Course Offerings - Catalog 2011-12


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First-Year Studies


All first-year students are required to enroll in a First-Year Studies course during CentreTerm. First-Year 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.

First-Year Studies Courses

2010-2011 Offerings:


FYS 102 Recreating Revolution

In this course, students act out roles of characters engaged in writing France's first constitution in 1791. They form factions, write newspapers, and debate one another all in the hopes of writing a document that best reflects their views. At the same time, some students  represent the Parisian crowd, which will pressure the delegates to address the pressing concerns of those who are not represented in the Assembly. At the end of the experience, students will assess the impact of ideas on people's actions, the roles of contingency and accident in history, and the nature of revolution.

FYS 104 Molecular Modernism: Manet to Mondrian
There is a $170 fee for this course for a three-night required field trip to Washington, D.C. Science and art are intricately related. This course actively explores the interfaces of science, art history and studio art. The course focuses on the progression of painting from the 1860’s to the 1940’s, including Realism, Impressionism, Neo-Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, Geometric Abstraction, de Stijl, and Abstract Expressionism. The role of science and technology in this progression (including synthesis of new materials and how color theory informed painting) is discussed. Scientific topics include light and its interaction with matter, color mixing, chemical and physical causes of color, and the biology of vision; these topics are discussed to gain a deeper understanding of paintings. Analytical techniques used in conservation science and forgery investigations are also discussed. Laboratory/studio activities are performed where students synthesize and analyze materials, including pigments and binders. Students have the opportunity to use the materials to make a painting. The extended time block is reserved for laboratory/studio activities and will not be utilized every day. A day trip to the Indianapolis Museum of Art and a 3-day trip to Washington D. C. to visit the National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute, and the Phillips Collection are planned.

FYS 108 Chaos and Fractals: A Revolution in Science
The phenomenon known as chaos is one of the most revolutionary ideas in 20th century science.  It refers to a relatively new understanding of how extremely complicated behavior arises in the motion of very simple dynamic systems.  In this course we will introduce the historical context of chaos along with the necessary mathematics while exploring the beauty of many chaotic systems, including the astoundingly intricate structures of shapes known as fractals, via computer visualization.

FYS 112 How Stuff Works: Technology Around Us
A study of the technology in our everyday lives and the scientific principles that govern it. We will examine real objects from basketballs to makeup to MP3 players and learn how their operation can be understood in terms of basic scientific principles. The course starts with motion, fluids and heat  and then moves to electrical and optical devices. The final week includes a discussion of the science of sports with particular emphasis on football, basketball and NASCAR.

FYS 116 Teens and Teachers in the Media
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 school teachers and students in school.

FYS 120 Sports Psychology
This course takes a psychological approach toward sports and athletic endeavors. We begin with an exploration of the “mind-body” connection, then emphasize how thoughts influence physical performance and how physical states influence mental abilities. Topics include sport-related motivation, competition, social interactions and teamwork. The course also explores the area of “peak performance,” which focuses on the synergistic relationship between mind and body.

FYS 123 Japanese Culture in 16 Days
This course includes a one-night required field trip to Lexington, KY (no extra fee). In Japan today, one can enjoy Starbucks coffee and McDonald’s hamburgers, yet Japanese people are very different from Americans. This course examines, through hands-on experiences of cultural aspects, old Japan’s impact on contemporary Japan. Actual classroom activities include origami, tea ceremony, and calligraphy.

FYS 125 Behind the Headlines
This course utilizes internet resources, as well as newspapers and other printed material, to enable students to acquire an informed and critical understanding of current national and international events. The internet is especially useful in this regard. Search engines such as Google, and hyperlinks within articles, enable a reader to trace the origin and development of headline stories, and consult multiple sources in order to discern the limitations and biases that are inevitable in news coverage.

FYS 132 The Voice of Poetry
A study of the essential dimensions of poetry, including analysis, performance, and composition, as well as its role in community, education, and memory.

FYS 139 Mathematics in Sports, Games and Gambling
In this class, we will examine areas of probability, statistics, and discrete mathematics. We will draw our examples from several sports and games and develop the mathematics necessary for students to rationally analyze gambling applications.

FYS 140 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.

FYS 142 Aliens, Atlantis, and Archaeology
Were the Nasca Lines landing strips for alien spacecraft? Was the Great Pyramid a working power plant, built by refugees from Atlantis? Will the earth’s inhabitants move to a higher plane of consciousness on December 21, 2012? This course explores how archaeologists and others might answer these questions, and delves into archaeological and alternate explanations of the past.

FYS 143 Food in Film, Fiction, and Fine Arts
We will study the role of food in films featuring a wide variety of cuisines, and read two novels upon which two of the films were based.  We will also look at food as art form and try our hand at creating a still life. Invited guests will give us cooking demonstrations and talk about the cuisines of their heritage cultures. A field trip is planned to the world's largest international market.

FYS 144 American Utopianism
This course includes a one-night required field trip to New Harmony, IN (no extra fee). The American experience is marked by repeated attempts to recapture the perfection of Eden by establishing communal utopias. These diverse experiments have served as escape valves for weird ideas (e.g., Alcott’s Fruitlands and Living in Trees) but also laboratories for promising new social and economic arrangements (e.g., Shaker Village, Gethsemane Abbey).  The seminar will study and visit nearby utopian experiments; create a class communal utopia during a two-day trip to New Harmony, Indiana, once home to both a religious and social utopia; and design a utopian alternative for 2011 America.

FYS 145 Thinking Cuba
The course will provide students with an intensive study of Cuba using selected works from the Colombian period to the 21st Century. Contemporary literary works will be a particular focus, as will other cultural manifestations such as music, cinema, gastronomy and architecture. This course will also offer students basic historical/political background in order to understand the relationship between Cuba and the United States.

FYS 146 Celluloid China: 16 Films to Define a Nation
“Celluloid China” investigates the use of 16 important Chinese films of the past century that were essiential to the construction of individual and national identities. We learn the history and vocabulary to become educated critics capable of asking how film influences our notions of self and belonging. The course concludes with a short film festival produced and organized by the students.

FYS 147 Shrimp: A Global Trade Giant
U.S. consumers consume more shrimp than any other seafood, yet the U.S. produces a very small share of that consumption, making the U.S. the leading importer of shrimp. This course will examine the international market for shrimp. Students will be introduced to the basic concepts of international trade, institutions, and policy, all in the context of the shrimp trade. In addition, we will explore the varieties of shrimp species traded, the economics of shrimp farming and its environmental impacts, and prepare a few shrimp dishes.

FYS 148 Philanthropy and Public Policy
This course includes a one-night required field trip to Indianapolis, IN (no extra fee). he course examines the philosophy, history, and logic underlying the significant sector of American society known as the nonprofit sector, which is funded largely by private individuals and institutions to achieve publicly-desirable ends. Students use readings, discussions, case-studies, and field trips to examine this sector in depth, as well as how the public seeks to encourage and control the activities of the nonprofit sector through laws and public policy.

FYS 149 Leadership: An Act of Service
Leadership: An Act of Service will provide inspiration and encouragement after students’ first term in college. Students will have the opportunty to explore the relationship between leadership and service while examining how others have become active citizens within their college, local, state, national, and/or global communities. They will develop and implement a personal leadership growth plan and service project. Specific literature on leadership, social service, and activism will be analyzed.

FYS 150 Religion and Magic: The Quest to Control the Uncontrollable
This course will examine religious responses to the unknown, to evil, and to that which is beyond human control, with special attention to the power of magic. We will study private and public rituals that relate society to the supernatural. By the investigation of textual sources and anthropological field studies, we will examine the interrelationships of certain cultural manifestations, such as death rituals, rites, and myths as vehicles of magical expressions. We will examine how religion interacts with other cultural phenomenon in society such as sorcery, witchcraft, and demon worship. A wide range of world religious traditions will be represented.

FYS 151 Politics of Film and Television
This course will examine issues in political theory and American politics through the lens of modern media. Students will have the opportunity to view several popular American movies and television programs, which will then be analyzed in an effort to better understand a number of important American political issues and controversies. Students will be expected to complete a number of out-of-class homework assignments and actively participate in class discussions and debates. The overall goal of this course is to help students sharpen their ability to think critically and to engage in effective political participation in contemporary American society.

FYS 152 Actualizing the Big Spill
There is a $40 fee for this course for a required four-night field trip to Dauphin Island, FL. The Gulf Oil Spill of 2010 forever changed the lives of thousands of Gulf Coast residents, severly degraded both aquatic and terrestrial habitats, and nearly bankrupted a Fortune 500 company. This course will synthesize the social, political, economic, emotional, and environmental impacts of this catastrophic event and will evaluate the long-term repercussions for life in the Gulf. We will read and discuss both scientific manuscripts and popular news articles related to the ‘Big Spill’, and highlight biological concepts associated with important conservation strategies. These efforts in the classroom will be complimented by a five day trip to the Gulf Coast, where we will visit impacted habitats, interview individuals whose lives were transformed, and learn from scientists that are presently assessing the environmental impacts of the spill.

FYS 153 Heard Around the World: A Global Look at Music Making and Culture
There is a $25 fee for this course to help cover workshop performers. This course will introduce ways to think about and listen to music from a variety of diverse cultures--including the Americas, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Europe.  Students will explore the fundamental elements of music and see how they vary in different musical traditions.  Effects of cultural influences such as gender and ethnicity will also be considered.  The course will feature workshops and performances by several West African musicians and dancers.

FYS 154 Wi-Fi Politics and Digital Democracy
This course introduces students to cutting-edge political issues and policies and explores how the internet and technology affects defense policy, the legal system, and democratic politics. Students study the legal and social ramifications of peer-to-peer downloading (should the government allow the "free" sharing of music?), as well as how domestic and international security has changed (information warfare, netwar, cyberwar, cybercrime, security cameras, etc.).  Also, we will examine new models of campaigning and governance involving social networking and increased connectivity.