HON 101: In the Beginning (First Year Seminar)
Spring 2016 – Kristen Case, Jeffrey Thomson
How did it all begin? This course will trace the idea of origin, creation, or beginning through various disciplines: literature, religion, philosophy, and science, returning to the question, “How did it all begin?” Our central text for this course will be The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony,Roberto Calasso’s imaginative retelling of the Greek myths. Along the way we will explore both specific origin stories—stories about the beginnings of people, of consciousness, of the universe, of language— and the larger question of why and how origin stories matter.
HON 101: Being Human, Becoming Machine
Fall 2015 – Maja Wilson and Steve Pane
From the first cavewoman who picked up a stick to Amazon, prosthetics, and the iWatch, machines and their technologies have been part of the human experience. This course addresses questions arising from this relationship from the ethical to the bodily. What does it mean to be human? How does technology mediate our sense of self and relationship with our communities?
HON 101: First Year Seminar
Spring 2015 – Sebastian Jackson
This course recounts the great narratives that gave form to the Western literary tradition. It retraces the steps and meditations of eminent thinkers and writers from Homer to Shakespeare, and from Voltaire to Emily Dickinson. It will also critique the notion of the ‘Western Canon’ itself by exploring postmodern, postcolonial, and feminist encounters with Western literature and philosophy.
HON 177: Stand and Deliver: The Art and Practice of Public Speaking
Spring 2016 – Kate Foster
This 1-credit course (meeting every other week for 100 minutes) provides students with the insights, experience, and confidence to plan and deliver compelling public presentations. In workshop format, students will develop and hone skills in the elements of great public speaking: organization, content, delivery, and visual aids. Pre-requisites: acceptance into the Honors program or permission of the instructor.
HON 177M: The Natural Beauty of Mathematics
Fall 2015 – Nic Koban
This course aims to explore the interplay of a number of mathematical topics beyond the typical 100-level math courses, while requiring no more than a basic high school knowledge of mathematics (high school algebra and geometry should suffice). Such topics may include the introduction of finite fields, matrix algebra, and combinatorics while examining how each of these branches plays a significant role in coding theory. Such ideas are behind the scenes in everyday activities like using your credit card without fear of someone learning your credit card number. This may be combined with the interplay between probability, game theory, and economics, and we will investigate the overlap of these threads. On the more theoretical side, an introduction to graph theory, group theory, non-Euclidean geometries, and knot theory will lead to ideas involving topology and the fourth dimension (and higher). All along the way, we will be making connections among all of these threads and examining the natural beauty of mathematics.
HON 180N: Ghost in your Genes
Spring 2016 – Jean Doty
In this course we’ll examine, from a modern perspective, the question of nature versus nurture. How do your genes, interacting with your environment, shape your personality, IQ, exercise behavior, or your predisposition to mental illness? Using current research in behavioral genetics and psychology, we’ll investigate the real reason you’re unique and why your uniqueness is key to evolution.
HON 180N: Soil, Soul, and Society
Fall 2015 – Grace Eason
This course is about how growing food and working the soil enhances spiritual, financial, emotional, social, mental and physical dimensions of health for individuals and communities, while promoting global sustainability. You will work on a variety of local farms and participate in two full day experiences on two different farms. You will be exposed to the art and science of operating a small, family farm as you learn to grow, harvest, store and share nutritious food, experiencing what it means to be a part of one Earth community.
HON 180N: The Biography of a Molecule
Spring 2015 – Mariella Passarelli
There are about 30 million natural and synthetic substances known. Many are powerful drugs that catapult countries into violence. Others unite couples for life in loving relationships. Some substances are created by scientists with a particular purpose in mind. We will take a compound and study its chemical behavior and its impact on society, economics, psychology, etc.
HON 277H: Religious Diversity in Classical Antiquity
Spring 2016 – David Jorgensen
In this course we survey ancient Jewish, Christian, and non-Jewish, non-Christian (i.e. ‘pagan’ or ‘Gentile’) literature that discusses religious Others. The course is concerned with various forms of interreligious dialogue in the Greco-Roman world: conflict and controversy; prejudice and xenophobia; persecution and martyrdom; discussion and debate; assimilation and acculturation; proselytism and conversion. Contact with religious others also spurs internal debate on normativity, orthodoxy, deviance, and heresy, concepts that are related to broader issues of ethnicity, nationalism, purity and virtue. What makes a ‘Jew,’ a ‘Greek,’ a ‘Roman,’ or a ‘Christian’ in the ancient world? Who gets to decide: insiders or outsiders, ancient agents or modern scholars? This course serves as an introduction to the religious diversity of classical antiquity, while using this period as a lens to better understand the challenges and opportunities of religious diversity in our own complex, interconnected world.
HON 277S: New Directions in Philosophical Psychology
Spring 2016 – Steve Quackenbush and Frank Underkuffler
What is mind? Is it different from the brain? What is freedom? What does it mean to assume moral responsibility? Is it possible for human beings to be seduced by Evil? What are the conditions that must be met if we are to achieve moral maturity? These questions have long preoccupied philosophers and theologians, though without resolution. Perhaps the time has come to turn to the social sciences for help. In this class, we will explore the contributions that the discipline of psychology might make to understanding mind, freedom, moral responsibility, and other traditional philosophical problems. Special attention will be devoted to relevant theory and research in the fields of cognitive psychology, social psychology, and lifespan personality development. By the end of the term, students should be in a position to determine whether the discipline of psychology can indeed reveal the essence of the human mind and illuminate paths to the Good Life.
HON 277H: Pure Lyric: Sappho, Astro, Gaga
Spring 2015 – Eric Brown and Kristen Case
A history of the lyric and the concept of lyricality, from its emergence in the literary arts but with attention to music and the visual arts, physics, zoology, psychology, and the cinema. Along the way we will consider various critical attempts to distinguish the lyric from other poetic modes, notably the epic, and try to account for both its ascendancy in American poetry of the 19th and 20th centuries and its diffusion into popular culture. In short, how does the lyric emerge and develop as a genre? What is the relationship between lyricality and poetics more proudly? How does it relate to melody or euphony? What does ‘lyrical’ mean when applied to other genres (prose, film) or in different disciplines.
HON 277S: From Kapital to Capital: Inequality in Capitalism
Spring 2015 – John Messier
Does Capitalism cause inequality? Must it? This course will explore economic inequality over time through the writings of Marx and Piketty among others. It is part of the Power Up Co-Lab and a substantial amount of time both in and out of the course will be spent on a community based project focused on crowd funding.
HON 377: Psychobiography
Spring 2016 – Karol Maybury
In this class, students will learn how to use psychological theories to understand the personality development of historically significant individuals from the world of art, science, politics, and entertainment. This course will be of interest to students who are equally enthralled by history, political science, the humanities, as well as the building blocks of normal (and abnormal) psychological development. Students will become conversant in the controversies inherent in psychologically-informed biographies and discover the rigorous methodology utilized by the best psychobiographers. Students will study multiple psychological theories (e.g., Freudian, Neo-Freudian, Developmental, and others) and read and evaluate existing psychobiographies. For a final paper, students will employ the principles of rigorous and respectable psychobiography to an individual of their choice.
HON 377: James Joyce
Fall 2015 – Dan Gunn
Study and discussion of work by the Irish novelist James Joyce, including Chamber Music, Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses, with some attention to biographical and critical texts.
HON 377A: Surrealism: Arts of the Unconscious
Spring 2015 – Clint Bruce
In popular parlance, we have come to say, “That’s surreal,” to describe something as “weird.” However, behind the term “surreal” lies “Surrealism,” perhaps the most influential artistic and literary movement of the twentieth century. Originating in 1920s France, Surrealism emerged as a critique of European rationality in the aftermath of World War I. This course offers an in-depth investigation into the aesthetic debates and unsettling forms of expression that fueled the Surrealists’ attempts to harness the unconscious mind in order to revolutionize society through art. Works studied include poetry, novels, painting, photography, film, and music, as well as theoretical texts.