Honors Program

Honors Courses 

Honors Fellows take a set of courses designed especially for them. These liberal arts courses provide intellectual challenge within a supportive small-class framework and fulfill some of the university's General Studies requirements.

Honors courses in the first and second years have two principal goals: to provide for intensive study of an academic subject while using several critical perspectives, and to prepare students for sophisticated research. Students practice communicating their ideas clearly and professionally. For some information and data about best practices for an Honors curriculum, please see the Honors Teaching Notes document we developed for both faculty and students. 

In their third and fourth years, Honors students will apply these skills to their advanced work in their majors and to design their Honors theses.

Team-taught Interdisciplinary Seminars & Multidisciplinary Seminars

Unique to Elon's Honors Program are courses taught by two professors from different fields. These are offered in the second year. Smaller, multidisciplinary seminars may also be offered.

How to Sign Up for an Honors Class

Honors Fellows sign up for Honors courses in the same manner as other courses using Elon OnTrack. Fellows should consult with their advisors before making choices. Questions should be directed to Dr. Mould or Dr. Austin.

Current & Upcoming Honors Courses

Fall 2016

COR110: The Global Experience. Steve Braye. Core

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 245 - Writing a Life / Making a Self.  Pam Kiser, Deandra Little Expression (lit) and Society

In this interdisciplinary, team-taught course, students will study contemporary examples of memoir that illustrate and explore core themes of the human experience, such as developing personal identity, navigating complex interpersonal relationships, coping with suffering, and finding one’s place in a community and in the world-at-large. We will couple the study of memoir from a literary perspective with the study of trauma, resilience, and identity formation from human service studies and social science perspectives to open up new possibilities for deepening and broadening the analyses of these texts. Fundamental to this study will be questions about how we, as humans, remember and make sense of life events and how we construct meaning and purpose in our lives through the stories that we tell ourselves and others about our experiences and about ourselves. Students will begin to explore the potential power of memoir as a tool for personal growth and self-discovery. Counts towards Society or Expression (Literature).

HNR 278 A -  Press and Politics During the Cold War. Harlen Makemson, Laura Roselle. 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.

Winter 2017

HNR 140 – Inquiry in Italy. Mike Carignan, Lynn Huber. Civilzation or Expression

For millennia the country we now call “Italy” has functioned as a sort of crossroads. This is the result of a number of factors, including its geographic location, the power wielded by the cities scattered across its land, and the grasp it has on historical imagination. Because Italy is a site of conflucence and crossing, it serves as an ideal classroom for exploring how cultural categories and identities, political, cultural, and religious, are constructed and how they change over time. Among other questions, we will explore how the categories of “east” and “west” are drawn and employed, how communities use “others” to shape their own identities, and how the past and present are related. We will think together about how “Italian” identities (i.e. Sicilian, Roman, Venetian, etc.) are formed in relation to identities from around the Mediterranean. Drawing on our expertise in history and religious studies, the faculty will think with students about how these phenomena are made visible in cities, monuments, cuisines, and traditions. The course is deliberately pitched in the middle of a first-year Honors curriculum in which students have completed Global Studies equipped with conceptual tools for thinking about the world, and before they enter a discipline-based Spring-semester course.  The faculty will model professional curiosity and academic inquiry as we explore the rich historical and religious landscapes of Italy and the ways in which historical and contemporary residents express identities in a complex and often conflicted environment.First Year Honors Fellows Only.

Spring 2017

HNR 134 A - Forging Culture: Books, politics and children. Megan Issac. Expression (can count towards the literature requirement)

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 136 A - Cosmopolitanism. Ketevan Kupatadze. Civilization

At Elon we capitalize on our desire to educate what we call “global citizens,” yet we have not considered using the phrase “cosmopolitans.” Why? Taking this question as a point of departure, this course invites students to explore the intellectual history of cosmopolitanism and the similarities and differences between being ‘global’ as opposed to ‘cosmopolitan.’ The term comes from Diogenes, the Greek philosopher, who when asked where he came from, replied: “I am a citizen of the world” [kosmopolitês]. The response was intended to mean that he was not bound to the laws of the metropolis to which he had arrived. The course, therefore, will focus on one of the most basic questions with which cosmopolitan discourse has always challenged us: why do we attach ourselves to local and/or national identities? And, based on this attachment, claim or strip away one’s rights, privileges and authority? In this context, the history and the tradition of cosmopolitanism in Latin America will prove to be illuminating, as it is a compilation of cultures highly influenced by Western socio-political, philosophical and literary discourses, but at the same time one that has always had to negotiate its peripheral place vis-à-vis the European center while searching for its own coherent identity.

HNR 244 A- Sexual Ethics. Ann Cahill. Expression

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.

HNR 274 - Building Better Communities with Civic Technologies. Derek Lackaff. Society

From top-down government initiatives to grassroots community projects in Alamance County and elsewhere, the Triangle area has become a hub for empowering citizens and enhancing civic engagement. Technologies are being leveraged to increase public participation, improve access to government, promote effective local journalism and information sharing, and improve the accountability and responsiveness of public institutions. This course will introduce key concepts of open governance and e-government, e-participation, and democratic deliberation. Our exploration will be historical (looking at how these functions were performed in other times and places), theoretical (focusing on how different writers have conceived of civic engagement, public participation, and social capital), technological (understanding how the affordances and uses of different kinds of technology enabled them to achieve one or another of these goals), and applied (seeking future models for how citizens and policy makers might collaborate to better meet the political needs of our times). We will also consider how emerging social media practices may be altering our conception of democracy, government, citizenship, and community.

HNR 243 - (Hi)stories of 20th Century Dictatorships in Latin America. Ketevan Kupatadze, Michael Matthews. Civilization or Society

This course will explore the connection between history, politics, art, and literature to see how each depend on, inform and enrich each other.  Students will inquire into the reasons and the consequences of the 20th century dictatorships in Latin America, including Argentina, Chile, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, etc., through a selection of texts (very broadly speaking) that create, describe and analyze the historical, socio-political, and cultural scene of this period. We will explore these events through the narratives of the diverse genres in order for students to construct a more complete picture of the effect that this traumatic experience has had on Latin American society.

Fall 2017

COR110: The Global Experience. Steve Braye. Core

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 240 A- Reincarnation of Yoga in Modern American Culture. Julie Lellis. Expression or Society

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 279 - Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Parenthood. Cindy Fair. Society 

This course examines the topic of childbirth from biomedical, psychosocial, cultural, and historical perspectives. We will explore assumptions about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood by critically analyzing factors that influence the social construction of birth and, in turn, how these dynamics affect maternal and infant health. In particular, students will evaluate the factors that contribute to the high rates of maternal and infant mortality in the US compared to other high-resource countries and propose evidence-based strategies to ameliorate a childbirth-related problem. Partially fulfills Society requirement.

HNR 245 - Writing a Life / Making a Self.  Pam Kiser, Deandra Little.  Expression (lit) or Society

In this interdisciplinary, team-taught course, students will study contemporary examples of memoir that illustrate and explore core themes of the human experience, such as developing personal identity, navigating complex interpersonal relationships, coping with suffering, and finding one’s place in a community and in the world-at-large. We will couple the study of memoir from a literary perspective with the study of trauma, resilience, and identity formation from human service studies and social science perspectives to open up new possibilities for deepening and broadening the analyses of these texts. Fundamental to this study will be questions about how we, as humans, remember and make sense of life events and how we construct meaning and purpose in our lives through the stories that we tell ourselves and others about our experiences and about ourselves. Students will begin to explore the potential power of memoir as a tool for personal growth and self-discovery. Counts towards Society or Expression (Literature).

Spring 2018: TENTATIVE

HNR 100-Level: Vision & Difference: Art, History, & Identity. Kirstin Ringelberg. Civilzation

This course will explore the intersections of art objects and makers, their historical contexts, and categories of personal and group identity, particularly gender and race. Artists both work within and challenge, through subtle subversions or direct attacks, the normative identity constructs of their historical contexts. We will look at several case studies across a variety of contexts and analyze the strategies taken by both these artists and the historians who wrote about them. How can we think differently about our own contexts and identities by studying the ways that identity has been constructed, performed, and deconstructed in visual objects? Or in texts that attempt to frame and define those objects, their makers, and their periods? What relationships do seeing and being seen have to our identities, our histories, and the way we understand and learn? Much is being made of our own current context as one of heightened individual visibility in a landscape itself increasingly visually oriented; what is at stake in this supposed change, and how can art history’s focus on these very issues be deployed to understand it?

HNR 100-Level: The Politics of Erasing History: How Power and Information Shape Our View of the World. Laura Roselle. Society

[Course Description Coming Soon]

HNR 200-Level: Authenticity: Is there a "True" Self? Alexis Franzese. Society

For centuries, philosophers have debated the existence of a ‘true’ self- a self that transcends context and circumstances. The main question that will be addressed in this course is: Is there a true self? The question of a true self has been considered in varying ways over time and place. In the last century, Western society has been marked by a more conscious self-awareness. However, the concept of the self has changed over time and self-awareness may be considered as a distinctly modern topic. Sub-questions that will be explored in conjunction with this larger question include (1) How has thinking about the self changed over time? (2) How does religious thought shape and intersect with thinking about the self? (3) How has technology (over time from the printing press to transportation to the computer) shaped self-presentation and notions of a true self?, and (4) Is there an ethical imperative to present a true self, and what is at stake in presenting a fraudulent self to the world or in presenting a genuine self to the world?

HNR 274 - Building Better Communities with Civic Technologies. Derek Lackaff. Society

From top-down government initiatives to grassroots community projects in Alamance County and elsewhere, the Triangle area has become a hub for empowering citizens and enhancing civic engagement. Technologies are being leveraged to increase public participation, improve access to government, promote effective local journalism and information sharing, and improve the accountability and responsiveness of public institutions. This course will introduce key concepts of open governance and e-government, e-participation, and democratic deliberation. Our exploration will be historical (looking at how these functions were performed in other times and places), theoretical (focusing on how different writers have conceived of civic engagement, public participation, and social capital), technological (understanding how the affordances and uses of different kinds of technology enabled them to achieve one or another of these goals), and applied (seeking future models for how citizens and policy makers might collaborate to better meet the political needs of our times). We will also consider how emerging social media practices may be altering our conception of democracy, government, citizenship, and community.

HNR 243 - (Hi)stories of 20th Century Dictatorships in Latin America. Ketevan Kupatadze, Michael Matthews. Civilization or Society

This course will explore the connection between history, politics, art, and literature to see how each depend on, inform and enrich each other.  Students will inquire into the reasons and the consequences of the 20th century dictatorships in Latin America, including Argentina, Chile, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, etc., through a selection of texts (very broadly speaking) that create, describe and analyze the historical, socio-political, and cultural scene of this period. We will explore these events through the narratives of the diverse genres in order for students to construct a more complete picture of the effect that this traumatic experience has had on Latin American society.

Recent Honors Courses Offered