Spring 2020 First Year Seminar

FSEM 100-13 (CRN 6959) SALSA: Multicultural Music

Have you ever been to a Latino party? Have you ever listened to SALSA? Have you ever danced SALSA? What do you know about SALSA? This course explores the origin and history of one of the most versatile and popular musical genres of the 20th and 21st centuries. SALSA has transcended the borders of the Caribbean and the entire American continent to European and Asian latitudes because of its complex and irresistible rhythms, its attractive melodies, and its sensual and romantic lyrics. What is the musical power of SALSA? What is inside of this contagious rhythm that communes magically with the content of a text? How can performers improvise words and new phrases without departing from the main message? We will examine the different styles of SALSA in its various forms and its vocabulary and slangs to identify musical momentums, as well as to recognize their rhythmic structures and sounds. Will you dare to play it, dance it, and sing it?

Your Professor

Jesus Alfonzo is associate professor of music in viola, chamber music and music history at Stetson University, where he also conducts the Viola Consort and leads the Viola Clinic. He is also a member of the Bach Festival Orchestra in Winter Park, Fla. and has been a member of the Rios Reyna String Quartet since 1987. He received a diploma and post-graduate Diploma from the Juilliard School of Music and master of music and doctorate in musical arts degrees from the Michigan State University.

Alfonzo was born in Caracas, Venezuela. He is a founding member of the EL SISTEMA, The Venezuelan National System of Youth Orchestras, in which he had the opportunity to develop both his teaching and playing skills. In 1980 and 1981, he was principal violist of the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra. Later, he became principal violist of Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for sixteen years. In his vast orchestral experience he has worked with distinguished conductors and soloists including Claudio Abbado, Gustavo Dudamel, Leonard Bernstein, Jose Antonio Abreu, Maxim Schostakovitch, Kristoff Penderecki, Zubin Mehta, Serge Baudo, Carlos Chavez, Jerzy Semkov, Eduardo Mata, Claudio Arrau, Joseph Silverstein, Mstislav Rostropovich, Pinchas Zukerman, Yo-Yo Ma, Monserrat Caballe, Jean Pierre Rampal, Yehudi Menuhin and Henry Szeryng. He has taught in Venezuela at the Conservatorio de Musica Simon Bolivar, the Institute of Musical Studies and the ColegioEmil Friedman.

Since 1998, he has given an annual series of viola and string pedagogy master classes at EL SISTEMA in almost every state of Venezuela. In 2008, he wrote the First Catalogue for Latin American Viola Music.

FSEM 100-168 (CRN 7988) Religion and Human Rights

What is the relationship between God and morality? What role did religion play in the formation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? How have religious traditions such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism conceived of human rights, and how have their adherents approached such human rights issues as the freedom of religion, violence and the right to peace, women’s rights, and refugee rights? In the course of exploring these and other issues related to religion and human rights, students in this First-Year Seminar will develop skills related to academic and policy research and writing, information literacy, the analysis of scholarly arguments, public speaking, and group collaboration.

Your Professor

Sam Houston specializes in modern Islamic thought, comparative religious ethics, and Christian-Muslim relations. He spent two years teaching English in Abu Dhabi, UAE, during which time he traveled extensively throughout the Middle East. In 2013, he was awarded a U.S. State Department-sponsored Critical Language Scholarship to study Arabic in Morocco. He earned his Ph.D. from Florida State University, an M.A. in philosophy from Boston College, a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and a B.A. from Baylor University. He enjoys traveling with his wife Shannon, long-distance running and watching Arrested Development ad infinitum. 

HONR 101-1 (CRN 7965) Enduring Questions (Honors Only) 

"We should live sustainably!" seems a recent exhortation, but perhaps it is no more than a return to the literary tradition of Utopias. Are we not telling stories about an intentional community based on idealistic visions? How do such comparisons between sustainability and Utopias fail to account for contemporary realities? What are the dystopic aspects to sustainability? The primary work of this course will be to historically situate the sustainability movement within a historicity of Utopian and dystopian thought. What is the relationship between contemporary calls for a sustainable living and the rich tradition of Utopian thought? In what ways can the Brundtland Report, which popularized the notion of sustainability, be seen as continuous with a corpus as heterogeneous as Plato's Republic, Augustine's The City of God, Marx's Manifesto of the Communist Party?

Your Professor

Jim Beasley has been a member of the Stetson faculty for 45 years. He was a professor of Religious Studies for 17 years, then served as Senior Vice President of the University, and now has been teaching Business Ethics in the Management Department for the past seven years. Jim’s primary scholarly interest is in ethical issues facing business and he is the co-author of several business cases being published by Sage Publishing. Dr. Beasley has a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Stetson, a Master of Arts degree from Andover-Newton Theological School, and a Ph. D. in history from Tufts University. He began the business ethics initiative in the School of Business Administration in 2011 and is the founder and co-director of the annual Templeton Business Ethics Case Competition hosted by Stetson University.