Best Electives I Have Taken

Author: Sarah Price

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As a junior at Notre Dame who has taken full advantage of the College of Arts and Letters' freedom of curriculum and motto: "Study everything. Do anything", I believe that the electives I have taken thus far may inspire other students who are looking for another course to take prior to graduation. These courses count as either University requirements, College requirements, or were just pure electives outside of my Economics major. But either way, I highly recommend them as they have helped me better understand others, myself, and my purpose.


5. Caribbean Diasporas

This course was one that really introduced me to the complexities of identity in the Caribbean and how that connects and relates to modern American societies. The coursework for this course was extremely relevant and contemporary. It was a more artistic course that included a day trip to a play and a family-style meal in Chicago in order to really bring all of the components of the course together. My favorite aspect of this course was definitely the freedom of expression in midterm papers. Professor Karen Richman allowed all of us to submit either a written essay, video, piece of art, or petition for another medium to fully express the section of the curriculum and our understanding of it. 8/10 Great Class!


4. The Black Atlantic

The Black Atlantic is tied for seventh on this list, but it was the first class that made me better understand the domino effect of colonialism and how it created such systematic divisions in American society and the rest of the world to date. That being said, Professor Mariana Candido made it clear that in history, Africans were not complacent and docile. Instead, they were and still are "actors in history." This course opened my eyes to a greater portion of history that I previously did not know, as history is always told from the perspective of the winner. 9/10 A very important course!


3. Understanding Societies

Understanding Societies as taught by Professor Terence McDonnell helped me learn how just how similar people are to one another. Over the course of the semester, we learned that our behavior is not as unique as we think it is. But rather, it is the simple - and predictable - response to societal factors and stimulus. Outside of this class, Professor McDonald was always a smiling face around campus, and his sense of humor was very welcome in the class! 9/10 An accurate title!


2. Introduction to Fiction Writing

I have never been known by friends and family to be very creative. So much so, that writing a short fiction story for this class shocked those closest to me. But it truly expanded my horizons, and I found an outlet for the chaos that surrounds any undergraduate career. Professor Joseph Earl Thomas really brought out the creativity in each and every one of us. He also made our classroom a space where we all were more than comfortable sharing our stories, a piece of us. This course was way out of my comfort zone, but I needed a Fine Art requirement and decided to dive in headfirst. By the end of it, I discovered a long hidden - even buried - part of myself. 9.5/10 An outlet and a requirement all in one!


1. Performing Blackness

I took this course as a college seminar, a requirement for the College of Arts and Letters. This class not only taught me about the history of blackness portrayed in performing arts (theatre, music, television shows, movies, etc.), but it also helped me develop a starting point of my own role in society. In America, race is a hot topic - it always has been - and I believe that this course brings the context, interest, and culture of black America to center stage. This course doesn't just focus on media. Instead, our class took some turns into our own personal lives, and Professor La Donna Forsgren excelled in connecting our class to the current state of our nation. I never saw a connection between arts, politics, finances, and race before this class. And now, I cannot see how these four components can be separated in America. If you are looking for a college seminar, fine art, or just a free elective, I beg that you take this course and see how your own story plays a role in history. 10/10 A must!