FS 102 Descriptions (Spring 2018)

Specific descriptions of sections of FS 102, Academic Discourse II, offered in Spring 2018:

Please consult WebAdvisor for the days, times, and locations of these sections.

Course Faculty Title Description
FS 102 Section 1 Rich, B Lost Territory: Depictions of Simulation study of the relationship between art, science, and technology as viewed through the lens of science fiction film and critical theory texts. Students investigate social interaction and construction through analysis of depictions of near-future scenarios and speculative technologies while examining the evolutionary process through which science and technology develop. Students dissect complex relationships between speculation and technological advancement as they relate to socio-political climates. Social, technological, and scientific notions of “simulation” conceptually underpin the media analyzed. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.
FS 102 Section 2 Schindler, R “The Kids Are United”: Punk Culture and Philosophy An exploration of the significance of punk culture in modern life. We study the punk movement through its diverse manifestations from ’76 punk rock to hardcore and post-punk bands. The course focuses not only on the music but also on the visual arts, literature, fashion, behavior, and philosophy of punks. We pay some attention to the roles played through anti-authoritarian dissent, social and political protest, and just plain bad behavior. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.
FS 102 Section 4 Shapiro, B Re-enacting the French Revolution An introduction to the French Revolution in which students are assigned and act out roles as revolutionary legislators. Role-playing begins as the revolutionary National Assembly struggles to formulate a Constitution amidst internal turmoil and threats of foreign invasion. Will the king be permitted to retain a semblance of power? Can the Assembly contain the radical demands of “the People?” Can the revolutionaries create a stable democratic regime, or was the violence and bloodshed of the Reign of Terror inevitable? This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.
FS 102 Section 5 Wu, G Diplomacy, War, and Chinese People’s Liberation Army An historical examination of modern Chinese warfare from the 1930s to the 1980s. Using the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), the Chinese Civil War (1947-1949), and China’s involvement in the Korean and Vietnam Wars as case studies, the course considers modern Chinese warfare and the evolution of Chinese military strategy. Important relationships considered include that between the army and the political parties/state, between the army and the people, between ideological training and weapons, between offense and defense, and between war and diplomacy. The seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.
FS 102 Section 6 Crozier, D Emotion: The Cue for Passion An exploration of how emotion is perceived, expressed, and portrayed. We examine the ideas and writings of William Shakespeare, William James, Charles Darwin and current thinkers to define emotions and the way they affect our lives. We locate connections between the passions, rhetoric and embodied communication. Students have the opportunity to process and debate issues from different perspectives. This seminar develops written and oral skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication.
FS 102 Section 7 Patterson, M Holocaust Theatre A study of the representation of the Holocaust onstage. Given its singularity as a historic event, the Holocaust poses particular issues when used as the subject for art, for artist, and audience. This course investigates the genre of Holocaust theatre and takes a critical approach to the specific questions it presents. Students examine how specific plays are representative of the genre and study a range of critical theories. Coursework emphasizes the use of critical and philosophical texts relevant to representing the Holocaust onstage. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.
FS 102 Section 9 Yochim, E Digital Spies An exploration of surveillance in digital culture. Students examine how lives spent online, posting photos and status updates, clicking through the web, and tracking daily habits, produce massive data streams readily analyzed for market analysis, political campaigns, and more. What gets collected as we use our phones and traverse the web? How is that data analyzed? And what impacts does digital surveillance have on our everyday lives, our sense of self, consumption, and politics? This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.
FS 102 Section 11 Krone, A Food Justice An exploration of our modern food system and the issues embedded within it. Students investigate all aspects of food justice in relation to the formation of community and individual identities. Students learn how issues such as race, gender, social class, and ethnicity affect communities as they grow, purchase, prepare, and eat food. Our course involves a few different cooking projects and culminates with a class meal that is researched, prepared, and presented by students. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.
FS 102 Section 12 Golden, J Contemporary Topics in the U.S. Economy An exploration of contemporary topics within the US economy. This seminar investigates some of the major economic policy debates of today. Topics such as raising the minimum wage, limiting migration to the U.S., whether to repeal and replace Obamacare, and the viability of Social Security are examined. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.
FS 102 Section 13 Hollerman, Jim Notions of infinity Coming to grips with the infinite. The infinite surfaces in philosophy, mathematics, cosmology, religion, and art, but often in different ways. Readings by authors such as Democritus, Aristotle, Aquinas, Galileo, Cantor, and Escher, ranging from the ancient Greeks to modern times, are taken up. Student papers and oral presentations argue the validity or usefulness of a particular notion of infinity as described by one or more authors. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.
FS 102 Section 14 Callen, Z The Politics of Post-Humanity A consideration of what it means to be human in a post-human world where it is increasingly less clear what the boundary between human and machine is. Our examination revolves around novels and academic texts that raise the question of how much we can modify ourselves before we stop being human. Through class presentations and papers, students consider the political implications of modern technology, particularly in terms of access to technology, changes to democratic decision-making brought about by technology, and which entities receive political rights. This seminar develops oral and written communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.
FS 102 Section 15 Tamashiro, H Visual Politics in Film An exploration of political themes in the cinema with a focus on race, gender, power, class, culture, and conflict.  The central question of this seminar—how stories and descriptions in film shape particular political outlooks, myths, and ideologies—is answered by studying selected feature-length films for political content. Political topics to be covered include idealism, conservatism, liberalism, and constructivism.  Students are required to attend film screenings outside of scheduled class time.  This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.
FS 102 Section 16 Bethurem, E I Will Be A Hummingbird A study of improving large-scale sustainability outcomes through localized action. Students explore what it means to incorporate into personal, community, and regional action the story told by Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai of a hummingbird putting out a forest fire one drop of water at a time. Students study the ways that small-scale actions, from the individual-level to the community-level, can impact environmental, social, and economic outcomes. Students consider what sustainability means in their hometowns, in Meadville, and in the NW PA region. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.
FS 102 Section 17 Jackson, L No Pain, No Gain An exploration of the benefits of positive thinking along with its limitations. The powers of positive thinking are often extolled, and the search for happiness has given birth to an entire industry of self-help books, tapes, retreats, and coaches. And yet the relentless search for happiness and the avoidance of discomfort, failure, and setbacks can make us more miserable. We explore why the “secret” to a state of contentment may lie in embracing discomfort. Readings are drawn from the popular press, but also from psychology, philosophy, biology, and religion. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.
FS 102 Section 19 Niblock, J Music & Comedy A survey of genres that highlight the union of music and comedy. Various visual and aural media will serve as the subject material for analysis and discussion. Both comedy and music serve as vehicles for creativity, and each is grounded in discrete theories and techniques. Examination of the two fields will inform ongoing critiques and further consideration of genre, medium, and style. Questions of humor, decency, audience, and taboo will also be addressed. Featured works are chosen from the realms of sketch comedy, stand-up, musical parodies, animation, political satire, television, film, musical theatre, and opera. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.
FS 102 Section 20 Smith, N Terrorism in Spain: An Historical Perspective An examination of the various definitions of terrorism and how terrorism has affected the Spanish for hundreds of years. Terrorism in Spain has been church-sponsored, state-sponsored, has come from several nationalistic groups, and now comes from international terrorists. In addition to examining the history of terrorism in Spain, we will explore the presence of the theme of terror in Spanish art, literature, legend, music, and film. This seminar develops written and oral communication with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.
FS 102 Section 21 Starczewski, J. Boxing: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly A study of boxing that goes beyond recent sensationalist media moments. What does the so-called art of manliness have to teach us about a certain way of living life? In this class, we study different genres of discourses surrounding boxing, whether they be from social media, mainstream magazines and newspapers, or medical journals, academic articles, and movies. We then discuss how the art of bruising informs us about gender relations, racial tensions, and class interaction. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.
FS 102 Section 23 Henceroth, N Travel Writing A study of travel writing, this course provides an in-depth focus on writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills. Students develop these skills with an eye to travel writing in all its various forms. As students, many will study-abroad or travel for field research, so in this course we will combine the goals of FS 102 with topics that involve capturing the essence of travel whether it is internationally, within the US, or to Meadville and Crawford County. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.
FS 102 Section 24 Levine, R Working An exploration of work. It is the spine of our lives, anchoring where we live, and how we live while offering us an income, an identity, a structure, and a source of possible satisfaction. Through readings and other assignments we will investigate the way our background, gender, education, and training affect the work we do, and the salary we receive for it. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.
FS 102 Section 25 Shapiro, B Re-enacting the French Revolution An introduction to the French Revolution in which students are assigned and act out roles as revolutionary legislators. Role-playing begins as the revolutionary National Assembly struggles to formulate a Constitution amidst internal turmoil and threats of foreign invasion. Will the king be permitted to retain a semblance of power? Can the Assembly contain the radical demands of “the People?” Can the revolutionaries create a stable democratic regime, or was the violence and bloodshed of the Reign of Terror inevitable? This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.
FS 102 Section 26 Boynton, E Of Gods and Monsters: Religion, Film, and the Uncanny An investigation of what religion has to do with monsters. Most people do not go to church or temple or ashram in search of monsters. Yet religion is never without its monsters. We can learn something about a religious tradition by getting to know its monsters, and we can learn something about monsters by looking at their religious heritage. We enrich our exploration of the problem of evil by paying attention to the representations of the monstrous in classic religious texts and in contemporary literature and recent horror films. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.
FS 102 Section E1 Ozorak, E Live Well This course will explore community wellness from both a collective and individual perspective. Topics will include sleep, food and nutrition, exercise, study and learning, play, and social connections. In each case, we will examine popular recommendations for living well and the research – or lack of it – behind them. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.
FS 102 Section W1 Miller, D Understanding Today’s World: Democracy, Capitalism, and Education An inquiry into the various forces shaping our world and individual experience today. Students explore connections between global citizenship and education in relation to fundamental tensions between democracy and capitalism. How might we frame our educations more meaningfully to meet the challenges we face in employment, politics, social relations, cultural crisis, and the environment? How does an integrated approach to education enhance our ability to respond to these challenges? This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context. Designated “W,” this section places particular emphasis on the practice of writing and offers specialized instruction to improve writing skills.
FS 102 Section W2 Bulman, J Words, Words, Words An exploration of the power of the English language, its uses and abuses. Topics include the history and development of English; how language shapes our reality; the function of jargon, euphemism, prejudicial language, and political propaganda; the ethics of rhetorical persuasion; and the importance of audience and occasion. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context. Designated “W,” this section places particular emphasis on the practice of writing and offers specialized instruction to improve writing skills.
FS 102 Section W3 Slote, B Inventing Appalachia An exploration of Appalachian identity as shaped by historical forces and as imagined from various national perspectives. By tracing the origins of stereotypes both heroic (such as the independent mountaineer) and denigrating (hillbillies and rednecks, for instance), students consider how the region has served national cultural interests as a site of remoteness, backwardness, poverty, and prodigal beauty. Students also read works by Appalachian authors and activists that complicate or “talk back” to this national perspective. Material comes from various fields, including history, cultural studies, literature, and film. This seminar develops oral and written communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context. Designated “W,” this section places particular emphasis on the practice of writing and offers specialized instruction to improve writing skills.
FS 102 Section W4 Wilkins, A Creativity and the Liberal Arts: Body, Mind, and Practice An investigation into the concept of creativity. Creativity is a key element in innovation, originality, and production—in the sciences as much as in the arts—but what exactly is it and how does it work? Topics include artistic process, the psychology of creative flow, scientific discovery, the economics of a “creative class,” creative writing, and the practical application of creativity in the liberal arts. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context. Designated “W,” this section places particular emphasis on the practice of writing and offers specialized instruction to improve writing skills.
FS 102 Section W5 Hart, A Let’s Get Digital! An exploration of digital communication technologies and their effects on personal and community identities, civic engagement, and reading and writing practices. We will develop projects for online publication that weave together words, images, sound, and video as we consider how our composing practices affect our engagement with ideas, with current issues, and with each other. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context. Designated “W,” this section places particular emphasis on the practice of writing and offers specialized instruction to improve writing skills.
FS 102 Section W6 Miller, J Ethics and Animal Life An exploration of what it means to treat other creatures fairly. We focus on cases where the interests or needs of human beings conflict with the interests of animals. After examining several theoretical approaches to animal ethics, we consider how they might apply to current controversies ranging from the common practice of neutering pets to the sensational killing of Cecil the Lion. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context. Designated “W,” this section places particular emphasis on the practice of writing and offers specialized instruction to improve writing skills.
FS 102 Section W7 Wilkins, A Creativity and the Liberal Arts: Body, Mind, and Practice An investigation into the concept of creativity. Creativity is a key element in innovation, originality, and production—in the sciences as much as in the arts—but what exactly is it and how does it work? Topics include artistic process, the psychology of creative flow, scientific discovery, the economics of a “creative class,” creative writing, and the practical application of creativity in the liberal arts. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context. Designated “W,” this section places particular emphasis on the practice of writing and offers specialized instruction to improve writing skills.