Liberal Studies Program > First-Year Program > Course Descriptions > FY@broad

FY@broad 2020

​STUDY ABROAD: PERMISSION REQUIRED.  FY@broad sections of LSP 112 are taken in conjunction with a required 2-credit Study Abroad component (ANT 397) immediately following.  For full information about FY@broad, visit the Study Abroad website.


  • For Winter Quarter + spring break: November 1, 2019​
  • For Spring Quarter + early summer: February 1, 2020​

​​​​Expand selection to view full course description and instructor information.​

LSP 112 (Winter Quarter ​+ spring bre​ak 2020)


Sean Kirkland, Philosophy
LSP 112-250 Lincoln Park TTh 2:40-4:10

When some past event is no longer of any concern to us and can be in good conscience forgotten, dismissed, we often say, “That’s ancient history.” By contrast, the participants in this program will come to see “ancient history” as a still vital, determining, and perhaps even inspiring force in our historical present. Indeed, many of the most fundamental concepts we employ to understand our world and ourselves emerged among the ancient Greeks between the 7th and the 4th centuries B.C.E. And yet, it was not extreme cultural confidence or optimism that made them so influential and productive. Rather, the Greeks saw the human condition as one of profound and irremediable finitude; They believed in the crucial and always potentially disastrous limitation of human understanding and of the human being’s power to secure his or her own happiness. We will find this tragic worldview in the poetry of Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus, and Sophocles, in the history of Herodotus and Thucydides, and in the philosophy of the Pre-Socratics and the early Socratic dialogues of Plato.

After studying these topics in Chicago, the class will then travel to Athens—one of the world’s most beautiful, vibrant, and historically rich cities. We will walk the route of the Panathenaic procession from the Kerameikos Cemetery all the way to the Acropolis and Parthenon, observing the art and architecture that typifies this ancient place. We will sit in the Theatre of Dionysus, where the world’s greatest tragedies were first performed, and visit the Pnyx, where one of the world’s first democratic assemblies met regularly. We’ll also take day trips to Mycenae and to the absolutely stunning site of the Oracle at Delphi, where the Greeks sought divine guidance in the form of mysterious oracular pronouncements. Again and again, we will be confronted by the material remains of this radically different worldview, even as we will come to see the abiding influence it has had on the development of our own culture.

  • For full information, click here.
  • Honors Program students will receive credit for HON 105: Philosophical Inquiry.

Lisa Mahoney, History of Art & Architecture
LSP 112-251 Lincoln Park MW 2:40-4:10

Jerusalem has always been one of the most coveted cities in the world, although it famously lies on no major road, contains few natural resources, and has but a single perennial spring. In this course we will come to appreciate why. Such an endeavor begins in the classroom, where we will dissect human creations—artifacts, art, architecture, histories, biographies, and graphic novels—and thereby discover a rich tapestry of cultures and the beliefs, rebellions, contributions, and innovations that belong to this place.

The reward of our studies stateside will be an unusually full picture of a city once ruled by the likes of Herod the Great, Abd al-Malik, and Godfrey of Bouillon, once conquered by the likes of Nebuchadnezzar, Titus, and Salah al-Din, and once beautified by the likes of Solomon, Constantine the Great, and Suleiman the Magnificent. But one cannot really know Jerusalem without traveling to it. Thus, our investigation ends in Jerusalem itself, where we will learn what it is to be on the Haram al-Sharif and under the glint of its Dome of the Rock, to stand before the Western Wall and mark its impossibly heavy stones, and to be in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and trace its 900 years of pilgrimage practices. Experiencing very material things such as these in their original albeit constantly-changing context brings to life the Bronze and Iron Ages and the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Fatimid, Crusader, Ayyubid, Mamluk, Ottoman, and Modern periods. The result of this particular course, then, will be a nuanced appreciation of a complicated city, one simultaneously exceptional in its situation, historical layers, and sanctity and paradigmatic in its multi-cultural and multi-faith collaborations and conflicts.

  • For full information, click here.
  • Honors Program students will receive credit for HON 102: History in Global Contexts.

Christie Klimas, Environmental Science & Studies
LSP 112-252 Lincoln Park TTh 9:40-11:10

Fair trade and ethical trade are both responses to a desire for more ethical principles in commodity sourcing as well as a growing concern about the social conditions under which commodities are produced and distributed. While fair trade and ethical trade share a common commitment to social development, their methods and goals differ, though both can be included under the umbrella term of ethical sourcing. The recent growth in ethical sourcing has captured the attention of both public and businesses: the fair trade market accounts for $400 million in retail sales each year in Europe and the U.S. (US Fair Trade Federation). Can consumers be confident that this increase in ethically sourced commodities is leading to core labor rights and human rights standards to those who produce food bearing some type of ethically sourced label? What do the different labels mean? How are guidelines different for ethical trade and fair trade? How does ethical sourcing use my money to improve the lives of those who produce what we purchase?

There are also efforts like the Workers Rights Consortium, Corporate Social Responsibility, supplier codes of conduct, sustainability coordinators, and many more. As part of this course, students will compare and contrast the sourcing of common items and identify alternatives to the current system of production that improve upon the current social and environmental externalities. They will look at what economic, social, and political systems facilitate improvement upon the current system as well as the trade-offs. For example, how do free market forces compare with protectionist regulations? Who wins and loses in each of these systems?

As a FY@broad course, we will have the opportunity to go to the source of our commodities to talk with individuals on the ground who are affected by these activities, as well as those who are the part of alternative systems of trade (ex: Manos Amigos—fair trade cooperative of artisan groups in and around Lima, coffee co-operatives). We will hear the stories and see the work of those who work in agriculture and create handicrafts for the global market.

During the time in Peru, we will visit Machu Picchu, one of the 7 wonders of the world. We will experience traditional Peruvian food and drink and you may have an opportunity to enjoy guinea pig—a traditional Peruvian delicacy. We will travel from Lima to locations that may include Aguas Calientes (the launching point for Machu Picchu), Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Chichubamba (to meet some local farmers). We will explore Peru's diverse history throughout the trip, and students will enjoy a free day in Lima where they can try parasailing, swimming with sea lions, bike rides, or just relaxing by the ocean.

  • For full information, click here.
  • Honors Program students will receive credit for HON 102: History in Global Contexts.


​​LSP 112 (Spring Quarter + early summer 2020)


Phillip Stalley, Political Science

Since opening its doors to the outside world in 1978, no country has climbed the economic ladder as quickly as China. Although this rapid growth has lifted a quarter of a billion people out of poverty and returned China to prominence on the international stage, it has also placed a tremendous strain on the natural environment. In terms of air pollution, sixteen of the twenty most polluted cities in the world are in China. Over two-thirds of Chinese cities suffer from water shortages. The concern of many both inside and outside of China is that the current rate of environmental damage is not sustainable and threatens to reverse many of the achievements of the recent decades. This program will introduce you to China and, in particular, familiarize you with the causes and consequences of China’s environmental challenge. We will visit Beijing, China’s political and cultural capital, whose rich history dates back more than 3,000 years. During our nine-day stay, we will meet with environmental experts and average citizens so that you can better appreciate the Chinese perspective on environmental protection. We will also explore neighborhoods, visit museums, and tour some of China’s most famous cultural sites such as the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and Summer Palace. You will leave the program with a better understanding of the world’s most important rising power and the challenges it faces as it seeks to cement its role as a 21st century superpower.

  • Honors Program students will receive credit for an Honors Approved Elective.

Margaret Workman, Environmental Science & Studies

The Focal Point component of this course focuses on the tensions between science and religion that surfaced in the wake of Charles Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species. The scientific debate also percolated through a host of related issues, including the implications of Darwinism for social reform, racial theories, and women’s rights and the evolving concept of causation in science and its implications for public policy.

The course uses the “Reacting to the Past” philosophy. Reacting to the Past is a series of historical role-playing games. After a few preparatory discussions, the instructor becomes a Gamemaster (GM), and the students become important figures in a highly-charged moment in history. During the game, students strategize with teammates, work to defeat opponents, engage in negotiations, give speeches and participate in debates, and write essays and position papers. In this particular game, students are divided into 3 main factions:

     1) The Natural Theologians

     2) The Naturalists and

     3) The Social Reformers

The Study Abroad component will take the students from the “role-playing” aspect of the course material to the real-life locations in England. They will actually get to see, hear, and touch the objects and locations referred to during the game. Students will learn about the man behind the Theory of Evolution and will get a sense of Charles Darwin— the boy, the student, the geologist, the naturalist, the explorer, the husband, and the father. They will hear from guest speakers and researchers and see first-hand the nature and process of science. By touring the Sedgewick Museum of Earth Sciences and the Zoology Museum at the University of Cambridge and the Oxford Museum of Natural History, they become scientists on The Beagle voyage. By visiting Darwin’s birthplace in Shrewsbury and his family home in Kent, they explore the cultural influences on his scientific career.

  • Honors Program students will receive credit for either Scientific (SI) or an Honors Approved Elective.

Michael Tafel, History

There aren’t many cities in the ancient world that have exerted such a cultural influence on our modern world as Rome. This Focal Point Seminar and First-Year study abroad program explores ancient Rome and its cultural legacy throughout history. Rome was not only the capital of a large empire that spanned three continents, it also became the capital of the Catholic Church, as well as the modern day nation of Italy. Even after the fall of the Roman Empire, the city’s influence continues to affect later generations. From the “Holy Roman Empire” of the Middle Ages to the revolutionary era of Alexander Hamilton and Napoleon, and from the Florentine Republic of the Renaissance to Mussolini’s Fascist state, Rome’s influence has persevered and still resonates with us today.

The travel portion of this course will bring students in direct contact with Modern and Ancient Rome, as well the Renaissance city of Florence, a place where the culture of ancient Rome was reborn in the 1400s and beyond. While experiencing all of the charm and buzz of the modern city of Rome, we’ll take trips to the ancient Roman Pantheon, the Colosseum, multiple churches from the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque eras, the Vatican, and the ancient Roman city of Ostia. In the bustling little city of Florence, we’ll visit old palazzos, villas, churches, museums, and the Tuscan hilltop town of Fiesole—to see, not only the views, but also the remains of the old Roman town with a near-perfect Roman theater. Students will use the disciplinary approaches of history, political science, and philosophy to understand how the legacy of Rome has permeated throughout history and still affects us today.

  • Honors Program students will receive credit for HON 102: History in Global Contexts.

Heather Easley, Sociology

The Jacobite Uprising of 1745 forever changed the people of Scotland—and the course of history. In this Focal Point Seminar, students will study Scotland from its inception through modern day. Students will discover historical lore, fact, and sites, and learn how this rich history impacts politics and culture in Scotland.

We will discover this country together, first during our Spring Focal Point, followed by a trip to Scotland in June. We will visit sites central to the Jacobite Uprising, as well as sites that will help us to understand politics in Scotland and the rest of the UK. The Uprising and the Scottish vote for independence will be common themes that run through all of the cities we will visit.

Together, we will explore the Scottish Lowlands and Highlands, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, the Isle of Skye, Invergarry, Fort William, Mallaig, and Stirling. Students will visit Scottish Labour and Scottish National Party headquarters to discuss the Yes and No sides of the independence debate. We will witness a session of Scottish Parliament, followed by a visit to the Palace of Holyrood House. We will explore Glasgow Cathedral and Edinburgh Castle. Together, we will embark on a sunset cruise on Loch Ness. Following the theme of the Jacobite Uprising, we will spend a day at Culloden Moor, the site of the last land battle on UK soil and where the English ultimately defeated the Jacobites. We will visit Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye, and take a day trip on the Jacobite Express train to visit the Scottish countryside and coastal fishing villages. We will expand our knowledge surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of Scotland!

  • Honors Program students will receive credit for HON 102: History in Global Contexts.


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