The subject of this course is 1) the role of sports within U.S. culture; 2) how culture determines the nature of U.S. sports; 3) the cultures of specific sports. Major topics will include fandom and spectatorship; how sports provide meaning; the economics of sports; social justice and sports (gender, race, sexuality); contemporary issues in sports in historical context.
Learning goals in addition to the general FYS goals include discerning and reflecting upon the power dynamics within an institution such as sports; critical awareness of how an institution such as sports shapes personal identity and cultural values; familiarity with the conventions of representing sports; developing independence with regard to formulating and researching a critical question.
The Dream Factory: Hollywood in the 1930s
FYS 002 (CRN 6958)
FYS 002 LAB (6611)
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
S 5:30-8:15 p.m (Lab)
This course is an examination of the role that sports play in our culture, from the Pee Wee League to the Pros. What value do we assign to sports? What values do we learn from sports? How do we make the most of the benefits of sports?
Students will read about the economic and cultural history of 1930s Hollywood as well as explore the unique genres that engaged Depression-era audiences, such as the delightful and politically transgressive “screwball comedy” and the class conscious “backstage musical.” Students will watch several, black-and-white movies of the era with the goal of connecting these films, via close analysis, to their 1930s context.
FYS 003 (CRN 6453)
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
This FYS focuses on the restriction of reading materials, primarily in the United States, a practice known as "book banning." What kinds of materials are considered “offensive?” Why do some groups (or individuals) try to restrict access to certain books? We will also grapple with questions of literary and social value, feminism, sexuality, language, and representation.
Composing the Female Body
FYS 005 (CRN 6959)
TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.
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.
Science and Sport
FYS 006 (CRN 6456)
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Science and sport are two common fields of interest in the American culture. They can coexist without each other. However, combining these two fields together has produced a variety of successes and failures that have furthered the knowledge, enjoyment, and experiences of many in the two fields. Concussions, performance enhancing drugs, genetic testing, and career longevity are some of the areas where science and sport have more recently overlapped. These areas will be focused on in this class while introducing students to critical thinking, college writing, and the liberal arts.
This FYS will focus on reading the recent Sue Monk Kidd novel about the life of Sarah Grimke. There will be substantial research in the class, as students select contextual research topics, which might include research on the Grimke sisters, Quakers, Charleston, SC newspapers, the Denmark Vesey rebellion, or early 19th century representations of slavery.
What makes the films Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Clueless resonate 200 years after Jane Austen published the novels Pride and Prejudice and Emma? How do Austen’s novels relate to race, slavery, and marriage laws? What makes these books funny? Reading novels, viewing films, and studying literary criticism, this FYS builds critical thinking and writing skills while investigating the intriguing questions above."
This course examines China and England at moments of political/cultural crises in which radical changes challenge traditional beliefs. Through enacting historical roles, students debate and write about major ideas and texts: The Confucian Analects for China; More’s Utopia, Machiavelli’s The Prince, and Erasmus for Henry VIII and the Reformation Parliament.
This course will explore issues of diversity in the U.S. through a narrative framework. We will consider storytelling about the U.S. and its “diverse” people at the individual, familial, cultural, media, and institutional levels. Students will explore questions of identity and the various routes by which we arrive at understandings of who we are as individuals and members of various groups. These routes include the literal paths our families took in moving from place to place as well as more metaphorical routes such as the paths established for all of us to follow based on our nationality, gender, race, socioeconomic class, sexuality, and level of mental and physical ability, among others.
One of our goals will be to come to a fuller understanding of ourselves and of the various communities we inhabit. We will critically explore and analyze public and personal narratives about immigration, family, and the “American Dream,” including attention to the stories that don’t often get told publically. Students will participate in a service-learning project about diversity with 5th grade students at a local International Baccalaureate Elementary School. The service-learning lab will be devoted to working with them on collaborative digital storytelling projects that will be shared publically at the end of the semester.
In this course, we will look at how comics have portrayed social difference, and more recently, how diversity in comics’ creators and audiences has affected the production of contemporary comics.
The following course objectives will be used for the class.
21st Century Poetry: Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop
FYS 014 (CRN 6485)
TR 12:30-1:45 p.m.
In this course, students will examine the work of 21st century poets and their modern influences. Also, given HipHop's origins as a music of politics and protest, students will examine how contemporary poets engage with social and political movements in their art.
What is Science? What is Religion? Why has there been so much conflict in western history between these cultural forces, and is such conflict inevitable? This course offers an examination of these and other questions by examining the historical interaction of science and religion in western culture.
Writers study their art, asking, what makes stories exciting? What makes characters come alive? Scientists also ask questions: what do brains do while reading stories? Why did fictional storytelling evolve in the first place? In this course we will look at how writers and scientists have tried to understand STORY.
And you thought The Hunger Games was just a movie?! This First Year Seminar will explore food security, food politics, food systems and food integrity in the United States examining how food is grown, produced, distributed, marketed, reported on and understood by US citizens. And then we’ll see if we’re living in our own hunger games.
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.
Explore the history of food from local communities to global forces. Course themes include policy, labor, environment and culture. We will experience food intellectually—through readings and discussion—but also in social ways—like cooking, eating and visiting farmers’ market.
Most of the controversial religions of the 20th and early 21st century begin as unassuming communities practicing a standard form of their faith. Over time these small groups of believers begin to innovate and change that standard religion into something radical and, for many observers, dangerous. Bad Religion will examine three of the most controversial religious movements of the twentieth century: Jim Jones and Jonestown, the Branch Davidians at Waco, and the Heavens Gate movement. The semester will end with an examination of a recent group who murdered one of its members in October 2016, the Word of Life community in Chadwicks, NY.
This course will focus on the importance of listening, including how to listen effectively. Students will have an interdisciplinary experience drawing from sociology, anthropology, psychology, and communication studies in order to understand the complexity of listening. We will discuss how various factors affect our ability to listen, including culture, technology, conflict, politics, religion, social status, power, gender, and interpersonal relations. We will also learn how effective listening can promote effective political discourse, conflict resolution, healing, and deeper personal relationships.
The Common Good
FYS 024 (CRN 6962)
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
This first year seminar is only open to students selected into the Engaged Citizen Corps. For more information about the Engaged Citizen Corps please visit: http://www.drake.edu/servicelearning/forstudents/serviceprogramsandorganizations/engagedcitizencorps
Drake's mission is to provide an exceptional learning environment that prepares students for meaningful personal lives, professional accomplishments, and responsible global citizenship. As entering first year students selected for the Engaged Citizen Corps, you will address concepts, issues, and practices of social justice for the common good. Students will utilize their weekly service placement as an extension of our classroom learning and textbook, spend time in reflective observation and active participatory research to understand their individual contributions towards serving the Common Good.
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.
This course explores the construction of diverse socio-cultural images, identities, and experiences through film and media. Through study of several examples, we will analyze cultural messages about social groups, events, and perspectives, the influence of such images on social perceptions of diversity, and how audiences respond to such messages. Assignments will include several essay papers as well as a collaborative group project.
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.
Contemplative Practices: FLIGHT
FYS 029 (CRN 7907)
MW 12:30-1:45 p.m.
In a variety of contexts, increasing attention is being given to the connections that exist between contemplative practices (meditation, yoga, artistic reflection, community-building) and self-care, social justice and academic success. In this course, we will explore these connections while focusing on the Drake experience of a first year student who will face many challenges, demands and opportunities. Our inquiry together 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.
“You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension—a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.”
Science fiction and philosophy each has a venerable history of using the strange and fantastic to examine and challenge the familiar, and in this course we will use works of science fiction to explore a number of philosophical issues, including knowledge, free will, and the mind.
New York City has served as the backdrop for books, movies and television shows. It’s an icon. But how did New York City move from Dutch colony to one of the world’s most influential cities? This course will examine the city’s history in the context of location and reform.
Academic and personal success are a combination of many factors. The class is designed to help students;
What happened to Robert Johnson at the Crossroads? Who are the three Kings of the blues and why are they important? What is the difference between a shuffle and straight time? Who influenced modern blues players like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Jack White and others?
We will read, write and think critically about the Blues by: listening to recordings of various Blues players, hearing live performances from several local Blues artists and discussing the historic, geographic, social, and cultural concepts associated with American Blues music. Students in the class will grapple with how the Blues is relevant today and think about lessons we can learn from this form of music. The class will feature various guest speakers/musicians to share why Blues music is important to them.
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.
This course will examine themes regarding the roles heroes and villains play in the myths of ancient cultures and contemporary movies. Students will study the psychology, history, and culture of the hero or villain they select through readings and movies and represent their character through analytical papers and class discussions.
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.
Can you Reason with the Law?
FYS 042 (CRN 6979)
J. Royce Fichtner
MW 12:30- 1:45 p.m.
This course is intended to help students learn how to think and read “like a lawyer.” It will focus on the development of a civil lawsuit from start to finish and teach students how to brief a legal case. Students will also learn how to effectively frame a legal argument.
“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.
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.
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.
Students will critically engage with fanfiction and fanculture throughout the semester culminating in the researching and writing of a fanfiction and meta-analysis of their process. We will examine the research as a process as well as the close reading and integration of primary source material into transformative works.
Lights, camera... science?
"Everything I learned I learned from the movies."- Audrey Hepburn
In this course we will explore how science is portrayed by Hollywood. Students will be guided through an examination of how the scientific method, scientists, and various scientific concepts such as biodiversity, climate change, and evolution, are illustrated in popular movies. From Jurassic Park to The Martian, we'll discuss the impact this art form can have on society's views of science and our understanding of the world around us.
"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.
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.