Fall 2019 Learning Communities

Students in a Living Community (LC) live in a residence hall with students from a variety of Freshman Seminar classes. They participate in class-related activities, community building and day trips with their classmates.

The Hunger Games, 1984, The Handmaid’s Tale…why is popular culture inundated with visions of a dystopian future or of totalitarian regimes cloaked under a utopian veil?  How do artists and thinkers use dystopia to critique our world today as they imagine a bleak future? Are attempts to build a utopian society always doomed to fail? Our Learning Community will investigate the role of utopias and dystopias in history and contemporary culture. 

Classes include: Dystopian Worlds, Utopian Aims; Mathematopia; The World Turned Upside Down: Utopia & Dystopia in American History & Pop Culture 

Seminars in this Learning Community will explore film, music, literature, and other forms of popular culture. As we study various media, we will investigate how our love of particular genres and texts shapes our identities. Whether it is writers from around the globe or “alternative culture” here in Austin, we will examine how popular culture impacts our world. 

Classes include: Film as Text; Exploring “Alternative” Culture in Austin and Beyond; Other Stories: Global Influence in the Arts; Popular Music and Identity

Seminars in this learning community will examine the importance of place, the human role in the environment, and actions that foster sustainability. Questions we will ask include: What is the relationship of people to the environment? How do our attitudes towards nature change over time? And how is Austin making efforts to become more sustainable?

Classes include: Becoming Ecoliterate: Sustainable Austin: Exploring Sustainability on Campus and in the Austin Community; A History of People and the American Environment; Healthy People, Healthy Planet

How does gender (along with other aspects of our identity such as race and ethnicity) shape how we experience and move through the world?  How does sexuality influence how we produce and consume art and culture? Each of these seminars will explore issues of gender and sexuality through a difference lens. Also, as a Learning Community, we will engage in a variety of experiences that help us explore these questions further, including experiences that will help us learn  more about our campus and Austin communities affected by these issues.  

Classes include: Private Lives, Public Spaces: How Gender Affects Our Experience of Public Space; Queer Film and Pop Culture; Monsters and Queer Identity in Fiction

Hooligans, teenagers, and adolescents: for decades, youth have been othered, scrutinized, fetishized, and feared. Questions of control, freedom, and exploration are central to thinking about the experiences of youth, both historically and in the present. Seminars in this learning community will explore the on-going battle over the ways young people read, watch, listen, play, learn, make, and live together. 

Classes include: Pop Culture Pedagogies: The Politics of Pleasure & Play; Teenage Wasteland? Teenage Dream? Exploring the Field of Youth Studies; Best of Times/Worst of Times: College Student Mental Health; The Play is the Thing