FS 101 Descriptions (Fall 2020)

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 01, History Travels
Professor K. Haywood
MWF 11:00 AM 11:50 AM
An examination of travelers’ tales and the impact of “journey” on the history of the Americas. Get lost in the palm groves of Florida in 1530; hike national parks with Teddy Roosevelt in 1905, and celebrate Mexican migration with journalist Alfredo Corchado in 2020. Themes explored include diversity & globalization, nationalism & revolution, tourism & tourist culture, and community & communication. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 02, Murder and Mayhem in the United States
Professor A. Keysor
TTH 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
An exploration of crime and punishment in America from the Colonial Era to the present day. Students participate in class discussion to engage with case studies, historical debates, and media representations of criminality. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 03, Fighting Back: Political Inequality and American Resilience
Professor A. Bloeser
TTH 11:00 AM 12:15 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 05, Inequality and the Politics of Empathy
Professor S. Wesoky
MWF 11:00 AM 11:50 AM
An examination of the politics of inequality, political polarization, and the concept of the “empathy gap.” Using the common reading Tales of Two Americas as a core text, this course will explore whether empathy—”the ability to understand other people’s feelings and experiences”—is in decline in the United States, the reasons why that may be so, and how cultivating it may help to increase social trust and improve democratic institutions. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 07, Musical Synthesis
Professor L. Hepler
MWF 11:00 AM 11:50 AM
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.

FS 101 08, Potability: Dirt, Water, and Social Action
Professor Thomas
TTH 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
An examination of the powerful impact of simple ceramic water filtration systems initially designed by artists. Through examining organizations like Potters for Peace, Potters Water Action Group and Wine to Water we learn the global impact that sustainable clean water can have. We will discuss issues surrounding the social awareness of the lack of potable water, art’s ability to create change, and the practicality of making ceramic water filters. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 09, You Are Here
Professor M. Ferrence
MWF 11:00 AM 11:50 PM
A study of location, figurative and physical. We will examine the literary and cultural construction of place, with an emphasis on where we’ve each been and where we all now are, in a region that lies at the confluence of the Rust Belt and Appalachia. We will explore and examine the way geographical place intersects with our senses of self. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 12, Changing Our Minds
Professor B. Slote
MWF 11:00 AM 11:50 AM
An exploration of how people’s strongly held beliefs and assumptions can evolve and change.  Today, more people than ever seem unable or unwilling to entertain points of view different from their own, sure that how they see things—social issues, cultural trends, other people—is absolutely right.  Our course considers what’s at stake in this close-mindedness and what it can take to open minds and hearts, including our own. Readings include fictional and non-fictional narratives, political commentaries, and psychological studies.  Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 13, Agriculture to Health and Back Again
Short Title: Agriculture and Health
Professor A Finaret
MWF 11:00 AM 11:50 AM
An exploration of the linkages between agriculture, food, nutrition, and health in the United States and around the world. Students investigate the science of food and nutrition and engage with stories about the lived experiences of farmers and consumers. Topics include malnutrition, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, food markets, consumer preferences, diet-related disease, and the roles of agriculture and health in economic development. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 14, Science in the News                                                                             
Professor A. Deckert
MW 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
An exploration of science topics reported in the news. Articles from news sources along with literature that helps explain the science topics covered will be the primary text for this course. Analytical reasoning skills are developed through close reading and analysis of arguments presented in the articles. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 15, Food Fights
Professor M. Ams
TTH 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
An exploration of what it means to eat in America. While eating is an essential part of our daily lives, the notion of where our food comes from is rarely questioned. Food Fights explores the origins of our meals, with special emphasis placed on engaging the growers and producers of food in Meadville. Enrolled students are expected to engage the community through off-campus class trips (including one Saturday), followed by refection in the form of class discussion and essay writing. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 16, Dreaming of Democracy: Hollywood Imagines Civic Life
Short Title: Dreaming of Democracy
Professor C. Bailey
MWF 11:00 AM 11:50 AM
An exploration of Hollywood’s influence on our understanding of U.S. democracy. Known as the dream factory, Hollywood produces both optimistic fantasies and nightmarish visions of a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Rather than treating these dreams as distractions from serious and weighty matters like politics, this course treats them as places where significant political struggles play out. We focus on media representations of specific governmental institutions and social movements, asking how they help us imagine what civic life can and should be. By investigating the promises and pitfalls of Hollywood’s dreams, this seminar explores the question of how we might continue to imagine democratic life otherwise. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking. 

FS 101 17, Born to Be Wild: Film and the Sixties Generation
Short Title: Born to Be Wild: The 60s in Film
Professor M. Keeley
TTH 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
An exploration of the 1960s through the study of film. The social, political, and intellectual upheaval of the late 1960s produced a brief period of great activity in the American Cinema in which conventions of both form and content were challenged. This course explores the history of this era by examining films produced during the late 60s and early 70s films that best chronicle the shifting values of American society. Topics include race, pop culture, music, the rise of the anti-hero, the use of explicit violence, and the development of the independent filmmaking industry. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 18, Another World Is Possible
Professor J. Wilson
MW 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
Young people are rising up against the status quo, expressing their dissatisfaction on a wide range of issues from climate change to gun violence to racial injustice. In this class, we explore how we got here, what alternatives are possible, and how we might work together to build a better world. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 19, The Power of Imagination                      
Professor R. Pickering
TTH 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
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.

FS 101 20, America: From “Melting Pot” to “Salad Bowl”
Professor M. 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 23, Mathematics and Storytelling
Professor B. Carswell
MW 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
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.

FS 101 24, Gender and Technology
Professor C. Werner
MWF 11:00 AM 11:50 AM
An exploration of the interplay between gender and technology. Students investigate how social categories such as gender, race, and sexuality shape the ways we create and use technology, and how technology shapes our ideas of these categories. Topics include artificial intelligence and bias, reproductive technologies, and online gaming. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 25, First-Semester Chronicles
Professor B. Lewis
MWF 11:00 AM 11:50 AM
A consideration of life’s important events, and practices of chronicling and recording them. For many students, the first semester in college is a time of change, challenge, and influential new experiences. In this course, we will practice ways of reflecting on and recording these events and think about the results of that practice. In addition to written assignments, students will use their personal smartphones to record their experiences, consider how others have chronicled momentous events, and discuss practices like journaling and conventions like an autobiography. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 26, Twenty-First Century Latin American Culture Through Movies
Short Title: Latin American Culture Through Movies
Professor W. Hernandez
TTH 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
A study of significant themes in recent Latin American cinema. Students watch movies made since 2000 depicting topics such as religion, LGBT issues, the indigenous population, migration, sports, etc. in Latin American countries. In addition, participants further their knowledge of the chosen topics by reading and discussing short historical and cultural texts that deal with the topics depicted in the films. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 30, Privilege and Poverty
Professor S. Martin
TTH 11:00 AM 12:15 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 31, Americans in Paris: Setting an Agenda for the 20th Century Culture                                                                                                          Professor S. Farrelly-Jackson
MW 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
A multidisciplinary exploration of the rich contributions to modernist culture made by American expatriates in Paris in the first half of the 20th century and the significance of the city itself for the creative lives of these figures. Topics include Gertrude Stein’s contribution to modern art and literature, Man Ray’s role in the Dadaist and Surrealist movements, Hemingway’s Parisian apprenticeship, the cultural impact of African-American jazz musicians in Montmartre, and the particular significance of Paris for women and African-American writers and artists. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 32, Rights, Rebellion, and Civil Disobedience
Short Title: Rights and Civil Disobedience
Professor E. Palmer
MW 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
A historical and contemporary study of when, how and why it might be right to break the law. It may be unjust to break some laws (laws representing human rights and civil rights). It may be just to break other laws (such as those that conflict with rights and those that oppress). Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X play prominent roles early in this study. Course participants develop and consider contemporary cases later in the semester. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 33, How to Think Intelligently About Almost Anything                              
Short Title: How to Think Intelligently
Professor P. Jackson
MW 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
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 35, The Sixth Extinction?
Professor K. Tamulonis
TTH 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
A study of the five major mass extinctions recorded throughout Earth’s history and the present-day disappearance of biological diversity. Students examine the scientific hypotheses regarding historic mass extinctions and compare these hypotheses to causes of the current diversity decrease. Are we in the midst of a sixth extinction and are humans the cause? How will the loss of biological diversity affect humans? Can we work fast enough to reverse some of the damage? Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking. 

FS 101 36, Space, Time, and Measurement
Professor D. Statman
An investigation into the nature of space, time, and measurement. From Einstein’s seminal papers at the beginning of the 20th century to the present, physicists and philosophers continue to wrestle with what science teaches us about space, time, and measurement. With only a little bit of algebra and geometry, students explore the dilemmas presented by current representations of the physical universe. Readings are chosen to provide insight into the current understanding of the science. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 38, Genes, Culture, and Identity
Professor B. Hersh
MWF 11:00 AM 11:50 AM
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.

FS 101 39, Baseball’s Sabermetric Revolution
Professor R. Ormiston
An examination of baseball teams’ increasing utilization of advanced statistical analysis and economic theory to make decisions regarding player acquisition, game management, and business operations. We explore the statistical revolution in baseball—and its impact on the sport—over the last two decades. Further, students are exposed to the power—and limitations—of quantitative data to compose logical arguments, solve problems, and make informed predictions about the future. 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 04, Presidential Power
Professor B. Harward
TTH 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
An exploration of the presidency in American politics, with a focus on the modern era. Topics include, but are not limited to impeachment, oversight, judicial decisions, and key developments in presidential politics. Students examine political, social, and economic contexts of particular expressions of presidential power with attention to the role of individuals and groups, political institutions, media, and the public as they are implicated in and respond to the actions of presidents. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 06, Listening to Everything
Professor D. Jurs
MWF 11:00 AM 11:50 AM
Students listen to music from various times and places, discovering surprising connections that cross culture, genre, and era. Finding connections between music and other domains leads to a larger investigation of the aesthetics of beauty and why it matters. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 10, Changing Our Minds
Professor S. Slote
MWF 11:00 AM 11:50 AM
An exploration of how people’s strongly held beliefs and assumptions can evolve and change.  Today, more people than ever seem unable or unwilling to entertain points of view different from their own, sure that how they see things—social issues, cultural trends, other people—is absolutely right.  Our course considers what’s at stake in this close-mindedness and what it can take to open minds and hearts, including our own. Readings include fictional and non-fictional narratives, political commentaries, and psychological studies.  Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 21, Resisting Through Fantastical Worlds
Professor A. Knupsky
TTH 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
An examination of how individuals resist through unusual, unfamiliar, or difficult times. We engage literary texts depicting fantastical worlds and consider how some characters survive or thrive. We focus on the skill sets portrayed and connect them to psychological investigations of emotion, vulnerability, perseverance, and curiosity. Themes of gender, race, immigration, and power inform these conversations. Building a “survival guide” based on our readings and discussions, we identify strategies, resources, and networks that can be leveraged for future success. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 22, Healthy People/Healthy Places
Professor L. Paulson
MW 11:00 AM 12:15 PM
 An exploration of the interrelationships between individuals and the places in which they live and interact, such as the community, school, workplace, and the natural environment. Students examine what researchers say about improving individual and community wellness, resilience, and quality of life and integrate this knowledge with their own personal experience. Community-engaged learning, co-created with students, will animate course themes. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 37, Busted or Confirmed: Critical Thinking, Mythbusters Style
Professor L. French
MWF 11:00 AM 11:50 AM
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 40, Outbreaks, Epidemics, and Other Public Health Issues
Short Title: Outbreaks and Epidemic
Professor K. Peterson
An exploration of public health issues through readings, discussion, and case studies. We explore factors influencing health in both high and low income situations, and define public health from several perspectives. The background of this subject is examined through key historical figures and milestones. Case studies, such as the cholera epidemic of 1854 and more current outbreaks of Ebola, 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.