FS 101 Descriptions (Fall 2021)

Specific descriptions of sections of FS 101, Academic Discourse I, offered in Fall 2020:

Please consult Self-Service to confirm the days, times, and locations of these sections.

FS 101 01, Critical Data Literacy
Professor O. Bonham-Carter
MWF 11:30 AM 12:20 PM
An exploration of interpretation and communication of data in the digital world. Students participate in class discussions and hands-on activities to investigate how data may be used to draw logical conclusions, to make informed decisions and to create policies with potentially far-reaching implications. Students reflect on current practices for collecting data, its uses, abuses, and impacts on society. The coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 02, Poverty and Privilege
Professor S. Martin
TTH 11:10 Am 12:25 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 03, Baseball’s Sabermetric Revolution
Professor R. Ormiston
TTH 11:10 AM 12:25 PM
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.

FS 101 04, Exploration by Bicycle
Professor I. Carbone
TTH 11:10 AM 12:25 PM
An exploration of the bicycle as a tool for sustainable development and personal growth. In this course, students will research the ways in which bicycles can be used to promote healthy and environmentally friendly lifestyles. Field trips will provide opportunities for students to explore Meadville by bicycle and learn best practices for bicycle maintenance and safety. Students that enroll in this course do not need to own a bicycle; however, those that wish to participate in optional bike rides should have access to a bicycle helmet and have experience biking on roads in urban environments. Students concerned about accessibility should contact the instructor. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 05, Wildlife and Society
Professor K. Pearce
MW 11:30 AM 12:45 PM
A study of wildlife and society. Students investigate how growing human populations and expanding anthropogenic activities can coexist with wildlife in a sustainable manner. Students explore trends in human attitudes and societal organization that influence human-wildlife relationships and affect wildlife conservation. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 06, Change Your Mind, Change the World?
Abbreviated Title: Change Your Mind?
Professor S. Wesoky
MWF 11:30 AM 12:20 PM
An exploration of Buddhism and mindfulness, and the impact of their principles on social life and politics. After an introduction to basic Buddhist philosophy and meditative practices, this course explores the ways that mindfulness is manifested in the world. Topics of study include Buddhist approaches to economics and inequality, political democracy, and the environment. Students will also be 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.

FS 101 08, Hard to Say
Professor C. Dodge
MWF 11:30 AM 12:20 PM
An exploration of communication techniques for describing complex ideas to an audience lacking expertise. Everyone has experienced a moment where it felt as though words simply fail to express a thought or emotion. In this course participants will explore authors utilizing various media and techniques to communicate complicated ideas to their intended audiences. Many course examples will explore how authors explain challenging mathematical concepts, but students will apply similar strategies to communicate difficult ideas related to their own personal interests, thinking carefully about their target audience and choice of medium. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 10, Symmetry Through the Eyes of Mathematics
Professor T. Lakins
MWF 11:30 AM 12:20 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 11, How Do You Make a Decision?
Professor R. O’Brien
TTH 11:20 AM 12:25 PM
An examination of the human decision-making process. Throughout our lives we make a variety of decisions every day. Many decisions are small but we also face important choices that can shape our personal and professional lives. How well do we understand how to make those choices? Is your current practice the most effective method? Students learn and practice a new decision-making approach—one that empowers the identification and selection of the best choice for you. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 13, Rights, Rebellion, and Civil Disobedience
Professor E. Palmer
MW 11:30 AM 12:45 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 14, Finding Your Voice: Sounding Out Your Future Self
Abbreviated Title: Finding Your Voice
Professor M. Christmas
TTH 11:10 AM 12:25 PM
An exploration of what it means to sound like yourself. This course considers how we speak to an audience both on and off the page, and what can be achieved socially, academically, and culturally by bringing these ways of speaking closer together. We will reflect on how voice reveals who we are and what is at stake, and how it can be silenced, imitated, stylized, crafted, and shaped before it becomes a force that activates and propels our critical thinking, academic research, and creative work. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking. 

FS 101 15, On Loafing
Professor M. Ferrence
MWF 11:30 AM 12:20 PM
An exploration of busy-ness, haste, and the necessity of unstructured time. We consider the personal and cultural consequences of America’s fetishized “productivity.” We investigate practical and theoretical origins for concepts of “work ethic” versus “laziness,” and we consider the value in breaking away from ever-increasing demands on our time and attention. Loafing shall occur. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills, with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 18, Arabs and Muslims in Media, Television, and Film
Professor R. Hilal
TTH 11:10 AM 12:25 PM
An introduction to the depiction of Arabs and Muslims in media, television, and film. In this course, students learn about the constructions of images and their impact on these communities. We examine various examples from news media and popular culture. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 19, China;s Present/Past and America’s Responses
Professor X. Shi
TTH 11:10 AM 12:25 PM
A study of contemporary China, considering the transformation of Chinese traditions and its relationship to the United States. This course will explore how the United States might respond to significant challenges presented by China’s rise, especially with regard to technology, commercial culture, the environment, human rights, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Students will explore Chinese traditions while devising strategies for America to retain its competitive place on the global stage. The course is visual, experiential, and adopts cross-cultural perspective. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 20, The Tabletop Gaming Renaissance
Professor M. Betush
TTH 11:10 AM 12:25 PM
An exploration into the recent upswing in popularity and diversity of board games and their importance as a form of entertainment. Students will study, examine and ultimately play myriad different genres of tabletop games — including both competitive and cooperative modes. Through these interactions, students will have an opportunity to experience and reflect on team-building skills, game theory, and logic. Assuming public health guidelines allow, off-campus gaming and team-building events may 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 21, Creativity: The Common Ground Between Art, Music, and Science
Professor P. Persichini
MW 11:30 AM 12:45 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 understand and describe how creativity provides an important foundation to 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 22, Feminist and Queer Speculative Fiction in Art, Film, and Literature
Abbreviated Title: Feminist and Queer Speculative Fiction

Professor P. Burleigh
TTH 11:10 AM 12:25 PM
An exploration of speculative fiction (SF), a literary genre based on conjecture, positing realities that challenge what is possible. There is an important tradition of often women-identifying writers and artists who have used SF as a space of serious play, to imagine possible modes of existence outside of heteronormative or patriarchal configurations. Students approach SF as a site of feminist and queer knowledge production, in that its creators picture radical paradigm shifts. The material emphasizes creators who challenge a humanist worldview to explore post-human landscapes, with major implications in the field of gender studies. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 23, America: From “Melting Pot” to “Salad Bowl”
Professor M. Chowdhury
TTH 11:10 AM 12:25 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 24, Healthy People/Healthy Places
Professor L. Paulson
MW 11:30 AM 12:45 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 25, “I don’t do drugs, I am drugs”: Drugs, Culture, and Creativity
Abbreviated Title: Drugs, Culture, and Creativity
Professor M. Bertholomey
MWF 11:30 AM 12:20 PM
An examination of the way drugs and culture interact, from evolving attitudes toward drug use and drug policy, to the way drugs have influenced the creative work of visual artists, musicians, and writers. Students will discuss the physical and cultural impact drugs have – physically and culturally – on individuals, and how society has influenced opinions of those under the influence. Themes of cultural attitudes, racism, medicine, stigma, and creativity will be explored using historical, anthropological, scientific, and artistic resources. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking. 

FS 101 26, Plagues and Peoples
Professor K. Pinnow
MW 11:30 AM 12:45 PM
An examination of individual and social responses to disease outbreaks. Students investigate past and present pandemics, including the plague, influenza, and Covid-19, to consider how our perceptions and experiences of illness are shaped by who we are. Topics include the tensions between individual rights and public responsibilities, the connection between health disparities and the allotment of resources, and the role of language and culture in creating the meanings and rituals surrounding disease. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 27, Chinese Emperors and Empresses
Professor G. Wu
TTH 11:10 AM 12:25 PM
A study of the than 200 emperors in China’s 2000-year-long imperial history. What role did they play in Chinese history and in making China as it is today? How are they evaluated by the Chinese people? Using scholarly works, autobiographies, documentaries and feature films, students study the rise and fall of the most important Chinese emperors and empress from the first emperor of the Qin to the very last one, Puyi, who abdicated in 1912. We examine how these monarchs established a Chinese imperial system, sought and maintained their power and pursued change, looked at their own position in history, and handled their relationships with ministers, families, and their subjects. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 28, Murder and Mayhem in the United States
Professor A. Keysor
MW 11:30 AM 12:45 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 29, Contemporary American Musical
Professor M. Cosdon
TTH 11:10 AM 12:25 PM
A semester-long study of the contemporary American musical, with a focus on the presentation of “difference” and “diversity.” A series of recent, boldly inventive American musicals have challenged long-held values and cultural norms. Rather than the traditional fusion of syrupy plotlines with flashy songs and dances, these shows are “taking musical theatre on a whole new trip.” This course surveys the contemporary American musical, with a focus on the presentation of “difference” and “diversity” on stage. Musicals studied may include “Sunday in the Park with George,” “Rent,” “Hairspray,” “Spring Awakening,” “next to normal,” “Bloody Andrew Jackson,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Fun Home,” and “Dear Evan Hansen.” Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills, with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 30, Drugs
Professor E. Yochim
TTH 11:10 AM 12:25 PM
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.

FS 101 31, Science in Literature
Professor D. Petasis
MWF 11:30 AM 12:20 PM
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.

FS 101 33, Darwin for Doctors: The Evolutionary Biology of Medicine
Professor R. Mumme
MWF 11:30 AM 12:20 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 07, Listening to Everything
Professor D. Jurs
MWF 11:30 AM 12:20 PM
An exploration in listening. Students listen to music and sound from various times and places, discovering surprising connections that cross culture, genre, medium, and era. Students also explore the pedagogical implications of listening and investigate the aesthetics of beauty and if/how it matters. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 12, Disney “Magic”
Professor A. Krone
MW 11:30 AM 12:45 PM
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 16, Magical Words: Love, Liberation, & Justice
Abbreviated Title: Love, Liberation, & Justice
Professor S. Caballero
TTH 11:10 AM 12:25 PM
An exploration of love, liberation, and justice in contemporary texts. We engage with contemporary literature to examine the ways these concepts are defined and imagined. We investigate definitions of liberation and the extent to which liberation and love are connected. We also consider how justice is conceived in relation to questions about liberation and love. Coursework emphasizes the development of effective oral and written communication skills with a focus on description, summary, and critical thinking.

FS 101 32, Busted or Confirmed: Critical Thinking, Mythbusters’ Style
Professor L. French
MWF 11:30 AM 12:20 PM
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 34, From Agriculture to Health and Back Again
Professor A. Finaret
MWF 11:30 AM 12:20 PM
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 35, Outbreaks, Epidemics, and Other Public Health Issues 
Professor K. Peterson
MWF 11:30 AM 12:20 PM
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.