Fall 2013 Courses

FYS 002 (CRN 6958) – Ways of Reading and Writing
FYS 003 (CRN 6453) – Banned Books: Ideology, Suppression, and Censorship
FYS 004 (CRN 6788) – Social Justice: Confronting Culture, Creating Change
FYS 005 (CRN 6959) – Liar, Liar: Dishonesty in a Post-Truth Society
FYS 006 (CRN 6456) – Decisions and Revisions
FYS 007 (CRN 1129) – Creative Writing: Adaptation
FYS 008 (CRN 6972) – Lost (and Found)
FYS 009 (CRN 6970) – South African Literature & Culture
FYS 010 (CRN 6481) – The Power and Tradition,The Forces of Change: China (1587) and England (1529)
FYS 011 (CRN 6968) – Representation of Recent American Identity
FYS 012 (CRN 6967) – Batman and Cultural History
FYS 013 (CRN 6484) – Exploring the Other Europe: The Balkans
FYS 014 (CRN 6485) – 21st Century Poetry
FYS 015 (CRN 6515) – Diversity in the U.S.
FYS 016 (CRN 6966) – Science and Public Discourse
FYS 017 (CRN 6568) – The Real Hunger Games—Food in America
FYS 018 (CRN 6965) – Sports Fans, Fanatics, and Fandom
FYS 019 (CRN 6964) – Digital Global Citizenship
FYS 020 (CRN 6507) – Masculinities in Film
FYS 022 (CRN 6995) – Listening—In a Divisive, Distracting, Digital World
FYS 023 (CRN 7042) – Can We Agree to Disagree
FYS 024 (CRN 6962) – Food History
FYS 025 (CRN 1163) – Perspectives on American Character and Society (Learning Community)
FYS 026 (CRN 6593) – Ethnobiology, Nature, and Culture
FYS 027 (CRN 3437) – Energy for Future Presidents
FYS 028 (CRN 3006) – Seeing—Believing
FYS 029 (CRN 4509) – Running: Body, Mind, Sole
FYS 030 (CRN 6963) – Zombies! The Zombie Apocalypse in Film, Culture, and Literature
FYS 031 (CRN 7002) – Introduction to Asian American Studies
FYS 032 (CRN 6973) – Education: What’s it Good For?
FYS 033 (CRN 6974) – Modern American Politics on Screen
FYS 034 (CRN 6975) – Got Ethics?
FYS 035 (CRN 5176) – Adult Films
FYS 036 (CRN 3663) – Illusions
FYS 037 (CRN 6976) – The University and YOU
FYS 038 (CRN 1916) – Exploring the Portrayal of Mental Illness and Intellectual Disabilities in the Media
FYS 039 (CRN 6977) – Contemporary Global Issues in Context
FYS 040 (CRN 6503) – Imagining (Higher) Education
FYS 041 (CRN 6978) – Can You Reason with the Law?
FYS 042 (CRN 6979) – Real Genius
FYS 044 (CRN 7058) – Women in the Bible: Mates, Mothers, Murders, and More
FYS 046 (CRN 7041) – Immigrants and Refugees: Comparative Policies and Problems, and Local Practices
FYS 047 (CRN 6982) – Portraits of an Economy
FYS 048 (CRN 6983) – The Stories of Business
FYS 049 (CRN 6984) – Making the Most of College
FYS 050 (CRN 6985) – Making the Most of College


Ways of Reading and Writing

FYS 002, CRN 6958
Dina Smith
MW 12:30-1:45pm    

This course will use the landmark text, Ways of Reading, as a means of jumpstarting critical discussions and writing on key cultural theory texts that connect to larger, current debates. From Foucault’s theory of Panopticism and the beginnings of the surveillance state as read through the popular novel The Hunger Games and contemporary debates on reality television to John Berger’s “Ways of Seeing” as a way of exploring our relationship to local art and architecture, this class will mobilize complex theoretical debates through a variety of textual lenses -- fiction, art, film, architecture, and popular culture -- to encourage you to become more critical readers of contemporary culture and to participate in larger social/political debates through frequent writing and revision.

Back to top


Banned Books: Ideology, Suppression, and Censorship
FYS 003, CRN 6453
Beth Younger
MW 12:30-1:45pm
Film Lab U 12:00-2:00pm, CRN 6454

 “Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions.” Justice William O. Douglas

This first year seminar will explore, examine, and analyze the practice, function, and ideology of what is commonly known as “book banning.” Often, books are challenged with the “best intentions”—to protect others, frequently children, from “difficult” ideas and information. In order to understand these practices and the ideology behind them, we will read banned books and challenged books as well as a plethora of essays and articles on the topic. The course will focus on the social and cultural ideologies that motivate the restriction of reading materials, primarily in the United States. Throughout the semester, we will try to answer various questions about censorship: What kinds of materials are considered “offensive?” Why do some groups (or individuals) try to restrict access to certain books? What are the motivations of these groups, and what are the functions of censorship? We will also grapple with questions of literary and social value, feminism, sexuality, language, and representation.

Primary texts may include: Funhome (Alison Bechdel), And Tango Makes Three (Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell), Forever (Judy Blume), and The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins). Course requirements include weekly writing (in class and out of class), a midterm and a final project.

Back to top

Social Justice: Confronting Culture, Creating Change

FYS 004, CRN 6788
Jennifer Perrine
MW 12:30-1:45pm
Lab F 12:00-2:00pm, CRN 7001

The course will engage students in the theory and practice of community-based social justice by examining ways to analyze, understand, and resist forms of oppression, including racism, ethnocentrism, sexism, transgender oppression, heterosexism, and classism. In addition to reading and writing about the relationship between social justice and systems of difference, power, and oppression, we will also engage in service-learning with several community partners, with the aim of working for social justice through alliance- and coalition-building.

As we explore these difficult and often uncomfortable issues, we will also be exploring questions about writing and social justice: How can writing help us to understand our various experiences of domination and oppression? What form of writing is best suited to facilitate this kind of thinking? What are the limitations and opportunities of writing, as opposed to other forms of art or communication (e.g., visual art, film, music, speech), when it comes to working for social justice?

Back to top

Liar, Liar: Dishonesty in a Post-Truth Society
FYS 005, CRN 6959
Megan Brown
MW 12:30-1:45pm

This seminar will explore the sociocultural role of dishonesty, examining the concept through various lenses: literary, philosophical, political, journalistic, academic, and psychological. We will read and discuss theories about lying—why people lie, and the effects of dishonest behavior on the liar and the listener/reader. In particular, we will analyze the prevalence of dishonesty in contemporary American society. Why do so many politicians lie, and how do they justify their behavior? Why do memoirists lie about their lives, and does it matter when they do so? Why do journalists plagiarize? Why do students misrepresent themselves on Facebook? The writer Ralph Keyes alleges that we live in a “post-truth era,” which he describes as an “ethical twilight zone. It allows us to dissemble without considering ourselves dishonest.” We will decide whether or not we agree with his assessment, and talk about the possible impact of post-truth culture.

Back to top

Decisions and Revisions
FYS 006, CRN 6456
Craig Owens
MW 12:30-1:45pm

This seminar will focus on the process by which writers, musicians, and filmmakers create, revise, re-create, adapt, appropriate, and sample their own work and the work of others in order to refine their own craft and output and to engage in meaningful dialogue with and criticism of established works. In this course, we will read such novels as Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and Michael Cunningham’s The Hours (based on Woolf’s novel); we will also analyze the acclaimed film adaptation of Cunningham’s novel and Philip Glass’s musical score for it. We will examine Jorgen Leth’s short 1967 film “The Perfect Human” and five subsequent remakes of the film he completed with contemporary filmmaker Lars von Trier. We will examine Art Spiegelman’s graphic re-telling of the rise of Nazism and the Jewish Holocaust in his book Maus, and we will examine how the imagery and tropes of fascism get re-tooled in Lady Gaga’s music videos. This course will prompt questions about the nature of authorship and textual authority, intellectual property, and information literacy. Throughout the course, students will be required to produce, revise, and adapt their own work and the work of their classmates, experimenting with different styles, approaches, genres, and media to do so. They will learn that composing and revising are often processes of envisioning and re-envisioning, and they will learn how to translate their ideas and visions across a variety of modalities: text, speech, image, discourse. Collaborative work in and out of the classroom will play a large part in this course.

Back to top

Creative Writing: Adaptation
FYS 007, CRN 1129
Amy Letter
TR 12:30-1:45pm
Film Lab F 12:30-2:30pm, CRN 6960

We will imagine our way to better understandings of existing stories and characters by re-positioning them in new genres and media: we might write the diary of a character who currently exists only in a movie; we might write a short story from the point of view of a minor character from one of Shakespeare’s plays; we might write a screen or stage play starring characters who have only appeared in songs.

We will examine how creative people have struggled with the idea and task of adaptation (and the related task of translation) in the past, and how the act of adapting can both illuminate and obfuscate (and possibly obliterate) the original subject. We will look at Charlie Kaufman’s film Adaptation, a performance of The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged), and compare short selections from several adaptations to see how work has moved from graphic novel to film, from television to short story, from concept album to stage play, etc.

We will also use adaptation to examine genre and media itself: what are the strengths (and weaknesses) of the different forms? What can a short story do that a film can’t? What can a poem do that a play can’t? What choices are we making when we choose a form? How do we re-see characters and situations when we re-imagine them in different forms?

Students will have the opportunity to locate material in the literary and media world(s) and bring in sources of their own choosing – for example, students will be asked to find a current narrative-based television commercial and re-imagine it as a short story or poem, etc. – and will be encouraged to use their other talents and awareness of other media formats to expand the scope of the class.

Writing for this course will be made up of a combination of creative work (in multiple forms) and analysis (both of other students’ work and of the ideas and works of published authors).

Back to top

Lost (and Found)
FYS 008, CRN 6972
Lisa West
TR 12:30-1:45pm

This FYS will watch clips  from the TV show Lost in connection with academic readings to explore different ways popular and academic culture express the experience of being "lost" in a physical, psychological or religious sense.

We will also read an early American novel and the British novel Lord of the Flies.

Back to top

South African Literature & Culture

FYS 009, CRN 6970
Melisa Klimaszewski
TR 12:30-1:45pm
Recommended Flim Lab M 5:00-7:45pm, CRN 6971

This course introduces students to college-level critical reading, writing, and inquiry through an intensive study of South African literature and culture. Studying texts in several genres – primarily the novel, but also film, biography, short story, and poetry – students will consider the ways in which writers use various textual forms to capture, represent, and comment upon the complexities of South African life and culture. In addition to learning about the not-so-distant historical events that occurred during the apartheid era, students will study the state of South Africa during the dismantling of apartheid and its present-day struggles. The writers we study will help us to examine the long-term effects of apartheid on race relations and economic inequity, for instance. We will also consider how the literature of this nation raises and addresses broader questions of what it means to form human identity, the troublesome propensity of human beings to oppress and inflict suffering on others, and the sometimes surprising methods in which suffering people survive assaults on their bodies as well as their imaginations.

Readings may include: Steven Biko’s I Write What I Like: Selected Writings, J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace, Bessie Head’s When Rain Clouds Gather, selections from Nelson Mandela’s The Long Walk to Freedom, Zakes Mda’s Ways of Dying, Steve’s Khayelitsha, Alan Paton’s Cry, the Beloved Country, Mamphela Ramphele’s Across Boundaries, and Zoe Wicomb’s You Can’t Get Lost In Cape Town.

Students will learn to strengthen their writing skills by paying close attention to the ways in which others write. In this way, critical reading will strengthen each student’s ability to think as well as to write clearly and critically. Critical thinking can take many forms; in this course, it will mean that we practice asking incisive questions, identifying underlying assumptions that affect the way we process information, looking past the obvious, and developing insightful claims.

In May/June of 2014, Professor Klimaszewski will be leading a three-week travel seminar to South Africa (for 6 academic credits). Students who may be interested in taking that trip are especially encouraged to consider this first year seminar.

Back to top

The Power of Tradition, The Forces of Change: China (1587) and England (1529)
FYS 010, CRN 6481
Elizabeth Robertson
MW 12:30-1:45pm

We will study two different cultures, China in 1587 and England in 1529, at points of crisis in leadership and examine their ideas on how to preserve unity, national identity and authority, and yet accommodate changing views of social, economic and religious justice. We will ask: What are the sources of power of those who govern the society, and what constrains that power?  How are the demands of the community (political, religious, or class) balanced with a growing sense of individual liberty? What tensions exist because of differences in wealth and status and attitudes toward economic inequality? In exploring these questions, students will attempt to articulate some tentative conclusions about how traditional structures of authority are or are not to be maintained in the face of challenging new ideas.

Class is conducted not through lecture or discussion but through Reacting to the Past,” an elaborate, role-playing pedagogy that seeks to introduce students to major ideas and texts by replicating the historical context in which these ideas acquired significance. Students read classic texts, set in particular moments of intellectual and social foment, which inform the roles they are assigned. Confucianism and the Succession Crisis of the Wanli Emperor introduces students to the suppleness and power of Confucian thought. The game unfolds amidst the secrecy and intrigue within the Forbidden City, as scholars struggle to apply Confucian precepts to a dynasty in peril. Henry VIII and the Reformation Parliament takes up the King’s “great matter” (his desire to divorce Catherine of Aragon) during the tumultuous years 1529-1536 when Thomas More has just been named Lord Chancellor after the dismissal of Cardinal Wolsey, and Thomas Cromwell conspires to lead the king’s party to his own ends. Four ideas/issues clash and contend for dominance: medieval Catholicism, Lutheranism, Renaissance Humanism, and Machiavellian statecraft. Students will read works representative of all traditions. In both games, students will give speeches in role, and write papers (memorials, proposals, laws) in which they articulate the principles supporting their position or faction. In addition, students will write reflective papers, out of role, in which they examine the development of their perspectives on history produced both through reading and by “playing the game.”

Back to top

Representation of Recent American Identity
FYS 011, CRN 6968
Jody Swilky
MW 12:30-1:45pm
Lab U 2:00-4:00pm, CRN 6969

In this course you will investigate through reading and writing how recent film and fiction have represented American identity—in terms of race, gender, class, and sexuality-- and the effects of these cultural works on yourself and other readers and film viewers. Examining selected films and fiction from  psychological and sociological perspectives, you will consider both the conditions in which these texts were produced and their impact on readers/viewers. You will explore questions such as how does a text represent individual and group identity? How does the text serve to reinforce dominant notions of group identity? What broader social conditions does it reflect? How do your own views coincide? or conflict with this representation?  How does it present alternatives to prevailing perspectives on these issues in contemporary American society?

Back to top

Batman and Cultural History
FYS 012, CRN 6967
Jeff Karnicky
TR 12:30-1:45pm

Batman first appeared in Detective Comics in 1939; since then, he has been portrayed hundreds (if not thousands) of times in comics, tv shows, and movies. This seminar will think about Batman as a cultural and historical icon. We will read Batman comics from multiple eras, and we will pair these readings with critical essays as we construct our own understanding of this character and his role in American culture. Students are expected to participate in class discussion, to complete a number of writing assignments, and to contribute to a group creative project that re-imagines Batman.

Back to top

Exploring the Other Europe: The Balkans

FYS 013, CRN 6484
Stoyan Tchaprazov
TR 12:30-1:45pm

Why name geographically European states—such as Albania, Bosnia, or Bulgaria—Balkan, and not European? What makes a state Balkan, and what are the implications of calling it so? Throughout this course we will search for answers to these questions by looking at patterns of representation of the Balkans in both Western European and Balkan literature at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century—the period that in many ways defined the Balkans as we perceive them today.

The course will be conducted as a seminar—discussion of primary texts through close reading (identifying and evaluating textual evidence in support of specific arguments). In addition, at Drake, the First Year Seminar functions as an introduction to college-level writing. Therefore, we will spend considerable time discussing writing-related issues, including clarity, cohesion, style, and revision. Assignments for this course will include response papers, a research paper, and lots of in-class writing.

Back to top

21st Century Poetry
FYS 014, CRN 6485
Brian Spears
TR 12:30-1:45pm

Particularly in the last 12 years, the ways in which readers access poetry has changed dramatically. The rise of web journals and e-books has fueled an explosion in the number of publishers of poetry and ways in which it can be read, and has even fueled a rebirth in handmade, letterpress books. Students will encounter and react to poetry in all these forms, from handmade books and journals to web-only journals to new multimedia anthologies. Students will also experiment with their own creative writing in these spaces, both as writers and editors, and will work collaboratively to produce an electronic chapbook of their own work.

Back to top

Diversity in the U.S.
FYS 015, CRN 6515
Sandra Patton-Imani
MW 12:30-1:45pm
Lab T 1:30-3:30pm, CRN 6595

This course will explore issues of “diversity” in the U.S. at the individual, cultural, and societal levels. Students will explore various ways in which race, gender, class, sexuality, disability, and age, along with other aspects of identity shape the lives and experiences of people living in the U.S.  We will examine the complex relationships between the construction of personal identities, media representations, cultural and ideological meaning systems, movements for social change, and social institutions.  Thus, we will draw on literary, anthropological, sociological, and media sources and perspectives in attempting to understand how meanings of "self" and “other” are constructed, maintained, and subsequently, internalized by each of us in particular ways, depending on our “social location.” We will explore a range of social and cultural texts as sites of identity construction, considering how people's lives have been written for them, and how, in turn, individuals have articulated their own senses of self.

Back to top

Science and Public Discourse
FYS 016, CRN 6966
Michael Renner
MW 12:30-1:45pm

An increasing proportion of public debates are – or should be – informed by the evidence available from scientific research. This class will examine the ways in which science and what we learn from it do, and don’t, find their way into the conversations that influence how we lead our everyday lives through social conventions and public policies.

By the conclusion of this course, students will be able to:

• Describe and evaluate the pathway by which scientifically derived information (i.e., research results) may or may not inform public policy.

• Evaluate the applicability of basic research findings outside of research contexts.

• Locate and evaluate the sources in the scientific literature for materials found in noscientific sources.

• Read scientific literature as in informed consumer and construct summaries in non-technical language.

• Describe and devise methods for evaluating the validity of claims made about the applicability of scientific findings into public discourse.

Back to top

The Real hunger Games—Food in America
FYS 017, CRN 6568
Carlyn Crowe
MW 12:30-1:45pm

This First Year Seminar will explore topics related to how food in the United States is grown, produced, distributed, marketed, reported on and understood by US citizens.  The course will unfold in these blocks:

Food Security -- discuss how food is distributed in the United States, including the issues of access, poverty, public assistance, and the real cost of food.

Food Politics -- will delve deeper into the issues above, legislation, such as the Farm Bill, and move into agricultural systems, including what is grown in the US and why.

Food Systems -- will continue the discussion on agriculture and look at the differences between traditional agriculture/farming vs. sustainable agricultural processes that also will circle back to the distribution of food in the U.S.

Food Integrity -- will focus on the food industry's ability to promote and market their products and how these messages are received by the public.

Food and Nutrition -- will focus on the question of: "Are you what you ear?" and discuss nutrition models such as the USDA "plate" as well as alternative models, fad diets, as well as the obesity problem and other health issues of US citizens.

Back to top

Sports Fans, Fanatics and Fandom
FYS 018, CRN 6965
Dorothy Pisarski
TR 12:30-1:45pm

Generally, the course will be asking students to learn to investigate through observation and secondary research.  The focus is on the fan behaviors and how they are (or are not) stimulated by the marketing of the team, the league, the stadium/arena, and the geography.

Back to top

Digital Global Citizenship

FYS 019, CRN 6964
Eric Manley
TR 12:30-1:45pm

Most current college students have always lived in a world in which we can digitize almost anything and distribute it to almost anywhere. The developed world is becoming saturated with technology, and the developing world isn’t far behind. In this seminar, we will explore how digitization impacts issues like poverty, education, free speech, and privacy all around the globe. Most of our learning activities will be centered on reading, writing, researching, and discussing these topics. We will also learn introductory programming for Android devices so that students can design and implement smartphone apps that help address global social problems.

Back to top

Masculinities in Film
FYS 020, CRN 6507
Joseph Schneider
MW 12:30-1:45pm
Film Lab M 5:00-7:45pm, CRN 6508
Film Lab T 5:00-7:45pm, CRN 6509

A socialcultural study of the depiction of masculinity in major popular cinema. Through viewing 13-14 films and academic readings on filmic depiction of sexgender, students are asked to develop and deepen their critical understanding of the performance of sexgender and the changes therein, primarily as seen in the United States over the last half century. Learning goals include the use of diverse textual materials to craft arguments about the nature of masculinity and sexgender in culturesociety; to develop critical distance and reflection on one’s own participation in these processes, so studied; to develop writing and speaking skills through 4-5 essay assinments and in-class discussion and presentation.

Back to top

Listening—In a Divisive, Distracting, Digital World

FYS 022, CRN 6995
Nancy Berns
TR 12:30-1:45pm

Living in a digital world adds challenges to our social interactions and shapes our experience with communication. This course will focus on the importance of listening, including how to listen effectively. Students will have an interdisciplinary experience drawing from sociology, anthropology, psychology, and communication studies in order to understand the complexity of listening. We will discuss how various factors affect our ability to listen, including culture, technology, conflict, politics, religion, social status, power, gender, and interpersonal relations. We will also learn how effective listening can promote effective political discourse, conflict resolution, healing, and deeper personal relationships. The course will rely on student-led discussion and listening, reflective writing, and cultural analysis assignments.

Back to top

Can We Agree to Disagree
FYS 023, CRN 7042
Dennis Goldford
TR 12:30-1:45pm

In this philosophically oriented First-Year Seminar—it is not a current-affairs or debate course—we will explore the question of what it means for people to disagree in matters of political, moral, and religious concern.  When two people disagree about such matters, is one necessarily right and the other wrong, or is each legiti­mately enti­tled to his or her own opinion?  If I were teaching mathematics, for example, most people would agree that I could legitimately fail a student who insisted that, in a base-10 system, 2 + 2 = 5.  If, on the other hand, I were teaching politics (as I do), most people would agree that I could not legit­imately fail a student for nothing other than holding a political (or moral or religious) position op­posed to my own.  Why do we generally accept that both of these points are true?  What are the pre­supposi­tions of agreement and dis­agree­ment?  How can reasonable people hold drastically differ­ing and opposed beliefs in matters of politics, morality, and religion?  Is conflict grounded in misunderstanding, and thus illusory, or is conflict grounded in understanding, and thus real?  We will explore these and related questions in an intensely text-based and discussion-oriented seminar for­mat that will include both formal and informal analytical essays.

Back to top

Food History
FYS 024, CRN 6962
Amahia Mallea
MW 12:30-1:45pm

Food is more than sustenance; it forms the backbone of economies, undergirds personal relationships, and is an expression of culture.  Eating is an evolutionary, biological, political, social and environmental act.  In fact, what isn’t it? 

This FYS considers how and why food and the eating of it have changed over time.  Main themes of our readings, discussions and papers will be environment, culture and politics.  Many readings privilege American food history but we’ll connect local and global issues and places by looking at subjects like meat, corn and sugar.  These subjects help illuminate the industrialization of food and the increasing globalization of the food system.  We will experience food intellectually—through readings and discussion—but also in tactile and social ways—like cooking, eating and visiting farmers’ market.

This course aims to 1) improve your writing skills, 2) improve your ability to think critically and analyze materials, and 3) make you an informed and responsible citizen of Drake, the Midwest and the world; by investigating history, you will understand the critical questions related to food today. This course contains a Service-Learning component.

Back to top

Perspectives on American Character and Society (Learning Community)
FYS 025, CRN 1163 and co-requisite POLS 001, CRN 4192


Stacey Treat
TR 12:30-1:45pm AND co-requisite course on MW 12:30-1:45pm (CRN 4192) Arthur Sanders

What are the "habits of the heart" that move Americans, the beliefs and practices that shape the character of its citizens and give form to the American social order?  Beginning with de Tocqueville and continuing through Bellah et al., numerous observers have developed analyses that suggest political equality and individualism are fundamental traits of American culture.  In Democracy in America, Volume II , Tocqueville argues that "Democracy has destroyed or modified the old relations of men to one another and has established new ones."  How is this new social order doing in the early 21st Century?  In 1985, during the height of the Ronald Reagan era, Bellah et al. published Habits of the Heart:  Individualism and Commitment in American Life.  In the preface, they wrote:  The central problem of our book concerns the American individualism that Tocqueville described with a mixture of admiration and anxiety.  It seems to us that it is individualism, and not equality, as Tocqueville thought, that has marched inexorably through our history.  We are concerned that this individualism may have grown cancerous--that it may be destroying those social instruments that Tocqueville saw as moderating its more destructive potentialities, that it may be threatening the survival of freedom itself.  Bellah et al. are raising the question of "community" in the United States. And since they wrote their book 21 years ago, the growing diversity and seeming fragmentation of American society has made their concerns even more compelling. Is it possible for community to exist in a society that emphasizes radical individualism?  What are the individual's responsibilities to fellow citizens, to his/her city, state, or nation?  These and other questions will be explored in this course.

Students who register for Perspectives in American Character and Society must also register for POLS 001 (Arthur Sanders) The American Political System, taught by Professor Arthur Sanders. Professors McAlister, Treat, and Sanders will coordinate course readings and assignments to tie together themes developed in the two classes.  Students signing up will also be housed on the same floor in a residence hall.

Back to top

Ethnobiology, Nature, and Culture
FYS 026, CRN 6593
Nanci Ross
TR 12:30-1:45pm

Remember when you were a kid and you stole strawberries from your grandmother’s garden? Or you climbed a tree and could smell the bark and the leaves on your hands? Ever tried to suck the sugary nectar out of the base of a clover flower? In this class you will explore the connection between nature and human cultures over time and around the world. We are integrally related to our ecosystem, but often fail to realize that it is these experiences and observations that are the beginning of the study of natural science. Most people think of the science of the natural world as a series of quantitative measurements and latin names that is wholly removed from their daily lives, but people have been practicing science since the beginning when we classified plants as separate from animals. The way we perceive nature is, in many ways, inherited from our culture which leads to fascinating, weird, and intriguing insights. Nature has changed us as much as we have changed nature and we will investigate examples of both throughout the semester.

Back to top

Energy for Future Presidents
FYS 027, CRN 3437
Klaus Bartschat
MW 12:30-1:45

We will discuss the book "Energy for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines" by Richard A. Muller (ISBN: 978-0-393-34510-0). The major topics are "Energy Catastrophes" (Fukushima, the recent Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Global Warming), the current "Energy Landscape" (oil and coal, natural gas, energy conservation, recycling, feel-good measures that do or do not really work), "Alternative Energy" (solar, wind, nuclear, biofuel, hydrogen, geothermal, energy storage, etc.), the "Nature of Energy", and "Advice for Future Presidents". The book and the seminar are meant for the non-scientist, i.e., most American Presidents and other powerful politicians and lawmakers. These people need some "common sense" in order to distinguish facts from fiction, to think critically about the arguments being brought forward, and to realize how positions can be vastly exaggerated. We will see how public opinion and politics can influence, and often get in the way of, making critical decisions that seem "obvious" from a purely scientific perspective.

Back to top

Seeing – Believing
FYS 028, CRN 3006
Ted Hatten
TR 12:30-1:45pm

This course will offer an opportunity to explore the connection between seeing and believing. Is seeing believing? Is our vision limited by what we believe? Are our beliefs limited by what we can see? What do beliefs look like? Since religion has a long history of turning to the visual arts to express its beliefs (iconophilia), and turning from representation of the divine (iconoclasm), this interdisciplinary journey will lead us to the intersection of art and religion. We will examine visual manifestations of belief through architecture, sculpture, painting. We will consider the distinction between sacred and profane through writing assignments focused on space, objects, and time. As a First Year Seminar (FYS), this course will be writing-intensive.  It will include significant time spent on the revision of your writing.  You will have the opportunity to read your work to the class through formal and informal presentations.  This FYS will be conducted in a seminar-style format in which discussion will be the primary mode of engagement.

Back to top

Running: Body, Mind, Sole

FYS 029, CRN 4509
David Senchina
MW 12:30-1:45

Running is a sport unto itself but also integral to other sports such as soccer, lacrosse, rugby, football, and baseball/softball, to name just a few.  Even more Americans enjoy running as a regular recreational activity.  It takes many forms including recreational and competitive, short and long distance, on flat-surfaced and cross-country.  In this FYS, we will examine running from three main perspectives: body (the biology of running), mind (the psychology of running), and sole (running in a global, social, and economic contexts).  The course emphasizes scientific aspects of running, including the history of its study, understanding how and why we run, current research techniques and philosophies, and the ability to think critically, logically, and rationally about literature on running or marketing claims about running-related sports products such as running shoes.  Students will regularly be engaged in writing about running through multiple contexts, such as their own experiences inside and outside of class, as well as in response to others’ writings on running.

Back to top

Zombies! The Zombie Apocalypse in Film, Culture, and Literature
FYS 030, CRN 6963
Bradley Crowell
MW 12:30-1:45pm

Zombies are everywhere! Not really, but in recent years the symbol of the zombie has become a central figure in films, literature, gaming, philosophy, and even advertising campaigns and workout routines. In religious and cultural studies the primary question is why zombies and why now? This course will examine the history of zombies in cultural productions, their contemporary manifestations, and the theories of why they are a current cultural fascination. Students will engage with several short stories and novels, major zombie films, and academic attempts to explain the phenomenon while attempting to formulate their own theories and explanations about why twenty-first century Americans have fallen for the walking dead.

Back to top

Introduction to Asian American Studies
FYS 031, CRN 7002
Jennifer Chung
MW 8:30-9:45am

Who are Asian Americans?  What is the purpose of Asian American Studies and other ethnic studies programs?  This course attempts to answer these questions through an interdisciplinary introduction to the academic field of Asian American Studies.  It provides a broad overview of how Asian American Studies incorporates research in the social sciences, humanities, arts, and popular culture.

We will also address the legal statutes, politics, and events that have affected Asian Americans historically.  “Asian American” changes meaning during different historical moments; at one moment Asians are considered aliens ineligible for citizenship, but during another Asians are upheld as the model minority. In this class, we will not take the “Asian American” racial category as a given, but rather we will examine how the notion of “race” has been socially constructed throughout our nation’s history.  Readings will include critical texts as well as autobiographical essays and one novel.

Participation in class discussion is central to this course.  Students are expected to complete assigned readings and be ready to discuss them during each class.  Sometimes this means reading the texts more than once.  If this is not a skill you already have, you should be committed to learning how to do this throughout the semester.   As with all FYS courses, this course is writing-intensive.  You will receive instructor and peer feedback on writing assignments.

Back to top

Education: What’s it Good For?

FYS 032, CRN 6973
Matthew Hayden
TR 12:30-1:45pm

The course begins by challenging the assumption that a college education, as schooling, is a worthwhile activity. We will investigate dominant theoretical perspectives in education and the ways they influence schooling. Students will learn about theories such as Idealism, Pragmatism, Behaviorism, Existentialism, Marxism, and Postmodernism as a way to help them develop a better sense of how different stakeholders in their education (parents, employers, government, culture) conceive of schooling in concert with or contrary to the ways students themselves conceive it. Students will develop the foundation of a critical awareness of their education and their agency in it.

Back to top

Modern American Politics on Screen
FYS 033, CRN 6974
Rachel Paine
MW 12:30-1:45pm

American citizens may bemoan the state of affairs in our political environment, but we are fascinated by fictional depictions of the people, issues, institutions, and processes that make up the political system.  From The West Wing to House of Cards, from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington to The American President to Zero Dark Thirty, our TV and movie screens are filled with images of politics.  Why are some time periods and political institutions more likely to inspire TV and film representations than others?  How much do these representations of the American political system shape our perceptions, and how much do they feed our frustration?  Do they help viewers gain substantive and procedural knowledge about the politics of our time, or are they manifestations of common misunderstandings, perpetuating misinformation?  To what extent do they use and manipulate the themes of incivility, impropriety, dysfunction, idealism, ambition, and power?  What common tropes are used and how do they reinforce or change evaluative assessments of our current political environment?  How have some movies and TV shows shaped our collective memory and political culture?

These questions will form the basis for critical evaluation of TV and film covering the “modern” era of American politics, with special attention to the past three decades.  Viewing assignments will be used alongside readings, and students will collaboratively engage in writing and revising a “citizens guide” for political TV and films in addition to regular individual writing and original analytical projects.

Back to top

Got Ethics?

FYS 034, CRN 6975
Wade Leuwerke
MW 12:30-1:45pm

What drives your decision making? How do you define right and wrong? How do you handle situations that seem to have equally negative outcomes? This seminar will explore theoretical and philosophical foundations of ethics, ethical principles, and ethical decision making models. Through readings, interactive classroom discussions, presentations, critical thinking, collaborative group work, and writing we will seek understanding of our own moral reasoning and how we respond to ethical dilemmas. Students will develop their own code of ethics and ethical decision making model. These codes and models will be put into practice to devise solutions to real world dilemmas.

Back to top

Adult Films

FYS 035, CRN 5176
Leah Kalmanson
TR 3:30-4:45pm

What does it mean to be an "adult"?  Are you an adult now, or are you only beginning to become one?  What new responsibilities will you have as an adult?  What new freedoms?  The topic of this FYS is adulthood, and we will explore this topic through a series of films that problematize what it means to find yourself, to decide what you want out of life, to take responsibility for your decisions, and to have meaningful relations with other people.  The films will be "mature" on a number of levels -- artistically challenging, philosophically nuanced, and emotionally complex.

Back to top

Illusions

FYS 036, 3663
Martin Roth
MW 12:30-1:45pm

This course is about illusions.  We will begin by coming up with a working definition of an illusion and distinguish illusions from other kinds of mistakes or errors.  We will then consider two basic categories of illusion—perceptual and cognitive—and explore the ways in which perception and cognition are defined and how the different kinds of illusions are generated and discovered.  The results of these explorations will then be used to consider whether there are other kinds of illusions, e.g., affective or emotional illusions.  Along the way, we will reflect on the implications of illusions for our lives: How widespread are illusions?  To what extent are illusions learned or culturally specific?  Why do we tend to experience certain kinds of illusions but not others?  Would our lives be better if we did not experience illusions? Might our illusions actually make our lives go better?  If we decide that certain illusions are best avoided, how do we prevent suffering from them?  Once we admit the possibility of illusion, can we ever know that we are not experiencing an illusion?

Back to top

The University and YOU

FYS 037, CRN 6976
Roger Hewett
TR 12:30-1:45pm

What should you expect from the University? At one level this is a personal question. You, as an individual, have personal expectations about your university experience, specifically the Drake University experience which is about to unfold. At another level this is a question of public policy. You, as a member of society, have expectations about the role of higher education in the nation’s economic and social development.

While the university’s origins are rooted in medieval European tradition, we will step into the story in early 20th century America as the university makes its metamorphosis from a religious to a secular institution. After surveying the modern university’s evolution, reading Andrew Delbanco’s  College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be (Princeton 2012), we will return to the early 20th century to capture a personal sense of undergraduate education, reading Owen Johnson’s classic Stover at Yale (F.A. Stokes, 1912). The university’s role in society at that time will be examined by reading another classic work: Thorstein Veblen’s The Higher Learning in America: A Memorandum on the Conduct of Universities By Business Men  (B. W. Huebsch, 1918).

Advancing a hundred years, we’ll look at what contemporary students can expect from their university experience, reading Arum and Ropska’s Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses ( University of Chicago, 2011). Finally, attempting to glimpse into the future, we’ll examine emerging alternatives to the current university, reading Richard DeMillo’s Abelard to Apple: The Fate of American Colleges and Universities  (MIT, 2011). Selections from other works, - such as B. Ginsburg, The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-Administrative University and Why It Matters (Oxford University, 2011), G. Tuchman, Wannabe U: Inside the Corporate University (University of Chicago, 2009), and A. Hacker and C. Dreifus, Higher Education?: How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids---and What We Can Do About It, (Henry Holt,.2010) – may be offered to help understand contemporary American university education.

Students will be expected to read the principal works cited above, reviewing each work as well as its pertinent secondary literature in brief papers. Having critically evaluated these readings, students will turn to their own university to address questions about Drake University’s impact upon them, both as individuals and as members of society. Interviews with relevant members of the Drake community will be conducted. The results will be incorporated into a final group paper summarizing the semester’s experiences. The class paper, in turn, will be promulgated as the students see fit, completing the cycle of learning articulated in the College of Business and Public Administration’s mission statement: “bringing the world into the classroom and the classroom into the world.”

Back to top

Exploring the Portrayal of Mental Illness and Intellectual Disabilities in the Media

FYS 038, CRN 1916
Anisa Fornoff
TR 12:30-1:45pm

Stigmatization of mental illness and intellectual disabilities is readily apparent in the media today. This class will focus on dispelling the myths of these diagnoses and gain an understanding of the true nature of these conditions. Students will view select media and work in small groups to present information to the class regarding the diagnosis criteria and accurate presentation for the condition portrayed in the film. Student writing will focus on comparing and contrasting the differences between the media example and the factual information provided in class. The class will discuss the history of mental illness in our country, the definition of intellectual disability, and the effects of stigma. Students will also be introduced to supportive resources available both on campus and off campus. A service-learning project will be completed at Ruby Van Meter, a special education high school in Des Moines.

Back to top

Contemporary Global Issues in Context

FYS 039, CRN 6977
Jennifer Hogan
TR 3:30-4:45pm

This course aims to examine the controversies, challenges and impact of a series of global issues in today’s interconnected world through country-specific research and discussions.  By going global, it is my intention to expose you to issues that cross borders and begin to prepare you to become informed global citizens.  You will have the opportunity to research and report upon issues and events in a country of choice using various media sources including foreign newspapers, the Internet and other international publications.  Each week you will be expected to post responses to the readings and/or a brief summary of a current event in your country.  By the end of the course, students should have knowledge of various countries and cultures, and appreciate the diversity and cooperation needed to address global issues that affect us all.

Back to top

Imagining (Higher) Education

FYS 040, CRN 6503
Kevin Saunders
TR 3:30-4:45pm

For many of us, preparing for college raises questions that cause our stomachs to churn and our minds to cloud: "What will my major be?", "Who am I going to be?", "How will I make a difference on campus?", "How will I know what to engage in?" among many others.  We will examine how University students have answered those questions over the years, reflect on choices we make in our own educational experiences, and envision how our needs might shape our decisions.  Through small group dialogue, experiential learning, writing assignments, and reflective reading we will identify and analyze the questions of how we will produce lives that have meaning, achieve professional goals, and engage in responsible global citizenship.

Back to top

Can You Reason with the Law?

FYS 041, CRN 6978
Royce Fichtner
TR 12:30-1:45pm

This course is intended to help students learn how to think and read “like a lawyer.”  We will practice active reading in the context of court decisions and statutory law.  We will investigate several different forms of legal and non-legal authority and learn how each is used by judicial bodies in the United States.  Students will write numerous “briefs” of legal court decisions and learn how to apply a rule to a set of facts.  Students will routinely share their written assignments with the class for peer review.  The critical thinking and writing skills in this course will be useful for all types of students, but they will be especially useful for students considering a career in the legal field.

Back to top

Real Genius
FYS 042, CRN 6979
Carrie Dunham-LaGree
MW 8:30-9:45am

This course will explore the notion of genius. We’ll explore representations of genius throughout history, in popular culture, ideas of whether geniuses are born or made, and what genius means across a variety of disciplines, including the sciences, arts and humanities, and social sciences.

Back to top

Women in the Bible: Mates, Mothers, Murders, and More

FYS 044, CRN 7058
Trisha Wheelock
MW 12:30-1:45pm

This class will examine feminist theories and explore the depiction of women in biblical literature and in social and cultural contexts of both ancient Israel and the Mediterranean world. We will consider the roles women play within biblical narratives, the presentations of femininity and feminine in biblical traditions, and the legal/ethical precepts related to the status of women. Students will read both biblical texts and secondary literature. In addition, we will reflect on the influence of these texts on the lives of women and men in the church and evaluate their significance for life in the twenty-first century. No prior knowledge of Jewish and Christian canonical texts is assumed.

Back to top

Immigrants and Refugees: Comparative Policies and Problems, and Local Practices
FYS 046, CRN 7041
Eleanor Zeff
TR 12:30-1:45pm
Lab F 11:00-12:15pm, CRN 7070

This course will examine the political, economic, and social factors that affect immigration policy in the United States and abroad. This will include analysis and discussion of the implications of different types of immigration history and policies in countries sending and receiving immigrants. We will also examine different ways of resettling refugees and handling the problems of diversifying states and communities. The course will include a service component. Students will work with Iowa’s refugees through the Iowa International Center and their projects on immigration and refugees.

Back to top

Portraits of an Economy
FYS 047, CRN 6982
Janice Weaver
TR 12:30-1:45pm

The course will study the United States economy through fiction and data.  Employment and wages, income distribution, opportunity, mobility, consumption and role of government are among the topics to be studied.

Back to top

The Stories of Business
FYS 048, CRN 6983
Debra Bishop
MW 12:30-1:45pm

Who were key players in business history: Passion, timing, connections -- what makes a business grow?  Why do some businesses continue to thrive while others are long gone?  We will investigate the ups and downs in the history of business, learn from the popular stories and discover the little-known facts.  We will use readings, videos, research, and observation to take a critical look at how the business world reached where it is today and dream about what might be ahead.

Back to top

Making the Most of College: A Commuter Student Learning Community
FYS 049, CRN 6984
Melissa Sturm-Smith
TR 12:30-1:45pm

The course will cover various aspects of higher education, including student services, the history of higher education and the sheer dollars and cents of college. General themes will focus on enhancing the college experience through exploration of the philosophy of liberal arts education, analysis of issues and events on the inter/national higher education landscape and a critical examination of student development theories. Students will develop as self-directed learners, apply knowledge of the broader higher education context to their personal experiences at Drake, gain insight about the benefits of college, and understand how to utilize available resources to be successful.

Back to top

Marking the Most of College

FYS 050, CRN 6985
Kelli Pitts
TR 12:30-1:45pm

The course will cover various aspects of higher education, including student services, the history of higher education and the sheer dollars and cents of college.  General themes will focus on enhancing the college experience through exploration of the philosophy of liberal arts education, analysis of issues and events on the inter/national higher education landscape and a critical examination of student development theories.  Students will develop as self-directed learners, apply knowledge of the broader higher education context to their personal experiences at Drake, gain insight about the benefits of college, and understand how to utilize available resources to be successful.

Back to top

×