Courses Offered in Spring 2023 | Freshman Seminar Program

Courses Offered in Spring 2023

These seminars are open only to students who will be freshmen in the spring 2022 semester. For the most current information including the location of the class, see UNCGenie on the web: (TBA means To Be Announced) We encourage students not to sign up for a seminar without first reading the course description and not to sign up for more than one seminar.  Talk with your advisor about registering for a seminar.

**Reasoning and Discourse: Written Communication also carries credit equivalent to ENG 101. You may not receive credit for both FMS 115 and ENG 101.

Video Gaming and Death

FMS 115-01
T, R | 12:30 – 1:45 PM
Instructor: John Borchert
MAC: Written Communication

Death has always been a part of video games: a way of dividing up playtime, effort, and accomplishment. This course examines a range of relationships between video gaming and death – from what dying repeatedly in games can tell us about play, failure, and overcoming adversity to how games help us grieve and make sense of death in our everyday lives. Through a combination of reading about and playing games, this course offers a theoretical and hands-on approach to studying video gaming as an academic pursuit and what that can teach us about death and dying.

Mysteries of Rhetoric Revealed

FMS 115-02
T, R | 11:00 – 12:15 PM
Instructor:​ Carole-Anne Morris​
MAC: Written Communication

The mystery genre is one of the most popular literary, film, and television genres of all time, and there is no mystery as to why: it is exciting, puzzling, scary, and mind-bending. Mysteries, though sometimes far-fetched, reflect the often exciting, puzzling, scary, and mind-bending aspects of our lives. In this course, we will examine a selection of texts from the mystery genre through a rhetorical lens in order to discover links (and differences) between information and evidence. We will also investigate some “real-life” mysteries, and we will think about how we might apply these informational frameworks to the world around us. Along the way, you will practice skills integral to collegiate-level literary and rhetorical analysis, and together, we will think about how all of these frameworks can help us navigate the complexities of the Information Age.

Writing, Rhetoric, and Neurodiversity

FMS 115-03
M, W, F | 11:00 – 11:50 PM
Instructor: Sam Phillips
MAC: Written Communication

This course will engage with scholarly and popular work at the intersection of language and neurodiversity. By reading work on rhetoric and writing by autistic and other neurodiverse scholars, activists and memoirists, students will consider connections between embodied cognitive experience and the writing process and will produce writing that engages these emerging conversations.

Rhetoric of Activism for Social Justice

FMS 115-04
T, R | 12:30 – 1:45 PM
Instructor: ​Valerie Kelco​
MAC: Written Communication

“The artivist (artist + activist) uses their artistic talents to fight and struggle against injustice and oppression–by any medium necessary. The artivist merges commitment to freedom and justice with the pen, the lens, the brush, the voice, the body, and the imagination.” – M. K. Asante

This course seeks to broaden our understanding of activism for social justice by exploring contemporary rhetorical techniques and artistic approaches. Part of the learning experience will include a series of guest speakers. A variety of local artist-activists, and activists, will speak about their involvement in response to recent social justice movements and explain how they chose to express their message(s) through effective, creative methods. Students will compose questions for generating conversation with the speakers and maintaining a reflective vlog in response to the experience. This course is designed to help students develop their scholarly voice and rhetorical skills. Students will engage in research-based writing, focused on analysis, argument, and critical reflection using the tenets of rhetoric. Additionally, students will gain experience with speaking in public forums. Students will practice multiliteracy skills, research methods, formal and informal writing, close reading, analysis, peer review, and collaborative learning. As a community of scholars, we will respectfully and gainfully engage with one another’s thoughts and writing. We will work in groups often; in return, we will get an abundant amount of feedback and encouragement aimed at helping us develop into stronger students, better communicators, and empathic global citizens.

Can Stories Fight Climate Change?

​FMS 115-05​
T, R |​ 3:30 – 4:45 PM
Instructor: ​Evan Fackler
MAC: Written Communication

Climate change is widely considered a socio-technical and scientific problem – one that must be understood and solved through the fields of STEM, the law, and politics. But where does that leave art, literature, philosophy, and the rest of the humanities?

This course will look at how activists and creators in the arts, literature, philosophy and other humanities subjects help rhetorically construct communities of change. But is this work just a form of cheerleading, or do the narratives and projects undertaken by these disciplines have real effects on how we respond to the climate crisis?

Students in this discussion and the interaction-based course will meet with subject-area specialists in narrative genres ranging from fiction to film as they investigate the linkages between rhetoric and action. Along the way, we’ll use board games and video games to help us understand just how powerful creative fiction can be.

Connecting Through Relationships

FMS 116-01
T, ​R​ |​ ​8:00 – 9:15 AM​
Instructor: Erin Cassidy
MAC: Oral Communication

Relationships are a cornerstone of life and serve as a way to connect with others. This class prompts students to communicate with confidence and competence in all relationships (with partners, friends, family, and co-workers). Students will critically analyze relationships portrayed in the media and reflect on those in their own lives, which will allow them to improve their interpersonal skills and increase their communication competence in everyday social exchanges. Students will then develop their research and oratory skills by studying these topics and delivering extemporaneous speeches on the selected subject matter, connecting their experiences, our world, and theory.

Everybody Eats – Communicating About Food

FMS 116-02
M, W​, F​ | ​11:00​ – ​11​:15 AM
Instructor:​ Leslie Knight​
MAC: Oral Communication

Communication about food systems includes everything from conversations between producers and consumers to nutrition messages, community food activism, corporate food policy, government food interventions to cultural food practices, and numerous other topics in between. This course focuses on food as a context to learn more about public and oral communication in consumer and community settings. Students will have an opportunity to hone their public communication and public speaking skills, while also learning about local food efforts in Greensboro and surrounding communities.

Paranormal Traditions and Social Justice in World Cultures

FMS 117-01
T, R | 9:30 – 10:45 AM
Instructor: Rohit Singh
MAC: Diversity and Equity

This course examines issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion through the lens of supernatural and paranormal traditions in world cultures. We will ask: How have supernatural rituals and traditions been used to either reinforce or rebel against systems of hierarchy and oppression? How do supernatural specialists defy, or support a given society’s gender, race, and sexual norms? To what extent do paranormal communities provide a sense of space and place for disenfranchised populations? Topics we will cover include death rituals and social stratification in world religion, zombies in the history of slavery, Native American Ghost Dances, magic and social justice in the Hindu caste system, the intersections of LGBQT+ rights and UFO religions, and witchcraft as resistance in colonial Africa.

Culture, Race, and Education

FMS 117-02
T, R | ​3:30​ – 4:45 PM
Instructor: Calvin Lowery
MAC: Diversity and Equity

​A​ critical analysis of the complicated past, present, and future relationship between Race, Socio-Economic Status, and Education.

Creative Truths, Documentary Poems

FMS 130-01
T, R | ​11:00 – 12:15 PM
Instructor: Emilia Phillips
MAC:  Critical Thinking & Inquiry in the Humanities and Fine Arts

Poet Mark Nowak writes that “documentary poetics needs to participate not only in the social field of contemporary Poetry but—as has been its historical trajectory—in the larger social movements of the day.” In this course, we’ll use poetry as a lens into historical and contemporary social movements, reading works like Muriel Rukeyser’s The Book of the Dead, which memorializes voices of the Hawk’s Nest Tunnel disaster of 1931 in Gauley Bridge, West Virginia; Tarfia Faizullah’s Seam, which recounts the experiences of the 200,000 women who were the victims of sexual assault by members of the Pakistani army during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War; to poetry texts writing within today’s social movements including but not limited to Black Lives Matter, environmental justice, and more. In doing so, we’ll explore what it means to be a documentarian across the mediums of film and poetry. We’ll explore the types of resources—like archival materials, oral histories, and more—documentary poets use in their poems. We’ll ask questions about the ethics of documentary poetry, including “Who gets to tell what stories?” and “How do we ethically use the voices of other people?” Students will have the option of completing either a research-based creative or scholarly final project.

Migration, Adaptation, and the Persistence of Culture

FMS 134-01
T, R | 11:00 – 12:15 PM
Instructor: Sarah Gates
MAC: Global Engagement and Intercultural Learning

In the modern era, tens of millions have migrated from their country of origin. Who are they? Why are they migrating? What struggles do they face in transit and in a new country and culture? This course offers a historical overview of international migration. We then explore international migration through two ethnographically specific case studies: a case of irregular migration from Central America and an asylum case from China. These cases will ground the class in human experience and link that experience to wider global processes. At a more local level, we will discuss what international migration can teach us about ourselves and our communities and ask what international migration teach us about the adaptation and persistence of culture and the human spirit.

Imposing Democracy

FMS 134-02
T, R | 2:00 – 3:15 PM
Instructor: William Zang
MAC: Global Engagement and Intercultural Learning

For four decades after WWII ended, the secretive Central Intelligence Agency played a crucial role in fighting the global Cold War against the Soviet Union. Through a variety of methods ranging from election interference and propaganda to assassinations and coup d’états, the Central Intelligence Agency intervened in the internal affairs of dozens of countries, from France and Chile to Nicaragua, Italy, Guatemala, Indonesia, and more. These operations were usually kept secret from the American public for years or even decades after they took place, often only coming to light through leaks, whistleblower revelations, and official investigations.  In this course, we will discuss why and how the CIA toppled foreign governments and the real-world repercussions of CIA operations on targeted societies. We will begin by firmly grounding ourselves in the history of the Global Cold War. Afterward, we will discuss different cases of CIA intervention around the world. To do this we will engage with secondary sources, documentary films, journalism, and primary sources, including declassified documents from the CIA itself. Just how much influence did the CIA have on the history of the 20th century?

Literature, Empathy, and Healing

FMS 135-01
T, R | 9:30 – 10:45 AM
Instructor: Sarah Krive
MAC: Health and Wellness


FMS 135-03
T, R | 12:30 – 1:45 PM
Instructor: Sarah Krive
MAC: Health and Wellness

If read critically, literature can contribute to wellness by helping us heal ourselves and others. Human beings are inherently social creatures. We crave connection and interaction with others, but of course, our relationships can be fraught. In most situations, someone wields power or authority over another. What does it mean, then, to be an imperfect human; one who gets sick, falls ill, or experiences maladies physical or psychological? How do we treat each other then? This course argues that health and wellness are inherently social; they derive, in part, from an individual’s willingness to discover and act from a place of empathy. This willingness is part and parcel of the medical profession, or at least it should be. Healing means to “make whole,” such that a healed person is one who is able to participate fully in life and indeed flourish. But what is healing? What if the healers are themselves wounded? One of the best ways to consider these issues is through the reading and discussion of literary fiction. The greatest writers delve deeply into human relationships and can help us examine and understand how, in therapeutic encounters and in everyday life, we treat each other, and how our stance (empathetic or not) and actions can contribute to healing. Finally, since we live in a world where artificial intelligence will quite soon mean the creation of sentient machinery, we will also consider the limits and boundaries of human empathy for the post-human. This course embeds within it a required four-week mini-course in somatic (bodily) practices that contribute to centering and mindfulness.

Are We What We Eat? The Psychology of Eating

FMS 135-​02​
T, R | 9:30 – 10:45 PM
Instructor: Jasmine DeJesus
MAC: Health and Wellness

Food is both a necessary and enriching part of the human experience. We eat not only for survival and health but also for enjoyment and social connection. In this course, students will engage with a variety of sources, including psychology journal articles, book chapters, podcasts, documentaries, and recipes that highlight the diverse psychological contributions and consequences of eating. Topics may include eating in infancy, family food dynamics, food marketing, health interventions, food insecurity, social influences on food selection, moral and environmental considerations in food choice, and myths about nutrition, food choice, and health.

The Politics of Modern Sports

FMS 150-01
​T, R | 2:00 – 3:15 PM​
Instructor: Mark Moser
MAC: Critical Thinking & Inquiry in the Humanities and Fine Arts

This course will deal in large measure with international athletic competitions (primarily the Olympic Games) but will also examine impactful sports issues within the United States such as the desegregation of major professional sports leagues and Title IX issues. 

The Continuation of Politics By Other Means:  Armed Conflict and Warfare in the Modern Era

FMS 170-01
T, R | 11:00 AM – 12:25 PM
Instructor: Leigh Sink
MAC: Critical Thinking and Inquiry in the Social and Behavioral Sciences

It has been estimated that there has been a war somewhere in the world 94% of the time since the dawn of civilization. Why does mankind periodically organize himself for armed conflict and warfare? This course will begin by asking these questions and try to answer them through an examination of the United States’ involvement in war and conflict over the last hundred years.

Is it healthy? Show me data.

FMS 183-01
​T, R | 11:00 AM -12:15 PM
Instructor: Kirsten Trowbridge
MAC: Critical Thinking and Inquiry in the Natural Sciences

As we conduct our lives and strive to find ways to feel our best, we encounter multitudes of information about what we could or “should” do to be at our peak state of wellness. How much of the information available about various practices and things we put in our bodies can we trust? This course focuses on the scientific method to evaluate health-related practices to distinguish from the nonscientific promotion of products or nonscientific ‘evidence’ for their impact.  Students will learn to critically evaluate scientific vs. non-scientific evidence for medical or alternative approaches to human health and wellness.

Topic exploration for research will be student-led. The common goal is finding solid evidence to increase our confidence in the truth and reliability (or lack thereof) of the information. Students will inquire into research that uses scientific approaches to gathering evidence of the impacts of a given practice on human health and well-being and compare them to claims based on non-scientific approaches. Students will learn to think critically to judge the value conveyed when the information was obtained by means that are or are not evaluated scientifically.

Potential topics include but are not limited to modern to traditional medicines, herbalism, alternative therapies, entheogen therapy, microflora, diet and nutrition, exercise and physical therapies, tai chi, chiropractic and osteopathic medicine, meditation, acupuncture, massage, stress relieving techniques and heart rhythm effects. This learning community will evaluate scientific versus non-scientific evidence of health and wellness practices that are of interest to the students in the course.

Experiential Neuroscience

FMS 183-02
​T, R | 9:30-10:45 AM
Instructor: Randall Hayes
MAC: Critical Thinking and Inquiry in the Natural Sciences

This course attempts to bridge the gap between objective quantitative science and more subjective qualitative personal experience.  We push the boundaries in two ways: 1) by extending science into the personal realm through experiments in hypnosis and meditation, as well as a personal data collection project in the Quantified Self tradition; and 2) by asking when imagination and empathy are helpful in science, especially in medicine.  Through these lenses, we will examine topics in neuroscience like sleep, stress, mood, and mental health.

Greek Mathematics

FMS 195-01
T, R | 2:00-3:15 PM
Instructor: Filip Saidak
MAC: Quantitative Reasoning

The course will cover the fundamental development of mathematics during the seven centuries (600 BC — 100 AD) of the history of ancient Greece. It will focus on explaining the most important results from a variety of classical fields, including geometry, number theory, and algebra, and will try to present not only proofs of these results, but provide an in-depth analysis of the role they have played in the historical development of the subject.