Course Description: The First Year Colloquium is a set of seminars organized around the common theme of frontiers. Each section of the course focuses on a particular aspect or interpretation of this theme; and each is organized and taught independently, although there will be some shared events. As a seminar, each section is small and emphasized student responsibility, involvement, and interaction. Therefore it is essential that you keep up with the readings and other assignments.
Section Description: Since Odysseus and Gilgamesh, we have told stories of voyages beyond frontiers. Such voyages change us in several ways because they carry us beyond the ordinary physical and social frontiers of our lives. Water travel makes us see ourselves and the Earth differently. Dangers endured and marvels witnessed at sea transform us. At voyage's end, we need "self-discovery" as much as we need to discover the land to which we've sailed. Goucher's geographic location tells us much about life on the frontier of the sea, itself, because Baltimore lies at the head of Chesapeake Bay, an arm of the ocean which drowned the Susquehanna River valley after the last Ice Age, . Moreover, since the Chesapeake Bay's shape results from the impact of an asteroid or small comet in the Eocene era that left a crater the size of Rhode Island, we are reminded that the Earth, itself, changes as it voyages through space and time (http://woodshole.er.usgs.gov/epubs/bolide/index.html). The Earth's living crew recently has learned to manipulate its own genetic code and ecosystems, enabling us attempt to direct our voyage with as much control as any sailing ship's captain could be said to exercise. The transformational voyage which follows may change our species into something as dimly resembling our current state as adults resemble newborns or fertilized eggs.