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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program Fall 2007
Course Description

Human Dilemmas


  • Kate Berheide, Professor of Sociology
  • Janet Casey, Visiting Associate Professor of English & American Studies
  • Beth Gershuny, Assistant Professor of Psychology
  • Sarah Goodwin, Professor of English
  • Susan Layden, Associate Dean of Student Affairs
  • Peter McCarthy, Lecturer in Social Work
  • Mark Rifkin, Assistant Professor of English
  • Patricia Rubio, Professor of Spanish
  • Muriel Poston, Dean of the Faculty
  • Sheldon Solomon, Professor of Psychology

As you begin college, you are confronting the recurring dilemmas that define and shape our lives: Who am I? What exactly am I? What is my relationship to others? What is my responsibility to them and to the world? As biologist E. O. Wilson contends in his 2003 book The Future of Life, life is "an insoluble problem, a dynamic process in search of an indefinable goal. [It is] neither a celebration nor a spectacle but rather, as a later philosopher put it, a predicament" (xxii). "Human Dilemmas" will challenge your conventional assumptions surrounding these predicaments as we focus our attention on interdisciplinary readings, critical thinking, and academic inquiry. Debates, field trips, and writing will move us toward an understanding of what it means to be human in our contemporary world.