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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

ID 151 Spring 2008

ID 151 (001) From Super Heroes to Anxiety Attacks
John Anzalone, Professor of French

In readings to include Michael Chabon's Pulitzer Prize novel Kavalier and Klay, Gerald Jones' Men Of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book, Art Speigelman's Maus and Neil Gaiman's Seasons of Mist (among others) we will examine the evolution that takes American sequential narrative art from comic strip to comic book to graphic novel. Using approaches from literature, art history and sociology, we will discuss and analyze how popular culture in its most basic forms reflects the evolution of American culture in the so-called American century. We will use the comic book collection recently donated to the college as a lab for examination of the period of transition leading to direct access marketing of comics and study how that revolution in distribution liberated writers and artists to move in seemingly new directions. Student responsibilities will include regular short writing assignments (reaction papers), in class exposes and an individual final project to be determined with the instructor.

ID 151 (002) Italian Cinema
Giuseppe Faustini, Professor of Italian

This 1 credit seminar on post-WW II Italian Cinema is designed for students interested in learning about Italian society as represented in film. The focus of this course is to examine the crises and transformations of contemporary Italian society by analyzing the social, political and cultural movements that have defined Italian culture through film. The course will also offer a more in-depth examination of Italian cinematic movements from neorealism to the contemporary post-Felliniesque period as it explores the films of selected directors, from De Sica to Benigni
Taught in English! Films in Italian with English subtitles!

ID 151 (003) Jesus Through the Centuries
Steven Butler-Murray, College Chaplain; Associate Director of the Intercultural Center

From the humble origins of a Palestinian Jewish carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth has been portrayed in remarkably different ways by Christian churches, politicians, and artists throughout the centuries. This seminar will explore the history of how Jesus has been understood and represented, both theologically and culturally. Among the media that we will explore will be painting, sculpture, literature, and film. The class will meet once per week for one hour, with the remaining preparation time devoted to reading our one core course book and exploring depictions of Jesus through varied artistic forms.

ID 151 (004) "Why am I here? Reflecting on the Skidmore Experience"
David Karp, Interim Associate Dean of Student Affairs & Associate Professor of Sociology

This course provides a forum for first year students to reflect on their experience at Skidmore thus far. The course emphasizes academic and social integration, reflection and planning, and action steps toward meeting personal and intellectual goals. Core questions include:

  • Why did I choose Skidmore?
  • How does it compare to my expectations?
  • What are the biggest challenges I've faced?
  • What steps can I take to best meet these challenges?
  • What have I learned so far that has changed the way I think and behave in the world?
  • What do I hope to achieve while I'm here?
  • What direction should I follow during this semester, over the summer, next year and beyond?
  • How can my education enhance my own personal growth?
  • How can I be of value to others and the world?

ID 151 (005) Close to home: Stories from Saratoga Lake Watershed
Rik Scarce, Associate Professor of Sociology

What connections with "the land" do people who live near bodies of water create? Through their own documentary film, each student will tell the story of one person, group, or organization that is involved in some way with the local Kayaderosseras Creek-Saratoga Lake-Fish Creek watershed. Along the way, students will be exposed to ecology, sociology, history, inductive theorizing, and advanced videography techniques.

ID 151 (006) Down Home Blues: Image, Text and Song
Randall Bauer, Visiting Assistant Professor of Music

This colloquium will be an interdisciplinary exploration of The Blues in American culture. Through poetry and fiction, the examination of art, regular film viewing, and frequent listening to the music of the Mississippi Delta, we will come to understand the origins of the blues in African-American expression, its pervasive influence on the arts in general, and its role as the source of all American popular music.

ID 151 (007) Engaging Campus Diversity
Susan Layden, Associate Dean of Student Affairs

This is a 1-credit course designed for first-year students interested in diversity issues and in developing their research skills. Students will read emerging scholarship in the areas of diversity education and assessment in higher education, as well as campus publications and plans outlining Skidmore's goals for students' engagement with diversity. Students will learn about the complexity of setting goals around diversity and the challenges colleges and universities face in meeting these goals. As a final project, students will research and develop instruments useful for measuring Skidmore's progress toward meeting its diversity goals.

ID 151 (008) Looking Forward, Looking Back: Diversity at Skidmore
Lenora de la Luna, Assistant Professor of Education &

Mariel Martin, Interim Director of Student Diversity Programs

Why is diversity at Skidmore a College goal? Has it always been? Will it continue to be?  In this course, we will begin to answer these questions by conducting archival research of Skidmore materials situated in the context of the times, looking for trends and anticipating future needs and efforts to meet those needs. By doing so we will better understand the institution's structure and history as well as people's interactions across differences. Throughout this exploration, students will become better equipped to understand which diversity efforts have been more and less effective and will be able to answer for themselves if diversity is a goal worth pursuing in their own lives.

ID 151 (009) Dilemmas in Music: 20th Century "Play and Experimentation"
Lewis Rosengarten, Higher Education Opportunity Program

Developing ideas from Human Dilemmas, those of Langer on defining the Arts, Frye, Goldsworthy and the special presentation by David Porter on the music of Ives, Cowell and Cage, this course will explore the sense of fun and exploration in 20th century music. Musical materials will range from the silly and the incomprehensible, to the sublime.

ID 151 (010) Shakespeare's Sonnets
Lary Opitz, Professor of Theater

Perhaps not, though a case can be made. Shakespeare and Judaism do, however, intersect in a number of ways. The study of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice will play a central role in this seminar. Student will encounter a number of film versions and stage adaptations of the play while grappling with the question of whether Shakespeare’s work was anti-Semitic. Students will explore concepts of justice and mercy, racial stereotypes, usury, the history of anti-Semitism, Shakespeare’s knowledge of the Old Testament and the Talmud, and his influence on Yiddish theater.

ID 151 (011) Cross Cultural Themes in Adolescent Development
Donna Brent, Visiting Assistant Professor of Education

Using film, fiction, music and traditional scientific research, this course explores basic adolescent themes such as identity, sexual orientation, and individuation across a variety of cultures.

ID 151 (012) Evolving Standards of Decency?: The Supreme Court's Current Tangle with the Death Penalty
Beau Breslin, Director of the First-Year Experience & Associate Professor of Government

This year, the Supreme Court will determine the constitutionality and legality of executing condemned criminals by use of lethal injection. But that is not the only case the Court will confront on this highly charged topic. This course will explore the most recent cases decided by the High Court on the subject of capital punishment. It will also explore those constitutional and legal issues that are expected to make their way to the Supreme Court.

ID 151 (013) Adolescence: Psychological and Cinematic Perspectives
Hugh Foley, Professor of Psychology &
Ann Marie Przywara, Associate Director of Residential Life

Navigating the transition from childhood to adulthood presents some unique challenges. In this seminar, students will examine a number of different topics related to that transition (e.g., sexuality, alcohol/drug use, risk-taking, gambling, family life, parental divorce). Students will read psychological research and watch/discuss relevant movies that shed light on selected aspects of adolescent development.

ID 151 (014) Mysticism on the Web
Marla Segol, Assistant Professor of Religion

In this course students will do independent research on religious expression on the web. Particularly, they will explore the formation and expression of virtual religious identity on sites like Second Life, and in personal blogs. The course will culminate with the presentation of original research.