Honors Program

2013-2014 Honors Courses

Fall 2013

GST 110 H1 & H2  - GST 110 Honors

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 238 A – The Southern Renaissance: Bounty out of Red Clay
Midgette & Warman - (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 278 A - Who's Leading Whom? Press, Politics and Public During the Cold War
Roselle & Makemsom –  (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.

Spring 2014

HNR 137 A –  Intellectual History
Carignan -  (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 138 A- Impact of Microcredit
DeLoach- (Society)

Over the past two decades, microcredit, and microfinance in general, has been hailed by the development community for its ability to lift millions out of the grip of extreme poverty. More recently, many (including academic economists) have begun to question whether the microfinance lives up to its hype. This course will be address (1) whether there is scientific evidence that these programs accomplish what policy-makers intend and (2) does the evidence suggest better ways to design these programs. Students will learn about the economic challenges facing families in poverty and the role that access to credit, savings, and insurance plays in their daily lives. Special emphasis will be given to the development of generalizable research  skills.

HNR 237 A- Life in the Universe
Crider & Weston- (Non-lab Science or Expression)
This course is a wide-angled exploration of contemporary thinking about life and intelligence beyond Earth. We explore astrobiology and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, both in scientific terms and against their cultural and philosophical background. What are the main arguments for and against extraterrestrial life and intelligence? What might extraterrestrial life or intelligence be like? What is the probability that we could discover either within our galaxy? How might such a discovery change our understanding of ourselves and the universe?
HNR 241 A-Modern Families
Basirico & Esposito- (Society)

This interdisciplinary course will explore modern families from a variety of social science perspectives. Theories, concepts and
scholarly research from Human Service Studies and Sociology will be used to understand the emergence of the diversity of contemporary families in US society, the issues and interpersonal dynamics within students’ families of orientation and future families of procreation, the relationship between other social institutions and contemporary family life, and ways to approach problems within families.