First Year Seminars
FYS 001 (CRN 2931) – Writing and Therapy
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) – Where the Action Is: Gambling and Risk-Taking
FYS 008 (CRN 7469) – Jane Austen: Property and Propriety
FYS 010 (CRN 6481) – The Power and Tradition, The Forces of Change: The Trial of Galileo; Henry VIII and the Reformation Parliament
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) – Mystical Journeys
FYS 017 (CRN 6568) – The Real Hunger Games—Food in America
FYS 018 (CRN 7498) - I'm Right, You're Wrong: Navigating the Noise of Political Opinion Media
FYS 019 (CRN 6964) – Social Media 4 Social Ch@nge
FYS 020 (CRN 6507 or 7549) – Masculinities in Film
FYS 022 (CRN 6995) – Lead like Jesus
FYS 023 (CRN 7042 or 7582) – Latino Lives in the U.S.
FYS 024 (CRN 6962) – Sausage Making: The Legislative Process at the State Level and the Role of the Advocate
FYS 025 (CRN 7474) – American Dreams
FYS 026 (CRN 6593 or 7559) – Ethnobiology, Nature, and Culture
FYS 027 (CRN 3437) – Ethics and Star Trek
FYS 028 (CRN 3006) – Seeing—Believing
FYS 030 (CRN 6963) – Energy for Future Presidents
FYS 031 (CRN 7002) – Introduction to Asian American Studies
FYS 032 (CRN 6973) – New York, New York
FYS 033 (CRN 6974) – Modern American Politics on Screen
FYS 034 (CRN 6975) – Got Ethics?
FYS 035 (CRN 5176) – Adult Films
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) – Generosity of the Heart
FYS 041 (CRN 6978) – Can You Reason with the Law?
FYS 042 (CRN 6979) – Refugees: The Human Experience
FYS 043 (CRN 7503) - Game of Thrones Yesterday and Tomorrow
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) – Global Problems of Population Growth
FYS 048 (CRN 6983) – Daring to Dream: The Stories of Business
FYS 049 (CRN 6984) – Adaptation -- Reading Films Based On Other Sources
Writing and Therapy
FYS 001, CRN 2931
This course examines the ways in which writing can be therapeutic and the most effective methods for writing therapeutically. This focus allows us to explore different functions and facets of writing; it also allows us to read about and discuss a variety of human experiences, specifically the ways in which different people make sense of illnesses from catastrophic trauma (such as war) to chronic dysfunction (such as manic depression or obsessive compulsive disorder). Reading, writing and discussion are all thoroughly integrated in the course.
Ways of Reading and Writing
FYS 002, CRN 6958
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.
Banned Books: Ideology, Suppression, and Censorship
FYS 003, CRN 6453
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.
Social Justice: Confronting Culture, Creating Change
FYS 004, CRN 6788
Lab F 12:00-2:00pm, CRN 7001
Social justice is both a process and a goal. The goal of social justice is full and equal participation of all groups in a society that is mutually shaped to their needs. [In a just society…] all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure. […] The process for attaining the goal of social justice, we believe, should also be democratic and participatory, inclusive and affirming of human agency and human capacities for working collaboratively to create change.
--Lee Anne Bell
In this course, we will engage in the process of community-based social justice by examining ways to analyze, understand, and resist forms of oppression, including racism, sexism, heterosexism, transgender oppression, religious oppression, classism, ableism, and ageism. Through a variety of in-class activities, writing assignments, and service-learning with our community partners, we will develop the critical tools necessary to understand oppression and our own socialization within oppressive systems and to develop techniques to interrupt and change oppressive patterns and behaviors in ourselves and in the institutions and communities of which we are a part.
Liar, Liar: Dishonesty in a Post-Truth Society
FYS 005, CRN 6959
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.
Decisions and Revisions
FYS 006, CRN 6456
In this course, we will explore "texts"—including novels, short stories, movies, music video, and drama—that take different perspectives on the practices of adaptation and revision. In some cases, the works we read will revise themselves over and over, as with Ken Grimwood's novel Replay. Others, like Krapp's Last Tape, feature characters obsessively reliving (and revising) their own memories of the past. Some—including Mohsin Hamid's How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia—"recycle" popular forms, in this case, self-help literature. Alison Bechdel's graphic memoire Fun Home uses visual depiction to retell difficulty episodes from the author's youth, allowing her and her audience to come to terms with a partly factual, partly fictionalized past. And Joyce Carol Oates's short story retells one of the most famous stories of Russian literature from an alternative point of view. Lars von Trier's film collaboration with Jorgen Leth titled The Five Obstructions will structure our progress through these explorations and experiments. It consists of a short film, "The Perfect Human," and five re-makes and will serve as the inspiration for the six main essay assignments of the course. These assignments will invite participants in the course to engage in their own experiments with revising, adapting, and re-envisioning their work from multiple perspectives and in multiple modes.
Where the Action Is: Gambling and Risk-Taking
FYS 007, CRN 1129
In this course, we will examine the ethics and efficacy of gambling and risk-taking in literature and popular culture. As Erving Goffman explains in his sociology of gambling, “Where the Action Is,” when one gambles, one places an appraisal on the future and accepts or gives a price for it now. How do individuals make these appraisals within the context of circumscribed gambling activities as well as within wider arenas of living? What distinguishes a good appraisal from a bad one, and what are the consequences of losing? We will trace the concept of risk from the early modern period to the present day, paying attention to both risk-takers and the risk-averse, winners and losers, and conmen and their marks. As a writing intensive course, students will explore the role of risk in writing and be challenged to take risks in their writing as well.
Jane Austen: Property and Propriety
FYS 008, CRN 7469
We will read Jane Austen's Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey and focus on Austen's use of landscape imagery, notions of the country house aesthetic, notions of imperialism and domesticity. We will read nonfiction accounts of aesthetics and travel as well as poetry of the late 18th century and early 19th century. The focus will be on understanding how "landscape" as a concept can involve notions of morality, politics, class, and aesthetics. Learning goals: to think critically about landscape and to apply our readings to issues of landscape gardening (lawns, decoration, etc.) today; to write about landscape passages with attention to plot, imagery and social or political meaning; to read texts from the 18th and 19th century; to engage in research both by using popular internet sources and academic sources and to discuss the difference.
The Power of Tradition, The Forces of Change: The Trial of Galileo; Henry VIII and the Reformation Parliament
FYS 010, CRN 6481
In this course, students will examine two different cultures, Rome in 1616-1633 and England in 1529, at points of crisis in belief, scientific and religious. We will analyze their ideas and debates on national and religious identity, on obedience to authority, and on how to retain a just society in the face of the new science and the new religion. What are the sources of power of those who govern the society? What constraints exist on that power? How are the demands of the community (political, religious, scientific) balanced with a growing sense of individual liberty? What tensions exist because of differences in wealth and status and attitudes toward economic inequality? Students will explore these questions and attempt to articulate some tentative conclusions about how traditional structures of authority face the challenge of new ideas.
Class is conducted not through lecture or discussion but through an elaborate role-playing pedagogy known as “Reacting to the Past.” “Reacting to the Past” 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. The Trial of Galileo: Aristotelianism, The “New Cosmology,” and the Catholic Church, 1616-1633, introduces students to the collision of Galileo’s new science with the elegant cosmology of Aristotle, Aquinas and medieval Scholasticism. The game is set in 17th century Rome, within the Roman Inquisition on the one-hand, and the lecture halls of the Jesuit Collegio Romano on the other. 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.
After extensive reading and preparation, each class member will take a “role” in each game, in order to debate, discuss and forge written policies and arguments relevant to the historical crisis. Students will write persuasively, both in role and out of role, exploring and reflecting on major issues and perspectives.
Representation of Recent American Identity
FYS 011, CRN 6968
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?
Batman and Cultural History
FYS 012, CRN 6967
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.
Exploring the Other Europe: The Balkans
FYS 013, CRN 6484
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.
21st Century Poetry
FYS 014, CRN 6485
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.
FYS 015, CRN 6515
In this class we will explore the use of journey metaphors to conceptualize and structure paths of religio-spiritual practice and maturation. The class will examine the use of such metaphors in at least three different religious traditions (probably Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism), in each of which the destination of the journey is conceived of as a state of union with God, oneself, or the world. We will also consider the contemporary plausibility and viability of such mystical journeys.
The Real hunger Games—Food in America
FYS 017, CRN 6568
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.
I'm Right, You're Wrong: Navigating the Noise of Political Opinion Media
FYS 018, CRN 7498
Jennifer Glover Konfrst
In this course, students will examine the rise of the pundit class and its impact on American political discourse, media coverage, and agenda setting.
Key questions to explore will include: do cable news and radio talk shows reflect a more divided electorate, or do they create the division? What qualifies someone as an expert to discuss policy and political issues on national television? How are pundits selected, how are their messages managed, and who decides when and where pundits espouse their opinions?
In addition to reading texts that examine this issue, we will spend much of our class time watching, listening to, reading, and analyzing political talk programming and news. We will also hear from Iowans who have played the role of pundit in local and national media. The class will also involve the opportunity to see the live recording of a statewide political talk program and a meeting with the series producer to discuss guest selection, topic selection, and scripting.
Learning Objectives: This course should foster students' ability to:
1. Think and write clearly and critically.
2. Analyze and integrate a variety of perspectives on a topic.
3. Develop a coherent and comprehensive understanding of a complicated subject.
4. Discover and evaluate sources of information.
Social Media 4 Social Ch@nge
FYS 019, CRN 6964
Social media has emerged as a powerful mode of communication in today's interconnected digital world. In this course students will use several theories of communication and social change to critically analyze the public, political, and personal roles of social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, and Snapchat, approaching each of these platforms as modes for creating, communicating, and critiquing identity, community, public argument, and visual culture. Students will consider the possibilities and/or limitations of such platforms as opportunities for mobility, modes of creating digital publics, and means to enhance citizenship while also weighing critiques of credibility, efficacy ("click-tivism" vs. "slacktivism"), and authenticity.
Masculinities in Film (two sections offered)
FYS 020, CRN 6507 or CRN 7549
MW 12:30-1:45pm (CRN 6507)
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm (CRN 7549)
Film Lab M 5:00-7:45pm, CRN 6508
Film Lab T 5:00-7:45pm, CRN 6509
Film Lab W 5:00-7:45pm, CRN 7550
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 assignments and in-class discussion and presentation.
Lead like Jesus
FYS 022, CRN 6995
Leadership is all the rage today, wouldn’t you say? But being a servant isn’t necessarily as hip as being a leader. So doesn’t the term servant leadership seem a little like an oxymoron? In this course we will think about servant leadership and, in particular, how Jesus portrayed servant leadership. This course will challenge both your view of leadership and how you lead. Be prepared to think deeply and look inwardly as we wrestle with a different paradigm of leadership.
Main Learning Goals:
-Students will be able to define leadership as it applies to various aspects of their lives.
-Students will be able to define and describe servant leadership by using the life of Jesus, the theory of Robert Greenleaf, and the narrative of James Hunter as examples.
-Students will be able to compare and contrast servant leadership to other styles of leadership.
-Students will be able to reflectively look at their own lives and determine the ways in which they lead (or choose not to lead) by using servant leadership.
Latino Lives in the U.S.
FYS 023, CRN 7042 or CRN 7582
Lourdes Gutierrez Najera
TR 12:30-1:45pm or TR 3:30pm-4:45pm
This course focuses on the experiences of Latino—Mexican, Central American, Cuban, Dominican, and Puerto Rican—transnational migrants living in the U.S. We will work to understand the social, political, and economic processes that shape the varied experiences of Latino migrants. In so doing we will discuss issues raised by recent immigration through a comparative, integrative, global-historical perspective.
Sausage Making: The Legislative Process at the State Level and the Role of the Advocate
FYS 024, CRN 6962
1) Introduce the legislative process at the state level.
2) Introduce advocacy as the means by which public issues are presented to state legislators. This part of the course will convey the differences between the role of the active citizen advocate and the role of the lobbyist.
3) Personalize both the role of the citizen advocate and that of the lobbyist by means of the student's choice of a public policy issue. That issue will be adopted by an individual student or a group of from two to three students who will demonstrate how they might make the case for adoption of legislation which makes their issue state law. Students choose whether or not to use a lobbyist as a means of pressing their issue.
FYS 025, CRN 7474and co-requisite POLS 001,CRN 4192
MW 12:30-1:45pm AND co-requisite course on TR 12:30-1:45pm (CRN 4192) Arthur Sanders
Honors students enrolled in this learning community will receive 3 elective credits towards the Honors Track of the Drake Curriculum.
This course begins with the question, “What constitutes the American Dream?” It presents a number of selected theories and observations concerning the most popular and pervasive abstract values centered on the nature of the American social order that shape the character of its citizens. These include the notions of liberty, equality, and freedom, as well as individualism, materialism, and issues of social justice. For who does the American Dream most readily apply? What populations has it historically excluded, and why? How do questions concerning socio-economic class, race, and gender (among others) affect access to the American Dream?
A primary tension addressed throughout the course is that between the “individual” and the “community,” and how we understand the appropriate and ethical laws and rights a government should respect and enforce within this tension. An important element of this tension is found in how we define, understand, and negotiate various realms of social life deemed “private” and “public.” We will ask some hard questions about how private and/or public "American Dreams” may come into conflict. We will also investigate the nature of American citizenship, and how our role as a “citizen” often finds itself in tension with our roles as consumers, whether in terms of products, goods, services, or perhaps most importantly, information.
Students who register for American Dreams must also register for POLS 001 (Arthur Sanders) The American Political System, taught by Professor Arthur Sanders. Professors 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.
Ethnobiology, Nature, and Culture (two sections offered)
FYS 026, CRN 6593 or CRN 7559)
TR 12:30-1:45pm (CRN 6593)
MW 12:30-1:45pm (CRN 7559)
"Ever tried to suck the sugary nectar out of the base of a clover flower or watched a bird build a nest? People 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. In this class we will explore the connection between nature and human cultures over time and around the world though the media of discussion, video, readings, and direct hands-on experience. Nature has changed us as much as we have changed nature and we will investigate examples of both throughout the semester."
Ethics and Star Trek
FYS 027, CRN 3437
Students will explore ethical issues using the backdrop of various Star Trek episodes as an impetus for discussion. By using a fictional setting students will be able to engage with difficult ethical situations, employ critical thinking skills, while also addressing highly charged issues in an educated manner. Students will be required to explore logical fallacies, persuasive writing, and research. Students will be required to be discussion leaders, argue both sides of an issue, and defend positions based on fact-based analysis. This course will be writing intensive.
Students will gain experience and competencies in the following areas:
-Understanding of logical fallacies, and their impact on deconstructing persuasive writing.
-Understanding of how to conduct research
-Problem solving and critical thinking skills
-Ability synthesize multiple data into a coherent written work
Seeing – Believing
FYS 028, CRN 3006
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.
Energy for Future Presidents
FYS 030, CRN 6963
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.
Introduction to Asian American Studies
FYS 031, CRN 7002
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.
New York, New York
FYS 032, CRN 6973
Mary Beth Holtey
New York City has served as the backdrop for countless books, movies and television shows. It’s a cultural icon. But how did New York City make the leap from Dutch colony to one of the world’s most influential cities? In this course we will examine the city’s early and modern history in the context of location and reform. Focus will be given to the large influx of people who entered the United States through Ellis Island, the ramifications of events such as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, the rise of muckraking journalism and the political machine, Tammany Hall.
Modern American Politics on Screen
FYS 033, CRN 6974
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.
FYS 034, CRN 6975
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.
FYS 035, CRN 5176
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.
The University and YOU
FYS 037, CRN 6976
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.”
Exploring the Portrayal of Mental Illness and Intellectual Disabilities in the Media
FYS 038, CRN 1916
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.
Contemporary Global Issues in Context
FYS 039, CRN 6977
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.
Generosity of the Heart: Philanthropy in Action
FYS 040, CRN 6503
Blake Campbell and Pamela Pepper
This course will be broken into three major themes:
What is Philanthropy?
Philanthropy in Action
Our goal is to have our students understand and appreciate the power of philanthropy, both locally and globally, actively participate in philanthropy and work to define their own personal philanthropy philosophy.
In this seminar we will review literature and relate research findings, on various aspects of philanthropy to their experiences inside and outside the classroom. We will also have students explore philanthropy through active participation. As a class, they will research and choose an organization where the class will spend a minimum of two hours experiencing philanthropy as a group. Examples of this might include spending time participating in a local fundraising event, feeding the homeless, or other outreach activities. We plan to have a Panel Presentation where donors and representatives of local non-profit and community organizations discuss the work they do and the reasons behind their involvement.
Can You Reason with the Law?
FYS 041, CRN 6978
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.
Refugees: The Human Experience
FYS 042, CRN 6979
Currently, there are over 15 million internationally displaced refugees. Millions are in refugee camps, millions have been able to settle in other countries, others are still seeking asylum. People leave their home countries because of war, political or religious persecution, and for economic reasons. What is the refugee experience? How do refugees fit in with the locals?
In this course we will read and hear about refugee experiences. We will explore culture and identity, both from the local and the new comer point of view. Class discussion and writing (responsive writings and a research paper) will be important in this course.
Game of Thrones Yesterday and Tomorrow
FYS 043, CRN 7503
"Game of Thrones" is in many ways Lord of the Rings meets House of Cards meets CNN's newsfeed; fantasy world inhabited by dire wolves, kings and queens, murder, romance, war and interpersonal violence, and every other human condition. Together we will watch Game of Thrones as a vehicle for discussing important social interactions such as Gender, Race, Class, Sexual Orientation/Expression, and Violence.
In this highly interactive class, as we examine these complex and often uncomfortable topics, we will be reading key writings, discussing our thoughts and experiences, and writing about what we observe. Remember, Winter is Coming.
Women in the Bible: Mates, Mothers, Murders, and More
FYS 044, CRN 7058
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.
Immigrants and Refugees: Comparative Policies and Problems, and Local Practices
FYS 046, CRN 7041
Lab Options MTWR 9:00am-12:30pm (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. Students are required to volunteer at least 4 hours per month.
Global Problems of Population Growth
FYS 047, CRN 6982
This course introduces students to the important and basic material on human fertility, population growth, the demographic transition and population policy. Topics include: the human and environmental dimensions of population pressure, demographic history, economic and cultural causes of demographic change, environmental carrying capacity and sustainability, the prevalence of infectious diseases, and social concerns such as child slavery, corruption, and increased violence. Political, religious and ethical issues surrounding fertility are also addressed. The lectures and readings attempt to balance theoretical and demographic scale analyses with studies of individual humans and communities. The perspective is global with both developed and developing countries included.
The student will examine the potential impacts of population growth upon the environment
The student will explain the concept of global warming and climate change and how overconsumption of fossil fuels have led to its acceleration
The student will list methods for source reduction of solid waste
The student will formulate strategies for improving their ecological footprint based on the results of the ecological footprint quiz
The student will compare fertility policies in developing countries
The student will summarize the factors that contribute to exploitation of children in developing countries
Daring to Dream: The Stories of Business
FYS 048, CRN 6983
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.
Adaptation -- Reading Films Based On Other Sources
FYS 049, CRN 6984
Adaptation--Reading Films Based on Other Sources examines movies that have been adapted to the screen from other mediums and asks students to critically analyze the works as both movies and as adaptations. The movies will be adapted from media of all kinds from stage plays to operas to literary classics to popular fiction to visual art and the students will be asked to process their thoughts on what challenges lie in adapting certain media and whether or not the movie succeeded both on its own and in honoring its source material. The goal is to have students recognize what is uniquely cinematic and how those aspects can be used to translate and, in some cases, enhance material from other areas.