UF 100: Foundations of Intellectual Life

What Does Every UF 100 Course Have in Common?

Each UF 100 course is designed to help you become a more active and expert learner as you investigate and communicate about important ideas that affect everyone.

In UF 100, you will further develop two complex skills that successful students continue to sharpen throughout college and life: critical inquiry and oral communication.

Choose any ONE on the course themes below and register for BOTH sections of the class: a plenary lecture (about 100 students) AND a breakout discussion group section (about 25 students).

SPRING 2020 UF 100 COURSES

ANTHROPOLOGY OF COOKING AND EATING

Where do food preferences come from? Students who take this course will examine cooking and eating through an anthopological lens. From the genetic mutations that make cilantro taste “soapy” to the legal requirements for nutrition labeling; from cognitively ingrained food memories to the history of immigration to the US; we will study our complex food preferences and examine how they are both deeply biological and deeply cultural. Lead Instructor: Kathryn Demps.

LIFE LESSONS FROM SHAKESPEARE

“He was not of an age, but for all time!” wrote Ben Jonson of his friend William Shakespeare in 1623. So how is Shakespeare relevant to life in 21st-century America? In this course, we will use critical analysis  and performance to explore plays and poems that have resonated with readers and viewers around the world for over 400 years, looking specifically at the way Shakespeare’s works offer life lessons that can help us navigate the complex world we live in. Lead Instructors: Jennifer Black and Stephanie Cox.

POWER AND VIOLENCE

What are the economic, political, and cultural causes of violence around the world? As of 2019, dozens of active conflicts raged throughout the globe, including civil wars in Syria and Yemen, drug violence in Mexico, an endless conflict in Afghanistan, and terrorist insurgencies in Nigeria and Somalia. Students will develop a richer understanding of global power and violence through an interdisciplinary mix of political science, history, economics, and anthropology. We will also deliberate on innovative ways governments and societies can respond to political violence. Lead Instructor: Isaac Castellano.

DESIGNING YOUR LIFE

Figuring out what you want to do with your life can be challenging. It’s not about creating the perfect plan, because life doesn’t always turn out the way we imagined. Rather, it’s about learning a design process that will allow you to test, create, and consciously plan for your future. This course will ask you to think about where you are, what you want, and how to design a college experience that you will love. Using tools from the Designing Your Life curriculum at Stanford University, you will learn to think like a designer and apply design principles to your goals. Lead Instructor: Jillana Finnegan.

TALKIN’ TRASH

Between 1960 and 2015, the amount of trash Americans produced each year rose from 88.1 million tons to 262.4 million. Where did all that trash come from and where did it go? This course examines the role of trash in modern human society, tracking its production, management, disposal, and re-use. You will analyze historical, political, economic, and environmental aspects of trash–and explore innovative solutions for managing our trash on a global, regional, and campus level. Lead Instructor: Mari Rice.

FOOD CHEMISTRY

Explore the science behind what we eat. Food is a fundamental necessity for life and well-being. What are the trade-offs, risks, and rewards of the foods we grow, manufacture, and select? Gain a practical understanding of food chemistry and the food industry, consider how we can make better food decisions for everybody,  and learn how to make science-based choices for yourself. Lead Instructor: Owen McDougal.

HISTORY OF IDENTITY

Some of our identities are given to us, while others are chosen, and each of these identities is either thin (of minimal importance) or thick (of greater significance). These thin and thick identities help define who we are individually and collectively. In this course, students will explore the complex and layered nature of identity through case studies that will include: the university (change and continuity of institutional identity), Basques (change and continuity of ethnic and collective identity), and America (origins of the present American identity crisis: Red v. Blue America). Lead Instructor: John Ysursa.

THE PURPOSES OF COLLEGE: LITERATURE ON THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY

What should college be for? This course plunges students into an examination of higher education and its role in society. Students are expected to dig deeply into a wide range of readings and to explore the purposes of college from multiple perspectives. Students work extensively in teams to research and share ideas about how to make the most of their own university experience and how to shape higher education for the future. Instructors: Stephanie Cox, Corey Simpson, April Kolman. (Online only.)

LITERARY THINGS

From smartphones to the ubiquitous kitchen toaster, from our dependable running shoes to our embarrassing high school yearbook photo, things surround us in the twenty-first century. We need them, we desire them, we love or hate them. We cannot live without them. What has literature had to say about everyday things and how they help us – humans – tell our stories? And how might thinking about things lead us to difficult questions about those humans who are dehumanized as things? This course will examine the narrative strategies, the ideological purposes, and the ethical and moral questions raised by the literary depictions of things. Lead Instructor: Gautam Basu-Thakur.

THE AGE OF INFORMATION

We live in an “Age of Information.” Digital information is increasing at exponential rates: from traditional publications such as books or newspapers to ‘amateur’ data in the form of social media. This course investigates how mass media and information technology shape the way we understand the world around us. We will address the following questions: Is all this information making us more informed? Why has ‘fake news’ become such an issue? And how does advertising and social media curate our choices, values, and identities? Instructors: Timothy Guill, Dane Johns. (Online only.)

WILD, TAME, AND IN-BETWEEN: ANTHROPOLOGY AND THE DOMESTICATION OF ANIMALS, PLANTS, AND OURSELVES

How has the ongoing process of domestication shaped our society? Has domestication been a ‘net gain’ for humanity, or are the emerging costs of engineering plants, animals, landscapes, and our own bodies a warning for the future?  Exciting new discoveries in anthropology, archaeology, and genetic research are re-writing our understanding of the past and opening new avenues for improving food security, tackling climate change, understanding urban ecosystems, and re-wilding landscapes. Students will improve their scientific inquiry, cultural literacy, critical thinking, and communication skills. Lead Instructor: Pei-Lin Yu.

DIVERSE CULTURES IN FILM

What dynamics are at play between majority and minority cultures? What contributions do marginalized cultures make to societies they are a part of? This course will examine the marginalization of minority cultures through film, so we can better understand ourselves, our own culture, the effects of marginalization, and the roles minorities play. Lead Instructor: Becca Sibrian.