Inquiry into Citizenship

CTZN 110 HONS: Bodies and Citizens (Fall 2018)

This class is required for all freshman to take their first year as part of the new civitae curriculum. The goal of the class is to introduce students to citizenship with an emphasis on things such as critical thinking, ethical thought. etc. I went into this class, after reading the descriptions of “bodies and citizens”, with a mindset that the class was going to be hectic because everyone was going to argue the whole time. I thought this because the description of the class was that we would examine topics of how bodies have affected citizens throughout history. Meaning we would discuss a wide range of topics including slavery, birth control, Native American boarding schools, LGBTQ+ rights, etc. I had this idea in my head already that because we would be going over controversial topics then it would turn into screaming matches. However, I was proven wrong every time.

Every student in my class was a honors student because my section was for honors only, so my class was only around 18 students. We would sit in a large circle and discuss our readings each week and ask questions. We never argued or got upset. I never expected these conversations to go so well. Also, my professors Dr. Dudley Shotwell would start our conversations with the question of what side is right but we would always end with no answer. This was the main thing I left with from this class. All of our discussions taught me that there is no right or wrong answer to these topics because everyone has their own thought and opinions and none of them is the right one. People are allowed to think differently and that is okay. These topics have too many gray areas that make deciding too hard.

During this class, we did many assignments but our final assignment was to create our own class relating to bodies and citizens and it was one of my favorites. This allowed us as students to take on anything we want and relate it back to the class, so this was a good opportunity for us to talk about anything we cared deeply about. I decided to do mine on the stigma surrounding mental health because I am very passionate about it. We had to make our own syllabus that included up to seven different units the class would cover, links to readings, and questions. My example is below.

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