Course Descriptions: Spring 2009

HONS 106

Honors Seminar II
Continuation of HONS 100. Community building, leadership development, service learning, and life skills for academically talented students. Required in a student’s first year in Honors.

HONS 160

Greek and Roman Lit
The Geeks and Romans produced some of the most successful literature in human history, and they created one of the world’s most beautiful and powerful mythologies. In this class we will study that mythology through three major areas on literature: Homer’s Iliad, selected tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, texts which together both give us both the breadth and depth of the world of Greece and Rome. The class will keep a daily reader’s journal and write twenty pages of critical papers throughout the semester, including a documented research paper.

Bible as Lit
Even if it was divinely inspired, the Bible was written by many authors over many centuries, and expresses deep and changing understandings of what it is to be human. Team taught with Éttien Koffi, a linguist of Biblical languages.

We will read and discuss such classics as Homer's Odyssey (Greek), Voltaire's Candide (French), Shakespeare's As You Like It (British), Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (British), and one or two contemporary works, possibly Cynthia Ozick's The Shawl, or Jamaica Kincaids' Annie John, or Charles Johnson's Middle Passage. The first four works are acknowledged masterpieces; that is, according to readers from hundreds of years, they elicit great and complex pleasures. As for the modern novels, I think you will like them too. The characters in all of these works are -- like you -- on voyages of discovery: they leave home and return or establish a new home with an enlarged sense of identity. Students will learn how to use the resources of the library to research topics. Students will practice incorporating the research of other scholars into their own writing with the use of brackets, ellipsis dots, quotation marks, notes, and bibliographies.

The Trial of Anne Hutchinson
The Trial of Anne Hutchinson is a truly exciting and student-engaged course that travels back to the time of the Puritans and actually assigns students roles in this pivotal trial. They will reenact the event, but the outcome need not be the same as the historical one. Anne upset the Puritan leaders because she was an individual who believed in freedom of thought, freedom of speech, and freedom to worship. Our class will use persuasive rhetoric to relive this time. Though there are those who seek to free Anne, it will be the role of others to prosecute her. Students will win or lose by the goals and points their character meets, but the grade is assigned by papers (given as speeches) and activeparticipation in the game.

HONS 170

Intro to Communication Studies
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.

HONS 210

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?

HONS 213

How often and with what horror do nations, governments, and the people they represent abhor and condemn the genocidal actions of others while denying, justifying, and exorcising the genocidal actions of our nation, our government, and our own complicity? Let us consider the founding of “our” democracy and “our” conquests on the dismembered bodies, blighted hopes, and convenient disappear­ance of those who were in our way. How has the concept of “genocide” been contained to limit culpability? The commercial meaning of genocide in North America. Imperialism, race, religion and oil in present day Africa—Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Darfur.

HONS 230

Heroes, Villains, and Fools
The archetypes of heroes and villains are the cornerstone of literature and film that inspire us and fill us with awe. We will examine the sometimes thin line that separates the hero from the villain and we will delve into their traits and the paths they take using literature and film.

Rock and Roll Cinema
This course analyzes several aspects of the relationship between rock music and movies. In studying rock and film as commodities, it explores how interlocking entertainment industry structures encourage the cross-promotion of music and movies. Also of interest are how movies incorporate rock music aesthetically, how race, gender, class, and generation shape the ideological construction of rock and roll culture in movies, and how audiences interpret the meaning of rock in film.

HONS 250

Existentialism: Meaning and Death
This course focuses on some of the fundamental issues human beings encounter as they struggle to understand their existence.  How does faith, or a lack of faith, impact how one understands their lives? What can one really know about death, and how does this impact the meaning one assigns to their existence? These questions, and others, will be examined through the thought of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Sartre, Camus and others.

Death, Dying, and the Quality of life
No description available at this time.

HONS 251

Vision of Islam
"Islam" is an Arabic word that means "submission", and specifically "submission to God's will". It also designates a religion based on a sacred scripture, the Koran. A "Muslim" is one who has submitted to God's will, or who follows the religion of Islam. The Koran is a book that God revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through the angel Gabriel. That is the basic outline of a story believed by about one-fifth of humanity. Our first task will be to fill in the details of this story, and to gain a thorough understanding of the main aspects of the religion and civilization of Islam. Our next task will be to use this understanding to engage with selected texts of the Islamic intellectual tradition, from both classical and contemporary authors. Possible topics include: Ghazali and the quest for certainty, Averroes on the harmony between religion and philosophy, Sufism, Illuminationism, faith and reason in Islam, Islamic responses to modernism and secularism, Islamic approaches to the problems of religious diversity.

HONS 260

Hypnosis, Mediation, and Storytelling
Identity development, including the development of values and worldview, is influenced by stories that are told to us through various mediums by and through significant people in our lives. This course will help you explore those stories, their sources, influences, and meaning in order to understand the impact that they have on the way you see yourself and the world. These stories have a strong hypnotic quality suggesting to us what we should think and how we should act. Once identified, you will have the opportunity to explore the impact of these stories via the use of self-hypnosis and meditation. Developing an understanding of basic self-hypnosis and meditation techniques will assist you to become a critical consumer of the stories that are driving your life at an unconscious level by becoming aware of the messages embedded in the story as well as the voice doing the telling. These techniques will also serve as tools for editing and/or rewriting the stories that you believe are problematic.

HONS 263

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.

HONS 421

Environmental Science, Technology, and Globalization: pathways to Sustainability
This interdisciplinary course will provide a valuable opportunity to identify and connect central issues of Environmental Science through the lenses of Technology and Globalization. This course will highlight the overarching roles humans play in our planet’s environmental problems and successes. Students will see the complexity of making judicious and sustainable choices, when solutions are made on a local-to-global scale. This innovative course will help you understand the interrelationships of energy, environment, and society so that we can take care of the “Planet in Peril” and ourselves!

HONS 440

Homer and Troy
We will read and discuss Homer's Iliad (about the war between Greece and Troy) and Odyssey (about the Greeks' journey home after the war with the Trojans). By reading works that are not from our own contemporary culture, our imaginative sympathy is enlarged and, of course, our understanding of our own culture is increased: learning about even one other culture helps us to imagine other cultures of the world, helps us to experience vicariously the lives of other people across time and space, helps us to understand our own better. We will also view videotapes about ancient Greece. These epics are exciting works that have been pleasing listeners and readers for 27 centuries (Monsters! Heroes! Conflict! Love!) Students will keep an informal journal of their thoughts on the works we read and will write three or four short papers.

HONS 261

Cultural History of Modern Sci China
This course will look at the development and history of sciences in China through its interactions with Europeans in late Imperial China, 1580-1895. The intricate relations and clashes between natural sciences, religions, politics, races within China, and the reception and resistance to the new ideas before the modernization of China make the study of the period in China an invaluable tool to better grasp Chinese views and philosophy as well as to understand what makes the modern China the way it is today.

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