Discovery Seminars - Spring 2019

Small, engaging one-credit classes for first-year students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University. 

Are you ready to start your journey?

College is a time for exploration, self-discovery and personal reflection. Start your Sun Devil journey with a Discovery Seminar - a small, engaging one-credit course designed exclusively for first-year students. These courses offer an array of benefits for students, including:

Explore the seminars

Functional Neuroimaging of the Human Mind
Gene Brewer, Associate Professor- Department of Psychology

In this course we will begin by reading and discussing a few neuroimaging papers that use EEG to study human cognition (e.g., memory).  We will then attempt to replicate one of the scientific findings in a selected paper.  This course will primarily be held in a neuroimaging laboratory under my guidance.  The students will get exposure to several concepts that are important for the scientific enterprise; reading literature, computer programming, data collection, statistics, and replication to name a few.

Session C
M 2:00-2:50pm, PVW 159
SLN: 25406


Speaking OUT: Pop Culture, Politics, and LGBTQ+ Youth
David Boyles, Instructor- Department of English

LGBTQ+ youth have greater visibility today than ever before but also face significant challenges. We will analyze and discuss pop culture focused on LGBTQ+ youth (ex. Steven Universe; Love, Simon; Hayley Kiyoko) and political controversies around issues such as bullying, conversion therapy, and sex education. Open to everyone.

Session C
Th 3:00-3:50pm, PVW 159
SLN: 25414


The Environment Strikes Back
Jared Klemp, Instructor- Department of English & Writing Programs

This seminar will investigate contemporary books and films which imagine the repercussions and traumas of climate change and environmental catastrophe. Interrogating works ranging from disaster films to narratives of environmental revenge, we will discuss how these works can spur action and reshape our ideas about the environment, humanity, and our potential futures. 

Session C
Tu 4:30-5:20pm, PVW 159
SLN: 25409


The Life of Everyday Law
Mark Hannah, Associate Professor- Department of English

Often, law is viewed as overly formal, something that happens in court. However, much of law is embedded in the mundane and is shaped not by judicial decree but instead through people's daily interactions. Students will examine instances of "everyday law" to develop insights about law's creation and its pervasiveness in daily life. 

Session C
Tu 3:00-3:50pm, PVW 159
SLN: 25413


Whole of Government Solutions to US National Security Problems
Bruce Pagel, Professor of Practice- School of Politics and Global Studies

Benjamin FreakleyProfessor of Practice and Special Advisor to the President of ASU

This course will explore the "whole of government" approach to dealing with the nation's most vexing problems, particularly those in the national and homeland security arenas.  In particular, the course will highlight both internal and external mechanisms for consolidating resources, leveraging talent and bringing to bear a full range of legal authorities for the purpose of optimizing problem-solving strategies. We will review how the US inter-agency process works, how it could work better, and where it has failed.  

Session C
W 3:05-3:55pm, PVW 159
SLN: 23188


Crime & Punishment in Literature and Film
C.T. Mexica, Postdoctoral Researcher- School of Social Transformation

This seminar will be centered on one catalyzing question: why is there more punishment than crime in the world? We will explore answers to that question via literature, film, and theory.

Session A
W 4:10-6:00pm, PVW 163
SLN: 30778


Desert Thinking
Jeffrey Cohen, Dean of Humanities- College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

How does the desert get into your thoughts? We will read some books and poems and look at some art that comes from people who have wandered desert landscapes ... and see what we can make ourselves.

Session A
M 4:10-6:00pm , PVW 159
SLN: 30777


Disasters! What they are and how we deal with them
Pamela DeLargy, Professor of Practice / University Professor of Social Sciences- School of Politics and Global Studies

Craig CalhounUniversity Professor of Social Sciences, School of Politics and Global Studies and School of Sustainability

What happens to people and communities affected by a war or a natural disaster? What kind of help do they need and who should provide it? This course provides an overview of humanitarian response in crises, including a look at the history and philosophy of humanitarianism as well as the logistical and institutional aspects of contemporary international emergency responses. 

Session B
W 4:10-6:00pm, PVW 159
SLN: 30781


Movies and Mental Health: Using Films to Understand Psychopathology
Linda Luecken, Professor; Associate Dean of Faculty- Department of Psychology

Jennifer SomersGraduate student; Clinical PsychologyDepartment of Psychology

Mental illness has captured the big screen. In this seminar, we will evaluate the depiction of mental illnesses in several popular films. We'll tackle questions such as: How are mental illnesses and their treatment portrayed in film? Do movies perpetuate misconceptions about mental illness? Can films reduce mental illness stigma?

Session A
M 4:10-6:00pm, PVW 163
SLN: 25411


Pirates! An Oceanic Seminar for Rebels, Outlaws, and Adventurers
Soren Hammerschmidt, Instructor- Department of English

Avast, ye swabs, and heave to! From swashbuckling piracy via children's stories to gun-toting contemporary pirates, we will discover dastardly deeds as well as a tendency towards social justice. Who were these pirates? What turned them into such fearsome figures in the landlubbers' imagination? And who keeps casting Johnny Depp?

Session A
F 4:10-6:00pm, PVW 163
SLN: 25505


The Neurobiology of Emotion: Stress, Love, Blues and Brains
Miles Orchinik, Associate Professor- School of Life Sciences

In this discussion-based seminar, you will learn neurobiology in a context that resonates for many freshmen. We'll study mechanisms through which neurons and hormones interact to link stress, depression, and affiliation (love, friendship, bonding).  How does uncontrollable stress lead to depression? How does affiliation prevent some deleterious effects of stress?

Session A
W 4:10-6:00pm, PVW 159
SLN: 30701


*A session duration: January 8 to February 27
*B session duration: March 12 to April 27
*C session duration: January 8 to April 27