Seminar Experience

Students are highly encouraged to select an Academies affiliated UB Seminar. The UB Seminar is the entryway to your UB education. These are “big ideas” courses taught by our most distinguished faculty in small seminar settings.

Academies seminars are taught by our Academic Directors and distinguished UB faculty to provide students with mentored opportunities to explore ideas and issues in and outside the classroom. This is a great way to get to know faculty on campus and start building friendships with students who share similar interests

Course information can be found below, but students should apply to the Academies to be enrolled in a seminar. Questions can be directed to the Academies at 716-645-8177 or via email at

Global Perspectives #1

  • RLL 199: From Thought to Action: Global Perspectives
  • Instructor: Professor Colleen Culleton
  • Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00–12:20 p.m.

The globalized world presents a unique set of challenges to people who aspire to make well informed choices and act ethically. The dynamic space of globalization is one in which the reliability of information is constantly called into question, and our choices can have consequences for people in far away places whom we will never meet. In the broadest possible terms, the objective of this course is to help students think through how to be the people that they want to be in the context of globalization. In order to achieve that objective, students will pursue a series of readings that contextualize the workings of globalization. Armed with that information, we will take on a series of topics that we’ll call “the forces of globalization” — the things that make the world go round. For each topic, in the manner of a case study, we’ll consider a challenge presented to the global community and a person or entity that is responding to that challenge. For each individual or organization that we consider, we’ll look at opportunities for volunteer work, internships, or employment that an interested person could pursue in the mid to long term.

Global Perspectives #2

  • COL 199: Literature and/of Human Rights
  • Instructor: Professor Shaun Irlam
  • Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00–12:20 p.m.

How does literature bear witness to human suffering and crimes against humanity? A prominent dimension of the novel since its inception has been the drama of human suffering and championship of the persecuted. In the 18th century, an iconic instance of this was Richardson’s heroine, Clarissa; in the 19th century, the social protest novels of Charles Dickens, Mrs. Gaskell and others charted the horrors of industrialization in Victorian Britain while Zola’s Rougon-Macquart cycle did the same for the French underclasses. Across the Atlantic, a large corpus of slave narratives and novels like Uncle Tom’s Cabin gave momentum to the abolitionist movement which became to precursor to the contemporary discourse around human rights. In each successive century, the ambit of attention has widened, from the family, to community, to nation, and finally, to sufferings and persecutions of the human family, wherever those abuses might occur. In short, the novel of human rights has emerged in diasporic and postcolonial literatures as heir to those earlier formations of a littérature engagée (Sartre’s phrase) to pose once more the urgent questions of the relationship between politics and aesthetics, truth and fiction, life and story as well as the responsibilities of writer and reader to the pressing social injustices of their times.

Last updated: September 27, 2016 4:09 pm EST