What the Bleep Do We Know and How Do We Know It: Perceiving Politics in the 21st Century

All films are based on perception; so are politics. Surprised? No, we didn’t think so.

This FYE will examine the way in which we perceive phenomena, such as politicians’ promises, government initiatives, films and internet video content—and how we retain and process those impressions. Do we really understand the nuances of what we consume via television, the internet and other media?

Are you a future Academy Award-winning film maker? The next power-wielding political wonk? Do you realize that many of the current award-winning films are explicitly political: Lincoln, Django Unchained, Argo, Les Miserables, Zero Dark Thirty?

Film and video are dominant vehicles for communicating political ideas and action; they are also powerful vehicles for studying those ideas. By examining selected films, videos and broadcasts, we’ll study American government and politics while we analyze how ideas are created, transmitted, and remembered.

This is an FYE for deep thinkers, activists, artists. It is not The Breakfast Club. Be prepared to start your day tackling the intricacies and complexities within the main drivers of American society. Yes, this will be a tough one; but just as in politics and filmmaking, the long days are hard work and have their own special reward.

Did we mention that you get to make a short political film during the course? Let’s aim for our own political film festival!

The Politics and Film and Philosophy FYE Program brings together these analytical disciplines in two full courses: Philosophy at the introductory level and American Government and Politics. These inquiries are connected not only by their presence in the media, but by common approaches to problem solving via thorough analytical reasoning.

PHIL 170 Film and Philosophy–Dr. Jeff Steele
The Film and Philosophy course gives you an opportunity to interrogate your assumptions about…anything...everything. Specifically, we will discuss the phenomena of perception, imagination and memory. These functions are extremely important to our experience of film, culture and politics. From this understanding you will learn to interpret the processes that create the circumstances around us. You will never look at your surroundings in the same way as you enhance your observation skills and analytical thought process through in-class training and discussion—combined with the practical experience of creating a phenomenon of your own.

POLS 120 American Government and Politics–Prof. John Williams
This is the study of the American political system and formation of public policy, primarily at the national level. We examine political culture, constitutions and constitutionalism, democratic theory, and federalism. We look at various elements of political behavior: public opinion, interest groups, political parties, and the electoral campaigns. We look at political institutions, such as the Congress, the presidency, and the judicial system.  And, we will do this through the lens of moving images—film, video, television, and web content.

In addition, each FYE program contains an Integrated Learning Course (ILC) required of all first-time students. In this three-semester-hour course students develop learning skills needed for successful completion of college-level academics and lifelong learning. Students will learn strategies for generating and revising good writing, how to conduct well-documented research, participate in deep class discussions, prepare effective oral presentations, and develop strong critical thinking skills. Topics also include organizational and time management skills, and how to gain the most from your college academic experience.

Explore the connections between the humanities and social science disciplines that will ground you in the practice of problem solving—perception, analysis and application.

PHIL 170   WB   Film and Philosophy                           (GEH) 3SH     M W F 8:00-8:50 a.m.
POLS 120  WB   American Government and Politics  (GESS)   3SH     M W F 9:00-9:50 a.m.
GEN 101    WB  Integrated Learning                             3SH     M W F 10:00-10:50 a.m.