Towson Seminar

Focusing on exploration and discovery, TSEM 102 introduces students to the academic expectations for college-level work and to the intellectual, communication and collaborative skills needed for academic success. Seminar format emphasizes active learning, with variable content in different Towson-Seminar courses. Introduces multiple perspectives and may draw from more than one discipline. Must be taken during either of your first two semesters. Must earn a 2.0 grade or higher.

Towson Seminar Topics Fall 2018

TSEM 102.001, 002 Maryland Plantations: Then and Now

Description: Focuses on the plantations of Maryland and the larger Chesapeake from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. It investigates complexes of planters’ houses and slave quarters to uncover the material reality of plantation life, for both men and women in the elite planter class as well as those who were enslaved. Its primary approach is historical, but it also employs perspectives and approaches drawn from the disciplines of material culture, art history, architectural history, gender studies, anthropology, and museum studies. A primary component of the course will be analysis of museums’ interpretation of plantations to the general public. A trip to Hampton Plantation will allow students to consider museums’ decisions about what to preserve and how to interpret the lives of masters, mistresses, and slaves. Students will be expected to read critically, participate in class discussions of readings, films, and historic sites, and be willing to work interactively and collaboratively. Topics covered include slavery, southern architecture, women’s history, rising levels of consumption, the making of historical memory, and public history.

TSEM 102.003, 004, 005, 006  Living a Meaningful Life

Description: Introduces students to skills needed to function successfully at college, in the context of an exploration of the relationship of occupational engagement to well-being. Students will gain an understanding of the concept of occupation, and investigate the influence of various occupations on health, happiness, and well-being.

TSEM 102.008, 024 The Harlem Renaissance: A Modern Collection of Literature, Art, Music, Film and Dance

Description: An inter-disciplinary exploration of the Harlem Renaissance, a literary, artistic, cultural, and intellectual movement of the early 20th century.

TSEM 102.009 The Senses

Description: Asks students to think critically about the sense experiences – their cultural significance, political consequences, and representations in written texts and visual media. Students will observe how representations of sense experiences shift through stylistic choices in the descriptive writing of marketers, artists, filmmakers, and social critics.

TSEM 102.010 Writing Baltimore

Description: Baltimore is a city of connections and contradictions. This class looks closely at texts written about the city from diverse perspectives: historical, sociological, environmental, journalistic, and literary. Approaches the city itself as a text to be explored; students will generate their own texts in response to their encounters with the city. Various themes will include the Chesapeake Bay, the sights and sounds of Baltimore, and urban history.

TSEM 102.011, 012 America's War on Drugs

Description: Exploration of American drug policies. Emphasis on treatment and prevention options, debates regarding decriminalization and legalization, and the domestic and international drug trade. Attention to popular perceptions of addicts, the flaws in those perceptions, and how perceptions shape policies. The historical context of current drug policy.

TSEM 102.013 Re-Fighting the Civil War: History, Memory, and the Continuing Struggle over America's Past

Description: Examination of the ways in which Americans have remembered the Civil War, their reasons for doing so, and the uses that memory has served. Historians’ interpretation of the war will be considered, but particular emphasis will be on the popular memory of the war, especially relating to issues of race and slavery.

TSEM 102.014, 061 Social Media versus Dictators in the Middle East: The Arab Uprisings in Historical Perspective

Description: Explores the Arab Uprisings, or the "Arab Spring," that erupted across the Arab world, including Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria, in early 2011. Also examines the historical background of these states since World War II period to provide context for understanding why citizens stood in the public squares and rebelled against entrenched dictators some receiving political and financial support from the United States. Course is informed by the disciplines of history, Middle East studies, and media studies.

TSEM 102.015, 016 America in the 1960s: Decade of Conflict and Change

Description: An introduction to the cultural, political, social conflicts of the 1960s in America, with emphasis on development of research and critical thinking skills. Through their study of major figures, movements and events of this period, as well as through guided study of research methodology, students will become acquainted with historical ways of thinking and writing.

TSEM 102.017 Sleep - Who Needs It and Why?

Description: Effects of sleep and sleep deprivation on optimal functioning. Exploration of sleep, sleep disorders, long term effects of sleep deprivation and treatment options.

TSEM 102.018, 019, 020 Mass Media and Medicine

Description: Through reflective writing, roundtable discussions, skills workshops, a research paper, and a group presentation, students will be introduced to the rigors of academic scholarship, explore collaborative learning, and engage in critically evaluating the content and impact of mediated messages on the practice and consumption of health care across cultures.

TSEM 102.021 Psychology of Scientific Thinking

Description: The Scientific Method and the role it plays in society with emphasis on the psychological processes involved in decision making. Standards of evidence and critical thinking skills necessary to differentiate scientific from pseudoscientific claims regarding topics such as ESP, repressed memory, UFOs, etc.

TSEM 102.022 Mozart: the Man, the Myth, and the Music

Description: Consideration of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the greatest prodigy of western music and his growth as a maturing genius who helped to establish the Viennese classical style during his brief career. Seeks to separate the myths that have developed about this remarkable figure from the actual historical facts and place him in context of his peers and his role in the style of his time.

TSEM 102.023 Ludwig van Beethoven: The Hero and the Heroic Style

Description: Beethoven as a heroic figure who championed personal and political freedom and helped usher in the Romantic tradition in music.

TSEM 102.025 American Murals

Description: Murals are paintings placed on culturally meaningful walls. “American Murals” will examine the creation and use of murals across many American ethnic and racial groups from pre-Colonial Native Americans, through the Colonial period, to the 21st Century including the 1930s Mexican Mural Movement, Works Progress Administration and mid-20th-century Civil Rights Movements.

TSEM 102.026, 032, 033, 036, 038, 041 Current Issues in Education: Excitement and Challenge of Extreme Teaching

Description: Explores teaching - a most exciting and challenging profession – through inspiring examples of excellent teaching practices in order to incorporate these best practices into every challenging teaching situation. Introduction to effective strategies for gathering, evaluating and communicating information. Students will use critical thinking, team collaboration and problem solving to examine the most current scholarship surrounding these topics.

TSEM 102.027, 028, 030, 034, 037, 039, 040, 042 Current Issues in Education: Living and Learning in a Digital Society

Description: Current issues in education related to living and learning in a digital society. This course emphasizes that critical, self-reflective understanding of the contexts of our technology use is central to becoming digital practitioners and effective teachers in a participatory culture. Students will be introduced to effective strategies for gathering, evaluating and communicating information.

TSEM 102.029, 031, 035  Current Issues in Education: Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns

Description: Explores current issues in education related to how students learn and the need for a customized learning approach to maximize each student’s ability to learn.  Technology’s role, in the process of individualizing learning for students will be explored. Students will examine reasons why technology has not been the panacea to improve academic achievement it was first touted to be by applying the theory of disruptive innovation to technology implementation in schools. Students will be introduced to effective strategies for gathering, evaluating and communicating information. Students will use critical thinking, team collaboration and problem solving to examine the most current scholarship surrounding their topics.

TSEM 102.043, 044, 045, 058, 059, 060,  The Limits of Reason

Description: The role of reason throughout the history of Western philosophy, beginning with the Platonic formalism of the ancient era, continuing into the Renaissance and Age of Enlightenment with Rene Descartes’ rationalism, David Hume’s empiricism, and Immanuel Kant’s transcendentalism, and culminating in the contemporary perspectives of Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Emmanuel Levinas, and Alphonso Lingis on the limits of reason.

TSEM 102.046, 047 TBD 
TSEM 102.048, 049 Risky Business

 Description: Focuses on the ways in which families experience risk. Places emphasis on the diversity of risk both within the family unit as well as how risk is perceived by social forces outside the family. Introduces multiple perspectives on risk and resiliency using a multidisciplinary approach. Special attention will be paid to how individual differences have the potential to increase risk for individuals, families and communities.

TSEM 102.050 The Machine that Changed the World: Automobility in a Time of Scarcity

 Description: A multidisciplinary examination of how the automobile has changed world cultures with an emphasis on economic, environmental, social and political factors.

TSEM 102.051, 052 Green Eating on a Blue Planet

Description: An examination of food: what we eat, where we eat, how we eat, and what are the industrial, economic, technological, social and political factors that shape the production of food, and what these mean for the planet. An introduction to student research and writing at the university level. Through readings, discussions, and assignments students will learn about food production and distribution in order to feed nearly seven billion people and about the nature of scholarship.

TSEM 102.054 Body Image Through History
 Description: A survey of attitudes toward the human body in different fields, eras, and 
TSEM 102.055   The Legacy of Colonialism in the Arts

Description: Historical survey of and artistic representations of the conditions and repercussions of colonialism through readings, videos, and movement experiences.

TSEM 102.056, 057 Understanding Globalization

Description: Introduction to globalization and its interrelated dimensions; the effect of globalization on how people live and think; the creation of a new global world society; world-wide debates and controversies over globalization, its social processes, and its consequences.

TSEM 102.062, 063 Earth’s Changing Climate – Past, Present, and Future

Description: Understand the critical and often contentious issue of climate change, and to introduce students to scholarship. Scientific evidence and analysis, and an interdisciplinary perspective are needed to deal with the pressing issue of global climate change. This course will provide students with the critical thinking and analytical skills needed to weigh the evidence supporting or refuting claims of climate change or its consequences and to help students develop the research and writing skills required of college graduates.

TSEM 102.064, 065 Innovation Through the Ages

Description: An integrated / multi-disciplinary perspective of institutional structure, innovation, and the process of economic change intended to provide insight into basic principles of economic reasoning applied on a comprehensive span of human history. Incorporates theories and examples from a number of social sciences and will demonstrate the advantages of liberal arts based education.

TSEM 102.066 Human Nature: An Evolutionary Perspective

Description: Theory and research regarding the roles of evolutionary and social factors in shaping human behavior and cognition. Integrating core concepts of evolutionary biology and social psychology. Topics include the nature-nurture debate, aggression and violence, sex and child rearing, and morality.