Students can choose to take the ISem course either in the fall or spring semester of their first year. Advisors should consider the following information as they plan their curricula and assist students:
- If you offer an introductory course in your major during the Fall semester, consider advising your students to take the ISem in the Spring semester.
- Approximately 30 sections of ISem 101 will be available for Fall semester, with another 30 sections (approximately) available in the Spring
- Once the Fall schedule is published, all ISem courses will be listed under “ISEM,” and not under the CORE prefix.
- Students who do not register for a Fall ISem should be advised to complete a humanities or social science course from the approved list if their schedule permits.
To ensure availability for students, groups of seats will be opened to students on each of the four Vandal Fridays. Please be aware that an ISem section may look full when in fact there are open seats coming available on the next Vandal Friday.
Your integrated seminar is taught by a member of the academic faculty from the College of Letters Arts and Social Sciences.
- Is among the smallest courses you will take in your first year
- Deeply examines current and interesting topics
- Focuses on college-level critical and creative thinking, communicating, explorations of diversity, and other important skills
- Encourages group work
- Encourages open, respectful class discussion and the building of rich and supportive relationships among students and with faculty
All Integrated Seminar courses carry 3 credits; first-year students only; to be taken either in fall or spring semester of first year.
Bargaining & Negotiation: The Art and Science of Conflict Resolution
) – TR 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Instructor: Lisa Carlson
This course introduces students to the various forms of conflict between and among humans and the conflict resolution techniques that are employed to resolve these conflicts. The conflicts explored range from the interpersonal to labor-management disputes to the outbreak of civil and international war. Students will then examine the major theories and practices of bargaining and negotiation as specified primarily in the fields of political science, economics, psychology, and sociology. The bargaining problem and its resolution are also explored via literary works and in film. Thus both the disciplines of social science and humanities will be introduced. The conceptual and theoretical foundations and tools of negotiation and bargaining acquired during the first part of the semester will then be employed by the students for use in an in-class simulation to resolve a complex negotiation problem.
Sacred Journey: Into Indigenous Communities.
Section 3 – TR 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Instructor: Rodney Frey
Using a humanities and social sciences integrated methodology, we will explore the meaning and significance of the oral traditions and stories, and of the sacred pilgrimages, rites of passage and world renewal ceremonies, that help create and sustain Indigenous communities throughout the world (such as the American Indian and Australian Aborigine). As the course methodology is self reflexive, students will “travel” (through the learning activities) into these Indigenous communities, while at the same time explore and perhaps unveil special and revered territories within themselves. What distinguishes the Indigenous from you and what do we all share in common? How is identity formed in these communities, and how are these communities held together? What is the meaning of their rites of passage and world renewal ceremonies?
allow time for regular out-of-class group meetings.
US-Latino: Roots and Identity.
(Includes service-learning projects in the community)
Section 7 – MWF 2:30 p.m. – 3:20
Instructor: Lori Celaya
This seminar offers an overview of Latinos, i.e., Americas with Latin American roots. They have an engendered double consciousness as a group within the American population. Topics will include the construction of identity in terms of race, gender, sexuality, and class, the experiences of the exile, the immigrant, the refugee and the colonial subject; the marketing of the Latino identity. One cannot understand the Latino presence in the U.S., unless we understand America’s role throughout Latin America. The presence of this group is the result of more than a century of American domination in the Latin American region.
Gender in the U.S.: Manly Men, Womanly Women, and the Rest of Us.
Section 9 – TR 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Instructor: Maggie Rehm
Why do some parents get upset when their little boys play with dolls or express interest in dance lessons? Why do some companies market products with slogans like "math is hard" to teen girls or suggest to adult women that eating chocolate is "sinful" behavior to be indulged in with a secret feeling of transgressive pleasure? This course explores gender as one of the primary systems humans use to organize and understand their communities and their interpersonal relationships, focusing in particular on the shifting ways gender has been performed and policed in the United States at different points in the country's history. It introduces students to the gender ideologies that shape our lives, examines relationships between racial/ethnic/tribal identities and ideas about gender, explores the roots of anxieties about "incorrect" gender performances that can lead to censure or limit self-expression, and invites careful scrutiny of gender patterns and gendered thinking. Course materials will include essays, films, theater, poems, songs, cartoons, science articles, news articles, advertisements, propaganda, and other cultural artifacts.
Exploring Global Communities
Section 11 – TR 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Instructor: Ken Faunce
Globalization is a major force shaping the world today, which includes economic, cultural, social and political exchanges on a global scale. This process has altered existing communities and created new global communities. The course will examine the role of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and various interests play in the formation of global communities. Also, what is the relation of these communities with the environment. It is a topic that evokes strong feelings from many people, although few fully understand and appreciate the complexity of the issues it raises. It is a phenomenon that truly demands a multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural perspective to understand.
(Includes service-learning projects in the community)
Section 16 – TR 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Instructor: Kodjotse Afatchao
We will focus on and examine how globalization influences human civilization and vice versa. We will examine the role of politics, economy, geography, culture, race, gender, and religion in the formation of global communities. Much of the class time will be spent in small group work or larger class discussions.
Sports and American Society
Section 31 – MWF 11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.
Instructor: Sharon Stoll
Section 76 – TR 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Instructor: Justin Barnes
This seminar uses ethics, sociology, history, literature, film, political science, physical education, and cultural studies to explore the central role of sports in America. The course examines the relationship of sports to gender, race, class, ethnicity, consumerism, media, and a number of other topics. Course materials include essays, documentary and feature films, short fiction and poetry, and historical, legal, and sociological studies.
Communities at the Movies
Section 36 – TR 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Instructor: Russell Meeuf
Section 37 – TR 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Instructor: Ben James
Section 38 – TR 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Instructor: Ben James
In a world marked by intense media saturation, understanding how images function not only as expressions of individual meaning but also as complex sites of community formation (and community conflict) is a vital skill in establishing a critical and ethical form of citizenship. “Communities at the Movies,” therefore, challenges students to think critically about the role that moving image technologies (cinema, television, and certain forms of image-based new media) play in the construction of communities and the maintenance of community values.
Native American Mystery: They’re Still Here, We’re on Their Land, So Why Don’t We Know Them?
Section 42 – TR 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Instructor: Jan Johnson
This course gives you the opportunity to learn about and meet Native American people of this landscape. We’ll learn tribal histories and cultures and explore how tribes have responded to policies intended to change them. We’ll survey popular stereotypes about Indians, and how Indians have responded to them. We’ll also ask why public schools tend not to teach “real” American Indian history or about contemporary American Indians, and explore the ways contemporary Indians are telling their own stories. The course is co-taught by Tribal guest speakers and emphasizes hands-on learning, personal reflection, inter-cultural interaction and student collaboration. It culminates in the creation of a digital storytelling project.
Section 43 – MWF 9:30 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.
Instructor: Carl Mickelsen
Section 44 – MWF 10:30 a.m. – 11:20 a.m.
Instructor: Carl Mickelsen
This seminar raises participants’ understanding of the vast array of media they encounter on a daily basis. It situates these media within the CONTEXT of their historical development and economic underpinnings. It then examines some basic factors determining the CONTENT of the media messages found in news, entertainment, advertising, public relations and political propaganda. Finally, the seminar explores the IMPACTS of media on the construction of self-identity including various aspects of social identity, gender identity, the development and expression of sexuality, and one’s self-image.
International Cold War Culture
Section 50 – TR 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Instructor: Pingchao Zhu
The Cold War is one of the most studied phenomena by international academic community. The study often focuses on policy making, diplomatic and military developments. This course intends to explore the cultural transformation during the Cold War period at the international level. By applying integrated methodology in both humanity and social sciences to the study of the Cold War culture, we will examine how political and economic developments reflected anxiety of society, emotion of individual citizens, cultural expression of art, literature and cinema, and psychology of the international communities. The focus will not limit to the study of American society. Students are required to adopt an international perspective on the Cold War developments across various aspects in cultural framework to investigate how culture played a central role in representing and often challenging the political ideals and diplomatic strategies of the governments and politicians of different parties in the Cold War. Major questions under consideration include: What did the Cold War mean to ordinary people and their lives? In what way people’s way of life was challenged or changed by the Cold War developments? How can we reflect on the transformation of culture as the result of the Cold War? What are major connections between politics and culture?
Music & Change in America: Born in the USA
Section 52 – MWF 1:30 p.m. – 2:20 p.m.
Instructor: Susan Hess
Section 53 – MWF 2:30 p.m. – 3:20 p.m.
Instructor: Grant Elgersma
Music has the power to transform individuals, communities and societies. We will explore how music can help individuals discover and/or affirm their identity and can empower communities to find a voice to respond to societal and political upheaval. From minstrelsy, blues and folk to rock ‘n’ roll and hip hop, popular songs influence the social and political transformation of an ever-changing society. In the words of Bruce Springsteen, “The best music, you can seek some shelter in it momentarily, but it's essentially there to provide you something to face the world with.”
The Creative Mind: An Exploration of the Creative Process as a Tool for Critical Thinking
Section 56 – TR 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Instructor: Elizabeth Sloan
Can thinking like an explorer make a difference in your future? Would answering a question such as “What if…” change the direction your life takes? Does curiosity have a top-off valve? By investigating such avenues through the lens of a Creative Mind, students will learn how to individually and collaboratively enrich their critical thinking skills to succeed at the University of Idaho and the world beyond. Humanities, social sciences, and the arts will be platforms to approach diverse interpretations and explore multiple perspectives for informative evaluation.
Jupiter, Venus & Mars: An Exploration of Gendered Communication
Section 57 – TR 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Instructor: Elizabeth Sloan
“Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars” has become a catch phrase that crosses multiple gendered and generational communications. Add the planet Jupiter to this swirl as a symbol of the complex mix of identities that cultures have come to embrace. The success of every relationship we have is based on a foundation of articulating information. Through avenues from verbal language to visual images, humans are a species that thrives on telling our stories, yet our intentions are so often misunderstood. Students will come to embrace diversity, learn to understand each other better, and gain a stronger sense of the gendered Earth we live on.
) – MWF 9:30 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.
Instructor: Mark Warner
This course is to be a sustained and interdisciplinary exploration of the ways American society is constructed and functions. The course is framed around four broad concepts that commonly play an important role in structuring how individuals and/or communities chose to represent themselves or how they are portrayed by others. The concepts are place, gender/sexuality, class and race. The class will explore these concepts through a variety of genres, including, social science scholarship, humor, film, literature, architecture, music as well as personal experiences, with the expectation that students will gain an understanding of the differences in the way the humanities and social sciences explore the world.
Love and Happiness
Section 62 – MWF 10:30 a.m. – 11:20 a.m.
Instructor: Tom Drake
Love. It’s the thing we want most and scientists and sages down through the ages agree we can’t live long or well without. And yet few of us have ever taken the time to figure out exactly what love is.
When we do stop to think about love we’re likely to find that our personal definitions were shaped largely by Disney, Cosmo and Lady GaGa, and yet who’s to say these sources are wise, accurate or have our best interests at heart? Our task then is to analyze the cultural forces that have shaped our current definitions of love and then to combine perspectives from literature, philosophy and the sciences in an attempt to figure out what love actually is and isn’t, and how loving well can help us lead happier lives.
Fire, Myth and Humanity
Section 66 – TR 3:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Instructor: Bill Loftus
What is science? What is myth? How do both tap into humanity's need to make sense of the world in which we live? And how do people rely on artists and journalists to communicate elements of both science and myth to reach an understanding of the world in which we live. The integrated seminar Fire, Myth and Humanity will draw together elements of mythology, journalism and theatre to explore how we communicate using both reality and symbolism to explain humanity’s origins and the role fire plays in nature and in people's lives.
Race in America
Section 71 – TR 8:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.
Instructor: Rebecca Tallent
Using science, humanities and social sciences integrated methodologies, we will explore the role of race in American society and examining the significance of race in culture, political arenas, media, religious communities and social settings. As the course methodology is self-reflective, students will explore the subject along with their own attitudes and opinions concerning their own race and the races of other people who are part of the American societal fabric. How does race influence our behavior in business, religion, media consumption, friendships and cultural aspects of our lives? How does the “browning of America” play into these perceptions and attitudes?
Digital Lives and Communities
Section 72 – TR 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Instructor: Traci Craig
In this seminar students explore the impact of technology on the human experience and our communities. The internet, smartphones, I-everything, and wireless technology have greatly changed our lived experiences, in this course we will explore the many facets of our lives that have been impacted. Students will explore these topics through critical analysis of technology and the impact on the human experience and culture as well as focusing on how diverse people experience this technology in unique ways. In addition, students will explore these topics by integrating social scientific approaches and findings from empirical research to deepen their appreciation for the broad impact of technology on the human cognitive, social, and physical condition.
Contentious Politics: Insurrections, and Social Movements from Temperance to the Arab Spring
Section 73 – MWF 10:30 a.m. – 11:20 a.m.
Instructor: Nick Jorgensen
This course will study contentious political challenges and movements across a broad geographic and historical range from both macro-historical or structural perspectives as well as micro- or individual-level ones. Students will not only learn about specific movements and campaigns but will also develop analytic skills as they juxtapose and compare cases from a variety of historical and cultural settings.
Globalization & Food Tradition
Section 81 – TR 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Instructor: Sayantani Dasgupta
Section 82 – TR 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Instructor: Sayantani Dasgupta
We are what we eat. Food contextualizes us. It informs us about the world and reduces the distance between “us” versus “them”. But it’s also a weapon, a source of conflict. In this seminar, students will be encouraged to look at the “foreign” and “exotic” origins of common foods that make up the most ordinary components of every meal. What is globalization? What is its role in making these foods available to us? When did this globalization begin? What are the social and cultural repercussions of food and globalization. What is the role of food-related etiquette, some of which might seem arcane, ridiculous, or even plain foolish? Do these etiquettes preserve local/national identity? The term “food power” specifically means the use of agriculture (and distribution) as a means to control resources and commodities to manipulate political and economic influence. This seminar will examine how food power impacts ethical, cultural, and environmental disputes all over the world. We will examine fasting and feasting practices and restrictions on food that are followed by five of the world’s biggest faiths; Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism. What does it mean to eat consecrated items, offer sacrifices? What are the notions of purity and pollution, festival feasts, ritual meals, etc.?