FirstBridge is discovery

FirstBridge is the hallmark of your first year at 澳门四不像论坛. This dynamic, innovative learning experience provides a solid foundation for the rigor of future academic work at 澳门四不像论坛 and allows you to gain new knowledge and skills that you will use outside the university and beyond in your professional life. You will explore a range of interdisciplinary issues and questions, and complete individual and team projects while improving vital skills in writing, public speaking and information literacy. It will connect you with the people and resources at 澳门四不像论坛 that will help you chart a critical pathway to academic and personal success. It is both an introduction to university life at 澳门四不像论坛 and an introduction to the cosmopolitan city of Paris.

Choosing a FirstBridge

You may be arriving at 澳门四不像论坛 with a strong sense of your intellectual interests and desired educational and career path, or you may not. FirstBridge is designed to help you confirm interests and explore new ones, to go outside of your comfort zone and take risks. If you have decided on a major or minor, we encourage you to choose a FirstBridge that is outside of this field. The following descriptions will help you to decide which FirstBridge is right for you. Follow the link that accompanies each FirstBridge, read the course descriptions carefully and let them spark your curiosity.

This year, FirstBridge courses come in two different formats:

  1. An intensive Fall-semester course, leaving your Spring semester open to take two elective courses, or
  2. A year-long option that spreads your FirstBridge classes across both semesters, leaving room for one elective in each.

Be sure to check not only the course descriptions but also the course format before making your final selection.

FirstBridge Courses (Spring听2024): Overview


Our understanding, or misunderstanding, of non-human animals has played an important role in constructions of self and other, subject and object, and nature and culture. The ways we think about our minds and bodies and our natural and built environments are closely related to the search for the scientific bases of distinctions between the wild and the domestic. The same thing applies to our intimate experiences of love, sex, and stress. Our philosophical and psychological understanding of the normal and the pathological, of sexuality and gender, and of race and class have also involved recourse to real or imagined non-human animals more than we may realize or in certain cases even admit. But beyond models and metaphors, non-human animals are deserving of recognition in their own right. This project-driven First Bridge pairing provides students with the tools to formulate their own arguments and analyses of what this means in our contemporary world.

CL 1099 FB 1: ANIMAL RIGHTS AND WRONGS with Professor Tresilian

This course will examine aspects of the discourse on animals from antiquity to the present, picking out particular moments from western and non-western traditions and opening up a range of questions. How have different philosophical and other writers thought about animals and the non-human forms of life with which we share the planet? How has the philosophical tradition on animals informed contemporary movements promoting animal well-being? Are responses to the present environmental and climatic crisis informed by this tradition? Do animals have rights? Are animals conscious? Should animals be considered as persons in law? In addition to the readings, the course will include class visits and project work with animals informed by issues raised in discussion.


Psychology has played a particularly influential role in the study of non-human animals and of different sorts of human-animal relationships. This class will explore historical and contemporary debates concerning the scientific study as well as the clinical contributions of non-human animals in therapeutic contexts. The course discusses the classification of animals, naturalistic observations of their behavior, and interactions with humans, as well as their roles in experimental research. Across these different areas, the course highlights the ways in which the study of non-human animals has contributed to research on sex, gender, and sexuality (and also vice versa) Through a class project, students will gain hands-on experience with different field methods used in psychology and will conduct exploratory research on the relations between sexuality, gender, and animality in everyday discourse and practice.


What is the cultural and political potential of bearing witness and testifying? How can 鈥渂eing there鈥 at the right moment and giving testimony bring agency 鈥 if any 鈥 to actors involved in traumatic events? This course focuses on a range of media practices 鈥 film, literature, newsmedia, amateur videos, graphic narratives, among others 鈥撎 to explore the underlying philosophical questions and power of testimonies in our societies.听

Students will delve into the evolution of the witness鈥檚 status in history, beginning with the Holocaust and World War II. By analyzing different media, they will grasp the newfound legitimacy of the witness and their testimony in history and law, especially as material evidence of Nazi atrocities were destroyed by the Third Reich at the end of the war. Simultaneously, art and literature became means of 鈥渞epresenting the unrepresentable鈥, a paradox that characterizes the acts of writing(/drawing) and reading testimonies of violence. Students will also explore various philosophical discussions on the cognitive foundation of the legitimacy of the witness and what determines or excludes evidence to be held as such in different historical periods. By gaining a clearer understanding of the nature and foundation of witnessing and testimony, they will learn about the ethical and social aspects of image-making that structure the way different events affect individuals and society.

We will examine testimonies of various events of the 20th听and 21st听centuries, including the Holocaust, the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. We will also address testimonies that emerged on social media platforms and ignited national as well as international social movements, such as democratic demonstrations in Iran, demonstrations against police violence in the US and France, the #MeToo movement, among others.

This course will showcase how artists, writers, historians, documentary filmmakers, citizen journalists, philosophers, and social media users convey their experiences and how this 鈥渢elling鈥 can be understood as a way to take action in certain situations, foster social interactions, and rebalance power relationships to generate change.


This course delves into the realm of philosophical discussions surrounding witnessing and testimony, particularly in a world where our understanding and perception are increasingly mediated by a myriad of media. In an age where information flows through screens, speakers, and pages, we examine the profound philosophical questions pertaining to the nature of witnessing and the multifaceted processes of constructing, interpreting, and employing evidence. We encourage students to apply these theoretical debates to various forms of testimonies, ranging from traditional narrative testimony to contemporary media witnessing, testimonial cinema, and artistic creation.

听Students will learn to analyze the complete constructive process, spanning from the initial comprehension of an event to the utilization of testimony as a form of evidence and, ultimately, to the transformative potential of image-making. Throughout this journey, the course underscores the epistemic responsibility that every individual bears when confronted with an event, underlining that we are not mere bystanders but active participants in shaping our collective understanding of the world.


Witnessing an event implies a variety of questions related to involvement and agency. Indeed, individuals can either be witnesses, thereby solely observing, while others can be victims or perpetrators actively participating in the event. Moreover, speaking about an event does not necessarily require physical presence; it can be done in absentia. Direct and indirect witnessing can both lead to an act of testifying, one that can possibly take various forms. In this FirstBridge course, we will examine literary and graphic representations of events that are experienced, seen, transmitted, and/or recounted. These literary and graphic works, labeled as testimonies, will allow us to analyze how to translate into words events that often leave us 'speechless' or that are latently processed. Students will focus on philosophical and literary debates regarding the ethical implications of aesthetic representations of violence and revolt. Questions about whether representing the event can lead to regaining a sense of agency will be addressed. Students will also consider the role of the reader in a potential testimonial chain that could permit different forms of engagement and participation.