Course Offerings | Freshman Studies



All first-year students are required to enroll in a Freshman Studies course during CentreTerm. Freshman Studies courses have three goals: to provide a small-group learning situation that will engage students and faculty in an intensive intellectual experience; to introduce students in an innovative fashion to a discipline's basic concepts, modes of thought, or procedures; and to foster basic educational skills--how to read critically, think logically, and communicate effectively.




Freshman Studies Courses 2002-2003

FRS 101 Economics in an Ethical World
This seminar examines real and imagined tensions between economic and ethical goals. For example, must we sacrifice economic growth in order to protect the environment? Can we improve our standard of living without diminishing that of future generations? Can businesses compete in the global marketplace while operating within reasonable moral guidelines? These and related dilemmas are discussed with an eye toward optimal personal and social policymaking.

FRS 102 Stem Cells, Cloning and You
This course will examine the scientific and ethical issues surrounding the use of stem cells removed from human embryos or adults and the related issues of cloning. The potential to "grow" a variety of different cell types from stem cells in order to replace diseased cells has been heralded as a major advancement in medical research. Producing genetically identical individuals by cloning is postulated as a way to provide transplantable cells for diseased individuals. These technologies, however, elicit numerous ethical and philosophical questions, with which our society is currently grappling. For example, is it ethical to destroy an embryo in order to acquire stem cells? Is it ethical to produce genetic "twins" in a lab? What if the cloned individual has genetic defects that lead to illness or death? Students will work in small groups to understand the scientific information required to consider the ethical concerns. Class discussion, writing assignments, and student presentations are used to explore the ramifications of stem cell research and cloning.

FRS 104 The French Revolution and Napoleon
This course examines the French Revolution from various perspectives, culminating in a mock trial of Napoleon. France's first emperor will stand accused of subverting everything the Revolution stood for. Based on a careful study of the memoirs of various participants in the Revolution, each student will portray a character during the trial. As we prepare for the trial, we will study not only the content of the Revolution, but also the various ways that historians approach their subjects and the possible products that result from their research, from academic monographs to historical theatre.

FRS 111 Under the Influence
This course explores human experience with beverage alcohol from earliest mysteries to modern fermentation and distillation technology. The products of these processes have provided an important "microscope" through which to study human culture and civilization. Students will be challenged to select a particularly important event or era in human cultural history (east or west) and assess the extent to which that event or era was influenced by the focal substance of this complex societal issue.

FRS 114 The Art of Walking
A study of writings on art and beauty by the German Idealist philosophers Kant, Schelling, Hegel, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. Focus on the relationship between descriptions of the sublime and the ancient habit of walking, hiking and pilgrimage. Morning meetings for discussion and afternoon sessions for hikes and walks. Long walks in central Kentucky nature preserves, on battlefields and on farms; visits to art museums planned.

FRS 117 American Utopianism: The Peaceable Kingdom
Using the 1826 version of Edward Hicks' famous folk painting, The Peaceable Kingdom, as a starting point, the course will first consider various strains of the utopian impulse in 19th-Century America, including neighboring Shakertown and Gethsemene Abbey. Students will then investigate intentional communities of the past 100 years based on the Hicks' vision of humans living in absolute harmony with nature and other animals.

FRS 121 Introduction to Poetry Writing
A class devoted to the writing of poetry and to relevant readings designed to guide and inspire the beginning writer. A workshop class where students will write 2-3 poems a week, responding to assignments given, which we will then workshop in class.

FRS 122 Evolutionary Medicine
We will review and critically evaluate the potential role of evolutionary theory in medicine. Evolutionary theory, the cornerstone of modern biology, is now beginning to have an impact on the fields of medicine and human health. Recently there has been considerable interest in the idea that evolutionary thinking can inform decisions concerning care of the sick and prevention of disease. Proponents of this concept suggest that some symptoms of illness (such as fever) may be adaptive defenses that have emerged over generations of coevolution between humans and disease-causing organisms. Using a combination of readings, in-class discussions, laboratory exercises, and computer simulations, we will cover the basic tenets of evolutionary theory and explore their application to human health.

FRS 123 Ceramics: Methods of Ancient Civilizations
A focus on the methods of forming and firing clay utilized by ancient civilizations before the advent of glaze technology. Students examine the ceramic works of neo-lithic China, Peru, Iran, and Greece and discuss the concurrent development of similar pottery forms in these cultures. These forms are used as inspirations for ceramic projects designed and made by students. Students work in the studio with clay a minimum of three hours per day.

FRS 124 Musical Theatre Performance Workshop
Students explore different forms of musical theatre through work on solo, duet, and ensemble performances. Emphasis is given to the text and characterization as the foundation of performance in the genre.

FRS 125 Shape Shifters:Literature & Film of Metamorphosis
This course focuses on the aesthetics of metamorphosis, a theme found in the literature of all ages and cultures, cutting across categories from social realism to fantasy. Discussion ranges widely, beginning with fairy tales and myths and continuing with fiction, drama, and contemporary film. Students have opportunities to respond to the material both imaginatively and analytically.

FRS 126 The Gothic: Theory and Practice
An analysis of three major works of Gothic literature - "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," Frankenstein, and Dracula. Emphasis is on the development of Gothic conventions and the use of Gothic works for entertainment and social criticism. Includes discussion of the film versions of the two novels.

FRS 127 Musicians on Film
Students examine numerous films about performers and composers, including Amadeus, Immortal Beloved, Shine, Hillary and Jackie, and Coal Miner's Daughter, among others. Through outside reading and listening assignments, the viewing of films, and classroom discussion, students not only learn about a variety of composers and performers and their music, but also grapple with contemporary society's views about music and musicians. Students study classical music figures as well as those from jazz and pop traditions

FRS 128 Media Images of Teachers and Schools
Students examine media representations of teachers and schools including television and film. We will read excerpts from a variety of books (both fiction and nonfiction) as well as view and analyze visual depictions of schoolteachers and students in school

FRS 129 Salem Witchcraft
What caused the witch scare in 17th-century Salem? Strained family relations? Social tensions unleashed by the forces of commercialization? Hallucinations arising from microfungi in a bad barley crop? This course examines these and other explanations as a means of exploring the nature of historical method and interpretation

FRS 130 Death and Dying
An interdisciplinary exploration of death both from the point of view of those dying and those caring for them. The course makes use of a textbook, novels, short stories, and videos. Guest lectures are given by professionals concerned with death, and there will be a field trip to a funeral home

FRS 131 Utopian Literature and Religion
The course traces utopian themes through a number of ancient Greek, Jewish, and Christian texts, paying special attention to the role of utopia in religious thought and the role of religion in utopian thought. We will end by examining a few of the many utopian visions in more recent Western literature, including some science fiction literature and film

FRS 132 Your Automobile, Our Environment
No other invention has had such a dramatic impact on human lifestyles and the environment as the automobile. The course explores the social and environmental impact that our perceived need for personal transportation has had. Environmental impact is explored from a number of perspectives including: origins of the automobile and its evolution; impact of manufacturing technology; automobile utilization impacts on natural resources, climate, and the atmosphere; the impact of the automobile on urban design and potential alternatives to personal transportation.

FRS 133 Unorthodox Medicinal Remedies
An examination of the scientific, socio-cultural, political, and ethical implications that surround the use of alternative and complementary, or non-Western medical therapy. There has been a striking increase in consumer awareness and in the use of innovative or unconventional therapies over the past decade or so as the rapidly expanding literature on herbal products, and unorthodox remedies such as iris, natural, faith or ritual healing and biotherapy demonstrates. Additionally, the increase in emerging infectious as well as chronic and drug resistant diseases calls for a strengthening and improvement of unorthodox therapies. This means an increased awareness of the worth of tropical forests, genetic resources, and biodiversity; as well as enhanced technology transfer and scientific capabilities. How do these therapies work and what ethical issues surround their use. Students work in groups to develop an understanding of how socio-cultural values may be linked to scientific understanding and awareness of non-mainstream therapies and also explore the ramifications of unorthodox therapies

FRS 134 Introduction to Birding
The goal of this course is to learn techniques of bird identification including physical characteristics, behavior, and song. Emphasis is placed on birds found in Kentucky in January. Bird anatomy as it relates to identification and flight is discussed. Most morning sessions consist of field identification. Afternoon sessions are instructional. An overnight field trip to Land Between the Lakes to observe eagles is planned. Two-half day field trips are also planned.