FS 101 Descriptions (Fall, 2019)

Specific descriptions of sections of FS 101, Academic Discourse I, offered in Fall 2019:

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

FS*101 § 1, Fighting Back: Political Inequality and American Resilience
Professor Bloeser
MWF – 2:30 PM 3:20 PM
A study of political inequality and resilience in America. For many—including people of color, women, and workers—inequality has shaped the American political experience. Yet throughout America’s history, people experiencing injustice have recrafted—and arguably improved—the very meaning of “America.” In this course, we examine ideas that have created political inequality in the United States and the ideas of people who have fought back. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 4, Natural Resource Conservation
Professor Bowden
M – 1:30PM 2:45PM and W – 1:30PM 4:20PM
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.

FS*101 § 5, You Are What You Eat
Professor Pallant
M – 1:30PM 2:45PM and W – 1:30PM 4:20PM
A study of what we eat and why we eat it. Students cook, eat, and research historical and contemporary foods of the world with emphasis on how foods define unique cultures – for example, Chinese food, Mexican food, American food, and junk food — and how globalization is both confining and broadening our food horizons. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 7, The Moral Obligation to be Intelligent
Professor P. Jackson
TTH – 9:30 AM 10:45 AM
An inquiry into what it means to be a thinking person in 21st-century America. The ability to tell good sense from nonsense seems to be in seriously short supply these days. But, given how complex the world we inhabit has become, it is possibly more important (and certainly more difficult) than ever to know the difference between an intelligent idea and charlatan claptrap. In this course, we try to hone our ability to take in and process the vast amount of information (some of it useful and edifying; some of it misleading and toxic) that daily comes our way. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 8, Outlaws, Rebels, and Rogues: Pirates of the Caribbean
Professor E. K. Haywood
MWF – 2:30 PM 3:20 PM
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.

FS*101 § 9, Poetics of Memory
Professor Herrman
TTH – 8:00 AM 9:15 AM
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.

FS*101 § 10, History on Film
Professor B. Miller
TTH – 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
A study of how film is both an alternative and a complement to established methods of studying the past. While interested in the production of film as well as the perception and popular impact of film, the course does not offer a formal history of filmmaking. Through a variety of films this course investigates what film can communicate about the time within which it was composed. This course focuses on specific problems or topics in the relationship between film and history. Possible topics could include the cultural and social organization of twentieth century Europe and the United States. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 13, Sharks and Recreation
Professor Whitenack
TTH – 9:30 AM 10:45 AM
An exploration of how sharks are portrayed in pop culture. Sharks, which elicit fascination and fear, have been linked to the arts for thousands of years, from pottery and paintings to popular entertainment. Scholars have also shown that modern media, such as movies, social media, and music, greatly influence people’s perceptions of sharks, which can affect shark conservation efforts. Students examine the portrayal of sharks in pop culture and modern media, and the link of public perception of sharks to conservation. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 14, America: From “Melting Pot” to ” Salad Bowl”
Professor Chowdhury
MW – 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
A study of the pluralistic nature of the United States. From historical, anthropological, and psychosocial perspectives, we explore America as a mosaic of varied influences from different cultures and ethnic groups. Students examine their own diverse roots and analyze issues surrounding the development of a racial and ethnic identity while simultaneously retaining the common ground of shared traditions and citizenship. Through readings, discussions, analytical essays, and presentations, we delineate the concept of America as a “melting pot” or “salad bowl” – two differing metaphors that describe assimilation and diversity in America. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 15,  Brain, Mind, Soul: An Interdisciplinary Journey
Professor Foreman
MWF – 10:00 AM 10:50 AM
An invitation to understand how scholars across time, place, and discipline have considered the fundamental question of how biological substrates of cognition translate into the subjective experience of human consciousness and existence. Readings and visual media drawn from computer science, neuroscience, psychology, literature, the arts, philosophy, religious studies, and education enable us to approach this fascinating and deeply personal set of issues from a wide variety of epistemological stances. Concepts of reflection, contemplation, and mindfulness are emphasized throughout. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 17, Aesthetics of the Impossible
Professor Brand
TTH – 9:30 AM 10:45 AM
A study of how objects designed for fictional futures like those in Star Trek and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy influence reality. Students will attempt to predict the future and explore what ideas may define it. We discuss the power of visual culture through examples of imagined worlds presented in fine art, design, architecture, film, and pop culture. Students will investigate the moral, ethical and political implications of aesthetics through the production of their creative work. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 18, Cross-Cultural Portraits
Professor Shi
MWF – 10:00 AM 10:50 AM
An exploration of intercultural awareness, particularly of what underlies our perceptions of the Other through representations 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.

FS*101 § 20, Shakespeare’s Most Dangerous Plays
Professor Votava
MWF – 2:30 PM 3:20 PM
A study of Shakespeare’s plays and their recent screen adaptations in relation to issues facing America today. Students investigate gender in Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, and She’s the Man, anti-Semitism in Merchant of Venice, and race in Othello and O. They use these works to enter current conversations about sexuality, ethnicity, and race. How do these plays affect us after feminism and LGBTQ rights, the Holocaust and Tree of Life massacre, Malcolm X and Black Lives Matter? Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 24, Espionage: From Spies to Satellites
Professor Torigoe
TTH – 9:30 AM 10:45 AM
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.

FS*101 § 25, Privilege and Poverty
Professor Martin
TTH – 1:30 PM 2:45 PM
A study of American society through the lens of privilege and oppression. Students read, discuss, write and present material related to domestic poverty and its relationship to systems of power and privilege. Students explore issues related to increasing wealth inequality and the widening of the poverty gap. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 26, Are You Game?
Professor Dearden
TTH – 9:30 AM 10:45 AM
An exploration of the importance of games in human culture: why we play games; what we can learn through gameplay about ourselves, human nature, society, and interpersonal interactions; and how games help us learn. Students examine these questions through discussions of gamification, online gaming, and various other topics as well as through hands-on experience playing a variety of games. Off-campus gaming and team-building events will be included outside of class time. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 27, Music & Comedy
Professor Niblock
TTH – 1:30 PM 2:45 PM
A survey of genres that highlight the union of music and comedy. Various visual and aural media 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 informs ongoing critiques and further consideration of genre, medium, and style. Questions of humor, decency, audience, and taboo also are addressed. Featured works are chosen from the realms of opera, film, musical theatre, sketch comedy, stand-up, musical parodies, animation, political satire, and television. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 28, Language Matters
Professor Riess
MWF – 2:30 PM 3:20 PM
An interdisciplinary inquiry into the relationship between language, life, and learning. Topics for study include the relationship between language and identity (Are you what/how you speak?) and its role in distinguishing generations and depicting conflicts in contemporary life. Discussions of these topics explore different language registers (academic, artistic, personal) and highlight the importance of language to student success at Allegheny and beyond. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 29, Arab and Muslim American Experiences
Professor Hilal
TTH – 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
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.

FS*101 § 30, Water, Food, and Energy: What’s next?
Professor O’Brien
MWF – 2:30 PM 3:20 PM
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.

FS*101 § 31, Women and Science
Professor Werner
MWF – 1:30 PM 2:20 PM
An exploration of women in science and mathematics. Students explore the participation of women in STEM and the role of gender in scientific practice and knowledge. Topics include the social and cultural factors that contributed to under-representations in science, feminist critiques of science, and the current climate for women working in scientific fields. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 33, Democracy and Popular Culture
Professor Bailey
MWF – 1:30 PM 2:20 PM
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.

FS*101 § 34, Screening Cultures
Professor Sinha Roy
MW – 2:30 PM 4:20 PM
An examination of representations of cultural diversity in popular films, documentaries, and animations. Who gets to represent whom, how, and why? How are personal and cultural ideas of identity negotiated through such storytelling? Course screenings and readings open up a discussion of the richness of different perspectives and cultural narratives, contrasted against the tyranny of ethnocentric narratives. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 35, Creativity: Bridging Art, Music, and Science
Professor Persichini
TTH – 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
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.

FS*101 § 36, Scientific Expressions
Professor Murphree
MW – 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
An examination of the importance of metaphor and figurative language in shaping scientific paradigms. Readings of scientific essays, excerpts from literary works, and poetry serve as springboards for discussing the role of perception and revelation in scientific endeavors. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 37, Health Geographies
Professor Waggett
MW – 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
An examination of how social structures and environmental determinants can create health disparities domestically and abroad. We examine factors that contribute to disease and wellness, such as poverty, stress, race, and education and analyze how these factors can systematically influence health. We will then explore how these factors come into play through a detailed analysis of a disease. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 38, Symmetry Through the Eyes of Mathematics
Professor Lakins
TTH – 1:30 PM 2:45 PM
An investigation of symmetry in the world around us using mathematics. Symmetry occurs in nature, such as in plants, crystals, and animals, and in things we construct, such as music, dance, and literature. The word “symmetry” has an every-day meaning, but how can we describe it from a mathematical point of view? Students learn the language of mathematics used to precisely define symmetry and classify symmetry types of patterns in the plane, and they investigate examples of symmetry in the world around us. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 39,Darwin for Doctors: The Evolutionary Biology of Medicine
Professor Mumme
MWF – 8:00 AM 8:50 PM
An exploration of the emerging discipline of Darwinian medicine: how evolutionary thinking and the principle of natural selection can provide insight into human health and the treatment of disease. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.


The following sections are intended for cohort programs and are enrolled by invitation only.

FS*101 § 2, Political Biography
Professor Callen
MWF – 11:00 AM 11:50 AM
**This section is part of a cohort program and is by invitation only**
An examination of the role of the individual in the political process. First, we consider how personal history shapes an individual’s ideology and political fortune. Second, we consider how much one person can influence politics and history. Through reading several biographies of major political figures, students consider whether historical forces or personal will determines how political events unfold. Through discussion, writing, and presentations, students grapple with how one person’s choices shape history and where each individual’s political ideas truly originate, as well as the forces that lead to social, political, and economic changes. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 3, Political Scandals
Professor Harward
TTH – 9:30 AM 10:45 AM
**This section is part of a cohort program and is by invitation only**
An exploration of political scandals in American politics in the modern era. Topics include, but are not limited, to Watergate, Iran-Contra, the Paula Jones case, NSA surveillance, and the Russia investigations. Students examine political, social, and economic contexts of selected events with particular attention to the role of individuals and groups, political institutions, media, and the public as they are involved in and respond to political scandals. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 6, Disney “Magic:” Race, Gender, and Religion in the World of Disney
Professor Krone
TTH – 9:30 AM 10:45 AM
**This section is part of a cohort program and is by invitation only**
An exploration of Disney’s portrayal of race, gender, and religion in animated feature films. Students utilize interdisciplinary texts and methods to analyze and apply a critical lens to familiar Disney films. As we consider the ways that Disney engages and depicts race, gender, and religion, we learn more about the societies that produced and consumed these films. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 12, Busted or Confirmed: Critical thinking, Mythbusters Style
Professor French
MWF – 9:00 AM 9:50 AM
**This section is part of a cohort program and is by invitation only**
An exploration of the scientific process and critical thinking skills using the television show, Mythbusters, as a model. In this show, the hosts test popular myths and legends mixing “scientific method and gleeful curiosity.” Students engage in the process of developing and testing questions or hypotheses. Activities include exploring myths – how they develop, whether there is any evidence to support them, and how to communicate such evidence effectively. We develop our own (non-explosive) experiments as a final project. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 21, Magical Words: Power, Freedom, and Justice in Literature
Professor Caballero
TTH – 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
**This section is part of a cohort program and is by invitation only**
An exploration of power, freedom, and justice in literary texts. We engage with contemporary literature to examine the ways these concepts are defined and imagined. We investigate who has access to freedom and the extent to which power and freedom are connected. We also consider how justice is conceived in relation to questions about power and freedom. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 22, Public Health: Issues of Epidemic Proportions
Professor Peterson
TTH – 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
**This section is part of a cohort program and is by invitation only**
An exploration of public health through readings, discussion, and case studies. We explore factors influencing health in both developed and under-developed regions, and define public health through the lens of the liberal arts. Case studies are used to examine public health as an intricate web of interconnected disciplines including the sciences, social justice, economics, culture, and politics. The organization of the health care system is considered in the delivery of public health interventions. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS*101 § 32, Drugs
Professor Yochim
TTH – 9:30 AM 10:45 AM
**This section is part of a cohort program and is by invitation only**
A critical examination of the role of lifestyle drugs in contemporary culture. Prescription drugs promising to enhance our lives, to make us happier and more productive people, have exploded in popularity. We explore how lifestyle drugs and cultural conversations about them intertwine with broader social and cultural forces demanding we work harder even as we feel less secure. How does a culture replete with these drugs shape our beliefs about who we should be and how we should live? Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.


The following section is intended for transfer students only.

FS*102 § 1, Making Meadville Home
Professor Lo
TTH – 9:30 AM 10:45 AM
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. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.