Document Type


Publication Date



This series of in-class and at home reflective assignments was designed for the Liberal Arts: Social Science and Humanities First Year Seminar. Drawing on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk “The Danger of a Single Story” and the chapter “Citizens of the World” from Martha Nussbaum’s Not for Profit, students begin to develop an understanding of the role of the liberal arts in moving towards a more complex perception of cultural differences across the world. They also reflect on their own biases and experiences during the first semester. Students write the first reflection after discussing the TED talk and the chapter in class at the beginning of the semester, and they return to some of the questions posed by these texts at the end of the first semester. This allows for a greater sense of continuity and coherence, as students reflect on their own learning experience over the course of a semester, deepening their thinking about important questions related to the role of the liberal arts in examining global issues from multiple perspectives. The main objectives of the assignment are

  • To strengthen integrative learning as students reflect on connections between their own learning and life experiences
  • To strengthen global learning as students begin to understand global events from multiple and often divergent perspectives
  • To encourage students to reflect on the ways in which their own lives intersect with those of others
  • To highlight the crucial role of the liberal arts in deconstructing single stories and questioning simplistic constructions of binary opposites and superficial labeling of others

The two main assignments are formal reflections, one at the beginning and one at the end of the semester (10% each). These assignments are supported by in-class reflection and discussion.


This resource is part of the First Year Seminar Curricular Resources.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.