Academics

Advanced Entry Seminar

Contact

Office of the Dean of the Faculty

Phone

512.863.1567

Office of the Dean of the Faculty

The Advanced-Entry Seminar (AES) at Southwestern University helps you practice an education that arcs over your SU experience and across the curriculum. That education connects the questions and perspectives you encounter as well as the skills you develop to each other and to the world. Taken during your first semester as a four-credit graded course, AES is a concurrent rather than preliminary experience. It focuses on topics that help you think about what you are learning in your other classes as well as your whole education. It is your first exposure to Paideia—Southwestern’s distinctive interdisciplinary approach to integrating curricular and co-curricular experiences.

As you read the AES summary, you will discover that the topic is engaging and sometimes even edgy. But don’t be fooled. Seminars are real courses designed to introduce intellectual skills common to the liberal arts: formulating cogent questions, forging connections between methods of inquiry, recognizing and challenging assumptions, seeking out and listening to multiple perspectives, and rethinking the role of reading, writing, and discussion in inquiry and student-centered learning.

Questions related to your Advanced-Entry Seminar assignment should be directed to 512.863.1567.

Fall 2020 Seminar Summaries

Seeing the Water: Understanding the 21st Century

This seminar will examine the three most important large-scale changes that have taken place in the last century and that have created the contemporary world in its present form - the birth and growth of marketing and public relations, consumerism, and propaganda. We will look at how the origins of human culture have shaped us, and consider how recent and radical changes in how we communicate and construct identity have fundamentally altered both us and our world.

“Killing in the Name Of…”: Religion and Violence

Why do people commit tremendous acts of violence against others in the name of religious ideology? Why do they perform acts of self-violence, such as body modification/mortification, self-harm, mutilation, etc.? This class examines the close connection between religion and violence, across a wide array of times and places. We’ll talk about why such a connection exists, if religion “naturally” begets violence, and types of justifications for violence against self and others.

The Transportive Experience of Wearing a Mask

Masks come in many forms, and worn for a variety of reasons. Some cultures use them for religious or ritual practices, while others may use them for protection, entertainment, and disguise. Broadly defined, a mask is simply the covering of the face. We wear and use masks every day. While we often connect masks with masquerade and Halloween, facial makeup, tattoos, scarification and prosthetic pieces applied to the face are all forms of a mask. Does the wearing of a mask help identify who we are, or do they hide who we are? This seminar will explore the cultural, sociological, and historical connections of the mask.