Spring 2010 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 Horses: Science & Culture / Pauline Entin (Biological Sciences)
This First Year Seminar will focus on the horse in science, culture, and art.  Coverage will include the evolution and biology of the horse, the historical and modern economic and cultural significance of the horse, and the depiction and implications of the horse in literature and visual art.  Students will be responsible for selecting, researching, and presenting specific topics.

FS 111 Marine Resources in the Sea of Cortez / Willson Montgomery (Biological Sciences)
NOTE:  There are required field trips off campus.  Please contact the professor (Willson.Montgomery@nau.edu) for more information.
Present-day conditions in marine biological resource exploitation and conservation represent the convergence of historic events driven by physical, biological, cultural and economic influences, often under the direction of remarkable people.  This course will examine the growth and evolution of marine biological knowledge and management/conservation practices, with a focus on marine vertebrates (fishes, sea turtles, mammals), in the Gulf of California during the last 150-200 years.  Students will read from the historical and modern scientific and popular literatures, learn the modes and power of critical scientific inquiry, and develop their skills in effective writing for scientific and lay audiences.  This Seminar will involve field trips away from campus.

FS 111  Peaking World Oil Production:  scientific and societal challenges / Michael Ketterer (Chemistry & Biochemistry)
This is a Seminar course designed to further develop your critical scientific thinking, oral communication, technical writing, and quantitative reasoning skills.  This semester’s course will focus upon a particular topic, namely, the impending “peaking” of world oil supplies, alternative energy sources (do they add up in terms of quantities of energy produced), and the consequences of energy shortfall to human enterprises (transportation, manufacturing, agriculture, technology, medicine, etc.).
Energy is of vital importance to all organisms.  Homo Sapiens have prospered as a species not only because of superior intellect, but also because of their ability to capture artificial supplies of renewable and non-renewable energy.  These artificial supplies consist of the work of draft animals, stored carbon (plants), fossil carbon (oil, coal, and natural gas) and primordial energy (nuclear).  Of these energy supplies, oil is most vital, as there is no effective substitute for liquid fuels in transportation and for oil as a feedstock for petrochemicals.  It is becoming increasingly apparent that world oil production has reached a peak or will shortly, after which worldwide supplies will be unable to meet demand.  The US peaked in 1971 and solved the problem of diminishing oil production via imports; however, once the world peaks, there will be nowhere to turn to for more supply.  The peaking of world oil production has extremely serious economic, geopolitical, and social/behavioral consequences as Homo Sapiens enters the post-peak era.  Some scholars regard “Peak oil” as the greatest challenge yet faced by our species, since the Earth’s carrying capacity itself has been artificially enhanced by the availability of cheap non-renewable energy.  This seminar will focus on the importance of energy in human societies, the “peak oil” concept, the evidence that peaking is imminent, and the challenges we face in the post-peak era.

This is a First Year Seminar course in the Science distribution block (FS 111) and will address the essential skill of evaluating data collected through scientific inquiry.  Oral communication skills, both in presentations and discussions, and written communication skills (several short papers) will also be developed throughout the semester.

FS 111 Welcome To Your Brain / Melissa Birkett (Psychology)
This course will provide an introduction to one of your most important organs: the brain.  To do this, we will examine current topics in neuroscience including how aging, education, drugs and relationships can affect the brain and what happens to the nervous system in disorders such as autism, anxiety or narcolepsy.

Aesthetic & Humanistic Inquiry Liberal Studies distribution block

FS 121 Art of Selling War 1916-42 / George Speer (Comparative Cultural Studies)
Students will analyze American and European art, including posters, paintings and sculptures from the period encompassing the two world wars.  Class meetings will involve discussion of images as well as presentations by the students based on assigned readings.  This course is designed to develop skills of Effective Oral Communication and will require students to summarize readings, present ideas and defend their own critical positions regarding specific works of art.  Students will ask why a work of art was made and for what audience, whether the work might have been effective in its message, and how works of art “prepared” different societies for conflict.

FS 121 Black Women & Film Image / Debra Edgerton (Art)
This Seminar will introduce students to the works and idea of black women artist working with the moving image since 1970 and how their works reconstructs the representation of black women in media.

FS 121 The Broadway Musical / James Leve (Music)
Broadway musicals belong with those cultural texts that reflect, express, and shape America’s attitudes about itself and the world.  Therefore, the study of the musical adds a valuable dimension to students’ exposure to many of the most vexing issues facing American society during the last century, in particular, race, gender, and national identity.  In this course, students will examine musical theater from an artistic, historical, and cultural standpoint.  Materials for this study include original cast recordings, film versions, and live taped versions of the musicals.

FS 121 Fragments and Ruins  / Constance DeVereaux (First Year Seminar Program & Honors)
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 Aesthetics, Truth, and Power / (First Year Seminar Program & Honors)
This course looks at the many relationships between truth and power with art and aesthetic experience as important connecting (and often DIS-connecting) threads. A significant issue relating to the human condition is how we can differentiate between truth and reality on the journey to understanding, learning, and knowledge. The issue of truth figures strongly into ethical reasoning, decisions about civic and political life, the formulation of beliefs, and in assessment of positions of power (for example, whether they contribute to, or diminish, human well-being). The issue of power is significant in the story of truth as it relates to the human condition – reinforcing, enforcing, denying, or obliterating truth according to its interests and needs.

Throughout history art has been used in attempts to establish what is true, but also as a means of obscuring reality. Art has also been used as a significant means of speaking truth to power, often with dire consequences. This course examines how art and aesthetic experiences operate within the context of truth and power, with both positive and negative consequences, to reveal significant aspects of the human condition. Students will learn important theories of aesthetics, philosophical views relating to art, concepts of art as power and art as truth, as well as experience a variety of aesthetic forms from a variety of time periods and cultures to explore the course themes.

FS 121 New Mind Yourself / Barbara Sheeley (Art)
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 Noir in Film & Literature / Bruce Fox (Leadership)
Noir.  A genre?  A style?  A medium?  All?  None?  Some combination? In this class we will explore this entity called noir.  We will discuss the characteristics and import of noir as it reflects societal values and perspectives—or does not–using a variety of scholarly texts and articles, books, and films.  We will use texts from the Brothers Grimm (yep—Grimm’s fairy tales.  You may be surprised), Mark Twain, and hard-boiled detective novels from the 1940s and 1950s.   Some classicfilm noir  include: Chinatown, High Noon, Double Indemnity, Dirty Harry, and I am a Fugitive From aChain gang.  We MAY watch some (or all) of these films that we will choose together as a class.  While we will critically analyze these books and movies, I plan to have us remember to enjoy them also.

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.

Social & Political Worlds Liberal Studies distribution block

FS 141 Adventure & Wildlands / Aaron Divine and Pamela Foti (Geography, Parks & Recreation)
NOTE:  There are required field trips off campus.  Please contact the professor (Aaron Divine@nau.edu) for more information.
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 Ecocide: Crisis and Transformation / Kimberly Curtis (First Year Seminar Program and Politics & International Affairs)
Increasing numbers of thinkers in the US and across the globe believe that industrial civilization is threatening the earth, and that our way of life cannot be sustained.  Many refer to the work before us as The Great Turning.  They are inspired by the truth that dark periods in human history have often been the most creative periods, requiring new cultural practices and relationships, new public narratives, and new self-understandings.   In intensive seminar discussions and debates, students will engage some of the leading economic, political, religious-philosophical and educational critics of industrial civilization, examining and assessing together dimensions of the problems as well as the wealth of new thinking and creative practical-political experimentation taking place to address them.  Students will be challenged to ask and creatively explore through writing, who am I in this? what work is before me? before us? how does my story relate to the wider story of the challenges before us, to the work of The Great Turning?  The course will give students an opportunity to wrestle with big questions.  They will gain broad understanding of key dimensions of the challenges before us and will engage some of the more hopeful organized efforts to meet them.

FS 141 Health Care: US & Global /Anne Medill (Sociology & Social Work)
This course will allow students to explore in small groups and through seminar discussions the issues of health and healthcare as they impact individuals across the lifespan in the United States and Globally.

FS 141H (Honors) Human Rights / Cyndi Banks (Criminology & Criminal Justice)
The purpose of this course is to raise students’ awareness about the foundations and nature of human rights and of human rights issues.  Exploring the historical, philosophical, cultural and legal implications of universal human rights reveals how these rights have become entrenched in international law and why they are widely supported regionally and globally. The course focuses on issues in human rights including women’s and children’s human rights, torture, transitional justice and international courts and tribunals that apply human rights principles and rules will enable students to understand how human rights are protected and enforced, and to contrast the place of human rights in the U.S. with the global human rights regime.

FS 141H (Honors) Humanity / Inhumanity: Problems, Solutions / Everett Akam (First Year Seminar Program and Honors)
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 Sustainable Agriculture / Patrick Pynes (First Year Seminar Program Sustainable Communities)
A rising wave of interest in local sustainable agriculture is building across the United States. People everywhere are expressing a strong desire to grow and/or eat fresh, healthy, locally grown foods. Many young people are “going back to the land” to learn how to become small-scale organic gardeners and farmers, while hundreds of new farmers’ markets and CSAs (community supported agriculture) sprout up in all fifty states. Despite some significant biophysical, social, and economic challenges, NAU and Flagstaff are also part of this “growing” movement. In this freshman seminar, we will explore the main ideas and values that are propelling this wave forward. Why and how did this resurgent interest in local sustainable agriculture get started? Who are the movement’s major proponents and leaders? Where is the wave going, especially here in Flagstaff?

The first half of the seminar will be discussion based. We will read, watch, and talk about several texts, including documentaries and films. After spring break, we will meet several local and regional people who are directly involved in efforts to create a sustainable local/regional food system for the greater Flagstaff area. We’ll also visit and do hands-on work in several farms and gardens, on and off campus.

Catch the green wave and ride it to a new and exciting shore. Do some reading, writing, and thinking, and get your hands dirty, too.

FS 141 The Mathematics of Democracy / Terence Blows (Mathematics)
This main focus of the course is the American political process with special attention on the election of the President. Many mathematical aspects of the process will be analyzed and alernatives considered. Topics include apportionment, weighted voting systems, social choice, gerrymandering and the role of the media.

FS 141 9/11:  A Historical Survey / Philippa Winkler (First Year Seminar Program and Politics & International Affairs)
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 Women & Society / Chineze Onyejekwe (First year Seminar Program and Women’s & Gender Studies)
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.