Spring 2011 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
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 This Is Your Brain on Music
Starting from individual perspectives of experiences with and interests in popular through classical music, this Seminar will explore the sociology, psychology, and neurobiology of music through creative activities and interactive and discussions.

FS 199 Global Sustainability
This course will present our cutting edge understanding of environmental sustainability. Students will learn how sustainability is understood by ecological, social, economic, and engineering experts. We will explore the ways in which people are working to create a more sustainable society.

Aesthetic & Humanistic Inquiry Liberal Studies distribution block

FS 121 Black Women & Film Image
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 Conflict & the Human Condition
“Only the dead have seen the end of war.” So wrote Plato in the third century BC. Through films, novels, and other provocative readings, this course explores the reasons why conflict remains a ubiquitous part of the human condition. Along this journey we will also analyze and fashion our own moral philosophy capable of enhancing peace within our community and throughout the world.

FS 121 Creating Spaces for Inquiry
NOTE:  Fingerprint clearance is required and students must be available two days a week on Mondays through Thursdays from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.  Please contact the professor for more information (Gerald.Wood@nau.edu).
Young people want to shape the world around them. We will deepen our discussion regarding concepts of citizenship, public work, and democracy. NAU students will serve as Public Achievement (PA) coaches for children in local elementary schools to identify student concerns and understand issues of power as it relates to grassroots democracy.

More experienced PA coaches will have the opportunity to get involved in educational reform through grassroots organizing. Fingerprint clearance is required and students must be available two days a week on Mondays through Thursdays from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.  Please contact the professor for more information (Gerald.Wood@nau.edu).

FS 121 Film and Philosophy
This Seminar will introduce students to the enduring questions of philosophy through the dramatic power of contemporary film.  We will engage movies as they raise, explore, and illustrate philosophical topics such as the nature of skepticism, religion, ethics, human nature, justice, and the meaning of life.  Through this Seminar, students will develop the critical thinking and discernment skills to engage popular media and also receive a lively introduction to the study of philosophy.

FS 121 Fragments and Ruins
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 Inquiry Into Sustainability
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.  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? 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 121  Is Civil Discourse Dead?
This is a highly interactive Seminar that will trace the history or conversation in the United States from colonial times to present day. How we converse during expansion, wars, peace, colonization and with technology will be explored. The end product will be a discourse on a controversial topic.

FS 121 New Mind Yourself
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
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, but will not be limited to: Chinatown, High Noon, Double Indemnity, Dirty Harry, and I am a Fugitive From aChain gang.  them also.

FS 121 Power – Justice – Freedom
Power, justice and freedom are some of our most potent political words.  They are also some of our most contested.  This is as true today as it is if we look back to their earliest meanings over two thousand years ago.  In this seminar, we will engage some of the most interesting and controversial answers to the questions: What is power? What is justice? What is freedom?  We will range over the centuries, from the works of Plato and Aristotle, to Machiavelli and Marx, Hobbes and Locke, Nietzsche and Arendt as well as to some very current debates over how these concepts apply to the nonhuman world.  Our readings and our intensive seminar discussions will deepen students’ ability to understand contemporary political struggles and aspirations, and help them develop their own sense of how these questions should best be answered, and what is at stake as they do so.

FS 121 Public Achievement has been updated as FS 121 Creating Spaces for Inquiry
NOTE:  Fingerprint clearance is required and students must be available two days a week on Mondays through Thursdays from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.  Please contact the professor for more information (Gerald.Wood@nau.edu).

Young people want to shape the world around them. We will deepen our discussion regarding concepts of citizenship, public work, and democracy. NAU students will serve as Public Achievement (PA) coaches for children in local elementary schools to identify student concerns and understand issues of power as it relates to grassroots democracy.

More experienced PA coaches will have the opportunity to get involved in educational reform through grassroots organizing. Fingerprint clearance is required and students must be available two days a week on Mondays through Thursdays from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

FS 121 Reinventing King Arthur
C.S. Lewis once compared the Arthurian legend to a great medieval cathedral that was built by many over generations.  In this case, it has been 1,500 years in the making, and still going strong.  Since 1900 literature, film and music have contributed more to the Arthurian story than at any other time since it first emerged as oral tales in the Wales of the 500s.  We will briefly examine the first 1,400 years of the story, and then concentrate on the recent additions of film and fiction, including Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Excalibur, The Mists of Avalon, The Crystal Cave, and the recent BBC TV series Merlin.  We will critically examine how the 20th Century has put its own unique spin on a very popular story. 

FS 121 Rereading Harry Potter
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 Sci-Fi and Society
Through readings from both short science fiction and social theory (including political thought, and existentialism), this course will read sci-fi for not only what is happening in the story itself, but also for what it reveals about how we, as a society and as individuals, imagine about ourselves and our possible futures. After developing the tools to take up this kind of interpretation, students will be asked to select a sci-fi television series that they will then watch and critique in the manner developed through class discussions.

FS 121 Women & Music
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.

FS 199 The Arts in the NAU Community: Discovering the Music, Art, Theatre, and Creativity Around You
This three credit course provides opportunities for students to attend, reflect upon, and analyze a variety of cultural events on campus and in the Flagstaff community. Students are required to attend 12 to 15 pre-approved cultural events and provide either a written cultural analysis of each event or attend a class-sponsored salon discussion group.  To aid the student in choosing a variety of events/performances, there is a list of events held on the NAU campus as well as in Flagstaff itself, divided into categories, from which to choose; we have also listed all relevant list serv links to all events on campus in your Vista shell.

The course encourages students to think critically, express ideas and move them forward, and to shape creative lives as citizens of a rapidly changing world. This course will challenge students to gain a deeper cross-disciplinary understanding of aspects of the university curriculum through an exploration of culture through film, music, theatre, art, and lectures.

Cultural Understanding Liberal Studies distribution block

FS 131 Indigenous/Immigrant Narrative
This Seminar will explore Indigenous and immigrant personal narratives. Students in the seminar will acquire narrative inquiry skills to (a) collect primary and secondary source artifacts, (b) conduct observations and (c) interview Indigenous and immigrant people in the community regarding their life stories. Students will identify themes and patterns found throughout the artifacts, observations and interviews. Students will present their research findings to a public audience at the end of the semester.

FS 131 Psychology & Culture
This is an interdisciplinary Seminar that will introduce students to the study of culture and psychology and its relevance to modern day social issues.  By placing a person at the center of inquiry, we will explore mental processes through which humans integrate themselves into a society in different cultures.  Throughout this cross-cultural journey, we will address two broad themes.  The first of them will be an examination of ways in which human mind development and enculturation shape processes of cognition, perception, motivation, and emotion in the modern, increasingly complex social environment.  The second theme of the course will explore the relationship between conceptual categories and mental health across different cultures.  This part will focus on the cultural construction of diagnostic and therapeutic practices related to psychological disorders in the ever-expanding Western medicine and in Native American healing systems in the Southwest.  We will also discuss the practical implications of differential diagnosis and therapy for culturally sensitive health care delivery.

FS 131 Southwest Sustainable Foods
NOTE:  There are required field trips off campus.  Please contact the professor for more information (Patrick.Pynes@nau.edu).
Think of this Seminar as a four-course meal with a distinctly Southwestern flavor. There will be much food for thought, along with a fair amount of delicious, nutritious food to be tasted and talked about. We’ll visit several local farms, gardens, ranches, markets, and restaurants, and we’ll even learn how to grow some of our own food right here on campus.

Our field of study will be the historic and contemporary foodways and agricultural traditions of the Southwest’s diverse cultures: Hopi, Navajo, Hispano, European American, Asian American, and many more. Our First Year Seminar’s table is round, and a place has already been set for you. Welcome: have a seat, and let’s learn about the Southwest’s sustainable foods, from amaranth to zucchini.

FS 199 Who am I? and Who are They?
NOTE:  This is a hybrid course which will meet both at fixed times and online.  Please contact the instructor for more information (Betsy.Buford@nau.edu).
This three credit course provides opportunities for students to examine “who they are” in relation to “others.”  Focus will be on culture, ethnicity, race, gender, spirituality, and the many different perspectives that both unite and divide us as individuals.  Students will attend events on campus and in the Flagstaff community to gain perspective on how our own attitudes and values shape our perceptions of ourselves and others.  Participation in campus and community events will provide students with an experience of diverse cultures, different from their own, and analyze how cultures vary and shape the human experience.  By becoming more familiar with cultures of the world students will develop an appreciation for the unique features and perspectives of varied cultural traditions.

Social & Political Worlds Liberal Studies distribution block

FS 141  Ethics for a Global Economy
As a global economy continues to develop, ethical and cultural issues that affect the international business arena, have become of increasing importance.  This Seminar specifically addresses the following ethical issues: employment practices, consumer protection, environmental issues, bribery, sexual harassment, office theft, basic human rights and fundamental freedoms.  Case study analysis, videos, and guest speakers will provide the student with an increased understanding and sensitivity to these issues.

FS 141 Healthcare: US & Global
This course will allow students to explore in small groups and through seminar discussions the issues of health and health care as they impact individuals across the lifespan in the United States and Globally.

FS 141 Human Rights
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 141 The Logo
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 Seminar 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
This Seminar 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.  Commodification 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
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 Religion & Violence
There are few things so controversial in the world today as religion and violence.  And yet, few things are so omnipresent.  In this Seminar, we will critically examine the link between the two to explore why some forms of religious expression seem to encourage violence, while others encourage peace.

Throughout the semester, we will critically examine instances of religiously-linked violence through its discourse, like the biblical justifications for slavery and segregation. Similarly, we will examine religiously-linked movements for social change and peace-making as exemplified in the sermons of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  In each case, we will try to determine what separates violent religious expression from a peaceful one.

FS 141 Social Movements & Action
NOTE:  There are required field trips off campus.  Please contact the professor for more information (Luis.Fernandez@nau.edu).
This Seminar will focus on how people use collective measures to produce social change. By definition, social movements are sustained challenges against authorities that aim at reforming, revolutionizing, or eliminating dominant institutions, changing public opinion, or transforming personal behavior.  They usually develop around extremely contentious issues, with participants sometimes engaged in peaceful tactics while others pursue violence.  In this Seminar, we will analyze historical and contemporary social movements to gain insights on how people transform society from the bottom up.

This Seminar is guided by the following questions: What motivates people to act collectively and sometimes illegally to challenge the laws and values of society?  What drives people to sometimes risk their lives to participate in social movements?  What is the relationship between movement goals and the tactics selected to achieve them?  (i.e., why do some movements use violent means while others use peaceful actions?)  How do we know if a movement is successful?  What are the major changes in society that are directly attributable to social movements?

To achieve a deeper understanding of social movements, students will be part of engaged learning, where they will work directly with organizations that are part of larger social movements.

FS 141 Sustainable Communities
An examination in a seminar setting for first year students 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 Web of Debt
The US debt is the largest in the world — over $13 trillion and rising.  This Seminar attempts to unravel the mysteries of money, interest and debt-creation in the US and globally.  We unearth facts not discussed in the mainstream media about the privatization of the money supply, the inner workings of the for-profit banking system, price inflation, and deteriorating asset values.  We consider the human impacts of debt:  wider income gaps between rich and poor, psychological stress and deteriorating living conditions. Then we explore workable alternatives grounded in the writings of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln.

FS 141 Women & Society
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.

FS 199 The Arts in the NAU Community: Discovering the Music, Art, Theatre, and Creativity Around You
NOTE:  This is a hybrid course which will meet both at fixed times and online.  Please contact the instructor for more information (Andrew.Hicken@nau.edu).
This three credit course provides opportunities for students to attend, reflect upon, and analyze a variety of cultural events on campus and in the Flagstaff community. Students are required to attend 12 to 15 pre-approved cultural events and provide either a written cultural analysis of each event or attend a class-sponsored salon discussion group.  To aid the student in choosing a variety of events/performances, there is a list of events held on the NAU campus as well as in Flagstaff itself, divided into categories, from which to choose; we have also listed all relevant list serv links to all events on campus in your Vista shell.

The course encourages students to think critically, express ideas and move them forward, and to shape creative lives as citizens of a rapidly changing world. This course will challenge students to gain a deeper cross-disciplinary understanding of aspects of the university curriculum through an exploration of culture through film, music, theatre, art, and lectures.

FS 199 Global Sustainability
This course will present our cutting edge understanding of environmental sustainability. Students will learn how sustainability is understood by ecological, social, economic, and engineering experts. We will explore the ways in which people are working to create a more sustainable society. 

FS 199 Who am I? and Who are They?
NOTE:  This is a hybrid course which will meet both at fixed times and online.  Please contact the instructor for more information (Betsy.Buford@nau.edu).
This three credit course provides opportunities for students to examine “who they are” in relation to “others.”  Focus will be on culture, ethnicity, race, gender, spirituality, and the many different perspectives that both unite and divide us as individuals.  Students will attend events on campus and in the Flagstaff community to gain perspective on how our own attitudes and values shape our perceptions of ourselves and others.  Participation in campus and community events will provide students with an experience of diverse cultures, different from their own, and analyze how cultures vary and shape the human experience.  By becoming more familiar with cultures of the world students will develop an appreciation for the unique features and perspectives of varied cultural traditions.