During the first year, students take two seminars—one in the fall semester, one in the spring semester—that introduce them to empirical and scholarly research, creative work, and discovery through an intensive look at examples of current work in various disciplines. Seminars give students the chance to explore important contemporary themes and problems in different fields.
This is a full inventory of Kilachand first-year seminars. Students should refer to the Student Link for semester offerings.
KHC AH101: The Representation and Misrepresentation of History in Art
Travis Franks, Kilachand
An examination of the ways that historical events have been depicted by artists from antiquity to the present, with an emphasis on the intentional misrepresentation of events, such as “fake news”, to serve the needs of the artists’ patrons, usually ruling elites.
BU Hub Areas: Historical Consciousness, Aesthetic Exploration
KHC AM101: Whose Schools: Power, Equality, and Public Education
Mary Battenfeld, CAS American Studies
How can we fulfill Thomas Jefferson’s promise for public schools “which shall reach every description of our citizens?” The course examines significant eras, debates, and struggles for equality in U.S. education, with a particular focus on current policies in Boston.
BU Hub Areas: Social Inquiry II, The Individual in Community, Research and Information Literacy.
KHC AN102: The Power, Politics, and Ethics of Storytelling
Joanna Davidson, CAS Anthropology
This course delves into the ethical and political dimensions of storytelling, explores various cultural and historical forms of storytelling, and examines the deployment of storytelling in applied contexts such as narrative medicine.
BU Hub Areas: Social Inquiry I, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Teamwork and Collaboration
KHC AN103: Animals among Humans
Parker Shipton, CAS Anthropology
Based partly on ancient questions and long-debated ideas, and partly on new observations, experiments, and experiences of humans with animals at home, in institutions like zoos and parks, and in the “wild,” this course examines ways animals seem to experience humans, and ways they interact when under human influence.
Bu Hub Areas: Historical Consciousness, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Critical Thinking
KHC AN104: Wildlife Conservation
Cheryl Knott, CAS Anthropology
Through team-based approaches, students learn about threats to wildlife and natural habitats, identifying community-based root causes. They apply their own disciplinary expertise and passions to develop creative solutions to these problems, culminating in the production of a final conservation video.
BU Hub Areas: Digital/Multimedia Expression, The Individual in Community, Creativity/Innovation.
KHC AS101: The Pluto Saga: Interactions between Science, Society, Art and Religion
Michael Mendillo, CAS Astronomy
The change in Pluto’s status as a planet generated controversies within the non-science community that far exceeded those among astronomers. This seminar explores the science behind the decision and the varied roles of evidence in reaching conclusions.
BU Hub Areas: Scientific Inquiry II, Quantitative Reasoning II, Critical Thinking
KHC BI104: Conflict and Cooperation
Mario Muscedere, CAS Biology
What binds human and non-human societies together, and what pulls them apart, over the short (historical) and long (evolutionary) terms? This course draws on approaches from the natural and social sciences to address this question.
BU Hub Areas: Scientific Inquiry 1; Social Inquiry I
KHC CH140: The Material World
Linda Doerrer, CAS Chemistry
A discussion of how matter is cycled within the earth’s systems in the context of human use of the earth’s resources and contemporary concerns about sustainability.
BU Hub Areas: Scientific Inquiry I, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking
KHC EC103: Housing Policy: An Economic Perspective
Adam Guren, CAS Economics
An introduction to economic analysis through the study of housing policy. The course covers both microeconomic issues related to housing affordability and macroeconomic issues related to the stabilization of the housing market and the Great Recession.
BU Hub Areas: Social Inquiry II, Quantitative Reasoning II, Research and Information Literacy
KHC EH103: Race in America: Understanding the Present by Exploring the Past
Nina Silber, CAS History & John Matthews, CAS English
How can we more fully understand some of today’s explosive and divisive racial issues by looking into the nation’s past? This course explores how contemporary racial crises have surprising histories and deep roots in America’s cultural imagination.
BU Hub Areas: Historical Consciousness, Aesthetic Exploration, Research and Information Literacy
KHC EK103: Mechanics on the Charles River Esplanade
Paul Barbone, ENG Mechanical Engineering
An introduction to mechanics, the science of motion, the concept of force, and to the concepts of mass, momentum, and energy and their conservation using examples visible on the Charles River Esplanade.
BU Hub Areas: Scientific Inquiry I, Quantitative Reasoning I
KHC EK104: Appreciation of Music in a STEM Context
Robert Kotiuga, ENG Electrical and Computer Engineering
This course leverages the relationship that students, who are not averse to STEM fields, have with music in order to turn them into GEEKS! It uses the electric guitar as a gateway to musical acoustics, electroacoustics, psychoacoustics and hands-on projects. No formal music training is required; the only prerequisites are the ability to appreciate music in some vaguely defined sense, and to try understand this appreciation with precise terms. The course will be supported by field trips, demos and projects.
BU Hub Areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Quantitative Reasoning II, Creativity & Innovation
Pre-Requisites: High school calculus and physics
KHC EN102: Ancient and Modern Quarrels: Fiction and Philosophy Since 1900
Robert Chodat, CAS English
This course explores the “ancient quarrel” as it was debated by Plato and his student Aristotle, before moving on to several authors who since World War II have updated the quarrel in our own time, usually associated with existentialism, a movement that developed in the first half of the twentieth century and whose exemplary voices were uncommonly sensitive to the relationship between literature and philosophy.
BU Hub Areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Critical Thinking
KHC EN103: Poetry as Activism
Jessica Lynn Bozek, CAS Writing Program
Do artists have a responsibility to bear witness to their times? This course explores the work of contemporary poets who directly engage the current moment, who show us that art can function as political action.
BU Hub Areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Creativity & Innovation, Individual & Community
KHC EN104: Writing Lives: The Craft and Forms of Literary Biography
Susan Bernstein, CAS English
Literary writers craft characters. Many were characters as well–in their own lifetime and after their deaths. In this course, we explore the character of the writer as portrayed in multiple genres including fiction, essay, biography, autobiography, obituaries, and docudramas. We ask how does our perception of an artist change over time? How might literary biography serve as a lens to discuss changing conceptions of creativity, trends in historiography, and the development of literary canons? Our four case studies focus on Emily Dickinson, Louisa May Alcott, Toni Morrison, and Sylvia Plath.
BU Hub Areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Research and Information Literacy, Creativity/Innovation.
KHC FT102: UnAmerican Cinema
Sean Desilets, CAS Writing Program
This course seeks to understand American film history in light of one set of events: the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings on communism in the film industry and the resulting industry blacklist.
BU Hub Areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Historical Consciousness, Research and Information Literacy
KHC FT103: Screenwriting: Doing Justice through Adaptation
Scott Thompson, COM Screenwriting
What are the responsibilities of adapting socially significant source material for the screen? What are the fundamental narrative principals of screenwriting and how do they apply to adaptations? What is the process of developing source material into a viable and impactful screenplay?
BU Hub Areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Writing Intensive; Creativity & Innovation
KHC HI102: The Culture of World War I
James Johnson, CAS History
This course approaches this watershed moment in European history through works of literature, music, and art. The course’s three chronological divisions–the lead-up to war, the experience of war, and its aftermath–includes representative works from prominent composers, artists, novelists, and poets.
BU Hub Areas: Historical Consciousness, Aesthetic Exploration
KHC HI104: Urban Youth in the Middle East
Betty Anderson, CAS History
Examines social, economic, political, religious, and gender issues urban youth in the Middle East face in the 21st century given the escalation of violence and the stark economic inequalities impinging upon them, but also the many new opportunities available.
BU Hub Areas: Historical Consciousness, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Critical Thinking
KHC IR102: Spies and Terrorists of Boston
John Woodward, Pardee School of Global Studies
Using an interdisciplinary approach, this course will examine various important, impactful, and, in some ways, underappreciated espionage activities and terrorist events that germinated, received support, or otherwise occurred in the Boston metropolitan area.
BU Hub Areas: Ethical Reasoning, Oral/Signed Communication, Teamwork/Collaboration.
KHC LW102: Marriage, Families and Gender: Contemporary Legal and Social Controversies
Linda McClain, LAW
This seminar will critically examine the family, marriage, and gender by asking several basic questions: What is family? What is marriage? Why do family and marriage matter to individuals and to society? What role does or should law have in supporting and regulating families and marriage? In defining parenthood? How do new technologies that provide new pathways to parenthood (assisted reproductive technology, or “ART”) and new forms of control over reproduction (such as genetic testing and screening) pose ethical and legal challenges and how should law address those challenges?
BU Hub Areas: Social Inquiry II, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking
KHC MD101: Fractured Lives and Bodies: Forensic Anthropology, Disasters, and Human Rights
Sean Tallman, MED Anatomy & Neurobiology
This course will explore the roles and responsibilities of forensic anthropology – a sub-discipline of anthropology that addresses medico-legal issues – in the context of global disasters, forced and voluntary displacements and migrations, and human rights.
BU Hub Areas: Scientific Inquiry I, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Critical Thinking
KHC MU104: Race, Gender, Music, and the Making of Latin America
Michael Birenbaum Quintero, CFA, Musicology & Ethnomusicology
Students will examine the relationship between musical practice and ideas of race and gender in Latin America from the 16th century to the present day, with particular focus on the process by which music is enlisted in nationalist projects.
BU Hub Areas: Historical Consciousness, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Research and Information Literacy
KHC NE102: Reading, Language, and the Brain
Tyler Perrachione, SAR Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
This course explores the scientific study of reading and language development—a richly multidisciplinary effort that bridges psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, and education—emphasizing the modern scientific effort to understand “the reading brain”, the coordination of neural systems for vision, hearing, language, and memory.
BU Hub Areas: BU Hub Areas: Scientific Inquiry I, Social Inquiry I, Critical Thinking
KHC NE103: Brain, Vision, and Art
Lucia Vaina, ENG Biomedical Engineering
This course takes you through the history of thought, art, experiments, and models that have explored the visual system, from seminal physiological studies and inspiring artworks to present day theories and controversies that exist in the vision community. The course is centered around an exploration of diverse journal articles, chosen to be representative of particularly notable epochs in the progression of our understanding from different aspects of seeing, perceiving, and the way our brain represents them. There is a lecture component, and then in the vision lab and discussion sessions, students are encouraged to explore the ideas put forth in the articles suggested, as a sort of curated journal club and lab exploration. Students also replicate and modify a selection of the models and appealing visual phenomena.
BU Hub Areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Scientific Inquiry I, Teamwork/Collaboration
KHC PH103: Seeing Poverty: Understanding and Addressing Poverty in America
Sophie Godley, SPH Community Health
Images of poverty might lead us to believe poverty is exclusively a problem of urban people of color, but what do historic and modern depictions of poverty in popular culture tell us? How is data on poverty calculated and understood? This course will explore the ever-changing and ever-political sociological and public health issues of measuring poverty in America today.
BU Hub Areas: Social Inquiry I, Individual in Community, Critical Thinking
KHC PH104: Planning to Fix Health Problems
Alan Sager, SPH Health Law, Policy & Management
U.S. health care suffers anarchy because market competition and competent government action fail. Costs rise. Coverage and quality fall. You’ll learn to prepare a plan to ameliorate a health problem by analyzing both its real causes and the efficacy/cost/political feasibility of possible remedies.
BU Hub Areas: Social Inquiry I, Quantitative Reasoning I
KHC PO102: How to Change the World
Jeremy Menchik, Pardee School of International Studies
Under what conditions do groups of individuals come together to effect political and social change in global politics? How do digital technologies alter the strategies that people use to effect political change? What strategies remain the same, even in our digital age? Drawing on classic works of political anthropology, as well as more recent examples of transnational and digital activism, this course seeks to understand the deployment of power by everyday people.
BU Hub Areas: Historical Consciousness, Oral/Signed Communication, Research and Information Literacy
KHC PO103: Democracy and Capitalism in the United States
Gavin Benke, CAS Writing Program
In this class, we will look at the relationship between capitalism and democracy in the United States. In what ways are capitalism and democracy complementary? In what ways are they in contraction? To address these questions, we will explore some of the philosophical and historical roots of both concepts through a series of case studies.
BU Hub Areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Digital/Multimedia Expression, Teamwork and Collaboration
KHC PY102: Chance, Fluctuations and Their Relevance to Our Daily Lives
William Klein, CAS Physics
Randomness is ubiquitous in our lives, from attending an outdoor concert when there is a 40% chance of rain to understanding the role of chance in income inequality. The purpose of this course is to introduce concepts and methods that will foster an understanding of chance and to provide the tools to draw informed conclusions from incomplete information.
BU Hub Areas: Scientific Inquiry I, Quantitative Reasoning II, Critical Thinking
KHC PY104: Energy & Society
David Campbell, CAS Physics
“Energy powers the world.” This seminar explores that pithy statement, beginning with basic concepts and definitions. Students examine the history of human uses of energy, how energy arises in different realms (physical, chemical, biological), the primary sources of energy, how to transmit and store energy, and the politics of energy, seeking to answer the ultimate question: “What should be the path forward to a sustainable, environmentally sound, equitable energy future?” Students will demonstrate their understanding through problem sets/short essays, a mid-term exam, and a final project.
BU Hub Areas: Scientific Inquiry II, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking
Prerequisites: Familiarity with high-school algebra is recommended, as is experience with any combination of high-school physics, chemistry, and/or biology. Previous college-level course knowledge is not required and is not expected.
KHC RH101: Serious Comics: Graphic Narrative and the Representation of History
Davida Pines, CGS Rhetoric
This course explores the use of nonfiction comics (also known as graphic narrative) to represent catastrophic history. Throughout, students consider the impact of the comics form on our understanding of devastating history.
BU Hub Areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Oral/Signed Communication, Creativity and Innovation
KHC RH102: A Nation Riven: Turbulence and Transformation in 1960s America and Today
Charles Henebry, CGS Rhetoric
What can the social and political ferment of the Sixties teach us about the issues of the present day? Do the ideals of 1960s radicals still ring true? Why did the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1965 lead to racial unrest rather than reconciliation, and how does this history resonate in the rhetoric of Black Lives Matter? Why did foundational American beliefs like Free Speech place idealists at odds with mainstream American society, and what lessons does the campus free speech movement of the 1960s have for student activists today?
BU Hub Areas: Historical Consciousness, Individual in Community, Critical Thinking
KHC RH103: A Rexamination of Childhood through Children's Literature and Community-Based Learning
Shelia Cordner, CGS Rhetoric
How have authors of classic works of children’s literature addressed the liminal space between childhood and adulthood? How might this study give us insight into our own experiences?
By studying childhood at the intersection of children’s literature and community-based learning, students will deepen their understanding of how individuals are shaped by the stories that define their childhood. The course traces the development of children’s literature in Western culture from classic fairy tales to the development of the novel and short story to today’s picture books.
BU Hub Areas: Aesthetic Interpretation, Individual in Community, Critical Thinking
KHC RH104: The Pursuit of Happiness
Matthew Parfitt, CGS Rhetoric
What is happiness? Can we hope to achieve it and how should we pursue it? We will study how happiness has been understood by different cultures over time, and students will engage with diverse authors and genres from scripture, philosophy, and social science. Students will write three essays, and keep a reading journal.
BU Hub Areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Digitial/Multimedia Expression, Critical Thinking
KHC RN102: Sacred Spaces
David Frankfurter, CAS Religion
Comparative approach to sacred space in world religions, examining pilgrimage, shrine architecture, literary and artistic representations, living saints, and violent incidents
BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Critical Thikning
KHC RN103: Islam in the Eyes of the West
Teena Purohit, CAS Religion
An introduction to how and why Islam came to be viewed as a static, essentialized tradition opposed to the West. This course covers Orientalist and neo-Orientalist debates about Islam and provides a historical survey of the texts, practices, and beliefs of the Islamic tradition, from the 7th century to the present, in the Middle East, South Asia, North Africa, and the U.S. through a study of the Quran, poetry, philosophy, and political treatises.
BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy
KHC SM102: Reforming the US Healthcare System
Alan Cohen, Questrom Markets, Public Policy & Law
In this seminar, students explore the U.S. health care system and those of six other nations by analyzing policy challenges and evaluating evidence-based reform strategies, taking into account economic, social, political, managerial, ethical, legal, and regulatory factors.
BU Hub Areas: Social Inquiry II, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Research and Information Literacy
KHC SO101: Social Networks and Culture
Neha Gondal, CAS Sociology
Even before Facebook and Twitter, sociologists have found that human beings are enmeshed in multiple types of social networks including friends, family, colleagues, romantic entanglements, formal institutional ties, etc. that significantly shape many aspects of our lives including motivations, identity, social mobility, group organization and mobilization, resource distributions, decision-making, patterns of innovation, and the organization of belief systems. This seminar focuses on culture as it relates to social networks.
BU Hub Areas: BU Hub Areas: Social Inquiry, Quantitative Reasoning
KHC TH102: Aesthetics and Dance: Form and Structure
Micki Taylor-Pinney, CFA School of Theatre
This course looks at three major theories of art and applies them to dance. How do we view and perceive dance? The theories that provide us the most insight are the mimetic/representation, formal, and expression theories. While these theories have been in existence for centuries, we will use them to consider visual art, theater, and music, and then focus on dance. How is movement and gesture organized to tell a story, convey an idea and/or create an aesthetic experience? How do we make sense of this nonverbal form of communication and increase our appreciation for dance’s power to engage?
BU Hub Areas: BU Hub Areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Creativity & Innovation
KHC UC104: The Ethics of Food
Susanne Sreedhar, CAS Philosophy
Choices about what food to eat pervade our everyday lives. This course explores the ethics of such choices by examining arguments for vegetarian and vegan diets, for eating organic, for eating local, and for restricting oneself to only humanely raised and slaughtered meat.
BU Hub Areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking
KHC UC105: Liberty, Fanaticism (Religious and Secular), and Civic Unity
Charles Griswold, CAS Philosophy
Does a free community require shared values? Must those values be sustained by a communal religious outlook–and if so, which one? How can rival religious and secular claims about the foundations of political authority be reconciled in a free community? If diverse religious views are permitted in a free society, how is a regime of mutual toleration to be established and how is religious liberty to be defined? What are some of the arguments for and against freedom of speech and inquiry? Is the cause of civic virtue, unity, peace, and liberty better served by a sort of free market of religious and moral views than by state-enforced doctrine? In effect, we will reflect on the meaning of “E pluribus unum” in the context of a free and cohesive society.
BU Hub Areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking
KHC UC106: Biomedical Enhancement and the Future of Human Nature
Rachell Powell, CAS Philosophy
This course will survey the ethics of biomedical enhancements carried out through the administration of drugs, genetic modifications, and human-machine interfaces.
BU Hub Areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking
KHC VA104: More than a Face: What Masks Reveal
Felice Amato, CFA Art Education
Other faces, frames, transformations and disguises, masks speak to what it is to be human among other humans, unifying the body and the psyche in ways few objects do. Participants study the complexity of masks as a cross- disciplinary nexus.
BU Hub Areas: Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Aesthetic Exploration, Creativity/Innovation.
KHC XL101: Global Shakespeares: Text, Culture, Appropriation
Margaret Litvin, CAS World Languages and Literatures
Why do contemporary writers parrot and parody “Shakespeare,” and how much of this activity is about Shakespeare at all? This seminar provides an introduction to reading and writing about Shakespeare’s plays. But it also takes a step back to consider Shakespeare as a phenomenon, making sure one never reads a “Great Book” the same way again.
BU Hub Areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Creativity/Innovation
KHC XL103: Problems in Propaganda and Persuasion
Peter Schwartz, CAS World Languages and Literatures
Beginning with theoretical accounts and case studies of mass propaganda and aspects of its psychology this course inspects the dynamics and iconography of totalitarian ruler-cult, compare strategies of mobilization for total war, and look at the ways in which changing media technologies inform propaganda techniques.
BU Hub Areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Historical Consciousness, Critical Thinking