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 SPRING 2018

TSEM 102.001, 002, 070, 071 Living a Meaningful Life: Well-Being and Occupation

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 102.004 Religion and Politics in America

Description: An examination of how religion and politics influence each other in the United States, with attention given to civil religion, the First Amendment, and religious activism, among other issues. Draws on materials from political science, history, and religious studies

TSEM 102.005 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 102.006 Mozart: the Man, the Myth, and the Music

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 102.007  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 102.008, 009, 069 Body Image Through History

A survey of attitudes toward the human body in different fields, eras, and cultures.

TSEM 102.010, 011 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 102.012, 013 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 102.014, 015 Facing the Inquisitor: Religious Persecution in Pre-modern Times

Description: Based on translated documents from the archives of the Inquisition. The goal is to understand how religious and cultural differences were defined and repressed in pre-modern societies (13th to 18th centuries). Students will work throughout the semester in pairs by taking the perspective of either one specific inquisitor or one of his victims after they reconstruct, directly from the sources, each individual’s actions and reasons. Each team of two students will thus research one inquisitorial trial, and each individual student will present conclusions in a research paper and two aural reports to the class. Topics to be discussed: the origins of the medieval inquisitions in contrast with their later developments in Spain, Portugal and Italy; the debates surrounding the Inquisition since its origins and how its activities were perceived over time; the worldview of the inquisitor and that of the heretic in European and non-European colonial pre-modern societies; ideas of collective security, religious enforcement and social discipline in pre-modern societies. Will draw upon tools and research methods from disciplines such as history, anthropology, religious studies, and art history.

TSEM 102.016, 017 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 102.018  Towson University Students in the Upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s

Description:Investigates the history of students at Towson University in the 1960s and 1970s. These decades were years of rapid transformation in American politics and culture as the rights revolution, the Vietnam War, the rise of counter culture, and student activism reshaped society. At the forefront of driving these movements were students. Away from home for the first time, exposed to new ideas, and surrounded by new friends students pushed against cultural and political boundaries and helped reshape the United States. Working closely with the materials in the Towson University Archives students will endeavor to understand this turbulent period through the eyes of Towson students who went before them. Students will be expected to read critically, participate in class discussions of readings, movies, and music videos, and be willing to work interactively and collaboratively.

TSEM 102.019 How We Became Posthuman: An Introduction to the Concepts and Consequences of Cybernetics

Description: Introduction to cybernetics, as well as disciplinary concepts and methods in history of science, cultural studies, and technology studies. Evaluates the portrayal of cybernetic concepts and the ways in which literary works are able to address "humanistic" questions and issues raised by cybernetics.

TSEM 102.020 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 102.021 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 102.022, 065 The Harlem Renaissance: A Modernist 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 102.023, 024, 025, 026 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 102.027 Physics and Metaphysics

Description: Seminar format emphasizing active learning, with content drawn from primarily from physics and astrophysics, along with current scientific controversies.  Introduces multiple perspectives (e.g. Aristotelian vs. Newtonian). Does not count toward a major in physics or astrophysics.

TSEM 102.028, 031, 033 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 102.029, 030, 032, 034, 035, 036, 072 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 102.037, 038, 039, 040, 041, 068 Current Issues in Education: Excitement and Challenge of Extreme Teaching

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 102.045 Popular Culture and Politics: Comedy, Entertainment, Celebrity, and Democracy

Description: Writing-intensive seminar focusing on popular politics and the increasing role of entertainment, celebrity, and humor in the public sphere. Subtopics to include: celebrity politics, political comedy, television entertainment, and new media.

TSEM 102.046, 047 Vampires: Blood, Lust and the American Dream

Description: Emphasizes active learning with content focusing on representations of vampires in popular media from literary origins in the late 19th century through to recent incarnations on screen.

TSEM 102.048 TDB


TSEM 102.049 Exercise and the Brain

Description: Review current research on the effects of exercise on the brain as it relates to psychological function. Students will be introduced to the fields of neuroscience and psychology while investigating the role of exercise in attention, memory, mood, stress, psychological disorders, and aging.

 TSEM 102.050, 051  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 102.053, 054 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 102.055 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 102.056  Islam and the West

Description: Exploration of differing perspectives on the relationship between the modern Muslim world and the West.

TSEM 102.057 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 102.058 Journey of Self-Discovery - Frantz Fanon

Description: The theme of the journey as the most enduring and complex in the literature of Western civilization. The epistemological value of the journey as exploration of self and others’ identities, the notions of quest and epic hero, the issue of ancient and modern migrations as a crossing of geographical and cultural borders.

TSEM 102.059 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 102.060, 062, 063 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 102.066 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 102.067 Vampires on Campus: Exploring the Roles of the Vampire in Social Issues of Western Culture

Description: Examines contemporary society’s fascination with vampires, and explores how the lore of the vampire, from Count Dracula to Edward Cullen of the Twilight series, captivates our attention. The vampire, as a liminal figure, embodies or symbolizes a myriad of wide-ranging social themes including capitalism, human sexuality, life/death, illegal immigration, racism, HIV/AIDS, feminist ideologies, good vs. evil, identity, and adolescent angst. This reading- and writing-intensive course includes in-depth critical analysis and research projects.

TSEM 102.073, 074 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.