Courses for First-Year Students
Green Day's words, "Don't want to be an American Idiot," reflected contemporary America in important ways. Yet how do we avoid this fate, being an American Idiot? In this interdisciplinary seminar, we will think beyond the media, for ourselves, examining and re-examining our beliefs and assumptions in significant ways. We will use our time together to get outside the lines, to question our views of the world in new and challenging ways. What are your views on contemporary slavery? Are we implicated in the death of Sudanese in the Sudan? What do we think about such global issues, and, more importantly, how do we decide what to think about these issues?
So often, we concentrate on what we know, the accumulation of material, rather than the perspectives we bring to this material. No matter how old we are, we tend to see things the same over and over, forgetting to recognize how different people, or just different perspectives, can lead us to enact different realities. This course will challenge us to achieve something better. We can gain new perspectives that enable us to change both the world around us and ourselves. We can examine new ways of thinking and see what these ways can offer us. Finally, we can decide what we want to accomplish in our world and use these ways of seeing to help us develop innovative ways of acting in the world.
Team-Taught Course for Second-Year Students
Literary journalism involves employing fiction techniques when writing non-fiction stories. The effect is extremely compelling and has resulted in some of literary history's most memorable accounts, including a look at the sharecropper experience after the depression, a ride on a bus with a writer and his acid-dropping friends and the discovery of government-funded weapons used to massacre an entire village. In this class you will study the masters who started the movement as well as current writers, and in the end produce your own piece of literary journalism.
While much scientific literature exists on substance abuse, interpretations of this literature to the general public are often oversimplified and inaccurate. The most effective safeguards from personal and societal disruption due to substance abuse are reliable scientific research and data collection, accurate interpretation of information, accessible and accurate education and ongoing research that addresses the myriad of controversial issues related to abuse, addiction, treatment, laws and public policy. This course will focus on investigating and exploring substance abuse issues both in the United States and abroad and teaching the skills to look critically at relevant research and how statistics can be used and abused in debating controversial issues. We will concentrate on abuse, addiction, prevention, treatment, policy strategies and continued good scientific inquiry.
Have you wondered how people can believe in God today? Do religion and science have any common ground for discussion about meaning and purpose in human life? How are our images of God connected to the scientific findings of any given age? Does the present age offer us any path that overcomes the Enlightenment model of science and religion as enemies, without common ground? If you have wondered about these questions and felt that the divide between science and religion was too vast to bridge, then this course will provide an opportunity to think about these questions in new and creative ways. This course will explore the intersection between religion and science from ancient metaphysics through Galileo to modern Chaos theory in order to see if new paradigms are emerging that might address centuries old antagonisms between the scientific and religious communities.
Courses for Upper-Class Honors Students
Students in this seminar will learn how the perception of cities has changed in the past 50 years. Readings from economics, urban planning, and literature will be combined with films and television shows to illustrate this evolution. Prerequisite: successful completion of sophomore writing test.
Seminars for First-Year Students
(First-year students must take one of HNR 175 or 131)
This course will begin with an overview of humanities, an overview that will include traditional methods, periodization, and key "monuments." Students will learn about the different theoretical approaches used in the Humanities through explanations, samples, and by trying their own hand at using them. They will examine the theme of love in various works of art and contexts. Finally, they will do a project using two approaches and one aspect of love on a work of their choosing.
C. Wright Mills argued that the task of the “sociological imagination” is to demonstrate how the seemingly private lives of persons are connected to the wider society in which they live. This seminar will take up Mills’s challenge to understand how and why visions of selfhood have changed during the last century in the United States. In particular, the course will consider the nature of individualism; reflect upon the varieties of self-experience, especially as influenced by such factors as age, gender, ethnicity, class, region, and sexual orientation; and consider whether the different segments of American society – economics, politics, religion, sport, media, education, and so forth – encourage somewhat different visions of selfhood. The class will work together to develop portraits of diverse American selves.
Team-Taught Courses for Second-Year Students
Fears of Communism and the nuclear bomb, questions about America's role as the free world's lone superpower, and concerns about changing social mores were shaped and filtered during the Cold War by an increasingly omnipresent mass media. The advent of television brought about unprecedented opportunities to inform an increasingly uneasy public, but also proved to be an effective vehicle for manipulation by savvy politicians and media consultants through news events and campaign advertising. At the same time, new media voices appeared in the alternative press that emboldened citizens to question the status quo. This course will explore the interrelationship among the press, the political system, and public opinion during the Cold War era and seek to understand how each influenced the others.
This course will focus on the Civil Rights Movement, when black and white activists used the tactics of direct, nonviolent action to end the system of segregation in the United States. By immersing ourselves in literary and autobiographical accounts of this fascinating historical development - thereby studying it from an explicitly more personal and human perspective than in more traditional scholarly texts - we hope to gain an appreciation for the complexity and ambiguity of this important development in the history of our nation.