Fall 2009 Courses

FS 111, 121, 131, 141 are 3 unit courses designed for first year students for Liberal Studies distribution block credit.

FS 111 = Science (non-lab)
FS 121 = Aesthetic & Humanistic Inquiry
FS 131 = Cultural Understanding
FS 141 = Social & Political Worlds

CRAFTS / Community Engagement Initiative course with an Action Research Team
These Seminars may require students to work together in Action Research Teams on projects identified in consultation with community partners.

Science (non-lab) Liberal Studies distribution block

FS 111 Cancer / Alison Adams (Biological Sciences)
Liberal Studies Skill: Scientific Inquiry
Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the US.  In this seminar course, we will discuss

  • who gets it
  • why they get it
  • how cancer develops
  • how cancer is treated
  • what we can do to prevent cancer
  • current research in understanding, preventing and treating cancer.

Through selected readings, lectures and discussions, students will gain an understanding of these and other topics in cancer.

FS 111 Evolution & Human Origins / Philip Service (Biological Sciences)
Liberal Studies Skill: Scientific Inquiry
This course is intended to introduce students to the science as a way of knowing. Using examples from evolutionary biology we will address a series of general questions: what is science, what is scientific reasoning, what assumptions underlie scientific inquiry, what are the limits of science?  In addition to these broad questions that touch on all fields of scientific inquiry, we will also gain a more detailed understanding of evolutionary theory, of the power of evolutionary theory to explain observations about the biological world, and of the evidence for evolution.  With this background, we will be able to evaluate critically the scientific status of evolutionary theory.  We will discuss the reasons for resistance to teaching evolution in primary and secondary schools, and we will consider the scientific validity of challenges to evolution by advocates of intelligent design.  As an important component of this course, we will focus on the evidence for the evolutionary origin of humans from non-human ancestors.

FS 111 Animal Language / Constantine Slobodchikoff (Biological Sciences)
Liberal Studies Skill: Scientific Inquiry
Animal language is a controversial area of inquiry, with some scientists claiming that animals lack the cognitive abilities to have language, while other scientists are documenting the language-like communication of animals. In this course, we will evaluate the evidence for animal language, and look at examples of possible language in apes and monkeys, prairie dogs, whales and dolphins, parrots, and other species that communicate with one another. We will also look at how the behavior and the habitat in which they live influence the communication abilities of animals.

FS 112 Early Humans & Environment / Paul Umhoefer (Geology)
Liberal Studies Skill: Scientific Inquiry
Our species – Homo Sapiens – evolved from apes in Africa about 5 million years ago, and then evolved into ‘proto’ humans at 2.5 million years ago.  After a few more changes, true modern humans evolved about 200,000 years ago.  Geneticists now believe all humans descended from the same mother and father (150,000 to 100,000 years ago) in Africa. Then 50,000 to 80,000 years ago, a small group of early humans left Africa for good.  Their descendants took vastly different migration routes around the world. And now we all sit here at NAU in Arizona.  This remarkable story of the evolution and migration of Early Humans was influenced by the physical environments they encountered and the environmental changes they endured. This Seminar will emphasize the geologic influences on the history of early humans because it is clear that the physical environment was the major influence on the evolution and migration of humans.

Aesthetic & Humanistic Inquiry Liberal Studies distribution block

FS 121 Black Women & Film Image / Debra Edgerton (Art)
Liberal Studies Skill: Effective Writing
This Seminar examines the works and ideas of black women artists working with the moving image since 1970 and how their works reconstruct the representation of black women in media.

FS 121 How a Novelist Works / DeVereaux, Constance (First Year Seminar Program)
Liberal Studies Skill: Effective Writing
This course focuses on creativity, critical thinking, and what it means to be a writer. Students will work with writer, Dr. Constance DeVereaux through the research, writing, and revision process of a fiction novel-in-progress, entitled Angelina, If You Read This. Students will explore how historical and philosophical inquiry contribute to the creative process in framing experiences about the human condition. They will learn techniques for creative and critical problem-solving in the context of the writing process, and the principles for aesthetic analysis as it relates to literature. They will explore how historical, political, and social events contribute to the contextual underpinnings of creative work and how they are used in the story process. The course focuses on translating ideas into creative product and the processes writers go through to accomplish that goal.

Students will contribute to the research for the novel – based on a true story – including a field trip to some of the sites where the novel is set. They will engage with the instructor and each other in critique and analysis of the novel as well as other examples of contemporary literature. They will also have the opportunity to learn techniques of creative writing for their own creative projects. Primary emphasis in this course is on creative thinking and effective writing skills with additional focus on effective oral communication.

FS 121 Fragments and Ruins  / DeVereaux, Constance (First Year Seminar Program)
Liberal Studies Skill: Effective Writing
How do we create our ideas of self? How do we build meaningful relationships with ourselves and others through aesthetic experience, through frameworks of value developed through traditions of inquiry, and through the conditions of our physical, social, and political world that contribute to the formation of identity? These questions have been posed and explored in a variety of ways throughout history.

In this course, students will examine these perennial issues through the lenses of “fragmentation” and “ruin” as manifested in a wide variety of forms: architecture, literature, philosophy, and visual and performing art. Key to the exploration is the human attraction to the incomplete, the unresolved, the imperfect; in other words, to the fragments and ruins we often encounter which arouse our aesthetic awareness of self and the human condition, as well as a concrete desire to explore the possibilities for transforming the unfinished and unresolved into the complete. The work of the Jewish-German philosopher, Walter Benjamin is the beginning point for this exploration. His writings on aesthetics, cities, the art of writing, and other matters provide the context for examining the phenomena of fragments and ruins as we encounter them in our own lives and the ways in which our study and contemplation in this area provides a deeper understanding of identity and the self. Political, philosophical, and sociological implications of course findings will also be explored.

FS 121 New Mind Yourself / Barbara Sheeley (Art)
Liberal Studies Skill: Effective Writing
There’s a mismatch between the high- tech world we’ve created and the ‘old mind’ we inherit as humans. Contemporary culture requires ways of thinking and responding in alignment with the high stakes of the new century.  To ‘new mind yourself,’ students learn about how the mind creates, modifies and recreates experience using an innovative method of examining art as the starting point. Through guided analyses of different forms of creative expression, we develop active thinking skills that enable more clarity and flexibility. We use these skills to spotlight some important trends within society and around our planet and develop written, visual and verbal presentations focused on issues of local, national and global importance.

FS 121 Quest for Meaning in Religion / P. Lodewijk Vander Loo (Humanities, Arts, & Religion)
How often have you been told that religion is not a polite topic of discussion?  How often does the news tell you of yet another religiously based severe conflict in our world?  This course offers an examination of the differences and similarities between religions.  We will explore how scholarly understanding can be applied to living situations and may offer tools for a mutually respectful dialogue between religions or denominations.

FS 121 Rereading Harry Potter / Monica Brown (English)
In this Seminar, students will analyze all seven novels in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series. We will approach these works from a literary and cultural studies perspective, exploring themes of gender, power, myth, the conflict of good vs. evil, justice, and prejudice.  In addition, we will attempt to understand the global appeal of the best-selling literary series of our time, as well as demands from some quarters that the book be censored.

FS 121 (Non-Honors) Systems of War & Peace / Everett Akam (Honors)
Liberal Studies Skill: Effective Writing

FS 121H (Honors) Systems of War & Peace / Everett Akam (Honors)
Liberal Studies Skill: Effective Writing
Is war, conflict, and violence part of human nature? What kinds of people commit atrocities? When does torture become normal, and how are some people able to resist the normalization of atrocity? What do war and peace have to do with historical, institutional context? What are the effects of war on environments, and how to groups struggle over scarce resources? Why are there almost 200 million externally-displaced people around the world today, including refugees, and tens of millions more internally-displaced people? Who is a terrorist? What is state terrorism? What is the recent history of gender, sexuality, and racialization in militaries, and in war? Do ends justify means? What is active nonviolence? Using social science studies, and works of art and literature, this course will engage honors students to examine the causes and dynamics of war, as well as active nonviolence traditions.

FS 121 Women & Music / Julie Hedges Brown (Music)
Liberal Studies Skill: Effective Writing
This Seminar explores women in the western art music tradition, the societal constraints under which they worked, and how portrayals of females in opera and song reflect socio-cultural thinking about women.

Social & Political Worlds Liberal Studies distribution block

FS 141 Adventure & Wildlands / John Lynch (Geography, Parks & Recreation)
Liberal Studies Skill: Effective Writing
The purpose of this Seminar is to investigate adventure and the landscape of adventure. The Seminar will begin with an overview of adventure and the people who have ventured out on the edge and then will move into the areas where adventure occurs with an emphasis on the United States. The Seminar will include a variety of educational activities: lecture, discussion, classroom activities, and required field experiences.

FS 141 (SBS Global Village Learning Community) Contemporary International Controversies / Lori Poloni-Staudinger (Political Science)
Liberal Studies Skill: Effective Writing
The purpose of this Seminar is to introduce you to contemporary concepts and topics in the international arena and the operation of politics outside of the United States.  The course will be delivered in a small seminar format allowing for critical analysis and discussion of all topics.  By the end of the Seminar, you should be able to critically evaluate ideas on germane topics of international and comparative politics that will allow you to operate more effectively as world citizens.  Knowledge of the processes shaping governance in other countries around the world and in the international arena is critical for students hoping to enter the global workplace.  In order for you to gain a deeper and broader understanding of the world around you and the issues of contemporary import, this course will focus on several different topics.  Each week will find us delving into a new issue of current importance. Our readings will also enable us to take a holistic approach to understanding controversial issues by examining issues from many different perspectives.  The Seminar will begin with an overview of different types of governance and situate the type of democracy practiced in the United States vis a vis other non-democratic and democratic countries around the world.  We will then move into discussions on certain topics, including transnational environmental issues, terrorism, globalization, social movements, Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, expansion of the European Union, US Hegemony and the ‘Bush Doctrine,’ civil war and ethnic violence, genocide, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

FS 141 (SEED Learning Community) Democracy, Social Justice & the Environment / Romand Coles (Politics & International Affairs)
Liberal Studies Skill: Effective Writing
This Seminar grassroots democratic participation in relation to problems of environmental sustainability, social justice, and diversity from the local level to the global.  We will examine systemic aspects of social and environmental problems as well as alternative pathways for change.  Community-based research and engagement are a vital component of the course, facilitating a process in which students can participate in fostering the changes that they want to see in the world.

FS 141H (Non-Honors)  Humanity / Inhumanity: Problems, Solutions / Everett Akam (Honors)
Liberal Studies Skill: Effective Writing

FS 141H (Honors)  Humanity / Inhumanity: Problems, Solutions / Everett Akam (Honors)
Liberal Studies Skill: Effective Writing
Reflection on human behavior demonstrates that human beings are capable of profound acts of love and compassion toward those who are different from themselves.  At the same time, however, history tells us that humans are also the most lethal predators ever to inhabit the earth, predators capable of unthinkable horrors toward others.  By reading works such as Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, Jonathan Glover’s Humanity, and Jane Mayer’s The Dark Side, and by studying films such as “Hotel Rwanda,” we will come to understand  how inhumanity emerges and what we, as global citizens, can do to ensure the triumph of humanity.

FS 141 Local Environments & the Land / Yeon-Su Kim (Forestry)
Liberal Studies Skill: Effective Writing
In this Seminar, students will participate in a series of discussions and debates about the current local issues in public land management, such as recreation fees in the Forest Service lands, snowmaking in Arizona Snowbowl, and other issues. The goal is for students to develop their own critical point of views for current conservation dilemmas.

FS 141 The Logo / James Bowie (Sociology & Social Work)
Liberal Studies Skill: Effective Writing
As symbols of identity for organizations, products, people, and places, logos are ubiquitous in our world, and they have become a primary carrier of meaning in our increasingly visually-oriented culture.  This course will examine logos from a variety of perspectives, assessing their significance with regard to commerce, art, marketing, branding, design, and society in general.

FS 141 Men/Women: Gender in America / Walters, Andrew S.  (Psychology)
This course surveys theory and research concerning the construction and enactment of gender in contemporary society. Course foci include the influences of culture, socialization, and individual differences on women and men.  Commodifcation of contradictory messages of femininity and masculinity are examined by historical and current theoretical discourses including core tenets of gender ideology and social constructivism.  The course analyzes assumptions about what causes humans to endorse gendered lives and how being gendered affects identity and behavior.  Alternative models for increasing gender role flexibility and broader social identities are examined.

FS 141 Music, Nature & Society / Tom Sheeley (Music)
Liberal Studies Skill: Effective Writing
Beginning with a reading of C.S. Lewis’ “Abolition of Man,” and utilizing the examples of nature, this Seminar will explore the differences between natural and artificial orders as they exist in music, political philosophy and society.

FS 141 9/11: A Historical Survey / Philippa Winkler (Political Science)
Liberal Studies Skill: Effective Oral Communication
In this course, we will employ common sense analysis, critical thinking skills and basic investigative techniques to understand the historical context and contemporary accounts of 9/11. We will consult sources such as the Joint Congressional Inquiry, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the 9/11 Commission, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.  Course topics include:  US foreign and domestic policy prior to and following 9/11, basic criminal investigative techniques, advance warnings of attacks, FAA and military standard operating procedures, flight timelines, and eyewitness accounts from Ground Zero. Among questions we will ask: could the attacks on North American soil be prevented? Was there sufficient post-attack accountability? Should there be a criminal investigation?

FS 141 (SBS Global Village Learning Community) Searching for Justice / Cyndi Banks (Criminal Justice)
Liberal Studies Skill: Effective Writing
Exploration, in a seminar format, of issues concerning the concept of justice.

FS 141 Sustainable Communities / James Sell (Geography, Planning, & Recreation)
An examination of the ‘building blocks of sustainability’ as they can be used at the community level. Such topics as energy conservation, water-use, waste reduction, community-centered agriculture, and community building will be examined as well as existing attempts to plan sustainable communities.

FS 141 Women & Society / Chineze Onyejekwe (Women’s & Gender Studies)
Liberal Studies Skill: Effective Writing
This course analyzes the subordinate position of women in society as being socially constructed. It will also explore the interdependency between gender and power, and how the understanding of gendered social constructions can help in addressing gender inequalities and promote gender equity.

Topics include femininities-masculinities, gender roles in different societies, poverty as capability deprivation, violence against women, the feminization of HIV/AIDS, the feminization of migration, human trafficking and sex work/prostitution, the new information and communication technologies (ICTs), and women’s empowerment.