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Each UF 100: Foundations of Intellectual Life class is designed to help you become a more active and expert learner as you investigate important ideas that affect everyone. Your UF 100 class will also challenge you to further develop two complex skills successful students continually sharpen throughout college and life: critical inquiry and oral communication.

Spring 2019 UF 100 CLASSES

Choose any ONE class topic and register for BOTH sections of the class: a plenary lecture AND a discussion section. 

Wild, Tame, and In-Between: Anthropology and the Domestication of Animals, Plants, and Ourselves

Has domestication been a ‘net gain’ for humanity, or are the emerging costs of engineering plants, animals, landscapes, and our own bodies a warning for the future? The ongoing process of domestication has shaped our past and will shape our future. Exciting new discoveries in anthropology, archaeology, fossils, and genetic research are re-writing our understanding of the past and opening new avenues for improving food security, tackling climate change, understanding urban ecosystems, and re-wilding landscapes. Students will improve their scientific inquiry, cultural literacy, critical thinking, ethical decision-making, and communication skills. Lead Instructor: Pei-Lin Yu.

Designing Your Life

Figuring out what you want to do with your life can be challenging. It’s not about creating the perfect plan, because life doesn’t always turn out the way we imagined. Rather, it’s about learning a design process that will allow you to test, create, and consciously plan for your future. This course will ask you to think about where you are, what you want, and how to design a college experience that you will love. Using tools from the Designing Your Life curriculum at Stanford University, you will learn to think like a designer and apply design principles to your goals. Lead Instructor: Jillana Finnegan.

Minority Cultures in World Film

What are the dynamics between majority and minority cultures? When do the interactions between dominant and marginalized cultures lead to social injustice? What contributions do marginalized cultures bring to the larger society? This course will examine the marginalization of minority cultures through film, so we can better understand ourselves and our own culture, the effects of marginalization, and the roles minorities play. Lead Instructor: Becca Sibrian.

The Origins of Terrorism

Why do we hate? Who has been the object of vilification, and how do we treat those we revile? Modern society is awash in debates, struggles, and even wars over notions of difference. History is littered with tragic examples of terrorism, most of which share a single motivating factor: eliminating the ‘other’ from society. This  course will examine how vilification and terrorism have shaped global civilizations for millennia and why they are as relevant today as they were one thousand years ago. Lead Instructor: Erik Hadley.

History of American Capitalism

Why is America a capitalist nation? Too often, commentators from both the political left and right see “capitalism” as the mere “order of things”—an extension of human nature itself—taken completely for granted. This course, however, begins with the opposite premise: it explores the history of how (and why) capitalism came to be the United States’ dominant economic order. How has capitalism shaped America? How have our nation’s political institutions shaped both capitalism and the development of American business? And, most importantly, how did a relatively minor node in the Atlantic marketplace like the United States transform into the world’s largest economy? Lead Instructor: Shaun Nichols.

The Literary Journey of Thousand and One Nights

This course will introduce the students to the literary journey of Thousand and One Nights–stories that have traveled across the world, come in contact with other cultures, gathered cultural dust, reshaped themselves, and become an archive about human connection. The reading materials include Buddhist Jataka Tales, Alf layla wa-layla, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, La Fontaine’s fables, and the Hollywood production of Aladdin. Lead Instructor: Reshmi Mukherjee.

Power and Violence

What are the economic, political, and cultural causes of violence around the world? As of 2018, dozens of active conflicts raged throughout the globe, including civil wars in Syria and Yemen, drug violence in Mexico, an endless conflict in Afghanistan, and terrorist insurgencies in Nigeria and Somalia. In this course, students will explore the nature of power in the globalized world by focusing on the use of political violence. Students will develop a richer understanding of global violence and power by exploring an interdisciplinary mix of political science, history, economics, and anthropology. We will also deliberate on innovative ways governments and societies can respond to political violence. Lead Instructor: Isaac Castellano.

Food Chemistry

Food is a fundamental necessity for life and well-being. What are the trade-offs, risks, and rewards of the foods we grow, manufacture, and select? Gain a practical understanding of food chemistry and the food industry, and consider how we can make better food decisions for everybody. For example, college students tend to be short on time and tight on budget. Nutritional decisions are often made on the fly with little thought toward well-balanced meals or the value of foods that require time, money, and effort to prepare. This course will explore the chemistry of food so you can make more educated decisions based on the science behind what we eat. Lead Instructor: Owen McDougal.

Literary Things

From smartphones to the ubiquitous kitchen toaster, from our dependable running shoes to our embarrassing high school yearbook photo, things surround us in the twenty-first century. We need them, we desire them, we love or hate them. We cannot live without them. What has literature had to say about everyday things and how they help us – humans – tell our stories? And how might thinking about things lead us to difficult questions about humans who are dehumanized as things and consequently marginalized from society? This course will examine the narrative strategies, the ideological purposes, and the ethical and moral questions raised by the literary depictions of things. Lead Instructor: Gautam Basu-Thakur.

Sex, Love, & Evolution: An Anthropological Approach

How do we make sense of the human sexual experience? From romantic and sexual partners to friends, enemies, and everything in-between, how can we best understand the great diversity of intimate relationships across cultures and time? This course will help you make sense of our ever-changing social world as you learn about the evolutionary history of our species and cross-cultural variations in behavior. You will also investigate how anthropological approaches help us understand human behavior and the challenges we face as a species. Lead Instructors: John Ziker and Nicole Herzog.

The Age of Information

We live in an ‘Age of Information’ where digital information increases at exponential rates: from traditional publications such as books or newspapers to ‘amateur’ data in the form of social media. Information is increasingly fragmented, anecdotal documentation of individual lives in a communal virtual space (on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, etc.). At the same time, media companies use this data to create customized advertisements and ‘echo chamber’ news and opinions that surround users with information they want to see, hear, and buy. This course investigates how mass media and information technology shape the way we understand the world around us. We will address the following questions: Is all this information making us more informed? Why has ‘fake news’ become such an issue? And how does advertising and social media curate our choices, values, and identities? Lead Instructors: Erik Hadley. (Online only. Limited space available.)

The Purposes of College:  Literature on the American University

What should college be for? This course plunges students into an examination of higher education and its role in society. Students are expected to dig deeply into a wide range of readings and to explore the purposes of college from multiple perspectives. Students work extensively in teams to research and share ideas about how to make the most of their own university experience and how to shape higher education for the future. Lead Instructors: Jennifer Black and Stephanie Cox. (Online only.)