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Academic Bulletin Freshman Tutorials - Course Descriptions - 2006-07

Currently viewing 2006-07 bulletin

Fall Semester

FT 06-A Japan and Science Fiction
Thomas P. Campbell III, Department of English
Japanese culture is of tremendous interest right now among American students. The tutorial examines one aspect of this cultural fascination by looking at Science Fiction which has either been produced in Japan or uses Japanese settings and ideas. From short stories and novels to animé and feature films, there are many different genres which can be studied. In our tutorial, we will be reading short stories and novels by both Japanese and American authors, as well as viewing several movies. Authors will include Sakyo Komatsu, Kobo Abe, Haruki Murakami, Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, and Neal Stephenson. Films will include animé such as Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Ghost in the Shell, Akira, and Metropolis ; as well as feature films such as Blade Runner, The Matrix, and Tetsuo, The Iron Man. Students will be asked to present team reports on readings; to write analyses of films; and to compose their own project linking Japan and Science Fiction. No previous knowledge of Japanese or of Science Fiction is required!
Credits: 1

FT 06-B A Tour of Power and Knowledge
Agata Brewer, Department of English
When we think of traveling, we usually have in mind vacations, leisure, new experiences, interesting people. Traveling is fun. However, travel encompasses a lot more than just entertainment and education. Have you ever thought of travel as a means of control and propaganda? How about a journey that becomes a method of undermining a political or social system? In this tutorial, we will consider selected travel narratives and their relation to power. We will supplement our understanding of such diverse text as H.G. Wells's The Time Machine,  Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Mansfield's The Little Governess, Martin Amis's The Time's Arrow, Francine Prose's Guided Tours of Hell, and selected poems of Derek Walcott, Adam Zagajewski, and Wislawa Szymborska with a few movies (Easy Rider, Midnight Cowboy, Thelma and Louise, and O Brother, Where Art Thou?). At the end of the tutorial, we will share our observations about the meaning of our own trips, those we dream about or the ones that really happened.
Credits: 1

FT 06-C Making It In The Performing Arts
Larry Bennett, Dapartment of Music
What preparations and conditions pave the way for a successful career in the performing arts? Why do some careers continue to thrive, even after decades, while other falter? in this tutorial, we will examine the changing circumstances and personal qualities that influence the curves of performers' careers. Students will investigate the struggles, successes, and failures of outstanding classical musicians (Joshua Bell, Lang Lang, Placido Domingo) actos (Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Sean Penn, Colin Farrell), pop stars and groups (Josh Groben, Bruce Springsteen, Radiohead) and cross-over artists (Miles Davis, Philip Glass) past and present, the famous and not so famous. Students interested in sports may also consider the careers of well-known athletes (Nolan Ryan, Peyton Manning, Lance Armstrong). Insights from playwrights, directors, and film composers like Neil Simon, Clint Eastwood, and Tan Dun, respectively, will shed light on the lives and trial of well-known artists. In particular, Simon's life will be compared with other American playwrights such as Eugene O'Neil. Aspects such as stress managment and dealing with performance anxiety will also be considered. This tutorial will include reading from personal accounts by renowned artists, viewing pertinet films, and attending live performances.  
Credits: 1

FT 06-D Christianity and Twentieth-Century Fiction
Jonathan Baer, Department of Philosophy and Religion
In this tutorial, we will examine portrayals of Christianity in a range of twentieth-century works of fiction. Novels by C.S. Lewis, Graham Greene, and others contain rich insights into such Christian themes as forgiveness, redemption, suffering, temptation, sin, evil, hope, and salvation. The ways they depict the experiential dimenstions of faith, its hardships, failures, and successes offer subtle and probing commentaries on the Christian life in the context of tragedy, comedy, and other literary genres. We will also view films like Shadowlands and The Apostle with a view toward their representations and critiques of Christianity.
Credits: 1

FT 06-E Christianity and Popular Culture
Stephen H. Webb, Department of Philosophy and Religion
What is the relationship between Christianity and popular culture? For example, does rock and roll belong in Christian worship? When rock and roll was born, many churches preached against it, but now the most successful churches use guitars and drums for worship, and contemporary Christian music is the fastest growing segment of the music industry. We will study the way Christian churches use film, contemporary music, and other aspects of popular culture to reach out to nonbelievers. We will also study the relationship between religion and sports. Why have sports teams and athletic heroes become so important for church growth? We will also look at the early history of Christianity and its relation to the Roman Empire in order to better understand the nature and mission of the Christian faith.
Credits: 1

FT 06-F Reagan, Rap, and Rambo: America in the 1980's
Jennifer Abbott, Department of Rhetoric
Often referrred to as the "me" decade, the 1980's are frequently belittled as an era of self-indulgence. Yet the 1980s included many events and trends that significantly affect us today, including the birth of videogames and MTV, the conflict of the Cold War and rise of political conservatism, as well as the emergence of the AIDS epidemic and public visibility of the gay and lesbian movement. Even such seemingly trivial productions as the Rambo movie series and rap music both reflectd and influenced our national hopes and fears. We will take a closer look a the United States during the 1980s to better understand how the seemingly disparate aspects of this decade (politics, music, film, etc.) interconnected. We will access the 1980s through a variety of fiction and non-fiction books and films, as well as music, television, and videogames.
Credits: 1

David J. Hadley, Department of Political Science
"Stop them damn pictures,"William Marcy Tweed, the corrupt boss of New York's Tammany Hall demanded. "I don't care so much what the papers write about me. My Constituents can't read. But...they can see pictures." From the Tammany Tiger to Richard Nixon drawn crawling out from behind the woodwork, to Clinton's portrayal with Pinnocchio's nose grown long from lying and Bush shown as a ten gallon hat suspended in space above the President's shoulder, American politicians have felt the sting of political cartoons. Through political cartoons we will examine major events in American political history, the issues and ideas which have divided American society, the careers of major political figures, and election campaigns that have defined new political eras or ended old ones. Cartoons even take us into world affairs as international cartoons allow us to see the US as others percieve us. Or more dramatically, Danish cartoons recently precipitated mass protests and some violent reactions among Muslims in the Middle East and elsewhere. Cartoonists from Nast and Keppler to Oliphant, Trudeau and Fiore will help us learn about, understand, laugh at, and cringe over US politics. We will try to understand what distinguishes good cartoons from poor ones, what makes us laugh, what outrages or disgusts us, what works and what does not. Finally, we will use the subject of political cartoons to develop skills of observations, research, analysis, and communication.
Credits: 1

FT 06-I American Domestic Architecture:A Reflection of Self and Society
Gregroy J. Huebner, Department of Art
This course will examine American domestic architecture as a cultural statement from traditional Native American dwellings to present day "McMansions." We will seek to answer the following questions: How does domestic architecture in America reflect individual and community identity, and how has the shifting nature of those identities been expressed in the changing styles of the houses we have built? What impact did women have on the development of the American house? How has the development of materials and technology over the years affected the house's design and function? What effect has the computer had on the traditional use of rooms, and what impact has it had on how families interact with each other within the home? Does geographic location create/dictate a regional architectural style, and if so, how is this regionalism reflected in the attitudes of a population? What impact has the increasing ethnic diversity of America had on its domestic architecture? Class activities will include discussions of readings and research, journal entries, short essays and a research paper. We will take walking tours of significant houses of Crawfordsville and Indianapolis, as well as an overnight visit to historic Madison, Indiana. Readings will include Witold Rybczynski's "Home: A Short History of an Idea," Avi Friedman & David Krawitz's "Peeking Through the Keyhole: The Evolution of North American Homes," Winifred Gallagher's "House Thinking: A Room-by-Room Look at How We Live" and Gerald Foster's "American Houses." 
Credits: 1

Spring Semester

FT 06-J When The Lunatics Took Over The Asylum: Hollywood Cinema In the 70s
Michael Abbott, Department of Theater
By the mid 1960s the American film industry was in disarray, and most groundbreaking films were being produced in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Deperate for a way to compete in the world market--and having lost millions of ticket buyers to television--the studio chiefs turned the keys to the kingdom over the kids. These mostly twenty-something directors were hungry, relentless, and buzzing with ideas. A new generation of filmmakers emerged, reinvigorating the American cinema and producing an unprecedented number of innovative, provocative, and wildly entertaining films that are now seen as classics. This course will survey the history and impact of this unique era of films and filmmakers, focusing on directors such as Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Martha Coolidge, Steven Spielberg, Terrence Malick, John Cassavetes, Melvin Van Peebles, George Lucas, Peter Bogdanovich, and Mike Nichols.
Credits: 1

FT 06-K Baseball, America, and the World
Melissa Butler, Department of Political Science
Baseball, once called "the national pastime," has been part of American culture from the earliest days of our nation. This tutorial will explore various aspects of the sport-its history, literature, economics, aesthetics, rules, rites, and rituals-and their impact on our culture. In addition to reading excellent books about baseball-e.g., Moneyball, Men at Work, Shades of Glory, The Natural, and viewing documentaries (e.g. Ken Burns' series, Baseball) and other films (e.g., Field of Dreams), we will attend a major league game in Cincinnati or Chicago. Finally, following on the heels of the 2006 World Baseball Classic, we'll look at baseball in global perspective. What happens when this "quintessentially American game" is exported to Asia and the Caribbean? What happens when the US is no longer dominant?
Credits: 1

FT 06-L Life Stories and Vietnam War Stories: The Life and Writings of Tim O'Brien
Tobey Herzog, Department of English
Over thirty years ago (April 30, 1975) Saigon, South Viet Nam, fell to the North Vietnamese, marking the end of the Vietnam War. Since that day, numerous Vietnam War veterans - Amercian, South Vietnamese, and North Vietnamese - have written memoirs and fiction about war experiences on the battlefield and on the home front. One of the most prominent of the American soldier-authors is Tim O'Brien. He has ben labeled by some critics as the best of America's writers dealing with the Vietnam War, and his 1990 novel, The Things They Carried, is one fo the most widely taught pieces of contemporary literature in high schools and colleges and one of the most widely read books in the U.S. and abrpad. So who is Tim O'Brien; what are some of the war and non-war subjects he writes about; why is his writing so powerful; and how many of his own life stories and concerns make their way into his writing? These are some of the questions that we will adress in this tutorial. We will begin this tutorial by briefly examining key historical events during the Vietnam War era and then moving to a study of O'Brien's connections to the war through his roles as a son, combat soldier, and author. Along the way, we will read accounts of O'Brien's life, listen to and read interviews with O'Brien conducted by the tutorial teacher, and read several of the author's books - including his war memoir, If I Die in a Combat Zone; his combat novel The Things They Carried; his war-aftermath novel, In the Lake of the Woods; and his most recent novel July, July. Class activities will include oral reports, class discussion, student panels, research projects, films related to the class subject matter, in-class written reponses, a series of 3-4 page papers, and a final project.
Credits: 1

FT 06-M Of Deities, Designers, and Darwin: The Origin of Human Beings

Michele Pittard, Department of Teacher Education, and Robert Horton, Department of Psychology 
Did God create humans; did humans evolve from lower animals by random processes of genetic mutation, has the evolution of humans been shaped by an "intelligent designer," and/or did humans originate from some other process or action? In this course we WILL NOT try to answer the question. Instead, we will introduce and explore the quesiton and its many components using an interdisciplinary, liberal arts perspective. We will focus the course on three perspectives that have dominated recent legal and philosophical debates:creationism, evolutionary theory, and the theory of intelligent design. We will read and discuss text that outline the basic ideas of each perspective (e.g., Stroble, The Case for a Creator; Darwin, The Origin of Species;Davis et al., Of Pandas and People), will hear from scholars from the community and from the departments of Biology, Philosophy, and Religion about their personal and professional views on the question, and will engage with one another aboutmour own intellectual and emotional responses to the question of how we came to be.

No particular ideology or understanding of the above perspectives is necessary (in fact, we will assume relative ignorance of each), and we encourage students with differing perspectives on the issue, including perspectives not included above, to consider the course.

Credits: 1


FT 06-N Men and Masculinity
Warren Rosenberg, Department of English
What does it mean to be a man in our society? We will look at the array of cultural messages beamed at us from birth that have shaped our gendered identities. Our main purpose will be neither to celebrate nor denigrate maleness (although both will occur), but rather to examine the conflicting definition and demands of masculinity so that we can more freely choose the kind of men we wish to be. The underlying assumption of the course is, therefore, that men are not born but culturally created - but that is an assumption we will probably be arguing about. We will read books like A Seperate Peace, Shane, Black Boy, Maurice, see films like A Bronx Tale, Born on the Fourth of July, Unforgiven, Smoke Signals, High Fidelity, discuss television and music, and share experiences on a variety of subjects central to the male experience: growing up, sports, friendship, parenting, war, love, and work.
Credits: 1

FT 06-O Aftershocks
Thomas Stokes, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures 
Books for this course:Achebe, C.:Arrow of God; Brink, A.:A Chain of Voices; Gordimer, N.:My Son's Story; Naipaul, V.S.:Bend in the River Films we will see in the course: Cry, the Beloved Country; The Year of Living Dangerously; The Quiet American Once European powers had established colonial power around the world, traditional societies were never the same. This tutorial examines some of the literary and cinematic representations of the aftershocks such conflict of power produced. We will read books by Nigerian, South African, and West Indian writers. Chinua Achebe's Arrrow of God deals with religious and generational conflicts in a Nigerian village. Andre Brink's A Chain of Voices  and Nadine Gordimer's My Son's Story focus on the intersection of personal and political experience in South Africa. V.S. Naipaul's A Bend in the River demonstrates the effects of political unrest and of dictatorship in an African country patterened after the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The films we will see center on individuals caught in political and moral dilemas: a South African country pastor (James Earl Jones) in Cry, the Beloved Country, a journalist (Mel Gibson) in the Indonesian conflict in The Year of Living Dangerously, and in The Quiet American, an American and an Englishman (Brendan Fraser and Michael Caine) in 1950s Vietnam. 
Credits: 1

FT 06-P Alternative Energy Sources
Ann Taylor, Department of Chemistry 
With the prices of oil and gasoline putting a serious dent in budgets and concern for the environment and air quality, Americans are beginning to explore alternative energy sources, such as wind, solar, and geothermal power and renewable resources like biodiesel and ethanol. This course will explore the economics, politics, science and practical aspects of using alternative and renewable energy sources. Planned activities include reading primary and secondary source papers, analyzing data, evaluating arguments, interviewing researchers (including members of the Purdue solar race car team and planners for the new ethanol plants in Indiana), and writing several short papers. 
Credits: 1

FT 06-Q Grapic Novels:The Comic Book As Literary Form
Brian Tucker, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
Anyone who has kept up with comics over the past two decades knows: the "funnies" aren't necessarily funny anymore. Artists have turned to graphic novels, book-length works of sequential art, to explore difficult topics, such as illness and death, child abuse, the Holocaust, the Iranian revolution, and even 9/11. This course will study the graphic novel as a hybrid form that combines words and pictures, high and low culture. We will explore the nature of comic art by reading some of the most challenging and acclaimed graphic novels, including Maus, Persepolis, Jimmy Corrigan, Our Cancer Year, A Contract with God, and In the Shadow of No Towers. We will also examine other artistic combinations of word and image - illuminated manuscripts, for example, and concrete poety - to help us situate the graphic novel historically. A variety of essays, films, and interviews will complement our primary reading. Students should expect lively class discussions, oral presentations, and serval 3-4 page papers.
Credits: 1

FT 06-R Food in the Liberal Arts
Rick Warner, Department of History
What could be more central to life than eating? This turotial will examine the subject of food from a variety of perspective: historical, anthropological, political, nutritional, environmental and others. Through this tour of the new interdisciplinary field of Food Studies, students should develop an appreciation for the multiple perspectives that exist in the world of liberal arts. In addition to working on basic academic skills (reading, discussion, research, writing), students in this tutorial will learn something about the practical art of cooking. The tutorial is taught by Prof. Rick Warner of the History Department, who worked for a decade as a professional chef prior to becoming a college teacher.
Credits: 1

FT 06-S The African Experience 2007
David Akombo, Department of Music
The African Experience 2007 will cover geopgraphical, political, historical, economic and cultural perspectives. The course has dual purposes: to give students an appreciation of Africa's diversity from both a qeographical and historical standpoint; to see the various and important ways that African countries are inter-connected to the rest of the world through trade networks and the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and beliefs. Through a series of readings, map images, videos, etc., students will be exposed to African history from ancient times to the present. The course will pay considerable attention to ethnic and racial classifications, identity, gender issues, education, health, science, as well as the transfer of technology. We will also examine the ways in which Africans have negotiated their quest for independence, equality, justice, and freedom in Africa. The African Experience 2007 is both reading and writing intensive. Students will be expected to respond to assigned readings, present their own interpretations of the assigned texts, respond to films and videos as well as classmates' ideas, and develop their knowledge base about the continent of Africa. Grades are based on class participation, discussion, reading/viewing, quizzes, oral reports, 3-4 page papers, and a final project. Texts: April A. Gordon and Donald L Gordon, Understanding Contemporary Africa. Alex Thomson, An Introduction to African Politics. Kevin Shillington, History of Africa. Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart. Films/Documentaries: Keely Purdue's Africa:In Defiance of Democracry. Ryder Haggard's King Solomon's Mines.  
Credits: 1

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