If you are ready to take English 101, we highly recommend that you enroll in one of the learning communities offered this spring. A learning community is a group of courses that are offered during the same semester, each include the same students and are organized around a single interdisciplinary theme.All liberal arts students take an introductory learning community cluster. The benefits include:
The Spring 2013 learning community clusters are listed below. To help you determine which themes and courses interest you most and which schedule works best for you, each cluster includes a full description and schedule, with CUNYfirst registration Section codes.If you have questions, please contact Learning Communities Coordinator Phyllis van Slyck at email@example.com or by calling (718) 482-5660.
This cluster explores and analyzes the social, historical, economic, political and psychological experience of Blacks in urban areas. Students will examine the ever-present dualities experienced by Blacks in America, irrespective of social class, keeping in mind what these issues can teach us about democracy in our ever-diversifying nation. We shall explore such themes as success and struggle, restriction and resistance, artistic expression and policing, using texts and multimedia as lenses of inquiry.
What is the Self and what is the Other? Why do we make religious and social distinctions between ourselves and others? And why don’t these two concepts encompass “all?” What causes each person to define someone else as “other” or “different?” How do these perceptions of Self and Other influence our perceptions of the world, religion, and society? In this cluster, students will explore how religion and society distinguish between the “in” and the “out” crowd for the benefit/detriment of the other group. Students will explore how to bridge this gap by learning about shared spaces and what the concept of “all” truly means.
What are the effects of social media in establishing relationships? Are social media changing our personal and professional relationships, and, if so, how? How has social media changed individuals’ educational experience and career opportunities? How can/do youth use social media as a form of activism? How is social media changing journalism, politics, storytelling and the ways we interact? In this cluster we will examine social media’s influence in the establishment of relationships, and its role in shaping social and political activism. Texts may include Evgeny’s Morozov’s The Net Delusion and Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.
What is a person? Are we merely a brain and body, or do we have a psyche that is distinct from our physical being? In this cluster we will examine how assumptions about personhood affect how we define and treat “sick” individuals. We will also consider how medical practices, technologies of the body and mind and representations of illness alter the ways in which people come to know themselves and their world. Texts will include Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Lucy Grealy’s Autobiography of a Face, Susan Sontag’s Illness as Metaphor, Michael Sandel’s Against Perfection,” Leon Kass’s “Ageless Bodies, Happy Souls,” Carl Jung’s Eastern and Western Thinking,” and Stanton Peele’s “Reductionism in the Science of the Eighties: Can Biochemistry Eliminate Addiction, Mental Illness, and Pain?”
What is creativity? Who is creative? Why do we create? What do we create? What are some of the methods of creative expression? What is the creative process? What influences affect creative people and their ways of working? What active or creative part does the viewer, spectator, or listener play in understanding and enjoying another’s creative work? Why is creativity important in our lives? Taking field trips to New York City’s museums, listening to live musical performances, reading stories and plays and participating in online/offline art-centric discussions will help us to explore these questions.
How can we begin to understand the complex, globalizing world we live in? Why do some countries prosper while others are plagued by poverty? How does access to strategic natural resources produce or reduce conflict in certain nations and regions? To what extent do decisions and choices made in one part of the world affect lives in another? In this cluster, we will study classical and contemporary texts that explore social, political, and philosophical aspects of global issues such as war, terrorism, genocide, security, peace building, integral development, human rights, global trade, natural law, morality, free will, responsibility, justice, and the search for viable political systems.
How do the various media present our world to us? Does the medium shape the subject matter that it presents? How do we know that what we see in network or cable news is true? Are fictional films “just entertainment,” or do they harbor hidden messages that influence how we think about such matters as gender, race and class? Classroom work on different aspects of these questions/issues will culminate in student projects. These group projects may involve research (archival and internet), conducting opinion surveys, or attendance at political or grassroots rallies. The group’s charge will be to present the different perspectives on a single issue that they have explored and to synthesize this presentation into a final report or video.
Has racism and ethnicity changed through time and in different places? Have we moved beyond old images and stereotypes, or do racism and ethnicity have “new faces”? If so, what role does culture play in the construction of racial and ethnic ideologies? This course begins by introducing the student to the various theoretical perspectives that have been used to explain concepts of race. It then focuses on how race and ethnic ideologies have been conceptualized, and the impact they have on the political, economic and social positions of populations in the Americas, Europe, South Africa and the Caribbean Islands. We will also read novels and poems that express the emotional life of racial and ethnic identity from characters living in cultures of racial and ethnic difference.
This cluster will focus on the writing of expository essays in response to texts of broad social, historical and literary import: Dreams from My Father, a memoir by Barack Obama, and Voices of Freedom, a collection of speeches, letters, manifestoes, and other primary documents from the American Revolution to the Cold War. Students will develop and practice public speaking skills in and out of the classroom and become a tour guides for monuments, streets and historically significant spots in neighborhoods throughout the city. By examining primary documents dealing with American History since the Civil War as well as working with films dealing with topics on race, gender, class, and ideological conflict since the Antebellum era, along with a historical novel by Thomas Bell, titled Out of This Furnace, students will acquire a broad, interdisciplinary understanding of key themes of American history.