Honors Program

2014-2015 Honors Courses

Fall 2014

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 242 A- Cultural Approaches to Health Communication
Palmquist & Austin- (Society or Expression)

What is health communication and what does it have to do with anthropology? The goal of this interdisciplinary course is to cultivate students’ ability to think critically about the culture concept and how it translates into health communication practices. Students will be introduced to a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives that inform the study of culture-based approaches to health communication, including applied anthropology, health communication theory, international public health, and biocultural anthropology. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to: describe the importance of cultural approaches to the practice of health communication; identify the important ethical dilemmas intrinsic to applying the cultural concept in health communication messages; compare the advantages and disadvantages of various types of “culture-based” communication theories and strategies; and construct culturally appropriate, evidence-based health communication messages. This course, which combines leading edge theories from health communications and critical theory from anthropology, will prepare students from many majors to navigate culturally complex issues within their own fields of study.

HNR 278 A -  Press and Politics 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 2015

HNR 134 A - Forging Culture: Books, politics and children (Expression)- Dr. Megan Isaac

This course will examine children's and young adult literature as a pivot point for cultural, political, and historical identity in the United States.  Children and the issues related to them are often the focus of cultural conflicts in the U.S.  Members of the class will explore these overt and covert conflicts as they appear in children's literature.  We will investigate how books for children and young readers help shape the values that provide us with a cultural identity and a sense of community. Simultaneously, we will examine the complicated or contentious ideas embedded in books for children and young adults.  Beginning with authors from the late 19th century and working our way forward, we will explore ideas of intellectual freedom and censorship, nostalgia and innovation, didacticism and entertainment, and the constant tension between conservative and subversive trends in books for young readers.  Our study will center on books (both textual and visual elements) but include a consideration of production, distribution, and merchandizing methods as well. Ultimately, we will work to understand the ways ideas about childhood, story, books, and U.S. cultural identity are produced and contested.

HNR 138 A- Impact of MicrocreditHNR 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 240 A- Reincarnation of Yoga in Modern American Culture- Dr. J. Lellis

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.

HNR 243 A- 20th Century Dictatorships- Matthews & Kupatadze

The dictatorships that came to power in twentieth-century Latin America ruled over a vast majority of the population, including nations such as Argentina, Chile, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, etc. defining not only their historical and political, but also cultural identities. In the course we will explore these events through literary and historical narratives in order to construct a more complete picture of the effect that this traumatic experience had on Latin American societies. We will also consider why many of these dictatorships were backed by the United States and how this created a social crisis in Latin American nations that, in turn, produced moments of intense literary and artistic expressions that revealed how people coped, explained, and analyzed shared experiences of national trauma.

HNR 244 A- Sexual Ethics- Dr. Ann Cahill

This course will explore several of the most persistent controversies in the field of sexual ethics. As we analyze social phenomena such as sex work, reproductive autonomy, and polyamory, we will pay particular attention to the theoretical frameworks that underlie ethical analyses of sexual practices. To that end, we will ask the following kinds of questions: how does Western mind/body  dualism frame dominant approaches to sexual ethics? How do different ethical frameworks (such as deontology and virtue ethics) analyze problems regarding sexual ethics differently? How do theoretical approaches (such as feminist or queer theory) that focus on intersecting axes of oppression illuminate new challenges in sexual ethics? Class discussions will be informed by a wide scope of disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, biology, psychology, and economics.