FS 101 Course Descriptions

FS 101 is the starting point for the First Year/Sophomore Program, and all new first year students are required to enroll in FS 101 during the fall semester.

NOTE: This list is being updated throughout the course registration period to reflect the sections of FS 101 that still have available seats. ONLY the sections listed below are currently available to new first year students.

Last Updated: May 18, 2017

FS 101 Descriptions (Fall 2017)

Section 1: Black Lives Matter
Professor Moore TTH 1:30PM – 2:45PM
**Reserved for students participating in the Access Allegheny program. Invitation only.**

An examination of #BlackLivesMatter, a contemporary social movement which shows Black resilience in response to oppression. Students study books and articles from popular Black artists and activists while exploring the history of Black experiences. In this course, participants will consider what #BlackLivesMatter means in their hometowns and in rural Meadville. We question the role of social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) in community organizing and consider our own commitments to this movement. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 2: Education, Culture, and Democracy: What is My Responsibility?
Professor Weisman MWF 2:30PM – 3:20PM
**Living-Learning Community. By application only.**

An examination of educational approaches that foster or inhibit democratic participation. Students explore basic questions that underlie learned assumptions concerning freedom and oppression. We draw on educational theory to examine how social justice attitudes are developed. Our inquiry addresses civil rights and democracy in the U.S. as well as issues of power and justice in a neoliberal world. Class activities may include a Service-Learning component. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 3: Philosophy of Mathematics
Professor Lo Bello MWF 9:00AM – 9:50AM

An introduction to the philosophy of mathematics. We consider the questions of what mathematics is, and how it is related to other branches of knowledge. We read Plato’s Timaeus, Book I of Euclid’s Elements of Geometry, the story of Archimedes in Plutarch’s Life of Marcellus, Descartes’ Discourse on Method, and Hadamard’s The Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field. Students write papers on each of these books and present them to the seminar for discussion; they also prove geometrical propositions before the class. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 4: Mathematics and Storytelling
Professor Carswell TTH 11:00AM – 12:15PM

An exploration of mathematics in fiction. The role that mathematics plays in literature, on Broadway, and on the big screen, its relevance and accuracy, whether real or imaginary, is addressed. Fictional portrayals of mathematicians and the impact on public impressions of mathematics are also considered. Various mathematics topics, including cryptography, game theory, number theory, and chaos theory, are introduced as needed. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 5: Modern Sexualities
Professor Hellwarth MWF 10:00AM – 10:50AM
**Living-Learning Community. By application only.**

Sexuality and sexual identities are represented, defined, and circumscribed by our culture in a variety of ways. As a means for understanding this negotiation we examine human sexual behavior, femininity and masculinity, transsexuality, intersexuality, bisexuality, and homosexuality from scientific as well as popular perspectives. Readings are drawn from fields that both challenge and complement one another, including biology, psychology, art, and literature. Topics of discussion include sexual identity formation, infant sex reassignment surgery, and popular representations of masculinity and femininity. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 6: From Palate to Pocketbook: The Business and Pleasure of Food
Professors Hart and Franz MWF 11:00AM – 11:50AM

An exploration of the pleasure and business of food production and consumption. Students interact with local business owners and food producers–from seasonal food stands and pop-up food trucks to well-established agriculturalists and restaurateurs–as well as campus culinary experts and growers, and enjoy opportunities to taste their wares while they learn about business models and consider personal, cultural, economic, health, and environmental implications of food and food systems. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 7: Imagining Epidemics
Professor Votava MWF 1:30PM – 2:20PM

An investigation of movies and television as responses to recent public health catastrophes. In addition to exploring the science behind bugs from AIDS to swine flu, students examine the reaction of popular entertainment on the big and small screens. We consider two ways of representing epidemics: reproducing “real-life” diseases and fictionalizing conditions such as zombie-ism. Topics include the problem of representing traumatic experience and the cultural as well as physical power of plague to shape society. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 8: Making Meadville Home
Professor Lo WF 11:00AM – 12:15PM
**This section is reserved for students participating in the Bonner program**

An exploration of the spaces that, and the people who, have shaped Meadville. We all want to belong to something or some place, but how do we make this happen, especially when we are new? Sometimes, we enter with assigned roles and identities and, other times, we have to work hard to gain a sense of belonging. One way to establish a community and build relationships is to create a space where you know you belong. While you have time to develop your own thoughts on community and belonging, the final product is a research paper that helps you claim Meadville as home. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 9: The Undead and the Meaning of Life
Professor Miller MWF 3:30PM – 4:20PM

An investigation of the cultural significance of ghosts, zombies, vampires, and other creatures that refuse to rest in peace. We discuss stories, poems, movies, TV shows, and photographs supposed to represent the undead, from Ebenezer Scrooge’s Ghost of Christmas Past to George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. Our explorations ask how the undead–this strange category between life and death–provides a way of thinking about what life means, and how we can make the most of it. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 10: Made by Hand
Professor Chapp MWF 10:00AM – 10:50AM
**Reserved for students participating in the Access Allegheny program. Invitation only.**

An exploration of edible artisanal crafts. We will seek to answer the question -what is the value of food made by hand- by interacting with local artisans, screening short films, reading and discussing a variety of texts, and engaging in our own attempts at handmade products. Students may be required to participate in trips off campus outside of regularly scheduled class time. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 11: Creativity: Bridging Art, Music, and Science
Professor Persichini MWF 11:00AM – 11:50AM

An exploration of how creativity is defined and applied using modern historical examples. We will attempt to define creativity by studying people and their products in areas of art, music, and science. This will help us describe how creativity bridges these seemingly dissimilar topics. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 12: Democracy and Popular Culture
Professor Bailey MWF 2:30PM – 3:20PM

An exploration of the connections among engaged democratic citizenship, liberal arts education, and popular culture. We examine the role that various forms of popular culture play in the formation and practice of democratic citizenship. We reflect on one of the primary goals of a liberal arts education, namely preparing citizens for robust participation in democratic and public life. In particular, we explore the ways that democracy has been portrayed in popular culture and the ways that popular culture has enabled people to engage in democracy. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 13: Staging Sustainability
Professor Mehler MWF 10:00AM – 10:50AM

An exploration of the intersection of theatre, ecology, and the business of art-making. Students explore plays in which theatre makers foreground the interdependence of humans and the environment. Further work investigates production’s impact on ecological and economic systems with the goal of discovering methods that have broad positive impact. For the final project, each student generates a proposal for a community arts project that is ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 14: Representations of College
Professor Tompkins MW 11:00AM – 12:15PM

An exploration of representations of college in the media. Students will consider the different ways the college experience is depicted in popular culture, movies and TV shows, including how these depictions have changed over time and how they shape our expectations and assumptions about the meaning of college life. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 15: Theatre and Community
Professor Watkins MWF 1:30PM – 2:20PM

An exploration of theatre as communal practice. How is drama created? What can we learn about culture through performance? In this course, students examine fundamental issues about social and cultural practices, dramatic conventions, and how theatre reflects our fragmented society. Students study plays and performance traditions, develop improvisational acting and writing skills, and create and produce an original theatre performance as the final project for the course. Course work emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 16: Genes, Culture, and Identity
Professor Hersh MWF 10:00AM – 10:50AM

An examination of the relationship between modern genetics and issues of privacy, identity, and culture. Genetic determinism—the idea that our genes determine our destiny—can be pervasive in discussions about biotechnology and personalized medicine. How do our genes influence our personalities and our health? By contrast, what are the ways in which our genes fail to determine our personal and cultural identities? How has genetics been used and misused in these contexts? Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communications skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 17: Outlaws, Rebels, and Rogues: Pirates of the Caribbean
Professor Haywood MWF 1:30PM – 2:20PM

An examination of the Golden Age of piracy in the Americas (1650-1730) and its modern-day legacy. Cultural questions explored include: why did people join pirate ships; what made pirate culture unique, and what was daily life like on board a pirate ship? Economic questions include: how did pirates operate; what did they target; who did they capture, and what did they steal? Judicial questions raised include: was piracy ever legal; how did authorities combat piracy, and what brought it to its knees in 1730? Modern topics examined include Hollywood’s continued romance with the world of “yo ho ho” and “arghhh” and the impact of pirates operating in today’s seas. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 18: Liberal Learning and Human Flourishing
Professor Keysor TTH 3:00PM – 4:15PM
**Reserved for students in the Honors Program. By invitation only.**

An exploration of the meaning of the liberal arts, emphasizing their contemporary significance. Students are encouraged to make informed assessments of the continuing relevance of the liberal arts as a model for higher education, a basis for engaged citizenship, and a preparation for life. Collaborating with faculty and peers, students propose and investigate problems of significance spanning a variety of disciplines. This approach seeks coherence across educational experiences and hones the analytical and collaborative skills valued by employers and graduate schools. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 19: Arab and Muslim American Experiences
Professor Hilal MWF 3:30 – 4:20PM

An introduction to Arab and Muslim experience in the United States. In this course, students learn about the experiences of these communities, their challenges, and contributions in the American landscape. We examine various literary texts, comedy, and film to understand how these communities have been represented and how they represent themselves. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 22: Economy in the news
Professor Bilo TTH 3:00PM – 4:15PM

A study of the domestic and international economy through the discussion of the current events as they appear in newspapers and on podcasts. News about economic issues is not always precise or accurate; one needs the analytic tools to assess the news and to be able to read between the lines. Students build up such tools throughout the semester, learning how to read, critically evaluate, and respond to the information about the economy in the media. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 23: Water, Food, and Energy: What’s Next?
Professor O’Brien TTH 1:30PM – 2:45PM
**Living-Learning Community. By application only.**

A study of fresh water supplies, food systems, and energy resources from an interdisciplinary perspective. We examine these systems at the local, national, and global scales and identify how these natural resources are inherently linked in human societies. How well do we understand the dynamics among our water, agriculture, and energy supplies? How might we create policies to effectively manage these resources in tandem? What are the emerging ideas under development to meet our growing needs for water, food and/or energy? Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

 

Section 25: Natural Resource Conservation
Professor Bowden M, 1:30PM – 2:45 PM, TH 1:30PM – 4:20PM

**Living-Learning Community. By application only.**

An investigation of natural resource use and conservation. Northwest Pennsylvania has a diversity of natural resources that provide environmental and economic opportunities to the region. We examine protection and management of forests, farms, wildlife, streams, and wetlands, as well as the economic and social concerns that challenge informed use and long-term protection of valuable resources. In this laboratory and field-based class, students can expect to spend a considerable amount of time outdoors in the diversity of weather enjoyed by this region. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

 

Section 27: The World of Comics and Graphic Novels
Professor Ludewig MWF 11:00AM – 11:50AM

A cross-cultural and historical introduction to comics and graphic novels. Students learn to appreciate the special “language” of the comics’ medium and to communicate academically about its different genres, styles, and global traditions. How do we engage with these visually told stories? Why did a comic book about the Holocaust win the Pulitzer Prize? And can you actually do journalism with comics? Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 28: Poetics of Memory
Professor Herrman TTH 9:30AM – 10:45AM

A study of poetry memorializing the casualties of war, contextualized within broader memorial trends, ancient and modern. We begin with an extended close reading of Homer’s long epic, the Iliad. We compare monuments, speeches and poems for the dead from classical Athens, the American Civil War and World War 1, and we conclude with a recent poetic retelling of the Iliad informed by ancient and modern memorial developments. We examine how monuments turn from the promotion of ongoing war to peace and healing. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 29: Cross-cultural Portraits
Professor Shi MWF 11:00AM – 11:50AM

An exploration of intercultural awareness through the representation of the Self and Other in Chinese and American cultures. Fiction, poems, illustrations, and movies from Chinese (with English translations available) and American sources are discussed, with field trips in the Meadville area and to Pittsburgh. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 30: Queer Lens: LGBTQ Contributions in Art
Professor Miller TTH 11:00AM – 12:15PM

An introductory exploration of the creative visual expression, aesthetics, and history in queer art culture. Students study notions of gender, sex, and sexuality, and describe how historical and contemporary queer artists employ craft to communicate content. Through research, writing, and presentation projects, students learn how queer artists not only created cultural contributions, but also how culture and politics often has damaging effects upon non-normative identity and free expression. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 31: Art, Technology, and Science Fiction: The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Invent It
Professor Rich TTH 8:00AM – 9:15AM

An investigation of how science fiction becomes cultural reality when artists use the tools of computer and biological science to define the future of the social landscape. By studying many important works of art of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, and identifying how these pieces of art integrate notable scientific fields of study, students gain an understanding of the philosophical ramifications of the current Social Media landscape and emerging disciplines in biological science such as Synthetic Biology. Critical theory texts are paired with artworks to analyze how culture is defined by creative applications of emerging fields. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 32: Plato’s Republic
Professor Palmer TTH 3:00PM – 4:15PM

A study of Plato’s Republic and complementary texts including Shakespeare’s Coriolanus and philosophy and political theory of the past half-century. The texts provide the springboard for discussions that consider the nature of knowledge, education, just political organization, good government, tyranny and other topics. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 33: Liberal Learning and Human Flourishing
Professor Boynton TTH 3:00PM – 4:15PM
**Reserved for students in the Honors Program. By invitation only.**

An exploration of the meaning of the liberal arts, emphasizing their contemporary significance. Students are encouraged to make informed assessments of the continuing relevance of the liberal arts as a model for higher education, a basis for engaged citizenship, and a preparation for life. Collaborating with faculty and peers, students propose and investigate problems of significance spanning a variety of disciplines. This approach seeks coherence across educational experiences and hones the analytical and collaborative skills valued by employers and graduate schools. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 34: Liberal Learning and Human Flourishing
Professor Jackson TTH 3:00PM – 4:15PM
**Reserved for students in the Honors Program. By invitation only.**

An exploration of the meaning of the liberal arts, emphasizing their contemporary significance. Students are encouraged to make informed assessments of the continuing relevance of the liberal arts as a model for higher education, a basis for engaged citizenship, and a preparation for life. Collaborating with faculty and peers, students propose and investigate problems of significance spanning a variety of disciplines. This approach seeks coherence across educational experiences and hones the analytical and collaborative skills valued by employers and graduate schools. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 35: Change your mind, change the world?
Professor Wesoky MWF 9:00AM – 9:50AM
**Living-Learning Community. By application only.**

An exploration of Buddhism and mindfulness and their impact on science, society, politics, and daily life. Scientific approaches include attention to neuroscientific research on meditation and mindfulness and their effects on mental and physical well-being. This understanding of the effects of Buddhist philosophy and meditative practices is extended through the ways that mindfulness is manifested in the world. Topics of study include Buddhist approaches to economics and the consumer economy, war and peace, and the environment. Students are also given resources and information to create their own mindfulness practice. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 36: Politics of Memory: Transitional Justice
Professor Mattiace MWF 10:00AM – 10:50AM

An examination of how newly democratic nations come to grips with past periods of political violence. In recent years, many new democracies have struggled with the question of whether to forgive perpetrators of past violence or to seek justice for victims. Through novels, films, individual testimonies, and truth commission reports, we examine the moral, legal, and political consequences of remembering and forgetting in several case studies (e.g., Argentina, South Africa, and Rwanda). Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 37: #achealthyselfie: Wellness in your first year and beyond
Professor Paulson TTH 1:30PM – 2:45PM

An exploration of topics related to mental health and wellness relevant to all college students, such as adjusting to a new living space or roommate, making new friends, keeping up with homework, or creating healthy eating and sleeping habits. Students will examine what researchers say about improving wellness and overall quality of life, integrate this knowledge with their own personal experiences, and explore how social media might or might not facilitate wellness. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 38: The power of imagination
Professor Pickering TTH 3:00PM – 4:15PM

An examination of the relationships between imagination (the forming of new ideas, images, or concepts not present to the senses), innovation/productivity, memory techniques, stress and prejudice. This course is meant to explore and reactivate the power of imagination through perspective-taking exercises, films, storytelling and creative writing, adult play, and through critical examination of the influence of social media (e.g., Facebook, Instagram), peer pressure, and academia on our imagination. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 39: Storytelling
Professor Searle-White TTH 9:30AM – 10:45AM
**Reserved for students participating in the Access Allegheny program. Invitation only.**

An experiential, creative, and critical exploration of the power and practice of storytelling. We examine storytelling traditions from cultures in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the Americas as well as contemporary uses of storytelling in business, healthcare, education, and the media. Students also create and perform several of their own stories and learn how to integrate narrative approaches into their academic work. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 40: Science in Literature
Professor Petasis MWF 11:00AM – 11:50AM

An exploration of how science and scientists are represented in works of nineteenth-century English Literature. The focus is on the unprecedented scientific discoveries of the nineteenth century (such as Darwinian evolution, Faraday’s advances in electromagnetism and Herschel’s discoveries in astronomy) and their influence on the works of authors George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, and Elizabeth Gaskell. Students have the opportunity to participate in round-table discussions, write papers to summarize books or scholarly papers and give midterm and final oral presentations on topics of their choice. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

Section 41: Espionage: From Spies to Satellites
Professor Torigoe TTH 9:30AM – 10:45AM

An exploration of the history and implications of espionage in today’s society. Espionage has been practiced for thousands of years; evolving from the physical infiltration of the enemy to the remote satellite surveillance of the present day. The tensions between the freedom of information, the right to privacy, and the need for security are examined. This seminar emphasizes language, both written and oral, as a tool for exploration, description, and summary.

Section 42: Music of the Holocaust
Professor J Hepler TTH 9:30AM – 10:45AM

An examination of the musicians and the music of both the Nazis and oppressed groups during the Holocaust. Our study provides an example of musical marginalization and oppression in the past, with the goal of encouraging global understanding and tolerance in the present. Classical, folk, and popular styles are included. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.

Section 43: Musical Synthesis
Professor L Hepler TTH 9:30AM – 10:45AM

An introduction to the language, history, and philosophy of music through a study of the synthesis of intellect and intuition that music makes possible. We explore how musical understanding is achieved when the head and the heart are involved in a balanced way and how music allows us to “think about what we feel, and feel about what we think.” Attendance at campus musical events and at least one field trip to a concert by a professional musical ensemble are part of the class. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.