Do something BIG with your education.
First Year Experience “Big History” is an innovative one-year program that provides freshmen at Dominican University with a common intellectual experience while preparing them to be thoughtful global citizens in the twenty-first century. The first semester is devoted entirely to Big History, defined by Christian, Brown, and Benjamin as “a modern, scientific creation story…based on the best findings of modern science…a history that includes all human societies, and places their histories within the larger histories of the earth and the Universe as a whole” (2010). The second semester provides a reiteration of the larger concepts and patterns of Big History through the lens of a discipline.
FYE 1000 Big History: Nature and Culture from the Big Bang to the Present (3 units)
In Big History we take an immense voyage through time. We witness the first moments of our universe, the birth of stars and planets; we watch as life forms on earth, grows and develops in complexity, until human consciousness dawns. We then trace the evolution of human cultures through geography, migration patterns, and social structures, until we finally peer over the threshold of the present into possible futures for us and for our planet.
FYE 1100 Visual Art through the Lens of Big History (3 units)
This course studies the significant and creative roles artistic expression plays in humanity's ongoing attempt to find meaning in an ever-changing world, examining images, monuments, ruins, and artifacts as evidence of our collective journey.
FYE 1200 Human Cultures and Political Systems through the Lens of Big History (3 units)
This course investigates factors that influence the evolution of cultures, such as geography, migration patterns, institutional and social structures, regional interactions, and technologies; additionally, this course examines the impact of culture on creation of myths and rituals, origins of government and sociological structures, and diversity of lifestyles.
FYE 1300 Myth and Metaphor through the Lens of Big History (3 units)
This course explores the past, present, and future of the “big story” through words and writings of the world’s cultures, from early human to contemporary mythologies. This comparative course examines both the modes of storytelling and the stories themselves as they seek to answer the big questions of cosmic and human life.
FYE 1400 Trade through the Lens of Big History (3 units)
Beginning with hunter/gatherers and continuing to the present, this course takes an interdisciplinary look at issues like wealth creation, how societies manage excess wealth, organization of labor, environmental impacts of business activity, marketing, the increasing complexity of business forms and trade relationships, and the role of the consumer.
FYE 1510: Philosophy through the Lens of Big History: Humanity’s Quest for Meaning (3 units)
This course explores the developments in human cognitive and cultural evolution that led to the dawn of philosophy in the first millennium BCE. Students will study an array of global wisdom traditions, from pre-agrarian endeavors to explain the cosmos to contemporary responses to increasing complexity and future challenges.
FYE 1520 Religion through the Lens of Big History: Homo sapiens and the Religious Experience (3 units)
Throughout the history of humankind, Homo sapiens have developed complex systems of beliefs, doctrines and theologies; rituals and liturgical practices; and religious institutions to make sense of the world around them. This course delves more deeply into four time periods—the Paleolithic Era, the Agrarian Era, the Industrial Era, and the near future—to explore how religious responses to each of these epochs has consistently and continuously enabled individuals to ponder their place in the universe.
FYE 1600 Sex and Gender through the Lens of Big History (3 units)
This course retells the story of Big History from the perspective of sex and gender. We investigate how the major turning points in this narrative—the advent of biological sexual reproduction, of hunter-gatherers, of the agricultural age, of the industrial revolution and of current social structures— have shaped our understanding of sex and gender. Conversely, we also examine how sex and gender shape our understanding of culture.
FYE 1700: Music through the Lens of Big History (3 units)
“How does music represent and interpret the Big History Narrative?” is the fundamental question that we will consider during our study. We will explore the physical nature of sound and consider the dialects of music occurring within history and cultures. We will hone our listening skills, study forms of music, musical instruments (including the voice) and, at least to a small degree, create and make music.
FYE 1800: Health and Healing through the Lens of Big History (3 units)
In this course we will explore the concepts of health and healing through the eight thresholds of Big History, with topics including a) death and life; b) the changing health and healing of the earth, organisms, and communities; c) the role of health and healing in evolution; d) disease in humankind; and e) cultural diversity related to health and healing through time. Ultimately, we will look to the future of a healthy universe.
FYE 1900: Visualizing Big History: Art (3 units)
The wealth of narratives, innovations, and theories unfolding from the eight thresholds in Big History become points of departure for a series of visual art projects. In each project students will illuminate connections between methods and contexts of creating art, and the key concepts in the creation of the universe to inspire new inquiries about our future and the future of our planet. Students will explore a variety of mediums and processes including poster design, collage, painting, bookmaking, and sculpture.
FYE 1910 Writing Big History: Creative Writing (3 units)
Write an epic poem about the dawn of time! Create a play starring the first hominid to stand upright! Craft a short story about a love affair between two supernovae! Let the Universe be your inspiration—explore Big History through creative writing. Generative writing exercises and writing workshops will inform writing assignments for which students will consider the key thresholds of Big History, as leaps in complexity become points of departure for major creative work. What part of the story do you want to tell?