Please note that if this information clashes with SIS, then SIS is correct.

If the course has a Writing Instructor, they are listed here in brackets.


FSNA 104 – Archaeoastronomy: Monuments and Ideas 

R Luck

TuTh 1:00PM – 2:15PM  Sears 542

We 4th Hour      Sears 315

The unifying theme of this course is how astronomical practice and knowledge is central to ancient civilizations and how that emphasis continues today as manifested through scientific endeavor and also as strongly through the power of unifying myth.


FSNA 111 – Chemical Aspects of the Aging Mind

Michael Zagorski

TuTh 10:00AM – 11:15AM             Nord Hall 213

Fr 4th Hour         Nord Hall 211

This seminar will focus on three age-related neurological disorders: Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington disease. These diseases pose enormous social and economic impact, and current drug-based therapeutic approaches are limited and may not be suited to deal with the imminent problems. The seminar will examine lifestyle changes (i.e., diet, exercise, vitamins, and other habits such as reading) that are implicated in preventing or slowing down these disorders. The focus on a medical topic with important socioeconomic ramifications will provide a novel approach to enhancing critical thinking and communication skills.


FSNA 112 – Talking Brains: The Neuroscience of Language           

Fey Parrill / (Denna Iammarino)

TuTh 2:30PM – 3:45PM  Crawford Hall 11A

We 4th Hour      NOA 060

J speaks both Italian and English. After suffering a stroke, he finds himself switching to Italian in the middle of a sentence, even when he knows the person he’s talking to doesn’t speak Italian! He can’t stop himself no matter how hard he tries. In this discussion-based seminar, we’ll use cases like J’s to understand how a mass of cells can give rise to something as complicated as human language. We’ll use primary source readings from neuroscience to study topics such as the typical organization of language in the brain, bilingualism, sign language, and problems with language resulting from brain injury.


FSNA 116 – Cities (Under Construction) 

Bernard Jim

MoWeFr 11:40AM – 12:30PM      Thwing 101

Mo 4th Hour      Thwing 302

Based on the premise that cities are never “finished,” and constantly being remade, we will look at the technological and cultural history of cities from the ancient world to the present day. Students will explore the history of building materials–wood, brick, steel, concrete, and glass–used in the construction of cities. We will also trace the development of city infrastructure such as water and sewage systems; streets, bridges, and subways; electricity, telephone and the internet. Specific technological innovations, such as the elevator and the automobile, will receive special consideration. We will move both geographically and temporally to visit the world’s great cities, Athens, Mexico City, Tokyo, and New York City. As we do, we will study the examples of significant building projects, such as the Brooklyn Bridge, the Chicago World’s Fair, Washington, DC’s Metro, and Cleveland’s first skyscraper, the Rockefeller Building. The course will cover the history of the professions–engineering, architecture, and urban planning–that have contributed to the construction of cities, and will review the works of these practitioners, as well as that of artists, reformers, and utopians that have imagined new directions for the city. We will also explore first person narratives of the city, the impact of the city on personal and collective memory, and the possibilities and pitfalls of the “virtual” city. Through lecture, discussion, textual analysis, computer simulations, and writing assignments, Cities (Under Construction) will help students gain a deeper understanding of their role in remaking and sustaining the built environment.


FSNA 120 – The Impact of Materials on Societal Development

Peter Lagerlof / (Susan Dominguez)

MoWeFr 11:40AM – 12:30PM      Sears 336

We 4th Hour      Sears 336

This four credit-hour SAGES seminar provides an introduction to various dimensions of academic life through open-ended intellectual inquiry and guided by reading from primary and secondary sources. The course will require practice in written and oral communications in small groups. A primary focus of the seminar will be to examine the impact of engineering materials on societal development through human history using a few specific materials of interest as examples: concrete, steel, and semi-conductors. At the conclusion of the course, students will be encouraged to explore the impact of other materials on the development of specific technologies as a group project.


FSNA 133 – Engineering Innovation and Design

Gary Wnek / (Judith Hammer)

TuTh 10:00AM – 11:15AM             Sears 323

We 4th Hour      Wickenden Building 321

Innovation and design are cornerstones of the engineering profession and are responsible for many of the improvements in the quality of life that have taken place over the last century. Innovation is also viewed as the essential skill that will drive economies and solve many of the challenges facing societies around the globe. This seminar-based course will provide a disciplined approach to engineering innovation and design. The course requires students to engage in written and oral communications as well as working in small teams to complete open-ended design/build-related assignments. The course will culminate in the design, fabrication and validation of a prototype product to meet an identified need. The design, fabrication and validation of these products will be carried out in think[box] 1.0 (Prentke-Romich Collaboratory), and the Reinberger Design Studio.


FSNA 135 – BioDesign Basics: The Art of Finding Patient Needs

Colin Drummond

TuTh 4:00PM – 5:15PM  Bingham 204

We 4th Hour      Nord Hall 213

BioDesign basics explores the art of finding patient needs. No prior clinical or medical education is required, as we focus on acquiring and refining the underpinning critical thinking skills needed to identify and articulate unmet clinical patient needs in contemporary healthcare settings. Many–if not a majority of–ideas leading to healthcare innovation are derived from issues that arise during the daily activities of caring for patients. Whether it is frustration with the use of a specific surgical instrument, processes that interfere with health care delivery, better waiting rooms for the family, designing more comfortable hospital gowns, or materials inadequate for intended outcomes, patient needs cover a broad range of physical and emotional states. Many students find the idea of identifying a “patient need” quite ambiguous at first, but the BioDesign process for defining patient need is a widely use national model developed at Stanford University that the student will find contains easy-to-follow steps that are simple and appealing. As an interactive and “hands-on” course, students will be engaged in discussions, events and activities to promote a first-hand understanding of “needs finding” to support individual mastery of writing and oral presentation skills. The Fourth Hour will be centered on “walking tours” of local medical institutions around University Circle as well as actual use of medical devices (wheelchairs and crutches) on campus as ways to help your efforts identify a patient need based on those observations. In short, you will create your own experiences leading to stories that make writing fun. The course requires students to engage in written and oral communications as well as working in small teams to complete open-ended assignments.


FSNA 136 – Saving the World from Poverty, Disease, Injustice and Environmental Exploitation 

Andrew Rollins / (Barbara Burgess-Van Aken)

MoWeFr 2:15PM – 3:05PM           Sears 326

Mo 4th Hour      Sears 326

Half of the world’s population lives in poverty. The causes of poverty and injustice are complex and the ramifications are numerous and serious and include grave risk to human health and to the environment. Through reading, analysis, writing, and rigorous discussion the class will investigate issues surrounding poverty and disparities in health and opportunity. We will also explore how innovation and engineering design can help address causes of poverty and disparity and meet needs of people at risk. Design teams will work throughout the semester to identify an unmet need to engineer a solution to benefit an under-served or under-resourced population. Fourth-hour activities will include interviewing knowledgeable stakeholders (locally and abroad via teleconference), learning about and volunteering with service organizations, and visiting local institutions and/or companies addressing these issues.


FSNA 144 – Is Mind What the Brain Does? 

Lee Thompson / (Kristine Kelly)

MoWeFr 11:40AM – 12:30PM      Thwing 201

We 4th Hour      Thwing 201

Together we will explore the nature of the human mind by asking the question, “Is the mind what the brain does?” Through an exploration of neurological and psychological case studies, empirical research studies, direct experimentation, and readings and films about brain structure and function, we will form hypotheses about the relationship between the mind and the brain and gather evidence to test our hypotheses. Writing assignments will explore ideas about your own mind and brain, examples of other individuals with unusual or atypical brains and minds, and a research topic of your choice.


FSNA 150 – Hobbies – Engineering fun 

Jeffrey Capadona / (John Higgins)

TuTh 1:00PM – 2:15PM  Nord Hall 213

Fr 4th Hour         Nord Hall 213

This seminar introduces students to the idea that engineering can be found in all sorts of unexpected places, even in our hobbies. To test our hypothesis, we will examine the hobbies enjoyed by the course instructors: baseball and building synthetic coral reef aquariums. Students will then work under the instructors’ guidance to analyze how principles of engineering can be used to understand the successes and failures they have encountered in their own hobbies, with the ultimate goal of developing a proposal for improving their experience of these hobbies.


FSNA 154 – The Green Energy Transformation in Germany 

Peter Yang

TuTh 8:30AM – 9:45AM  Clark Hall 104

Fr 4th Hour         Clark Hall 308

This seminar introduces students to the development and successes of green technologies in Germany. We will examine the proactive development of renewable energy and energy conservation technologies, commonly referred to as Energiewende, that was started by the German Green movement and promoted by Germany’s innovative renewable energy policies. We will consider such questions as: What are the implications of this German success story, both for the US and the rest of the world? What lessons can be applied to other situations? What factors might limit the utility of those lessons? In the process of our investigation, we will examine such important issues as globalization, resource finiteness, and sustainability challenges, including economic crises, climate change, energy insecurity, and global competition.


FSNA 157 – Plastics Recycling: Re-use of Plastic Waste 

John Blackwell / (Thomas Dawkins)

MoWe 3:20PM – 4:35PM               Nord Hall 213

Mo 4th Hour      Sears 541

About 300 million tons of plastics are produced globally each year, but only about 10 percent of these products are recycled, despite the fact that recycling uses significantly less energy and produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions than does manufacture of the virgin materials. This course will address the scientific, economic, environmental, and political issues involved in plastics recycling. Following an introduction to the chemical structures and properties of commodity plastics, we will discuss the actual recycling of plastics in municipal waste including the problems faced in collection and sorting of plastic waste and recycling economics. Then we will address the commercial applications and properties of recycled plastics and why they generally have inferior properties to virgin materials, which significantly reduces their market value. Finally we will look at biodegradable alternatives to oil-based materials as well as some options to plastics recycling, including land filling, burning for power generation, and monomer reclamation.


FSNA 158 – What is Making and Manufacturing Today and Why is Innovation Part of the Story? 

Lisa Camp / (Emily Laurance)

MoWeFr 11:40AM – 12:30PM      Sears 326

Fr 4th Hour         Sears 326L

The rise of the creative class into the world of “making” has resulted in new economic models, new definitions of manufacturing, and new ways of working. “Making” is inclusive of a wide variety of activities, from the arts and crafts, to woodworking, to high technology integrating with traditional craftsmanship, to products with embedded sensors in traditional materials, to the use of 3D printing of everything from polymers to metals to chocolate. Within all of these approaches, “innovation” is often the buzzword, the common denominator. What does innovation mean in this context? Are innovators and makers today any different from the innovators and manufacturers of the past? What role does science and math have in making and manufacturing? Through both a hands-on and historical approach, we will explore the commonalities between today’s makers and yesterday’s manufacturers, and arrive at an understanding of innovation and apply this understanding to a project that could continue throughout your time at CWRU.


FSNA 159 – Nanotechnology in Medicine: The Fantastic Voyage 

Anirban Sen Gupta / (Matthew Burkhart)

MoWe 3:20PM – 4:35PM               Sears 336

Mo 4th Hour      Sears 336

This course is a freshman seminar designed to introduce students to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, their application in the world of biomedicine, and the fundamental science and engineering principles that guide the current state-of-art and future approaches. The course will begin with an introduction to the history, science and terminology of `Nano scale’, `Nanotechnology’ and `Nanomedicine’. It will then focus on the historical advancements in the field and describe why and how the field became an exciting component of medical technologies. The course will draw on a variety of texts including book sections, newspaper articles, editorials, scientific journal articles and internet-sourced information to understand the realm of nanoscience and nanotechnology in various STEM areas and their specific application in biomedicine. The course will also correlate science fiction with reality, pertaining to the Nanomedicine area, via two classic movies: Fantastic Voyage (1966) and Inner Space (1987). The students will be asked to interpret components/sections of the movies in terms of `conceptual correctness’, `scientific correctness’ and `challenges in nanomedicine’.


FSNA 160 – Technological Development and Popular Perception 

Richard Bachmann / (Carli Leone)

MoWeFr 2:15PM – 3:05PM           Nord Hall 213

Mo 4th Hour      Nord Hall 213

The central theme of this seminar is the basic functioning of engineered devices and systems. The devices/systems covered will be 1) automobiles, 2) airplanes, and 3) production of electric power. Material for the seminar will come from a wide range of sources, including a reference book “How Things Work”, historical references, popular pseudo-technical periodicals, and technical journal articles. We will discuss topics ranging from a) how to characterize the basic physical principles at work in the devices/systems to z) how popular opinion can affect the adoption or abandonment of sound technology.


FSNA 163 – Design Thinking: Influence of Art and Engineering on Design 

Malcolm Cooke / (Emily Laurance)

MoWe 4:50PM – 6:05PM               Olin 314

Mo 4th Hour      Rockefeller 303

For designers, the “wicked problem” is the recognition that decision-making is full of contingencies, including multiple perspectives and approaches, and while problems may be solved, elegant solutions are rarely without faults. This course investigates how these contingencies affect the design process in art and engineering, ultimately looking at the overlap between these two disciplines. What are the differences between artistic and engineering approaches to design? How can a hybrid approach that integrates aspects from each discipline solve persistent design challenges? Working with students from the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) in a seminar-studio setting, students will experience first-hand the importance of disciplinary diversity and innovative thinking in the design process. Collaboratively and individually, students will reveal and explore ways of design thinking shared by art and engineering in written, digital, and fabricated assignments.


FSNA 165 – Silicon and Its Applications 

Chung-Chiun Liu / (James Stephens)

TuTh 8:30AM – 9:45AM  Nord Hall 211

Mo 4th Hour      Nord Hall 400

Silicon is the second most abundant element found on the planet. Over the last century, science has taught us to take this common material and create the products on which our modern society depends. Quantum mechanics gave birth to the electronic age and the computer. The absorption, emission and reflection of quanta of light (photons) underlie solar cells, light emitting diodes, radiation detectors, and optical fibers. The driving forces behind these discoveries are fascinating. The history of the scientific revolution–the conversion of sand into silicon ingots then into computer chips–is extraordinary. The advancement of computer chips and accessories based on silicon technology now enables your smartphone to direct you to the nearest Taco Bell through its connection to a satellite orbiting the Earth. There are basic processing steps that change an ingot of pure silicon into a practical device such as a chemical sensor or a solar cell. Major topics of this course will include discussion of the history of silicon, from the simple transistor to complex microprocessor, solar cells, and sensors, as well as how the swift changes in computing power and the communications revolution powered by it have impacted our daily modern life. Excellent examples of this silicon-based technology include the use of silicon in solar panels and their place in the green energy revolution, and the expanding role of silicon microsensors as one of the fastest growing areas of technology, especially in the area of biochips for healthcare. Students in this class will have the opportunity to design and construct a simple device on a silicon chip for their group project. This course is designed and intended for students of all disciplines, and each student is expected to participate actively in a group project to make a silicon device in a clean room. Students will participate in a laboratory experience where chemicals and reagents will be used for typical silicon technology processing. During Fourth Hour, students will have the chance to visit the University Solar Farm, laboratories at CWRU that are actively involved in silicon research, listen to guest speakers whose research involve silicon, watch films on usage of silicon technology and master oral presentation skills.


FSNA 166 – Energy and Materials 

James McGuffin-Cawley / (Megan Griffin)

MoWe 4:50PM – 6:05PM               Nord Hall 213

Mo 4th Hour      Rockefeller 304

This seminar explores energy in its various forms available to us. It also explores materials and methods by which we can derive energy from its sources and convert it into forms that power our society today and in the future. In our readings, discussion and writing we will consider the following. In the first unit, we will ask what energy is. In which forms is it available to us? How can we grasp or capture it? What forms of energy are useful or detrimental to us? In the second unit, we will consider the purposes, benefits and detriments of energy use. We will initially focus on our own uses, and then consider the wider implications on society. In the third, we will explore energy sources currently and potentially available to us. What are the costs, benefits, advantages and disadvantages? For example, traditional energy sources have been wood, coal, oil and gas, collectively known as fossil fuels. What are the advantages and disadvantages of these compared to “greener” energy sources such as nuclear, sunlight, wind, water and biofuels? Fourth, we will explore materials or material system choices needed to harvest and convert nature-provided energy into user-friendlier forms. Choices are often dictated by the method of energy conversion in which the materials need to sustain high temperatures, pressures, stress or electric fields. What materials are available? What are relative costs and limitations? What opportunities lie ahead? In the fifth and final unit, we will consider material systems or devices that enable energy storage. Why are they important? What storage methods are available? Which may be preferred for certain purposes, e.g. for economy of storage or for rapid energy release to generate power?


FSNA 167 – Global Birth: A Universal Perspective 

Kimberly Garcia / (Joshua Hoeynck)

TuTh 10:00AM – 11:15AM             Sears 336

Mo 4th Hour      Bingham 204

Regardless of our unique identities and experiences, we all have one thing in common: we have all been born. Moreover, many of us as adults will be touched by birth again by giving birth ourselves, by witnessing a partner birthing, or by hearing the birth story of a loved one. Although being born is universal, labor and delivery practices vary widely, as do birth experiences and outcomes. We like to imagine birth as a happy occasion, but we know that the labor and delivery process can be painful, frightening, and sometimes deadly, for both mothers and babies. In some parts of the world, access to modern medicine could save lives and improve maternal and infant health. At the same time, however, studies show the U.S. spends more per capita on health care compared to most countries, but has worse birth outcomes than those that spend far less. Some communities, including right here in Cuyahoga County, have infant and maternal mortality rates higher than economically underdeveloped nations lacking clean water, adequate transportation, and access to health care. Why do such outcome disparities exist? Why does an expensive health care system not guarantee the best birth outcomes? What can–and should–the U.S. do differently? What can we learn from other societies and cultures to improve the birth experience, and maternal and infant health, for all? In this seminar, we will introduce ourselves to the physiology of pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum maternal and infant health. We will then examine a variety of ways that women birth in the U.S. and around the world. In doing so, students will learn to think critically about their perceptions of birth, what kinds of evidence we should use to understand what constitutes a satisfying birth experience and outcome, and how cultural and sociological modes of thinking might lead us to change obstetric health care and the way children are born.


FSNA 168 – Exploring the Ocean 

Sarah Bagby / (John Wiehl)

TuTh 2:30PM – 3:45PM  Clapp Hall 305

Fr 4th Hour         Clapp Hall 305

Most of our planet is ocean: beautiful, powerful, mysterious, deadly. Why do we risk going to sea? How did people begin to explore the ocean, and how do we explore today? What have we learned, what can we learn, and what questions about the ocean must remain unanswered? In this course we will read scholarly and popular narratives of ocean exploration; learn how sailors found their way at sea, centuries before satellite navigation; consider what it takes to equip a voyage, then and now; and learn about the instruments and submarines that let us probe the ocean depths, and what we find there.


FSSO128 – Movers and Shakers: Leadership

Anita Howard / (Vicki Daniel, Andrea Milne)

[100 Section] TuTh 2:30PM – 3:45PM       Peter B Lewis 124

We 4th Hour      Sears 325

[101 Section] TuTh 4:00PM – 5:15PM       Peter B Lewis 124

We 4th Hour      Sears 325

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has” (Margaret Mead, 1901-1978). This seminar is about understanding what enables people to make a generative impact on the world. Students will explore the socio-emotional and motivational characteristics of effective leaders and their ability to create positive change. Students will also be encouraged to develop their own theories of leadership and to explore their personal approaches to making a difference. The seminar will profile leaders from different occupations and walks of life. Seminar sessions will feature assigned readings on leaders and change agents, class discussion on what drives movers and shakers, and individual and group presentations on class members’ emergent leadership perspectives. A key objective of the seminar is the development of critical thinking skills, writing skills, and verbal skills. Consequently, the weekly class readings, reflection papers on class readings, class discussions, class presentations (individual and group), and final project are vital features of the seminar experience. Students will be expected to leave the seminar with a grounded perspective on leaders and leadership, and the ability to articulate their own personal views on making a difference in the world.


FSSO 143 – Living With and Making Decisions Concerning Injustice 

Barbara Clemenson / (Caitlin Kelly)

[100 Section] TuTh 8:30AM – 9:45AM      Clark Hall 205

We 4th Hour      Nord Hall 400

[101 Section] TuTh 10:00AM – 11:15AM  Clark Hall 205

We 4th Hour      Nord Hall 400

Injustice. What do you think of when you hear that word? There are all types of injustice in this world, and chances are that during our lifetime we will either find ourselves in a position or system of power, perpetrating injustice on others; or in a position or system of supposed impotence, a subject of injustice. What are our choices? How will we respond? In this course we will examine the topic of living with and making decisions concerning injustice using, as an example, the specific injustice of slavery, examining the lives and decisions of both a famous slaveholder and two not-so-famous slaves; and learning from their lives and decisions how we might, ourselves, live with and make decisions concerning injustices we face in our lives.


FSSO 146 – The Past and Future of Art, Architecture and Museums in Cleveland 

Henry Adams

MoWe 4:50PM – 6:05PM               Clark Hall 205

We 4th Hour      Sears 326

During the gilded age, Cleveland became one of this country’s most powerful centers of business, industry, and political power. For example, John D. Rockefeller, who started his business career in Cleveland, became the wealthiest individual in human history, and Mark Hanna, the leader of Cleveland’s Republican political machine, selected and engineered the election of eight Ohio-born Presidents of the United States, setting a state record which is still unbroken. As late as the 1930s, Henry Luce located the headquarters of Time, Life and Fortune magazines in Cleveland; and the Terminal Tower, the nexus of the vast, sprawling railroad and real-estate Empire of the Van Sweringen Brothers, was the country’s highest building outside of New York. This class will examine one of the by-products of this accumulation of power and money: the flowering of art and culture in Cleveland during the early 20th century, and the creation of notable cultural institutions, such as one of this country’s finest symphony orchestras, one of its top ten art museums, a major university, and an array of other notable entities, many of them housed in buildings of architectural distinction. The class will also examine the economic, cultural and intellectual decline of Cleveland in the second half of the 20th century, and recent attempts to reverse this trend through intensive efforts to revitalize University Circle. In addition to classroom sessions, the course will include field trips to the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Western Reserve Historical Society, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, and an architectural tour of downtown Cleveland. The class will be centered on three interrelated questions: What makes a great city? How can the artistic and cultural life of a great city be developed and sustained? How can the social and economic collapse of a great city be reversed?


FSSO 149 – Creativity in the Arts, Sciences, and Engineering 

Sandra Russ / (James Newlin)

MoWe 3:20PM – 4:35PM               Mather Memorial 125

Mo 4th Hour      Geller 004

This seminar will have a focus on creativity in the arts, sciences, and engineering. What are the similarities and differences in the creative process in these three different broad fields? How are the creative products different? What are the creative processes involved in these different domains. Are there differences in personalities between scientists and artists? How can we foster creativity in children and adults in these fields? We all read about and discuss the different dimensions of creativity; what makes something creative; what helps people become creative; the role of cognition and emotion in the creative process in the arts and sciences; and mental illness and creativity.


FSSO 152 – Decision Making in Everyday Life 

Jennifer Butler / (Tracey Hallman)

MoWeFr 11:40AM – 12:30PM      Clark Hall 205

Mo 4th Hour      Clark Hall 205

Although social cognition allows us to process vast amounts of information quickly, we are not always aware of the subtle forces that guide our decision making. This course will use a seminar approach to explore rational and irrational forces that influence decision making. We will use a multi-disciplinary approach to decision making, including topics such as personality factors, incentive-based decision making, cognitive biases, automatic information processing, and theories of mind. These topics will be explored using class discussion, writings, and student presentations.


FSSO 164 – Social Change, Genes, and Environment 

William Dannefer / (Thomas Dawkins)

TuTh 4:00PM – 5:15PM  Mather Memorial 225

We 4th Hour      Thwing 302

This seminar will focus on the rapidly expanding understanding of the interaction of biological and social forces–including the interaction of genes and environment. We will explore claims that are made in science and popular culture about the role of genes in development. We will focus on the role that social forces play in shaping the effects of genes in development, and health, through epigenetics and related mechanisms. Adopting a sociology-of-science perspective, we will consider the wider and future implications of gene-environment interactions for politics, the economy, and culture.


FSSO 169 – The History of Your Lifetime: Making Sense of the Last Twenty Years 

Peter Shulman

MoWeFr 2:15PM – 3:05PM           Crawford Hall 111

We 4th Hour      Crawford Hall 111

No matter when you grow up, adults make assumptions about what you know, “You lived through certain events, didn’t you? Those events are often very important–the basis of political and policy debates or related to subjects that affect daily life–but it’s often difficult to make sense of history you’ve lived through, but only as children. The usual way we learn about the past–in history classes–isn’t very helpful because this is a time period that usually goes beyond what your teachers have been able to cover. Even if you could have covered this recent time period in history class, unfortunately, most recent subjects haven’t received much attention from historians; the archives aren’t yet available and we lack much critical distance in making judgments about what is significant and what isn’t. We aren’t yet sure which assumed causes of historical change are plausible and which only seemed so at the time. This time period usually constitutes most of the student’s lifetime–your lifetime. This class takes these challenges head-on, examining the last 20 years of history. Aside from covering the “what happened” for several selected topics, we will attempt to go further and explore how historians think about contemporary events, place current events into longer historical contexts, develop skills in media literacy to better evaluate the quality of information we receive, and discuss the uses and misuses of historical analogies in public debate. We will also investigate the importance of structural narrative in making sense of historical events and processes: what questions do we ask of the past and why those questions and not others? Why do our questions about the past change over time? How do present circumstances affect our historical work? When do we draw our chronological boundaries; when do our stories start and when do they end?


FSSO 176 – SAVOR: The Ethics and Politics of Eating 

Narcisz Fejes

TuTh 4:00PM – 5:15PM  Crawford Hall 111

Fr 4th Hour         Crawford Hall 111

Our food choices affect more than our individual health; what we decide to put into our bodies has important consequences for our environment, the livelihood of farmers, and even the general well-being of a society. These choices also reveal moral, cultural, and religious values we deem important. In this seminar, we will examine the environmental and social consequences of our food choices by interrogating both our individual habits as well as current (often controversial) food policy issues. In line with the requirements of a SAGES First Seminar, this course is designed to improve students’ ability to read critically and interpret moral and political arguments. We will analyze a wide range of writings on food-related issues in order to develop sophisticated perspectives on our food choices. Hopefully, this thoughtful consideration will translate to mindful habits when we convene around food with our friends, families, and communities. Class discussions will be accompanied by class visits to urban gardens, restaurants with a sustainability mission, and farmers’ markets. We’ll also meet representatives of community organizations like the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.


FSSO 178 – Crafting Your Own Freedom 

Jeremy Bendik-Keymer / (Joshua Hoeynck)

MoWeFr 2:15PM – 3:05PM           Clark Hall 205

We 4th Hour      Clark Hall 205

An abiding task of ancient philosophy was to style your life with wisdom. The Greek and Roman schools of philosophy so common to cities around the Mediterranean two thousand years ago developed all sorts of techniques for people to become self-styled sages-in-training. The modern variant, as Michael Foucault and his student Jacques Ranciere noted, was to transpose wisdom into a critical attitude where the goal of style was not sagacity but liberation. In this course, we work as in a lab -a modern philosophical workplace- to style your lives critically, articulating stratagems and ideals of liberation. In particular, we focus on becoming a multi-dimensional human, on finding time and space in the midst of work for utopian dreams, on loving relationships, and on education as a developmental experience.


FSSO 180 – The Tobacco Wars 

Joseph White / (Luke Reader)

TuTh 4:00PM – 5:15PM Clark Hall 308

We 4th Hour      White Building 324

If smoking cigarettes is as deadly as the experts say, why does anyone do it? If reducing cigarette consumption is a vital public health goal, does the fact that the rate of smoking by U.S. adults has fallen by two thirds over the past 50 years mean policies have been a great success, or does the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s estimate that about 480,000 Americans suffered premature deaths in 2009 that could be attributed to smoking mean policies have been at best inadequate? Why did the political winds turn against tobacco use and sale in the 1990s? And why do both public health advocates and tobacco companies want to restrict vaping? Those are among the questions we will investigate in this course. It will call on perspectives from, among others, the fields of public health, political science, sociology, and economics. We will begin with readings about the research on tobacco’s physiological effects. Next we will consider tobacco’s attractions–both for individual consumption and as a shared activity. The third section of the course will ask what policies to reduce consumption work, how well, and why. We will then focus on the dramatic political battles of the 1990s. What happened and why? There are many different answers, and that makes the story even more interesting. The final section of the course will focus on current policies and politics, ending with the controversies over e-cigarettes. Why were e-cigarettes included in CWRU’s new anti-smoking policy, and should they have been?


FSSO 181 – Bicycles: Technology and Everyday Life 

Eric Chilton

MoWe 8:00AM – 9:15AM              Crawford Hall 09A

We 4th Hour      Glennan Building 716

For most of us, the bicycle seems a simple, everyday object, perhaps associated with children’s toys or recreational sport. But deeper analysis reveals that the technology of the bicycle has developed in distinct social contexts, and that aspects of its development are closely intertwined with community values. In this seminar, we will trace the history of bicycles in these technological and social contexts. We will note, for example, the importance of bicycles for the feminist movement of the 1890s and beyond. We will also consider cycling in our present environment, paying attention to debates about urban infrastructure as it pertains to cars, bicycles, and pedestrians. We will engage with popular and scholarly sources, and we will consider the significance of bicycles even for non-cyclists. Topics may include the physics and engineering of bicycle design, the aesthetic aspects of the cycling experience, the role of bicycles in our transportation infrastructure, and the varying perceptions of cycling in cultures throughout the world. We will critically examine claims that increased bicycle use can lead to better energy efficiency, less traffic, improved health, better quality of life, and more fun. Fourth-hour classes will include connections with community cycling organizations, such as Case Cycling and bike advocacy nonprofits. Students will write formal critical essays, exploring topics from readings and discussion in greater depth. Students need not possess any cycling experience to take this class–only an interest in questions of how technology interacts with social values, and how these values are expressed in our everyday lives. We will use Cleveland and University Circle as a laboratory for understanding the complexity and challenges of managing city infrastructure for different kinds of users. Optional group rides if interest exists.


FSSO 182 – Burning River to City Farms: Transitional Urban Environments 

Matthew Burkhart

MoWeFr 11:40AM – 12:30PM      Crawford Hall 09AM

Mo 4th Hour      Crawford Hall 09AM

How does one live sustainably in an urban setting? This emerges as a vital 21st century question, especially since more than 70% of contemporary Americans live in or near densely populated cities. This seminar examines how people in urban geographies forge meaningful relations with the natural world. Cleveland, a city undergoing cultural and economic redefinition, stands as an ideal place to engage the work of contemporary environmental writers, filmmakers, urban planners, and community organizers. While our field experiences will ground us in environmental transitions taking place in Cleveland, we will consider how similar dynamics play out in other Midwestern cities as well as further-flung locales, such as Havana, Toronto, New Orleans, Oakland, Los Angeles, and Boston. This seminar’s driving questions include: How have people in urban setting–across lines of social class and ethnicity–forged meaningful relationships with the natural world? How do global histories, carried through immigration and refugee resettlement, affect the ways that current communities interact with urban nature? How might privilege and power factor into the greening of blighted city spaces, through practices such as urban farming, ecological restoration, and community revitalization? Our exploration of these questions will help you form a better understanding of what it means to live mindfully at the intersection of nature and culture.


FSSO 184 – Handmaking in the Age of the Machine 

Erika Olbricht

MoWeFr 11:40AM – 12:30PM      Clark Hall 308

Mo 4th Hour      Clark Hall 308

Our seminar will focus on what counts as hand-made in our society, whose hands do the making, and why this making continues to matter. In order to understand that type of making, we’ll investigate the relationship between industry and handicraft, the machine and the human, the mechanically reproduced and the precious original–all expressions of relations among technology, individual bodies, and the imagination. Since the Industrial Revolution, our society has increasingly mechanized its operations to ensure efficient production involving fewer skilled workers. Opposition to industrialization has existed since the earliest moments of the Revolution, expressed both violently by the followers of the mythical Ned Ludd and thoughtfully by people such as Victorian craftsman and philosopher William Morris, who argued for a return to human ingenuity and “handicraft.” Today, craft movements supported by and DIY TV shows like Project Runway continue to inspire ingenuity in both machine and handicraft. To investigate these ideas, we will read texts from philosophers, industrialists, and craftspeople concerned with mass production, experience making things by hand, and travel to local museums and maker-spaces. Among other creative activities, we will use CWRU’s letterpress, make books, learn how to knit, and explore think[box]. Students will pursue a handmade project of their choice.


FSSO 185C – Music and Cultural Anxiety in the 20th Century 

Brian MacGilvray / (Emily Laurance)

TuTh 1:00PM – 2:15PM  Crawford Hall 09A

Fr 4th Hour         Sears 323

The Paris premiere in May 1913 of Igor Stravinsky’s ballet, The Rite of Spring, provoked one of the most notorious crowd reactions in Western music history. The brutally dissonant music and “primitive” choreography scandalized the more conservative attendees, whose protests drowned out the orchestra and threw the dancers into confusion. To its detractors, The Rite of Spring not only threatened the polite domain of classical ballet; it also reaffirmed a view that serious music had gone off the rails and was hastening the moral decay of European society. In this course, the Stravinsky affair will be a starting point for exploring how music in the 20th century reflected and contributed to anxieties about social and political control. What new conditions made those anxieties different from in centuries past? What threats did new music pose, and why? What anxieties today are channeled into making music or reacting to it? Our focus on Stravinsky and the early 20th century crisis of modern music will culminate with a performance of The Rite of Spring by the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall, where we will ponder the experience of hearing once-radical music in a venue that exudes cultural prestige and conservatism. We will then examine two other disruptive historical moments: first, the use of music as propaganda in Hitler’s Third Reich and the corresponding Nazi ban on “degenerate musi” (Jewish music, jazz, and the avant-garde); and second, the ascent of rock and roll in the 1950s and 60s, which involved the white appropriation of African-American music, new anxiety about a “generation gap,” and a new adolescent sense of freedom from authority. Seminar discussions will be informed by critical readings and videos that are accessible to non-musicians, and by local concerts and institutions such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Students will write short essays in response to each historical topic, which can be related in unlimited ways to present-day concerns, whether individual or social.


FSSO 185D – Beyond Words: Language, Culture & Society 

Katia Almeida / (Cara Byrne)

MoWeFr 11:40AM – 12:30PM      Mather Memorial 125

Fr 4th Hour         Mather Memorial 125

Language and communication permeate all aspects of our experience from facial expressions and body language to texting and social media. In this seminar we will engage in the academic and experiential exploration of human languages and communication in connection to a wide range of social practices and cultural meanings. In addition to studying how languages shape human thought, we will investigate linguistic diversity and change both within and across societies and cultures. We will also examine how one?s position in a society with respect to gender, race, ethnicity, class, and age among other dimensions can affect one?s use of language. Over the course of the semester we will learn and apply key concepts, approaches and methods through the discussion of a variety of cases studies and examples. We will also discussed what it takes to achieve linguistic and cultural competency in multicultural settings and situations including various institutions and professional fields.


FSSO 185E – Case Studies in Public Health 

Andrea Milne

TuTh 8:30AM – 9:45AM  Clark Hall 302

Fr 4th Hour         Clark Hall 302

What are the markers of a “healthy” society, and who decides? What should be the government’s role in preserving and protecting our bodies, minds, and communities? Does collective welfare trump the rights of the individual? How the state responds to an ailing citizenry tells us a lot about both how it understands health and whose health it deems valuable. This course uses three case studies from U.S. history to illustrate the principles and the practical realities of public-health crisis management. For their final project, students will research a case study of their own choosing and present it as a podcast.


FSSO 185F – Reading: Past, Present, Future 

Barbara Burgess-Van Aken

MoWe 4:50PM – 6:05PM               Crawford Hall 111

We 4th Hour      Rockefeller 303

As a college student, reading might seem like a commonplace ability. But since the development of cuneiform in the third millennium BC, reading has been a special skill, one that has sometimes conferred social status on those who possessed it and sometimes provoked suspicion or fear among those who did not. In this seminar, we will explore how print technology has affected the act of reading over time by considering two broad questions: 1) How have developments in reproducing the written word changed the reading experience from ancient times through the digital age? 2) What societal ramifications have these changes had on the act of reading? More specifically, this course will interrogate different textual media, who can read them, and where, how, and why they are read. Ultimately, our examination of recurrent trends in the history of reading will raise some ethical issues in publishing that intelligent readers should ponder: Is there a price for “free” access to reading material? And what is our responsibility to know who controls what reading material we have access to?


FSSO 185G – The Other Half: History of Women in America

Renee Sentilles / (Gabrielle Parkin)

TuTh 10:00AM – 11:15AM             Clark Hall 104

We 4th Hour      Rockefeller 309

What has it been like to be a woman in America? American history traditionally examines public life and policy. Such an approach necessarily focuses attention on men who, for most of the nation’s history, have wielded political power. Women, despite constituting the majority of the population, are relegated to the margins. But what would happen if we considered American history with a focus on women’s experiences? How would our understanding of American history and America itself change if we looked at events not through the deeds of the nation’s great men, but rather from the perspective of citizens whose main foci were the private worlds of home and family?


FSSO 185H – Nonverbal Communication: How We Can Communicate Effectively and Understand Others 

Michael Peters / (Vicki Daniel)

TuTh 2:30PM – 3:45PM  Harkness Chapel Classroom

We 4th Hour      Harkness Chapel Classroom

From infancy, we spend countless hours acquiring and improving our ability to express ourselves through spoken language. At home and at school we learn new words and how to arrange them with increasing sophistication. We spend far less time, however, studying how we communicate meanings and desires without explicitly stating them using words, even though we are using and reading nonverbal communication all the time. In this seminar we will examine and decode the secret world of nonverbal communication. You will learn how to improve your nonverbal communication skills and to appreciate how all of us are influenced every day–often subconsciously–by the myriad of nonverbal signals we encounter. In addition to learning about the key issues, theories, and latest research on the topic, students will have the opportunity to observe real-world examples of how humans interact nonverbally. We will study four basic nonverbal signaling systems: the human body; approach-avoidance signals of space, gaze, and touch; facial expressions; and the channels of voice and gesture. Students will have the opportunity to develop presentation skills by applying effective nonverbal skills, and to improve observation skills as we visit local cultural institutions.


FSSO 185I – Rust Belt Masculinity 

Megan Jewell

MoWeFr 2:15PM – 3:05PM           Clark Hall 308

We 4th Hour      Clark Hall 308

This course focuses on roles and representations of men in the Rust Belt, a term describing geographic areas in the American Midwest and Northeast that within the last 40 years have experienced significant industrial decline, falling standards of living, and decreasing population. We will examine how definitions of manhood have long been constructed by the types of labor performed by men in these regions, and how men’s roles have changed in the wake of economic devastation. Importantly, we will consider the effects that such shifts in masculine identities have had on the personal lives, vocational choices, and political leanings of Rust Belt residents. Questions we will ask include: What does manhood have to do with the recent shift of many of these regions from “blue” (Democratic) to “red” (Republican) states? What influence does industrial decline have on perspectives about the roles of women and minorities? How are Rust Belt residents continuing to redefine what it means to be a particularly American man and what’s at stake with regard to America’s cultural and economic place in the world? We will read historical and current analyses of the Rust Belt; fundamental gender studies and men’s studies texts; and literary and pop-cultural engagements with Rust Belt masculinity. We will also visit local historical sites focusing on industry and labor in Northeastern Ohio.


FSSO 185J – Democracy vs Populism in the 21st Century 

Luke Reader

[100 Section] MoWeFr 11:40AM – 12:30PM          Bingham 204

We 4th Hour      Bingham 204

[101 Section] MoWe 3:20PM – 4:35PM   Sears 325

Fr 4th Hour         Sears 315

A worrying trend seems afoot. Recent studies indicate a persistent global pattern: declining support for representative democratic institutions. This fall is starkest among people under the age of 30. Only a third of individuals in this age group believe it is important to live in a democracy. Generally, there appears a marked preference for forms of direct democracy such as referenda or for rule by figures not associated with traditional forms of democratic government such as military or business leaders. Populism–whether on the political right or left–has grown in support across the globe since the 2008 financial crisis. Twenty-first century populism aims to prevent a so-called corrupt elite from thwarting the will of the people. Populists can express inclusive democratic ideals, but can just as easily build a majority by discriminating on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, religion, class, or immigration. Recent political movements in the UK and USA, for example, reflect populist sentiment, while the rise of authoritarianism in Hungary, Russia, and Turkey also depends upon populist appeal. This course considers the implication of these events for democracy. We will ask whether democracy really is in crisis or whether the current uncertainty is a foreseeable consequence of cultural, economic, and social change.


FSSO 185K – Human Rights, Law, and Social Policy 

Brian Gran / (Tracey Hallman)

[100 Section] TuTh 2:30PM – 3:45PM       Thwing 301

Mo 4th Hour      Millis Schmitt Lecture Hall

[101 Section] MoWe 8:00AM – 9:15AM   Clark Hall 302

Mo 4th Hour      Millis Schmitt Lecture Hall

What are human rights? What use are human rights? Can people use human rights to change the world? Save the world? Or are human rights merely an idea whose time has come and gone? This course will take international and historical perspectives of human rights. We will study human rights institutions such as the United Nations and the Organization of American States. We will take a close look at how these institutions work, their strengths and weaknesses, and conjecture on their futures. We will then concentrate on specific human rights, such as the human right to science, and then challenges to human rights, such as their suspension during public emergencies.


FSSO 185L – What is College For? 

David Lucas

TuTh 1:00PM – 2:15PM  Crawford Hall 111

We 4th Hour      Sears 541

Why are we here? Not on this planet–that’s another course–but here, at this university? What is the purpose of a university? What do we–as students, as faculty, as different communities– expect of such an institution? And what should those institutions expect from us? In this course we will explore historical and contemporary ideas of the university, and in our seminar discussions we will measure our own experiences against that history and those theories. We will place particular emphasis on the current state of the idea of the university, and the subsequent effects of those ideas on current university students. We will ask, for example, how cultural and societal notions of the university’s purpose affect our expectations for our own time and work there. How and why do debates about the university present a stage for some of our most contentious societal questions? We will acquaint ourselves with the histories and contexts of some of these debates in order to address the complexities of our present moment. We will take up this debate ourselves in our daily seminar conversations, and we will explore them further in Fourth Hour field trips around our university and others in the Cleveland area. We will write and think in a variety of genres, including personal essays, critical analyses, and individual and group oral presentations.


FSSO 185M – Zionism and its Discontents 

Jay Geller / (Anthony Wexler)

TuTh 1:00PM – 2:15PM  Crawford Hall 11A

Fr 4th Hour         Nord Hall 212

Zionism is one of the most consequential ideologies of the 20th century. It undergirds the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. It has also fueled the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, Zionism itself is a highly divided movement with several competing streams, including political vs. cultural, secular vs. religious, and socialist vs. capitalist. In this seminar, students will learn to think both historically and comparatively to explore the origins, varieties, and uses of Zionism, as well as the opposition to Zionism on practical and theoretical grounds.


FSSY 117 – Science and Literature

Annie Pecastaings

MoWe 4:50PM – 6:05PM               Sears 326

Mo 4th Hour      Sears 315

This course explores the treatment of scientific themes and the depiction of scientists in literature. This is not a course about science fiction: instead of envisioning future scientific advancements, Science in Literature pays close attention to the ways in which literary texts comment upon ongoing scientific debates and responds to the questionings of science. This four-credit-hour course also provides an introduction to various dimensions of academic life. It will be characterized by intense yet open-ended intellectual inquiry. Throughout the semester, we will foreground critical reading, thoughtful analysis, as well as written and oral communication.


FSSY 154 – The Imagination Project

Bradley Ricca

TuTh 8:30AM – 9:45AM  Thwing 301

Fr 4th Hour         Thwing 301

For the first years of our schooling, we are taught to play make-believe. Then, we are taught to understand facts. Whatever happened to the imagination? What is it? What are the theories that help to explain it? And what is its place at a research university? In this class, we will read, talk, think, and write about the purposes and scope of the human imagination, which is often understood as the symbolic realm of images and ideas that exists as part of our mental life. We will look at how the imagination has been understood by various thinkers and artists, and we will consider how the physical world interacts with the imagination in stories, music, film, and scientific ideas. Even though we may think that imagination means “something from nothing,” it is much more complicated and collaborative than that, as we will see in our examination of larger imaginative projects such as the Sistine Chapel, Star Wars, Legos, and Disney World. We will examine the role of the imagination in as many disciplines as possible, including physics, sports, fantasy, politics, and the media. As we interrogate these sources, we will learn the basic tenets of argument and research that will help you in your upcoming SAGES courses. Are there imaginative practices that can help us succeed here at Case? How can we turn our own imaginations into reality?


FSSY 157 – Pursuits of Happiness

Michael Householder

[100 Section] TuTh 2:30PM – 3:45PM  Crawford Hall 111

Mo 4th Hour      Crawford Hall 111

[101 Section] TuTh 10:00AM – 11:15AM             Crawford Hall 111

Mo 4th Hour      Crawford Hall 111

What is Happiness? And why do Americans consider its pursuit a self-evident, inalienable right? To what extent is happiness a component of the American Dream? How have writers used stories to illustrate the possibilities and limits of this ideal? This course examines the various ways that thinkers have defined happiness, using both theoretical frameworks and literary examples. Students will carefully analyze the validity and utility of these models, selecting elements to construct their own personal philosophies of happiness.



FSSY 175 – God and the American Writer

Scott Dill

[100 Section] MoWeFr 11:40AM – 12:30PM      Sears 325

Mo 4th Hour      Sears 325

[101 Section] MoWeFr 2:15PM – 3:05PM           Sears 325

Mo 4th Hour      Sears 325

How have American poets, novelists, and essayists thought about God? Do they have anything to teach us about the role of religious belief in a country where religious believers make up the statistical majority? What could a late nineteenth century poet possibly teach us about the ways Americans experience religious belief today? How could a fictional novel help us better understand the unique cultural history of religious belief in the US and its influence on today’s society? This course seeks to address these questions by considering a particular strain of American writing that highly values the role of personal experience in religious faith. For these writers, God is not a philosophical idea hidden away in the abstractions of erudition, or a historical curiosity to be studied alongside ancient civilizations, but something to be experienced in an intense and personal way. For one writer God is the “Tender Pioneer” who Americans would be cowardly not to venture after. Another writer claims that the previous “generations beheld God and nature face to face;” he encourages his readers to ignore others’ opinions and to seek their own “original relation with the universe.” Another proclaims that Americans profess “to love God whom they have not seen, while they hate their brother whom they have seen.” What similarities do these ideas share–what differences separate them? We will use these and other ideas to begin a conversation about why the personal experience of God seems so vital to America writers. We will discuss the ways American writers have created and critiqued the religious value of individuality, as well as how the category of “personal experience” can both hinder and help us in understanding American culture.


FSSY 182 – Mystery and the Art of Storytelling

Steven Pinkerton

MoWeFr 11:40AM – 12:30PM      Guilford House 323

Mo 4th Hour      Guilford House 323

It’s hard to resist a good story, and even harder to resist a good mystery story. What is it about mysteries that makes them so enduringly fascinating, so universal? What might they teach us about the nature of storytelling itself? In this course we’ll discuss and write about how narrative works, taking mystery as our guide. In doing so, we’ll also become better readers, viewers, and interpreters. For these stories make detectives out of us all, demanding that we evaluate textual evidence, seek out rhetorical clues, pay keen attention to detail, and even examine our own frameworks of perception. Engaging both classic and less traditional tales of mystery and detection (including a movie or two), we’ll examine the logic of such narratives, the desires and fears that drive them, and the secrets they tell–or try to keep hidden.



FSSY 183 – E-Lit: New Media Narrative

Kristine Kelly

MoWeFr 2:15PM – 3:05PM           Thwing 101

Fr 4th Hour         Thwing 302K

Imagine a book we might read by touching the words, choosing among possible paths or endings, or even by allowing our own faces or voices to be part of the scene. Electronic literature, that is, literary works designed to be read or experienced on a computer, often requires exactly such multisensory engagement, asking readers to make unusual connections between words, images, sounds, or movement, and, sometimes, to put themselves into the story. In this class, we will read, experience, and write critically about electronic literature and experimental print literature, including works of interactive fiction, digital documentary, blogs, cut up and computer-generated poetry, digital games, and geo-locative fiction. The works we read present unfamiliar, often non-linear, modes of writing, storytelling, or of conveying information. Such texts give us insight into how we “read” and how digital spaces influence the way we understand, experience, and respond to ideas, places, and people.


FSSY 185B – Jazz Attitudes

Paul Ferguson / (Emily Laurance)

TuTh 8:30AM – 9:45AM  Harkness Chapel Classroom

Fr 4th Hour         Harkness Chapel Classroom

Despised by the church, reviled by New Orleans society, Jazz was the bad boy music of the early 20th century. But by WWII it was the most popular music style in the US. Since then, jazz has become a minority taste, embraced by the academy, but viewed with an intimidated indifference by the general public. How did this happen? How have views of this odd marriage of European and African musical styles changed through the years? Can jazz regain relevancy? Should jazz musicians even care about relevancy? And if not, what does the future hold for them and their music? In this course, we will examine the history of the development of jazz, what makes the music so important in American culture, and some of the reasons why–despite this importance–few people listen to it anymore. Students need not have prior familiarity with jazz, only a willingness to listen to, and read about, the music.


FSSY 185D – Medieval Mindsets

Arthur Russell

TuTh 8:30AM – 9:45AM  Crawford Hall 111

Mo 4th Hour      White Building 324

Forget the so-called “Dark Ages.” Medieval Mindsets is about a vibrant, experimental, and inventive era of thought and technological innovation. Do we get to be modern without first getting a little medieval? This seminar invites students to revalue medieval modes of thinking and making. Over the course of the semester, we will sample innovations of the medieval world, from cycle plays to redesigned maps to eyeglasses. We will take a hands-on approach to our objects of study. Working in special collection libraries and museums, students will learn to decode medieval manuscripts and other cultural artifacts. Accordingly, we will put our medieval knowledge to the test. Working in Think[box], students will manufacture facsimiles of the medieval artifacts we study.


FSSY 185E – Literary Servants: From Homer to Harry Potter

John Higgins

TuTh 4:00PM – 5:15PM  Crawford Hall 11A

Mo 4th Hour      Rockefeller 309

Servants have played a surprisingly large role in some of the great works of Western literature, though they often get overlooked in favor of their more noble masters and employers. In “The Odyssey,” for example, when Odysseus returns from the Trojan War after 20 years at sea, he first gets recognized, not by his son or his wife, but by a childhood nurse who has served in his household all of his life. Shakespearean-era plays also place servants in surprisingly central roles, having them not only performing tasks for their masters, but sometimes acting as romantic interests and close friends, or emblems of moral behavior. Servants have taken on the role of primary protagonists in many works of 19th- and 20th-century literature, and have played an outsized role in countless other works. Some of the questions that we will ask in this class include: Why do these characters–who occupy the margins of the household and often perform seemingly mundane jobs–play this role in the literary and social imagination? Do servants have unique identities, interests, and value systems or do they adopt the identities and values of the people they serve? To what extent are servants needed to establish the social positions of patriarchs, monarchs and the wealthy? The class will also explore the forms of power that servants are able to exert over those that they serve, and the extent to which this power both complicates and reinforces more commonly recognized systems of inequality like race, class and gender. Readings will include several classic works of literature, and short philosophical works on human rights and the politics of the lower classes. We will also read some philosophical discussions of class and social hierarchy, watch and discuss some film and television representations of service, and visit the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cleveland Historical Society in order to learn about the history of domestic service.


FSSY 185K – The Greek and Roman Humanities

Timothy Wutrich / (Arthur Russell)

TuTh 4:00PM – 5:15PM  Sears 326

We 4th Hour      Guilford House 323

The civilizations that developed in ancient Greece and ancient Italy are called collectively “Classical Civilization.” The study of the Greek and Roman humanities (languages, literature, arts, history, and philosophy) is known as “Classics.” The Greeks and Romans have had a profound, widespread, and long-lasting influence on many aspects of subsequent Western Civilization, so studying the Classical Humanities is not only a rewarding endeavor in itself, but also can benefit those who want a deeper understanding of the modern arts and humanities. In this seminar we will read and discuss representative works by Greek and Roman authors in translation and look at artifacts produced in the ancient world in order to come to a better understanding of the foundations of the western humanities. We will also study the impact of Greek and Latin on English in order to understand how language can shape thought–an important thing to learn for anyone who is also trying to become a better writer! The seminar will investigate numerous questions about Classics. Where were the Classical lands? When was the Classical period? Are there connections between Greece or Rome and other ancient civilizations? What were the sounds and sights of Greece and Rome? What remains of the ancient world in terms of language, literature, the arts? How have the Classical Humanities shaped modern concepts and institutions? Where can one find tangible influences of Greek and Roman civilization in modern America? Why and when have modern people turned to Greece and Rome for inspiration?


FSSY 185M – Hamilton and American Identity

Caitlin Kelly

TuTh 4:00PM – 5:15PM  Sears 541

Mo 4th Hour      Yost Hall 107

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton has sparked renewed interest in the American Revolution and the years of the early American republic, both among scholars and among the general public. In the musical’s version of the story of the nation’s founding, the roles of women and minority figures and anxieties about what it means to be an American take center stage, literally and figuratively. While many people have enthusiastically embraced this retelling, others have been more skeptical about Miranda’s rendering of early America. These skeptics question whether the musical does enough to challenge the prevailing narrative of the nation’s founding, which they argue is whitewashed and idealized. In this course, we will embark on a close study of Miranda’s Hamilton and, as we go, we will examine early America through writing from the period as well as through the work of historians. How does Miranda’s image of the revolution and early republic measure up against the picture we put together through our reading? What does that mean for Hamilton’s impact and its legacy? What is at stake in the way that we envision and represent the past?



FSSY 185N – Sacred Space in Monotheistic Religious Traditions

Ramez Islambouli / (Vicki Daniel)

TuTh 1:00PM – 2:15PM  Mather Memorial 125

Fr 4th Hour         Clark Hall 205

A significant dilemma facing all three of the major monotheistic religious traditions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – is how to establish a sacred space on earth for the worship of a deity which cannot be contained. In many ways, architectural and artistic decisions about the location, internal layout, orientation and other features of such sacred spaces reflect deep presuppositions in each religion about the divine and how worship is to be performed in a human context. In what ways do these spaces inspire awe, demand obedience, offer comfort, or teach lessons? How have these spaces inherited features from other times and places, and how have these features changed (or not)? To examine how one might understand and interpret such spaces, we will visit religious buildings in the University Circle area and its surroundings.


FSSY 185O – Encountering the Uncanny

James Newlin

MoWe 8:00AM – 9:15AM              Clark Hall 205

Mo 4th Hour      Thwing 201

Have you ever experienced deja vu? Or, have you stepped into a room and felt as though it was a little too quiet? Have you ever mistaken a stranger for a close friend or relative? Are you creeped out by extremely life-like dolls or robots? If so, you may have felt a sense of the unsettling combination of familiarity and strangeness known as the uncanny. Most of us have experienced the uncanny at one time or another, yet psychologists, philosophers, literary critics, and scientists have been unable to fully explain how or why it happens. In this seminar, we will explore this interdisciplinary conversation, reading analyses of the uncanny by figures such as Sigmund Freud and the roboticist Masahiro Mori, and by exploring its representation in literature, contemporary art, and horror films. Why has the uncanny intrigued so many thinkers? Is one academic discipline better suited to exploring the uncanny than others? Most importantly, what can we learn about ourselves when we study the uncanny? By looking closely at examples of the uncanny, we will attempt to unearth the personal and cultural anxieties at the root of this experience of fear or unease.


FSSY 185P – On the Road in America

Anthony Wexler

[100 Section] MoWe 3:20PM – 4:35PM               Crawford Hall 11A

Mo 4th Hour      Wickenden Building 321

[101 Section] MoWe 8:00AM – 9:15AM              Crawford Hall 11A

Mo 4th Hour      Wickenden Building 321

Travel and exploration have long occupied a central role in the American imagination. The idea of the frontier, and the great westward expansion, gave birth to national myths and narratives based on transit and adventure. In recent years, Americans have continued to reflect on the significance of physical journeys, as well as the inner quests that often accompany these modern-day pilgrimages. In this course, we will examine a diverse set of works that explore the long-standing American romance with adventure and movement. We will consider the impact of the open road on America’s national identity, the powerful emotions and spiritual longing that lead people onto the road, and the forces that drive them off it.


FSSY 185Q – Death, Mourning, and Immortality

John Wiehl

TuTh 4:00PM – 5:15PM  Crawford Hall 09A

Fr 4th Hour         Sears 336

Although death and loss always have been part of the human experience, poems aching for immortality and mourning losses were especially important to people before the development of modern medicine because of the omnipresence of death in daily life. Poems mourning losses were frequently (but not always) about death, and so we will occasionally consider what it means to mourn a still-living hero or to mourn the passing of a moment in time. A poem can become a “moment’s monument” in one apt description. In this seminar, we will examine poetry from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries to explore the variety of ways that writers’ religious beliefs, gender and sexual identities, and attitudes about desire and emotion informed how they thought about death, loss, mourning, and immortality. How does this poetry represent sadness and despair? In what ways does it affirm the joys of life and the memory of what has been lost? To supplement our investigation, we will also explore expressions of mourning that can be found in other genres of literature, as well as in museums and cemeteries. We will think about what it means to write yourself or others into immortality. No prior experience studying poetry is necessary, only a willingness to read with care and think with an open mind.


FSSY 185R – Oh, The Places You Will Go! Representations of Space in Children’s Picture Books

Cara Byrne

MoWe 8:00AM – 9:15AM              Crawford Hall 111

Fr 4th Hour         Crawford Hall 11A

Picture books may teach young readers basics like how to read, what sounds animals make, and how to count to ten, but they also shape children’s understanding of the world around them, including an awareness of the rules and morals that define what it means to be a good person. In this seminar, we will study how children’s picture books communicate social norms and ethics through the depiction of imagined spaces. We will explore questions including: What kinds of places and spaces do picture books depict? How do people treat others in these places? How do characters interact with non-human objects and the natural environment? Whose voices are heard and whose are silenced in the stories and pictures? Even though these books are written for children, what do they tell us about the adults who write, buy, and read them? How do these older readers understand children’s spaces and childhood? By examining the underlying messages in these deceptively simple books, we can uncover surprisingly complicated visions of the world.


FSSY 185S – Interpersonal Japanese Fiction

Joseph DeLong

TuTh 4:00PM – 5:15PM  Nord Hall 213

Mo 4th Hour      AW Smith 329

Literature can provide tremendous insight into the varied and complex ways people relate to one another. These connections can take forms such as friendship, love, family, and mentorship. In this course, we will explore works of modern Japanese fiction with a focus on such personal relationships. We will consider not only the universality of these relationships but also their roots in Japanese culture. Our reading will roughly cover the period from the Taisho era to the present. As we proceed through the seminar, class discussion will address three central questions. First, what can the works we’re reading teach us about the various emotions that shape personal bonds? Second, how do Japanese traditions, social hierarchies, and gender norms influence those bonds? And third, do these works share common features that allow us to talk meaningfully of them as part of a Japanese literary tradition? Our ultimate goal is to arrive at a sense of how literature not only can speak to the human condition but also reflect the unique reality of its time and place.



FSSY 185T – Julius Caesar: Leader, Icon, Symbol

Paul Hay / (John Higgins)

MoWeFr 2:15PM – 3:05PM           Geller 004

We 4th Hour      Geller 004

Leader, Icon, Symbol       In this seminar we will discuss the life and legacy of Julius Caesar, no doubt one of the most famous figures to emerge from all of ancient Roman history (if not world history). The ancient Romans had a profound influence on the later development of what we call “Western civilization,” so studying a figure like Caesar is a gateway to understanding political thought in many eras and countries, including modern America. Throughout this course, we will read accounts of Caesar’s life and variants of the major episodes of his career, including words he himself wrote. While we will examine the things Caesar did and said, this course will focus primarily on how later Romans and others used (and continue to use) Caesar as a symbol for a variety of causes and ideologies. We will think about how to read and analyze historical sources critically, with an eye for bias and distortion, and we will consider how recollections of the past can reflect the priorities of the present. Ultimately, we will examine what Caesar meant to other people (success? tyranny? decadence?) and how his name and image became part of the language of the sociopolitical world of the West for the last two millenia. As we move through different times and places of history and their reception of Julius Caesar, we will ask a variety of questions: Who are the people deploying Caesar as a useful reference, and for what kinds of audiences? What are the ways in which the idea of Caesar has been transformed over time and in different cultures? What kinds of attitudes are communicated through references to Caesar in later political thought? Why does Caesar still mean something today, and where does Caesar’s legacy persist?


FSSY 185U – On Being Human 

Bharat Ranganathan

TuTh 4:00PM – 5:15PM  Sears 323

We 4th Hour      Rockefeller 306

This seminar explores religious and philosophical views about what it means to be human. We will address questions such as: to what extent are we free? Does freedom conflict with traditional authority, our own pasts, our irrational impulses, or our physical natures? What is the relationship between reason and emotion? How well do we know our own motives? And to what extent are we hidden to ourselves? To investigate these questions, we will read, discuss, and write about a range of classical and contemporary religious and philosophical thinkers. Each offers a different perspective about the nature of the human being, human excellence, and what it means to live a life of integrity. They are also enduringly relevant to our lives, inside and outside of the classroom. Together, the texts and thinkers constitute a conversation filled with sometimes competing and sometimes complementary views about who we are, why we do the things we do, and what sorts of lives we ought to lead.