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 2020

TSEM 102.001, 002, 003, 005, 007,  008, 061, 062 -  Current Issues in Education: Living and Learning in a Digital Society

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 102.004, 006 - Current Issues in Education: Excitement and Challenge of Extreme Teaching

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. 009 -  Earth's Changing Climate - Past, Present, and Future

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 102.010 -  Green Eating on a Blue Planet

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 102.011  -  Islam and the West

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

TSEM 102.012, 015 - America’s War on Drugs

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,  014, 016, 019 - America in the 1960s: Decade of Conflict and Change

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 - Towson University Students in the Upheaval of the 20th Century

Investigates the history of students at Towson University in the 20th century. 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 102.018 - China Today: Challenges and Opportunities

China is now the second largest economy in the world, a growing military power, and an increasingly influential model for other countries. Students will discuss
China’s strengths and weaknesses in order to develop a balanced view of the challenge posed to the United States and the nations of East Asia. Students will
examine internal problems that threaten to destabilize China, as well as external pressures to limit Beijing’s international influence.

TSEM 102.020, 021 - Facing the Inquisitor: Religious Persecution in Pre-modern Times

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 102.022 - Sleep – Who Needs It and Why?

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

TSEM 102.023 - Risky Business

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 102.024 - Journey and Quest in World Literature

The theme of the journey as the most enduring and complex in world literature. 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 102.025, 026, 027, 028, 029, 030, 031, 032, 033 - The Limits of Reason 

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 102.034 - American Murals

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 102.035, 036- Journey of Self-Discovery: Trailblazers

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 102.037 - Getting Down to Business

Provides an integrated view of business organizations and prepares students to critically analyze business problems and develop effective solutions. Includes study of the structure and organization of businesses, common business processes, and the interrelationships among business functions.

TSEM 102.038, 040 - Science Fiction and Society

Science fiction and speculative fiction in relation to social, political, cultural, and technological issues. Topics vary but may include: environment/ecology, computers/technology, race, gender, alienness, or dystopia/apocalypse.

TSEM 102.039 - The Harlem Renaissance: A Modernist Collection of Literature, Art, Music, Film and Dance

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

TSEM 102.041, 042, 043 - Innovation Through the Ages

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 102.044, 045 - Maryland Plantations: Then and Now 

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 102.046, 047, 048, 049, 050 - Living a Meaningful Life: Well-Being and Occupation

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 102.051 - Physics and Metaphysics

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 102.052, 053 - Understanding Globalization

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 102.054, 064 - Body Image Through History

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

TSEM 102.055, 056  - The Legacy of Colonialism in the Arts

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

TSEM 102.057, 058 - Vampires on Campus: Exploring the Roles of the Vampire in Social Issues of Western Culture

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 102.059 - Notable Music Makers:  Duke Ellington:  Beyond Category 

Immersive study of composers / performers / improvisers, their creative output, their historical and cultural context, and their continuing relevance in today’s music cultures. A study of the life and key musical works of composer Duke Ellington, grounded in historical and social context.  No musical experience necessary.

 TSEM 102.060 -  Notable Music Makers:  Rock and Rap in Latin America 

Immersive study of composers / performers / improvisers, their creative output, their historical and cultural context, and their continuing relevance in today’s music cultures. Examines the ways in which US popular musical styles such as rock, punk, heavy metal, and rap (hip-hop culture) have served as catalysts for social and cultural changes in Latin America.

TSEM 102.063 - Psychology of Scientific Thinking

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.