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.
TR 3:30 - 4:45
S 5:30-8:15 pm (Lab)
"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" unique to the era. Students will closely analyze the films and their relationship to the rise of the Hollywood movie studio system. Students may expect to watch several, black-and-white movies of the era with the goal of connecting these films, via critical analysis, to their 1930s context.".
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.
This class will explore classic and contemporary tales of ghosts and hauntings. We will also discuss the ways in which these stories may express the anxieties of the times and places that produced them.
In this course, we will examine how a variety of “texts”—including novels, short stories, movies, music video, drama, and student writing—engage in adaptation, revision, recycling, and re-envisioning.
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.
This course is intended for anyone who is interested in expanding their knowledge and ability to critically analyze, discuss, and debate international affairs in this age of global citizenship. Debate topics will include those related to security versus privacy, climate change, humanitarian intervention, fair trade, and migration.
This course examines how flags unite (and divide) people of cities, nations, and various groups for which they stand. Looking at the design and artwork pertaining to flags, we will analyze how colors and symbols can evoke strong emotions, become banners for rallying groups, and even spur a supreme court case. Students will also present a real-life flag redesign proposal to the City of Des Moines.
Through an intensive study of the works and legacy of Charles Dickens, this course introduces students to college-level critical reading, writing, and inquiry. We will study Dickens’ original writings and analyze films and novels that respond to, reimagine, or adapt those writings. We will ask: How does one carefully read a work of literature? What do we learn from identifying details and storytelling strategies that persist or change across centuries? What do adaptations reveal about contemporary culture, about Victorian culture, and about our own reading practices? Our readings will include Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol.
This course examines the crisis in leadership in two different cultures, China in 1587 and England in 1529. Students will read and discuss how each culture attempted to preserve unity, sovereignty, and authority though faced with changing views of social, economic and religious justice. We will consider questions such as the following: What are the sources of power for Emperor, King, or advisors? What constraints exist on that power? How are the demands of the community (political, religious, or class) balanced with a growing sense of individual liberty? What tensions exist because of differences in wealth and status and attitudes toward economic inequality?
Most class sessions are conducted, not through lecture or teacher-led discussion, but through an elaborate role-playing pedagogy, “Reacting to the Past,” which seeks to introduce students to major ideas and texts by replicating the historical context in which those ideas acquired significance. Students read classic texts, set in particular moments of intellectual and social foment, and discuss them through the roles they are assigned. Confucianism and the Succession Crisis of the Wanli Emperor introduces students to the suppleness and power of Confucian thought. The game unfolds amidst the secrecy and intrigue within the Forbidden City, as scholars struggle to apply Confucian precepts to a dynasty in peril. Henry VIII and the Reformation Parliament takes up the King’s “great matter” (his desire to divorce Catherine of Aragon) during the tumultuous years 1529-1536 when Thomas More has just been named Lord Chancellor after the dismissal of Cardinal Wolsey, and Thomas Cromwell conspires to lead the King’s party to his own ends. Four ideas/issues clash and contend for dominance within the Reformation Parliament: medieval Catholicism, Lutheranism, Renaissance Humanism, and Machiavellian statecraft. Students prepare for their roles by reading works representative of all traditions and by writing persuasively about the major issues and perspectives, both in role and out of role.
NB: This course requires extensive writing, reading, and extemporaneous speaking. It also requires perfect, or nearly perfect attendance. If you miss a game session, you affect not only yourself but also your faction, Your absence might allow an unjust execution, the passage of a damaging bill, the take-over by a tyrant. So—if you take the course, plan to work hard, to be present, and, I hope, to become deeply engaged in historical and intellectual concerns, the echoes of which still affect our political and social lives today.
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.
Despite tremendous advances in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease, some consider our generation to be the unhealthiest. The course will explore the pursuit of physical fitness from historical, epidemiological, physiological and societal lenses. We will examine the role and pursuit of physical fitness from ancient times (when fitness was driven by a desire to survive through hunting and gathering) to the present day (when fitness is no longer driven by subsistence requirements yet remains paramount to health and well-being). We will also discuss what the pursuit of fitness may entail in the coming years
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.
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 of importance to humanity, as well as the idea of The Great Conversation, a culture-wide process of writers, thinkers, and creators responding to one another and building on each other's insights.
Students will read and write extensively about the ways the female body has been composed in contemporary literature, film, and popular culture. How do we “write” the female body? How do we rely on, reify, or resist Western cultural definitions of women’s bodies? Students will engage with fiction, memoir, personal essay, film, and critical texts.
What is it about The Beatles that remains interesting, approachable and influential? How did it all Come Together and why are we still so fascinated with their music and lives 55 years after their first American television appearance? Let’s find out.
What makes a book a book? Is a book essentially a material production of paper and ink or might a book exist as only a visual or audio artifact? In this class, we make books, read books about books, and explore its forms, including chapbooks, spoken word albums, and interactive stories.
This course will use the tv show Black Mirror as a starting point for discussing philosophical issues of contemporary society. Students who successfully complete this course will have improved discussion and writing skills and will, for better or worse, see philosophical issues in their everyday lives.
A “problem” can be many things: a tip that needs to be calculated at a restaurant, a puzzle that we want to solve, a painting that an artist is trying to create, or a scientific question that needs an answer. In this first-year seminar, students will learn how to become better problem solvers by studying how humans reason about problems across various disciplines within the arts and sciences. Some of the topics that will be discussed include procedural thinking, intuition, heuristics, creativity, and artistic thinking. We will learn techniques that professionals use to identify, reason about, and solve problems within their fields of study. We will also learn how to apply these techniques in order to solve interactive puzzles from a computer game!
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)
MW 12:30pm-1:45pm AND TR 12:30pm-1:45pm (POLS 001 CRN 9976)
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.
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.
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.
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
We discuss the book "Energy for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines", which deals with "Energy Catastrophes", the current "Energy Landscape", and "Alternative Energy". The seminar is meant for the non-scientist (most politicians and lawmakers) who needs to make sensible energy decisions without detailed knowledge of the underlying science.
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.
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.
In 1865 the United States ended slavery in this country, freeing four million African Americans. 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.
To be fully-realized, humans need to play. Scholars may disagree on details in the definition of play, but they agree that play is important for people of all ages. In this FYS, students will examine their personal play experiences, play as depicted in media, and varied approaches scholars take to conceptualize play.
Life in the Key of Em: American Blues music:
From the Salem witch trials to present-day headlines about the Deep State, Americans have embraced conspiracy theories to explain the sometimes un-explainable. This course will explore a sample of conspiracy theories in United States history, focusing primarily on the past century. Students will be exposed to the language, rhetoric, and logic of conspiracy theories. They will be asked to reflect on what these conspiracy theories say about the people who believe them, the people who don’t, and society in general. Students will emerge from the course with a better understanding of the differences between conspiracies and conspiracy theories.
This course will engage students in exploring how different cultures perceive and interact with individuals with disabilities. It will examine how education, employment, and community engagement vary across cultures for individuals with disabilities. Students will engage in research and critical thinking regarding different academic topics including: (1) analysis of data, (2) verbal and written expression skills, (3) contextual understanding, (4) self-reflection.
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.
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, and presentations, students will study and research the controversial impact of poisons on our society.
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 complete 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 – and will receive an additional 3 credits for their internship hours.
This course provides a general introduction to modern Japanese life and culture. Following a brief overview of Japanese history, the class examines common Japanese values, such as group-orientation, humility, and Bushido (the way of the Samurai). Various topics and social issues of interest in modern Japan such as contemporary pop culture (anime, manga, J-Pop) will be explored, discussed, and analyzed.
In recent years social movements such as #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo have significantly impacted our culture and society. In the Fall of 2018 the #PaintItBlack movement began at Drake University. This course will examine the specifics of what occurred in the Fall of 2018 on Drake's campus, the larger social climate of movements such as #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter and how they informed #paintitblack, as well as how the movement is continuing to evolve and manifest in our community.
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.
“I hear of Sherlock Holmes everywhere…” were the prophetic words spoken by his brother Mycroft, as recorded in the story “The Greek Interpreter”. Created in 1887, by Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, and his companion John Watson, continue to be the most enduring fictional characters of all time. Enormously popular from the outset, the sixty original story adventures of Sherlock Holmes, written by Conan Doyle, along with adaptations and extensions across virtually all forms of media, are the basis of an encompassing global cultural phenomenon. Why do Holmes and the stories endure and continue to thrive? And what relevance do they have for our time? This course will be an investigation of Doyle’s creation through the character of Sherlock Holmes, the context and setting of the stories and the cultural bonds that Holmes has inspired. "Come, Watson, come – the game is afoot!”
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.
More than half of current Hollywood movies are based on other sources but what is the process of bringing a story from page or stage to the screen? What things are gained, and what things are lost? This FYS examines the range and forms these transformations can take.
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 connection to 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.