Spring 2017 Course Schedule

FWIS 108      Graphic Novels
FWIS 111       The First 200 Years of Christianity
FWIS 114       Literary Provocations
FWIS 115       The Mad Scientist
FWIS 119       Beyond the Burqini: Muslim Women, Feminism, and Global Politics
FWIS 120      Fiction and Empathy
FWIS 121       Time Travel Narratives
FWIS 123      Star Wars and the Writing of Popular Culture
FWIS 130      Writing Everyday Life
FWIS 131        Ruins, Landmarks, and Monuments
FWIS 144       Writing about Greek Drama
FWIS 146       Fashion: Industry, Culture, Power
FWIS 147       America Through French Eyes
FWIS 149      Socrates
FWIS 151      Modern Satire in Film and Literature
FWIS 152      The Science of Supplements
FWIS 153      The Lewis and Clark Expedition
FWIS 154      The Good, the Bad and the Border
FWIS 155      Fakes, Forgeries, and Stolen Art
FWIS 157      The Archaeology of Food
FWIS 158      Visions of the Afterlife

FWIS 160      Life Narrative
FWIS 161       The American Legal System
FWIS 162      Critical Thinking in a Democracy
FWIS 163       Medical Humanities
FWIS 164       Ways of Walking
FWIS 168       Building Design Problems
FWIS 171        Word Magic
FWIS 174       The Future of Medicine
FWIS 177       Bizarre Biblical Stories
FWIS 180       Legacies of 1960s America
FWIS 184       Religion and Sports in America
FWIS 186       Writing the Drone
FWIS 188       Eng Design & Communication
FWIS 189       Post-Apocalyptic Lit and Film
FWIS 190       Youth Rebellion
FWIS 193       Banned Books and Other Dangers
FWIS 197       Déjà vu: Literary Adaptations

FWIS 108   Graphic Novels and the Art of Communication

Messmer, David ∙  MWF 1:00-1:50 ∙ D1
While the image of spandex clad superheroes still dominates perceptions of graphic novels, the medium has evolved into a varied and complex form of expression in the decades since Superman’s first appearance in Action Comics (1938). From their inception, though, graphic novels have always showed a deep connection to the historical events, anxieties, and struggles that surrounded their creation. In this course, we will examine graphic novels from a variety of perspectives, including the historical, the political, the social, and the literary. Students will develop research skills through an engagement with the growing critical literature on graphic novels, and will strengthen communication skills by writing and presenting analyses of the cultural relevance of graphic novels, all while maintaining an awareness of the formal properties that make them such a unique and diverse medium.

FWIS 111   The First 200 Years of Christianity

Domeracki, Michael ∙  MWF 9:00-9:50 ∙ D1
This course examines the growth of Christianity from Jesus and his original followers to the end of the second century. In this class we will explore the diversity of early Christianity, paying particular attention to the theological, ecclesiological, and social debates of the competing Catholic and Non-Catholic, Gnostic, and Marcionite churches, and how these different movements connected themselves to Jesus and the disciples. This class will consider both canonical and non-canonical materials, as well as appropriate secondary literature.

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FWIS 114   Literary Provocations    

Ellenzweig, Ellen ∙ MWF 11:00-11:50 ∙ D1
At its best, literature forces us out of our comfort zone, challenging us to question moral platitudes, conformist thinking, and rigid dogma of any kind.  It also teaches us empathy and asks us to withhold easy, predictable judgments.  Literature demands that we leave behind black and white and learn to live in the muddled gray that is human existence when we pause to allow for it in all of its messy volatility.  “Literary Provocations” will introduce first-year students from a wide variety of academic backgrounds to the wager presented by literature.  Our reading will consist of a variety of provocative texts (think Milton’s Satan, Flaubert’s Emma Bovary, and Nabokov’s Humbert Humbert) that require mature engagement from their readers.  Students will develop critical and interpretive sophistication and learn how to express that sophistication and maturity in writing and in discussion. In our reading and writing, we will emphasize nuance, complexity, ambiguity, and the multiplicity of possible meaning. 


FWIS 115   The Mad Scientist: Science, Caricature, and Social Critique

Hargrave, Jennifer∙ MWF 10:00-10:50∙ D1
Your friend describes a character in a new television show as a “mad scientist.” Who do you picture? Victor Frankenstein fiendishly praying for an electrical storm? Dr. Emmett Brown working on his time-travelling DeLorean? Quirky physicist Sheldon Cooper in Big Bang Theory? Stephen Hawking and his state-of-the-art speech-generating device? The list could continue endlessly. The trope of the “mad scientist” has permeated Western culture since the early nineteenth century. This course will examine both the figure of the “mad scientist” in literature as well as the popular reception of and reaction to cutting-edge science. To study this reception, we will explore the intersections between science and magic, science and politics, science and geographical exploration, science and religion, and science and literature. Through each intersection, we will define and redefine science’s cultural impact—both real and imagined—on Western societies from the late sixteenth century to the contemporary moment.

FWIS 119   Beyond the Burqini: Muslim Women, Feminism, and Global Politics

Shehabuddin, Elora ∙  TR 9:25-10:40 ∙ D1
This course traces the history of Western interest in Muslim women, paying particular attention to how the figure of the Muslim women has been used by western feminists to make their own case for gender equality. These ideas about Muslim women have had very real consequences, serving as justifications for colonial policies in the nineteenth century, but also more recently for the US intervention in Afghanistan which was presented to the American public as a mission to save Afghan women from the blue burqas. Just this year, several French towns imposed a ban on modest swimwear, dubbed the burqini, on French beaches, describing them as unsafe and incontrovertible evidence of Muslim women’s subservience to Muslim patriarchy. Readings include the writings of different English and American feminists and feminist organizations as well as texts by Muslim authors from around the world for their take to Western efforts to “rescue” Muslim women.

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FWIS 120   Fiction and Empathy

Nixon, Burke ∙ MWF 1:00-1:50 ∙ D1
Is there a link between reading literary fiction and empathizing with others? A much-discussed 2013 article in Science seemed to answer this question in the affirmative, but writers and readers have been making (and challenging) similar claims for almost as long as the novel has existed. In this course, we’ll explore and debate the question ourselves. What does empathy actually mean? What’s the difference between empathy and compassion? Can a work of fiction actually change the way we perceive others in real life? We’ll read and write about the work of fiction writers who are often praised for their ability to inhabit the consciousness of their characters, as well as contemporary authors who attempt to do the same thing in different ways. We’ll also examine and debate what literary critics and authors themselves have claimed on this topic, focusing in particular on the elements of fiction and how those elements might provoke empathy.


FWIS 121   Time Travel Narratives: Fiction, Film, Science

Richardson, Laura ∙ TR 2:30-3:45 ∙ D1
From an aesthetic perspective, time travel has existed as long as there have been stories: narrative is time tourism. Narrative introduces alien temporalities, transporting listeners and readers into different temporal landscapes. Throughout the twentieth century, science and science fiction participated in a shared economy of inspiration, each stirring the other to new creative potential. This course investigates the historical, aesthetic, and scientific connections between the authorial and scientific co-creation of time travel. Our central quests will be to define the relationship between scientific and narrative jumps through time, as well as forge, as a class, a general understanding of how our culture represents time travel, given not just technological limitations, but also the historico-cultural limiting factors of gender, race, politics, and language.  

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FWIS 123 Star Wars and the Writing of Popular Culture

Messmer, Dave ∙ MWF 2:00-2:50 ∙ D1
From Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” speech to Hilary Clinton’s declaration at the end of a recent primary debate, “May the Force Be with You,” the Star Wars franchise has entered our national vocabulary in ways that no one could have imagined upon its release in 1977. This course will unpack the stakes of that discourse through a variety of disciplinary approaches. Why did the Star Wars franchise and its hopeful message emerge out of a popular culture rife with cynicism, and why does it continue to resonate today? What does the franchise’s popularity reveal about our nation’s relationship to issues of imperialism, race, gender, and spirituality? Are these films merely escapist fun, reaffirming a nostalgic vision of America, or are they a vehicle for cultural and social critique? Writing assignments in the class will challenge students to address these questions, while engaging the ever-expanding scholarly discourse surrounding the films.

FWIS 130   Writing Everyday Life

Dib, Lina ∙ Section 1, TR 10:50-12:05 / Section 2, TR 1:00-2:15 ∙ D1
This course is dedicated to the poetics of everyday life. It introduces its participants to cultural and historical writing that draws from the real world and from the forms and colors of the ordinary. First, we will experiment with some non-fiction writing styles, from journalistic, to poetic, to documentary and ethnographic. Then, shifting the focus from writing styles to writing topics, the course will delve into how we experience landscapes, bodies, and objects in prosaic ways. We will develop reading, research, writing, and presentation skills through creative assignments and workshops. Engaging in fieldwork around Houston, we will practice observational and literary tactics, such as experimenting with rhythm and repetition, shifting scales from the micro to the macro, and making the strange familiar or the familiar strange. In short, we will explore, evaluate, and communicate the everyday. This course is eligible for credit toward the major in Anthropology.


FWIS 131   Ruins, Landmarks, and Monuments

Chappell, Lindsey ∙ MWF 11:00-11:50 ∙ D1
The Statue of Liberty in ruins has become a stock shot signaling the collapse of human civilization in films like Planet of the Apes. Meanwhile, the ruins of the Berlin Wall remain an icon of progress and freedom. How do ruins and other architectural icons of community come to have such broad and deep cultural significance? This seminar will explore how cultures map community identity onto (or in opposition to) physical edifices and how these markers of identity endure or shift meaning over time. We’ll look at representations of ruins, landmarks, and monuments across a variety of genres, stretching back to nineteenth-century accounts of sites famed as part of the European Grand Tour, such as the Parthenon in Greece and the ongoing political controversies surrounding Britain’s continued possession of ancient Greek artifacts. Over the semester, we’ll analyze how geographical icons contribute to community, cultural, or national identities.


FWIS 144   Writing about Greek Drama  

Mackie, Hilary ∙ TR 2:30-3:45 ∙ D1
This course introduces students to texts that are integral to ancient Greek culture, and core texts in the Western literary tradition.  The assigned primary texts are: Aristotle’s Poetics; Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy; Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, Antigone, and Electra; and Euripides’ Medea, Hippolytus, and Iphigenia in Tauris (all to be read in English translation).  Students who take the course also read a modest amount of secondary literature about the interpretation and application of Aristotle’s Poetics. The course introduces students to the assigned texts in a manner that provides frequent regular practice at close reading, writing, and oral communication.  Students who take the course write six or seven essays, and receive feedback on all but one from the instructor or teaching assistant.  Students also each give one oral presentation.  Most class meetings are devoted to discussion of the assigned texts.  A few class meetings are devoted to peer review of students’ essays.  

FWIS 146   Fashion: Industry, Culture, Power

Alvarez, Patricia ∙  TR 4:00-5:15 ∙ D1
Fashion is all around us; it is a component of culture and a global industry. The fashion industry employs thousands around the world. As a system of dress, it shapes and creates our gendered, ethnic, and individual identities. This course examines fashion as both industry and culture. This twofold approach will allow us to address the relationship between fashion, visual self-presentation, power, and identity formation. We will examine how these processes that seem personal unfold in relation to the linkages between fashion, modernity and capitalism, processes of industrialization and post-industrialization, media, the transnational dimension of fashion, and the environmental impact of the industry. Students will analyze how fashion makes meaning, sustains power hierarchies, and how it was been valued through history, popular culture, and the media. Readings will span disciplines, from anthropology, cultural studies, critical race theory, feminist theory, history, and political economic analysis.

FWIS 147   America Through French Eyes

Fette, Julie ∙ TR 1:00-2:15 ∙ D1
The United States has always been a source of fascination—both attraction and repulsion—for the French. This course aims to understand American culture and identity as revealed by transatlantic encounters with the French. We will study French intellectuals' observations (de Tocqueville, de Beauvoir) as well as images of America in French popular culture (comic strips, films). Some of students' coursework will be done online in a digital massive open format through Coursera, thereby giving Rice first-year students an opportunity to experience this new educational technology. Thanks to access to other Rice professors in history and archeology, the course will broaden beyond France to consider America from Chinese, African, and Mexican perspectives. The seminar could therefore be considered as "America through Foreign Eyes.”



FWIS 149   Socrates

Yunis, Harvey ∙ TR 1:00-2:15 ∙ D1
The course will consider the life and thought of Socrates and will be based strictly on primary sources. Socrates never wrote a single word of philosophy, but he is credited as the first philosopher of ethics and he is among the most influential philosophers in history. Course readings will include several of Plato’s most famous Socratic dialogues, a brief look at the Socratic writings of Xenophon (a contemporary of Plato), and the Clouds, a wild comedy by Aristophanes (our only contemporary source for Socrates) in which the “sophist” Socrates is mercilessly mocked for his outlandish uselessness. Examining Socrates in his Athenian context, we will read Plato’s Apology of Socrates twice, at the beginning and end of the course, in an attempt to understand both the nature of his defense against a charge of impiety and the reasons why he was tried, convicted, and executed by his fellow citizens.

FWIS 151   Modern Satire in Film and Literature

Adkins, Alexander ∙  TR 9:25-10:40 ∙ D1
By surveying modern works of satire across different mediums—movies, TV shows, novels, and political cartoons—this course will reach some tentative ideas about the genre's social role. How does it work? What is the value of its shock value? Does satire have or even need a moral justification, or does it let us indulge our cruelest instincts? By writing and performing their own satires, students will not only attempt to answer these questions, but also understand how satire functions as a persuasive rhetoric. Throughout the course we will also focus on how satire challenges structures of inequality—neoimperialism, racism, homophobia, classism, and sexism included. Through creative writing assignments, oral presentations, short essays, collaborative projects, and dynamic discussions, students in this class will develop a healthy, long-term approach to writing that will translate broadly into other courses in the sciences, humanities, and social sciences.

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FWIS 152   Nutritional Supplements: Real Remedies or Shady Science?

Purugganan, Mary ∙ TR 10:50-12:05 ∙ D3
This course examines the science behind some of the most highly promoted nutritional supplements for preventing or treating disease. The supplement industry has recently grown to $33 billion per year, and more than half of Americans now take supplements regularly. Because nutritional supplements are not regulated like pharmaceuticals, consumers have begun to question the safety, purity, and efficacy of these products. Students will examine the challenges in regulating supplements, the role of supplements as alternative or complementary medicine, the biology of common but complex diseases such as cancer and depression, and the molecular mechanisms of supplements’ effects on the human body. Through writing assignments and oral presentations, students will explore this rapidly growing but poorly regulated approach to improving health.

FWIS 153 The Lewis and Clark Expedition

Boles, John ∙ TR 9:24-10:40 ∙ D1
In 1803 Thomas Jefferson established an exploratory party to travel up the Missouri River to its headwaters and across the “Stony” Mountains all the way to the Pacific and back again, reporting on every aspect of what they encountered. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were chosen to lead the “corps of exploration,” and setting out from St. Louis in the spring of 1804, the party spent almost three years performing their duty. Their journals record their encounters with many Native Americans and graphic descriptions of animals, plants, and geological formations never before seen by Europeans. The men overcame tremendous hardships, traversed extremely hostile terrain, suffered hunger, cold, and hail storms, and met a variety of very diverse Indian nations. All this they describe in vivid language in their journals, now available on-line and in print. Students will read and analyze portions of these journals and write short papers on them. This course is eligible for credit toward the major in History.

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FWIS 154   The Good, the Bad, and the Border

Cummins Muñoz, Elizabeth ∙ MWF 9:00-9:50 ∙ D1
This course will explore portrayals of morality in cultural texts produced in the US-Mexico borderlands. Through film, literature, music, and cultural criticism, students will examine representations of right and wrong that often conflict and many times converge in unexpected ways. As we consider perspectives from within the borderlands and without, we will also explore the ways in which border dwellers employ artistic production to expose and make meaning out of these alternative moral codes. Through the study of a variety of texts, students will be introduced to the following concepts: the nature of representation in film, literature and ballad; the border as both a physical and theoretical construct; the concept of a moral code and its relationship to cultural context.


FWIS 155     Fakes, Forgeries, and Stolen Art 

Fuqua, Kariann ∙ TR 9:25-10:50 ∙ D1
In 1990, two men dressed as police officers entered the Gardner Museum and stole 13 paintings worth an estimated $300 million dollars. This crime remains unsolved. It has been estimated that 40%—70% of the artwork on the market today is either a fake or a forgery, and countless pieces of art and antiquities have been looted over centuries. It makes sense why faking or stealing art is such a lucrative enterprise. This class will discuss complex issues involving authentication, repatriation, the black market and art law, and scientific advancements in identification technology. Can a copy of a work of art be exactly the same as the original? Why is art often discussed first in terms of monetary value opposed to its cultural or intrinsic value? What, then, is the true value of art or cultural heritage, and what does this say about the societies that exchange it?

FWIS 157   The Archaeology of Food

Morgan, Molly∙ MWF 1:00-1:50 ∙ D2
The Archaeology of Food introduces students to methods for understanding the wide human experience through an emphasis on food and an anthropological approach. Food studies have emerged as multidisciplinary, but food topics are often chopped up by disciplines that only focus on food and society, physiology, nutrition, economy, politics, transportation, geography, agriculture, marketing, or culture. While anthropology embraces a focus on culture, its holistic approach allows it to encompass the entirety of what we eat, where it comes from, how our bodies are affected, and how it acquires cultural meaning. As one subfield of anthropology, archaeology expands this search for understanding food to also include our origins and processes of development. Archaeology also provides a key context for strengthening information literacy and analytical skills through building arguments based on available scientific evidence. For learners, the explicit emphasis on food provides a concrete way to link personal experiences with course material.


FWIS 158   Visions of the Afterlife: Religious and Secular Models of Life After Death

Dillon, Matt ∙ MW 2:00-3:15 ∙ D1
What happens to humans after they die? Are they reborn into another body? Do they enter a spiritual realm? If so, what part of human consciousness survives in it? Does consciousness hibernate, only to be reborn in a body at a later date? Or does consciousness simply cease? In this course, we will analyze a range of beliefs concerning the afterlife drawn from traditional religions, new religions, the humanities and the sciences. Beginning with examples from traditional religions (Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Taoism), the course will turn to religious afterlife beliefs in America. The course closes by investigating ways in which secular disciplines such as anthropology, neuroscience, and philosophy have theorized the survival of human consciousness after death. Exploring these views shows the ways in which afterlife conceptions are conditioned by ideas of the person, cosmos, embodiment, and ethics regnant in a time and culture.


FWIS 160   Life Narrative

Fax, Joanna ∙ MW 2:00-3:15 ∙ D1
“This is the age of memoir,” observes writer William Zinsser, “everyone has a story to tell, and everyone is telling it.” In addition to telling stories, we are consuming them, thanks to the advent of podcasts, blogs, and other digital formats, at a remarkable rate. This course explores the historical and contemporary significance of life narrative in popular culture—from its origins in the 16th century to the popularity of This American Life. What various, often competing, versions of selfhood does the genre offer us?  What does life narrative reveal about shifting status of the “personal” in different historical and political moments? What counts as life narrative, anyway, and how is it different from autobiography, personal narrative, and memoir (is Facebook a form of life narrative?)? In addition to writing analytically about these and other questions, students will compose their own creative work. 

FWIS 161   Exploring the American Legal System

Krcatovich, Erin ∙ T 1:00-3:30 ∙ D2
Course will survey the American legal system, discussing the structure of the courts and role of the judiciary in American politics.  Major topics will include criminal and civil law, differentiating the states’ and federal court systems, and comparing Texas’s legal system to other states’ courts.  

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FWIS 162   Critical Thinking in a Democracy

Hutchinson, John & Hutchinson, Paula ∙ TR 2:30-3:45 ∙  D2
We will examine the vital importance and significant challenges of thinking critically as a citizen in a democracy. Critical thinking runs counter to an inherent tendency towards confirmation bias in decision making. This conflict is often exploited by governmental leaders and media to control specific outcomes which may not be in the best interests of individual citizens or the citizenry collectively. Students in this class will learn to develop their critical thinking and analytical skills in the context of the function of a democratic society. They will learn to analyze media and political rhetoric to recognize and work past propaganda, partisanship, hypocrisy, and nationalism. 


FWIS 163   Medical Humanities: Literature, Medicine, and the Practice of Empathy

Nixon, Burke ∙ MWF 2:00-2:50 ∙ D1
This course will provide an introduction to the field of medical humanities, focusing specifically on narrative medicine and the role narrative can play in illness and the clinical encounter. We’ll also examine the use of literary fiction as a way to increase empathy in doctor-patient interactions, which will lead to a series of questions: Can empathy be taught? If so, can the humanities, and literature in particular, teach it? To help us explore these and other questions, we’ll scrutinize academic research on empathy and fiction, as well as examining some of the most influential texts in the field of medical humanities. We’ll also read medical-themed short stories by Ernest Hemingway, Lorrie Moore, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the physician-writer Anton Chekhov, among others. Writing assignments will range from a work of personal reflection to a research paper and presentation arguing for or against the use of literary fiction in medical schools.


FWIS 164   Ways of Walking in Literature and Culture

Klein, Andrew ∙  MW 2:00-3:15 ∙ D1
For most of us, walking is an activity of necessity: we put one foot in front of the other in order to move from Point A to Point B. For others, however, the act of walking holds far greater potential. Whether it's a pilgrimage, a nature hike, a city stroll, a protest march, or something else altogether, a walk can be much more than just a walk. In this course, we will explore the cultural history and significance of walking by looking at a wide array of interdisciplinary texts, ranging from a study of the marathon monks of Mount Hiei to Romantic poetry and from urban planning policy to experimental art practices.  These readings will be accompanied by integral writing assignments that will allow students to develop their abilities to write clearly and persuasively in a number of different genres. There will also be a number of field trips in and around the Houston area. 

FWIS 168   Case Studies of Building Design Problems

Fleishacker, Alan ∙ TR 1:00-2:15 ∙  D1
This course is not for the faint of heart. We will read and analyze case studies, project documents and other source materials on buildings that have experienced serious design problems and ended up in the news and in court. Some major buildings lose their high-rise windows inexplicably, others experience catastrophic structural failures, while others are saved from disaster through brilliant professional skill and sheer luck. You will write about what went right and wrong, why the situation happened, who caused the problem, and who should have acted differently. We will conduct a mock trial with students serving as the designers, constructors, clients and others involved, as well as their attorneys. The broad goals of the course are to improve and refine your ability to think and write critically and powerfully, and to present a convincing argument on the written page and in person.

FWIS 171   Word Magic

Belik, Katerina ∙ TR 10:50-12:05
People create inner models of the world to represent their experience and guide their behavior. How we state and say things has direct impact on how we feel and affect others. Students will be introduced to art of persuasion, learn about the power of words, the importance of word choice, and might of a metaphor. They will learn to create effective messages through understanding patterns of communication and how they can be altered to bring about a change in human behavior. The course offers an opportunity to analyze and discuss various readings related to neuro-linguistics. It suggests recording observations, writing reports and a short research paper.


FWIS 174   Science/Fiction and the Future of Medicine

Bracken, Rachel ∙ TR 2:30-3:45 ∙  D1
The possibilities we imagine for the future of medicine tell us much about our present culture’s priorities, as well as its pitfalls. In this course, we will approach twentieth- and twenty-first-century science fiction novels and films with an eye to how these imagined medical futures represent our hopes and fears for medical science and society at large. Science fiction is an imaginative genre, but also one particularly well-suited to social commentary. Throughout the semester, we will consider what critique of contemporary society, if any, is offered in the class texts. Turning our attention to recent medical innovations, we will critically consider the context in which new treatments or diagnostic technologies are developed. What potential do these technologies have to help or harm humankind? What injustices might they alleviate, and which might they (unknowingly) perpetuate? Paying close attention to the rhetoric that masks—or does not—the social commentary embedded in science fiction thought experiments, this course places a strong focus on close reading and purposeful writing.


FWIS 177 Bizarre Biblical Stories

Ogren, Brian  ∙ TR 10:50-12:05 ∙  D1
The Hebrew Bible has acted as an important foundational book for western culture, and has served as the basis for Judaism and Christianity.  Included within this book are some incredibly bizarre accounts, dealing with topics such as fratricide, seduction, incest and magic.  This course will examine some of these stories, primarily from the books of Genesis and Exodus.  We will see how these stories have been interpreted, and have been afforded meaning, throughout the ages.  Throughout, we will deal with questions of history and archaeology, of faith and of meaning – what the biblical text meant to its ancient readers, and what meanings it has today.  All texts will be read in English translation.

FWIS 180   The Legacies, Myths, and Memories of 1960s America

Abramson, Sam ∙ MWF 10:00-10:50 ∙ D1
In this course, students will analyze and explore the events, legacies, and myths of 1960s America. Perhaps no decade in twentieth-century American history is immortalized quite like the 1960s. Today, the 60s are often couched in the colorful rhetoric of peace and love, complemented by stirring images from the civil rights movement. For the post-World War II generation, the decade brought hopes for a forward-thinking, more inclusive America. While much of the 1960s are fondly remembered for music, art, and activism on university campuses, the decade was also plagued by strife, ranging from the Vietnam War to American inner-city riots to the untimely deaths of several public figures who symbolized the young generation’s ambitions. As this course will demonstrate, the 1960s were a complex, ever-changing decade where struggle and disillusionment often tempered social, cultural, and political change.


FWIS 184 Gods of the Diamond, the Gridiron, and the Hardwood: Religion and Sports in America

Homewood, Nathanael∙ MWF 10:00-10:50 ∙ D1
From the origins and development of the culture of athletic competition in America through the contemporary professionalization of sport, from James Naismith to Russell Wilson, this course will look at the curious intersection between sport and religion in America. This course will approach this intersection in two distinct ways. The first is, how do religion and sport work together as separate but cooperative entities in culture-shaping. For example, how is God invoked during matches, how do religion and sport cooperate in defining the ideal human body, gender, sexuality etc.? The second is to consider sport as a religion, filled with rituals of its own that make it meaningful and central to those who watch and participate. Each week a case study (an athlete, a team, or an event) will be presented alongside academic works that will help us analyze how the combination of religion and sport in America.


FWIS 186   Writing the Drone

LaFlamme, Marcel ∙ MWF 3:00-3:50 ∙ D2
The unmanned aircraft, or drone, has become one of the icons of a controversial and seemingly endless War on Terror. Meanwhile, civilian drones are crisscrossing farm fields and Hollywood movie sets, even as online retailers are promising drone deliveries to our doorsteps. How do we make sense of this technology and its newfound ubiquity in our culture? What practices of sensing, thinking, and writing do we need to develop in order to contend with its power? This course will offer an anthropological perspective on unmanned aviation, introducing students to a disciplinary tradition of studying technical objects and our investments in them. In the process, students will strengthen their communication skills through in-class exercises, oral presentations, writing across genres, and cycles of revision.

FWIS 188   Introduction to Engineering Design and Communication

Wettergreen, Matthew ∙ TR 9:25-10:40 ∙ D3
First-year students learn the engineering design process and use it to solve meaningful problems drawn from clients such as local hospitals and medical facilities, other local and international companies and organizations, and the Rice University community. Students work collaboratively on a team to design an engineering solution to meet the client’s need, and they use the resources of the OEDK to construct innovative solutions. Documentation is an essential element in the engineering design process.  Engineers must be able to communicate the need for a novel design, numerical design objectives, ideas for solutions, and the success or failure of a project.  During the engineering design process, students interact and communicate with teammates, the project client, instructors, and potential users. This course covers the same technical content as ENGI 120, Introduction to Engineering Design.  This course places additional emphasis on an individual’s development of the written and oral technical communication skills necessary for professional practice, especially results-oriented technical memos and oral presentations.  


FWIS 189   Post-Apocalyptic Literature and Film

Richardson, Laura ∙ TR 4:00-5:15 ∙  D1
Our culture is fascinated with its own destruction. From zombies to nuclear war, ecological disasters, aliens, disease, and killer machines, Armageddon takes many forms. Structured around ways in which we have imagined the world ending, this course charts the cultural consciousness of apocalypse. What’s at stake in envisioning annihilation? We will take a multimedia approach to the end of the world, exploring works as diverse as Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake, the Wachowski siblings' The Matrix, and Max Brooks’ World War Z. As a writing intensive course, Post-Apocalyptic Literature and Film will teach you college-level critical writing and reading skills, along with a healthy dose of doomsday phobia.

FWIS 190   Youth Rebellion: Sixties Music and the Making of a Counter-Culture

Derrick, Scott ∙ TR 2:30-3:45 ∙  D1
The 1960’s still stands as one of the most tumultuous periods of US history.  Many of the contending forces that still shape US life have complex roots there, among them civil rights, sexual liberation, environmentalism, and gay rights.  In fundamental ways, however, the sixties were also about youth culture. A massive demographic wave of kids born after WWII came crashing down on an adult world a lot of them—though not all-- didn’t much like and felt little imperative to accept.  Popular music, probably more than any other cultural form, served as this culture’s mode of self-expression.  So, sixties popular music, both US and British, will be at the center of a multi-media course that also makes use of materials in television, fiction, and film.  The most important focus of the course, however, will be on improving writing and oral presentation skills.  Students should expect to write and revise a number of short essays in the course of the semester and to make a minimum of two oral presentations.

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FWIS 193   Banned Books and Other Dangers

Fax, Joanna ∙ MW 4:00-5:15 ∙  D1
What makes a work of literature suitable for the classroom? And who gets to decide? In this class, we will read, discuss, and write about literary works made infamous by their appearance on the American banned books list. Central to our examination of these texts will be the overarching question of the role of censorship in U.S. education, and culture at large. We will investigate the complex issue of censorship and its role in public education from multiple perspectives, starting with a look at the history of educational censorship in the twentieth-century U.S.. Situating each banned work within its historical context, we will explore the ways in which individual writers responded to the cultural and political climates of their time, as well as the social conditions that made their works the objects of public scrutiny -- and, oftentimes, scorn.

FWIS 197   Déjà vu: Literary Adaptations and Spinoffs

Hargrave, Jennifer ∙ MWF 2:00-2:50 ∙  D1
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” And so begins Seth Graham-Smith’s 2009 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Since its publication in 1813, Pride and Prejudice has been adapted for television and film and, most recently, has been overrun by the living dead. The post-publication genealogy of Pride and Prejudice is only one example in a history of literary adaptations. Both the numerous adaptations of Shakespearean drama and the contemporary retellings of fairy tales are evidence of a cultural compulsion to revisit familiar stories. What motivates these literary adaptations? How do we tell a fresh, new story while also staying true to the original? In this course, we will look at five different narratives and their cultural afterlives in order to understand the motivations behind adaptations and to determine the criteria for a successful remake.