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

2006-2007 Offerings:

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 114 Art of Walking
A study of writings on art and beauty by the German Idealist philosophers Kant, Schelling, Hegel, and Schopenhauer. 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 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 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 141 Developing Websites as Though Users Mattered!
The goal of this course is to design and implement websites that are “useable” in the sense that they permit visitors to find what they want and carry out their interactions efficiently and easily. We will learn about human perception, task analysis, content and visual organization, prototyping and evaluation. Students use Dreamweaver to design and implement a website for an actual client.

FRS 150 Computing and Society: Multimedia Bit by Bit
The class will examine digital media, especially images, but perhaps sounds or movies, through computation. Why and how are various digital media encoded? How can the encodings be manipulated? Our study will help us learn about computation: How does computation work? What kinds of choices are made? Digitization of media is a computational process. Can some technical understanding give us better insight into issues surrounding digital media? Students will learn some programming, often by example.

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.

FRS 162 Globalization and Its Discontents
The protests in Seattle, Prague, Genoa, and Hong Kong are dramatic examples of the strong opposition to the process of globalization in our present age. In this course, we will try to understand the economics and politics that undergird both sides of the debate. We seek to explore the answers to: Is free trade good for the poor? Why do some countries experience painful financial crises? Are McDonald's, The Gap, and Nike evil corporations? What is the future of democratic freedom? Does globalization threaten to forever change our way of life? This course includes a 4-day field trip to Washington, DC, to encounter some of these international institutions firsthand.

FRS 163 Hamlet
Shakespeare's Hamlet is perhaps “the” central literary work of Western culture. Why? In attempting to answer this question, we will read the play carefully and talk about it; we will perform scenes and think about how they work; we will consider the play's sources and its historical background; and, perhaps above all, we will ponder the many things that Hamlet the play and Hamlet the character have meant over the years, to writers as diverse as Goethe, Freud, and Tom Stoppard, in literary works, theatrical productions, films, and popular culture.

FRS 164 American Crime Fiction
An introduction to American crime fiction of the twentieth-century including works by Cain, Thompson, Highsmith, and Himes. We will examine the crime fiction as a genre separate from detective or mystery fiction through analysis of literary technique and historical and philosophical contexts. Additionally, we will examine film noir and discuss the translation of crime fiction into film.

FRS 165 World Labor Markets
This course is intended to help students understand labor markets throughout the world. The first section of the course will concentrate on learning about labor markets in the United States , particularly about unemployment in our labor markets. The course will continue to look at labor markets in other countries, again concentrating on unemployment in these countries. We will look at how political and social programs in various countries affect the unemployment rates in these countries.

FRS 166 Religion on Wheels: A Journey Through Sacred India
A train journey across India is a memorable experience. Nearly every stop brings the traveler into new worlds of culture, cuisine, language, and religion. Utterly chaotic and blissfully unstoppable, India 's wheels--trains, "tempos," rickshaws, and bicycles--provide transport for millions of devout pilgrims each year. In this course, we will explore pilgrimage practices across the country, paying special attention to temple architecture, ritual, festival, and sacred images. We will travel to Pittsburgh , PA for 3 days to visit one of the first Hindu temples built in America.

FRS 167 Folk Music in Kentucky
This class will examine the rich traditions of folk music in Kentucky , focusing especially on Appalachian fiddle-tunes, early folk songs, and Bluegrass . We will also investigate those musical genres which exerted the most influence on these traditions, including the music of the British Isles and early American blues. The course will combine readings from a number of sources, listening assignments, and visits by local musicians.

FRS 168 Theories and Practices of Career Development
In this course, we will examine and reflect on the research, theories and practices of career development. We will consider how this multidisciplinary study has evolved and examine its appeal to a variety of social science disciplines. Class discussions and lectures will focus on the effects that race, gender, religion, culture, and family have on career development In addition, students will analyze the decision-making process as it relates to career choice. Using both campus and community resources, students have the opportunity to research how occupation/career choices are made. As part of this research, students will determine how and in what way social roles impact occupational choice.

FRS 169 US Politics in the 1960s
This course will provide an overview of the broad range of political and social events and issues that occurred in the United States in the 1960s. Topics include the civil rights movement, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the rise of the counter-culture and anti-war movement, and the presidencies of Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. We will examine these topics historically, attempting to understand them by placing them into their appropriate historical context, and we will also examine the lingering practical consequences of these topics, asking questions about their relevance to political life in the 21st century. Includes a three-day field trip to an important civil rights site.

FRS 170 Scandals and Blunders in Science
This course will explore how science works and what can happen when things go wrong. Sometimes individuals falsify data or artifacts. Sometimes individuals overinterpret patterns at the limit of detection. Through the process of science, both kinds of problems can be discovered and the record set straight. Cases to be examined include Cold Fusion, Piltdown Man, and Polywater.

FRS 171 Natural History of the Eastern Caribbean
This course will broadly focus on the ecology of the Eastern Caribbean, with an emphasis on the Lesser Antilles. Students will gain an understanding of the geological origin of the islands, the regional weather patterns (especially the importance of hurricanes), terrestrial and aquatic habitats, and associated flora and fauna. We will also discuss the cultural history of the islands. A week-long field trip is planned to Puerto Rico where students will gain an appreciation for the environmental and conservation challenges faced by the region. Students must be in good physical condition and be competent swimmers. Use of snorkeling gear will be required. The course instructor will instruct students in the proper use of equipment before the trip.

FRS 172 Memory and Narrative
Telling stories about the past is one of the most basic activities of humanity. This course examines the ways our memories of the past shape our stories, and at the same time, how these stories help to form our sense of the past. Whether in an effort to remember the life of someone who has died, to justify past or present actions, or even to "erase" an event or person from stories of the past, memory lies at the core of narrative, and narrative at the core of memory. We will carefully examine predominately literary and cinematic narratives that engage these issues, though we will also delve into folkloristic and photographic means of remembering, as well as the ways monuments, memorials, and museums can contribute to the development of cultural and national narratives.

FRS 173 Health and Culture
An interactive exploration of cultural influences in contemporary health care. A special emphasis is placed on understanding the role of culture in influencing the adaptation of health attitudes, practices, and behaviors. Guest seminar leaders, literture reviews and movies serve as in-class discussion starters and highlight major course themes.

FRS 174 The Singer and the Song
Looking at singers from the medieval nuns singing the songs of their abbess Hildegard and the monks at Gethsemane (KY) Monastery chanting their services, to the cross fertilization of African music and white traditions that produced the American spiritual, to the protest songs of Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, and the so-called art song (in connection with the Norton Center performance by Thomas Hampson), this course will explore traditions of singing and social contexts of text and song.

FRS 175 Nineteenth-Century French Art
The course will focus on the art of painting in France during the 1800s, with an occasional glance at parallel developments in French sculpture and architecture, all considered within an historical context. Major artistic movements addressed include Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism. Time-permitting, the course will conclude with an overview of early-twentieth-century Fauvism and Cubism.

FRS 176 Introduction to Fiction Writing
This is an introductory workshop in fiction writing. Students will learn basic fiction writing techniques, read short stories by diverse writers, and develop analytical skills for critiquing short fiction. Student writing will serve as the basis for the workshop discussions in class.

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