FS 102 Descriptions – (Spring 2022)

Specific descriptions of sections of FS 102, Academic Discourse II, offered in Spring 2022:

FS 102 01, Emerging Genetic Technologies: Promise and Peril
Professor Nelson
Credits: 4
An exploration of the scientific, historical, and ethical dimensions of emerging genetic technologies. Little more than a century since the word “gene” was coined to describe the basic unit of genetic inheritance, techniques such as CRISPR raise the possibility of reshaping the genomes of a wide range of organisms with unprecedented ease and precision. What about these technologies worries scientists? What cautionary tales does history reveal? How do we define the “ideal” genome and what are the ethical implications of doing so? This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.

FS 102 02, Politics of Populism in Europe
Professor Oliver
Credits: 4
An exploration of the politics of populism in Western Europe over the past decade. We will examine the case of Brexit in the UK and the rise of populist parties in Germany, Italy, and Sweden. We also investigate counter-acting forces and new dynamics at play. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.

FS 102 03, Courts and Social Change
Professor Harward
Credits: 4
An examination of the policymaking role of courts. Popular understanding of the legal system in the U.S. holds that courts are (for better or worse) uniquely positioned to bring about social change. Lacking sufficient support in legislative contexts, disadvantaged groups seeking policy change have gone to the courts to secure their rights. We will explore how institutions (formal and informal rules), judicial ideology, local political culture, case type, and other factors shape the conditions under which courts can bring about the social change sought by reform-oriented groups. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.

FS 102 04, Diplomacy, War, and Chinese Peoples’ Liberation Army
Professor Wu
Credits: 4
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 06, To Bury Caesar, Or To Praise Him?
Professor Orttung
Credits: 4
A study of the strategies by which Roman orators persuaded their audiences. Was Julius Caesar, murdered in 44 BCE by his fellow senators, a tyrant—or the victim of a smear campaign? Using primary sources, students study the forms and practice of Roman political oratory. Topics include oratorical training and formal rhetoric, party politics and political propaganda, oratory as theater, and the art of character assassination. The semester concludes with a role-playing exercise in which students, as individual senators, debate Caesar’s career and fate. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.

21/FA and 22/SP Transfer Students ONLY
FS 102 07, The Robots Are Coming!

Professor Hart
Credits: 4
An exploration of human-machine interactions. Students engage with fictional representations and scholarly analyses of machines and machine intelligences and consider how they impact human communication, jobs, education, creative arts, and interpersonal relationships. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.

FS 102 08, Movie Epidemics in Pandemic Times
Professor Votava
Credits: 4
An investigation of movies representing the community experience of epidemic disease. Students examine both the myth and the science of public health crises. These may include the bubonic plague, AIDS in 1980s America, and the twenty-first century’s obsession with zombies and other public health disasters. We also consider how the current COVID crisis shapes our own responses to dramatized epidemics, both real and imagined. Topics include the problem of representing traumatic experience and the cultural as well as physical power of plague to shape society. This seminar develops oral and written communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.

FS 102 09, Change Everything: Neoliberalism in the World Today
Professor Franz
Credits: 4
An investigation of our global climate crisis. Science shows that the stable, relatively secure planet that fostered human life and tremendous biodiversity is no more. How do we live at the end of the world? What is required of us — as learners, citizens, communities, nations — in this historical moment? What will it take to regenerate our planet? Tracing the larger forces that led to climate crisis, students explore the implications of global warming and the grassroots movements emerging to confront it. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.

FS 102 11, Self Care: Science vs. Spin
Professor Stanger
Credits: 4
An exploration of the wellness industrial complex and the science of taking care of yourself. Students investigate, discuss, and critique self-care as an industry and the framing of health in
school and work contexts from psychological, sociocultural, economic, and policy perspectives. Students evaluate the evidence base of specific self-care trends and develop and implement wellness plans based on their findings. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.

FS 102 12, Wrongful Convictions and Exonerations
Professor Normile
Credits: 4
An exploration into the world of wrongful convictions. Many innocent individuals have spent years in prison as punishment for crimes they did not commit. We examine the factors that contribute to the wrongful conviction of the innocent, including break downs in the criminal justice system as well as racial and ethnic biases. We explore the various organizations that have dedicated themselves to exonerating the innocent and learn about the struggles and stigma exonerees face when assimilating back into society. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.

FS 102 13, No Pain, No Gain
Professor Eckstein
Credits: 4
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 14,More How to Think Intelligently About Almost Anything
Professor Jackson
Credits: 4
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. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.

FS 102 15, Visions of Reality
Professor Kurtsal
Credits: 4
An examination of philosophy and critical reflection as exploration of artworks and of artworks as exploration of the nature of reality. The course combines philosophy of objects, psychology of perception and judgment, and the history of installation art to critically examine “common sense” about reality. Sculptures and other three-dimensional artworks are the main focus of discussion. Work in class may include creating art. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.

FS 102 16, Fire and Water
Professor Bowden
Credits: 4
We will investigate the integral role of fire and water in human history and culture. We will also explore ways in which regional and global environmental change and mismanagement are altering wildfire abundance and severity, and creating catastrophic floods and droughts that threaten human prosperity. We will explore success stories that move us toward more sustainable use of fire and water. Readings, discussions, debates, and hands-on activities will be integral to the course. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.

FS 102 17, This Will Not Stand!: Pushing For Change Through Activism and Protest
Abbreviated Title: This Will Not Stand!
Professor Bethurem
Credits: 4
An examination of selected new social-political-environmental movements that have as their mission the goal of reshaping the major systems of the world in order to create a more sustainable and just planet for everyone. In this course, we will investigate the causes and aims of movements like Extinction Rebellion, the Sunrise Movement, Black Lives Matter, Zero Hour, and the school strikes led by Greta Thunberg, and will explore the ways in which these different movements have embraced holistic goals focused on diminishing both injustice and unsustainable practices. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.

FS 102 19, Dystopias and Utopias
Professor short
Credits: 4
A study of how creative iterations of utopias and dystopias advocate for change in our world. Utopias ground discourse in the “now” while imagining a future of hope. Dystopias critically examine how the present moment can devolve into a fearful reality. In order to examine how ideas connect over time, the course will examine a variety of art forms including graphic novels, film, and visual art from the thirteenth century to the present. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.

FS 102 20, Apocalyptic Media
Professor Deleon
Credits: 4
A study of how the end of the world has been talked about, represented, and consumed throughout media history. From depictions of zombie invasions to climate catastrophes,
apocalyptic media texts have long been a site for the exploration of cultural beliefs, anxieties, and desires regarding technology, medicine, and society. Students investigate a variety of media
including films, TV shows, and comic books to understand how race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability intersect with the genres and conventions of fantasy and science fiction. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.

FS 102 21, “One Giant Leap for Mankind”: The Apollo Space Program
Professor Petasis
Credits: 4
An exploration of the United States Apollo space program. During a turbulent decade, the US embarked on the most ambitious civilian program in its history. Its space agency, NASA, had to overcome tremendous scientific, technological and political obstacles in order to land astronauts on the moon within a single decade. This course investigates, within the cultural context of the times, the issues that NASA had to resolve in order to pursue a program of staggering complexity. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.

FS 102 22, Revolution: The Beatles and Cultural Change in the 1960s
Abbreviated Title: The Beatles and 1960s Culture
Professor Beverburg
Credits: 4
An examination of how the Beatles shaped and reflected the cultural and musical trends of the 1960s. The Beatles reached an unprecedented level of fame as “Beatlemania” swept nearly the entire globe, and with this notoriety came the power to spark change. Students investigate how the Beatles’ music, appearance, personalities, and views developed over the decade and examine their role in the radical changes taking place during that decade in four main areas: racial inequality, the widening generation gap, gender relations, and economic class divisions. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.

FS 102 23, Music and the Holocaust
Professor J. Hepler
Credits: 4
An examination of the musicians and the music of both the Nazis and oppressed groups during the Holocaust. Our study provides an example of musical marginalization and oppression in the past, with the goal of encouraging global understanding and tolerance in the present. Classical, folk, and popular styles are included. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.

FS 102 24, Mathematics and Liberal Education
Abbreviated Title: Mathematics and Communication
Professor Lo Bello
Credits: 4
An exploration of persuasive communication based on the works of experts famous for their appreciation of mathematics and logic. We study some masterpieces of those who excelled in the art of presenting one’s arguments in accordance with the method of deductive reasoning. These will include the major works on the subject by philosophers and mathematicians from ancient to modern times. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context. 

FS 102 25, Potability: Dirt, Water, and Social Action
Professor Thomas
Credits: 4
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. This seminar develops oral and written communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.

FS 102 26, The Sixth Extinction?
Professor Tamulonis
Credits: 4
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. Additional topics include human impact on the environment, the effects of biological diversity decline on humans, and possible solutions to stop and/or reverse ecological damage. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with an emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.

FS 102 27, Contemporary Topics in the U.S. Economy
Short Title: Contemporary Economics Topics
Professor Golden
Credits: 4
An exploration of contemporary economics topics, many of which are hot-button issues. We will examine multiple policy debates including raising the minimum wage, limiting migration to the U.S., repealing and replacing Obamacare, and preserving Social Security for future generations. This seminar develops written and oral communication skills with emphasis on persuasive communication in an academic context.