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.

 

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 every major juncture in human history. According to the most recent census, there are more households with dogs than with children in the U.S. Considering the dog-human relationship lends itself to interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary perspectives, therefore exposing 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, economic impact, natural disasters, service dogs, etc…) are considered, dogs’ cognitive abilities are explored, and the overall Homo sapiens—Canis familiaris relationship is considered.

 

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 still desirable? That is, do yet more economic goods improve citizens’ well-being? Finally, if growth is not the goal, then what is the appropriate aim of economic policies?