Southwestern

Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Advanced Entry Seminar


Seminar Summaries

Although every effort will be made to place you in your first-choice Seminar, you may be placed in any Seminar.

Seminar assignments, once made, will not be changed. Notification of AES assignments will be mailed beginning in mid-June with further information about your Seminar including any summer assignment that may be required.

Do They Really Drink Green Beer?  The Irish in America

Every March sees massive St. Patrick’s Day parades, rivers and beer are dyed green, and revelers wear “Kiss Me – I’m Irish” buttons.  Popular images of Irish Americans range from the kindly priests in Bing Crosby movies to murderous thugs in films like “Gangs of New York”.  This seminar will study who the Irish in America really are: how they survived starvation during the great famine to seeing one of their own elected President of the United States.  Students will use the framework of the Irish-American story to look at their immigration histories, and analyze the issues facing those who are immigrating to the United States today.

Going to the Dogs

Dogs appear at every major juncture in human history, with over 77 million dogs presently in the U.S.  Considering the dog-human relationship lends itself to interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary perspectives, and therefore exposes students to different methods and approaches to learning that they will encounter across various disciplines.  In the seminar, portrayals of dogs in various media are analyzed, the biology of dogs is examined, the social implications of dogs (dog-fighting, impact of dogs on the economy, dogs and humans in natural disasters, service dogs, etc…) are considered, and the Homo sapiens—Canis familiaris relationship is explored.

Prosperity Without Economic Growth?

Our “rich” modern lives emerged from historically unprecedented economic growth over the last two centuries.  While in recent years growth has slowed, it is commonly assumed that in due course the economy will resume its former rate of growth.  This assumption invites three questions that we will explore.  First, given the planet’s finite supply of natural resources, is continued growth possible?  Second, in rich nations is perpetual economic growth even desirable?  That is, do yet more economic goods and services improve citizens’ well-being?  Finally, if growth is not the goal, then what is the appropriate aim of economic policies?

From Marginalized Experience to Transformative Political Force: The Case of Latinas/os in Contemporary United States

Since the last election, the Democrat and Republican parties agree: Latinas/os will play a defining role in the future of the United States.  Through literary and philosophical works, and focusing on the themes of family, history and education, this seminar studies the cultural and political impact of Latinas/os’ current transition from being a marginalized people to being recognized as a definitive force shaping the United States.  We will discuss a variety of issues that are relevant not only to Latinas/os but to anyone living and studying in the United States: identity, values, race, ethnicity, political representation and assimilation.