Honors Courses (Spring)
Honors Courses Honors Seminars Seminar Descriptions


Following are Honors courses and Honors seminars offered in Spring 2018.


All registration will be done through RAMWeb. Spring 2018 priority registration for eligible Honors students begins October 23, 2017. Check your RAMWeb account for your earliest registration time.


Make an appointment to meet with your departmental adviser early so you'll be ready to take advantage of your priority registration time. Your major department assigns your adviser, so check with that office. The Honors Office is available, too, for advising. Call, email, or stop in for an appointment.


The following courses are a sampling of Honors sections being offered for Spring Semester 2018. An updated schedule of Honors courses will be available after October 1, 2017.  The latest description and other details for each class can be found by clicking on the CRN link from the table below or from Class Schedule on RAMWeb.

HONORS seminars are listed below the table of Honors courses.

**For the most up to date schedule, check the schedule on RAMWeb often. Using advanced search, select one or all Subjects (click on the first subject on the list, scroll to the bottom and Shift+left click on the last subject in the list) and choose Honors Program under Attribute Type – OR - select one or all Subjects and type Honors in the Course Title field.


The Honors courses listed below are described in the RamWeb Class Schedule by clicking on the CRN for each section. To determine if the course listed meets Honors curriculum requirements in your major, check the curriculum page.  Click on either Track 1 or Track 2, then on the link for your college.


Honors Courses

The following is a list of offered Honors Courses:
Honors Courses PDF


Honors Seminars

The following is a list of offered Honors Seminars:
Honors Seminars PDF

Seminar Descriptions

HONR 193

Sections 1 and 2: MOVE IT! – F. Glycenfer
How we engage in everyday movement can have a profound effect on how we view ourselves and interact with the world. Everyday movement and dance is a rich source for connecting our mind-body-spirit triad so we can be prepared to share our experiences with others. We can discover the stories within ourselves through our kinesthetic senses as we understand “the fullness of the sacred gift of life”. This class will explore how everyday movement forms have developed throughout history to present day and possible contributions to a variety of cultures as well as individual experience.  Classes will include discussion, active participation in movement laboratory experiences and viewing movement events on DVD. Everyday movement and dance will be utilized as a vehicle for personal discovery to consider what is of significance and value in our everyday lives and in society.


Section 3: The Evolution of Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Science – M. Brown
Part I will include an introduction to drug development, pharmaceutical business practices, pharmaceutical regulatory affairs and the role of the USFDA.


In part II, students will work in groups and research a current drug on the market for either human or veterinary applications. The drug must be produced by a company that is publicly traded. The findings of this research will be used to present an evaluation of the drug, its home company, and the extended portfolio of that company. Evaluations will be presented to a mock audience of potential investors and FDA inspectors.


This course will also include discussions on biomedical ethics and health disparities. It will require outside reading, written assignments, participation in a broad range of group discussions, and oral presentations.


Section 4: “Four Score and Seven Years Ago": Abraham Lincoln & A Most Beloved Speech – P. Vaughan Knaus
Our class begins by setting the scene on July 4, 1863, as the people of Gettysburg emerge from their shelters to face the montage of rubble on the battlefield. The town was missing its men, cut off from the outside world, surrounded by shocking carnage, and seared by the anguish of relatives seeking to bury soldiers. We focus on one crucial moment in American history, and capture the nation’s atmosphere in which the Gettysburg Address was delivered, the changing meaning of the speech over time, and the incredible ways in which it has been garbled, misquoted and willfully misunderstood. When this 270-odd word speech was mentioned at all, it got second billing to Edward Everett's two-hour snore of an official oration. The Gettysburg Address was sniped at. It was reduced to a one-sentence sound bite. So, why examine it today, in the 21st century? While the ultimate measure of how much this speech and its meaning have changed, the legitimacy of devoting a whole course to it comes from a small Ohio newspaper. In the unforgettable words of The Steubenville Weekly Herald: "President Lincoln was there, too."


Section 5: Tell Me A Story: Finding and Creating Meaning in Our Lives – C. Elkins
Listening to and creating stories appears natural and universal. There is no culture, however “primitive” without its stories about nature and themselves: where they come from, how to behave, and where they are going. As children, we hear stories and learn to repeat them; as adults, we hear, read, write, see and tell stories constantly from others, television, books, films, advertising, and even in our sleep. In stories we order our experiences and create ourselves. In this seminar, we explore the nature and function of stories as they are manifested in such narratives as: myths, dreams, tragedy and comedy, autobiography, and politics. In doing so, we will focus on three general questions: Why do we need stories at all? Why do we need the “same” story over and over? Why do we always need more stories?


Sections 6 and 7: Gender in Our Lives – J. Krafchick
From our family lives to college campuses to the race for the White House, gender shapes our experiences and relationships every day. In this discussion based seminar, we will look across cultures and history to learn how gender roles have changed and how they affect people’s choices, relationships, and lives.  Students will explore the social movements that have influenced gender roles, psychological theories related to gender identity development, and how the media shapes our perceptions of people based on their gender. We will discover the ways that gender influences politics, relationships, education, and careers.  Using a gender lens, we will consider gender-based stereotypes and identify personal and professional solutions to resist the limitations these rigid expectations have on people and the impact on social and personal choices.


Sections 8 and 11: Story of Stuff – A. Merline
This course examines the backstory of all of the stuff that we consume. Starting with the Post-World War II economic boom, the course takes stock a new global order flooded with seemly endless resources.   The course chronicles the extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal of all that we consume as Americans.  The goal of the course is to understand these processes and to learn about the economic, environmental, and personal effects of these processes.  Ultimately we look at solutions to living differently than the average American which leads to a better life for people, profit, and planet.


Section 9: Art is Politics; Politics is Art – C. Elkins
Art is politics; politics is art. Politics is an art, not a science; all art is political. These assertions capture the close relationship between art and politics and suggest the blurring of distinctions between these two institutions. This course explores some timeless themes in politics and, art paying attention not only to the content but the medium and style of the politics and art.The central thesis of the course is that politics and art are drama, and we will explore the implications of that metaphor. Drawing on political speeches and documents (e.g. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,” Henry Thoreau’s “On Civil Disobedience,” and, film and TV documentaries, etc.) to study the art in politics, we will also exam in literature, music, film, and visual arts the politics in art. We will focus on political systems that employ force (coercion and force) and ideology to attain their goals. In doing so, we will touch on the nature of power, law, social and political justice, tolerance, moral relativism, ethics, and resistance, rebellion, revolution, and war.


Section 10 and 17: International Issues in Travel and Tourism: The Global to Local Nexus – J. Raadik Cottrell
Are you a traveler or a tourist, an eco or an ego tourist? This seminar provides an overview of issues in international travel and the effects on local communities resulting from the various traveler types both domestically and internationally.  Responsible travel is an inspiration and a challenge to the industry, communities and travellers to enhance the positive and reduce the negative impacts of travel. Responsible travel values and celebrates diversity of natural and cultural heritage as a product of their geography and history and the way in which people have lived for hundreds of years. This course provides an overview of the principles and criteria for responsible travel with a broad overview of the challenges and issues associated with the travel industry. Poverty alleviation, gender equity, and nature conservation initiatives through tourism are discussed from a global to local context.  Sustainability parameters are discussed from social, cultural, ecological and economical perspectives.  Several field excursions in Fort Collins (i.e., New Belgium Brewery and a volunteer experience with the Sustainable Living Fair in September) will be used to apply and illustrate how planning and management of responsible travel experiences can be facilitated.


Section 11: See Section 8


Section 12: Exploring Sustainable Solutions: A Case-Based Approach – W. Timpson
This course will prepare students to deepen their understanding of sustainability through active involvement in campus projects and how these can impact the campus community, the region and beyond, i.e., (1) How critical and creative thinking can be used to design address projects that address complex and interrelated issues; (2) When a commitment to sustainability has challenged conventional practices and nurtured change; (3) How people can learn to work more cooperatively on negotiated solutions to complex problems; (4) Why deep listening can engender empathy and understanding for others and yourself; (5) How anger and emotion can be best understood and managed when confronting the challenges of sustainability; (6) What it takes to stay centered when aggressive or dysfunctional attitudes mix dangerously with ineffective policies and practices. 


Sections 13 and 18: Vietnam & America: An Introduction – P. Vaughan-Knaus
America’s longest war--the Vietnam conflict--was also one of its most divisive. As U.S. troop levels swelled to more than a half million by the late 1960s, American society split sharply over the morality and efficacy of the war effort. The war’s inconclusiveness and unpopularity spawned not only a broad-based antiwar movement but also a reexamination of America’s purpose as wrenching and far-reaching as any other since the Civil War. Neither President Richard M. Nixon’s decision in 1969 to begin withdrawing U.S. troops nor the fall of Saigon to the communists in April 1975 did much to resolve the debate or to ease the traumas that it unleashed.


Our class explores the larger boundaries of that debate by focusing on questions such as: Why did the United States intervene in Vietnam? What did the United States seek to accomplish in Vietnam? Were its goals attainable? Who were its enemies? Its allies? Can U.S. actions there be characterized as moral—or immoral? Much reading and even more discussion will allow us to travel back and re-live this conflict and its ascendant chaos, perhaps with new-found appreciation for Vietnam’s American legacy.


Section 14: Human Infectious Disease – M. Brown
In part I, students will receive an introduction to key concepts in biochemistry, immunology, and microbiology. Students will also have the opportunity to explore the history of human disease. We will delve into the mysteries of ancient plagues and discuss their influence on past civilizations, using art and literature of various cultures to follow pestilence on its path to the modern world.


In part II, students will choose a controversial topic within the life sciences as the subject for an argumentative paper. Students will work with the instructor to draft these papers in the form of a scientific editorial. Part II will also include a series of student-facilitated discussions related to biomedical ethics.


In part III, students will work in teams in which they will play the roles of scientific researchers, clinicians and other professionals. Each team will be assigned to an infectious pathogen associated with a mock disease outbreak. Teams will research their assigned disease and defend a response plan before an audience of faculty, students, and health professionals.


This course will require regular reading, written assignments, participation in group discussions, and oral presentations.


Section 15: Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll in the Ancient World – E. Wilson
This class aims to familiarize the student with the broad trends of the Ancient Mediterranean World (Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome) as well as the basic sets of evidence to any Classically-oriented scholar (archaeology, epigraphy, texts, etc.) through the themes of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll.  We will examine both our own preconceptions about sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll and how they could bias the modern scholar, as well as consider how the ancients experienced and thought about these topics, in what contexts (domestic, funerary military, diplomatic, etc.) they appeared, and how each category of evidence should be handled by the modern scholar. 


Section 16: Picture This, Read That: Text-Image Relations in Superhero Comics, Graphic Novels, and Children's Picture Books – A. Gollapudi
Disillusioned superheroes, Wild Things, and Jewish Mice escaping Nazi Cats—these are some of the characters you will encounter in this course on image-text interactions in (1) comics, (2) graphic novels, and (3) children’s picture books. Using works from these three genres, the course will explore the nature of words and images, how they create meaning separately, and how they interact in complex ways to tell a story. Do images have a ‘language’ and can the text sometimes function as an image? Do words often seem to colonize and dominate images? And can images function as a subversive element in the book, telling a very different story than the ones told by words? How do we “read” not just the black marks inside the book but the book itself as a visible, material, object? These are some of the questions we will ask in this course as we consider the aesthetic, socio-historical, and thematic aspects of works such as Watchmen, Maus, and Where the Wild Things Are. To aid in our exploration of these imagetexts- works that use pictures as well as words to tell story- we will use recent scholarly theories about visuality and textuality, breaking down the divisions between :highbrow” and “low” or “popular” literature. 


Section 17: See Section 10


Section 18: See Section 13


Section 19: Addiction: From Brains to Society to New Technology – J. Snodgrass
This seminar will examine substance and behavioral addictions from various points of view. The course begins by examining the neuroscience of addiction, with special attention paid to the so-called “dopamine hypothesis,” and how, within that idea, addiction might be understood as a special form of learning characteristic of humans’ plastic and malleable brains. We then look at the socio-cultural foundations of substance use and abuse, focusing in particular on the so-called “war on drugs,” which in the U.S. and throughout the world has also been construed as a war on poor minority communities. The course then aims to integrate neuroscientific and cultural points of view in a newly innovative “bio-cultural” and “neuro-anthropological” synthesis. Finally, we apply the course’s integrative perspective to examine the question of behavioral and technological addictions. We ask, “Can we be ‘addicted’ to our smartphones, computers, and the Internet?” In that last segment, special attention is paid to the dual therapeutic and addictive potential of online videogames, alongside other new technologies as well. The course is designed to appeal to students with interests in the humanities and also in the social and natural sciences. No special biological or social scientific background knowledge is required. Instead, it is hoped that students’ diverse backgrounds and interests will make for more stimulating class discussions.


Section 20: Friendship: Ancient Greece, Modern and Contemporary Perspectives – A. Archie
This seminar is devoted to the study of friendship (philia) from the philosophical position of eudaimonism. The purpose of the seminar is to critically analyze the ancient conception of friendship (i.e., Plato and Aristotle) in relation to modern and contemporary conceptions of friendship. According to Aristotle, friendship has to do with the self. Thus, in reflecting on friendship we enter upon self-discovery. In contrast to the ancients’ preoccupation with the self, modern and contemporary reflections on friendship tend to focus on rules and acts. The main question of the seminar is, “Which position on friendship is more compelling: the ancient Greek, modern or contemporary position?” The conceptual framework from which we will consider and evaluate friendship, both ancient and modern, is the Classical Greek ethical paradigm called eudaimonism. Eudaimonism is the view that ethics should seek to establish the ultimate human good, i.e., happiness.  Once we determine what happiness is, what should be sought is what contributes to happiness.  Ethics for the ancients is not so much about a criterion for selecting the best action, as it is in modern ethics, but about the best way to live.  Ethics for the ancients is person centered rather than act centered.


Section 21: Exploration of ‘Exodus’ and ‘Exile’ in International Cinema – G. Zinn
What is exile? Who is exiled? And how is exiled portrayed?


These and many more questions are posed and discussed in this seminar in our study of cross-border and internal population movements that have assumed dimensions beyond the response capacity of any single governmental or international body.


This course offers a socio-historical understanding of uprooted societal groups and individuals who voluntarily or involuntarily leave their country/nation and culture. It examines the effects and implications of displacement and of inner and outer exile and analyzes how exilic and diasporic filmmakers signify exile and diaspora by expressing, allegorizing, commenting upon and critiquing home, host societies and cultures. In our exploration of exodus and exile we engage in the analysis of a variety of film texts whose narrative strategies, for the most part, undermine conventional cinema. This course is designed for students with interests in the human conditions, social movements, global developments and film studies.

HONR 292

Section 1: Knowing Our Worlds and Our Selves Through the Arts and Humanities – G. Callahan
Here’s your chance to pop the hood on that head of yours – check the oil, tighten a tappet or two, replace the plugs – and find out what you really know and how you came to know it. I know what you’re thinking: I know what I know. Truth is, you probably know a lot more than you think you do. When it comes to knowledge, most people turn to science. But there are worlds of knowledge beyond science. Universities, the great modern centers of knowledge, regularly devote more than half of their campuses to non-science endeavors – things like the arts and the humanities. So, just how much can we come to know from painting and music, literature and dance, film and photography? A world’s worth it turns out. Just as science opens up entirely new vistas about our universe, so do the arts and humanities offer essential knowledge about ourselves and the world around us – bodies of knowledge as essential as any and not accessible through traditional scientific method alone. This seminar will explore different ways of knowing - and their purposes, values, and limitations - in the arts and humanities. The seminar considers what counts as knowledge, and by whom; the methods employed to gain or affirm knowledge; the values attributed to knowledge; and the ethical and aesthetic implications of what one gains and does with the acquisition of knowledge. Students will integrate literature, film, theater, art, and philosophy in discussions and assignments. The thematic focus of the seminar is on the role of the arts and humanities in knowing ourselves and our world. But mostly, what we are going to do is rummage around inside those heads of ours for a semester and fine tune the things we can and learn the value of the things we can’t.


Section 2 and 5: Knowing in Arts and Humanities – J. Kitchens
The theme for this course is the “social construction of knowledge,” and it engages with the ideas of how knowledge gets produced, by whom and for what purposes. Other considerations include what counts as knowledge and how has it been produced and transmitted in the past (and present), e.g., public schooling? What other institutions are involved in the production of knowledge? And what is the relationship between knowledge and power? Course materials will range in disciplinary perspectives including philosophy, history, education, sociology, literature, and film. Students will also be guided in a self-reflective investigation into how knowledge has been produced in their personal lives, and specifically how such knowledge informs their worldview, i.e., how they interpret and act in the world.


Section 3 and 6: Knowing in Arts and Humanities: Do Non-Human Animals Make Art? – S. Zwick-Tapley
Do non-human animals engage in the arts and humanities? How do we know? How do we know what constitutes the arts and humanities among our own species? This class will look at the definitions, history and current research regarding language, creativity and expression. From the philosophies of Charles Darwin and Renee Descartes to the research by Jane Goodall and Sue Savage-Rumbaugh and others we will explore the human identity and the identity we attribute to other species. Be prepared for thinking both inside and outside of the box of what we know and what we imagine.


Section 4: Knowing in Arts and Humanities: Construction of Knowledge – M. Brown
The overarching theme for this seminar is the “construction of knowledge.” Students will be engaged in discussions, readings, written communication, and oral communication to consider ideas of how knowledge is produced, by whom it is produced and for what purposes it is produced. The political construction of knowledge challenges students to consider the potential impacts of manipulating what is known and by whom it is known. Cultural identity, arts, philosophy, literature, film, and social media will be considered for their subjectivity and selectivity in the sharing of knowledge which can ultimately drive election outcomes, perpetuate social injustices, or be used as justification for wars. Students will also be challenged to reflect upon the sources of their own knowledge and to identify gaps that may ultimately impact their views and actions.


Section 5: See Section 2


Section 6: See Section 3


Section 7: Knowing Our World through Other Worlds: Science Fiction and Social Criticism – J. Brown
In 1978, literary scholar Darko Suvin famously described science fiction as the literature of “cognitive estrangement.” It was, he argued, the tension between the known reality of the reader’s empirical world (cognition) and the imagined alternative world of the text (estrangement) that gave Science Fiction a privileged role in encouraging the kind of critical thought about one’s own society and circumstances that could disrupt the blinding nature of ideology. This seminar will explore the rich tradition of the science fiction short story by authors such as Isaac Asimov, Ursula K. LeGuin, Samuel R. Delany, Joanna Russ, Ray Bradbury, Octavia Butler, and Frank Herbert alongside select critical essays. Finally, the course’s ultimate goal is to investigate the ways that our attempts to know the imagined future affect our ways of knowing our present world.


Section 8: Knowing in Arts and Humanities – C. Becker
The seminar will engage students in the exploration of different ways of knowing - and their purposes, values, and limitations - in the arts and humanities. The seminar considers what counts as knowledge, and by whom; the methods employed to gain or affirm knowledge; the values attributed to knowledge; and the ethical and aesthetic implications of what one gains and does with the acquisition of knowledge. Students will integrate literature, film, theater, art, and philosophy in discussions and assignments. The thematic focus of the seminar is on “knowing nature”. The seminar explores and critically reflects on different ways of knowing about nature in the context of arts and humanities. The seminar particularly discusses the relevance of a broader understanding of nature for analyzing and addressing current environmental issues and sustainability challenges, how different types of knowing can be integrated in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaborations and approaches, and why arts and humanities are crucial for understanding and achieving sustainability. Students will practice the critical analysis and integration of different ways of knowing to address sustainability issues with case studies.

HONR 293

Section 1: Knowing across Cultures: Refugees in a Global Era – M. Lopez Ramirez
The seminar will engage students in the exploration of different ways of knowing across cultures by understanding different cultural perspectives and analyzing how cultural values differently inform research methodologies. The seminar considers how cultural values inform what counts as knowledge, and by whom; the methods employed to gain or affirm knowledge; the values attributed to knowledge; and moral implications of how knowledge is constructed, evaluated, and reproduced. Specifically, this course will provide experiences for students to critically and analytically reflect on how power, privilege, cultural identities, historical frameworks, social systems, and cultural backgrounds influence what we know about self, others, and the world. These reflections will involve examples of how social and historical gaps, omissions, and shifts in knowledge, including what is not known, what cannot be known, and what is un-known (which may have been disregarded, discarded, or forgotten) often reflect competing cultural perspectives and values. Students will also learn to understand the effects of cultural bias on the interpretation of facts, empirical data, observation, and experience, and how this shapes understandings of the possibility for certainty and objective knowledge. In this way, students will explore how cultural values inform and influence which research methodologies are used for knowledge production, construction, and acquisition. By analyzing contemporary case studies or issues on a theme, students will further integrate and evaluate different ways of knowing.


There are around 60 million people in the world who have been displaced by war, persecution, natural disaster or conflict. Migration has become a big issue, especially after multiple terrorist attacks in Europe and the US over the last few years. As a consequence of the current immigration narrative, right-wing movements and parties, xenophobia, a fear for diversity and a lack of tolerance are on the rise around the world. This course will inquire into the nature, causes and consequences of contemporary refugee waves in our globalized world. We will set aside the current narrative and have a more open dialogue. To that end, we will debate personal social identity construction and stereotypes, and analyze the positive side of immigration to create a more open, respectful and tolerant society. Particular attention will be paid to the recent EU crisis, integration and segregation processes, racism, and cultural diversity.


Section 2 and 3: Knowing Across Cultures: Wildlife Conservation Issues – N. Vieira
Fish and wildlife conservation requires more than just scientific studies to be successful. In reality, it requires a balance between science and advocacy -- a balance which is mediated, in part, by how different cultural groups perceive the role of fish and wildlife in their lives. We will define wildlife conservation in scientific terms, and will also learn how our forward-thinking “North American Wildlife Conservation Model” is unique in the world. Then, we will highlight global wildlife conservation issues and tackle controversial topics related to differences in cultural values, world philosophies (religion and ethics), poverty and subsistence living. For example, is wildlife conservation a luxury of an affluent society? Are fish and wildlife here for human use, or do they have inherent value and rights that we are obligated to preserve? Is recreational (vs. subsistence) hunting considered ethical and useful in conservation? Should we kill one species to save an endangered one, or let nature take its course? How do different cultures react to regulations on commercial fishing and whaling? We will explore these themes through readings, discussion, movies and videos, guest speakers, and some time outside to learn about wildlife in our very own “Colorado culture”!


Section 3: See Section 2


Section 4: Knowing Across Cultures: Garbage, Waste, and Trash in Global Cultures and Societies – D. Johnson
Concepts of garbage, waste, and trash create a nearly ubiquitous theme around the world for a surprising number of cultures and peoples. And, quite literally, diverse, geographically-separated societies often share the same trash—from the large garbage island in the Pacific Ocean to the trails of garbage that mark migrations and connect the US-Mexico border. The concepts of garbage, waste, and trash operate as cultural metaphors that place value—lack of value—as well as prescribe action (throw it out!). Trash, for instance, has no value to the person throwing it away—and, it must be thrown away, removed from the realm of valuable things. By extending this metaphor of trash, we can see it applied not only to things (plastic bottles, medical refuse, toxic elements), but also to places and peoples. In this class, we will explore various cultural artifacts—nonfiction, fiction, including science fiction, film, digital media—that highlight the literal and metaphorical concepts of garbage, waste, and trash. We will use these concepts to explore and dialogue with issues such as global invasive species, environmental justice, refugee crises, race and ghettoization, class conflict, and, of course, global garbage.

HONR 280A1 (Experimental Course)

Section 1:  Science as a Way of Knowing: Animal Behavior - J. Moore
The ways that non-human animals behave have fascinated and mystified humans since people first made drawings on the walls of ancient caves, and they continue to capture our attention.  We watch them and invent explanations for their behavior, often with little evidence.  Much as the ancient Greeks anthropomorphized their gods, giving them human traits, we do the same to animals:  They are “sneaky,” “wise,” “stupid,” “jealous”. . .and they are, ultimately, dumb—and therein lies the mystery.  How can we understand a non-speaking creature on its own terms?  Can we know how the birds at dawn begin to sing, all at the same time? How do we understand the intelligence of fish? The map-making of honeybees? Do animals think?  How would we know?


This seminar will engage students in the exploration of science as a way of knowing, using animal behavior as a gateway into that world. The seminar considers what counts as scientific knowledge, and by whom; the methods employed to gain or affirm scientific knowledge; the values attributed to scientific knowledge; and the ethical and aesthetic implications of what one gains and does with the acquisition of knowledge. Students will integrate the history and philosophy of science with content of, and approached used, in a scientific discipline in discussions and assignments.


The seminar focuses on topics that are particularly relevant to questions about how we know about animal behavior (and by extension, all of science) and to aspects of animal behavior that are accessible and useful to us as fellow travelers in the natural world. Feel free to read all of the text, not just assigned chapters, to devour good videos online, and to generate your own hypotheses about what is going on in the natural world!


Section 2: Science as a Way of Knowing: Ocean Dynamics and Carbon Dioxide - U. Quillman
Why has climate change become the focal point of an increasingly polarized political conversation, whereas the vast majorities of other countries have long accepted climate change as a scientific fact and have accepted that human activities is the foremost cause of it? Climate science has become a pawn in the US political arena, with numerous politicians ignoring, rejecting, or misrepresenting scientific conclusions that conflict with their political views. People who lack authority on climate science are discussing the causes and solutions for climate change.


The heated debate over climate science begs the question, what is science? In our seminar we will explore “science as a way of knowing”. Ocean dynamics and carbon dioxide (CO2) will provide the framework for our seminar. Ocean dynamics and CO2 are the crucial players in climate change, regardless whether climate change is natural or caused by human activities. We live on an ocean planet with >70% of the Earth’s surface covered by ocean and >97% of the Earth’s surface water being stored in the ocean. The ocean plays an enormous role in absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere, thus mitigating the effects of global warming by absorbing approximately one half of the CO2 added to the atmosphere from fossil fuel burning. Scientists fear once the ocean has reached a tipping point when the ocean no longer can uptake any additional CO2 from the atmosphere. We will examine the oceanic processes that make it possible for the ocean to take up excess atmospheric CO2. We will examine scientific tools that are being used to determine past CO2 levels in the atmosphere and in the ocean. We will scrutinize climate models that are being used to predict future climate change. We will also look at the effects a warming ocean has on sea level, ice sheets and glaciers, sea ice, hurricanes, monsoons, and El Nino events. The role of CO2 in warming had been long recognized before the “other” CO2 problem was recognized. The “other” CO2 problem is ocean acidification, often referred to as the “evil twin” of climate change.

HONR 392

Section 1: Coming to America: The Immigrant Nation – M. Elkins
The story of America is the story of immigrants -- their problems and contributions, their struggles to assimilate or to resist assimilation in their new country. In this course, we will begin with an overview of this issue, particularly focusing on the 19th and early 20th Century immigration from Europe to the northeastern section of the United States. Other immigrants have their stories as well. We will move on to look at West Coast immigrants. We will conclude with an in-depth look at the immigration reform debate that is swirling around us today.


Section 2: Why Do They Hate Us? Understanding the Myths, Realities and Limits of the American Empire – K. Jaggers
In “Why Do They Hate Us?” we will explore the tension between how Americans perceive themselves and how, and why, the rest of the world perceives us in a different, and often less flattering, light.  At its core, this course will focus on the uneasy relationship between America’s liberal political culture and institutions and the power-centric and nationalistic ideals that have traditionally governed our country’s foreign policy.  Particular emphasis will be placed on the motivations and tactics that have fueled America’s expansionist ambitions over the past 200 years and the forces, both domestic and foreign, which have sought to limit both the size and scope of the “American Empire.”  In this course we will also examine both the political and moral implications associated with being the world’s first global “empire” as well as the social, economic and political forces contributing to the rise of anti-American sentiment and political action throughout the Islamic world.


Section 3: Beat Generation – A. Merline
The Beat Generation is a term used to describe both a group of American writers who came to prominence in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and the cultural phenomena that they wrote about and inspired. I named this class after Kenny O, a former student and friend, because Kenny wishes that the world was as it was before the Beat Generation. This, of course, cannot be the case. Using two historical texts, one on the New Left and one chronicling American Conservatism, we will examine the aftermath of the Beat Generation from both sides of the coin. This course will also use the literature to discuss the change in American culture and to examine the effects on later generations.


Section 4: Abraham Lincoln: What’s Up With That Hat? – P. Vaughan Knaus
Abraham Lincoln once described his life story as “the short and simple annals of the poor. That’s my life, and that’s all you or anybody can make of it.” We know differently. Yet, America’s sixteenth president remains an enigma: both beloved and despised, depending upon where one’s sympathies lie. Did he unduly exceed the boundaries of Executive Privilege, alienating nearly half of the country? Was he a devout humanitarian possessing a genuinely ethical nature, yet still able to justify taking the United States to unspeakable devastation? The truth, as is generally the case, lives somewhere in the middle. Let us explore the man, the myth, the legend. Our task is to discover for ourselves just who was Abraham Lincoln? What forces guided his decisions and educts? Was he a man of faith? Of uncommon intellect? Of tremendous self-doubt and physical shortcomings?


Section 5 and 6: You’d Be Murdered for This: Art, Political Regimes and Morality – S. Zwick-Tapley
Imagine a painting so scandalous you’d be imprisoned.  Imagine a play so threatening you’d be tortured.  Imagine a book so controversial you’d be exiled for life.  Imagine a film so revolutionary you’d be killed.  Throughout history art has challenged dictators, religion and sexual norms and has been blamed for the destruction of morality and civilization.  What are these works of art and what made them so threatening?  And did these works of art succeed in bringing about the change so feared?  This class will explore controversial art from around the world (Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America) and look at the political, sociological, and psychological frameworks specific to each culture.  Art forms covered will include theatre, dance, the visual arts, film and literature.  (Warning: The material in this class may be offensive to some students)


Section 6: See Section 5


Section 7: Contemporary East Asian Cinema – H. Chung
This course examines representative and remarkable examples of both contemporary art cinema and commercial filmmaking in Japan, Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea. Students will explore how the global/local geopolitics specific to the post-Berlin Wall era (the dismantling of Cold War institutions; the passing of authoritarian regimes; the boom and bust of the Asian economy; the canonization of Asian films in the film festival circuit) have influenced the reshaping of New Asian cinemas across borders. The first section of our course will investigate the ways in which historical traumas (wars, massacres, revolutions, and uprisings) have been revisited and redressed in the post-Cold War cinemas of Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea. What is the relationship between history and national cinema? How do such concepts as imperialism, nationalism, postcolonialism, guilt and trauma play a role in films that shoulder the “burden of history” and represent the “unrepresentable”? The second section provides insights into selected auteurs and stars familiar to international cinephiles (such as John Woo, Chow Yun-fat, Wong Kar-wai, Zhang Yimou, Gong Li, Tsai Ming-liang, Kim Ki-duk, Bong Joon-ho, Oshima Nagisa, and Kitano “Beat” Takeshi). In the process, we will identify the themes, styles, genres and ideological/cultural content of East Asian film canons in the West. Are there specific aesthetic trends and thematic echoes among these auteur films from different nations? Is canon-making itself an Orientalist act of cultural imperialism?  The final weeks be will devoted to border-crossing films such as Ang Lee’s The Wedding Banquet (1993) and Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy (2003), works that highlight such critical concerns as diaspora, hybridity, transnationalism, and globalization.

HONR 492

Section 1: Philanthropy in Action- Passion to Serve – F. Glycenfer
We often wrestle with how to put our good intentions more fully into action in ways that willbenefit our community as well as enhance our individual lives. Volunteering in America is at an all-time record high; however there can often be challenges between making the world a better place and actually achieving it.  This course empowers students to maximize their potential to serve others through the lens of assisting the underserved by investigating theoretical constructs, viewing film documentaries, incorporating fiction reading and practical hands-on experience. The call for aid in our world is great – our passion to serve must be greater.


Section 2: Freedom in Focus – K. Jaggers
This course is organized around the idea, and practice, of freedom. While freedom is said to be "on the march" in the world today, what, precisely, does this mean? What does it mean to have free will; to live in a free society; to express oneself freely? Moreover, is the march of freedom inevitable? Is it desirable? Should it be unbridled in both its promotion and construction? While there is a temptation in our society to uncritically accept the idea of freedom as an unalloyed "good," by viewing the concept of freedom through the analytical lenses of philosophy and the social sciences we are better able to understand the "bounded" role of freedom in human society. The objective of this course is to think critically about the idea of freedom and, in the process, to evaluate the political, social, theological and ethical arguments both for, and against, its promotion. In this course we will examine the idea of freedom by reading the works of classic social theorists and commentators (e.g., Plato, Mill, Kant, Freud, Sartre, etc) and by interpreting these works through the lens of modern cinema (e.g., The Seventh Seal, The Matrix, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Apocalypse Now, A Clockwork Orange, etc). Note: students who register for this course will be required to attend weekly screenings of films that fall outside of scheduled class meetings.


Section 3: America and the Civil War – M. Elkins
“Any understanding of this nation has to be based on an understanding of the Civil War….it defines us.” These are the words of the eminent Civil War historian, Shelby Foote, and they form the premise for this course. Who we are as a nation, how we see ourselves, what we value and how we conduct our national and international life all have their roots in this great 19th Century catastrophic upheaval. This is not a history course although we will be reading James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom. Rather, it is a course on the ways in which the Civil War has seeped into our consciousness and been revised and reinterpreted over generations. In particular, we will look at its influences in art, both popular and elite. We will look at fiction dealing with the Civil War, such as The Killer Angels and The March, films ranging from Gone with the Wind through Glory and Gettysburg . We will read some poetry from the time, such as the work of Walt Whitman, from the 20th Century, such as Robert Lowell’s “For the Union Dead” and from the 21st Century, the poems of Kevin Young ( To the Confederate Dead). We will consider such issues as the image and reputation of Abraham Lincoln over the years, the relationship between slavery and contemporary racism. The consequences of the Civil War, both good and ill, are all around us. And the interest in the War and its iconic cast (Lincoln, Lee, Frederick Douglass, to name only three) is manifested in the amazing amount of research, of a very high quality, that appears on bookshelves on an almost daily basis. In the words of William Faulkner, “The past is not dead. In fact, it isn’t even past.”


Section 4: Construction of Self in Philosophy, Literature, and Medicine – G. Callahan
Construction of Self will explore three views of this most essential of human traits -- the biological, the philosophical, and the literary.  Literature and philosophy have for centuries probed at the surfaces and the cavities of self.  Biology, our teachers have told us, couldn’t care a whole lot less about the nature of the human self.  But as we will see in this course, biological and medical sciences, though less overtly, are also steadily changing the way we view our selves.  Three pillars of self.  However, since there is no single aspect of this universe that is not in some way relevant to the process of self-definition, we might as easily have picked any of several other perspectives, including things like art, religion, sociology, archeology, cosmology, and so on.  But we only have one semester.  And biology, philosophy, and literature offer a reasonable sampling of how we have struggled with our pictures of our selves since we first noticed we had selves and wondered just what we ought to do with them.  Furthermore, the consideration of these seemingly disparate subjects and their intersections will allow us to explore the process of self-construction and the ways in which our images of self are synthesized from the seemingly discontinuous fragments of our experience.


Section 5: Globalize This! Fear and Loathing in the Age of Progress – K. Jaggers
In "Globalize This!" we will explore both the perils and promise of globalization. For better or worse, the process of globalization is fundamentally transforming the economic, cultural and political foundations of the globe. While globalization holds out the promise of progress providing significant opportunities for the emancipation of the much of the world's population from the tyranny of poverty, ignorance and political repression it simultaneously evokes a sense of fear and loathing throughout the globe. Globalization has become a popular buzzword which serves to crystallize disagreements concerning the speed and direction of change in the world at large. Globalization is a contentious process; its meaning almost entirely dependent on who is talking about. Neo-liberal economic reformers, environmental and human rights activists, security experts and cultural nationalists, to name a few, all compete for the right to stake claim to the idea of globalization and shape public perceptions about its potential impact on the world in which we live. While both the meaning and merits of globalization have become highly politicized in recent years, with intellectual debate about this topic transforming itself into contentious political action with increasing regularity, in this class we will seek to evaluate the origins, nature and impact of this process in the modern world using insights and analytical tools from history and the social sciences.


Section 6: Women and Early American Psychology – V. Volbrecht
This course explores the cosmic forces that pushed the study of mind from the boundaries of philosophy to its own field of scientific inquiry in the United States. The early days of this new field of study are studied by examining the influences from other countries in its evolution and the research guiding the field in its genesis. The growth of a new field also requires the education of its future leaders and often during this time period it meant the education of males. Often forgotten are that woman contributed to moving the science of psychology forward. This course will explore the societal and discipline norms faced by women seeking advanced degrees and how despite the obstacles and challenges these early female pioneers were able to move the discipline forward.


Section 7: Change - Social, Environmental and Economic Perspectives – J. Raadik Cottrell
There’s only one thing for sure in life and that’s Change. We as individuals change (i.e., beliefs, attitudes and behaviors) throughout our lifespan and so does the world around us. In lieu of today’s rapid societal, environmental, economic, technological, etc. changes, the need for more balanced development is acute. Bold and transformative steps are necessary to shift global societies on a positive course of change to a more sustainable and resilient path. Today’s young generation is undoubtedly one of the most influential agents of change for a more sustainable future. Changing worldviews and the ability to take advantage of the advancements of today’s science and technology create endless opportunities and pose challenging ethical responsibilities. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development currently adopted by the United Nations is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity for poverty alleviation, universal education, health and well-being. The 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) demonstrate the scale and ambition of this new universal Agenda. This course through a tourism studies perspective examines how sustainable practice, livelihood change and travel and tourism may help realize human rights for some and to achieve gender equality and empowerment to mention the few. Through the lens of a holistic sustainability framework, the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainability along with institutional mechanisms are used to examine the role of travel and tourism in achieving the SDGs. Students will be engaged in classroom debates and discussions, explore different scenarios of change through case studies and field trips. Interdisciplinary and multicultural viewpoints are encouraged to gain an understanding how flows of information, people and knowledge can make a meaningful change.