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First Year Seminars

FYS 001 (crn 2931) – Writing and Therapy

FYS 002 (crn 3212) – Gender in the 1950s

FYS 003 (crn 6453 + 6454) Banned Books: Ideology, Suppression, and Censorship

FYS 004 (crn 1119 – Graphic Narratives: Print, Pictures, and Politics

FYS 005 (crn 3203) – Fall 2 The Future

FYS 006 (crn 6456) – Decisions and Revisions

FYS 007 (crn 1129) – Creative Writing: Adaptation

FYS 008 (crn 3050) – Writing Places

FYS 009 (crn 6479 + 6505) – Dickens Won't Die: 175 Years of Narrative and Adaptation

FYS 010 (crn 6481) – The Power of Tradition, The Forces of Change: Athens on the Threshold of Democracy, and Henry VIII and the Reformation Parliament

FYS 011 (crn 1733) – The Hipster: A Cultural History of Cool

FYS 012 (crn 6506) – The Hipster: A Cultural History of Cool

FYS 013 (crn 6484) – What Makes a State Balkan?

FYS 014 (crn 6485) – 21st Century Poetry

FYS 015 (crn 6515) – Diversity in the U.S.

FYS 016 (crn 6486) – Cuba in Transition

FYS 017 (crn 6568) – The Real Hunger Game: Food in America

FYS 018 (crn 6491) – Shelter: The Home in Art, Literature & Popular Culture

FYS 019 (crn 6518) Art and the Everyday

FYS 020 (crn 6507 + 6508 & 6509) – Masculinities in Film

FYS 021 (crn 6531) – The Puzzle of Geologic Time

FYS 022 (crn 6489) – Intention in the Universe

FYS 023 (crn 4098) – Diversity is for Everyone

FYS 024 (crn 6569) – County Government in Iowa: Sounds Boring but It Affects You Every Day

FYS 025 (crn 1166+4192) – Perspectives on American Character and Society
(Learning Community)

FYS 026 (crn 2929) – Ethnobiology Nature and Culture

FYS 027 (crn 3437) – Physics for Future Presidents

FYS 028 (crn 3006) – Seeing – Believing

FYS 029 (crn 4509) – Running: Body, Mind, Sole

FYS 030 (crn 5182) – Writing for Social Justice in the 21st Century

FYS 031 (crn 6487) – Women, Race and Class: Theories and Representations

FYS 032 (crn 6488) – It's Not Easy Being Green

FYS 033 (crn 6609) – India and South Asia

FYS 035 (crn 5176) – Adult Films

FYS 036 (crn 3663) – Illusions

FYS 037 (crn 6490) – Canines and Their Human Companions

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

FYS 039 (crn 2941) – Women in the Bible; Mates, Mothers, Murders & More

FYS 040 (crn 6503) – Imagining (Higher) Education

FYS 041 (crn 5490) – The Economics of China and Its Effect on the World

FYS 042 (crn 1670) – eWorld: The Impact of Technology on Our Lives

FYS 043 (crn 6504) – The Common Good

FYS 044 (crn 1744) – Perceptions of Illness: How We View the Sick

FYS 045 (crn 6500) – It Takes a Village

FYS 046 (crn 3213) – Generosity of the Heart

FYS 048 (crn 4096) – Daring to Dream: the Stories of Business

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FYS 001 / CRN 2931

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

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.

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FYS002 / CRN 3212

MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Dina Smith

Continually represented as America's most "dazzling" decade, the 1950s was a period of dramatic change in American culture. An era of intense economic growth and the beginnings of (and backlash to) desegregation, the fifties witnessed a booming consumer culture that would linger forever in the American imaginary. What is old was new: television, widescreen movies, the suburb, air conditioning and even a new type of consumer: "the teenager." Marriage and family became an integral part of this culture of consumption. As Stephanie Coontz argues, the fifties was the first time in U.S. history when "men as well as women were encouraged to root their identity and self-image in familial and parental roles." And, yet, the period also witnessed the growth of the military-industrial complex and nuclear weapons, by products of the Cold War. As we will see, the home and "the nuclear family" became a safe container for Cold War fears. To interrogate some of these cultural contradictions, we will look to the movies, literature and secondary histories that help define this era.

In addition to active discussion, course requirements include pre-writing assignments building toward three formal essays (5-8 pages each) as well as a lively, informative presentation on a topic of one's choosing. Student presentations will add a secondary level of course content, examining topics not directly covered in class.

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FYS 003, CRN 6453

TR 12:30-1:45
Professor Beth Younger

"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.

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FYS 004, CRN 1119

M/W 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Jennifer Perrine

In this first-year seminar, we will explore, examine, and analyze the rhetorical conventions of graphic narratives—that is, narratives tht use both words and images to convey meaning. As we read, discuss, and write about graphic novels and memoirs, we will grapple with questions of literary and social value and representation: What makes graphic narrative different from other narrative forms? How is reading a graphic narrative a different process than reading text-only narratives? How does this process influence and construct meaning? Are graphic narratives particularly well suited to represent or facilitate certain ways of thinking? When is a graphic narrative more appropriate than another form of art or communication? What are the limitations of graphic narratives? Although the graphic narrative genre is the lens through which we will approach the class, the main goal of the course is to develop ways of writing, thinking, and reading that will help you to make the most of your academic work, and the primary subject of the class is really your writing and critical thinking and that of your class mates.

Primary texts may include: Understanding Comics (Scott McCloud), Funhome (Alison Bechdel), Maus: A Survivor's Tale (Art Spiegelman), V for Vendetta (Alan Moore and David Lloyd), Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi), Black Hole (Charles burns) and Sentences: The Life of M.F. Grimm (Percy Carey).

You should expect to do some kind of short writing and to prepare for at least every other class meeting, and you can also expect to write and revise several longer critical and/or creative works, including a graphic novella or essay.

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FYS 005 / CRN 3203

MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Sarah Hogan

For many of us, a reference to "the future" immediately conjures up visions of robots, spaceships, flying cars or conveyor-belt sidewalks — the stuff of classic sci-fi imagery. Some probably tend less toward this high-tech future, and instead imagine a dystopian society or the desolate, post-apocalyptic landscapes of films like The Road or I Am Legend. But what if we were to treat the future in slightly more realistic, global terms, focusing especially on probable near-future scenarios in order to help us prepare for the contours and crises of the next half-century? Throughout the semester, this will be our task we we read a number of essays and book excerpts by authors who analyze contemporary cultural, economic, environmental, and technological trends (sometimes through the lens of fiction) but then use this knowledge of the present in order to make rationally-based predictions about the problems and opportunities our world is likely to face in the coming decades. We'll review recent debates about global poverty and inequality and the impending energy, food financial and climates crises, while also examining some of the potential solutions that have been proposed for these problems. We will also consider the representation of the future in two recent films, Avatar and Children of Men. Our questions about he future will inspire us to speculate, debate, and mainly, write, while learning how to evaluate ideas knowledgeably and critically. Obviously, the future is an unstable, unreliable object of study; but forces in play right now are so massive and present humanity with so many dangers an opportunities that it behooves us, both as individuals and as a species, to imagine better future and think clearly about the tasks ahead.

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FYS 006 / CRN 6456

M/W 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Craig Owens

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

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FYS 007 / CRN 1129

TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Amy Letter

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

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

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

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

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

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FYS 008 / CRN 3050

MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Lisa West

This Seminar will look at the relationship between writing and place. We will read some theory about the construction of "sense of place," read some descriptive writing, and discuss the differences between different ways to "mark" the landscape (from signage to memorials to non-written texts). Some of the issues covered will include how/why some places become "sacred," and how writing reflects the cultural history of a place. Cities, parks, lawns, neighborhoods — how is the writing linked with these different?

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FYS 009/CRN 6479 + CRN 6505

TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.
(film lab) F 3:30-5:45 p.m.
Professor Melisa Klimaszewski

This course introduces students to college-level critical reading, writing, and inquiry through an intensive study of the works and legacy of Charles Dickens, who lived from 1812-1870.

Jay-Z and the Beastie Boys shout out to Charles Dickens, and The Decemberists regularly invoke him. Lloyd Jones, a writer in New Zealand, uses a Dickens character created 140 years ago to explore the life of a war-traumatized little girl. Gwenyth Paltrow stars in a film adaptation of the same Dickens book. The Los Angeles Times and several other newspapers report the arrest of Bernie Madoff with astonishment at his resemblance to a Dickens character. Countless television actors (plus Mickey Mouse) have embodied Ebenezer Scrooge. The staying power of Dickens (his works as well as his celebrity) is nearly unrivalled, as is the broad range of artists who have adapted his imaginative creations.

In this seminar, we will study some of Dickens’ original writings and critically analyze works that respond to, reimagine, or adapt Dickens. We will consider questions such as: What do we learn from identifying elements that persist across centuries? What do we learn from seeing what elements of Dickens’ work change over the years? What do adaptations and revisions teach us about contemporary culture, about Victorian culture, and about our own reading practices?

Assigned texts will include novels, films, and songs. Readings may include Lloyd Jones’ Mister Pip, Dickens’ Great Expectations, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Dickens’ Little Dorrit and selections from several books of scholarship, including Gilooly and David’s Contemporary Dickens and Clayton’s Dickens in Cyberspace. Films may include Great Expectations, It’s A Wonderful Life, Scrooged, and Little Dorrit.

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

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FYS 010 / CRN 6481


MW 12:30-1:45
Professor Elizabeth Robertson

This course examines two different cultures, Athens in 403 BCE and England in 1529 atpoints of crisis in leadership and compares their ideas and debates on how to preserve unity, “national” identity and authority, and yet accommodate changing views of social, economic and religious justice. What are the sources of power of those who govern the society, and 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? Students will explore these questions and attempt to articulate some tentative conclusions about how traditional structures of authority are or are not to be maintained in the face of challenges from 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, and debate the ideas in roles they are assigned relevant to the period. Athens on The Threshold of Democracy introduces students to the controversial power of Socratic thought. The game unfolds amidst the social and political upheaval following the Peloponnesian wars as Athenian citizens struggle to avert tyranny in favor of new democratic ideals. 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 and will examine the currency, in context, of such seminal works as Plato’s Republic, Sir Thomas More’s Utopia, and Nicolo Machiavelli’s The Prince. In addition to public debate and discussion, students will write arguments, draft policy, and create statutes and legislation “in role.” All students will also write reflective papers out of role, which will allow consideration of the issues from a modern, critical perspective.

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FYS 011 / CRN 1733

MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Matt Garite

Once a curious breed of fashion-conscious twenty somethings living the bohemian dream in urban enclaves like Williamsburg, Brooklyn and the Lower East Side of Manhattan, hipsters have today become a global force to be reckoned with. Most of us are familiar at this point with the basic hipster style of dress: skinny jeans, V-neck tees, oversized cinch belts, trucker hats, ironic mustaches, thick-rimmed glasses, keffiyehs work as scarves, etc. As the movement winds it way from the margins to the mainstream courtesy of companies like Urban Outfitters and tastemaker websites like, analysts of popular culture have been quick to take note, with charged responses appearing from amateurs and professionals alike. Some critics view today's hipsters as a unique source of cultural vibrancy in an era otherwise defined by blandness and austerity; others dismiss them as smug children of privilege and the zombie offspring of every major youth subculture since the 1950s. This course will give us an opportunity to read some of these analyses of contemporary hipster culture, as we listen to the music and study the styles in order to decide for ourselves.Besides being a course on hipsters, however, FYS 011 is also (and in fact, primarily) an introduction to college-level writing and critical modes of thought.

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FYS012 / CRN 6506

TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Matt Garite

Once a curious breed of fashion-conscious twenty somethings living the bohemian dream in urban enclaves like Williamsburg, Brooklyn and the Lower East Side of Manhattan, hipsters have today become a global force to be reckoned with. Most of us are familiar at this point with the basic hipster style of dress: skinny jeans, V-neck tees, oversized cinch belts, trucker hats, ironic mustaches, thick-rimmed glasses, keffiyehs work as scarves, etc. As the movement winds it way from the margins to the mainstream courtesy of companies like Urban Outfitters and tastemaker websites like, analysts of popular culture have been quick to take note, with charged responses appearing from amateurs and professionals alike. Some critics view today's hipsters as a unique source of cultural vibrancy in an era otherwise defined by blandness and austerity; others dismiss them as smug children of privilege and the zombie offspring of every major youth subculture since the 1950s. This course will give us an opportunity to read some of these analyses of contemporary hipster culture, as we listen to the music and study the styles in order to decide for ourselves.Besides being a course on hipsters, however, FYS 012 is also (and in fact, primarily) an introduction to college-level writing and critical modes of thought.

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FYS 013/CRN 6484

TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Stoyan Tchaprazov

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.

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FYS 014, CRN 6485

TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Brian Spears

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 won creative writing in these spaces, both as writes and editors, and will work collaboratively to produce an electronic chapbook of their own work.

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FYS 015 / CRN 6515

MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Sandra Patton-Imani

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

Students will participate in a service-learning project with Walnut Street Elementary School, an International Baccalaureate school in downtown Des Moines. Drake students will work with students in upper elementary grades to videotape, edit, and publicly present a collaborative documentary about diversity.

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FYS 016, CRN 6486

TR 3:30-4:45
Professor Matt Russell

Cuba—the United States' island neighbor—is experiencing major legal, political, economic, and social change. We will explore these changes and compare them to how the United States approaches the same basic structures of society. We will also identify potential political and economic opportunities and challenges in the evolving relationship between the United States and Cuba. Students will prepare seven, short, topical essays that will be the foundation of a longer, final essay comparing the United States and Cuba. Students will engage contemporary media to support their class discussion and writing projects.

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FYS 017/CRN 6568

MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Carlyn Crowe

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.

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FYS 018 / CRN 6491

MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Lee Jolliffe

What is "home" and why does the word resonate so strongly with us? What homes are typical of the US, now and in times past? How do those homes compare with those in other parts of the world? Whole genres of magazines have arisen to serve our love of home, from American Bungalow to Nest to RV World. We will read of view excerpts from Tracy Kidder's House, articles and spreads from the shelter magazines both old and new, National Geographic's great visual piece on homes around the globe, poetry, essays by Annie Dillard and Gretel Erlich on the land itself as home, works of photography, and paintings.

We will also take field trips to actual homes, visiting sites like Living History Farms to see native and early European immigrant homes styles, as well as local mansions now open to the public and several "ordinary" homes in the area We will also go online and find either our own homes (via Assessor's websites) or homes very like ours (for international students), for a "virtual home tour." As we examine brick and siding, foundations and dormers, we will also delve into the emotional and artistic response to "home."

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FYS 019 / CRN 6518

TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Garet Martin

Numerous international exhibitions and biennials have borne witness to the range of contemporary art engaged with the everyday and its predecessors in the work of Surrealists, Situationists, the Fluxus group, and conceptual and feminist artists of the 1960s and 1970s. This art shows recognition of ordinary dignity or the accidentally miraculous, an engagement with a new kind of anthropology, an immersion in the pleasures of popular culture, or a meditation on what happens when nothing happens. The celebration of the everyday has oppositional and dissident overtones, offering a voice to the silenced and proposing possibilities for change. Through numerous readings, writings, films, and in-depth class discussions this course will explore the concept of art and the everyday. Approaching this topic from every possible angle students will walk away with a strong understand of—and respect for—the creative process, artistic stimuli, the quotidian, and art in general.

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FYS020 / CRN 6507

MW 12:30-1:45
Film Lab M 5:00-7:45 p.m., crn 6508
Film Lab T 5:00-7:45 p.m., crn 6509
Professor Joseph Schneider

This course on masculinities in film asks you to approach movies as something more than entertainment. It asks you to step back a bit and see popular film as an important part of material culture in which the connections between a film and you as spectator offer an almost endless set of fascinating questions to consider, discuss, and write about. These can focus on its characters and their relationships, the setting and its time and place; the "eye" of the camera and the technical aspects of filmmaking; the story, plot; and what these portray as good and bad, right and wrong, normal land not. A film is, in short, more than "a movie," or perhaps it's that movies are more than you might think. Most immediately, these questions all can be drawn together by asking, "How do spectators, including you, and films typically connect?" or, more simply, "What happens when people go to see movies?" And in particular, what happens in terms of what we are calling "masculinities" (or, using the more general or inclusive term, "sex/gender")?

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FYS 021 / CRN 6531

MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Kathryn Szramek

This course seeks to understand geologic time, from its discovery, its important markers, its controversies, its advancements and the scientists who help shapes its formation. We will examine our perception of time as it relates to the seconds and minutes we live and expand that notion to 4.5 billion years of earth's history.

Learning Goals:

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FYS 022 / CRN 6489

MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor David Courard-Hauri

Descartes famously said "I think, therefore I am," using his experience of consciousness to prove his own existence. Other than consciousness, we interact with everything else, from solid objects to subatomic particles, through layers of filters like our senses and scientific equip.m.ent. And yet, many scientists believe that our experience of choices and free will is illusory: elementary wave/particles interact in ways that do not appear to leave room for volition or what we think of as conscious thought. In this seminar, we will investigate some of the most revolutionary scientific ideas of the last 100 years, such as relativity, quantum mechanics, chaos theory, and brain chemistry, both for their own sake and to ask whether there is room for conscious intention in the modern scientific worldview. We will look to philosophy, literature, poetry, and science for evidence in our investigations. This course is designed for both science and non-science majors; those who have a firm foundation in science from high school will be able to participate successfully in the course.

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FYS 023 / CRN 4098

MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Susan Breakenridge

As globalization increases, our population is becoming more diverse. Do you have an understanding of other cultures and customs? Do you know if you have any hidden bias? How would you react to being discriminated against based on your race, gender, or age? This course will focus on different points of diversity (race, ethnicity, religion, culture, gender, sexual orientation, age, etc.) AND will promote respect. Students will be introduced to guest speakers representing diverse population for the purpose of interaction and discussion. Students will be expected to fulfill frequent writing assignments; read and respond to scholarly research; conduct their own research; and participate in class discussions.

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FYS 024/CRN 6569

TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Robert Mulqueen

This course will offer an overview of the multiple layers of government at the country level in Iowa and will offer students their choice of examining, discussing, and writing about one of the following county offices: a) County Auditor, b) County Assessor, c) County Conservation Director. The initial introduction to these offices, their duties, and their effect on citizens and taxpayers in Iowa will be through the on-line web sites of the auditors association, the assessors association, and chapter 350 of the Code of Iowa, which is devoted to county conservation boards and directors. We will supplement what little is contained in these web sites with guest lecturers, including a current official of all three of these county offices, as well as a county supervisor and the immediate past executive director of the Iowa Association of County Conservation Boards. Following an introduction to the duties of these offices and discussion of the linkages of these offices to current controversies and newsworthy events, students will choose a topic having to do with their chosen county office (eg. election law and the current controversy over voter identification at the polls; property taxes, how they came to be organized in the way that they are, and why some people are upset about them; how conservation and natural resources protection are peculiarly a part of county conservation and natural resources protection are peculiarly a part of county government in Iowa.) Students will develop an understanding of the significant everyday matters that these county officials deal with regularly.

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TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professors Stacy Treat and Bill Lewis
AND co-requisite course on MW 12:30-1:45 p.m. (crn 4192)
Professor Arthur Sanders

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

Students who register for Perspectives in American Character and Society must also register for POLS 001 (Arthur Sanders) The American Political System, taught by Professor Arthur Sanders. Professors McAlister, Treat, and Sanders will coordinate course readings 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.

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FYS 026/CRN 6593

TR 12:30 - 1:45 p.m.
Professor Nanci Ross

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

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FYS027 / CRN 3437

MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Klaus Bartschat

We will discuss the book "Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines" by A. Muller. Without using any formulas, the author discusses the major topics of "Terrorism", "Energy", "Nuclear Weapons", "Space", and "Global Warming". The book is meant for the non-scientist (e.g. most American Presidents), who may have to make critical decisions on issues either directly related to science or in which scientific arguments are used as a major input in the decision making. 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. The principal learning goal of the course is to see physics as a potentially important ally in their job — rather than something they should be afraid of.

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FYS 028 / CRN 3006

TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Ted Lyddon Hatten

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.

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FYS 029 / CRN 4509

MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor David Senchina

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

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FYS 030 / CRN 5182

TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Rebecca Lee

This course explores rhetorical structure, style, research, and documentation through written, oral, and online communication. Specifically, this first year seminar has a heavy concentration in critical thinking about social justice issues, including, but not limited to: sexism, racism, poverty, homophobia, constructions of (dis)ability, and environmental degradation. The course readings situate rhetoric within these exigencies of social justice and activism; however, much of the learning will take place outside of the traditional classroom, not just by studying but by actually doing rhetoric. In learning to write for social justice, students will participate in a student or community activist organization of their choosing throughout the semester. A great deal of the coursework will arise from students’ interactions with that community. As a result, students will become not only more perceptive in how they consume and compose information, but also how they engage with the Drake campus community, as well as the greater Des Moines metro area and today’s global society for the alleviation of social injustices.

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FYS 031 / CRN 6487

TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Jennifer Chung

The Help by Kathryn Stockett was a literary and Hollywood success. The book was #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List and as of August 2011, has sold five million copies and has spent more than 100 weeks on the Bestseller List. The film adaptation received four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Octavia Spencer was named Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Although the book and film take place in the 1960s, what does their popularity show about how our contemporary society views and imagines the connections between women, race, and class today? We will use mainstream representations of women, race and class as a starting point for an introduction to ideas of feminism and women of color feminism. For example, we will compare and contrast the The Help by Kathryn Stockett with Angela Y. Davis's Women, Race and Class. Additional readings may include Clay Walls by Kim Ronyouong; Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center by bell hooks; This Bridge Called my Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, edited by Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua; and From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawaii by Haunani-Kay Trask. We will Also screen and/or view clips of The Help and other films as additional texts for analysis.

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FYS 032 / CRN 6488

MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Todd Hodgkinson

In this course, students will explore the concept of being "green"—what it means both as an ideology and as a lifestyle. In addition to assessing their own degree of "greenness", students will identify challenges to "green living" and explore topics such as: responsible food/energy production and consumption, healthy consumerism, and the human-nature connection. Course activities include, but are not limited to: the creation of a personalized action plan for green living; a field trip to a local food cooperative; participation in a back-to-nature retreat; and the implementation of a self-designed community-based sustainability initiative.

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FYS 033 / CRN 6609

MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Ramesh Dhussa

Our goal in this class will be to critically inquire into various aspects of the changing geographical, historical, cultural, political, and economic dynamics of India and South Asia. The seminar format of this course aims at vigorous student participation and active interaction in order to gain an in-depth understanding of the cultural realm of India and South Asia. Some of the important topics considered will be the cultural geography of India, its political framework and happenings, historical geography, various aspects of the cultural landscape, the way of life of the people of this region and their association with their physical environment. Religious diversity, the linguistic mosaic, social structure, and caste system will also be included in our discussions and writings. This course should enable us to begin to make sense of the major geographical patterns, processes, issues and problems related with religious, ethnic, and linguistic diversity, the modernization process, economic development, population, resources, interrelationships between India and other South Asian nations, and the impact of external forces and linkages around the world.

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FYS 035 / CRN 5176

MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Leah Kalmanson

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.

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FYS036 / CRN 3663

MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Martin Roth

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

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FYS 037 / CRN 6490

MW 8:00-9:15 a.m.
Professor Lisa Gardner

In this course, we examine dimensions of canine/human relationships. We set a foundation for the course by beginning with an examination of the cognitive and perceptual abilities of man's best friend, as well as their core emotional needs, using texts that draw on relevant literature in the field. We then consider how these abilities and needs enable them to be exceptional companions as service animals. Finally, we consider the role of canines more broadly in society and how that role is evolving.

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FYS 038 / CRN 1916

TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Anisa Fornoff

Stigmatization of mental illness and intellectual disabilities is readily apparent in the media today. This class will focus on identifying and dispelling the myths of these diagnoses and gaining 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 film or book and the factual information provided from the presentation. The class will discuss the history of mental illness in our country, the definition on intellectual disability, and the effects of stigma. Students will also be introduced to supportive resources available on and off campus. A service learning project will be completed at Ruby Van Meter, a special education high school in Des Moines.

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FYS 039 / CRN 2941

TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Trisha Wheelock

This class will examine feminist theories 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. We 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.

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FYS 040/CRN 6503

MW 3:30-4:45 p.m.
Professors Kevin Saunders and Anthony Tyler

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

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FYS 041/CRN 5490

MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Rick Long

The main objectives of this course are to further develop your writing skills, presentation and discussion skills, and critical thinking skills. We will concentrate on improving these skills while studying the economy of China and its effects on world economic and political conditions. China is the most populous country in the world and since 1978, has been moving from a communist based economy to a more capitalistic economic system. China's economic growth rate, as measured by changes in GDP, has averaged over ten percent per year over the last thirty years. This enormous economic growth has vastly improved living conditions for the majority of China's population. This growth has also increased China's prominence in international economic and political affairs.

The class will begin with basic information about China's geography, history, culture, and political situation. This will provide a base to analyze and understand China's current economic conditions. We will also analyze and discuss the potential problems which may emerge as a result of the country's rising economic status.

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FYS042 / CRN 1670

TR 3:30-4:45 p.m.
Professor Carrie Dunham-Lagree

eWorld: The Impact of Technology on Our Lives will examine what an individual needs to know to be an informed digital citizen, how technologies affect our concepts of citizenship, and the effect of technologies on broader concepts of humanity. the course will be broken into two major units: an overview of academic literature on digital natives and digital living and an overview of current events and trends in digital living and learning.

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FYS 043 / CRN 6504

MW12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor Mandi McReynolds

Drake University's goal three of our current strategic plan calls for us to "carry out the university's public responsibility to serve the common good." As entering first year students at the university, we will address concepts, issues, and practices of the common good. The community is our classroom and textbook. We will spend many hours in and outside of classroom hours in reflective observation and active participatory research to understand the common good. students will participate in a service-learning project with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Des Moines, interview members working towards the common good, and write and dialogue on contemporary issues related to the common good.

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FYS 044 / CRN 1744

TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professor John Rovers

This course is intended for all majors, not just those wanting a health careers. In this course you will learn to:

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FYS 045 / CRN 6500

TR 3:30-4:45 p.m.
Professor Alyssa Mozak

Bystander intervention is an upcoming field of research, especially in violence prevention, that has the goal of creating group change by having witnesses of social phenomenon intervene, which directly affects norms and behaviors. The purpose of this course is twofold: to have students learn the theory behind pro-social behavior and social norms embedded in this topic and through develop.m.ent of skills from reviewing intervention models and putting them into practice in the course, students will be able to act through behavior changes learned through such discourse. The usage of the social-ecological model to explore levels of intervention helps demonstrate how such positive behaviors can change in different levels of a culture form an individual's perspective to the broader community.

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FYS046 / CRN 3213

MW12:30-1:45 p.m.
Professors Pam Pepper & Blake Campbell

This course will be broken into three major themes:

  1. What is Philanthropy?
  2. Philanthropy in Action
  3. My Philanthropy

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.

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FYS048 / CRN 4096

MW8:00-9:15 a.m.
Professor Deb Bishop

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.

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