More information about these courses can be found in Carleton University’s Undergraduate Calendar.
In some instances, departmental websites may have more extensive information about each course.

First-Year Seminars 2024-2025

FYSM 1001 A [0.5 credit] Critical Foundations in Undergraduate Research

Essays, films, short stories, podcasts: Whatever project you are working on, you will need to do some research to get the facts, understand the issues, figure out who is saying what and why, and whether you should listen. In short, you need to do research to understand and develop your topic successfully.

This first-year seminar will introduce you to the foundational elements of the research process so that you can ask good research questions, develop effective search strategies, and ethically use sources for all your academic projects. With the knowledge and skills you acquire in this course, you will be able to develop productive and ethical research practices that are fundamental to your information literacy, and to your success at university as well as on the job and in our personal lives.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program.

FYSM 1004 (A)(B)(C)(D) [1.0 credit] Reading Literatures and Cultures

Introduction to active literary reading skills, focusing on at least three literary genres including poetry, prose, and drama, with attention to literary, social, historical, and political contexts. This course is writing attentive. Strongly recommended for English majors. Consult English Department website for annual topics.

Precludes additional credit for ENGL 1000 (no longer offered), ENGL 1100, ENGL 1200, ENGL 1300, ENGL 1400, ENGL 1600, and ENGL 1700.

Prerequisite(s): Normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program.

FYSM 1101 A [1.0 credit] Location is Everything

Where we live affects who we are. The role of geographic location and environment, from the local to global scale, on human perception, behaviour, and well-being. How factors such as globalization, disease, inequality, and climate change affect our lives and the places where we live.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program.

FYSM 1106 A [1.0 credit] Issues in Classics

An investigation of important issues relating to the Greek and Roman worlds. Themes will be drawn from literature, history, art, religion and social life. All texts are in English.

Precludes additional credit for CLCV 1000 (no longer offered).

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program.

FYSM 1107 A [1.0 credit] Social Justice and the City

Struggles over social and economic inequality in the city, and their relationship to processes of urbanization and global change. Theories and case studies explaining how urban lives and form are shaped by social movements and urban politics. Broad introduction to critical urban geography.

Includes: Experiential Learning Activity

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program.

FYSM 1108 A [0.5 credit] Sustainable Environments

The causes and consequences of environmental change, including climate change; emphasis on the interactions of nature and human behaviour. Ways in which the environment can be protected and restored. Environmental issues that affect our own communities.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program.

FYSM 1210A [0.5 credit] (Fall Semester) Philosophy of Protest

Together, we will examine the moral and political dimensions of contemporary social movements against injustices. From sharing a story on Instagram or TikTok to throwing soup on the Mona Lisa, current forms of activism allow us to reinterpret long-lasting debates in philosophy on our moral duty to protest against injustices. We will first explore the meaning of oppression and injustice before looking at contemporary debates on our responsibility to protest them. For instance, how much political responsibility do individuals like Taylor Swift hold in challenging injustices? Secondly, we will read classics in the philosophy of civil disobedience, from Plato to Martin Luther King, to help us to understand recent environmental movements like Fridays for Future and Extinction Rebellion. Lastly, we will examine digital activism and explore whether physically attending a protest for a cause you believe in is more virtuous or moral than engaging in activism on social media.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B. Econ., or B.G.In.S. program.

FYSM 1210B [0.5 credit] (Fall Semester) Consciousness

What is consciousness? On the one hand, consciousness is familiar to all of us since we are conscious beings. On the other hand, consciousness is one of the most intriguing and perplexing phenomena in the known universe! In the words of philosopher Daniel Dennett, “Human consciousness is just about the last surviving mystery. A mystery is a phenomenon that people don’t know how to think about—yet.” So, how have philosophers answered the question: what is consciousness? Over the coming weeks, you’ll gain an appreciation of some of the answers to this question by surveying the interdisciplinary field of consciousness studies.

Our learning journey will begin with a look at why consciousness is such a perplexing topic. We’ll examine whether consciousness represents something truly mysterious, or whether we can understand how conscious experience works with the tools of philosophy and the cognitive sciences like psychology, neuroscience, and computer science. As we proceed, we’ll learn about various theories of consciousness, our conscious experiences of the world and of the self, and the relationship between subjective conscious experience and physical events in the brain. We’ll also learn about the unconscious mind, agency and free will, altered states of consciousness, the evolution of consciousness, and whether artificial consciousness is possible. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to develop your reading, writing and critical thinking skills, and to engage in some very interesting thought experiments!

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B. Econ., or B.G.In.S. program.

 

FYSM 1210A [0.5 credit] (Winter Semester) Special Topics in Philosophy

Selected topics in the study of philosophy. Topics offered may vary from year to year and will be announced in advance of the registration period by the Department of Philosophy.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B. Econ., or B.G.In.S. program.

 

FYSM 1210B [0.5 credit] (Winter Semester) Minds and Machines

Have you ever wondered what the mind is? Have you ever asked yourself: “Is my mind something immaterial and mysterious, like a soul or a spirit? Or is my mind just a very complex machine, like a computer?” If you have, then you’re not alone – philosophers have pondered the nature of the mind since antiquity. Ancient thinkers like Plato and Aristotle argued that thinking is a function of the rational soul. More recently, philosophers began to explore another possibility. They wondered whether the human being – and by extension, the mind – is a kind of natural machine. In this seminar, you will gain an understanding of the mind by considering classic philosophical works on the nature of minds, machines, and souls.

Our inquiry will start by examining ancient conceptions of the soul: an immaterial entity that is essentially you. We will then proceed to read the work of some modern materialist thinkers like Thomas Hobbes, Julien Offray de la Mettrie, and T.H. Huxley, who argued that the human being – and by extension the mind – is just a natural machine. We will also encounter thinkers whose position lies between these two, like René Descartes, who believed the body was an intricate machine controlled by the soul. As our survey reaches the 20th century, we will examine the works of figures like Alan Turing, Hilary Putnam, John Searle, and others who approached the mind with the tools of philosophy in addition to those of computer science, neuroscience, and psychology. Throughout the seminar, questions intimately tied to the discussion about minds and machines will punctuate our search: can machines have free will? Is consciousness necessary for agency? What is special about artificial intelligence?

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B. Econ., or B.G.In.S. program.

FYSM 1217 [0.5 credit] Reading and Writing for Media Studies

Introductory communication and media studies seminar. Topics offered may vary from year to year and will be announced in advance of the registration period by the Communication and Media Studies program.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program. (This course is not the equivalent of COMS 1000)

FYSM 1310 B [1.0 credit] Psychology of Violence

Psychology is the scientific study of our thoughts, feelings and behavior. Course examines a selected topic in psychology. The specific topic will vary from year to year and will be announced in advance of the registration period.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A, B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program.

FYSM 1310 C [1.0 credit] Psychology of Success

This seminar is focused on the skills associated with success at university and beyond. Key questions to be examined include: What does it mean to be successful? What does it mean for you to be successful? What do we know about the skills that are associated with success? How can you acquire and refine these skills?  What can we learn from successful others, in different fields of achievement? Much of your work will be focused on topics such as study skills, health and wellness, goal setting, confidence, academic integrity, career exploration, and more.

All activities are designed to smooth the transition to university life and there is an emphasis on active learning. Simply, we learn by doing. Expect to be working across two formats: online modules and in-person classes.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A, B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program.

FYSM 1310 E [1.0 credit] Psychology of Us (Versus Them)

Psychology is the scientific study of our thoughts, feelings and behavior. Course examines a selected topic in psychology. The specific topic will vary from year to year and will be announced in advance of the registration period.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A, B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program.

FYSM 1310 F [1.0 credit] Close Relationships

Psychology is the scientific study of our thoughts, feelings and behavior. Course examines a selected topic in psychology. The specific topic will vary from year to year and will be announced in advance of the registration period.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A, B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program.

FYSM 1310 H [1.0 credit] Psychological Disorders and Mental Health

Psychology is the scientific study of our thoughts, feelings and behavior. Course examines a selected topic in psychology. The specific topic will vary from year to year and will be announced in advance of the registration period.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A, B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program.

 

FYSM 1402 A [1.0 credit] Issues in Feminist Social Transformation: Introduction to LGBTQ Studies

This year’s seminar will provide an intersectional introduction to the Feminist Institute of Social Transformation’s curriculum through a specific focus on LGBTQ Studies.  Topics will depend on the instructor but may include queer theory, histories of gender and sexuality, transgender and gender nonbinary studies, intersections with critical race studies, Indigenous studies, critical disability studies, sex radicalisms, queer ecologies, activisms and subcultures, and arts, archives, and cultural politics.

Precludes additional credit for WGST 1808.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program.

FYSM 1405 A [1.0 credit] Playing History

This course uses Reacting to the Past (RTTP) games to draw students into the past. Students will take on historical roles like a journalist, the King of France or a peasant protesting unjust laws. Games are set in times of historical change and upheaval like the French Revolution or the end of World War One. There is no fixed script or outcome. You will be obliged to adhere to the philosophical and intellectual beliefs of the historical figures you play and you must devise your own means of expressing those ideas persuasively, in papers, speeches, or other public presentations.

Everyone has to figure out how to win the game. That might mean overthrowing the King and establishing a republic or making the King’s hold on power even more secure. Players will collaborate and compete with others. They will work to understand historical documents and to develop their response to the central problems of the game. You will debate, deceive your enemies, engage in skullduggery, or plot to sabotage your opponents. After the game, we will look at how the historical events differed from the way the game unfolded and reflect on the big historical questions we asked.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program.

 

FYSM 1405 B [1.0 credit] Sexuality in Victorian London

Popular ideas about the Victorian period (say, between the years 1837 and 1901) tend to imagine the Victorians as uptight prudes who hated all things sexual and would avoid the topic at all costs. But if you scratch the surface of this stereotype, you begin to see how many Victorians were absolutely obsessed with sex – not just in terms of who was doing what with whom and how, but in thinking about people as having sets of sexual desires as part of their innate identarian makeup. As having “sexuality,” in other words. Part of this obsession was about defining how different sexual identities intersected with other socio-cultural categories about difference that also invigorated the time period, particularly class, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, and criminality. While we can study how ideas about sex and sexuality in the modern period operated across the British Isles and the British empire as a whole, the idea of the big city, and of London, England, particularly, as a preeminent space of sexuality, expression, and danger dominated the nineteenth century. In this class, we’ll study how ideas about sexuality and the city of London were at the center of Victorian politics, society, and, even, economy, and how they changed over time. Among other things, we’ll discuss ideas about sexuality and imperialism, class difference, queer cultures in London, the rise of sexology, the Contagious Diseases Acts, the Jack the Ripper murders, and the trial of Oscar Wilde.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program.

 

FYSM 1405 C [1.0 credit] Global World War II

Exploration of an historical topic in a small-class setting. Emphasis on historical thinking, writing, and analysis through the investigation of a specific historical problem. Strongly recommended for History Majors. Consult History Department website for annual topics. (Field will depend on topic).

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program

FYSM 1405 D [1.0 credit] Dictators and the Disappeared: Military Rule in Latin America

During the 1970s and 1980s military governments ruled a large proportion of the populations of Latin America. Dominated by Cold War ideologies, factions struggled either to repress revolutionary subversion or to liberate themselves from authoritarian governments. This struggle led to the victory of leftist forces in some cases but was also used as a justification for repressive measures by rightist forces. In 1973, General Augusto Pinochet overthrew the democratically elected government of President Salvador Allende in Chile. In 1976 a triumvirate of military leaders overthrew the government of President Isabel Perón in Argentina. Military coups were common in the history of much of Latin America but these takeovers were singular in the brutality in which they suppressed resistance and dealt with those they considered subversive. Both governments engaged in systematic policies of “disappearing” opponents. This method consisted of clandestine arrests, hidden centers of detention where prisoners were tortured, and finally the disposal of bodies in such a way that family members would not be able to locale them. The “disappearance” of family members was meant to terrorize those left behind and make it difficult to accuse the regime of wrong-doings. Yet, the relatives of the “disappeared” did organize and did militate against these regimes denouncing the disappearances and the policies of the military governments.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program.

 

FYSM 1409 A [1.0 credit] Social Change in Canada

Interdisciplinary analysis of social change and how people change Canada, through an examination of movements like environmentalism, feminism, peace, and antiracism. Examination of broader efforts to reshape Canadian society, including culture-jamming and change through popular culture.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program.

 

FYSM 1502 A [1.0 credit] Exploring Sociolegal Imagination/Cultural Approaches to Law

Selected topics in legal studies. Course offerings for the current year are listed at: carleton.ca/first-year-seminars

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program.

 

FYSM 1506 B [1.0 credit] Creative Sociology

Introductory seminar emphasizing the development of writing, research and analytical skills through the intensive examination of selected topics in the study of historic and contemporary societies.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program.

FYSM 1508 (A)(B) [1.0 credit] Stress, Coping & Well-Being

How do you cope with stress? We live in a stressful world, and how we cope has implications for our happiness and well-being. We will examine theory and research on how stress affects our lives, how people cope, and what it means to be well-adjusted.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A, B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S program.

FYSM 1607 (A)(B)(C) [1.0 credit] Cognitive Science: Thinking and Knowing

Interdisciplinary examination of discoveries in linguistics, psychology, philosophy, and computer science concerning the question “What is cognition”? Issues may include the mind-brain controversy, the role of language in thought, and artificial versus natural intelligence.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program.

FYSM 1611 A [0.5 credit] Politics on Netflix

One-term seminar on selected topics in politics and governance. Topics offered may vary from year to year and will be announced in advance of the registration period by the Department of Political Science.

Precludes additional credit for FYSM 1602.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program

 

FYSM 1611 B [0.5 credit] Global Politics of Refugees

One-term seminar on selected topics in politics and governance. Topics offered may vary from year to year and will be announced in advance of the registration period by the Department of Political Science.

Precludes additional credit for FYSM 1602.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program

FYSM 1611 C [0.5 credit] (Fall Semester) Ancestry.com, Big Data and Politics of Identity

One-term seminar on selected topics in politics and governance. Topics offered may vary from year to year and will be announced in advance of the registration period by the Department of Political Science.

Precludes additional credit for FYSM 1602.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program.

FYSM 1611 D [0.5 credit] Issues and Politics of the City

One-term seminar on selected topics in politics and governance. Topics offered may vary from year to year and will be announced in advance of the registration period by the Department of Political Science.

Precludes additional credit for FYSM 1602.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B.Econ. or B.G.In.S. program.

 

FYSM 1908 One-Term Seminar in Economics

Content of this course may vary from year to year and will be announced in advance of the registration period by the Department of Economics.

Prerequisite(s): normally restricted to students entering the first year of a B.Econ., B.A., B.Cog.Sc., B.Co.M.S., B. Econ. or B.G.In.S. program.