Course Descriptions: Fall 2011
Honors Seminar I
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.
Sustainability - Ross
This course is concerned with the development of the critical reading and writing skills that you will need in all aspects of your university education. In short, it is about argumentation: recognizing the character, structure, and strategies of the argument you encounter in your reading; learning to organize the mount persuasive arguments in your own writing. This section of Honors 160 takes as its special theme the issue of stainability. We will read, analyze, and discuss the arguments relevant to this pressing issue made by the New York Times journalist Thomas L. Friedman in his book Hot, Flat, and Crowded. Students will write essays if their own which analyze arguments, both written and visual, as well as a research paper on a specific topic of their own choosing related to stainability.
American Public Documents - Inkster
Most of us have heard of how Lincoln's Cooper Union speech in 1860 launched him into national prominence as a leading presidential candidate, but how many of us have actually read that speech? I have not read it myself until a couple years ago, when I saw it compared to Barack Obama's Philadelphia speech on race in America. These two documents, parts of the long conversations that describes who we have been as Americans and who we might become, are some of the things we will read in this course. I think Lincoln occupies a unique place in this conversation, so I want us to read some more of his key pieces of discourse-certainly the first and second inaugural speeches and the Gettysburg address, for example. We'll also look at some of the founders and some of the discourse- Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton... and we'll look at people closer to our own time who have contributed significantly to the conversation: Roosevelt, Eisenhower, M.L. King Jr., Reagan, Obama, and Bush. These will be the kinds of people we will be looking at. One critical question I hope we'll keep asking is how these people are speaking to us at our own moment in history, how they may inform our contemporary discourse about public policy. With that question in mind, we'll also look at some of the questions we contend with now, some of the current public discourse around these questions, and how this contemporary discourse locates itself in the longer conversations and appeals to these great documents.
Classics by Women - Abartis
We will read and discuss fiction by women. These masterpieces depict women as strong and weak, artistic and philistine, educated and ignorant, ambitious and deluded, intelligent and small-minded, remarkable and ordinary- a whole range of possibilities and flaws (and the men are interesting as well). The authors are British, American, and Danish. We will read some of the following works: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (1813), Carson McCullers' The Ballad of the Sad Cafe and Other Stories (1951), Karen Blixen's Anecdotes of Destiny (1958), Grace Paley's Enormous Changes at the Last Minute (1974), Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Clib (1989), Jamaica Kincaid's Anne John (1958), Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome (1911), or Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber. The works are complex and they reward study as powerful individual visions and as intense works of the imaginations. Students will keep an informal journal of their thoughts on the works we read and will write three or four formal papers. We will practice techniques for achieving clarity and grace in writing: parallelism, conciseness, precise word choice, appropriate punctuation, and variation in sentence length.
Intro to Communication - Secklin and Wells
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.
Genocide to Democracy - Tabakin
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, oir government, and our 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.
Parks & People - Blinnikov
Protected natural areas (PNAs, e.g. parks and nature preserves) are an important component of the geographical landscape. They serve triple function of preserving biodiversity, educating people about nature, and providing recreational opportunities. PNAs are influenced by nuanced political and economic decisions and are in turn responsible for influencing human populations in and around the parks. This class will explore PNAs from these two interconnected perspectives. We will study history, ecology, and policy-making using a few local parks (e.g. Quarry Park County Park, Lake Maria State Park, Sherburne Wildlife Refuge) and famous national and international parks (e.g. Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, BWCAW, Denali, Altaysky and Teberdinsky Zapovednicks in Russia, and come African, Latin American, and Australian parks); to understand interrelationships of humans and biodiversity in them and to better appreciate the complexity of decision-making involved in managing these territories. The course will challenge students to formulate appropriate sustainable policies of park management while understanding basic environmental and cultural constraints. Format will be a combination of lectures, readings, discussions, role-playing games, fieldwork, and park design exercises.
World of Travel and Tourism - Kambach
This course is designed to introduce and give a basic understanding of the nature, segmentation, and historical development, social, economic, and cultural aspects of the industry. An introduction of the world of travel and tourism, with special emphasis on its industries, systems, and career opportunities. This course introduces students to international tourism, including definitions and historical development, positive and negative impacts, visitor motivations and market issues. Both domestic and international issues and examples will be covered.
Gender and Technology - Kasi
This course will explore mutual shaping of gender and technology in society. Critical thinking and active learning in a seminar format are required.
Film Noir & History - Wenz
Studying the relationship of cinema and history in the U.S. and other countries, and how cinema reflects the history, culture and politics of the countries that are represented in films. Focus on history and filmmaking around the World War II era, directors who emigrated to the U.S., bringing their European film making styles with them, influencing American film, and reflecting attitudes that were affected by war.
Honors Studio Art: Painting - Byers
The Greek Ideal – Kroll
Concepts of perfection – human and divine – are examined by delving into the culture of Greece. The course will examine the manifestation of those ideals in language, art, literature, philosophy, and religion. The period covered will be from Classical Greece, to Byzantine Greece, to Ottoman Greece. An introduction to the Greek language is included, followed by perusal of foundational texts, examination of Greek philosophy, mythology, and monotheism, and a comparison of Byzantine iconography to the classical and neo-classical art of the culture. The enduring value and impact of these tenets on American culture and society will be discussed.
Russian Literature, Language, & Culture - Mikolchak
This course will introduce you to the Russian literature, language, and culture to the extent where you would learn to understand and appreciate cultural differences, see how things can be misconstructed because they are different from what you are used to and what a person can do to bridge the barriers between cultures. We'll explore different elements of culture, read some short stories, and learn the basics of the Russian alphabet. We'll also arrange a cooking night and take a trip to the Russian Museum in the Cities.
Albert Camus' Existentialism - Neiman
"Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest... comes afterwards." - Albert Camus
In this course, we will use Albert Camus' novels and philosophical works to examine important existentialist issues, including the meaning of life and the possibility of freedom, morality and love, and the contradictions of human society. Readings will include The Stranger, The Fall, The Myth of Sisyphus, and The Rebel.
"To the extent to which he imagined a purpose to his life, he adapted himself to the demands of a purpose to be achieved and became the slave of his liberty. Thus I could not act otherwise than that I am preparing to be." - Albert Camus
Science and Pseudoscience - Shaffer
We live in a world that has made us increasingly dependent on science and technology in numerous and fundamental ways. At the same time, we have access to an unprecedented quantity of what appears to be information via the internet, television, and other sources. This has resulted in a deeply a problematic situation. Specifically, we need to be able to distinguish bona fide scientific information from the vast mass of misinformation based on bad science and pseudo--science that we are exposed to. Examples of this problem around in physical medicine, biology, psychology, and even in the fundamental sciences themselves. This class will explore the differences between science, pseudo-science, and bad science. The goal of this course will be to develop the sorts of intellectual tools necessary to make these distinctions and to discuss their significance for our culture in general and public policy making in particular.
Puzzles and Problems - Hartz
This course won't have a single theme running through it, but instead looks at how ordinary concepts can give rise to extraordinary puzzles. Come find the odd lurking under the everyday.
Empowering Women - Stillwell
Becoming a leader is more than a set of techniques ot following a recipe. The art of leadership involves embarking on a personal journey in and through which you will discover the qualities, passions, interests, goals, and vision that will best serve you and those whom you serve. This class will offer you the opportunity to engage in conceptual growth, imaginative exercises, and community service in order to develop personal insight and social responsibilities towards your role as a woman in leadership. This course will assist the student in examining gender, social structures, culture, and variations of management and leadership styles. Social, economic, and cultural contexts differentially affect women (i.e. how women are viewed, how women's contributions are perceived and evaluated, and the opportunities that are available to women). Understanding social constructs and gender roles (traditional and contemporary) will assist the students in developing their personal style as women in leadership.
Gender & the Body - Berila
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. This is, we will examine how we learn particular relations 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 the bodies.
Boys, Men, and Masculinities - Hoover
This course is designed as an introduction to the emerging field of men's studies. It is an exploration of the nature of masculinity; in particular the bio-psycho-social perspectives of men, their development, and their relations. This course explored issues around men's development, gender rold conflict, fathering issues, men's health behaviors, emotionality, and other major issues surrounding constraints and potentialities of boys and men. It should be made clear that the men's study field has emerged out the domain of women's studies and is not in contrast to or in opposition to women's studies. In fact. most of the current research in men's studies are themselves self-identifies as pro-men feminist.