Students currently taking FYI 101 should see the attached course titles and descriptions for FYI 102 in the spring semester. Course titles, but not descriptions, appear in Arches.
Before you register for spring classes, review these options and choose five or six that interest you. Talk with your advisor about your selections. All options are available to distance learners.
If you find your first choice is not available, register for an alternative course. Do not contact FYI 102 instructors about a closed course. Instructors will not be signing in additional students at this time.
The best way to get one of your top choices is to meet with your advisor at your earliest opportunity, clear all restrictions well before your registration window, and register on time.
See your first-year advisor for updates to this list.
Instructor: Thomas Bengtson (Mathematics)
Section 02: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 3:00 PM - 4:15 PM
Who are my family? Who are my ancestors? Genealogy and family history help to answer such questions. We will pay particular attention to sources and the reliability of sources. Each student will research, narrate, present, and write some of their own family history. We will also do some collaborative work on former Augustana students. A personal computer or laptop is required. No previous experience is necessary.
Instructor: Deke Gould (Philosophy)
Section 03: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM
What makes us human? Historically, this question had been approached by contrasting us with what we’re not: non-human animals, angels, God, machines, etc. In many cultures, human beings were conceived as representing the height of God’s creation, at the top of the hierarchy of physically embodied beings. Yet science fiction authors in the mid-twentieth century speculated about the many varieties of forms human beings might take with implants or genetic enhancements, suggesting that there might be further untapped potential in the not-too-distant future. Recent developments in actual medical and computing technologies have raised pressing ontological and ethical questions about the scope of the human mind and our obligations to future generations. Some transhumanists have urged that we ought to pursue technological enhancements, even if this results in a very different trajectory for humanity than it would otherwise take. In this course, we will examine these and related questions about human and transhuman nature, identity, and morality.
Reason and Relativism
Instructor: Tim Bloser (Philosophy)
Section 04:Tuesday/Thursday 10:25 AM – 12:05 PM
Questions of moral and ethical value are unavoidable. They come up when we make every-day decisions such as whether to keep a promise we made to a friend, and are even more pressing when we are forced to consider issues such as what career to pursue, or who to vote for. And yet our views on such issues are shaped by ethical commitments that we owe, at least in part, to external influences: how we were raised, who we are friends with, and more broadly, the culture of which we are a part.
This raises an interesting, and very difficult, set of questions: Granted that our ethical views are influenced by our cultural surroundings, are there any ethical values that are common across all, or at least most, human cultures? Or are there inevitably deep underlying differences in the values accepted in different cultural traditions? Relatedly, philosophers often wonder whether ethical values are susceptible to rational criticism or justification that is independent of a particular cultural context, and whether reason itself can serve as an objective tool to evaluate truth, both ethical and otherwise.
This course will offer an introductory discussion of these questions, relying on case studies of cultural traditions and practices that might seem quite alien to those brought up in a broadly Anglo-European cultural tradition, and drawing on anthropological and philosophical discussions of these issues.
Instructor: Emil Kramer (Classics)
Section 05: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM
In this course we will examine two of Plato’s most important dialogues, the Symposium and the Republic, both of which have as their core concern the importance of education. By way of introduction to Socrates and the tensions surrounding education in classical Greece, we will begin by reading Aristophanes’ comedy the Clouds, which mocks Socrates and the “new education” he was made a symbol of, and also Plato’s Apology, which is in effect Socrates’ reply to the Aristophanes’ Clouds.
How We Think
Instructor: Mark Vincent (Psychology)
Section 9: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 9:00 AM - 10:15 AM
Section 10: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM
Most of us tend to assume that we behave logically when we think about and interact with other people. But research over the last few decades makes a compelling case for the notion that we are often less than logical. We exhibit memory biases, reconstructing the details of our pasts in ways that perhaps better fit our narratives (“I love her more today than ever before!”). We frequently use mental shortcuts that, while often adaptive, lead us to erroneous conclusions (“Driving feels so much safer than travelling by air”). From the Sports Illustrated jinx to our mischaracterization of entire groups of individuals, from important matters like racial stereotyping, to mundane matters like the belief that everyone is looking at that stain on your shirt (don’t worry, I hardly noticed), our thinking is often faulty. Intriguingly, and, perhaps most importantly, those errors and biases are predictable. In this course, we will read about and discuss research that seeks to document these errors, as well as explain why they happen and (in some cases) what we can do about them.
East Meets West
Instructor: Mari Nagase (Japanese)
Section 11: Tuesday/Thursday 10:25 AM - 12:05 PM
Hollywood remakes of Asian films have been proliferating since the turn of this century. Examples include The Ring (2002), Shall We Dance (2004), and The Departed (2006), just to name a few. This course will examine American adaptations of Japanese films in particular and reveal underlying cultural presuppositions upon which the original movies and their remakes are built. The class will analyze the cultural, aesthetic, ideological, economic, social, and gender premises reflected in both the original films and their remakes. The class, then, will consider how these cultural differences impact the cinematic end-products.
Instructor: Catherine Webb (Communication Sciences & Disorders)
Section 12: Tuesday/Thursday 12:20 PM - 2:00 PM
Individuals with disabilities constitute a large and diverse group, spanning all ages and communities. In this course, we will explore our diverse and changing world through the lens of disability. This is not a course in which you will learn detailed information about specific types of disabilities. Rather, disability studies considers points of oppression for disabled people, including the psychosocial, historical, legal, spiritual, family, cultural, political, and socio-economic aspects of disability. The ability-disability continuum will be analyzed and challenged based on individual perceptions, opinions, and definitions of self. Stories by disabled people will be highlighted throughout the course.
Instructor: Nicolas Dobson (Classics)
Section 16: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 3:00 PM – 4:15 PM
We will examine the evolution of superheroes in American popular culture. In particular, we will look at the ways in which superheroes, their writers and artists, and audiences have changed over the last 80 years. We will be especially interested in how superheroes reflect changing notions of difference and diversity on the page/screen, in the production studio, and among consumers of popular culture.
Climate Change, Science, and Privilege
Instructor: Michael Augsberger (Physics)
Section 17: Tuesday/Thursday 8:30-10:10 a.m.
Climate change threatens not only the natural environment of the earth, but the economic and social stability of communities around the world. The dual nature of the problem—addressing climate change requires scientific know-how and engineered solutions, but is a crisis with wide-ranging economic and social effects—raises profound questions about who gets to decide how to address the problem.
In this class, we will explore arguments about the science of climate change and investigate potential engineering advancements that would help reduce CO2 emissions. More centrally, though, we will examine the problems with thinking of climate change as primarily a technological problem. We tend to think of “science” as a unified voice speaking about the real conditions of the world. But as the COVID pandemic has shown, the authority of “science” is fractured both by divisions within the scientific community and by intersections between the scientific realm and the social, political, and economic worlds. Addressing climate change nationally and globally requires that we understand the uneven effects of climate change globally and recognize how class, race, and nationality (among others characteristics) can create different perspectives on the problem.
Film & Difference
Instructor: Katreena Alder (Communication Studies)
Section 19: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10:30 AM – 11:45 AM
In this course we will use narrative films to address and explore FYI 102’s overarching question “How is difference constructed and what differences matter?” In doing so students will learn to think actively and critically about film and acquire the tools necessary to express their ideas about film, its place within culture, and the different ways film can present difference. The course will explore theories of race, class, and gender and the ways films can work to construct, undermine, and reinforce understanding across social groups. Although film is our specific object of study, the skills developed in this course will prepare students to engage with a vast array of cultural forms throughout their lives.
We, They, & Us
Instructor: John Tawiah-Boateng (English)
Section 20: Tuesday/Thursday 12:20 PM - 2:00 PM
We, They, & Us: Constructing, Resisting & Dismantling Barriers. “How is difference constructed and what differences matter?” In this section of FYI 102, students will explore the construction of palpably unjust barriers, distinctions, and exclusions within society, along with efforts to confront and dismantle such preferentialism. The interdisciplinary approach will enable the use of works from historical and contemporary sources including Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, C. H. C. Catt, Sojourner Truth, Debora Tannen, Chinua Achebe, Ward Churchill, Kesaya E. Noda, and Shai Oster, thereby providing an exciting array of viewpoints and experiences for students to ponder and write about. In keeping with the specification of the Augustana College Catalog, “Students will accomplish these goals through scholarly research and writing,” while also applying course materials to real-life situations to improve thinking and (hopefully) build a sense of personal values.
The Other in Harry Potter
Instructor: Sarah McDowell (English)
Section 21: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM
Since the Harry Potter saga seems to begin as a children’s story, we might fail to realize that the series is a 3,400-page treatise on social discrimination. We will look at the ways individuals and groups are labeled and treated as “other” in the world of the novels so we can more readily identify, discuss, and understand similar labeling and treatment in our own world. Note: Since we will be discussing the series as a whole, not always chronologically, students must have read all seven books of the series before enrolling in the course (watching the films is insufficient).
Instructor: Elizabeth Lawrence (History)
Section 22: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10:30 AM – 11:45 AM
In a secret WWII-era facility in Manchuria, researchers infect prisoners with plague and harvest their organs in order to develop biological weapons. In 1966, a group of teenage girls in Beijing bludgeon their school’s vice principal to death in the name of righteous revolutionary fervor. In 2020, amidst a global pandemic, a police officer in Minneapolis kills George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for 7 minutes and 46 seconds while the victim lies handcuffed on the ground. Suffering and injustice in the past and present can be hard to face, but some would say, along with Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, “we must bear witness” for the sake of “the dead and the living.” This course examines the phenomenon of bearing witness, asking who bears witness and with what consequences. Two key case studies focus on memories of atrocities committed during the Asia Pacific War (1937-1945) and traumatic violence perpetrated during the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). Together and individually, students will also confront readings, images, and other provocations related to the imperative and perils of bearing witness in other times and places, including the here and now. We tackle this topic – which will often be upsetting and gruesome – in order to confront the overarching FYI-102 question: how is difference constructed and what differences matter?
Instructor: Jacob Romaniello (Reading & Writing Center)
Section 23: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 3:00 PM – 4:15 PM
This course will explore mindfulness by drawing distinctions within and between three major fields of research: religion, neuroscience, and education. Today, one of the most significant distinctions within mindfulness research is between the cognitive and affective domains. Renowned psychologist Ellen Langer views mindfulness primarily through a cognitive lens, whereas others such as Jon Kabat-Zinn (founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Clinic) tend to focus on an embodied or affective view. While Langer and Kabat-Zinn affirm the value of mindful learning and practice, others, such as, Ronald E. Purser respond critically to the modern mindfulness fad.
Much of college success requires cognitive, affective, and social skill, but the Western educational system has historically treated the affective and social domains in subordination to the cognitive. In an effort to bring balance among these domains, this course will implement Transformational and Experiential Learning Theories by following the MBSR curriculum. Students will use critical thinking skills to consider mindfulness from their own lived experience and those espoused and criticized by the foremost experts.
Black Rage Matters
Instructor: Ashley Burge (English)
Section 25: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 3:00 PM – 4:15 PM
Section 29: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 1:30 PM – 2:45 PM
James Baldwin infamously said, "To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all of the time." And there are certainly reasons for Black people to be suspended at the cusp of rage: racism, police brutality, systematic oppression, mass incarceration, redlining, and Post Malone (and other entertainers that appropriate Black art at the expense of Black culture). Though this rage is valid and warranted considering the injustices Black people have endured in America, Black people are often vilified when they express rage in productive ways that could dismantle oppressive systems. While mainstream White America safely rages on about seats on the Supreme Court and the right to bear arms, Black people must mute their rage lest they risk disenfranchisement, incarceration, or death. However, as Baldwin and other Black intellectuals have found, the power of the pen rages just as brightly as the resiliency of the Black spirit. This course will analyze the rhetorical power of rage in various forms of Black expression. We will explore the political statements of hip hop artists such as NWA who raged "F*CK the Police" as well as Queen Bee's such as Beyonce who said "I ain't Sorry" in her visual album Lemonade. This course will also explore the radical speeches and essays of Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, and Malcolm X, as well contemporary voices of Roxanne Gay, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Ta Nehisi Coates. Through these texts, we will explore the lived experiences of people who are "othered" "marginalized" "disenfranchised" and ignored, and we will examine the ways that they force mainstream America to acknowledge their struggle, respect their voice, and check their privilege.
First Amendment, College Campus
Instructor: David Schwartz (Communication Studies)
Section 27: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 12:00 PM – 1:15 PM
This section focuses on free expression on college campuses and the responsibilities that come with it, including legal responsibilities and obligations to ourselves and others. Socially, the First Amendment has become a document that is as much about the individual as it is about accepting and understanding—and sometimes challenging—differences within one another. Differences force us to confront and reconcile our own views, and in some cases to stubbornly dig in. This course will first encourage students to think about their views and how they differ from others; then it will examine what happens legally and socially when those views are expressed both unopposed and in opposition to the ideas of others; and finally it will drive home the experience by exploring recent and historical cases of First Amendment expression on college campuses.
Media and Manhood
Instructor: Nick Benson
Section 28: Tuesday/Thursday 8:30 AM – 10:10 AM
The theme of this course is media and manhood. The course will examine various images and
representations of manhood and masculinity in popular media with a focus on the late 20th and
early 21st -century American media. We will watch a mix of movies and television shows, each
focused on a different era in history and different expressions of manhood. The goal of the
course is to critique hegemonic (or dominant and single) concepts of masculinity and be made
aware of diverse expressions of manhood.
Rising Seas, Rising Stakes
Instructor: Kelsey Arkle
Section 30: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 9 AM – 10:15 AM
Oceans cover 70% of the surface of the Earth and approximately 2.5 billion people live within
60 miles of a coastline. Humans depend on this environment directly for products like seafood,
fuel, mineral resources, and medical compounds, and indirectly for transportation, tourism, and
climate regulation, among others. But the oceans are changing. Sea levels are rising, garbage
islands larger than the state of Texas are floating in the oceans, and deep-water currents are
changing course. These rapid, destructive changes are undeniably driven by human activities,
and their effects are far-reaching enough that they will almost certainly affect everyone on the
planet. Some, however, will be more strongly impacted than others. In this course, we will
consider the causes and effects of changes in marine environments. Importantly, we will
examine the disproportionate impacts that changes in the marine realm have on populations
that live in areas with significant risk factors. We also consider what has been – and realistically
can be – done about this crisis and the ramifications if certain countries, including the U.S.
continue to lift environmental protection restrictions rather than tighten them.
Instructor: Nirmala Salgado (Religion)
Section ONL6 (all online): Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM
How is “diversity” determined, and when do diverse differences matter? Differences of religion, culture, and gender will be discussed in this class, and when and how such differences lead to discrimination. We will study how immigration is connected to ideas about nationality and nationalism and investigate questions of difference in relation to minority religious and/or immigrant groups in the United States, such as the (Sioux) Native Americans, as well as Buddhists and Hindus in America. While studying the beliefs and practices of these peoples, we will also explore how the construction of power leads to affirming the authority of certain groups, while excluding others.
Art of Modernism
Instructor: Catherine Goebel (Art History)
Section ONL7 (all online): Tuesday/Thursday 10:25 AM - 12:05 PM
The Art of Modernism will examine works of art as historical documents across time and space. We'll explore the meaning of Modernism and the ways in which artists, ancient through contemporary across the globe, construct works of art that reflect their respective contexts. A liberal arts education considers questions that have always confronted humans such as: "How is difference constructed and what differences matter?" To help us answer this question, we'll chronologically analyze style and meaning represented by such differences. Our study will include works of art by famous artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Monet, Cassatt, Van Gogh, O'Keeffe, Kahlo, Kandinsky, Pollock, Warhol, and Banksy. Through focused examination, we'll learn how art history provides a key to interdisciplinarity.