen Keller as well as famous Shakespearean actors, Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance. What evidence swayed these great thinkers and artists to believe someone other than Shakespeare wrote these plays. We will explore the scholarship on both sides of the controversy and you will draw your own conclusions. Conspiracy? Mystery? Bollocks? You decide.
How to Measure Depth with a Stopwatch:  Physics and Mathematics of Everyday Life Minjoon Kouh How can you measure depth with a stopwatch?  When the traffic light has just turned yellow, should you go for it or stomp on the break?  Why is the sky dark at night? Why does a communication satellite maintain a stationary orbit around the Earth?  Physics and mathematics provide precise answers to these questions and more. In this seminar, we will combine physics principles and mathematical approaches to tackle questions from everyday life.  We will also learn and practice how to communicate quantitative and technical ideas professionally in both verbal and written forms.
The United States and Puerto Rico: Before and After Hurricane Maria Carlos Yordan On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. The Category 4 storm caused an estimated $100 billion in damages, triggering a severe humanitarian crisis, forcing more than 300,000 Puerto Ricans to relocate to the continental U.S. and claiming the lives of close to 3,000 people. Hurricane Maria’s effects helped many Americans realize that Puerto Rico is not a foreign country, but a U.S. territory, and its residents, U.S. citizens. The island’s recovery has been very slow, and many Puerto Ricans are frustrated with the Trump administration’s response to the island’s needs. Is Puerto Rico’s colonial status to blame, as the island’s governor suggest? Or is it the island’s territorial government’s inability to manage the crisis as some senior federal officials have argued? To answer these questions, this seminar explores the history and politics of Puerto Rico’s colonial relationship with the United States from 1898 to the present.