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Academic Bulletin Freshman Tutorials - Course Descriptions - 2007-08

Currently viewing 2007-08 bulletin

FT 07-P Food in the Liberal Arts
Rick Warner, Department of History
What could be more central to life than eating? This tutorial 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 07-I Encroachment?: College Football as a Window on American History, Society, and Culture
Paul Vasguez, Department of Political Science
There are many different ways to study the history of the United States. As college football teams on campuses around the country embark on another season this autumn, we will explore American history in the late 19th and 20th centuries by examining developments related to this popular past time and form of entertainment. In some cases, the points of examination will be ways in which the American experience influenced activities related to college football. At other times, we will also study some ways in which college football shaped the course of American history, society, and culture. We will begin by examining the cultural origins of college football in the United States and its spread across the country, including factors related to popular interest in the sport. Next, we will examine how reforms made in collegiate football during the Progressive Era attempted to reform the game out of concern for the players' health. As we move deeper into the 20th century, we will examine college football with regards to mass media and public perception of the game, the decline of amateurism in the sport and rise of big business, as well as the influence of American wars on the sport. Finally, we will examine the sport with regard to race and gender relations, the integrity of higher education, and recent debates regarding identity politics and political correctness.
Credits: 1

Fall Semester

FT 07-A Happiness 101
C.P. Bankart, Department of Psychology
This tutorial will explore the latest psychological research on the nature of human happiness and personal growth. Our goal will be to understand what psychologists are discovering about the foundations for living a happy, fulfilling and productive life. No previous background in psychology is required. But if you enjoyed an introductory psychology course in high school, you may find that this course will whet your appetite to learn more about the origins of human happiness and the ways that we can lead our lives to achieve our full potential as human beings. This tutorial will involve a lot of hands-on-work, so active participation will be expected fro every member of the class.
Credits: 1

FT 07-B Looking South, Going Bananas: Representations of Latin America in Film and Literature
Gilberto Gómez, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
What do people mean when they use the expression banana republic (but are not referring to the clothing store)? Or Latin lover? What really is meant when folks speak of south of the border? Or going down Mexico way? In fact, how do you visualize Latin America? What images do you associate with that region and its people? This tutorial engages the study of tropical tropes (or themes) that permeate European and American representations of what came to be known as Latin America, ranging form the comic (“Esteban Colberto,” of Comedy Central; Woody Allen’s film Bananas) to the serious (Shakespeare’s The Tempest) to cartoons and fiction, serious or not. From the moment the New World was first encountered by Europeans in 1492, the continent (and its creatures) has been seen as both a paradise and its opposite – and everything in between. To say the least, these representations are a bit exaggerated, as we will see. No knowledge of Spanish or Portuguese is required for this tutorial, although those interested in furthering their knowledge of either of those languages will find occasion to do so.
Credits: 1

FT 07-C Chicago: Its History, Arts, Politics, People, and Places
Tobey C. Herzog, Department of English
Carl Sandburg described Chicago as “Hog Butcher for the world,/ Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,/ Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler,/ Stormy, husky, brawling,/ City of the big Shoulders.” Frank Sinatra sang about Chicago that “Bet your bottom dollar you’ll lose the blues in Chicago, Chicago, the town that Billy Sunday couldn’t put down.” The Chicago of 2007 retains some of the distinctive Midwest features and spirit described in Sanburg’s poem and Sinatra’s song. But the “second city” (a label Chicagoans seem to embrace as a badge of honor), with its world-class architecture and museums, striking skyline, stunning shoreline, and Millennium Park’s public art, has become a “city in a garden” with an international reputation. (Chicago’s reputation is enhanced by its recent selection as a U.S. entry to be the host city for the 2016 Olympic Games.) However, “the Windy City” today is also defined by its past – people and events. These include Jane Addams, Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, Ida B Wells, Al Capone, Louis Armstrong, Studs Terkel, Saul Bellow, Mike Royko, Richard J. Dailey, and Harold Washington; the “Great Fire of 1871,” the Haymarket Riot, the 1893 Columbian Exposition, the Pullman Strike, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, the first controlled atomic reaction, the 1968 Democratic Convention, the 1992 “Great Chicago Flood,” and the White Sox sweep of the 2005 World Series. In this tutorial devoted to Chicago’s history, arts, politics, people, and places, we will first read Robert Spinney’s City of Big Shoulders to establish our historical framework. Then, we will read selections about Chicago written by famous authors, such as Dreiser, Sandburg, Lardner, Bellow, Maya, Angelou, and others. And we will read selections about famous and not-so-famous Chicagoans. We will also view documentaries about Chicago’s history and architecture, as well as films set in Chicago. Finally, students will select particular areas of interest related to Chicago and pursue their own reading and research. The tutorial is taught by an English professor who just happens to be a part-time resident of Chicago, a life-long White Sox fan, and a Chicago flaneur.
Credits: 1

FT 07-D Ancient History and Modern Media: HBO's Rome
David Kubiak, Department of Classics
In the last ten years popular media have shown sustained interest in dramatizing the history and mythology of Greece and Rome. We have had a TV series about Hercules, movies about Troy and Alexander the Great, and even a film that grossed $500,000,000 with dialogue entirely in Aramaic and Latin. This tutorial will use the latest example, the HBO series Rome, as a vehicle for learning facts about Roman history and for investigating the ancient sources the screenwriters used as raw material for their story. The setting is the late Republic, when Julius Caesar began and won a civil war and achieved the personal control of the state that led to his assassination in 44 B.C. Caesar’s heir was his great-nephew Octavian, whose political genius created the defining cultural institution of western Europe, the Roman Empire. The series’ creator, Bruno Heller, was anxious to place these momentous historical events in the context of real people’s lives, and he makes two Roman soldiers and friends, Titus and Lucius, the central thread of his narrative. “Human nature never changes,” he says. “We see the same problems today – crime, unemployment, disease, and the struggle for social mobility and the pressure to preserve your place in a precarious society.” This television drama will prompt an examination of ancient sources and modern scholarship. We will also take advantage of a major exhibition of Roman antiquities that will be traveling from the Louvre to the Indianapolis Museum of Art in September. Through viewing, reading, writing, and discussion students will come to understand better how history is composed and interpreted and why the history of Rome continues to be so compelling today.
Credits: 1

FT 07-E The War in the West
Robert Olsen, Department of Chemistry
Most of the famous Civil War battles occurred in the East. Examples include the battles at Bull Run, Antietam and Gettysburg. It could be argued that the battles fought in the West, while less well known, were actually MORE important in determining the outcome of the war. In this tutorial we will explore that possibility. We will look in particular at the Ft. Henry/Ft. Donelson/Shiloh campaign, the Perryville campaign, the Vicksburg campaign, and the Battles at Chickamauga and Chattanooga. We will examine their tactical and strategic aspects and consider their consequences. Readings will include letters, diaries, memoirs and reports written by participants. In addition to papers, discussions and oral reports, class work will include a visit to a nearby battlefield.
Credits: 1

Gary A. Phillips, Department of Philosophy and Religion
This freshman tutorial examines images of Jesus in ancient Gospel texts and contemporary film. The course focuses upon canonical (Mark, Matthew, Luke, John) and noncanonical (Thomas, Philip, Mary) gospel texts. The aim is to understand the variety of complex literary, historical and theological ways Jesus in interpreted in gospel texts and to assess contemporary cinematic efforts to represent Jesus as savior figure(including Jesus of Montreal, The Gospel According to St. Matthew, The Life of Brian, Last Temptation of Christ, the Passion of the Christ, and The Matrix).
Credits: 1

FT 07-G The Brothers of Karamazov
William Placher, Department of Philosophy and Religion
Feodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karmazov may just be the greatest novel ever written. It is a murder mystery with passionate love, violent tensions between a father and his sons, searching exploration of the meaning of guilt and innocence, and some of literature’s most profound debates on the existence of God. After reading some classic modern short stories, we will spend most of the semester reading The Brothers Karamazov while developing skills in reading, writing, and discussion.
Credits: 1

FT 07-H Wampeters, Foma, and Granfalloons: The Life and Work of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
J. Gregory Redding, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
Civic leaders in Indiana have designated 2007 "The Year of Vonnegut" in honor of favorite son Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. His death on April 11 of this year marked the passing of a unique voice in American literature. Vonnegut liked to think of himself as a latter-day Mark Twain. Like Twain, Vonnegut was a humorist, a satirist, and a lecturer, but he became a cultural icon thanks to novels like Cat's Cradle, Slaughterhouse-Five, and Breakfast of Champions. In this course we will discover his life and work by focusing primarily, but not exclusively, on the novels that made his reputation as a writer. We will read all or some of the following the novels: The Sirens of Titan; Mother Night: Cat's Cradle; God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater; Slaughterhouse-Five; Breakfast of Champions; and Timequake. We will also read a number of Vonnegut's essays published in book from (Palm Sunday, A Man Without a Country) and in various print media. Finally, we will broaden our focus to include the history of the Vonnegut family in Indianapolis as a means of understanding questions of identity evident in Vonnegut's work.
Credits: 1

FT 07-J Christianity and Popular Culture
Steve 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 of the mission of the Christian faith.
Credits: 1

FT 07-Q Leading Lives of Importance: What Really Matters in Life?
Charles Blaich, Deborah Butler, Bill Doemel, and Kathy Wise: Center of Inquiry
What am i doing here in a small town, at a small college, cramped into a small space with a bunch of guys? You may be here because your parents, teachers and friends told you to apply and go to college. Or you may want to be a doctor, a lawyer, a researcher, a teacher, a minister or any number of other professionals, and you must have a diploma. We suspect that each of you has his special reason for being here and, at the same time, questions the decision to come here in the first place. Those are some of the immediate questions you are trying to answer. In time, you probably will be asking many more. Will I raise a family? How will I lead a fulfilling life? What am I called to do? Together, we are going to explore these questions and reflect on issues of meaning, purpose, and values. We will examine topics like wisdom, happiness, authenticity, vocation, balance, work and identity, and relationships with others through discussions of fiction, nonfiction, biography, autobiography, poetry, and film. Readings may include Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilych, Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild, Aristotle's Politics, Du Bois' The Souls of Black Folk, Elie Wiesel's Night, Terry Tempest Williams' Refuge, as well as the films Saving Private Ryan, Good Will Hunting, and Field of Dreams. Along the way, each of you will identify people whom you respect and will inquire about the decisions and consequences of their lives. Finally, you will be describing your developing ideas on meaning in your own life. 
Credits: 1

Spring Semester

FT 07-K The Making of Great Leaders-in Life and at Wabash
Michael Raters, Associate Dean of Students
Wabash prides itself on producing leaders. But what makes a great Wabash leader, or, for that matter, any kind of great leader? What is leadership, and what makes one successful in that realm? How do, or should, we define "successful"? This tutorial will examine these questions and other by exploring leadership in general terms, then with a focus on Wabash leaders, and ultimately with an individualized development of a personal philosophy of leadership. We will study current trends in leadership, using such texts as Warren Bennis's On Becoming a Leader and Kenneth Blanchard's The Leadership Pill. Each student will also read a leadership text of his choice and a current biography (e.g., Rudy Giuliani's Leadership or Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope). As we turn our attention to Wabash history, we will read Wabash On My Mind and research some of Wabash's greatest on-campus leaders, like Mills and Trippet in the past, Bambrey and White in the present. We will also examine the leadership qualities of illustrious alumni, from Wallace and Marshall in the past to Allen and Barnette in the present. That research will manifest itself in both written and oral histories that may find permanent residence in the College's archives. Class activities will include oral reports, class discussions, research projects, interviews, field trips, and a final project involving a personal leadership philosophy. 
Credits: 1

FT 07-L The Legend (and Problem) of Bagger Vance: Reading, Writing, and Thinking Multi-Culturally
David Cho, Department of English
How does one define "culture" in this 21st century? There are many like "diversity," "multiculturalism," and "plurality" when talking about different categories or groups of people, particularly in the United States - but the terminology and their differences seem to get only increasingly confusing in this "politically correct" age and generation. How can we begin to look at the world around us, particularly in the United States, with critical eyes, even with popular movies like The Legend of Bagger Vance? What's the big deal with this issue of "race" that seems to have been around for so long? For this freshman tutorial, we will focus on how to define "culture," issues of "multiculturality," mostly through studying the construction of race in the United States. We'll study its historic problem, since colonial times to the present, allowing us also to cover issues of class, gender, sexuality, and various forms of spiritual and religious affiliations. Through our readings, discussions, and papers, we will begin to consider certain principles, supplanted by historical, social, and scholarly resources. Hopefully these will help us consider various issues of social justice and personal applications. Reading material will include authors as diverse as John Winthrop, Frederick Jackson Turner, Toni Morrison, Leslie Marmon Silko, Gloria Anzaldua, to name a few. We'll also be drawing from the historical works of Ronald Takaki, developmental psychology books like Beverly Daniel Tatum's Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting in the Cafeteria Together, and lots of films and documentaries to help keep us grounded.
Credits: 1

FT 07-M Is This Any Way to Choose a President?
David Hadley, Department of Political Science
People say the Presidential selection process in the United States is too long, too expensive, too confusing, too burdensome for candidates and voters, too focused on extraneous issues and sound bite rhetoric, and often too personally demeaning for candidates. And it is undemocratic to boot! So how and why have we developed such a system for selecting what many consider the most powerful leader in the world? is the system as flawed as the critics claim or as ingenious as it proponents maintain? In this course, we will look for answers to these kinds of questions about the process by which we nominate and choose between candidates for President of the United States. We will examine how the Presidential selection process has developed and changed from the Constitutional Convention to present, how it works today, who it advantages and disadvantages, and whether it needs to be changes. 
Credits: 1


FT 07-N Meaning and Significance of Music in Folk Societies
James K. Makubuya, Department of Music
This tutorial examines the global contextual meaning and significance of music in folk (or traditional) societies. A random sampling of the definition of the term "music" in the context of folk societies extends way beyond a basic dictionary definition. By examining folk society events from a variety of cultures, this tutorial will explore the defining characteristics of this global form of expression (music) in folk societies. Also, we will study the similarities and differences among the ways different societies use music as an essential ingredient of their life styles. The focus of the course will be the weekly listening, reading, and viewing assignments. This material is intended to pave the way for meaningful class discussions and oral presentations, as well as written analytic and research papers. In class, we will examine musical practices in terms of structure, performance, aesthetic values, contextual meaning, function and significance. We will also analyze and discuss cultural or societal events - including rituals, rites, and ceremonies - enhanced by musical performances. Thus, through these diverse reading and video and audio illustrations, the class will examine the multipurpose functions of folk music performances in different world cultures.
Credits: 1

FT 07-O Exploring the Role of Humor in Our Lives
Michele Pittard, Department of Teacher Education
"Men show their character in nothing more clearly than by what they think laughable."(Goethe)
" A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have." (Roger Rabbit)
"Stupid people, who do not know how to laugh, are always pompous and self-conceited; that is, ungentle, uncharitable, unchristian." (Thackeray)
What is the role of humor in our lives? Scientifically, historically, emotionally, cognitively, developmentally, culturally.... what does humor mean to us? How does it sustain us as human beings? How does it help us make sense of the world? How do different cultures define humor? What's funny and what's offensive? If laughter is the best medicine, then how can humor ever be bad or wrong? These and other similar questions will be considered as students and professor collaborate to examine the ways in which humor plays significant roles in our lives as human beings in a world that can be pretty depressing. A variety of guest speakers, field trips, course readings, films, class discussions (both real and virtual), and a wide range of writing assignments will enable students to understand, question, and critically examine the complex, and sometimes, hilarious position humor holds in society. Although a number of course reading will be determined by students' individual inquiry topics, the class will study a variety of texts from the popular press as well as academic research. Students will design their own inquiry projects and choose their topics of study related to humor. No doubt, we'll laugh during the semester, but we will also engage in a serious study of humor, the various styles of humor, and the evolution of humor over the course of human history and across a variety of cultures.
Credits: 1

FT 07-R Frankenstein and Beyond: Intersections Between Science and Literature
Crystal Benedicks, Department of English
The clashing point of two subjects, two disciplines, two cultures - of two galaxies, so far as that goes - ought to produce creative changes." -C.P. Snow, The Two Cultures
What happens when literature goes into the laboratory? From eighteenth-century researchers running electrical currents through cadavers to twentieth-century experiments with nuclear power, scientific explorations have had a profound impact on the way people think about the world and our place in it. In this class, we will focus on the intersections between literary and scientific ways of interpreting reality. While this is not specifically a science fiction course, we will study both the ways literary texts imagine science and the ways scientific writing incorporates elements of fiction. We will read a wide variety of texts from different genres and periods, including, among others, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Darwin's The Origin of Species, Tennyson's In Memoriam, Bertolt Brecht's Galileo, selections from modern science writing, and recent film version of Michael Frayn's new play about quantum physics, Copenhagen.
Credits: 1