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2018 Fall FYS Courses


FYS 001 (CRN 2931) – Women & Money

FYS 003 (CRN 6453) – Fiction of Gender

FYS 005 (CRN 6959) – Religion & Culture Wars

FYS 006 (CRN 6456) – Science in Sport

FYS 007 (CRN 1129) – Shakespearean Adaptations and Appropriations

FYS 008 (CRN 7469) – Groundwater Contamination, Law, Community: Wells G&H lessons

FYS 009 (CRN 6479) – South African Literature and Culture

FYS 010 (CRN 6481) – Power of Tradition, Forces of Change: Athens (403 BCE) and England (1529)

FYS 012 (CRN 6967) – Comics & Social Diversity

FYS 014 (CRN 6485) – Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop

FYS 015 (CRN 6515) – Animal Consciousness and Human Consciences

FYS 016 (CRN 6486) – Conversation

FYS 017 (CRN 6568) – Mid-term Elections 2018: Media Coverage

FYS 018 (CRN 7498) – Beatles, Popular Music & Society

FYS 019 (CRN 6964) – Leadership, Personality, and the Hunger Games

FYS 021 (CRN 7906) – #MeToo

FYS 022 (CRN 7003) – Crossing Over: Boundaries & the Body

FYS 024 (CRN 6962) – Toxic Charity: A critical look at Service-Learning & Volunteerin

FYS 025 (CRN 7474) – American Dreams (learning community)

FYS 026 (CRN 6593) – Ethnobiology, Nature, and Culture

FYS 027 (CRN 3437) – Ethics and Star Trek

FYS 028 (CRN 3006) – FLIGHT: Exploring Social Justice and Culture

FYS 029 (CRN 7907) – FLIGHT: Exploring Social Justice and Culture

FYS 030 (CRN 6963) – How We Fight, How We Win

FYS 031 (CRN 7002) – Science Fiction & Philosophy

FYS 033 (CRN 6974) – Religions of Des Moines

FYS 035 (CRN 5176) – Life in the key of Em: What we can learn from the American Blues music movement

FYS 036 (CRN 3663) – Underground Voices: Alternative Media

FYS 037 (CRN 6490) – How We Fight, How We Win

FYS 038 (CRN 1916) – Exploring the Portrayal of Mental Illness and Intellectual Disabilities in the Media

FYS 039 (CRN 6977) – A Small Dose of Toxicology

FYS 041 (CRN 6978) – Vote Smart!

FYS 042 (CRN 6979) – Building Democracy in the Wake of Apartheid

FYS 043 (CRN 7503) – #BlackLivesMatter

FYS 044 (CRN 7058) – Women in the Bible

FYS 045 (CRN 6980) – Famous & Almost Famous Women

FYS 046 (CRN 7041) – Fanfiction & Fandom

FYS 047 (CRN 6982) – The Other Side of the Wall: The Americanization of Mexico

FYS 048 (CRN 6983) – Science Fiction, Science Fact

FYS 050 (CRN 7952) – Lovecraft: Horror & Madness


FYS 001 (CRN 2931) – Women & Money
Nancy Reincke
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

This course examines the ways in which our relationship to money is gendered. We will consider the acquisition of wealth, the income gap, career choices, class consciousness, consumerism, the tax structure, security in retirement, philanthropy, financial literacy, the emotional functions of money. Our goals will be to learn how each of us as individuals fits within the bigger picture of the economy and to better understand our responsibilities as citizens.

FYS 003 (CRN 6453) – Fiction of Gender
Beth Younger
MW 12:30pm-1:45pm

This course considers gender (masculinity, femininity, and non-binary gender) in fiction. By reading short stories, poetry, and novels as well as critical writing, we will examine how various authors complicate and challenge our ideas of gender. We will focus on multicultural (and LGBTQA) perspectives with an eye towards diversity.

FYS 005 (CRN 6959) – Religion & Culture Wars
Laura Porter
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

The so-called “culture wars” are raging now more than ever. Only a short time ago it seemed that debates over family, gender, sexuality, abortion, and the place of religion in public life were nearly decided, leading some observers to declare the culture wars dead or dying. Yet the last election cycle demonstrated how thoroughly such issues surrounding "traditional family values” and opposition to “politically correctness” can galvanize a substantial constituency within the American media and political landscape.

FYS 006 (CRN 6456) – Science in Sport
Nate Newman
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

Science and sport are two common fields of interest in the American culture. While they can coexist separately, combining these two fields has produced a variety of successes and failures that have furthered the knowledge, enjoyment, and experiences of many. Concussions, injury treatment, performance enhancing drugs, and career longevity are some of the areas where science and sport have more recently overlapped. These areas will be the focus while introducing students to critical thinking, college writing, and the liberal arts.

FYS 007 (CRN 1129) – Shakespearean Adaptations and Appropriations
Jeanette Tran
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

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.

FYS 008 (CRN 7469) – Groundwater Contamination, Law, Community: Wells G&H lessons
Lisa West
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

This course will focus on the legal thriller A Civil Action (book and movie) and the groundwater contamination case on which it is based.  In the 1980s, local reporters noticed a cluster of childhood leukemia cancers, then adult cancers, that were linked to the use of contaminated well water.  We will read the book, look at data connected to the cases, consider more recent issues of water contamination, and consider community responses to environmental issues from 1980 to the present.  This law- and environment-focused course will involve reading and writing for both science and non-science majors.  

FYS 009 (CRN 6479) – South African Literature and Culture
Melisa Klimaszewski
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

This seminar studies the literature and culture of South Africa through novels, films, biography, short stories, and poetry. Students will understand figures like Nelson Mandela in depth as they learn about the history of apartheid, black consciousness, and coalitions against racism through detailed analysis of literary texts. Students with interest in African studies, social justice, English/Writing, Politics, International Relations, and History may find the course particularly rewarding.

FYS 010 (CRN 6481) – Power of Tradition, Forces of Change: Athens (403 BCE) and England (1529)
Elizabeth Robertson
MW 12:30pm-1:45pm

This course examines Athens, Greece and England at moments of political/cultural crises in which radical changes challenge traditional beliefs. Through reenacting historical roles, students debate and write about major ideas and texts: Plato’s Republic for Athens; More’s Utopia, Machiavelli’s The Prince, and Erasmus for Henry VIII and the Reformation Parliament.

FYS 012 (CRN 6967) – Comics & Social Diversity
Jeff Karnicky
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

In this course, we will look at how comic books have portrayed social difference, and more recently, how diversity in comics’ creators and audiences has affected the production of contemporary comics.

FYS 014 (CRN 6485) – Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop
Brian Spears
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

This course will explore the work of contemporary poets whose work responds to and is influenced by hip hop both as a musical genre and a political movement. The primary text for this course will be The BreakBeat Poets Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop.

FYS 015 (CRN 6515) – Animal Consciousness and Human Consciences
Christopher L Kliethermes
MW 12:30pm-1:45pm

How do the specific cognitive abilities an animal species might possess – its sensory awareness, pain perception, and learning and memory abilities – affect how we interact with and use that species? This course explores selected historical and contemporary issues in our relationship with non-human animals, including their use in agriculture, research, and as pets. Students will engage with perspectives on these issues from evolutionary neurobiologists, biomedical researchers, moral philosophers, animal behaviorists, and animal rights activists.

FYS 016 (CRN 6486) – Conversation
Amy Letter
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

This is a new course which will focus on conversation, meaning both in-person, face-to-face, attentive but fundamentally unstructured communication about various topics, as well as the idea of a Great Conversation, a culture-wide process of writers, thinkers, and creators responding to one another and building on each other's insights.

FYS 017 (CRN 6568) – Mid-term Elections 2018: Media Coverage
Lee Jolliffe
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

We explore the 2018 midterm elections, comparing influence groups, candidate messages, and media coverage. Guest speakers, discussion, short films, and fieldwork will help explain the ongoing build-up to election night. Final project is a research paper comparing events with the media coverage.

FYS 018 (CRN 7498) – Beatles, Popular Music & Society
Todd Evans
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

What is it about The Beatles that continues to amaze and baffle us? How did it all Come Together and why are we so fascinated with their music and lives 53 years after their first television appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show? Let’s find out.

FYS 019 (CRN 6964) – Leadership, Personality, and the Hunger Games
Cristina Wildermuth
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

This multidisciplinary course helps students understand the impact of personality on leadership styles. We will use characters from young adult literature – especially, the Hunger Games series – to explore different personality traits and leadership approaches. Students will assess their own personality traits as per the Five Factor Model, identify their leadership strengths, trace a development plan, and use Hunger Games characters as metaphors for lessons learned. Students will also work, together, on a class blog, exploring multiple leadership styles and personality traits as illustrated by characters in popular books and movies.

FYS 021 (CRN 7906) – #MeToo
Renee Cramer
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

This FYS will use an interdisciplinary and intersectional feminist approach to understand the places where celebrity, sexual assault, sexual harassment, social movements, and the law collide and constitute each other. We will read case law that helps us understand the construction of rape and harassment as harms against women in the context of the workplace; scholarly work on celebrity, feminism, law, and narrative; and journalistic accounts of the on-going movement to end sexual harassment, abuse, and discrimination.

FYS 022 (CRN 7003) – Crossing Over: Boundaries & the Body
Chris Baum
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

This course encourages us to consider the human body not only as an organic, physical presence – but as a social and cultural product. Over the semester, we will draw from diverse readings, lectures, films, discussions, and projects to explore the body in moments of becoming or transformation to help better identify, understand, and interpret the social and cultural dimensions of the body.

FYS 024 (CRN 6962) – Toxic Charity: A critical look at Service-Learning & Volunteering
Kodee Wright
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

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, students will address concepts, issues, and practices of charity, service-learning, and volunteerism. Utilizing their weekly service placement as an extension of the classroom learning, various articles, and the textbook, students will spend time in reflective observation and active participatory research to understand their individual contributions towards society as a whole. We will wrestle with the notion that not all good intentions lead to what is best for organizations or people – and that, in fact, some charity can be toxic.


FYS 025 (CRN 7474) – American Dreams (learning community)
Joan McAlister
MW 12:30pm-1:45pm AND TR 12:30pm-1:45pm (POLS 001 CRN 4192)
Honors students enrolled in this learning community will receive 3 elective credits towards the Honors Track of the Drake Curriculum.

This Honors learning community critically examines the American Dream, considering its shifting representations, historical exclusions, and role in public life and national identity. Together, we explore key values such as liberty, equality, and freedom, as well as concerns about the role of individualism, materialism, and social justice in defining success in America.                                    

Students in this FYS will be simultaneously enrolled in a special section of POLS001, American Political Systems, which will examine the same questions as they play out in American politics and government.

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

"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."

FYS 027 (CRN 3437) – Ethics and Star Trek
Jerome Hilscher
MW 3:30pm-4:45pm

Using Star Trek Episodes we will examine a variety of out of this world conundrums, and apply differing ethical theories to the decision making process. You will be required to watch a few episodes on your own, but you do not need to be a Trekkie. Live long, and prosper.

FYS 028 (CRN 3006) – FLIGHT: Exploring Social Justice and Culture
Ted Hatten
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

Through this course students will explore culture and society and how issues social justice work to provide a framework for an equitable community. Students will explore how culture forms and shifts over time, and look at inequalities that can be addressed through principles of social justice. Students will engage in a hands-on community based research project that brings to light the principles of culture, society and social justice, as well as providing a bridge to the student to become a part of the Drake and Des Moines Community. Our inquiry will be both academic and experiential, as we explore questions about how to sustain a commitment to personal well-being and academic success while simultaneously engaging larger questions about social justice.

FYS 029 (CRN 7907) – FLIGHT: Exploring Social Justice and Culture
Erin Lain
TR 3:30pm-4:45pm

Through this course students will explore culture and society and how issues social justice work to provide a framework for an equitable community. Students will explore how culture forms and shifts over time, and look at inequalities that can be addressed through principles of social justice. Students will engage in a hands-on community based research project that brings to light the principles of culture, society and social justice, as well as providing a bridge to the student to become a part of the Drake and Des Moines Community. Our inquiry will be both academic and experiential, as we explore questions about how to sustain a commitment to personal well-being and academic success while simultaneously engaging larger questions about social justice

FYS 030 (CRN 6963) – How We Fight, How We Win
Greg Rohlf
MW 12:30pm-1:45pm

Waging war has been seen as both the most heroic of endeavors and the most colossal of blunders.  In this course, we seek to understand the timeless issues of warfare from their beginnings in predation to the use of drones today.     We also will consider the ways in which warfare has been changed by social and political developments and especially the role of technology.   Who fights, how we fight and win, and the place of war in civilization are the fundamental issues at the heart our inquiry. 

FYS 031 (CRN 7002) – Science Fiction & Philosophy
Martin Roth
MW 12:30pm-1:45pm

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 to explore a number of philosophical issues, including knowledge, free will, and the mind.

FYS 033 (CRN 6974) – Religions of Des Moines
Tim Knepper
MW 12:30pm-1:45pm

This first-year seminar will introduce students to 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. The class will undertake site visits to several of these religious communities.

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

Life in the Key of Em: American Blues music:

  • Read, write, listen and critically think about the blues;
  • Make two required field trip to see live blues music locally;
  • Learn from blues musicians,
  • Go into an actual studio and, as a class, cut some tracks (you don’t necessarily need to be a musician).

FYS 036 (CRN 3663) – Underground Voices: Alternative Media
Bartholomew Schmidt
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

Amateurs have long used underground newspapers, zines, blogs, and social media to spread their stories. This course will explore non-professional art, news, and media of the last half century. We will examine this mostly amateur, DIY segment of the media and try to describe what separates it from the mainstream.

FYS 037 (CRN 6490) – How We Fight, How We Win
Greg Rohlf
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

Waging war has been seen as both the most heroic of endeavors and the most colossal of blunders.  In this course, we seek to understand the timeless issues of warfare from their beginnings in predation to the use of drones today.     We also will consider the ways in which warfare has been changed by social and political developments and especially the role of technology.   Who fights, how we fight and win,  and the place of war in civilization are the fundamental issues at the heart our inquiry. 

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

Stigmatization of mental illness and intellectual disabilities is readily apparent in the media. Class will focus on recognizing stigma, factual knowledge of different disorders, and locating resources. Students complete a service-learning project outside regular class time at a special education high school, participating in classroom activities with students with disabilities.

FYS 039 (CRN 6977) – A Small Dose of Toxicology
James Sacco
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

Rapid advances in science and technology have produced enormous benefits but have also created undesirable dangers that impact human health and the environment. How do we deal with products that make our lives better but that also harbor a potential for harm? Why are we still confronted, on a daily basis, by toxins in our food, air and water? Through selected readings and movies, class discussions, presentations, and simulation games, students will study and research the controversial impact of poisons on our society.

FYS 041 (CRN 6978) – Vote Smart!
Rachel Paine Caufield
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

What does it mean to be an “informed” voter? In an age of instant communication, echo chambers, ideological bubbles, and fake news, where can voters go to get reliable information that will allow them to make meaningful decisions? Vote Smart, a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization headquartered at Drake University, provides the tools for voters to learn about elected officials and candidates. All students will do an internship with Vote Smart, supplemented by course readings and guest speakers to gain insight into the ways that citizens can make sense of politics – from interest group assessments, campaign finance disclosures, candidate speeches, and voting records.

FYS 042 (CRN 6979) – Building Democracy in the Wake of Apartheid
Laura Kieran
MW 12:30pm-1:45pm

This course situates students in the Multiparty Negotiating Process taking place at the World Trade Center in Kempton Park in 1993. South Africa is facing tremendous social anxiety and violence. The object of the talks, and of the game, is to reach consensus for a constitution that will guide a post-apartheid South Africa. The country has immense racial diversity--white, black, Colored, Indian. Students are challenged to understand a complex political landscape to resolve the questions of democracy and equity in the new government.

FYS 043 (CRN 7503) – #BlackLivesMatter
Tony Tyler
TR 3:30pm-4:45pm

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

"Freedom! Freedom! I can't move/Freedom, cut me loose!/Freedom!Freedom! Where are you?/'Cause I need freedom too!"" (Beyonce, Freedom, Lemonade, 2016) This highly interactive, multi-disciplinary course will examine the Black Lives Matter movement as well as both historical and contemporary justice movements via lenses of power, access, and social dynamics.

FYS 044 (CRN 7058) – Women in the Bible: Mates, Mothers, Murderers, and More
Trisha Wheelock
MW 12:30pm-1:45pm

This class explores the presentation of women in the bible. We will investigate the historical contexts of these texts, building a picture of what life was like for women in ancient Israel and the ancient Mediterranean world. Comparing feminist, literary, and socio-historical readings, we will consider the influence of these texts and question their significance for life in the twenty first century.

FYS 045 (CRN 6980) – Famous & Almost Famous Women
Carrie Dunham-LaGree
TR 12:30pm-1:45pm

This course explores fictional depictions of real women in fiction and film. Much of history is the story of men. With less historical information about women, fiction writers and filmmakers have freedom to use their creativity and imagination to fill in gaps. Together we’ll read, watch films, write, research, and discuss the facts and fiction.

FYS 046 (CRN 7041) – Fanfiction & Fandom
Samantha Becker
TR 3:30pm-4:45pm

Students will critically engage with ideas of authorship through fanfiction and fan culture. Beginning with the history of the book, students will consider how the figure of the author came to be. Students will then consider how fan culture plays with notions of authorship through reflective and analytical writing.   

FYS 047 (CRN 6982) – The Other Side of the Wall: The Americanization of Mexico
Jody Swilky
MW 12:30pm-1:45pm

This course will ask students to examine the impact of U. S. culture on Mexico, beginning with the period directly after World War II and continuing until the present. Students will study the ways in which the U. S. has and has not affected trade, immigration, industrial development, the environment, culture, and healthcare. Through reading, discussion, research and writing, we will identify the degree to which U.S. culture is present or absent; then examine the consequences of such influence; and finally discuss and debate how those consequences can be addressed/changed to enhance life in Mexico.

FYS 048 (CRN 6983) – Science Fiction, Science Fact
Dan Chibnall
TR 3:30pm-4:45pm

Science fiction storytelling often predicts scientific achievements, warns of darker scientific efforts, illuminates facts in the face of pseudoscience, and helps us navigate social problems. We will use science fiction stories and films to understand scientific principles and achievements, separate facts and falsehoods, and explore our future for scientific discoveries.

FYS 050 (CRN 7952) – Lovecraft: Horror & Madness
Kyle McCord
MW 12:30pm-1:45pm

Lovecraft: Horror and Madness: This course introduces students to the horrifying writing of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Students produce their own works of horror, consider Lovecraft in the context of contemporary scholarship, and analyze his themes and their contemporary horror on the page and screen. Discussions center on expanding students’ understanding of the connection between this bright but troubled author and the world of post-WWI America.

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