Find Yourself Exploring
Our First-Year Seminars
From microbes to music, the physics of democracy to the poetry of quantum mechanics, in the intellectual community of Johns Hopkins’ First-Year Seminars you’ll discover what matters for your world and why
How do our brains make decisions? What does music do? Can we make lightsabers? Is a corporation a person? What does it mean to be religious? Is the common good real? What is poverty? Are poetry and art important for science? Does nature have a nature?
First-Year Seminars (FYS) welcome students to Hopkins by inviting them to ask audacious questions. Faculty experts guide small groups of passionate peers as they discuss and debate arguments, visit archives or museums, contribute to research or conferences, attend plays or concerts, and more. As communities where we form and reflect on big ideas, FYSs ensure that every new student finds an intellectually exciting, accepting, and supportive home at Homewood.
My FYS was “the opposite of a ‘grind’ course… the class was designed purely for the intellectual enrichment”Student, Fall ’21
My FYS was “the most fun I have had teaching in twenty years at Hopkins!”Faculty, Fall ’21
Rough Magic — Shakespeare and Power
“This, therefore, is the praise of Shakespeare, that his drama is the mirror of life.” Samuel Johnson’s judgment applies particularly well to Shakespeare’s account of politics. This First-Year Seminar will explore how Shakespeare depicts the acquisition of power, its exercise, and its voluntary or forcible relinquishment. Through a close reading of whole plays and selected scenes and speeches, it will examine political education, intrigue, conspiracy, coups, demagoguery, politically motivated assassination, the theater of violence, rhetoric, insurrection, the launching of war, civil-military relations, and ghosts, among other topics. Combines lectures and discussion with close reading of texts, analytic memos, and assignments such as the composing of a contemporary soliloquy. This FYS will be taught at JHU’s SAIS campus in Washington, DC.