Freshman Seminars 2017 Spring

SOC Title








W, 4-4:50 PM

MSTB 114




W, 1-1:50 PM

PSCB 240




W, 4-4:50 PM

DBH 1427




W, 1-1:50 PM

MAB 125




F, 11-11:50 AM

DBH 1425




Th, 5-5:50 PM

SSL 105




M, 11:30 AM-12:30 PM

SE2 2372

INEQUALITY & SOC C is third of a three-part, integrated series.  See description below.




T, 3-3:50 PM





M, 10-10:50 AM

HH 231




W, 5-5:50 PM

SCS 272




Tu, 2-2:50 PM

SSL 206




See Schedule of Classes





W, 11-11:50 am

SSPB 5206




See Schedule of Classes

MSTB 114




W, 1:30-3:20 pm

SH 267




Mon 3-3:50 pm

HG 2310

CLI-FI: SCIENCE OF CLIMATE FICTION meets every other week.

Introduction to Immunology

This is a basic course in immunology that is intended to be an introduction to the subject. The seminar will focus on immunological mechanisms responsible for major diseases (cancer, transplantation, infections, autoimmunity, etc.) by defining some commonly used terms and describing the specific cells and tissues involved in these diseases. Immunotherapy against these diseases will also be discussed.

Anshu Agrawal is an Associate Professor in Residence in the School of Medicine.

Science of Brewing

Have you ever wondered how beer is brewed? How four ingredients (grain, hops, yeast, and water) can generate the diversity of beers you see on the supermarket shelves? This seminar will explore how the scientific method is used to brew and ferment beer. This course is designed to incorporate discussions with hands-on laboratory experience.

Scott Atwood is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Developmental & Cell Biology.

Amazing Inventors in Communications and Computing

One proved he invented the radio prior to Marconi. Two claim they invented the telephone prior to Bell; the U.S. Congress passed a resolution declaring one of them as the true inventor of the telephone. One was a genius who invented most of today’s radio technology and then had to dedicate his life to protection of the intellectual rights to his patents. One was a famous actress who invented and patented a secret communications system. Two built the first popular microcomputer and then the first user-friendly computer. One wrote the first compiler for the first microcomputer kit, dropped out of college, then formed the largest software company in the world. Two envisioned and invented the protocol that built the Internet.

Major inventions in communications and computing have changed our lives in substantial ways. These inventors are highly driven and dedicated people who often risk everything to make their inventions work and get adopted. This seminar will study a number of these amazing people’s stories in depth. Come and understand how those inventions were made and how they transformed our lives and the lives of the inventors.

Ender Ayanoglu is a Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science.

Express Yourself! Exploring Ease, Power, Variety, & Health for your Voice

No matter your field of interest, it’s likely that at some point you’ll want to vocally communicate with others in an effective manner. Over the quarter, you’ll start to free your breath and find ways to generate more interest, power and clarity in how you express yourself.

Cynthia Bassham is a Lecturer in the Department of Drama.

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

Human activities are constrained by limited space and time, which gives rise to various decisions and problems that we must face as we go through life. This seminar explores how computer algorithms and algorithmic thinking can untangle some very human questions. It will explore such issues as how to have better hunches and when to leave things to chance, how to deal with overwhelming choices, and how best to connect with others.

Michael T. Goodrich is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science.

How to Benefit From Simple Empirical Analysis

The seminar will focus on introducing students to simple empirical strategies to help extract information from data. The main focus will be on topics in economics, business and finance. Each class will begin by introducing a particular topic or open problem, followed by discussion of possible solutions and examination of relevant data and empirical techniques. The lecture will conclude by presenting results from the empirical analysis of the data, and discussion of its implications for the originally posed problem.

Ivan G. Jeliazkov is a Professor in the Department of Economics.

Inequality & Society C

Policymakers, politicians, and citizens alike debate the causes, manifestations, and consequences of inequality in America. Along the way, the nature and workings of human perception and morality, communities, the American dream, and current economic, political and social systems are implicated. Designed to provide an empirical and theoretical basis for thinking about inequality, this course examines a range of manifestations of inequalities in the U.S., including, for example, a growing share of income and wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few; disparities in health, education, incarceration, and other dimensions of human welfare are organized around race and ethnicity; and a small number of people exert a huge political influence on American democracy while others remain figuratively and literally disenfranchised. These and other types of concerns are discussed in this integrated freshman seminar series.

This freshman seminar is the third of a three-part integrated series on inequality and society as seen from different disciplinary perspectives. Completion of the fall and/or winter quarter seminars (Inequality & Society A, B) is not required to enroll in the spring offering in the series.

Valerie Jenness is a Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law & Society.

Linguistics for Fun and Profit

One of the reasons we go to college is to learn more about how the world works. We all use at least one language, but most people’s understanding of why the language they speak behaves as it does is limited to folkloric misconception. Language is rich and complex—even linguists don’t completely understand it—but learning some of what linguists know is fascinating: It helps us see things we otherwise wouldn’t notice, and it is useful background for many human activities, from academic work to child-rearing. We’ll address questions like these: Why can’t most English speakers pronounce (or even recognize) the tones in Chinese; why do some non-native speakers of English have trouble pronouncing phrases like “there is a rather pithy theme”? People in Rome 2000 years ago spoke Latin; why do Romans speak Italian today? If “ain’t” isn’t a word, what is it? Why is English spelling so inconsistent? Why do young children pick up new languages more easily than adults? Why can Danes and Norwegians understand each other’s speech more easily than they can understand speakers of Finnish? How is it that we can understand sentences describing entirely novel ideas (like “a zebra-striped anteater riding a flying skateboard”)? Why can’t we have a real conversation with Siri?

You will read and view a wide range of source materials, largely online. You will participate actively in the discussion at each class meeting, drawing questions and comments from your own experience and writing occasional reaction pieces on your observations.

David G. Kay is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Informatics.

Writing the Ill Body

“Yesterday, I was healthy. Today I’m sick. But tomorrow I’ll be better.” This is the narrative that we tell ourselves in contemporary US society, and the medical-pharmaceutical industry is built around the maintenance of this story. But what happens when that story is no longer possible? After all, everyone’s body will inevitably fail; our citizenship in the land of the healthy is a temporary visa, as we all await our permanent residency in the kingdom of the sick. What other stories might ill bodies tell? How might we think of the ill body not as a failed one but as one that expresses meaning differently? How might we imagine ill, wounded, or disabled persons not as unproductive people in society, but as figures who offer a model of imagining society differently? What different questions do we ask and what different stories do we tell when we take seriously our end?

James Kyung-Jin Lee is an Associate Professor of Asian American Studies.

Shaken Shakespeare: Taking it to the Streets!

This seminar will provide participants the chance to “shake up” their ideas about Shakespeare. We are taking the Bard across the campus. Participants can be involved in a variety of ways and demystify Shakespeare. The students will participate in reading, speaking and seeing Shakespeare, out of its traditional setting.

Jane Page is a Professor in the Department of Drama.

Sustainable Living

Sustainability is a buzzword in our society and on our campus and it can mean different things to different people. Embark on a quarter-long journey to discover what sustainability means to you and how to live more sustainably here at UCI. This seminar will introduce you to the history of the sustainability movement, the actions you can take to be more sustainable, and the reasons why
UCI is a leader in sustainable operations and education. This course will incorporate case studies and current events, on campus field trips, and self-reflection/journaling assignments to get you thinking more deeply about the relevance of sustainability to your own life.

Jessica Dawn Pratt is a Lecturer in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology.

Amazing Adventures in Anatomy

This seminar will explore the anatomy of the systems of the human body. Using photos, videos, models, and animal tissues, students will be exposed to the fascinating structures of the human body and the functions that they perform. The anatomy of various animals will also be discussed to highlight the anatomical variations that exist in nature.

Justin Franklin Shaffer is a Lecturer in the Department of Developmental and Cell Biology.

Globalization: Problem or Panacea?

The word “globalization” is familiar to anyone tuned into global media, and is rapidly emerging as the favorite mantras of political leaders, business executives and news reporters all around the world. It is clearly one of those faddish buzzwords that is frequently used but rarely defined (and heavily laden with ideological implications). But in the twenty-first century, the reality of globalization and a growing awareness of global interconnectedness (even among usually insular US citizens) is an important issue that seems increasingly relevant to our everyday lives. In this seminar, we will explore what “globalization” means. We will try to examine the long-term historical origins of a modern world-system, as well as grapple with more recent worldwide political and economic changes that occurred in the last two or three decades that have led some people to argue that “the world has changed.” Finally, we’ll analyze and discuss whether a world beset with myriad problems (grinding poverty and inequality, international tension and terrorism, severe ecological threats, etc.), is better or worse off given the current level of globalization. Has an increasingly integrated world become a better one, where problems are more easily solved? Or, as the globalization critics argue, has this phenomenon just made things worse for many or most people on the planet? Finally, how can we as citizens and “ordinary people” constructively participate in our new globalized society?

David A. Smith is a Professor in the Department of Sociology.

Hyperloops, Bullet Trains, and Self-driving Cars

Uber and ZipCar; fuel cell, electric, and hybrid vehicles; self-driving, connected, and autonomous vehicles; magnetic levitation and hyperloop transit. And still no flying cars. And whatever happened to telecommuting? What is the future of transportation? Despite the promise of all of these technologies, it might be bicycles and walking in denser communities.

Michael G. McNally is a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Engineering Mathematics in Action

This seminar is an application-oriented, hands-on introduction to engineering mathematics. Students will gain an understanding of abstract mathematical concepts through hands on, concrete exercises and investigations. Students outside of Engineering are welcome though basic concepts of calculus would be assumed.

Alessandra Pantano is a Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics.

Cli-Fi: The Science of Climate Fiction

Climate change is a complex topic of enormous societal importance, and now it even has its own genre: “cli-fi” or “climate fiction”. Join us as we explore the portrayal of climate change and our own future. Cli-fi readings and films will be paired with those describing the facts about climate change. We will consider our own place in preventing a climate apocalypse via lively discussions, field trips, and creative projects.

Cascade J. Sorte is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology.