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First Year Seminar

Spring 2004




FYS 102   First Year Seminar (SS) hiversity, Ethics               3 credits
          and Social Justice                                

(PermReq) Grade Method: REG
          GFR/GER:Meets  SS. GDR:Meets S.  Defining,
          defending  and spreading  human rights has
          become  an important social, political and
          cultural   project   around   the   world.
          Although   governments  are  charged  with
          deepening   this  projects,  it  is  often
          governments     that    violate    rights.
          Unfortunately,  recent years have seen too
          many  cases  of  governments  that violate
          rights.   Unfortunately, recent years have
          seen   too   many   cases  of  governments
          systematically  violating  the  rights  of
          groups  and individuals.  In this class we
          will  read  about how  people in different
          contexts     have     organized     "truth
          commissions"  in  their  attempts  to stop
          governments   from   committing   violence
          against    people,    determine   who   is
          responsible  for committing  these crimes,
          establish  how justice can be achieved and
          recommend   how   these   actions  can  be
          prevented  in the future.  We will discuss
          what  human  rights  mean where  they come
          from  and  how they are  defended. We will
          also  have  the opportunity  to speak with
          human rights activists either on campus or
          by  visiting them in their offices, to get
          a  better  sense  of  the  kinds  of  work
          entailed  in  promoting  human  rights  in
          concrete   situations.  Students  will  be
          asked   to   do  two  kinds  of  research:
          investigation  of  a  particular  case  of
          human rights violations and the mechanisms
          used   to   resolve   those   cases,   and
          evaluation  of  the  kinds  of information
          available through the internet about human
          rights  and human  organizations. Finally,
          in the spirit of contributing to a broader
          discussion of human rights, the class will
          develop a website that highlights links to
          human   rights   information  as  well  as
          students'   own   findings   about   their
          research cases.
[2781] 0101 TuTh.......1:00pm- 2:15pm (MP  012)       STOLLE-MCALLIS


FYS 102A  First Year Seminar (SS) Sexuality, Health               3 credits
          and Human Rights                                  

(PermReq) Grade Method: REG
          GFR/GER:Meets  SS.  GDR:Meets S.   Who has
          the right to access scientific information
          about  individuals'  sexuality  and sexual
          health? What privacy rights do people have
          in   their   sexual   relationships?   Who
          controls  when and if one has children? In
          the  last  decade,  scholars  and advocacy
          organizations   have   been   asking  such
          questions  that link sexuality, health and
          human rights. Increasingly, these linkages
          are  made by human rights advocates, those
          marginalized   by   their   gender  and/or
          sexuality,  feminists and professionals in
          the  health and family planning fields. In
          this seminar, we will consider a number of
          sexuality,   health   and   human   rights
          questions: What are sexual rights? What is
          meant  by sexual health? How important are
          sexual  rights? What  characteristics of a
          society  promote or  hinder sexual rights?
          What  responsibilities are  tied to sexual
          rights? Do views on sexual rights conflict
          with  the  general welfare  of society? To
          what   extent  do  Americans  have  sexual
          rights?  What laws restrict sexual rights?
          Students  will become sensitized to issues
          that have become increasingly important to
          the  inter-national community in the areas
          of  sexuality,  health  and  human rights.
          They  will also become familiar with steps
          in  the  social science  research process,
          including  background  literature  review,
          survey  construction, data  collection and
          analysis and reporting of findings.
[2782] 0101 TuTh.......2:30pm- 3:45pm (FA  530)       LOTTES, I


FYS 102B  First Year Seminar (SS) What Should                     3 credits
          Government Do? Exploring the Interplay of         

(PermReq) Grade Method: REG
          GFR/GER:Meets   SS.   GDR:Meets   S.    In
          thinking about how our society works, have
          you  ever  asked yourself  questions like?
          What should be "left to the market" rather
          than   handled   by   government?   Should
          government  be able to take money from one
          person and give to another? Do we "rights"
          to  service,  health  care  or  education,
          which  the  public is  obliged to provide?
          Can  there be justified government-imposed
          limits  to  privacy or  freedom of speech?
          When should the government be able to tell
          us  what to do, and when should we be able
          to do whatever we want? Why should we obey
          the  law?  When  judges decide  cases, are
          they  just  playing  politics?  Cable news
          channels, network talk shows, op-ed pages,
          and   othe   media  outlets  are  full  of
          opinions  from pundits and politicans. Too
          often, their assertions are either blatant
          responses   to   political  clout  or  gut
          reactions  that public  policies are "just
          unfair."  Our  purpose  is  to  go  beyond
          politics   and   self-interest,  to  apply
          principles   from   economics   and  moral
          philosophy  on policy  questions. Our goal
          is   not   to   provide  answers,  but  to
          understand  what facts and  values go into
          forming  our judgements about "what should
          government  do." Most of  our time will be
          spent  reading, discussing, evaluating and
          writing   about   how  these  perspectives
          provide  sometimes  compatible,  sometimes
          conflicting perspectives. Students will be
          expected  to  think critically  about what
          government does and does not do, and share
          their insights with the class.
[2783] 0101 MW.........3:30pm- 4:45pm (PHYS201)       BRENNAN, T


FYS 103   First Year Seminar (MS) Issues in                       3 credits
          Biotechnology                                     

(PermReq) Grade Method: REG
          GER:Meets  M/S. GDR:Meets M.  Almost every
          newspaper  issue  today  has  one  or more
          articles  about  how our  society is being
          affected by new advances in biotechnology,
          and  how its impact is controversial. Some
          of  these issues include: cloning, genetic
          engineering  of  plants  and  animals, DNA
          analysis   as   a   means  of  determining
          parentage   or   involvement  in  criminal
          events,  development of  new medicines and
          vaccines,  the emergence of drug-resistant
          bacteria,  the  human  and  other species'
          genome  project, the  origin and genealogy
          of  human groups, etc.  For our society to
          discuss  these  issues  in a  rational and
          thorough   manner,   it  is  important  to
          understand  the  scientific basis  for the
          methods    used,    their    limits    and
          uncertainties,  and their  relationship to
          other  areas  of life  sciences, medicine,
          public   policy,  and  bioethics.  Through
          directed  readings, class discussions, and
          student  presentations, this  seminar will
          focus   on   understanding  these  various
          aspects  of  modern biotechnology  with an
          emphasis    on   its   scientific   basis.
          Practical  demonstrations  and  visits  to
          UMBC     labs    using    biotechnological
          techniques  will  be an  important part of
          the  course to illustrate  how methods are
          theoretically   discussed   in  class  are
          actually done.
[2784] 0101 F..........2:00pm- 5:00pm (BIOL004)       CRAIG, N


FYS 105A  First Year Seminar Fermat, Uncle Petro and              3 credits
          Pi                                                

(PermReq) Grade Method: REG The cult film Pi and the
          Oscar-winner  A  Beautiful  Mind  are  two
          recent examples of popular works revolving
          around   mathematicians.   Other  examples
          include the Pulitzer-winning Broadway play
          Proof,    the   international   bestseller
          Fermat's  Enigma  and the  acclaimed novel
          Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture. In
          all of these works, some mathematical idea
          has  been  used  as  a  starting  point to
          create   an   absorbing   story  that  has
          captured  the  public's  imagination.   In
          this  course  we  will  examine  the above
          interaction:  how  technical ideas  can be
          combined   with  narrative  techniques  to
          create   works   of   broad   appeal.  Can
          mathematics  be packaged in  story form to
          be   made   accessible   to  non-technical
          audiences?  What  cultural role  does does
          mathematics  play in our  society? We will
          first  gain a  perspective on contemporary
          mathematics   by   examining   the  actual
          mathematics  behind  the  above  works. We
          will  study the extent  to which this body
          of  knowledge has  been communicated (e.g.
          by comparing the film and book versions of
          a  Beautiful  Mind).  Next,  we  will find
          original  ways to use  this knowledge - in
          writing   assigments  and  other  creative
          endeavors  that students might propose. We
          will  try our hand at mathematical fiction
          and  exposition,  always  keeping  in mind
          that we are speaking to a non-mathematical
          audience.   Field   trips   (such   as  to
          appropriate  films, readings and perhaps a
          mathematical conference) will be included.
          Students  interested in writing as well as
          those  interested in mathematics will find
          this  class appealing. The goal will be to
          broaden     horizons     through    mutual
          interaction.
[2785] 0101 MW.........5:30pm- 6:45pm (ITE 237)       SURI, M


FYS 106   Diversity and Pluralism: An                             3 credits
          Interdisciplinary Perspective                     

(PermReq) Grade Method: REG
          GFR/GER:Meets   SS   or  C.  GDR:Meets  S.
          Issues  of diversity and pluralism are the
          utmost  importance  in the  US and abroad.
          Businesses  and  corporations  list  these
          among   their   five   top   focus  areas.
          Educational  institutions  at  all  levels
          have  also  been  struggling with  them. A
          deeper   understanding  of  pluralism  and
          diversity  will enable students  to have a
          better   understanding  how  and  why  our
          society acts the way it does-economically,
          politically,  and  socially.  It  is  also
          important   for   students'  personal  and
          professional  success in the 21st century.
          In  this course we  will look specifically
          at  diversity  in  terms  of  both  social
          identity  and  social  conflict.  We  will
          focus on the areas of race, class, gender,
          and sexuality orientation. We will explore
          how  each  areas  is  socially constructed
          rather  than  being  based  in  biology or
          natural   laws.   We   will  examined  the
          dynamics   of   privilege  and  systematic
          biology  or natural laws.  We will address
          ways  in  which our society  can change in
          order to come closer to the American ideas
          of  equality and democracy. NOTE: Students
          who  register  for  this  course  may  not
          recieve  credit for Sociology  204 at UMBC
          nor can this course be paired with another
          Sociology   or   Anthropology   course  to
          complete   the   "2   in  one  discipline"
          requirement in the "S" area.
[2787] 0101 TuTh.......1:00pm- 2:15pm (MP  105)       PINCUS, F


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