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


2004-2005 Offerings:

FRS 102 Stemcells, 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 108 Food in Film, Fiction and Fine Arts
We will study films featuring French, Italian, and Mexican food. We will read the books upon which the films were made and articles related to these cuisines and traditions related to eating. We will also study food as manifested in the work of artists from these cultures. Guests will be invited to talk to us about these cuisines and will show us how to prepare dishes from these cultures. Students will prepare meals, sometimes using recipes from the films. Visits are also planned to restaurants and markets specializing in the foods studied. Several evening group meals are required. There is an extra fee of $60 for meals for this course.

FRS 109 Centre and Politics
This seminar will focus on politics as a means of understanding and interpreting the historical development of the College. Special attention will be given to the founding of the College, the Civil War era, the 1960's, and the Vice Presidential Debate of 2000.

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 113 Storytelling
This course will center upon storytelling performance. Storytelling takes many forms in our culture. It is an essential element in defining who we are as a culture, a nation, as groups, and as individuals. This course will explore storytelling as a large group activity, working in small groups, and solo performance. Individual sessions will be scheduled for the afternoon, usually0-45 minutes. Some evening performances at the end of the term.

FRS 116 An Introduction to East Africa
Dr. Peter Chonjo, a Tanzanian professor, will be at Centre for part of the term and will assist with the course. To achieve insights and understandings about life and society in East Africa, this course will focus on the educational systems and literatures of Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda. A study of schooling will reveal the struggle of the countries to develop their own education after British colonialism and to answer some fundamental questions such as what knowledge and values need to be passed on, who shall be chosen to receive the limited education that can be offered, and should Swahili or English be the language of instruction? Insights into the history, feelings, and aspirations of a people can be gained through its literature. Also the clash of cultures is evident in literature. Students will select a project that investigates a current East African problem such as educational practices or reform, the AIDS situation, the movement toward union of the three countries, or the place of women in the societies.

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. There is a $50 materials fee for this course.

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 140 Women and Spirituality

This course challenges students to examine their religious beliefs and practices by analyzing the historical and pre-historical context within which Christian and Hebrew scriptures were composed, written, edited, and passed down. A close reading of certain sections of the Bible, coupled with short essays by contemporary feminist theologians interpreting these scriptures, should stimulate discussion of these materials as they relate to wider personal and social issues. In addition, theoretical, imaginative, and practical writings on alternative forms of spirituality will be examined.

FRS 142 An American Obsession: The Lawn
An examination of the front lawn and back yard from historical, social, artistic and environmental standpoints. We will consider where and how the ideas of a front lawn and a back yard developed, and how they changed American social interactions. Examples of folk yard art will be compiled. A major portion of the course will look at the environmental impacts of fertilizer and pesticides, and at the variety of alternatives to a grass lawn that many people are pursuing today. Discussion, independent projects, short papers, oral presentations and local field trips.

FRS 145 U.S. Latino Literature and Culture
An interdisciplinary course examining the Latino experience in the United States. Major demographic, social, economic and political trends will be discussed. In this course we will analyze and gain further knowledge of and appreciation for several significant literary works and key themes relating to the U.S. Latino experience. We will accomplish this through reading novels and short stories, watching films, and participating in class discussions, debates and presentations, as well as the performance of a one-act play. During the second week of the class we will take a four day trip to New York City to visit the Immigration museum on Ellis Island, Spanish Harlem, the Guggenheim and the Metropolitan Museum.

FRS 146 Children and the Immigrant Experience
ver the centuries, millions of poor, persecuted, oppressed, or otherwise desperate individuals have endured innumerable hardships in the hopes of achieving the American Dream. For none is this experience more difficult than the children and adolescents of immigrants. In this course, we will explore -- through a variety of historical and personal accounts -- the many sociological, psychological, economic and political effects of upheaval and reinsertion. During the second week of this course, students will travel to New York City and will visit a number of historical sites and monuments relating to the major 19th- and 20th-century waves of immigration.

FRS 147 The Stock Market: Rags to Riches & Riches to Rags
How do stock exchanges operate? What is the history of the Dow Jones? What is a stock and how is it traded? How does margin work? How are physical goods such as cattle, wheat and tobacco traded? What is the structure of the financial market and the financial institutions? This course provides an introduction to the fundamentals of investment by incorporating a mix of theory and active learning projects. During the second week the class will take a three day trip to Chicago to catch the excitement of open-pit cry auctions at the Chicago Board of Trade and to understand how the world’s economy affects trading in the U.S. financial and commodity markets.

FRS 148 The Curious Economics of Higher Education
A non-technical introduction to the economic analysis used to answer questions such as: Why does college cost so much? How to you price a good where the producers consume it and where the consumers produce it? How do you measure faculty productivity? Why is the education you are offered at Centre such a “good” deal? Why is it an even better “deal” at UK? Special attention is given to the differences in the answers to these and many other questions across the different types of higher education institutions in the U.S.

FRS 149 The Great War
An examination of the causes and consequences of “The Great War,” the First World War. The nature and psychology of combat, the imact of the War on gender roles, on the rise of modern mass movements, particularly communism and fascism, and on growing tensions in the Middle East, India, and China are among the topics to be examined. The documentary film series entitled The Great War will be used in the course.

FRS 150 Topics in Computing and Society
We will focus primarily on questions related to the Internet and regulation. Is there a need to regulate the Internet? Why? Are there good arguments against Internet regulation? Is regulating the Internet feasible? What are the issues and approaches? We will have to develop something of an understanding of legal systems, regulatory mechanisms, and the Internet. Significant reading and daily participation in discussion are required. We may touch on issues that are upsetting. We may touch on issues where the instructor has no more knowledge than, or less knowledge than, students. As a secondary area of exploration we will have some discussions online rather than in person, and we will consciously and critically examine that experience. No technical background beyond using a browser is required.

FRS 151 Bargaining Games
Negotiation skills are crucial in many areas of modern professional and personal life: getting a job, buying a car, balancing responsibilities in a workplace. They are also increasingly important in the implementation of community or international objectives. Through a series of simulated bargaining role plays, we will analyze the negotiation dynamic and determine effective strategies. These in-class games will include one-on-one, multi-party, cross-cultural, third-party and team negotiations, and will also incorporate the challenges of unequal power relationships and contradictory risk/reward assessments. Grades will be based upon a combination of negotiation performance and written analysis.

FRS 152 The Holocaust: Image and Reality
The Holocaust is one of the defining events of the modern era. It has taught us much about the power of a totalitarian state, the mechanisms of genocide, the power and persistence of anti-semitism, and the human capacity for evil as well as suffering. This event has also revealed something of the ability of media of various kinds to capture and convey an act of untimate evil. The course will study and reflect upon the Holocaust in terms of origins, enactment and aftermath as well as the literary, musical, dramatic, and cinematic response to the event. The class will take an overnight trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the Holocaust Museum.

FRS 153 Frankenstein’s Children: Pursuing the Human/ities in the Age of Technology
Employing an interdisciplinary approach, the course considers works in the tradition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein which imagine alternative modes of human incarnation and existence based on technological innovations. These works attempt to deal with many of Shelley’s original inquiries: What is a human? How or should we reconcile a mind/body duality? Who is responsible for scientific creations? (Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Metropolis; Bladerunner; Matrix; Borges short stories; Brian Cooney, Posthumanity; Shelley Jackson, The Patchwork Girl.)

FRS 154 The Café and Public Life
The café has long been a storied place for creating public life, from convivial social groups to intellectual salons to revolutionary cells. We will study how the café is a “third place” – not home, not work – where people from different social groups can meet and mix. Caffeine, especially in coffee, tea, and chocolate, has fueled a modern public sphere that promotes hard work and clear thinking. We will make several field trips to different kinds of cafés to see for ourselves how they can be incubators of public life, and to actively create critical discourse ourselves by talking to café regulars.


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