The following Freshman Seminars will all include some consideration of this year's work, Hamilton, or the themes it evokes. As you can see, the instructors approach the theme from very different disciplinary standpoints.

Fall 2017

American Studies 24: Hamilton and the Federalist Papers

Richard Hutson | Schedule →

The idea for the Federalist papers was Alexander Hamilton’s, and he wrote most of the papers, 51 of the 85. Hamilton invited James Madison (who became the fourth President of the U.S.) and John Jay to write the others. Hamilton and Madison offer various arguments to try to convince citizens that the newly designed Constitution for a federal government should be accepted and ratified by the state of New York and beyond. Do they convince you? As Jay notes in #2, this new constitution is to be “recommended” and debated. Such a plan for a federal constitution for a free people who understand the need of a government has to be argued for, because there was already a government of the Continental Congress that seemed to some as working very well. Discussion and debate belong intimately to such a republic, especially a liberal republic. We cannot read and discuss all of the 85 papers, but we can look carefully at a few of them and engage in discussion and debate. Obviously, the papers deal with serious and controversial issues. I want and expect discussion all of the time in every class. Students will be evaluated on attendance and participation in the discussion. There will be a short paper (5 pages) due at the end of the class.

Asian American Studies 24: Asian American History in American Musicals

Catherine Ceniza Choy | Schedule →

This seminar will introduce students to Asian American history through the lens of American movie, theater, and television musicals including but not limited to South Pacific, Flower Drum Song, Miss Saigon, Allegiance, and Glee. Students will learn about the histories of Asian migrations to the United States, international and interracial romance and family formations, and Asian and Asian American representations in popular culture. 

Linguistics 24, section 4: Rhyme and Rhythm

Susan Lin | Schedule →

From nursery rhymes to ballads, from sonnets to freestyle rap, rhyme and rhythm are integral to art, culture, and learning. In this seminar, we will explore rhyme and rhythm through the use of linguistic analysis. This semester, we focus on the phonetics of rhymes.
We will learn about tools that linguists use to describe the way speech sounds, and use those tools to understand how rhyming works and to describe different patterns of rhyme. We will then practice listening to and engaging with pieces of music and literature (including excerpts from the musical "Hamilton") using these tools, to gain a deeper understanding of how rhyme is employed in these works. No prior experience with the formal analysis of music, literature, or language is required.