Course Offerings - Catalog 2013-14
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
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 123 Japanese Culture in 16 Days
This course includes a one‐night required field trip, 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 major news stories such as the 2012 election, the ongoing recession and problems for the U.S. in the Middle East. Search engines such as Google, and hyperlinks within
articles, enable us to trace the origin and development of headline stories, and consult multiple sources in order to see the limitations and biases that are inevitable in news coverage.
FYS 134 Topics in Computing: 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.
FYS 137 Snakes on a Plane
In this course we will explore the biological, cultural, and social aspects of snakes. Specifically, students will investigate snake morphology, behavior, and evolution using lectures, multimedia presentations, hands‐on‐activities, and field trips. We will also explore why some cultures worship snakes while others revile them and whether the fear of snakes stems from nature or nurture.
FYS 138 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.
FYS 159 Consumer Culture, Globalization and the Environment
In the context of concerns about resource depletion, climate change, population growth and sustainability, this course explores the relationship between consumer culture, globalization, and the environment. How do we reconcile the needs of the planet and human health with persistent poverty and the desperate need for
many families to consume more just to stay alive? Together students will explore these questions and others with a wide interdisciplinary lens. We'll explore why people around the world consume in the ways they do, how global markets and political structures affect these patterns, and the projected social and ecological implications of current consumption levels. Through a series of field trips we'll also take a reflective look at the impacts of our own consumption practices. The course will end with an examination of several consumer‐based social movements which have arisen in response to growing concerns about sustainability.
FYS 161 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.
FYS 162 Gender and the Western
The Western is a particularly (and sometimes peculiarly) American genre that has been both immensely popular and of great political and cultural significance. In this course we will explore a variety of Western stories in literature and film, paying particular attention to the ways this genre shapes our conceptions of masculinity and femininity.
FYS 166 Rock, Rap and Religion in American Culture
This course includes a one‐night required trip to Cleveland, OH, no extra fee. This course will explore some of the ways in which music can be a powerful vehicle for religious experiences as well as a critique of religion. Specifically, we will look at the history of Rock 'n' Roll and Hip Hop music along with the subcultures associated with them in America. Using concepts found in religious studies, we will explore the many ways music provides an avenue for religious expression. Particular attention will be given to contemporary Atheist, Christian and Muslim expressions of rock and rap.
FYS 167 An Introduction to Drawing
This course introduce the fundamentals of drawing, including perspective, light and shade, expressive use of various media, and the principles of design. Studio work is complemented by written and oral assignments that teach students how to discuss and criticize drawings. Lectures, a museum visit, and student copies made from masterworks will familiarize students with the cultural contributions made in this medium since the Renaissance.
FYS 168 Just Imrovise It! Enhance People Skills Through Improv Theatre
This course includes a two‐night required trip to Chicago, no extra fee. Improvisation is not just for actors! The ability to authentically engage, collaborate, take risks, motivate others, be spontaneous, and effectively deliver a story, idea, or product are skills that can be sharpened through impro training. This studio course will apply the practices and principles of improvisational theatre to all the roles you play in life.
FYS 169 The Work of Art From Thomas Hardy to Jay‐Z
We love stories about artists and their work. They can crystalize questions about art, social life, cultural values, all while drawing attention to the art of storytelling itself. Student will read Thomas Hardy's A Laodicean (1881), Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955), and Jay‐Z's Decoded (2010)—three books that use the story of an artist's development to explore art, critical reception, and the creative spirit against some specifically modern problems created by images, technology, and cultural change. By the end of
the term, students can expect to have gained fresh insights into creativity and how art helps us understand our world. In addition to reading and discussion, the course includes written and presented analytical assignments, a creative project, and a day‐trip to the Cincinnati Art Museum.
FYS 170 The Song and the Singer
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 African‐American spiritual, to the meshing of western classical music with great poetry in the art song, to the protest songs of Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, this course will explore traditions of singing and the social contexts of word and song.
FYS 171 Minority Cultures of Europe
This course will connect students with three lesser‐known cultures of Europe: the Sami (or Laplanders) of Scandinavia, the Basques of the Pyrenees, and the Rom, or Gypsy cultures that are dispersed throughout Europe. Through film, textbook readings, selected articles, lecture, and class discussion, students will be able to acquire an informed and critical understanding of these cultures, their history, their social traits, and their struggles for recognition and autonomy within the European continent.
FYS 172 Zen and the Art of Going to College
This course emphasizes the historical, literary, and anthropological/sociological investigation of religion, which have been the dominant modes of analysis in the field for the last half century. It also incorporates cognitive science, brain imaging, and neurobiological aspects of research on meditation, which have emerged as popular research modalities in Buddhist Studies over the last decade. A straightforward vision of Buddhism and its history is presented, then re‐examined from differing standpoints to demonstrate the value and necessity of critical thinking for in‐depth understanding of religion. The course asks students to experiment with an ongoing program of meditation, and to write about their experiences daily. The course culminates in students composing a longer research paper in consultation with the instructor, and presenting the paper in a one‐day conference format. The papers will address the possibility of applying insights from the study of Buddhism to ethics, environmental science, physics, neuroscience, medicine, and other topics that students will develop with input from the professor.
FYS 173 China's Modern Environmental History
This course focuses on transformation and other aspects of China's environmental history in the twentieth century while introducing students to the discipline of history and basic historical methods. The course covers a wide range of topics, including prerevolutionary agriculture, Maoism and environmental degradation, Chinese and minority environmental ideologies, dam‐building and modernization, reform‐era environmental politics, and contemporary consumer culture. Such topics allow for extended historical consideration of the complex nexus of social change and environmental transformation in the modern world. Course materials include propaganda booklets, landscape photographs, documentaries, and short stories.
FYS 174 God in Global Landscapes
There is a $30 fee for this course for a five‐night required trip to Chicago. This course uses film, media, emerging scholarship, and a Chicago‐based field trip, to explore how global communities use religion to mediate state failure and political violence. Areas explored in this course include: religion and globalization, religious extremism, Pentecostalism in Africa, the Arab Spring and evangelicalism in American politics.
FYS 175 King Coal in Appalachia: Environmental and Societal Effects
This course includes four nights of field trips, no extra fee. Coal mining affects all aspects of life in the Central Appalachians. This course is equal parts economic history and environmental science. We will examine the social and environmental impacts of coal on Central Appalachian towns using maps drawn by Berea College students of their communities from 1945‐1995, literature, and personal observations. We will also compare two streams in UK's Robinson Forest, one undisturbed and one downstream from a mining operation. We will spend several days away from Danville, at UK's Robinson Forest and in southeastern Kentucky.
FYS 176 Statistics in Sports
This course will introduce students to statistical methodology used to analyze sports. Students will apply the theory of statistical methods to sports data, sports performance modeling, and gaming in a variety of sports and sport‐related industries. Topics will include ratings models, prediction, sports betting, game simulation, and lineup optimization.
FYS 177 The Games We Play
This course will explore the mathematics behind several casino games such as roulette, poker, craps, and blackjack. Students will use counting techniques and probability to compute the odds of winning at such games. In addition to exploring the mathematics of the games, students will examine the social and economic impact of the gaming industry. Topics include gambling addiction, cheating, and the lottery.
FYS 178 The Art of Philosophy: Plato's Republic
The Republic is the greatest work by one of the greatest philosophers that the world has ever produced. This course will be an introduction to philosophy through a careful examination of this masterpiece. The Republic is famous for its attempt to create a perfectly just political State. It certainly does do this, but it encompasses so much more. It asks the question "What is justice?", but it is concerned with this not only as a political question, but more fundamentally: "What role does justice play in an individual's soul, in the good life?" Tackling these questions it also launches such fascinating inquiries as: What does it mean to have knowledge? What is the value of education? What role do art, poetry and literature play in the good life? And, most important, what is the nature of reality? Through an examination of these issues we will be exposed to a wide range of philosophical questions and learn to understand, analyze, and evaluate them.
FYS 179 Sex, Drugs, Society and American Education
Students in this course will examine societal issues and the effect they are having on today's teens and American schools. We will do in‐depth studies of the data, statistics and impact of a wide range of
issues including but not limited to: teen pregnancy and sex education in a Christian world, gender issues and homosexuality, the dissolution of the American family, social media and media influence, bullying and gangs, teenage use of drugs and alcohol, mental illnesses as it relates to violence in society and schools. American public education (pre‐college) will be the primary school level discussed, but due to the focus on teens, including discussion of the college teens will naturally occur. An average of two or three days will be dedicated to each issue. We will read current publications on each issue and each student will do research on a chosen topic. The research will include field research in which the students will interview agencies and school employees.