Course Descriptions: Fall 2009
Honors course curriculum remains the same from year to year but the topics change each semester. We invite you to browse through past course offerings to get an idea of what the various course topics have been. Check out the current offerings below or click on past semesters to the right.
An introduction to the Honors Program and university. Study skills for accomplished students. Avoiding common pitfalls. Honors community building, leadership development, service learning, campus resources, and campus life.
Introduction to Shakespeare
Exploration of the rich works of Shakespeare to appreciate and enjoy his powerful, complex and multi-layered plays. Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Richard III. Informal journal, three or four papers, writing skills.
Intro to Communication
This course focuses on theory and practice related to communication studies in general, and to interpersonal, small group, and public communication in particular. You will read about and discuss important ideas about how communication influences individuals and society, and you will apply those ideas in order to enhance your ability to work well with others and to improve your capacities to think critically, organize clearly, and speak effectively.
Your iPod – Whose Story?
Assume that knowledge is infinite and that each of us brings to the University a wealth of experience that can only be shared through story as we pursue further understanding. As we tell our stories, how can we adapt to a technology that defines the narrative medium?
Historic American Political Issues
Study of political issues, their impact on elections and government policies.
The course will be a process of critical engagement, first locating the “limit situation” conditions that define and to some degree contain feminism. Several “women warriors” who may not self-identify as feminists—either because the term did not exist, or from commitments that transcend the label. We take liberties with definitions, naming “militant” as assertive and dedicated and “warriors” as determined defenders of rights. We “take liberty” when freedom, fairness and opportunity are denied...we take them because they are not given.
Gender and Technology
Course will explore mutual shaping of gender and technology in society. Critical thinking and active learning in a seminar format are required.
Philosophy and Religion in the Matrix Films
Exploration of the meaning of knowledge, reality, consciousness, freedom, fate, good, evil, faith and enlightenment and the very meaning of existence using the Matrix movies as a springboard of discussion.
Cinema of African American Women
This course is designed to introduce students to the cinematic images African American women
create. Specifically, the course will investigate how black women filmmakers:
- articulate their vision of the relationship between black women and society
- translate social, political, and cultural issues into a cinematic statement
- construct a didactic, cinematic narrative in which a female voice is undergirded by an empowering, emancipatory aesthetic.
American Musical Theater
This course traces the development of the American Musical Theatre as a social and cultural force throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Readings and in-class viewings will focus on the musical’s relation to national identity, racial depictions, and gender models throughout recent history.
The history of Western Philosophy narrated in the context of a novel about a mystery.
How should the goods produced in society be distributed? This course will examine how the various products of society are, and ought to be, distributed, including rights, liberties, wealth, income, health care, education and opportunities. Is it fair for the wealthy to pay higher taxes than the poor? Are health care and education social goods that should be distributed equally to all? Students will examine a variety of different theories of distribution and arrive at their own answer to the question: What is a just distribution of society's resources?
Psychodynamics of the Family
The course explores the family as a system within the context of other larger social systems such as organizations (e.g. schools, workplaces, businesses, faith based orgs.,) localities (e.g., neighborhoods, towns and cities, regions), and macrosystems (cultures, societies, governments, mass media, international systems, belief systems). It focuses on family as a system and the impact that culture, belief systems, laws, regulations, and other societal forces have on family structure and functioning.
Psychology of Gifted Women
While gifted women make up 50% of individuals with high intellectual potential and ability, they are seriously underrepresented in positions of power and authority. Research on gifted women indicates that they face both internal and external barriers to the fulfillment of their potential. The ambitious dual purpose of this course is: 1) to examine barriers to achievement in women and 2) to overcome them. Students will explore the lives of gifted women from both historical and psychological perspectives. Students will examine the results of longitudinal studies of gifted women to identify characteristics that apply to their own lives. A Life Dream Project will help you to both analyze your goals and to assess your progress toward achieving them. If you have ever denied that you were gifted, thinking of yourself as merely an “overachiever”, this course is definitely for you!
Gender and the Body
This course will examine key issues around the gendered body. We will start from the grounding feminist tenet that gender is a social construction, and then explore various feminist theories and commentaries about how that shapes our understandings of various bodies. We will consider how different bodies are positioned in power dynamics of race, class, gender, sexual identity, and national location. That is, we will examine how we learn particular relations between bodies and how those relations are experienced. This course will foreground the relationship between gender and power, the body and identity. We will therefore look at how women in particular are denied or are able to claim authority over their bodies. We will read both creative and critical Women's Studies work to address issues such as:
- The Body and Our Sense of Identity
- The process of Gendered Socialization
- Beauty and Body Image
- Constructions of Masculinity and Femininity
- The Body and Sexual Identity
- LGBT Issues, Bodies, and Gender Performance
- How Bodies are Racialized
- Representation of the Body in Popular Culture
- The Medicalization of the Body
- Eating Disorders
- Feminist Disability Theory
- Reshaping and Altering the Body
- Body Modification Rituals
- Embodied Experiences
- Reclaiming the Power over our Bodies
The course will disrupt the mind/body split to instead explore how our understandings of our bodies and those of others affect us physically, psychologically, and emotionally. Students will develop their abilities to critically analyze theories about the body and strengthen their sense of their own relationship to their own body. To that end, we will combine intellectual discussions of the issues listed above with creative activities designed to enhance our sense of embodiment, including journal exercises on the five senses and reflections on their experiences doing everyday activities, such as exercising or eating. As students become mindful of their own senses of embodiment, they will also learn how to connect them to the feminist course content. They will thus learn how to apply the issues to their everyday life. The class will conclude with a collaborative activity in which students work collectively to contribute something to the campus community about the issues we have discussed, thus working toward social change. We will also leave students with some feminist strategies for sustaining and empowering and healthy relationship with one's body in the future.