2016 Fall FYS Courses






FYS 005 (6959) HONESTY & LIES






FYS 011 (6968 + 6969) DIVERSITY IN THE U.S/LAB



FYS 014 (6485) 21st CENTURY POETRY







FYS 022 (6995) WHY MUSIC?






















FYS 001 (CRN 2931)

Nancy Reincke
TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.

The subject of this course is 1) the role of sports within U.S. culture; 2) how culture determines the nature of U.S. sports; 3) the cultures of specific sports. Major topics will include fandom and spectatorship; how sports provide meaning; the economics of sports; social justice and sports (gender, race, sexuality); contemporary issues in sports in historical context.

Learning goals in addition to the general FYS goals include discerning and reflecting upon the power dynamics within an institution such as sports; critical awareness of how an institution such as sports shapes personal identity and cultural values; familiarity with the conventions of representing sports; developing independence with regard to formulating and researching a critical question.

The Dream Factory: Hollywood in the 1930s
FYS 002 (CRN 6958)
Dina Smith
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.

Students in this seminar will engage critically with 1930s Hollywood history and culture production through frequent analytical writing, intensive revision, and ongoing peer-to-peer workshops. Topically, the seminar will examine the rise of the Hollywood studio system and the consolidation of power in the hands of five major and three minor studios in the wake of the Great Depression. A relatively new industry, Hollywood faced the challenge of surviving after the 1929 stock market crash that coincided with the conversion of the medium to sound, the latter requiring expensive shifts in sound production and exhibition. In response, and with government backing, the studios created a monopolistic system, developed on the model of the Ford factory. Known as “the Dream Factory,” the system enacted a model of serial production, akin to the automobile assembly line, to churn out an efficient, marketable product: hundreds of movies over the decade in various, standardized genres. These vertically-integrated studios owned every aspect of production (stars were on exclusive studio contracts), distribution, and exhibition (Paramount films were block-booked at Paramount theaters).

Students will read about the economic and cultural history of 1930s Hollywood as well as explore the unique genres that engaged Depression-era audiences, such as the delightful and politically transgressive “screwball comedy” and the class conscious “backstage musical.” Students will watch several, black-and-white movies of the era with the goal of connecting these films, via close analysis, to their 1930s context.

Race to the White House 2016: What to Expect When You’re Electing
FYS 003 (CRN 6453)
Rachel Paine Caufield
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.

The 2016 presidential election has, thus far, confounded observers and citizens. Unlikely candidates have achieved unprecedented attention. Both parties have witnessed significant tension within the ranks, though in very different ways.

This class will focus attention on the 2016 presidential election, with special attention to (1) understanding how citizens can best evaluate the candidates and the parties to make informed choices; (2) assessing historical trends in the presidency and the electoral context; (3) effectively reading and analyzing polling data to track the race; (4) critically evaluating the role of the media in our election environment; and (5) examining how we got here and why 2016 seems so unique.

Contextualizing Beyoncé: Gender, Feminism, and Popular Culture
FYS 004 (CRN 6788)
Erin Meek
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.

This course will examine the relationships between gender, race, class, sexuality and feminism through the lenses of popular culture and media. We will examine the links between popular culture and masculinity, femininity, and others. Historical and contemporary cultural figures and their contributions to popular culture will be examined from an interdisciplinary, feminist perspective. This is a seminar-style course that relies upon active participation and thoughtful commentary to create substance and direction for all members of the class.

Course materials are rooted in feminist ideology and theory, and while no particular set of beliefs are necessary to succeed the class, students must be willing to examine phenomenon from various perspectives in order to gain a holistic understanding of course information. Students are responsible for broadening their knowledge of feminist, critical race, and sexuality studies through assigned readings, films, and other assigned material in order to become conscientious consumers and creators of popular culture.

Honesty & Lies
FYS 005 (CRN 6959)
Megan Brown
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.

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 & Revisions
FYS 006 (CRN 6456)
Craig Owens
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.

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.

Shakespearean Adaptations & Appropriations
FYS 007 (CRN 1129)
Jeanette Tran
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.

This course will consider the various ways in which Shakespeare’s poetry and plays have been adapted and appropriated over the last 400 years. What makes Shakespeare’s works so ripe for adaptation? Does adaptation and appropriation diminish or enrich Shakespeare’s work? How do the genres or mediums of adaptation shape the message? In addition to studying a selection of Shakespeare’s poetry and plays, we will examine works such as Charles and Mary Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare, Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, Fred Wilson’s “Iago’s Mirror”, Tim Blake Nelson’s O, and Out of Sequence: The Sonnets Remixed, edited by D. Gilson.

In this writing intensive course, students will be asked to complete short weekly writing assignments in addition to longer pieces that will be assigned throughout the semester. There will be an emphasis on drafting and revision as well.

The Invention of Wings and Context
FYS 008 (CRN 7469)
Lisa West
TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.

This course will focus on the 2015 novel The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd, which traces the development of abolitionist and women's rights advocate Sarah Grimke. The structure alternates chapters from the perspective of Grimke with chapter from the perspective of "Handful," a fictitious slave given to Grimke as a child. The novel explores how Sarah's and Handful's lives intersect, including the lies they tell each other and the ways they fail to understand each other. The course will include short primary texts from the 19th century related to slavery. The novel mentions several historic events, including reference to the Denmark Vesey uprising. Students will research one of the contextual moments in the text and further consider the way this novel engages history. Learning goals: consider the ways history and fiction are related; conduct research using both primary and secondary source; present information to classmates.

South African Literature & Culture
FYS 009 (CRN 6479)
Melisa Klimaszewski
TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.

Students in this seminar study the literature and culture of South Africa through texts in several genres: novel, film, biography, short story, and poetry. Names like Nelson Mandela, Robben Island, and Steve Biko may sound familiar, and in this seminar, students will understand those figures and their legacies in depth. We will learn about apartheid, black consciousness, oppression, and coalitions against racism by analyzing literary texts in detail. 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. 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. This seminar is, of course, open to students in all majors, and those with interest in social justice, English/Writing, Politics, International Relations, History, and other majors in the Humanities may find it particularly rewarding.

In addition to learning about 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. 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, Stephen Otter’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.

A Community of Video Gamers
FYS 010 (CRN 6481)
Cameron Tuai
TR 3:30-4:45 p.m.

This seminar will explore role of video gaming as a socio-cultural reflection of community. Starting with the question, “what is a game” students will explore the history of video gaming, its aesthetics, narrative, rules, and player interactions. Building off this foundational knowledge, students will then critically examine the role of video games as a reflection of community norms concerning socio-cultural ideals, such as gender, sexual orientation, race and cultural identity.

Central to the FYS experience is the structuring of students into learning communities. This seminar leverages this structure by forming students into a gaming community. Competing in teams, and as individual community members, students will use video games in conjunction with course materials as a means to internalize, critically reflect upon, and document their experiences. As a community of video gamers, the goal of this seminar is to recognize not only the value of diversity as competitive factor, but also as a means for critically redefining the ideals of “winning” in terms of community benefit.

Diversity in the U.S/ Lab
FYS 011 (CRN 6968 & 6969)
Sandi Patton Imani
MW 12:30 -1:45 p.m.; Lab M 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

This course will explore issues of diversity in the U.S. through a narrative framework. We will consider storytelling about the U.S. and its “diverse” people at the individual, familial, cultural, media, and institutional levels. Students will explore questions of identity and the various routes by which we arrive at understandings of who we are as individuals and members of various groups. These routes include the literal paths our families took in moving from place to place as well as more metaphorical routes such as the paths established for all of us to follow based on our nationality, gender, race, socioeconomic class, sexuality, and level of mental and physical ability, among others.

One of our goals will be to come to a fuller understanding of ourselves and of the various communities we inhabit. We will critically explore and analyze public and personal narratives about immigration, family, and the “American Dream,” including attention to the stories that don’t often get told publically. Students will participate in a service-learning project about diversity with 5th grade students at a local International Baccalaureate Elementary School. The service-learning lab will be devoted to working with them on collaborative digital storytelling projects that will be shared publically at the end of the semester.

Comics & Social Diversity
FYS 012 (CRN 6967)
Jeff Karnicky
TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.

In this course, we will look at how comics have portrayed social difference, and more recently, how diversity in comics’ creators and audiences has affected the production of contemporary comics.
The following course objectives will be used for the class.

Course Objectives

  • Under the history of comics as it relates to race, ethnicity, class, gender, nation, and other forms of identity
  • Become close readers of comics
  • Use research to support and inform your writing
  • Engage in class discussion in a focused, serious manner
  • Examine the racial and gendered stereotypes that mid-20th century comics employed, and think about how these compare to contemporary comics
  • Think about the ways comics have engaged social issues and instigated for changes in social norms
  • Examine how the comics industry has become more diverse in its creators and its audience and think about how this affects the production of comics

Current Issues: Immigration, Generation Y, Climate Change
FYS 013 (CRN 6484)
Stoyan Tchaprazov
TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.

The goals of this FYS are for you to develop skills in written and oral communication. As a result, you should become a communicator better able to make effective decisions in your own academic life and work. Throughout the course, we will spend considerable time discussing writing-related issues, including clarity, cohesion, style, and revision. You will learn how to summarize, analyze, and evaluate various types of texts and then use that knowledge in three kinds of assignments: rhetorical analysis (with summary), visual analysis, exploratory/persuasive texts (with documented research).

21st Century Poetry
FYS 014 (CRN 6485)
Brian Spears
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.

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.

An Inquiry into Whiteness
FYS 015 (CRN 6515)
Petra Lange
TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.

This course examines the impact of white culture in our national and personal histories. Students will explore the concepts of dominant culture, intersecting social identities, and the contexts that privilege and disadvantage social identities.

FYS 016 (CRN 6486)
Amy Letter
TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.

We will examine stories adapted by the Walt Disney corporation, closely reading the previous ("original") versions and closely viewing the Disney versions, analyzing not only the particular choices made in each case, but the approach to adaptation taken over the years by this cultural powerhouse.

The Real Hunger Games: Food in America
FYS 017 (CRN 6568)
Carlyn Crowe
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.

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. And then we will compare the reality of these topics to their fictional comparisons as presented in The Hunger Games trilogy. Through a service-learning project we will explore the social justice issues surrounding food security by working with community partner and delve into an identified community need. Warning—you might get your hands dirty! 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 eat?" 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.

Beatles Popular Music & Society
FYS 018 (CRN 7498)
Todd Evans
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.

The course will provide an in-depth, song-by-song look at the music of this extraordinary group and the unique songwriting partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Additionally, the course will explore the interaction between popular music, culture and society during the 1960s.

Donald Trump: American Political Tradition
FYS 019 (CRN 6964)
Laura Porter
TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.

The presidential candidacy of businessman and reality TV star Donald Trump has defied the expectations of scholars and pundits alike. His bombastic and so-called politically incorrect style has rapidly galvanized an angry, alienated, and little-understood segment of American society, even as it has alarmed others all across the political spectrum. Observers have searched for explanations of his success in past examples of nationalistic, authoritarian, nativist and racist political movements—the most common being European fascism. Yet we have yet to see whether “Trumpism” conforms to such foreign templates, harkens to longtime impulses in the American political tradition or breaks these molds entirely.

This course will approach Trump’s 2016 candidacy as an exercise in thinking about contemporary politics in historical context. Students will consider what is old and new about Trump’s policy platform, his rhetoric and tactics, the media’s reaction, his defiance of ideological conservatism and the GOP establishment, and the political behavior of his constituency—all while using American history as a guidepost. In their readings, class discussions, and written assignments, students will learn to reason critically about American politics, build arguments about political phenomena, and consider bigger questions about the insights (and potential perils) of using history as a lens for understanding the political present and future.

Building an Olympian
FYS 020 (CRN 6507)
Meredith Lutrell
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.

Elite athletic performance pushes the limits of human physiology, and athletes have been celebrated in both ancient and modern societies, dating back to the ancient Olympic games. What does it take to become an elite athlete? What are the limits to human athletic performance? In this FYS course, we will examine the interaction between environmental and inherited factors that contribute to athletic success. We will critically assess this classic “nature versus nurture” paradigm in the context of athletic performance. The ethical, biomedical, and societal impact of conducting scientific research on the environmental and inherited factors contributing to elite athletic performance will also be explored. The fundamental aspects of athletic performance (speed, endurance, power, strength, agility, coordination) will be examined in the context of physiology, trainability, and heritability.

Students will engage with this material in independent readings, small group discussions, and laboratory exercises. Students also will regularly be engaged in different types of writing, including reflections based on their own experiences, interpretation of scientific and popular literature, and articulating and defending logical, sound arguments about relevant issues.

Why Music?
FYS 022 (CRN 6995)
Grady McGrannahan
TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.

Do humans require music? Should humans create music, and if so, how? Should humans listen to all types of music? How would one define musical preference? Why would one take on a career in music? Does music serve a purpose in today’s 21st-Century lifestyle? Why music?

FYS – “Why Music?” will explore the sociological, educational, professional, psychological, physiological, and cognitive properties of music. This seminar is not exclusive to music majors, but will serve as an introductory study of the many properties of music to facilitate the learning outcomes of critical thinking, written communication, and information literacy.

Make a Difference: Transform Yourself through Service Learning
FYS 023 (CRN 7582)
Sally Beisser
TR 3:30-4:45 p.m.

In this course students will engage in 20 hours of planned service activities or volunteerism. The service experiences are integrally related to the academics of the course. Students will deepen their thinking through reading and writing about critical issues (e.g., poverty, homeless, housing, or intergenerational issues, etc.) and will volunteer in sites such as Head Start, Habitat for Humanity, or Senior Citizen centers.

Students will engage in critical thinking, ethical and civic dimensions of volunteerism, reflection, and celebration of their service-learning experiences as they share a multimedia project on their 20 hours of community service. The overall goal of the course is participatory citizenship that “makes a difference” …in yourself and others.

The Common Good
FYS 024 (CRN 6962)
Renee Sedlacek
MW 8:00-9:15 a.m.

This first year seminar is only open to students selected into the Engaged Citizen Corps. For more information about the Engaged Citizen Corps please visit: http://www.drake.edu/servicelearning/forstudents/serviceprogramsandorganizations/engagedcitizencorps

Drake's mission is to provide an exceptional learning environment that prepares students for meaningful personal lives, professional accomplishments, and responsible global citizenship. As entering first year students selected for the Engaged Citizen Corps, you will address concepts, issues, and practices of social justice for the common good. Students will utilize their weekly service placement as an extension of our classroom learning and textbook, spend time in reflective observation and active participatory research to understand their individual contributions towards serving the Common Good.

American Dreams
FYS 025 (CRN 7474)
Joan McAlister
TR 12:30-1:45 p.m. AND co-requisite course POLS 001 (CRN 4192)
Joanna Mosser
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.

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 whom 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 (Joanna Mosser) The American Political System, taught by Joanna Mosser. Professors McAlister and Mosser 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
FYS 026 (CRN 6593)
Nanci Ross
TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.

"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)
Jerome Hilscher
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.

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.

Seeing – Believing
FYS 028 (CRN 3006)
Ted Hatten
TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.

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, and 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.

New Leadership for New Agriculture
FYS 029 (CRN 7907)
Matthew Russell
TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.

Great changes are happening in agriculture. Two interpretations of this change dominate the discussion about the future of farming. One is led by a highly industrialized, globally driven agriculture dominated by complex business organizations. Supporters of this interpretation argue for a continuation of the green revolution which depends on increasing specialization, regionalization, and global trade. While food has become a smaller percentage of the whole of agriculture, feeding the world continues to be their primary argument to increase a dependency on the status quo. A second group advocates for an agricultural future drawing on the food movement and argues for a more localized food system to create more resilient economies and a more sustainable ecology. A preferred future relies on justice for everyone who eats and all those who participate in producing food. This interpretation offers a dramatic critique of industrial agriculture. In turn, industrial agriculture is pushing back against this challenge.

The future of agriculture is much more complex than this dichotomy. This course explores a more complicated reality focusing primarily on new leadership opportunities in a changing paradigm at least as dynamic as the shift ushering in the green revolution.

Energy for Future Presidents
FYS 030 (CRN 6963)
Klaus Bartschat
TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.

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 Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Global Climate Change), 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.

Science Fiction & Philosophy /Lab
FYS 031 (CRN 7002 & 6487)
Martin Roth
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.; Lab W 6:00-8:50 p.m.

“You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension—a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.”

Science fiction and philosophy each has a venerable history of using the strange and fantastic to examine and challenge the familiar, and in this course we will use works of science fiction—novels, short stories, and films—to introduce and explore a number of long-standing philosophical issues. The topics to be considered in this class include knowledge and reality, free will and determinism, and the relationship between mind and body.

New York, New York
FYS 032 (CRN 6973)
Mary Beth Holtey
TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.

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.

Slavery and American Popular Culture
FYS 033 (CRN 6974)
Nate Holdren
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.

In 1865 the United States ended slavery in this country, freeing four million African Americans. Slavery has been the subject of countless works of fiction, non-fiction, and film. Depictions of slavery in American popular culture began well before slavery ended. Many anti-slavery political activists wrote widely-read newspapers, novels, and nonfiction books. Arguably, these works helped to end slavery.

In this class we will examine material from the past, including anti-slavery fiction and nonfiction, and from the present, including current fiction, scholarly writing, and movies. Students will gain an understanding of both slavery and representation of slavery in popular culture. In addition, we will discuss more generally the ways in which pop culture can help and hinder our thinking about the past and the present.

Religions of Des Moines
FYS 034, (CRN 6975)
Timothy Knepper
TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.

This first year seminar will introduce students to many of the world’s religions through an exploration of religious diversity in Drake’s own “backyard.” Among the religions to be considered include Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Exploration of these religions will utilize a variety of methods, including readings, lectures and discussions, site visits, films, inter-religious dialogues, and maybe also guest lectures.

Emphasis will placed be on the current beliefs and practices of these communities (i.e., not on the historical development of these religions), with special attention to what the beliefs and practices of these communities and religions “tell” us about the nature and function of religion in general.

Life in the key of Em: What we can learn from the American Blues music movement
FYS 035 (CRN 5176)
Thomas Buckmiller
TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.

What happened to Robert Johnson at the Crossroads? Who are the three Kings of the blues and why are they important? What is the difference between a shuffle and straight time? Who influenced modern blues players like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Jack White and others?

We will read, write and think critically about the Blues by: listening to recordings of various Blues players, hearing live performances from several local Blues artists and discussing the historic, geographic, social, and cultural concepts associated with American Blues music. Students in the class will grapple with how the Blues is relevant today and think about lessons we can learn from this form of music. The class will feature various guest speakers/musicians to share why Blues music is important to them.

Exploring the Portrayal of Mental Illness and Intellectual Disabilities in the Media
FYS 038 (CRN 1916)
Anisa Fornoff
TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.

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. Students will participate in a service-learning project with Ruby Van Meter, a special education middle school and high school. This project requires 4-6, 2-hour visits outside our regular scheduled class time in which students will participate in classroom activities with students with disabilities.

Building an Olympian
FYS 040 (CRN 6503)
Meredith Lutrell
MW 8:00-9:15 a.m.

Elite athletic performance pushes the limits of human physiology, and athletes have been celebrated in both ancient and modern societies, dating back to the ancient Olympic games. What does it take to become an elite athlete? What are the limits to human athletic performance? In this FYS course, we will examine the interaction between environmental and inherited factors that contribute to athletic success. We will critically assess this classic “nature versus nurture” paradigm in the context of athletic performance. The ethical, biomedical, and societal impact of conducting scientific research on the environmental and inherited factors contributing to elite athletic performance will also be explored. The fundamental aspects of athletic performance (speed, endurance, power, strength, agility, coordination) will be examined in the context of physiology, trainability, and heritability.

Students will engage with this material in independent readings, small group discussions, and laboratory exercises. Students also will regularly be engaged in different types of writing, including reflections based on their own experiences, interpretation of scientific and popular literature, and articulating and defending logical, sound arguments about relevant issues.

FYS 043 (CRN 7503)
Tony Tyler
TR 3:30-4:45 p.m.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice” – MLK.

America’s history has been filled with social movements struggling for the freedom and social justice of people groups. From the African American civil rights movements, women’s liberation movements, to LGBTQ struggles for freedom and justice, there is a rich tradition in America of public dissent, civil disobedience, and legislative efforts to address personal, institutional, and social injustice.

This highly interactive course will examine both historical and contemporary justice movements for African Americans, Women, and LGBTQ communities via lenses of power, access, and social dynamics. This course will also include a service learning component.

Women in the Bible: Mates, Mothers, Murders, and More
FYS 044 (CRN 7058)
Trisha Wheelock
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.

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.

Famous & Almost Famous Women
FYS 045 (CRN 6980)
Carrie Dunham-LaGree
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.

In this course, we will explore fictional depictions of real women in short stories, novels, and films. History is the study of the past, but much of history focuses on the stories of men. With less information in the historical record about women, fiction writers and filmmakers have freedom to use their creativity and imagination to fill in the historical gaps. Each week we’ll read, watch a film, write, research the real woman or women, including the time and places covered in the texts, and discuss where history ends and fiction begins.

Daring to Dream: The Stories of Business
FYS 048 (CRN 6983)
Debra Bishop
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.

Who were key players in business history and what role did they play in shaping the future? 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 lie ahead.

Adaptation -- Reading Films Based On Other Sources
FYS 049 (CRN 6984)
Nick Renkoski
TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.

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.

Lovecraft: Horror & Madness
FYS 050 (CRN 7952)
Kyle McCord
TR 3:30-4:45 p.m.

This course introduces students to the enigma that was H.P. Lovecraft. This class will explore Lovecraft's influences and, in particular, his work's connection with the psychic trauma of the First World War. Students produce their own horror writing and critical writing on topics such as cultural value of pulp fiction, literary depictions of madness, and/or literary theories in the wake of the WWI. Discussions center on expanding students¹ critical understanding of Lovecraft and the rich world he created.

University News
October 20, 2016
The Comparison Project will present the third event in its 2016–2017 series on death and dying. A community interfaith dialogue on Oct. 27 will feature representatives of three different refugee religions in Des Moines.