Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Advanced Entry Seminar

Seminar Summaries

Does Chocolate Have a “Dark” Side

Nearly everyone loves some kind of chocolate but no one thinks enough about where chocolate comes from or how it gets to the stores’ shelves.  Chocolate’s versatility reaches back centuries, yet emerges routinely in our social lives, our environmental concerns, our health applications and our aesthetic experiences.  This seminar uses chocolate as a context to make connections between the sciences, social sciences, humanities and the fine arts. This seminar challenges assumptions of students about what “chocolate” really means.  Students will critically evaluate sources of chocolate and discuss texts that shed light on past applications and controversies surrounding this delightful resource.  

Gender Myths: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Myths are foundational stories that can explain why the world is the way it is, and offer cognitive tools for negotiating everyday as well as extraordinary circumstances.  This class will explore a range of myths from around the world that convey what it means to be a human being in particular cultures through the lenses of gender and sexuality.  Some of the guiding questions will be: How do sex and gender vary across space, place, and time?  Why is the world gendered and sexed?  What are the consequences of living in a sexed and gendered world?

Going to the Dogs

Dogs appear at almost all major junctures in human history. According to the most recent census, more households in the U.S. include dogs than children.  Considering the dog-human relationship lends itself to interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary perspectives, therefore exposing students to different methods and approaches to learning, researching and writing 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 (natural disasters, economic impact, etc…) are considered, dogs’ cognitive abilities are explored, and the overall Homo sapiens—Canis familiaris relationship is contemplated.