Honors Program

2012-13 Honors Courses

Fall 2012 Courses

GST 110 H1 & H2  - GST 110 Honors
Braye, 10:30-12:10 p.m., TTH


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.

HNR 239 A - Mass Culture/Youth Culture: Popular Culture in Post-War America, 1945-1974
M. Frontani, –  8-9:40 a.m., TTH (Society or Expression)

The course introduces students to the post-war American mass culture with its youth orientation, and takes as its focus art, film, music, television, literature, comic books, and related artifacts. Students will be introduced to Critical/Cultural approaches to studying society and its production.  Students will explore the impact of the “baby boom” on American society, particularly as it relates to the youth culture and associated developments in mass media and cultural production. Students will be introduced to concepts of mass art and theories of mass culture, and will consider the meaning of “mass”—a term that was greatly debated in the postwar years; they will consider the extent to which American mass culture is ‘mere entertainment,’ and the degree to which it contains ideological and political value; they will consider the interplay of elite culture/High Art and popular culture/popular art; and, they will consider the degree to which mass culture manifests the conflict between the elite establishment and the popular.  Contemporary films, music, and art, and broadcast (television and radio) will provide materials for analysis.

HNR 278 A - Who's Leading Whom? Press, Politics and Public During the Cold War
Roselle & Makemsom – 10:30-12:10 p.m. TTH (Civilization or Society)

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.

HNR 236 A - The Silk Road and Beyond:  Religion, Art, and Exchange in the Age of Global Empires
Michael Pregill and Pam Winfield – (Civilization and Expression)

Spring 2013 Courses

HNR 137 A –  Intellectual History
Carignan - 10:30-12:10 TTH (Civilization)

This course is designed to provide students opportunities to critically understand the historical nature of our own important ideas by examining the ways in which ideas have evolved through the last 300 years of European history.  In order to understand the major, modern intellectual movements—Enlightenment,  Romanticism, Developmentalism, Fin de Siecle, Modernism, Existentialism, and Deconstruction—we will read classic works ranging from philosophy to history and literature from the major figures who have asked and/or responded to the very deepest questions that have captivated modern, Western civilization. Threading many of the movements will be the enduring themes of freedom, critique, historical consciousness, the “death” of God, and the inescapable disappearance of certainties.  Writers include: Kant, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, Darwin, Nietzsche, Kafka, Freud, Sartre, Camus, Derrida, and Borges.

HNR 139 A – Bioethics-Understanding the basic biological processes and ethics involved to make informed decisions
Miyomoto, - 9:25-10:50 a.m. MWF (Non-Lab Science)

The focus of the course is to introduce and teach the basic biological processes and to dicuss the ethical issues encountered in our daily lives.  Whether the scientific application comes across in a meal made with genetically modified foods, from a vaccination, or a therapy to treat a disease, it is difficult to escape the impact science has on our lives. Understanding how the biological processes work at the basic level and how they enhance our lives is important to make knowledgeable choices. Students will gain an understanding of the basic biological processes and discuss the ethical issues related to the use or application of technology in the course.

HNR 238 A – The Southern Renaissance: Bounty out of Red Clay
Midgette & Warman -  10:30-12:10 TTH (Expression & Civilization)

By studying the literature of the South that emerged during the Southern Renaissance (between the end of the First World War and the early Civil Rights Movement) and connecting that literature to its historical context, students will be introduced to the rich theoretical and critical debates within the disciplines of literature and history.  Students will gain an appreciation of the incredibly diverse layers that make up cultural identity. 
By the end of the semester students will have combined their strengthened interpretive skills with knowledge gained about the Southern Renaissance to craft a significant research project on a topic they have chosen with some relevance to their own discipline.

HNR 240 A – Om a Little Louder: The Reincarnation of Yoga in Modern American Culture
Kearns & Lellis – 2:20-4:40 p.m. TTH (no GST fulfillment as yet)

Now a multi-billion dollar industry in the U.S., the spiritual and physical practice of yoga was first recognized and celebrated in India more than 5,000 years ago. Students will critically examine how communication and media influence the public perception of yoga, encourage trends in the practice and meet the demands of popular consumer culture. Theoretical foundations of marketing, public relations and advertising will be introduced to support students in producing individual research projects. Students will simultaneously engage in significant study of the ancient traditions of yoga and the texts that contextualized the discipline and apply them to their modern-day lives. Students will participate in a physical yoga practice and/or reflection period each week.