Seminars

  • You may sign up for only ONE honors seminar per semester.
  • You will not be charged extra tuition for HON 100 or 101 if it causes you to have more than 16 hours.

Spring 2019 - HON 101

41 – Science and Faith

  T 3-4:15 (10 weeks)
  Dr. Wayne Bosma, Chemistry and Biochemistry

This seminar will explore the interrelationship between the rational methods of science and the beliefs of Judeo-Christian religious faith. When a scientist has religious beliefs, are these a help or a hindrance to his/her profession? What attitudes should a theistic nonscientist have toward science? These questions and others will be critically analyzed.

42 — Exploring the Fourth Dimension

  TH 4-5:15 (10 weeks)
  Dr. Anthony Bedenikovic, Mathematics Department

The idea of a fourth dimension--of reality beyond what can be seen--has attracted thinkers from various fields throughout history. In this seminar, we will study references to the fourth dimension in the work of artists, mathematicians, philosophers, scientists, and others. In general, a different aspect of the fourth dimension will be explored at each meeting. While most studies will include a mathematical perspective, the goal of this seminar is to investigate diverse perspectives. All majors are welcome. To help further convey the nature of this seminar, a list of sample questions follows: Can we learn to visualize the fourth dimension? How is a 4-dimensional universe different from a 3-dimensional universe? Is the fourth dimension just time? How has the idea of higher dimensions influenced the work of visual artists and writers? How has it influenced current scientific theories?

43 – The Seminar at Pooh Corner

  TH 3-3:50
  Dr. Seth Katz, English Department

Though we are told explicitly that his head is “stuffed with fluff,” Edward Bear, Christopher Robin, and their cohort of friends have proven to be a flexible and durable ensemble-cast of characters and archetypes, whom various authors have found fit for various purposes. In this seminar, we will take a quick tour through many of the incarnations of Pooh, ranging from their establishment as cultural and commercial icons, stars of animated and live-action film, memes, exemplars of Western and Eastern philosophy, and objects of serious and satiric academic study. Starting with a brisk reading of the original texts (Winnie the Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young, and Now We Are Six), this seminar will move on to the Disney-fication of Pooh (including the recent live-action Christopher Robin), The Tao of Pooh, Williams’s Pooh and the Philosophers / the Psychologists / the Millenium, and Crews’s The Pooh Perplex and Postmodern Pooh. Through it all, Pooh and friends have somehow managed to stay winning and adorable images of the simplicity and complexity of childhood for both children and adults. But how? And why?

44 – The Psychology of Happiness

  TH 4-5:15 (10 weeks)
  Andrew Kelly, Philosophy and Religious Studies Departmen
  Derek Montgomery, Psychology Department

The purpose of the seminar is to explore the concept of happiness from the perspective of psychological science. There will be weekly readings and discussion. Topics may include: the nature and definition of happiness, how to measure happiness, what makes people happy (and unhappy), the value (or lack thereof) of happiness, and whether or not people can be taught to be happier than they are.

45 – Religion in American Public Life

  T 6:00-7:15 (10 weeks)
  Jason Zaborowski, Philosophy and Religious Studies Department

Americans have argued about the role of religion in public life even before the US Constitution stipulated that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This course invites students to develop an academic understanding of American religion by reading a sampling of scholarship on public expressions of religion, and by deliberating specific religious issues arising in the current news media on American politics.

46 – Ecological Restorations

  M 2:00-4:00 (7 weeks)
  Dr. Ted Fleming, Biology Department

Many ecosystems have been negatively affected by human activities. Restoration attempts to renew degraded ecosystems by human intervention and action. The seminar presents the rationale for ecosystem restoration with some of the related ecology, ethics, and techniques. Students should expect a mixture of classroom activities and hands-on field trips to an area that they will help to restore. Students will be required to actively participate, present oral reports, and write a paper on theoretical or practical aspects of the topic.

47 – Healthcare: A Discussion from Individual & Systems Perspectives

  TH 5-6:15 (10 weeks)
  Dr. Francesca Armmer, Nursing Dept.

This seminar is designed to foster a discussion of current health care challenges that may have been experienced by persons of all ages. Though the use of the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) framework we shall explore quality and safety perspectives that are of importance to the quality and safety of all citizens. Individual and group activities shall explore diverse learning experiences that can foster a more informed health care provider and citizen.

48 – Television Programming as Cultural Artifact

  TU 12:00-1:15 (10 weeks)
  Dr. Paul Gullifor, Communications Dept.

Television programming both reflects and shapes the culture in which it operates. More than escapist amusement, television is an electronic museum that documents our cultural history. Television content provides numerous cultural cues through its characters, language, storylines, clothing, behavior, and many other conventions of storytelling. Indeed, television programs both mirror the culture of the era and provide hints as to its future direction. This ten-session seminar examines a sample of the most popular programs of each decade of television’s existence and provides insight into the evolution of American culture.

49 – Japanese Pop Culture

  W 3:00-4:15 (10 weeks)
  Dr. Rustin Gates, History Department

This course examines Japanese popular culture in an effort to understand contemporary Japanese society, economy, and culture. Topics include manga (comic books), JPop (music), anime (Japanese animated films) and feature films, and the impact of the globalization of Japanese culture at home in Japan and abroad. Extensive consumption of various media will occur both inside and outside of the class meetings. Students will write short response papers and produce a final presentation.

50 – Comedy and Calamity in Classical Music

  T 3-4:15 (10 weeks)
  Dr. Kyle Dzapo, Music Department

While classical music is an art form that can be serious and deeply moving, many composers have created pieces that include musical jokes. Other musicians, notably Victor Borge and Peter Schickele, have drawn on classical masterpieces to create comedy. And, unfortunately, calamities have disrupted the most serious of classical performances…as when, for example, a famous operatic heroine plunged to her death at the end of a tragic opera, only to be seen bouncing back up to the stage because well-intentioned stage workers replaced the mattress that was to break her fall with a trampoline. During this course, students will be led to an understanding of classical music sufficient to enjoy the comedies and calamities that have occurred through the ages.

Fall 2019 - HON 100

40 – Voyage to the East: Chinese heritage and culture

  T 12-12:50

  Dr. Grace Wang, Communications Department

Over the past century, China has undergone tremendous changes, including wars and revolutions, the founding of a modern republic, reforms, and most recently, rapidly rising levels of economic growth. While China is increasingly playing an important role in global economy and international affairs, many are largely unfamiliar with Chinese culture and society. This seminar introduces Chinese culture and encourages students to think critically about many of the major developments and challenges in China. Throughout the course, we will “travel” to a number of major cities and explore their historic sites, natural landscapes, unique culture heritages, etc. By the end of this seminar, students will achieve an informed understanding of Chinese culture and society.  

41 – The Psychology of Dreaming

  M 3-4:15 (10 weeks)

  Dr. Robert Fuller, Philosophy and Religious Studies Department

This seminar will explore several theories of dream interpretation (Freud, Jung, ego psychology, recent psychological studies). 

42Antibiotics and the Advent of Antibiotic-Resistant Organisms

  T 9:30-10:20
  Dr. Ted Fleming, Biology Department

Antibiotic-resistant micro-organisms are occurring worldwide, endangering the usefulness of antibiotics that have transformed medicine and saved millions of lives. During this course, students will discuss the use of antibiotics, the origin and history of antibiotic resistance, efforts to address the problem, and possible alternatives to current antibiotic therapy. This course will include time in the microbiology lab during which students will work with bacteria, and potentially isolate antibiotic-resistant organisms. Students’ general knowledge and understanding of the topic will be demonstrated and evaluated by active participation and oral and written presentations.

43 Kafka

  F 12-12:50
  Dr. Michael Greene, Philosophy Department

This class will explore several short works by Franz Kafka, including the first story he wrote, “The Judgment,” which can serve as an introduction to his entire body of work. We will also read some of his extremely short stories (only about one page long) for example, “The Imperial Messenger,” “Before the Law,” and “The Top.” We will also read his best-known work, including “First Sorrow,” “The Metamorphosis,” and “The Hunger Artist.” Throughout the class, students will be exposed to some of the major secondary sources on Kafka, in particular Blanchot’s and Deleuze’s readings of Kafka. If possible, we will also watch Orson Wells’ cinematic version of The Trial.

44 – How to Thrive in an increasingly Global World

  M&W 12-12:50 (8 weeks)
  Prof. William Toel, Business Administration

The competition among college graduates for the most desirable and interesting jobs is now international, and evermore intense. To survive in an increasingly complex and global world is difficult—to thrive in this world is the end goal of this seminar: toward this end, knowledge is power. This seminar looks at the eight most critical areas of daily interest and discussion outside the US domestic sphere: A whirlwind journey of carefully developed facts and exciting stories that come alive, directly relevant to any graduate’s security in this world. Your professor has lectured on each of the eight subjects at some of the best universities worldwide, and fully engages students in a fast-paced and interactive classroom environment. This seminar is applicable to all Honors students with an insatiable curiosity about how the world works: No prerequisites.

45 – College Student Alcohol Use: Parties and Public Health Problems

  TH 1:30-2:45 (10 weeks)
  Dr. Amy Bacon, Psychology Department

Alcohol use is highest during late adolescence and early adulthood, with students enrolled in college drinking more than their same-aged peers. What is it about the college experience that seems to promote alcohol use? Is excessive drinking in college a problem or a rite of passage? And what is “excessive” anyway? In this class, we’ll discuss how cultural, social, develop-mental, psychological, and biological influences come together to fuel these high-risk behaviors. 

46 – Language, Truth, and Logic

  T 3-3:50
  Dr. Mathew Timm, Mathematics Department

Using David R. Montgomery’s The Rocks Don't Lie and A.J. Ayers’ Language, Truth and Logic, we will explore belief, truth and the language and the logical structures we use to talk about the connections between them.  

47 – Roll over, Beethoven (so we can examine your rebellious life, times, and music)

  T 3-4:15 (10 weeks)

  Dr. Kyle Dzapo, Music Department

Ludwig van Beethoven, one of western civilization’s iconic figures, tore himself away from a miserable childhood, rebelled against the aristocratic ordering of the society in which he had to operate, coped with one of the greatest tragedies that can befall a musician, and charted his own inspiring course in the early nineteenth century. Russell Martin’s intriguing book Beethoven’s Hair, which traces the 175-year journey of a lock of hair cut from Beethoven’s head at the time of his death, will serve as the backdrop for discussion of musical compositions and significant events in the life of this genius. Students of all majors are encouraged to participate; no prior musical training is necessary.  

48 – To End All Wars

  TH 3-3:50

  Dr. Kevin Swafford, English Department

At the time of its unfolding, World War I, the so-called “Great War” (1914-1918), was described as the war “to end all wars.” Unfortunately, that was not the case. Horrific, tragic, and irrational, World War I resulted in more than 16 million deaths (of combatants and civilians), 8 million deaths of service horses and dogs (and countless other animals), and 37 million casualties. The trauma and destructiveness of the war created, what Gertrude Stein famously called, a “lost generation.” In this seminar, we will read closely two books that explore the tragedy and consequences of the war: Erich Maria Remarque’s brilliant novel All Quiet on the Western Front (1929) and Adam Hochshild’s To End All Wars (an historical account and ethical exploration of the British involvement and resistances to the “Great War”). Both books are powerfully moving and brilliantly written.

For the course, you will be expected to read the entirety of All Quiet on the Western Front and To End All Wars, keep a reader response journal (minimum 300 words a week), and write an essay (5-8 pages in length) that analyzes and discusses a central issue of the two primary works. Welcome! 

49 – #fakenews

  TH 3-4:15 (10 weeks)

  Dr. Sara Netzley, Communications Department

What is it? What isn’t it? Where does it come from? How can you guard against it? This seminar will explore concepts such as misinformation, propaganda, bias, and gaslighting using recent and historical examples, with an emphasis on the origin, spread, and implications of fake news for citizens, society, and democracy.

50 – 51 Why are we here?

  M 3-3:50
  Dr. Seth Katz and Dr. Robert Prescott, English Department

These two sections are offered to incoming freshmen only.

Through reading, writing, and conversation, we will approach different answers to this question, and a number of others, including but not limited to

  • “Why have you come to college?”
  • “What should be the relationship of college to career?”
  • “What does it mean to learn?”
  • “What happens when we die?"
  • “How do we know what’s true?"
  • “What do non-scientists need to understand about science?”
  • “Why do the arts matter?” 
  • “What is happiness?”

Assigned readings will include classic and contemporary texts, all available online.