Academics

Advanced Entry Seminar

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Office of the Dean of the Faculty

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 2022 Seminar Summaries

International Climate Fiction
The literary genre of Climate Fiction, Cli-Fi, is emerging in the space between art, science and political decision-making. We already know that extinction video games or films like Avatar reach and move people differently than scientific data. In this seminar, we explore how connecting climate science and human choice, art and culture can play significant roles in bringing the future into our present. How can Cli-Fi make readers feel and think now and promote future-oriented actions? How does international climate fiction connect us across cultures and invite us to see, to care, and to act?

Masking: Festivals, Cultural Tribalism, and Identity
Masks come in many forms, and are 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? We will explore masks and our relationships with them as pieces of art, their use in the sciences and diverse societies.

Climate Justice or Climate Apartheid?
Climate change is a wicked issue. It affects everything: agricultural systems, economies, health, infrastructure, and ecosystems. It is—everywhere—political. We’ve been told that solving this crisis is about reducing CO2 in the atmosphere, but that oversimplification masks the profound complexity of causes and solutions. This class is not simply about traditional sustainability issues like planting trees, recycling, or driving a hybrid. This is about imagining an ethical and equitable climate future. We address the problematic history of the climate crisis and its highly differentiated impact on global communities in hopes of finding just and meaningful solutions to the climate crisis.