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General Education Program

» First-Year Foundation Courses

Fall 2019 FFC Selections

+ - Conflict and Learning: Critical Issues Facing College Students Today

Jerry Price, Ph.D. - Vice President and Dean of Students

FFC 100-67 (Tu, 7-9:50 p.m.)

This course will examine some of the challenges and issues facing colleges and universities today, and how these issues affect students. Students will make critical analyses of each issue, exploring all sides. Issues to be examined include the cost of college, financial aid, Title IX/sexual misconduct, admission factors, diversity, student activism, free expression, and retention and graduation rates. Other issues may be added as they arise. Students also will gain insight into how universities are structured and function.

+ - Close Reading

Priority registration will be given to majors in Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.  Some seats will be available to all other majors.

Kent Lehnhof, Ph.D. - Professor of English, Department of English, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

FFC 100-35 (TuTh, 8:30-9:45 a.m.)

This course will consider a diverse group of texts, ranging from advertising images to television commercials to Renaissance stageplays to animated cartoons to feature films. Our objective in each instance will be the same: to attend to the subtle and specific details that make up a text. By observing and analyzing all the little details that often escape notice, we will practice a kind of critical analysis known as close reading.

+ - Distant Relations: Connections Between Classic and Modern Plays

Michael Nehring, M.S. - Professor of Acting, Department of Theatre, College of Performing Arts

FFC 100-42 (TuTh,  5:30-6:45 p.m.)

Through the examination of three pairs of plays, one classic and one “modern”, we will mine the interconnectivity of each pair of plays to discover how an understanding of one can illuminate themes, forms, and cultural connections of the other.  The professor will provide a brief cultural overview to contextualize the creation of each play.  Students will research production styles that reflect the period in which the play was created.  We will attend at least one live theatrical production, and examine significant contemporary theatrical production concepts in search of possible connections to previous productions and plays of the past. Finally students will research a fourth pairing of plays and speculate on how their similarities and differences might promote a feasible production concept.  The pairings will include:  Oedipus (430 BCE) and Death of a Salesman (1949), A Doll’s House (1879) and A Raisin in the Sun (1959), The Importance of Being Earnest  (1895) and The Bald Soprano (1950).

+ - Diversity, Compassion and Justice: An Introduction to Progressive Christianity

Reverend Nancy Brink, M.Div. - Director of Church Relations, and in the Department of Religious Studies, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

FFC 100-32 (TuTh, 1-2:15 p.m.)

This is an age of radical rethinking of institutions and this is no less true for Christianity. In the last few decades there is an emerging consensus among the progressive wing of Christianity about what it means to follow Jesus of Nazareth that:

  1. Takes the Bible seriously and not literally;
  2. Honors scientific understanding and insight;
  3. Is less concerned about doctrine and more concerned about justice for and solidarity with the poor and marginalized in society, including LGBTQIA persons;
  4. Is less concerned about afterlife and more concerned about living with integrity and intentionality in the here and now;
  5. Finds more grace in the questions than in dogmatic assurance;
  6. Is open to the insights and integrity of other religious expressions.

There are many theologians, artists, clergy and spiritual teachers who are part of this emerging Christian movement. It cuts across denomination lines to include people and congregations from mainstream Protestant, Roman Catholic and Evangelical branches of Christianity.

In this course we will use critical thinking skills to:

  1. Get a broad overview of Christianity and how every 500 years there are great upheavals in society, including religion—and we are in one of these periods;
  2. Understand the emerging concepts and affirmations of progressive Christianity;
  3. Explore how progressive Christians use and interpret scripture;
  4. Contrast this emerging understanding with traditional conceptions of Christianity;
  5. Explore social justice issues of concern to progressive Christians.

Students will be expected to be able to articulate the concepts and themes of progressive Christianity by the end of the semester. This course is not intended to change a student’s core belief structure and if a student is concerned that this might happen, another FFC should be chosen. A very basic working knowledge of Christianity is helpful, but not necessary.

+ - Earth's Spheres and the Changing Climate

Hesham El-Askary, Ph.D. - Professor, Director, Hazards, Global and Environmental Change and Computational Science Programs

FFC 100-17 (TuTh, 11:30a.m.-12:45p.m.)

There is no point in denying climate change because we are living in a dynamic interactive system that is made up by a series of spheres: the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the cryosphere, and the biosphere. Global warming, rising temperature and CO2 emissions have been the only focus of media, mainstream people and politicians. What about the domino effect in our fragile Earth system? In this class we will discuss different aspects of these effects associated with the above-mentioned spheres of the Earth system, how they interact to shape the environment in which we live, and how they are affected by our changing climate.

+ - Education, Activisim, and Social Movements For a Better World

Lilia Monzo, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Education, Attallah College of Educational Studies

FFC 100-21 (TuTh, 8:30-9:45 a.m.)
FFC 100-22 (TuTh, 10-11:15 a.m.)

In this course on specific social movements around the world and key figures in them, students will reflect on the world we live in and our roles as human beings in it. A primary goal is to have students become empowered to see themselves as active agents of their world, understanding that we are not merely passengers in life but the makers of history.  Students will have an opportunity to engage questions of leadership, collective action, and organizing for social change, as well as placing movements within historical contexts and analyzing both gains and losses that have come to bear on these movements. An important aspect of the course is the role of education, both formal and informal, in developing social consciousness and the ideological shifts necessary to create the impetus to act toward revolutionary changes. Specific social movements discussed may include the Paris Commune, Civil Rights, The Zapatistas, The Cuban Revolution, and Black Lives Matter.

+ - Expeditions: Leadership Lessons from Shackleton and the Polar Explorers

Cristina Giannantonio, Ph.D. - Professor of Human Resources, Argyros School of Business and Economics

FFC 100-61 (MoWe, 1 -2:15 p.m.)
FFC 100-62 (MoWe, 2:30-3:45 p.m.)

The era of polar exploration offers students an exciting lens through which to explore the factors necessary for being both a successful leader and an effective follower.  The expeditions of polar explorers such as Ernest Shackleton, Robert Falcon Scott, and Roald Amundsen offer students historical case studies from which they can construct the principles of being both a leader who is successful and a follower who is effective in contributing to a team effort.  This class will encourage students to both envision and ultimately embark on their own expeditions and to develop their own definitions and operationalizations of success.

 

+ - Fantastic Worlds Imagination

Andrew Chappell, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Theatre, Department of Theatre, College of Performing Arts

FFC 100-43 (TuTh, 2:30-3:45 p.m.)

Students in this section will explore the role of the fantastic on individual and social cultural development. Starting with works from the classic sci-fi and fantasy canons (Jules Verne, JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis) as well as contemporary pieces with significant cultural currency (Harry Potter, Star Wars, Star Trek, The Hunger Games, Game of Thrones), we will critically analyze other works such as My Neighbor Totoro, Brazil, and Rocky Horror in conversation with each other. We will bring our critical faculties to bear on the following questions: how do fantastic worlds help us understand the dynamics of continuity and change? How does traveling to both possible futures and imagined pasts allow us to engage with, critique, and (possibly) transform our present? How have these genre works emerged from disregard to become significant additions to literature, art, and culture?

+ - Feminism at the Movies

Priority registration will be given to majors in Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.  Some seats will be available to all other majors.

Clara Magliola, M.A. - Instructor, Department of Sociology, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

FFC 100-15 (Fr, 1-3:50 p.m.)

In this course, students will be introduced to intersectional feminist theory as a mode of analysis for exploring and critiquing movies and popular culture.  Such investigation will include the ideological and material impact of American cinema as a vehicle for disseminating and reinforcing patriarchal norms, especially that of rape culture. Moreover, students will learn to better examine the possibility of developing a critical and “oppositional gaze” in relation to both the creation/production and reception/spectatorship of film.  This course brings feminism to the movies in two senses: first, students will become familiar with feminist visual theories in order to critically examine the “male gaze” of mainstream narrative film through examples from various genres; and second, students will analyze diverse examples of (explicitly or implicitly) “feminist” films — as points of comparison and as political attempts to enact cultural sea-change.  Students will learn to identify well-worn misogynist archetypes of American cinema (such as the castrating mother, and other exemplars of the monstrous feminine-- as racialized, classed, and heterosexist embodiments), and learn to better understand the complex historical arc of “feminism at the movies” by tracing cultural “flashpoints” in American cinema.

+ - Grand Challenges in Science and Technology

Priority registration will be given to majors in Schmid College of Science and Technology, and in the Fowler School of Engineering.  Some seats will be available to all other majors.

Please contact Gregory Goldsmith, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences and Director of the Grand Challenges Initiative with your inquiries.

FFC 100-01 (TuTh, 2:30-3:45 p.m.)
FFC 100-02 (TuTh, 10-11:15 a.m.)
FFC 100-03 (TuTh, 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.)
FFC 100-04 (TuTh, 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.)
FFC 100-05 (TuTh, 1-2:15 p.m.)
FFC 100-06 (TuTh, 2:30-3:45 p.m.)
FFC 100-07 (TuTh, 4-5:15 p.m.)
FFC 100-08 (MoWe, 1-2:15 p.m.)
FFC 100-09 (MoWe, 2:30-3:45 p.m.)
FFC 100-10 (TuTh, 5:30-6:45 p.m.)
FFC 100-11 (We, 4-5:15 p.m.)
FFC 100-12 (MoWe, 5:30-6:45 p.m.)
FFC 100-13 (TuTh, 8:30-9:45 a.m.)

Can we predict critical medical conditions before they occur? How do we stem the loss of biodiversity? What is the role of artificial intelligence in creating a safer future? Solving these “grand challenges” will require breakthroughs that leverage innovative thinking across disciplines. In this course, small teams of students work together to understand a current challenge facing society, propose a potential solution, and effectively communicate what they have learned.

+ - How Modern Art Shook the World

Priority registration will be given to majors in Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.  Some seats will be available to all other majors.

Wendy Salmond, Ph.D. - Professor of Art, Department of Art, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

FFC 100-26 (MoWe, 1-2:15 p.m.)

Scandal, outrage, censorship, rejection – these are words that crop up repeatedly in discussions about modern art. From Edouard Manet’s “indecent” Olympia (1865) to Chris Ofili’s “blasphemous” The Holy Virgin Mary (1996), the art of our time has created unprecedented conflict and misunderstanding between artists and society. In this course we will investigate modern art’s reputation for being transgressive, destructive, and incomprehensible. Through a series of case studies we will explore questions such as: what expectations and beliefs are challenged when artists push the boundaries of “normal” art, reality, and identity? What is the line between experimentation and transgression? What are the connections between artistic rule-breaking and political revolution? Is it possible for artists to go “too far”? The work of the course will involve detailed examination of iconic works, comparing the artists’ intentions with the responses of the public and critics, and creating a genealogy, or conceptual map, that traces the influence of key modernist works on the art of the past 150 years.

+ - Humanomics: Exchange and the Human Condition

Bart Wilson, Ph.D. - Professor, Donald P. Kennedy Chair in Economics and Law, Director, Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy

Katharine Gillespie, Ph.D. - Professor of Literature and Humanities, Argyros School of Business and Economics

FFC 100-57 (MoWe, 2:30-3:45 p.m.)
FFC 100-58 (MoWe, 4-5:15 p.m.)

What makes a rich nation rich? What makes a good person good? And what do these questions have to do with one another? While exploring these and other questions about markets and ethics, students will challenge the perception of economics as distinct from the humanities. This course combines an economic inquiry into the human propensity to exchange with the cultural interpretation of the human condition in dramas and poetry by writers in the English Renaissance. The Renaissance was a time of growing prosperity when new forms of entertainment arose to dramatize and reflect upon the various ways in which the ‘nouveau riche’ impacted the class dynamics that defined traditional English society. Reading these works will enable us to explore the diverse human reactions to the role that commerce plays in shaping both the early modern world and our own. The instructional methods include Socratic roundtable discussions of the texts, laboratory experiments, weekly one-page reaction papers, and three expository papers.

+ - Humanomics: Health, Wealth, and Inequality

Priority registration will be given to majors in Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.  Some seats will be available to all other majors.

Keith Hankins, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

Andrea Matranga, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Economics, Argyros School of Business and Economics

FFC 100-31 (MoWe, 1-2:15 p.m.)


Why are some countries rich and others poor? Does being wealthier make us happier? How would we know? Should we care that some people are healthier and wealthier? If so, is there anything we can do to improve the lives of the poor and sick? And what can literature teach us about the answers to these questions? Taught by a philosopher and an economist this course explores these and other questions using the tools of the humanities and social science.

+ - Humanomics: Radical Reformers

Bas van der Vossen, D.Phil - Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

Erik Kimbrough, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Economics, Argyros School of Business and Economics

FFC 100-55 (TuTh, 1-2:15 p.m.)
FFC 100-56 (TuTh, 2:30-3:45 p.m.)

Critics of contemporary (and historical) society often propose reforms intended to make the world a better place. This course will explore radical reformers in fiction and in reality, trying to understand the social problems reforms are intended to address, the goals of the reformers, and the view of human motivation implied by the reformers’ proposals. We will begin with a recent radical proposal to reform our economy, presented in the book Radical Markets. This book proposes a different kind of property ownership, thus challenging a fundamental feature of modern society. In parallel, we will explore the notion of radical social reform in the novel The Dispossessed, as well as several plays, short stories, and films. Among the questions we’ll ask are: What is property good for? Does it create wealth? Does it create inequality? Is that a problem? Might property be a source of conflict or way of avoiding conflict? What would it mean to radically rethink property?

+ - Humanomics: Intersections of Human Identity

Priority registration will be given to majors in Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.  Some seats will be available to all other majors.

Jan Osborn, Ph.D. - Professor of English, Department of English, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

David Rojo Arjona, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Economics, Argyros School of Business and Economics

FFC 100-39 (MoWe, 1-2:15 p.m.)

Co-taught by professors from Economics and English, this course combines philosophical, literary, and economic texts and tools to explore phenomena at the heart of today’s world, including immigration, segregation, identity politics, and violence. Students in this course will question how identities and a mass culture intersect in the 21st century, will ask if liberal democracies and exchange economies can help humans achieve just, noble lives.

+ - If Buddha Walked Mindfully on Stage: Viewing Character through a Zen Lens

Julie Artman, M.F.A. - Lecturer and Chair, Collections Management Division for the Leatherby Libraries

FFC 100-40 (TuTh, 4-5:15 p.m.)

Buddha-nature and mindfulness have become the de rigueur everywhere you look: in the workplace, in relationships, and in education. What does the story of the Buddha have to tell us about the interactions and behaviors of characters from dramatic literature? In this course students will explore Buddha-nature and mindfulness to see how its teachings and practices can be used to examine, discuss, and analyze character struggles and triumphs from dramatic literature. Reviewing theatrical performances will provide students with direct observational opportunities, and students will engage in both analytic and creative projects, including mindfulness practices, individually and collaboratively.

+ - Islam in the Modern World

Jibreel Speight, B.S. - Director of Muslim Life, Fish Interfaith Center, and Lecturer, Department of Religious Studies

FFC 100-69 (MoWe, 5:30-6:45 p.m.)

This course will begin by asking what we mean by "Islam" and what we mean by "the Modern World". How can our contemporary appreciation of human rationality and the sovereignty of the people be reconciled with understanding of God's authority in Islam (or in any other religion)? After a survey of some basic issues in Islam, we will introduce some of the major reformers of Islam in the modern world, and consider some fundamental debates over issues such as the distribution of political power, the rule of law, and the role of women. We also will explore the perhaps unexpectedly “modern” aspects of Islamic fundamentalism and jihadist movements. Special consideration will be given to the “modernization” in selected Islamic states (esp. Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Afghanistan) as well as the place of Islam in Western countries (esp. the United States).

+ - Lies You Learned in School

James Brown, Ph.D. - Professor of Teaching, Attallah College of Educational Studies

FFC 100-23 (MoWe, 1–2:15 p.m.)
FFC 100-24 (MoWe, 2:30–3:45 p.m.)

What histories did you learn in school? Should history only be the story of the dominant culture, or should it include narratives that contradict the "American Celebrationist" perspective? This course provides a critical analysis of important social themes (e.g., identity, conformity, and bystander vs. upstander) linked to key histories (e.g., the Holocaust and other genocides, America in Vietnam). The course is based on the assumption that if citizens in a democracy are to value their rights and take responsibility for their actions, they must know not only the triumphs of history but also the failures and tragedies. As students study the historical development and the lessons of "difficult" histories, they learn to make the essential connections between history and the moral choices they confront in their own lives.

+ - Literature and Film

Walter Tschacher, Ph.D. - Professor of Languages, Department of World Languages and Cultures, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

FFC 100-11 (TuTh, 8:30-9:45a.m.)
FFC 100-29 (TuTh, 2:30-3:45 p.m.)

In this course students will critically examine films in relation to their source material (both English and in translation) and the social, historical, and cultural contexts of both. Possible texts/films include Death in Venice (Thomas Mann/Visconti) and Room with a View (E. M. Forster/J. Ivory). We will consider not only the adaptation of literary works but also the inverse process, called novelization (i.e., the film serves as the basis for literature; for instance, some James Bond and Star War films underwent novelization). The course will take up such questions as: How does the change in medium produce a new text/meaning? When comparing and contrasting literature and film, what are their relative strengths and weaknesses? How is literary and visual art affected by commerce, and vice-versa—how, for example, is "popular" art coded as more or less authentic than "high" art?

+ - Los Angeles in Film and Fiction

Atalia Lopez, M.A. - Lecturer, Department of English, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

FFC 100-33 (MoWe, 4–5:15 p.m.)
FFC 100-34 (MoWe, 5:30-6:45 p.m.)

When Joyce Carol Oates asks, “If the City is a text, how shall we read it?” she presents a question that connects a dynamic and physical space to something more abstract. If a city is a text, as she proposes, how will we engage with it as “readers” and come to some level of greater understanding? In this course students will explore representations of the city of Los Angeles, with particular emphasis on its portrayal in films and literary texts. Throughout the semester we will read and view texts that prominently feature the urban space of Los Angeles. Through study, discussion, and research we will examine how the city functions within these imagined worlds and tackle some central questions and many others: how is Los Angeles different from other major American cities? What is the function of Los Angeles as an urban environment? What are some central themes that we can see developing across the texts we read/view? Does its representation differ at all between the mediums of film and literature? Texts may include films such as Sunset Blvd., Chinatown, Blade Runner, L.A. Confidential, Drive, and novels such as Nathanael West's The Day of the Locust, Joan Didion's Play It As It Lays, Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49, Charles Bukowski's Post Office, and T.C. Boyle's The Tortilla Curtain.

+ - Memories of War II in French Film

Priority registration will be given to majors in Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Some seats will be available to all other majors.

Allan MacVicar, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of World Languages, Department of World Languages and Cultures, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

FFC 100-27 (Mo, 7-9:50 p.m.)

How does France remember the Second World War and how do filmmakers represent these memories in film? In this course, we will examine the debates and changing attitudes towards the war through the prism of film. As France came to terms with its participation in the war, and particularly with Germany’s occupation of France, different versions of the past gradually emerged. The myth that the majority of French citizens resisted the occupying force confronted the realities that many had been active collaborators or simply stood by, indifferent to the plight of their fellow citizens. We will explore how certain films produced in the last sixty years overemphasized some events of the war while obscuring others, and we will consider the ways in which these representations helped shape the image the French had of themselves. We will focus especially on the way in which these filmic memories shift and call into question earlier presuppositions. Films to be screened include works by Clément, Melville, Renais, and Malle. Supplementary readings will provide context for the various periods discussed.

+ - Musicals and Cultural Messages

Jessica Sternfeld, Ph.D. - Associate Professor and Director of Student Affairs, Conservatory of Music, College of Performing Arts

FFC 100-64 (MoWeFr, 9-9:50 a.m.)

Musicals, both on stage and on screen, have always been perceived as lighthearted fun. But they also tackle social and political issues – like war or prejudice – in ways that both reflect and shape their cultural context. What sorts of lessons do musicals contain? Can a musical shape culture, make people change their minds about an issue? How do musicals teach their lessons – through music, lyrics, plot, casting, advertising? In this course we’ll study recent musicals on stage and on film, focusing on works that have social or political issues as central themes, likely including Hamilton, Rent, Dear Evan Hansen, Jesus Christ Superstar, and more we’ll choose together.   We’ll watch the musicals, read criticism and scholarship about them, write about them, and engage in discussions in class and online. Students will also have the opportunity to study a musical of their own choosing, sharing their insights in class or in writing.

+ - Neuroscience and Literature

Priority registration will be given to majors in Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Some seats will be available to all other majors.

Richard Ruppel, Ph.D. - Professor of English and Peace Studies, Department of English, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

FFC 100-36 (TuTh, 1-2:15 p.m.)

This course explores identity, narrative, memory and other concepts from both a literary and a neuroscientific perspective.  Literature has always been centrally concerned with character-Odysseus: clever, loyal, very stubborn; Don Quixote: chivalrous, honorable, slightly crazy; Hamlet: noble, bitter, deeply conflicted; Satan: proud, rebellious, grandly wicked; Elizabeth Bennet: bright, witty, affectionate; Mrs. Dalloway: so changeable, so psychologically rich, she can barely be contained within the novel. As readers, we know the characters in stories and novels better than we know our friends and family, better, sometimes, than we know ourselves. A cognitive approach to literature attempts to account for this and other miracles of reading.

+ - Our World in 2050

Larry Bourgeouis - Lecturer

FFC 100-65 (MoWeFr, 9-9:50 a.m.)
FFC 100-66 (MoWeFr, 11-11:50 a.m.)

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”- Peter Drucker

The aim of this course is to have students thoughtfully explore the future; specifically the world of 2050, when they will be reaching 50 years old.  Instructor-provided reading material will serve as the prompt for students to begin this contemplation.  Together with individual research, analysis, and group projects, students will attempt to view the world as it will likely be and what successful role they imagine for themselves.  By first setting a framework, or context of how the Western World has evolved to its present state, students will examine how their world will change as they reach middle age. 

Specific subjects of exploration and discovery will include the overarching expansion of technology, transportation, the environment, medicine, art and entertainment, education, economics and individual life skills.  Each subject explored will begin with instructor supplied reading of the scheduled topic, class discussion, student focused research and discovery, group discussion and individual presentation.  A final group presentation will explore one of the key subject areas in greater depth with the team making specific 2050 predictions, based on research.

+ - Race, Gender, Sexual Orientation, and Sports

Matthew Parlow, J.D. - Dean, Fowler School of Law, Donald P. Kennedy Chair in Law, and Professor of Law

FFC 100-72 (TuTh, 10-11:15 a.m.)

This course explores the ways in which sports and culture shape and construct our ideas, perceptions, and assumptions about race, gender, and sexual orientation and how race, gender, and sexual orientation influence sports and culture.  This course will draw upon cases, film, and legal, historical, and sociological scholarship to consider these relationships and connections.

+ - Reading the Rhetoric of Popular Culture

Geraldine McNenny, Ph.D. - Professor of Education, Attallah College of Educational Studies

FFC 100-19 (TuTh, 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.)
FFC 100-20 (TuTh, 2:30-3:45 p.m.)

Popular culture, whether manifested in music, film, television, or the Internet, constitutes a carnival of persuasive appeals, continually sending out messages about how to be a part of the in-crowd, what counts as valuable, and how to conduct ourselves in our lives. How can we make sense of the onslaught of messages, arguments, and media overload we experience every day? In this course, we’ll explore the power of applying the many lenses of rhetorical analysis in understanding, unmasking, decoding, and disrupting the ideologies inherent in popular culture texts.

+ - Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: The Power of Myth

Priority registration will be given to majors in Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Some seats will be available to all other majors.

Eileen Jankowski, Ph.D. - Lecturer, Department of English, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

FFC 100-37 (TuTh, 10-11:15 a.m.)

Thomas Cahill, in his book Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter, argues for the seminal role Greek ideas, literature, and art played in shaping western culture.  This course will explore one of the ways the Greeks "matter"-namely, through their development of a fascinating array of myths that continue to inform Westerners' view of themselves and others.  Through a study of the representation of Greek mythic figures, events, and ideas via literature and film, students will interpret these myths' social, historical, and psychological role in shaping cultural formations as well as individual identity. Students will develop a deeper understanding of the conscious and unconscious roots of culture, both to celebrate and to critique the transformative power of myth. In addition to our main text, course readings include The Epic of Gilgamesh, Homer's The Odyssey, Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad, and selections from Joseph Campbell.

+ - Self and Society: The Social Construction of Reality

Priority registration will be given to majors in Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Some seats will be available to all other majors.

Bernard McGrane, Ph.D. - Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

FFC 100-16 (TuTh, 10-11:15 a.m.)

The aim of this course will be to introduce the student to the sociological perspective regarding reality, i.e, the social construction of reality. This perspective isn’t particularly designed to enable us to discover new unknown things but rather to discover a new way of seeing old, familiar things; it is a perspective that is both dangerous and liberating.  “We see the world the way we do not because that is the way it is, but because we have these ways of seeing,” (Wittgenstein) and sociology is a way of seeing. Our course koan/mantra will be, “Where does society end and my self begin?”

+ - Skepticism 101

Michael Shermer, Ph.D. - Ph.D. – Presidential Fellows in General Education

FFC 100-25 (TuTh, 4-6:45 p.m.)

The founding publisher of Skeptic magazine and the “Skeptic” monthly columnist for Scientific American will introduce you to the world of skepticism and science through some of the most controversial ideas of our time: science and pseudoscience, superstition and the paranormal, evolution and intelligent design creationism, climate denial and “political” science, anti-vaccination and alternative medicine, pseudo-history and Holocaust denial, UFOs and alien abductions, the afterlife and reincarnation, God and religion, and religious-based morality vs. science-based morality. You will learn how to think critically and skeptically without becoming a science geek, and learn to be open-minded enough to accept new ideas without being so open-minded that your brains fall out. The course includes numerous in-class demonstrations, videos, magic, illusions, and examples from pop culture along with rigorous scientific research. Be prepared to have your worldviews challenged.

+ - Story

Priority registration will be given to majors in Creative Producing, Film Production, and Screenwriting in the Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. Some seats will be available to all other majors.

Victoria Stewart - Lecturer, Lecturer, Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Arts
FFC 100-44 (MoWe, 10-11:15 a.m.)
FFC 100-45 (MoWe, 8:30-9:45 a.m.)

Samantha Peale - Lecturer, Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Arts
FFC 100-46 (We, 4-6:45 p.m.)
FFC 100-48 (We, 7-9:45 p.m.)

Eileen Jankowski, Ph.D. - Lecturer, English Department, Wilkinson College of Art, Humanities, and Social Sciences
FFC 100-47 (TTh, 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.)

Amy Stephens - Lecturer, Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Arts
FFC 100-49 (Mo, 1-3:45 p.m.)
FFC 100-50 (Fr, 1-3:45 p.m.)

Ronald McCants - Lecturer, Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Art
FFC 100-51 (Th, 7-9:45 p.m.)

This First-year Foundations course aims to engage students in university-level critical inquiry and reflection. The focus is on critical engagement, exploration and communication related to analyzing story in its myriad of forms. The class will give students a strong foundation in one of the key goals of entertainment, media and cinema: to communicate a story for the multi-faceted purposes of informing, persuading, entertaining and transforming individuals, society, culture, and humanity. All of the arts will be used as inspiration for understanding the contemporary tools required for creating media and movies in today’s society. The study of “form” in other arts, such as poetry and music, will be applied to movie structure; the study of classic heroes and heroines from opera and literature will be applied to character development in modern media. Additionally, innovative storytelling models, such as non-linear storytelling, will also be explored. (3 credits)

+ - Sweet, Sweet Vengeance

Samantha Dressel, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor, Instructional Faculty, Department of English, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

FFC 100-70 (TuTh, 10-11:15 a.m.)
FFC 100-71 (TuTh, 2:30-3:45 p.m.)

Revenge is like ice cream: sweet and best served cold.  But it is also generally vicious, bloody, and illegal.  So why do we love revenge stories nearly as much as a frozen dessert?  This course will explore revenge and revenge narratives through multiple lenses, encouraging students to consider issues such as the tension between narrative satisfaction and justice, conflicts between moral and legal good, the role of violence in revenge, and how far is too far.  We will explore texts of various media, including Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado” and other short stories, and films such as those by Quentin Tarantino and Park Chan-wook.

+ - The Border: Myth, Realities and Complexities

Priority registration will be given to majors in Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Some seats will be available to all other majors.

Lisa Leitz, Ph.D. - Associate Professor and Delp-Wilkinson Endowed Chair of Peace Studies, Department of Peace Studies, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

FFC 100-63 (TuTh, 4-5:15 p.m.)
FFC 100-68 (MoWe, 5:30-6:45 p.m.)

Borders divide people, laws, and environments. Across them flow people, legal and illegal goods, money, and more. They are situated at the intersection of division and connection—between peoples and nations. Thus, they are often sites of intense cultural conflict, which has been the case for the U.S Mexico border since the mid-19th century. Navigating these spaces mean that citizens must decide whether to build bridges or walls. By examining various academic work and popular representations of the border, students are encouraged to gain critical thinking skills and understand the social construction of nationality, race, and various forms of power. Examining memoirs and media, listening to speakers, and visiting art exhibits and a performance, students will examine the myth-making and emotional anxieties about ethnicity/race, nationality, crime, and gender situated at the border. Students will become familiar with the history of the US-Mexico border, beginning with the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, through NAFTA, and into political discourse over “the wall.” Drawing from anthropology, sociology, political science, and peace studies, students will be introduced to data about historical and contemporary patterns of migration, and are encouraged to examine how these compare with political and media representations. Together we will consider how the border has become such a potent site for contemporary mythmaking, a flashpoint for anxieties about race, labor, gender, and sexuality. By engaging students in multi-disciplinary examination of this topic, the hope is that students will come away better informed and prepared to be engaged global citizens.

+ - The Classical Influence on America

Priority registration will be given to majors in Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Some seats will be available to all other majors.

William Cumiford, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of History, Department of History, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

FFC 100-14 (MoWeFr, 12-12:50 p.m.)

This course emphasizes classical western influences: i.e., Greek and Roman, on the formative years of the United States. Early American history will be viewed through the prism of classical ideals and values, in particular in examining how the Greeks and Romans envisioned citizenship, civic participation and institutional function. Specific areas of examination include classical influences on American government, arts and architecture, obligations of civic duty, republicanism vs democracy, ideas regarding special mission and providential design (“manifest destiny”), education and literature. The course will consist of brief lectures, class discussion, student presentations, group-think activities, a field excursion, selected videos and guest lectures.

+ - The History and Impact of the Surf Industry

Amy Hanson, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Management, Argyros School of Business and Economics

FFC 100-53 (MoWe, 1-2:15 p.m., plus October 19, 2019 from 7 a.m.-3 p.m., and October 26, 2019 from 7 a.m.-3 p.m.)
FFC 100-54 (MoWe, 2:30-3:45 p.m., plus October 19, 2019 from 7 a.m.-3 p.m., and October 26, 2019 from 7 a.m.-3 p.m.)

The sport of surfing is currently practiced by about 20 million people worldwide; the U.S. surf industry boasts sales of over $6.24 billion a year, the global industry $15 billion; and surfing has again become a touchstone of popular culture. This course will explore how surfing developed, over the course of the 20th century, from a benign pastime pursued on a handful of Polynesian islands to a global commercial and cultural force. Students will examine the history of surfing informed by current historical scholarship and by perspectives from history, economics, physics, marketing, and leadership. Additional topics will cover geography, surf tourism, gender, surf films, surf music, surf art, and social responsibility. The focus of the course is your ability to apply an analytical, critical approach to our topics in increasingly complex ways.

 

+ - The Writer's Life: The Craft and Practical Procedures of Celebrated Authors

Douglas Cooney - Lecturer, Department of English, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

FFC 100-38 (TuTh, 10-11:15 a.m.)

How do writers do it? How did Toni Morrison or Ernest Hemingway find the words and deliver on deadline? Students will read a sampling of great authors and examine how these authors acquired their craft, what artistic principles drove their work, and what daily disciplines guided their progress.  We will consider the wellspring of creativity in these writers' lives and investigate the practical procedures that shaped their imagination into published work. Students will analyze texts and engage individually and collectively in journals and writing assignments, modeled after exercises recommended by the same authors we study.

+ - Utopia and Dystopia in Film and Fiction

Priority registration will be given to majors in Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Some seats will be available to all other majors.

John Thrasher IV, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

Michael Valdez Moses, Ph.D. - Visiting Professor of Literature and Humanities, Argyros School of Business and Economics

FFC 100-59 (MoWe, 2:30-3:45 p.m.)
FFC 100-60 (MoWe, 4 - 5:15 p.m.)

The 20th century was an era of bold utopian experimentation. Numerous extraordinary attempts were made to realize in practice radical and competing conceptions of freedom and equality, progress and order, personal happiness and social harmony. Even as many of these utopias became nightmares for those who lived under them, thinkers and artists remained fascinated with the role that technology could play in making possible different ways of living and forms of social control that went beyond what was deemed possible at the time. Focusing on major works of literature, film, and philosophic prose, we will look at some of the most prominent and thought-provoking visions of utopia/dystopia in the 20th and 21st centuries and reflect on what these (mostly) fictional portrayals of society can teach us about the limits (if any) of political thinking in reshaping our conceptions of morality, human nature, and social life. In this course, we will explore the tensions between individual freedom and communal solidarity, between economic prosperity and social equality, between natural limits and human aspirations for an ideal social order, between technological progress and human flourishing.

+ - Winston Churchill, George Orwell and Modern Political Argument

Kevin O'Leary, Ph.D. - Lecturer, Department of Political Science, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

FFC 100-30 (We, 7-9:50 p.m.)

This course gives students an introduction to the fundamentals of modern political argument via a study of history, politics and rhetoric.  We will focus on the speeches and writing of Winston Churchill and George Orwell and the critical role they played in defending freedom and democracy against the challenge posed by fascism and Soviet totalitarianism.  As a FFC course, we focus more on critical engagement, exploration and communication related to complex issues than on mastering a body of material.

+ - Women Playwrights and Representation in the Professional Theatre

Nina LeNoir, Ph.D. - Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Professor of Theatre, Department of Theatre, College of Performing Arts

FFC 100-41 (MoWe, 4-5:15 p.m.)

Women playwrights have been notoriously underrepresented on the stages of American theatres throughout the history of the American theatre. We will examine this situation historically to the present day, when more plays by and about women were written and produced than in the past. What have been the apparent and real barriers to theatre production of plays by women? What are the real numbers, and how have they changed over time? And, most importantly, why is it important that the work of women playwrights be seen on our stages today? By examining specific plays by playwrights such as Lillian Hellman, Marsha Norman, Wendy Wasserstein, and Lynn Nottage, we can examine women’s stories and how they were received when they were first produced. By reading critical commentary on the plays and productions and on feminist theatre theory and practice, we will explore issues of gender, identity and the power of representation in the theatre. And finally, we will explore how these issues transfer to other forms of cultural construction in fields such as television, film, music, dance, art and beyond. As part of the class, we will also attend a theater production at a professional theatre.