Faculty discussing literature with students

Fall 2018 FFC courses for Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences majors

» Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Majors - Global Intersections First-Year Foundation Courses

All undergraduate majors entering Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences must fulfill their First-Year Foundation (FFC) course requirement by selecting from the course offerings organized into three major themes, Global Intersections, Justice and Equality, or Representation and Interpretation. In Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences we examine and represent the complex relationships we have to one another and to the world around us. To do this, we ask the essential questions at the heart of the intersection of the arts, humanities, and social sciences: Who are we? How do we know? How can we best live together?

Students will critically analyze and communicate complex issues and ideas as they explore global intersections, justice and equality, and how we represent and interpret the world.

Wilkinson College majors select their FFC course from one of three major themes listed below:

Global Intersections - Fall 2018 selections

The increasing complexity of global intersections that impact our lives makes engagement and social responsibility critical in the 21st Century. Courses in this category explore issues, such as migration, refugee movements, sustainability, social media, and trade, hat are critical to local and global communities.

+ - Creative and Cultural Industries

Patrick Fuery, Ph.D. - Professor of English, Dean, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
FFC 100-47 (MoWe 2:30 p.m. - 6:45 p.m.)

The culture and creative industries are one of the most radical and dynamic developments in the twenty-first century. They encompass a wide range of areas, including film, television, the digital, fashion, comics, gaming, advertising, tourism, and publishing. This course provides an introduction to the major areas of culture and creative industries, what they are and the role they play in our lives. The course will also give an overview of a variety of theories and practices and how they have transformed our sense of knowledge and ways of thinking. Topics may include: How does a culture remember itself? How does the image operate in the age of the digital? What are cultural desires and how do they shape our own? Why do abandoned buildings create a sense of terror? Can texts tell us how to survive the end of the world?

+ - Feasting on Film: Consuming and Digesting Food in Cinema

Veronique Olivier, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Languages, Department of World Languages and Cultures, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
FFC 100-25 (TuTh 5:30 - 6:45 p.m.)

Feasting on Film: Consuming and Digesting Food in Cinema will take an introspective look at one of the most ordinary habits in our lives, the act of eating. This course will investigate a range of topics and concerns related to producing, eating (and not eating), cooking, sharing and wasting foods through the lens of national and international cinema. It will use an interdisciplinary approach by exploring the relationship between food and gender, food and race, food and social classes, food and politics. It will compare how food is treated in American cinema as opposed to international films.

+ - From Yellow Peril to Yellow Power: Asians in America - Media, Policy, and Identity

Stephanie Takaragawa, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Sociology, and Associate Dean, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
FFC 100-18 (TuTh - 4 - 5:15 p.m.)

This course offers a history of Asians in America, examining different immigrant groups and their integration into the “American melting pot.” It is intended to teach critical thinking skills through analyses of the social construction of race, identity and various forms of power. It draws from an anthropological analysis of social groups and cultural formation. In addition to an anthropological framework, this course will introduce critical race theory, the yellow peril, and stereotypes of the model minority and where they come from.

This course is organized around an historical timeline emphasizing 1880 to the present, drawing on public policy and the law (the Chinese Exclusion Act, the Japanese American Internment, Immigration Act of 1924, Affirmative action and others). Discussions will also include the policy and legal decisions (Ozawa v. US 1922 and US v. Thind 1923), culminating in an examination of contemporary issues of racial identity and cultural politics, and understanding the shift from policy to public culture.

+ - Humanomics: The Ism Schism

Jan Osborn, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of English, Department of English, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
Kyle Hampton, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Philosophy, The George L. Argyros School of Business and Economics
FFC 100-62 (Mo 1 - 3:45 p.m.)

Human societies are complex, encompassing a plurality of ideas and ideals, of cultures and languages, of beliefs and points of view. This course explores moral monism in a world of pluralities, questioning political, religious, and ideological polarization, asking “Why are good people divided by politics, by religion, by ideological extremism; why is there an “ism schism”? This course asks students to think critically about challenges facing the global community.

+ - 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 100-23 (MoWe - 1 - 2:15 p.m.)
FFC 100-34 (MoWe 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?

Justice and Equality - Fall 2018 selections

Individuals and communities around the world stand in different relations with the material, cultural, and political resources needed to advance their goals. These differences are often historically rooted and indicate social, political, or legal injustices. Courses in this category explore the barriers that limit justice and community responses to issues such as political oppression, racism, poverty, human rights, religious intolerance, and gender inequality.

+ - Disagreement in Politics, Ethics, and Religion

Gary M. Pace, Ph.D. - Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
FFC 100-36 (MoWe 1 - 2:15 p.m.)

No matter what your views are about politics, ethics, and religion, you can be sure that many of your peers will disagree. Moreover, many of your peers who disagree with you are at least as intelligent and well-informed on the issues as you are. This course will address a number of philosophical questions that arise from these basic observations. What is the best explanation of the prevalence of disagreement in these areas? Given the extent of disagreement, is it reasonable to continue to hold views on these matters? Is vigorous disagreement in these areas a good thing, something that is likely to lead us closer to the truth? If so, how can disagreement be encouraged in society without becoming a destructive force?

+ - Feminism at the Movies

Clara Magliola, M.A. - Instructor, Department of Sociology, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
FFC 100-19 (Fr 1 - 3:50 p.m.)

In this course, students will be introduced to 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.

+ - Free Speech and the University

Gordon Babst, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Science, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanites, and Social Sciences
FFC 100-42 (MoWe 2:30 - 3:45 p.m.)

This course prepares students to think critically through some vexing challenges facing the contemporary university involving free speech and inclusive public discourse. The course also presents court cases involving a variety of socially stigmatized or simply disliked forms of expression where decisions have turned on giving voice to marginalized persons, ideas, or artistic expression.

The proposed course is grounded in liberal-democratic theory, itself interdisciplinary (both Political Science and Philosophy), and uses copious examples from the Humanities to illustrate how the understanding of freedom of expression has evolved in the American context and its role in liberating free inquiry, but also in maintaining exclusion.

Representation and Interpretation - Fall 2018 selections

Our representations and interpretations of the world reveal how we understand and interact with each other. Courses in this category explore the roles of language, memory, experience, thought, and artistic expression in shaping the human condition.

+ - Close Reading

Kent Lehnhof, Ph.D. - Professor of English, Department of English, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
FFC 100-22 (TuTh 11:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.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.

+ - How Modern Art Shook the World

Wendy Salmond, Ph.D. - Professor of Art, Department of Art, Wilkinson College of Art, Humanities, and Social Sciences
FFC 100-17 (MoWe 4 - 5:15 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 geneology, or conceptual map, that traces the influence of key modernist works on the art of the past 150 years.

+ - Memories of WWII in French Films

Allan MacVicar, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Languages, Department of World Languages and Cultures, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
FFC 100-24 (TuTh 10 - 11:15 a.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.

+ - Neuroscience and Literature: A Cognitive Approach to Reading Fiction

Richard Ruppel, Ph.D. - Professor of English, Department of English, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
FFC 100-26 (TuTh - 2:30 - 3:45 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.

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

Eileen Jankowski, Ph.D. - Lecturer, Department of English, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
FFC 100-27 (TuTh 8:30 - 9:45 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’ views 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

Bernard McGrane, Ph.D. - Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
FFC 100-20 (TuTh 4 - 5:45 p.m.)

The aim of this course will be to introduce the student to the sociological perspective regarding 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.

+ - The Classical Influence on America

William Cumiford, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of History, Department of History, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
FFC 100-12 (MoWe 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, art 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 lecturers.