Multi-Course Seminars

These seminars place a PROBLEM, not just a topic, under the microscope, and bring multiple disciplinary perspectives to bear on that problem. Whether that problem is truth and knowing, or race and class, the integration of subjects and perspectives inspires deep engagement, connection making, and disruptive discovery.

Ways of Knowing Seminar

Faculty

Youngeun (Kaitlyn) Choi, Department of Biology
Huaping Lu-Adler, Department of Philosophy

Who may apply?

All first-year students in Georgetown College. While this seminar is open to all students, it is most appropriate for undeclared students. Science majors and pre-health students have existing enrollments in science lectures and labs that are likely to conflict in time with Ways of Knowing.

Course/credit equivalencies

Two courses and six credits.

Requirements fulfilled

General Philosophy
Science for All

Course IDs & Meeting Times:
Knowing: Science as Narrative – BIOL-010-01, MW 9:30am – 10:45am
Critical Knowing – PHIL-025-01, TR 9:30am – 10:45am

The Ways of Knowing Seminar is an integrated learning experience, placing two core disciplines into conversation with each other to confront questions of truth, knowledge, expertise, belief, and meaning. Students in the seminar take both courses and form a tight community of learners and explorers, dedicated to unpacking the process of knowing.

This fall our seminar creates a bridge between one course in philosophy and one in biology, illuminating contrasts in their approaches to how we learn and how we know what we know. Both disciplines reach for discovery and understanding of the world, but they do it differently, and those differences will be of interest to us. Critical Knowing will use philosophical tools to help students interrogate their own agency as thinkers and knowers; Science as Narrative involves students in scientific discovery right away. Some integrated weeks and integrative projects will link the two courses, so as to build a unique community of learning, interdisciplinary discovery, and critical thinking. One of the aims of the seminar is to lay bare important differences among disciplinary approaches in order to make first-year students more attuned to what’s at stake in certain troubling challenges today:

  • Erosion of public faith in institutions and expertise
  • Motivated attacks on education, journalism, science, and other professions
  • Increasing confusion between truth claims and hot takes
  • Many more…

Students will have rich and deep experiences in two courses that fulfill core requirements while joining together to begin to confront what we’re calling the Global Knowing Crisis. Students will emerge from this experience more attuned to truth-seeking, more mindful about their own ways of knowing, and more savvy in navigating their own academic choices to come.

The Ways of Knowing seminar was my first exposure to Georgetown academics, and it set the bar extremely high. Throughout the course I learned about biological practices that play important roles in today’s society, especially with COVID-19, and how to relay that information to others. While also learning the value of critical thinking and truth, especially during a time of political unrest like the 2020 election, and how to approach those situations with as much patience and knowledge as possible. But even better, I met 15 of the most inquisitive and caring students, as well as two of the wisest and kindest professors I have so far encountered at Georgetown.”

—Emily Kaye, C’24


Race and Class in DC: Layered Cluster

Faculty

Sherry Linkon, Department of English and Faculty Director of Writing Curriculum Initiatives

Who may apply?

All first-year students in Georgetown College

Requirements fulfilled

HALC: Humanities: Arts, Literature, and Culture
Engaging Diversity: Domestic
Writing
Half, or all, of the core requirement in Social Science, depending on your course selection. (The core requirement in Social Science is fulfilled by taking two courses from the same Social Science department. For example, two courses from the Department of Sociology).

Cities bring people together. Migrants and immigrants bring diverse cultures and prior experiences with them to cities, and while urban life often segregates people through separate housing and schools, it also brings people together to interact in both productive and conflictual ways. Cities are crucibles of social complexity. While the fight for racial and economic justice is not limited to urban areas, those struggles often focus on distinctly urban problems: housing, employment, public health, education, poverty, crime. Cities have also been home to movements to address these problems. Analysis and representations of how race and class play out in cities emerge across disciplines, from history, politics, and sociology to the arts, literature, and popular culture. Exploring the complex ways that race and class play out in one city offers students significant opportunities for interdisciplinary, integrative, and experiential learning.

Of course, we live and work in an especially interesting and important city, one that has a significant and often contested history of race and class. This city is one reason many students choose Georgetown. They want access to DC’s political institutions as well as the myriad organizations based here whose work addresses social justice, economic development, and human relations, yet we also know that relatively few of our students fully engage with DC as a city, as an example of urban life, or as a site of racial and economic struggle and change. 

Race and Class in DC has a distinctive structure for first-year students: students choose from a cluster of first-year courses and take an integrative one-credit seminar that will link all participating students. The one-credit seminar gets students into the city for hands-on engagements with racial and economic justice efforts in DC.

Another unique aspect of this seminar is the option to continue this work in a second year, through additional coursework, research, and advanced engagement with the integrative one-credit seminars offered every semester. Over the course of the first year, students will fulfill Core requirements in HALC and Writing, along with half (or all) of Social Science, depending on one’s cluster course choices.

Fall 21:

  • AMST 101: Race, Class, and the City (HALC & Engaging Diversity: Domestic), 3 credits
    Meeting Times: MW 3:30pm – 4:45pm
  • AMST 051: Exploring DC, 1 credit
    Meeting Times: W 5:00pm – 5:50pm
  • One Cluster course (may take fall or spring, or both, SOC SCI), 3 credits

Spring 22:

  • WRIT 015: Writing and Culture Seminar (WRIT), 3 credits
  • AMST 051: Exploring DC, 1 credit
  • One Cluster course (may take fall or spring, or both, SOC SCI), 3 credits

Cluster Courses offered in Fall and Spring: Students must take 1 additional course from the cluster, and may take two. (List will be updated with each semester’s offerings.)

  • ANTH 280: Urban Anthropology
  • JUPS 203: Community Organizing
  • SOCI 209: Urban Sociology
  • SOCI 219: Urban Inequality
  • SOCI 144: Race and Ethnic Relations
  • SOCI 250: Race and Politics

Sophomores are invited to continue their study in the cluster with additional coursework from courses like: 

  • AFAM 307: Urban Black Lives
  • CULP 250: The Country and the City
  • CULP 316: Civic Geographies
  • HIST 392: History of American Gentrification
  • HIST 497: African-American Life in DC
  • SOCI 222: Gentrification/Justice/Cities
  • EDIJ 241: Gateway seminar: Urban Education
  • ENGL 242: Literary Representations of the City
  • ENGL XXX: Race, Place, and Representation

In addition to continuing in the interdisciplinary cluster electives, second-year students may take on new roles in AMST-051, as facilitators, coordinators, and mentors. 

Second year students may also propose and pursue an integrative project – a 1-credit student-defined project rooted in work with a local organization engaged with racial and economic justice; students will produce an analytical or representational project, under the mentorship of faculty or staff, such as a grant proposal, a problem analysis, a video or podcast about a local project, or an oral history project.