Course Memo

Prerequisite: None. An introduction to Eureka College and the liberal arts, this course is designed to assist students in making a successful transition to the College, lay the foundation for liberal arts study, and develop skills to ensure academic success. The course includes a group service learning project which students complete during the semester. Should be taken during the first semester of enrollment. Justice and Civic Responsibility Capability course.

Course Section Description

Aliens and Popular Culture: Popular culture teems with aliens. Blockbuster films regularly depict the pending destruction of Earth at the hands of hostile aliens (e.g., Independence Day, War of the Worlds, etc.) and also project distant futures or pasts teeming with alien life (e.g., Star Wars, Star Trek, etc.). Such media raise fundamental questions of justice and civic responsibility: what does it mean to be human? How should humans respond to alien life? What fears and hopes do we project onto the aliens we see in film, television, and other media? What does it mean to be identified as an other? This jumpstart course will tackle these and other questions through an intensive consideration of three films: Contact, District 9, and Arrival. These films will be screened in class. In addition to the questions above, this course will also tackle issues related to the ongoing search for alien life; such discussions will include considerations of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and the Fermi Paradox (which questions why we have not found alien life when statistics show it could be somewhat common). Students will be assigned regular reading, will engage in robust in-class discussion, will work in groups to host a campus town hall on questions of “the alien, the other, and Eureka,” and will craft accompanying op-eds for publication in the campus newspaper, The Pegasus.