Honors Courses Fall 2023

Sophomore Seminars

Pregnancy and Childbirth (SOC)

T/TH 12:30-2:10

Dr. Cindy Fair

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.

Making the Grade: Teaching and Learning from Antiquity to Today (CIV)

M/W 2:00-3:40

Dr. Kristina Meinking

What does learning look like? How do we know that we’ve learned? How do politics, economics, psychology, and other factors influence our understanding of learning? Why and how might these matter? And what do grades have to do with learning? Drawing on the diverse experience and expertise of students, this course seeks to explore these and other questions by examining the history of education, deconstructing the relationship between grades and learning, and inviting students to create meaningful alternative models for articulating and demonstrating their learning.

Place and Placemaking (CIV)

T/TH 10:30am-12:10pm

Dr. Danielle Lake and Dr. Sandy Marshall

How often do you take the time to stop, observe, and think about the spaces and places that you walk by, study in, and inhabit on a daily basis? All too often, we see place as the static stage upon which we play out our lives. Though we take place for granted, designers, developers, architects and other planners inscribe their values, identities, and assumptions upon particular places and, consequently, shape our experiences and ideas. This course will examine how the social design of place shapes individuals and communities. In this course, students will learn to look at and think about place in a new way, examining how place design shapes individuals and communities.  Using a variety of methods, including ethnographic interviewing, the collection of oral histories and digital story-telling, together we will analyze everyday places and how they came to be. We will use participatory design practices to work with communities to imagine how places could be in the future. Throughout the semester, students will conduct community-based research with the aim of uncovering the hidden histories of forgotten places and reimagining how places in the community might look instead.


Honors Courses Spring 2023

First-Year Seminars

Intellectual History (CIV)

T/ TH 10:30am – 12:10pm

Dr. Mike Carignan

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.

Art to Action: Literature, Games, and Society (CIV)

T/ TH 2:30pm – 4:10pm

Dr. Brandon Essary

Students will read key segments of Dante’s Divine Comedy, one of the most famous works of world literature. The course will challenge students to compare and contrast the sacred, “literary” journey of a medieval pilgrim in Inferno with the profane, “ludic” quest of a scythe-wielding soul slayer video game avatar in Dante’s Inferno. It will also challenge students to imagine how to visualize and gamify the realms of Purgatorio and Paradiso. Students will investigate: medieval Italian literature and history; traditional literary and video game narratives; and the role of storytelling and games in society today and in their disciplines.

Sophomore Seminars

Science of Fighting Pandemics (SCI non-lab)

M/W/F 11:00am – 12:10pm

Dr. Todd Lee and Dr. Vickie Moore

This course will explore past, current, and emerging threats of highly infectious diseases, examined from a scientific and global impact perspective. Students will be introduced to the basic science of viruses and bacteria, infection, immunity, and population spread. They will also explore the many tools that have been developed to combat pandemics including sanitation, ethical clinical trials, vaccines, and various areas in epidemiology. Possible disease topics include the bubonic plague, smallpox, malaria, the current COVID-19 pandemic, and the emerging monkeypox threat.

Math and Literature (EXP or SCI non-lab)

M/W/F 2:00pm – 3:40pm

Dr. Margaret Chapman and Dr. Alan Russell

Mathematical fiction is a course based on creativity theory that combines creative writing with the study of mathematics. We will look at writers who use mathematics as inspiration for their work and study the habits of creative and divergent thinkers to assemble a toolkit for creativity, which will be useful for your Elon career and beyond. You’ll learn more about math concepts like cardinality, infinity, and prime numbers, and read writers including Luis Borges, Pamela Zoline, and Rita Dove. We will also theorize about how and why mathematics inspires creativity. Expect to create a number of new works (including short stories, poems, and experimental forms), workshop your writing, and revise pieces for publication.