First Year Seminar

First Year Seminar

The idea of the content-compatibility of the social and cultural experience, expressed through Humanities, including challenges of everyone’s lives constitutes the bedrock of the seminar. In this regard, one’s ways are too often determined by a temptation to substitute genuine comprehension of fundamental challenges of human existence with the dissemination of some fixed knowledge, present in, hardly attached to the individual’s experience, abstract form.

However, Humanities are not a prescription manual, not enforcement of abstract forms of knowledge to one’s thinking. Humanities shall be perceived as a genuine incentive to creativity, including one’s efforts within the creation of the self that shall define the contemporary study process. First Year Seminar is a collective forum, for a joint work of faculty and students, by discussing key problematics of the course, analyzing and interpreting proposed texts, and also fulfilling team- and individual assignments, participating in presenting the outcomes of collaborative work, both in and beyond the classroom. In the end practical competences, demanded for successful engagement into contemporary social processes, are received.

The aims of the course is to form a cognitive and cultural experience of students that will fruitfully contribute to students’ comprehension of following fundamental questions:

  • What can I hope for in this life?
  • Is our life worth being lived?
  • What world do I want to live in?
  • What can I do in order to change this world?
  • How does my thinking reflect in the language?
  • How can I be heard?
  • What is the nature of my thinking about self?
  • What do I not know about self?

The course’s core, determining its contents, is based on following texts:

  • Hermann Hesse. Peter Camenzind (1904).
  • Leo Tolstoy. The Death of Ivan Ilyich (1886).
  • Friedrich Nietzsche. Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is (1888).
  • Vasil Bykov. Sotnikov (1969).
  • Franz Kafka. The Metamorphosis (1912).
  • Albert Camus. The Myth of Sisyphus (1942).
  • Martin Heidegger. The Age of the World Picture (1938).
  • Hannah Arendt. Between Past and Future (1961).

These texts constitute a semantical context, which determines a current status of the European thinking. It is crucial to keep in mind, tonality of the selected texts is consonant to the spiritual pursuits of a human being within their entire life. Contents of the course and its major texts reflect the strenuous efforts of the 20-21 c. European culture to restore the integrity of human experience, which, since the era of antiquity, ignored the significance of sensuality as a way of comprehension of the human and the world.

Various forms of student engagement are utilized in the course: seminars, symposiums, creative projects, essays. Among the teachers of the course are the most prominent EHU faculty members: Prof. Anatoli Mikhailov, Prof. Emer. Ryhor Miniankou, Pro. Andrei Gornykh, Prof. Iryna Ramanava, Prof. Aliaksandr Puptsau,  Ass. prof. Aliaksei Makhnach, Lect. Siarhei Chareuski and Lect. Svetlana Nazarenko.