Skip Sub Menu

Honors Program Courses

The Drake University Honors Program is open to students from all academic departments and undergraduate programs.

The Honors Program interdisciplinary courses are designed with the following class enrollment:

Numbering Recommended Audience
HONR 001-049: first-year  students
HONR 050-099: first-year students, sophomores, juniors and seniors
HONR 100: second semester first-year students & sophomores preferred (required course)
HONR 101-149: sophomores, junior and seniors (first-year students when seats are available)
HONR 150-197: juniors and seniors (sophomores by permission of instructor)
HONR 198: Honors Program Independent Study
HONR 199: Honors Program Senior Thesis/Project (required for "University Honors" designation)


HONR 001: Honors First Year Practicum, 1 credit hr.

All First Year honors track students are strongly encouraged to enroll in an honors course, either a three-hour honors seminar and/or the one-hour Honors Practicum. The Honors First Year Practicum is a one credit course designed to introduce first semester students to the Honors community. Each section of the course is led by two upper class Honors students who facilitate discussion in class and work to keep members of the class informed about and involved in Honors Program activities. The Director of the Honors Program serves as instructor of record for both the upper class Honors students (Practicum Guides) and the first year honors students.


HONR 039: Writing Seminar, 3 credit hrs.

This is a topics-oriented course, concerned with theoretical issues that confront writers and the practical ways in which those issues are addressed. The course is designed to help students become more fully aware of what assumptions govern their own and others' writings, of how writing works cognitively to contribute to intellectual growth, of ways of reading writing culturally and rhetorically. 


HONR 045: Characters in Science: Or I'm Human Enough To Tell You To Go To Hell, 3 credit hrs.

News reports often begin with the statement "Today, scientists revealed that they have discovered...", but rarely do the reporters talk explicitly about or to the scientists themselves. In fact, we know precious little about or the people that do science. My goal is to have students read about the lives of scientists, understand the emotions that scientists have regarding their work, and realize that, as the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman points out, doing science is as much of a human endeavor as is writing poetry, acting in movies, or striving to be a world-class athlete. To this end, we will look at scientists as members of the human race rather than as geniuses striving to win the Nobel Prize, although some of the people we will study are Nobel laureates. Of course, to understand them we will also explore, to some extent, the areas of science in which they excelled. However, the focus of the course will remain on the 'human side' of the scientists, and on understanding how they are not that unlike you and me.


HONR 051: Physical Science: Modern Technology, 3 credit hrs.

Physical Science: Modern Technology is an introduction to the basic concepts of physical science and the scientific method, with discussions of their applications to modern technology. There are two hours of lecture and two hours of lab per week. The course will also explore the history of science as well as the philosophy/nature of the physical sciences. That is, the course will explore physical phenomena, explore the historical development of human understanding of these phenomena, and work to make explicit the underlying assumptions, social forces, and epistemic commitments of the physical sciences. 


HONR 052: Tropical Ecology, (Spring 2012)

From rainforests to coral reefs, the tropics are among both the most magnificent and mysterious as well as the least understood of our natural ecosystems. This course will use an interdisciplinary approach to critically examine the current literature to answer such questions as: 1) why do rainforests and coral reefs sustain massive numbers of plant and animal species? 2) why are tropical ecosystems under an ever increasing threat of over-exploitation and ecological collapse? and 3) how does our current under- standing of conservation science and policy affect our ability to formulate a strategy to protect tropical resources for future generations?


HONR 053: Life and Teaching of Jesus, 3 credit hrs.  

Jesus was the founder of the world's largest religion and one of the most controversial figures in religious history. "Life and Teaching of Jesus" is an analysis of the early Christian writings with the objective of studying the life and message of Jesus. This exploration will use the tools of historical, anthropological, sociological, and literary scholarship to investigate Jesus and the early Christian communities that produced the literature about him within their historical, cultural, and religious contexts.  


HONR 054: Apocalyptic America, 3 credit hrs. 

The dramatic end of the current world order remains a fascination in American culture. From the Puritan desire to establish a Christian utopia prompting the return of Jesus and the expansionist mandates of Manifest Destiny to the Left Behind series and 2012, many Americans continue to anticipate an imminent end of the world. Apocalyptic America will examine this trend in popular culture by exploring the ancient religious documents (the biblical books of Daniel and Revelation, along with portions of the Gospels and the Letters of Saint Paul) on which this vision is based. The role of the "Millennial Kingdom" in American history and culture will then enable students to analyze contemporary incarnations of the theme. The course will conclude with student projects and group presentations that examine current cultural productions including apocalyptic religious movements, cultural productions ("The Road" and "2012"), and apocalyptic language in political discourse.

HONR 060: Legacy of Latin: Stucture and Words, 3 credit hrs.

Learning and studying a language involves two aspects: (1) building a sufficient vocabulary, and (2) acquiring knowledge of grammatical structure.  Vocabulary is built through using the language situationally, by working with texts, both oral and written. Latin belongs to the Indo-European language family, the same family of languages to which English belongs. Because of Latin's long perceived position as a transmitter of Classical thought and culture, a large segment of the learned vocabulary of English is fashioned upon Latin words and roots.  The Legacy of Latin is an intensive, demanding, rapidly moving study, focusing on the vocabulary and word families, and on the morphological and syntactic structure of Latin of the Classical Period (first century BC and first century AD). Of course, Latin is not some abstract entity. For centuries it was a living language, used by real people to do things with. Any study of any language must incorporate literary and cultural aspects of the society which uses the language.


HONR 063: Utopias Past and Present, 3 credit hrs.

In the Introduction to his book “Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination”, Robin D. G. Kelley makes a claim that dream and vision must precede meaningful change, and insists that “we are not merely inheritors of a culture but its makers.” Kelley has “heard it said” that young people are growing up in what Henry Giroux calls a “culture of cynicism” and that their “dreams have been utterly co-opted by the marketplace.” But he holds out hope for the future, and sees that hope lying in what young activists are “dreaming about.” Today there is plenty of evidence- from Egypt to Zuccotti Park- which suggests that people, and the youth in particular, are actively dreaming of better futures and demanding alternatives. In the current recession, there is much talk about the persistent challenges that face us, about gaps between the “real” and the “ideal” in social and political life, and about what, if anything, should be done to address them. Is democracy working the way it should? Is capitalism? What would we see if we let ourselves desire, dream about, feel, imagine a different society? Does it do us any good to dream like that? What would a ‘better’ society look like? And how can we translate vision into pragmatic strategy? This is the territory we will explore in Utopias Past and Present. In order to “answer” these questions, we will begin by looking at two philosophical and fictional examples of ideal societies, Plato’s Republic and More’s Utopia, before examining a series of novels by Ursula Le Guin, Sembene Ousmane, and Kim Stanley Robinson. Over the course of the term, we will also read and discuss non-literary writing on the tradition, especially social theory and philosophy that interrogates and/or recuperates utopianism, while studying a few historical instantiations of utopian politics, such as the Civil Rights and Occupy movements. We will thus define and examine utopianism broadly, as a literary genre; a social movement community, or experiment; a spirit or impulse; and as a crucial creative function in the process of historical change.


HONR 064: Contemporary Chinese Art & Issues, (Fall 2013) 3 credit hrs.

This class focuses on Contemporary Chinese Art and the local and global issues that it effects and which, in turn, effect it. To understand Chinese art today, we need to understand something of its history. We will be looking at Chinese art in tandem with Chinese political history of the 20th century, to be able to comprehend the enormous changes in the appearance of contemporary Chinese art. We will learn to read Chinese art with a double vision -- seeing it from our Western view point, and adding the ability to read it from the Chinese viewpoint. This double vision will allow us insight into the significance of Chinese art today.


HONR 066: Beatles Popular Music & Society, 3 credit hrs.

Often referred to as the greatest rock and roll band of all times, The Beatles' influence on popular music and contemporary culture is unquestionable. The societal context of the growth of Rock and Roll will serve as the framework for this course, which will chart the Beatles rapid rise to fame, their careers as a band and solo artists, and their continued impact on popular music and culture in the 21st century. This course will provide an in-depth, record-by-record, look at the music of this extraordinary group and the unique songwriting partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Additionally, the course will explore the development of global cross-promotional marketing, as applied by the Beatles and their corporation, Apple. Designed for non- music majors, this course will help to develop critical listening skills, and demonstrate the progression of musical concepts and themes still being applied in popular music today.


HONR 070: Blogs & Bullets: Social Media & Change in the Third Millenia, 3 credit hrs.

From Wikileaks revelations to Twitter and Facebook revolutions, the role of new media in shaping global political action is one of the most discussed but least understood phenomena confronting scholars and policymakers. Most scholars and policy makers seem to agree now that social media matter. Less clear is how, when, and why. This course investigates the impact of social media in developing and developed nation, democratic and authoritarian regimes in the 21st century.


HONR 071: Global Social Change, 3 credit hrs.

Globalization and economic development are two concepts that are interconnected, constructed through similar historical and social contexts of unequal power relations. There are many definitions of development and globalization, which we will discuss over the course of the semester. Both words are typically understood as something positive, and something that "we" in the United States have that "they" do not. Development practices typically involve changing societies through technology, knowledge, and institutions created by the Global North (the U.S., Canada, Japan, and Europe) and envisioned as a kind of salvation for the Global South. Globalization also imagines the interconnection and rapid flow of ideas, people, commodities and capital as a largely positive, unidirectional, capitalist phenomenon in which "we" and "they" will integrate into a globalized order that will provide benefits for all. In this class, we will examine critiques of the dominant understandings of development and globalization. Our class will also spend considerable time studying current and imagined alternative development(s) and globalization(s).

The biggest requirement for this course is a commitment to understanding the perspectives of the theorists and critics who interrogate dominant definitions of development and globalization. Often, statements about the Global South when discussing development or globalization reflect more the speakers' relationship to power and knowledge than any actual conditions of actual people and places. Also, often omitted from discussions on the Global North and South are relational power issues, e.g., how policies and prosperity in one region affect others. We will examine developmentalism and corporate globalization as ideologies. In studying development, we will examine the key sociological paradigms to describe economic development in the Global South. We will also explore issues of development through fiction. To focus on globalization, we will study some of the emergent dilemmas and possibilities of globalization, as well as the shifting roles of global institutions, corporations, and the nation-state. Central to the entire course is an emphasis on those who imagine alternatives to the dominant ways of thinking and doing globalization and economic development. Prior knowledge about the Third World or sociology is not necessary, but both are welcome.

This class centralizes the case method, fiction, and activism as a way of examining issues surrounding development. We will participate in several case studies, read a novel, and explore activism around some of the key topics. The semester will culminate with an option to construct a case study, a short story, or a group activist project.


HONR 072: Modern Spiritual Masters, 3 credit hrs.

This course will read, explore, discuss, and present the writings and vision of Thomas Merton, Mary Oliver, and Abraham Joshua Heschel. While the goal of each was much the same, the path for each was unique. "Dialogues with Silence," "Everything is all right and everything is not right," and "I asked for wonder and God gave it to me" are where these three began to engage our lives on a variety of levels, and then so much more. These modern spiritual masters, seekers themselves, found a wide audience in their lifetimes, and still do. The witness and body of materials regarding these "spiritual guides" continues to grow. In the main, they are rooted, although differently, in long-established traditions of spirituality. Each also was augmented in their thinking and living with untested paths. In each case, they have engaged in a spiritual journey shaped by the influences and concerns of our age, concerns such as the challenges of modern science, religious pluralism, secularism, and the quest for social justice. These religious thinkers interrelate their spirituality with different forms of modern thought: theology and philosophy, history and poetry, engagement with our modern world today, and ancient traditions often misunderstood and misused.


HONR 073: US Latino Language and Cultures, 3 credit hrs.

US Latino Language and Cultures is an interdisciplinary course that examines current issues pertaining to Latinos in the U.S. Students will learn how Latino demographics, history, religion, social and economic structures, political participation, education, language, and literature have shaped the development of a Latino identity within the USA and impacted the U.S. culture as a whole. Key topics include Latino diversity, popular culture, social inequities and socioeconomic status, history, and contemporary experiences, language and education, assimilation, literary and religious traditions, as well as social movements and political participation in the context of the Latino population of the U.S. This course is taught in English.


HONR 076: Conflict, Forgiveness & Apology, 3 credit hrs.

Scholarship continues to grow regarding the intersections of conflict, forgiveness and apology, including research from philosophy, sociology, biology, psychology, and theology. Forgiveness is not limited to a religious discourse but has become common in policy discussions ranging from responses to individual crimes to national programs after genocide. Forgiveness is also a popular strategy in some therapy models. Apologizing is a common response from high profile people, but are the apologies genuine or merely political? In this class, students will explore questions including: How can one study forgiveness and apology? Does forgiveness resolve conflict and provide healing for those involved? Does an apology need to happen before forgiveness? Is forgiveness always possible? Is it ever unethical to forgive? Can a nation apologize? Can an individual forgive a nation? What are the politics of forgiveness and apology? Students will explore these issues through readings, discussion, and writing. 

 HONR 078: Grief and Loss, 3 credit hrs.

In this course, students will learn how narratives of grief are constructed, experienced, debated, politicized, and pathologized. We will examine various aspects of grief including cultural difference, social policing, media portrayals, and theoretical debates. Students will learn how tragedy and grief are used to sell politics and products and what implications this has on individual and cultural understandings of loss. 


HONR 078: Public Intellectuals, (Spring 2009) 3 credit hrs. 

In this class, we will take a look at the role that public intellectuals have played and could play in contemporary American society. While we will begin the class by looking at the history of public intellectuals in America, our primary focus will be on the role that these individuals have played over the past twenty years. We will focus on four different areas: race, science, the “new conservatism” and gender; reading and thinking about the ideas of a prominent public intellectual in each of these areas. And we will think about whether or not the development of the World Wide Web and the Internet makes these people obsolete - or more important than ever before. Hopefully, some of what we read will inspire you, some of it will infuriate you, and some will cause you to rethink some things that you “know” are true.


HONR 079: Home: Dwelling and Belonging, 3 credit hrs.

 This course explores the idea, experience, representation, and feeling of home as a site of intimate belonging and of social status. As a place or places where we locate personal identity as well as public values, home may serve as a complex origin of memory, joy, pain, loss, and longing. For some, home is a real or imagined sanctuary of privacy, intimacy, or luxury, while others fine it a source of deprivation, repression, or abuse. Drawing on theories, philosophies, and critiques of diverse versions of home from different times and spaces—from 14th century palaces in Venice to 21st century shacks in South Africa —we will examine the cultural, historical, material, and political dimensions of this key place of everyday life. Drawing on a wide variety of beautifully evocative and painfully divisive writings about, and images of, dwellings from architecture, art, literature, and law, we will personally and critically reflect on the ideals and structures that place and displace residents in the individual, familial, and communal homes that anchor our relations to our selves and to each other.


HONR 080: Medical Sociology, (2016) 3 credit hrs.

This course applies sociological principles to health, illness, and health care. In order for students to fully develop an understanding in this context, a variety of perspectives will be explored and critiqued including that of patients, providers and society. This draws on foundational disciplines at the broader level and frames them into the biomedical experience. For example, sociological constructs of age, gender, ethnicity, and social class; psychosocial aspects of personal illness experience, historical and political perspectives of dominance, regulation and governance of providers and health care organizations will be the multidisciplinary topics covered. Other topics may include but are not limited to: history of 'western' medicine, models of illness, stress and well-being, social stratification of illness, health demography, medicalization and de-medicalization of illness, disability, and patient-provider relationships. A combination of reading, discussion, reflective activities, and paper/project composition will be used to facilitate comprehension of the course material. 


HONR 080: Health: Private Industry or Human Experience? An Exploration of Medical Sociology, (2011) 3 credit hrs.

This course applies sociological principles to health, illness, and health care. In order for students to fully develop an understanding in this context, a variety of perspectives will be explored and critiqued including that of patients, providers and society. This draws on foundational disciplines at the broader level and frames them into the biomedical experience. For example, sociological constructs of age, gender, ethnicity, and social class; psychosocial aspects of personal illness experience, historical and political perspectives of dominance, regulation and governance of providers and health care organizations will be the multidisciplinary topics covered. Other topics may include but are not limited to: history of 'western' medicine, models of illness, stress and well-being, social stratification of illness, health demography, medicalization and de-medicalization of illness, disability, and patient-provider relationships. A combination of reading, discussion, reflective activities, and paper/project composition will be used to facilitate comprehension of the course material.


HONR 081: Topics in Writing: Narrative, 3 credit hrs.

What is narrative? While literary theorists address this question through critical analysis of texts, imaginative writers often define their art by doing it. Is there also value for writers in looking critically at narrative's forms and functions (some might add technologies)? Narrative is ubiquitous. We don't pass a day without telling or hearing narratives of some kind. It is easy to forget that our lives are not a story, that the past is not a story, and that stories are not mirrors or reflections of life. Stories are made. And because narrative is arguably culture's most powerful way of producing meaning, writers, too, have a stake in thinking about the narratives they consume and produce as more than just artistically consequential. This is a course in narrative theory for creative writers and anyone else who welcomes an opportunity to think through and about creative narrative beyond what we typically view as an individual expressive act. We will both study and produce narratives as we consider genres and organizing principals, history and emerging (re-emerging) forms, realism, modernism and post-modernism, issues of authority and representation, hybridity and inter-textuality, and readers/consumers and the literary marketplace (including the role of MFA programs).


HONR 082: Reading Race and Ethnicity, (Fall 2013) 3 credit hrs.

This course discusses the broad concepts of race and ethnicity by concentrating on literary and filmic texts from South Africa and the United States. Studying several genres (novel, short story, poetry, non-fiction, and film), students will examine the concept of race (what is it?), its history in specific cultural contexts, how the notion of race relates to violence (physical, verbal, spiritual, mental), and how to form empowering habits of thinking in the face of such a problematic concept. Critical reading will strengthen each student's ability to think as well as to write clearly. Critical thinking can take many forms; in this course, it will mean that we practice asking incisive questions, identifying assumptions that affect the way we process information, looking past the obvious, and developing insightful claims.


HONR 084: Writers and Photographers, 3 credit hrs. 

The course grows out of Professor Woodward's longtime interest in and study of media; writing and photography; and the natural world. The course will examine how writers and photographers have interpreted the natural world--using classic works, newspaper and magazine writing concerning nature, photographs, and digital presentations on the World Wide Web. The goal will be to provide students with a broader understanding and appreciation of the wealth of media concerning the natural world; to study how naturalists have devoted their lifetimes to exploring the world of nature; and to instill in students what could become a lifelong love of exploring the natural world. Students will be asked to study Professor Woodward's "Save the Monarch" Web site at /monarch, where they will see writings, photographs, and a digital nature art gallery.


HONR 085: Developing Democracy: Critical Issues in Creating Democratic Engagement, 3 credit hrs. 

Developing Democracy: Critical Issues in Creating Democratic Engagement will use highly interactive methods to engage you in debates about critical historical and contemporary issues related to the development of democracy. The course uses a role-playing pedagogy called "Reacting to the Past" where you will play roles in at two games, one set in France in 1791 and one set in South Africa in 1992 that call for research, writing, and oral presentations on political, social, or philosophical debates related to the development of democratic constitutions and key cultural, political, religious, social, or diplomatic issues faced by democracies.


HONR 086: Borders and Borderlands, 3 credit hrs. 

Borders and Borderlands: Comparing the U.S.- Mexico Boundary and Beyond-- This course examines the topic of borders and borderlands from an anthropological perspective that will allow students to become familiar with various dynamics and problems as well as with key concepts, debates, and approaches within the disciplines of anthropology and border studies. We will examine numerous topics including migration, policing, in/security, violence, environmental vulnerability, cultural production, etc. through particular case studies of the U.S.-Mexico border and beyond. By looking at these issues, we will consider the social and political relations that shape popular understandings, expectations, and attitudes towards this boundary and trace, in turn, how the boundary and its dynamics affect the North American social and political landscape. 


HONR 087 Haunted Futures (Spring 2018), 3 credit hrs. 

Haunted Futures: Theories of Horror and Science Fiction and Science Fiction as Cultural Genres. This course will explore analysis and theories of film, literature, podcasts, and other forms of cultural production in the genre of Horror and Science Fiction. Methods of analysis will include visual art, film theory, philosophy and post-colonial thought.

"Poets and musicians are members of one church related in the most intimate way: 
for the secret of word and tone is one and the same." -E.T.A. Hoffman.  Music and Literature have traditionally been viewed as closely related art forms because both are temporal, auditory, and dynamic. This course explores the nature of this relationship through an interdisciplinary lens. By studying musical and literary art works that attempt to blur disciplinary boundaries, the course seeks to develop a comparative methodology for examining musico-literary intersections. The course is divided into three sections. The first, literature in music, considers music that takes a literary work as a referent. We shall examine to what degree music, an apparently non-denotative art form, can convey, evoke or express anything beyond itself. The second section, music in literature, is an examination of explicit attempts to "musicalize" literature or "verbalize" music. We shall read Stevens, T.S. Eliot, and Thomas Mann (with a particular focus on Doctor Faustus). The third section, Music and Literature, examines the symbiotic relationship that arises when music and text are bound together in song and opera.


HONR 088: Reading and Writing About Class, 3 credit hrs. 

This writing-intensive course will focus on American literary representations of class in order to work toward defining and analyzing its role in contemporary U.S. society. We will also examine the intersections of class, race, and gender. Readings include fiction, nonfiction, and theory.


HONR 088: Prayer and Praise in the Bible, (Spring 2009) 3 credit hrs.

The bulk of Biblical prayers and praises are found in the Psalms, so these will be the primary focus of the course. We do find prayers and praises in the history and prophetic books of the Hebrew Scriptures as well, and in the New Testament they are scattered about the Gospels, Epistles and Revelation; we will analyze some of these as well. We will look for the poetic form, speech form and rhetoric of the passages under study; students will be taught the methods for ascertaining theses. From our analysis we can trace the history of what can be called “spirituality”. Since the study of these texts and their location in history is an essential theme in my book, Redeeming Judgement, we will correlate the piety and theological literature of each era.


HONR 088: Theology of The Lord of The Rings, (Spring 2006) 3 credit hrs.

In this course we will focus on the fantasy epic narrative by Tolkien comprised of the six books of the Lord of the Rings. We will also explore other scholarly writings and the recent movie adaptation to assist us in recognizing the theological ideas being communicated to the reader and shaping the movie. In the Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s fantasy world predates Christianity and does not include any explicit references to Jewish or Christian doctrines. However, theological concepts out of those traditions undergrid that narrative, and pre-Christian beliefs and practices that would violate the structures of the christian faith are notably avoided. It will be our task to carefully study the narrative so that we can locate ideas embedded in the text that correspond to ideas that are actually found in the theological tradition. Then, our examination of the recent movie adaptation will serve as a secondary interpretation of the written material and will lead to a discussion about whether it is faithful to the text and whether it displays the same theology.


HONR 089: History of Cosmology 3 credit hrs. 

Cosmology is the study of the origin, fate and nature of the universe on its grandest scales. Over the millenia, it has had a powerful influence on our thinking about the significance of the Earth and human civilization. It is a rich topic with many different flavors, ranging from the poetic to the technical, from the mundane to the truly bizarre. Historically, cosmological ideas have evolved with and influenced the philosophy, art, psychology, culture and ego of humankind. In this class we will examine the human investigation of the Cosmos on its largest scales. We will take an historical perspective of the development of cosmological ideas from flat Earth to inflation, studying how these ideas have developed and changed since antiquity and how these developments have resonated through our societal and cultural experience. We will also explore the modern scientific view of cosmology and discuss how observational results either support or conflict with theoretical ideas about the cosmos. We will employ both descriptive and mathematical approaches to see how these work together to deepen our understanding.


HONR 090: Microcosm, Macrocosm, 3 credit hrs. 

This is an unusual course that looks at the intersection of visual language and the study of natural history. Students will explore the fundamentals of art making through the lens of organic form and function. We will take a critical look at artists as scientists and naturalists throughout history -- those who used drawing to hypothesize about living systems. We will gain a better understanding of our own relationship with the natural world as we explore their processes of visualization in studio. The course will consist of seminar, art studio, and experimental field trips to important resource sites locally and statewide.


HONR 091: Critters 101, 3 credit hrs. 

This non-traditional course will take a critical and creative look at the lives of animals through the lenses of natural history, the biological sciences, mythology, the fine arts, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and film. It will provide the environment for expression of ‘lives’ yet to be examined. Sparked by research, ‘lives’ become evidence through the arts of 2-D, 3-D, video, fiction, poetry, and music. As we entangle our lives with the lives of animals, students are encouraged to explore expressive methods of understanding both inside and outside familiarity.


HONR 092: Journalists Screen/1955 Presents, 3 credit hrs. 

Why is reporting such a compelling subject in film and, later, on television? What are key elements in the public's ongoing images and expectations of journalism? From the mid-1950s forward, films about reporters offer plots that are more international, more danger-filled, and more entangled in power politics and media conglomerates. This course will examine particular films and television programs keeping in mind basic issues of production values, film theories, and the structures of American film and television. American history will also provide a backdrop for the course material, as directors attempt to recount realistic and even real-life cases, from Watergate to wars in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and the Persian Gulf. Expect to see "Black Like Me," "Heat Wave," "The Year of Living Dangerously," "Under Fire," and even "Kolchak: the Night Stalker," among others.


HONR 093: The Press, Program, and the Pill, (Spring 2017) 3 credit hrs.

This course explores the interface of culture, technology, and biology through a close examination of three significant innovations: the printing press, the computer, and the birth control pill. Drawing on the work of historians, anthropologists, biologists, political scientists, cognitive scientists, and philosophers, students will consider the ways in which these innovations have transformed our conceptions of human freedom, authority, intelligence, and agency. The course will also examine the broader implications of these innovations for our conception of nature and the natural, as well the contrasts often thought to be implied by 'nature' and 'natural' (e.g., nature vs. culture; nature vs. nurture; natural vs. artificial). 


 HONR 093: Human Evolutionary Psychology, 3 credit hrs. 

Human social behavior will be critically examined from the perspective of modern evolutionary theory. Do people behave in ways that tend to maximize their reproductive success? The course will examine the issues critically, and will use readings to facilitate vigorous classroom discussion. Topics include: the history of the Darwinian revolution, sexual selection, kin selection, human evolutionary history, the evolution of mating systems, strategies for reproduction, and Darwinian views of "moral" behavior – specifically, altruism and cooperation.

Evolutionary psychology has generated a great deal of controversy because it uses biology as a rudimentary explanation of the differences between male and female behavior. Does such a science promote the "status quo?" Can such a science be deconstructed as a political ploy? Or, is it possible that this science represents a great advance that achieves the original goals of Freud and reveals the inner workings of the human mind?

While the above controversies will receive active discussion, the primary focus of the course will be to determine what science can tell us about our prehistory and how that prehistory might reveal something about our behavior now. The goal of this class is to address the question: Is there such a thing as "human nature?"


HONR 094: Dogs: Interdisciplinary Study, (Spring 2015) 3 credit hrs.

This course is an examination of dogs and human relationships with dogs as seen through the lens of art, religion, literature, economics, history, science and a wide variety of other disciplines. We are the only species that keeps other species as companions -- what is the significance of this? We will be looking, specifically, at a handful of questions throughout the semester: Are dogs the species most similar to us? What can we learn about ourselves by looking at our relationship to dogs and their relationship to us? And how can our understanding of dogs and their lives as well as our relationship to them make us better humans? Might our humanity be a gift from dogs?


HONR 094: American Media and Nuclear Issues, 3 credit hrs.  

From the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Japan by the United States in August 1945 to today's concerns over weapons of mass destruction, the threat of nuclear weapons has cast a long shadow across the world. This course is intended to explore the history of nuclear weapons as it has been told--or not told-- through the eyes of the American media--newspapers, magazines, television, books, and the Internet.

Drawing on books ranging from John Hersey's "Hiroshima" to Paul Boyer's "By the Bomb's Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age" to Jonathan Schell's contemporary interpretation in "The Seventh Decade: The New Shape of Nuclear Danger," we will study how the nuclear story has been shaped in public discussion and hidden in secrecy.

Major objectives will be (1) to broaden student understanding of nuclear issues in the 21st Century; (2) to assess the media role past and present in seeking to explain the issues; (3) to examine secrecy questions surrounding weapons of mass destruction; and (4) to assess the future of nuclear threats in society.


HONR 095: Love, Marriage, and the Baby, (Spring 2006) 3 credit hrs.

“First comes love and then comes marriage and then comes a baby in a baby carriage!” Despite dramatic changes in social patterns involving marriage, childbearing, and family arrangements, this childhood rhyme still reflects the assumptions of many young women and men about the paths that their personal lives will follow. In this regard, “Love, marriage, and a baby carriage” are often considered social inevitability rather than personal choices. One of the primary goals of this course will be to encourage students to reflect on love relationships, marriage, and having children as personal choices rather than social givens. Although the course will encourage students to think about decisions regarding marriage and childbearing as personal choices, we will consider the ways in which socially constructed gender norms shape our assumptions and expectations about love, marriage, and family as well as the limits that gender norms place on the range of options that are genuinely available to men and women in our society. In addition to gender norms, we will consider the effects of class, culture, and religion on decisions regarding marriage and family .We will examine love, marriage, childbearing, and parenting in historical context and also will consider evolving political and social norms shaping these matters as reflected in governmental policy and popular culture. Topics that we will consider include the nature of marriage, the choice to marry or not marry, patterns of equality or inequality within marital relationships, gay marriage, radical critiques of marriage, the choice to have or not to have children, work/family balance, and parenting styles. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to reflect on their own personal expectations, preferences, and views and to consider the ways in which their ideas have been shaped by the historical, political, and social context in which they live.


HONR 096: Recurring Narratives: Storytelling, (2014) 3 credit hrs.  

Humans tell stories, whether in archaic pictograms, long- sung ballads, or today's morning news. This class will explore the stories that are told and retold, because they resonate with some deep need or common fear, fulfill some wish or dream. In fact, we will explore that assertion--about why we tell--and listen to-- the same stories over and over. What does that say about us? About our culture?


HONR 096: Human Evolutionary Psychology, (2012) 3 credit hrs.  

Human social behavior will be critically examined from the perspective of modern evolutionary theory. Do people behave in ways that tend to maximize their reproductive success? The course will examine the issues critically, and will use readings to facilitate vigorous classroom discussion. Topics include: the history of the Darwinian revolution, sexual selection, kin selection, human evolutionary history, the evolution of mating systems, strategies for reproduction, and Darwinian views of "moral" behavior-- specifically, altruism and cooperation. Evolutionary psychology has generated a great deal of controversy because it uses biology as a rudimentary explanation of differences between male and female behavior. Does such a science promote the "status quo?" Can such a science be deconstructed as a political ploy? Or, is it possible that this science represents a great advance that achieves the original goals of Freud and reveals the inner workings of the human mind? While the controversies will receive active discussion, the primary focus of the course will be to determine what science can tell us about our prehistory and how that prehistory might reveal something about our behavior now. The goal of this class is to address the question: Is there such a thing as "human nature?"


HONR 099: Reading & Writing Disability, (Fall 2013) 3 credit hrs.

You don't have to care about disability for the meaning to affect you: the way we think about many forms of cultural difference is rooted in the ways culture has viewed disorders of the body and mind. We will read a selection of creative work, public health policy, critical theory and medical texts to understand important ways that "disability" functions as a concept or identity. And we will use personal, analytical and creative writing to explore our own relationship to "normal." This course will explore ways that language is used to construct "disability" and some of the cultural, personal, and therapeutic responses to it. Students will read and discuss various textual "treatments" of disabled individuals and will examine through their writing their own relationship to disability as a changing phenomenon linked to a culture's preoccupations with race, gender, and the environment. Frequent close reading, writing, revision, and peer editing, in a discussion-oriented format building toward an end-of-term project that combines research, response, and personal narrative.


HONR 100: Paths to Knowledge, (Fall 2016) 4 credit hrs.  

This is an interdisciplinary course focusing on different modes of reasoning and inquiry (i.e., "paths to knowledge") in the sciences and the humanities. It should help us to better navigate our way through an increasingly information- and knowledge-saturated society. In pursuing this aim, we will explore the modes of reasoning and inquiry that are typically employed in the production of various forms of knowledge. Among the questions we will examine are: Why do we seek knowledge? How is knowledge created? How should we judge the value and validity of knowledge claims? How should society make decisions about the uses to which knowledge is put? In seeking answers to these questions, we hope to hone those critical and analytical skills that will allow us to become sophisticated producers/consumers of creative output.


HONR 100: Paths to Knowledge, (Spring 2016) 4 credit hrs.  

Section Instructed by Matthew Hayden and Jerrid Kruse: Paths to Knowledge is intended for Honors Track and/or Honors Program students, second semester students and above. This course will explore what it means to be a contemporary global citizen. Students will examine the use of humanities, social, physical, behavioral sciences as cognitive tools to understand and respond to the established and long-lived historical fact of globalization and contemporary global problems. The course will be organized around the multiple conceptions of what 'knowledge' is, what it means, how it is generated, and how it operates via the identification of issues of global significance such as global population, global environment and climate, economic globalization, and global security issues (variously defined). In particular, students will be challenged to improve their skills in eight categories that are applied to each of the four course topics. These skills may include, but are not limited to: using multiple knowledge bases (interdisciplinary); documenting and explaining sources of bias; explaining implications and consequences on multiple stakeholders; logically constructed and coherently explained argument; effective critique of own arguments; articulating own positionality in relation to multiple perspectives, knowledge bases, and biases; using and evaluating multiple and diverse research resources. The guiding principle of the course is that a person cannot truly attempt to be a global citizen without these competencies.

Section Instructed by Timothy Knepper: This is a course about the invention of "religion" as a category of scholarly inquiry. It will attempt to track the history of the construction of "religion" as well as certain religions (e.g., "Hinduism," "Confucianism") in the modern West. After familiarizing ourselves with this history, we will "role play" the participants of the 1893 Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago, the very first time in which scholars and practitioners of the world's religions met together to share their religious beliefs, practices, and theories. With any luck, this "game" will bring out many of the tensions that still exist in the study of religion today (descriptive science vs. normative theology, insider vs. outsider perspectives, western vs. eastern understandings, interpretative vs. explanatory goals, etc.)


HONR 100: Paths to Knowledge, (Fall 2014) 4 credit hrs.  

This is an interdisciplinary course focusing on different modes of reasoning and inquiry (i.e., "paths to knowledge") in the sciences and the humanities. It should help us to better navigate our way through an increasingly information- and knowledge-saturated society. In pursuing this aim, we will explore the modes of reasoning and inquiry that are typically employed in the production of various forms of knowledge. Among the questions we will examine are: Why do we seek knowledge? How is knowledge created? How should we judge the value and validity of knowledge claims? How should society make decisions about the uses to which knowledge is put? In seeking answers to these questions, we hope to hone those critical and analytical skills that will allow us to become sophisticated producers/consumers of creative output.


HONR 100: Paths to Knowledge, (Spring 2011, Fall 2012) 4 credit hrs.  

You have spent much of your life in school with the intended goal of acquiring, among other things, knowledge. In this class we will be looking at the question of what knowledge is, why it's important and how it is most productively acquired. More specifically, our discussion of knowledge will shift to a discussion of truth and understanding, how (or whether) these are related to knowledge and which of these is most desirable. Our primary focus in class discussions will be on the topic of moral truth/knoweledge/understanding in particular. Are moral statements true or false akin to scientific claims? Or are they simply statements of preference? How should we decide what behavior is moral behavior? What is the best way to answer this question? What tools should we use? What counts as evidence to draw upon? How can we become more moral people? In the course of these discussions, we will touch on many disciplines including but not limited to philosophy, religion, neuroscience, art, sociology and history.


HONR 100: Paths to Knowledge, (Spring 2011) 4 credit hrs.  

This course takes an interdisciplinary and multicultural approach to the study of mind, consciousness and the mind-body relationship. To this end students will read about and learn from scholarly and experiential sources regarding questions about the nature of mind and consciousness from West and East. Readings representing Western philosophical and scientific perspectives will draw from philosophy, cognitive neuroscience, cognitive and social cognitive psychology, psychopathology, human development, biology and quantum physics. Selected readings from Western spiritual traditions include writings from Judaism, Christianity and Cherokee Indian traditions. Readings from Eastern cultural, philosophical and spiritual traditions will include Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist sources.


HONR 100: Paths to Knowledge, (Spring 2011) 4 credit hrs.  

Panoptikon – Enquiries into Life and Landscape. 
Knowledge of life and landscape comes in many forms and is highly specific to the time in which we live as influenced by the forces of contemporary theory, popular culture, the media and politics, philosophy, historical consciousness, personal truths and experiences. This course will present a forum for the opening up of important concepts, claims and perspectives found in the study and consideration of life and landscape. There are individuals who communicate ideas and positions through research, poetical language, fiction and individuals who speak visually, through painting or cinema. Some take long walks across landscapes and link what is directly experienced with buried historical perspectives and so rearrange what is commonly understood about a place and all of its inhabitants. How do we, as human beings, place ourselves either within or without the world around us? We will delve into multi-faceted aspects of the organic and inorganic, seeking unusual perspectives into the strange connections and potential rearrangements that may be made between life and landscape.


HONR 100: Paths to Knowledge, (Spring 2007, Spring 2008) 4 credit hrs.  

This is an interdisciplinary course focusing on different modes of reasoning and inquiry (i.e., "paths to knowledge") in the sciences and the humanities. It should help us to better navigate our way through an increasingly information- and knowledge-saturated society. In pursuing this aim, we will explore the modes of reasoning and inquiry that are typically employed in the production of various forms of knowledge. Among the questions we will examine are: Why do we seek knowledge? How is knowledge created? How should we judge the value and validity of knowledge claims? How should society make decisions about the uses to which knowledge is put? In seeking answers to these questions, we hope to hone those critical and analytical skills that will allow us to become sophisticated producers/consumers of creative output.


HONR 101: Practicum First Year GRP Co-Requisite with Honors Practicum Guide Experience, 3 credit hrs.  

This course gives upper-level Honors students the opportunity to craft effective leadership skills to mentor small groups of 10-12 first year students enrolled Honors 001 First Year Practicum. Students collaborate in pairs as co-guides on development and implementation of curriculum, service and social activities for assigned first year groups. Guides will work closely with the Director of Honors to develop the skills and materials necessary to lead the assigned groups. The Goals of the Practicum (subject to mild modification): communicate information about making the most of the Honors Program; foster community within the group; foster connections of the group with the larger Honors community; enhance students understanding of their own learning processes; develop skills necessary for success in Honors courses; nurture intellectual curiosity. Guides must be independent thinkers, thoughtful leaders and effective communicators who are committed to growing in all of these areas 


HONR 102: Service Learning: Building a Legacy at Drake, 3 credit hrs.  

This course will help students think critically about volunteerism, reflect on their own volunteer service, discuss social issues and problems that impact Drake's campus, the community or global populations, understand critical issues in service-learning research, and most importantly, develop a service learning project. Students will examine the definition of service-learning, volunteerism trends, project development issues, and possible project ideas that can impact the lives of others. They will also engage in readings and discussion to investigate social issues that influence a particular area of need. This will lead to the development of a final service project to be designed and implemented individually or collaboratively. After completion of the project, students will present it to an audience and complete final written reflections of their experiences. 


HONR 103: Science in the Art of Da Vinci, 3 credit hrs.   

Leonardo da Vinci was one of the greatest geniuses of all times. A true Renaissance Man, he excelled in the arts, the sciences and technology creating new directions in anything he worked on. A self-taught thinker and artist, he managed to create works of unrepeatable beauty and complexity and ideas in multiple sciences that were often two hundred or more years ahead of his time. Even though his art masterpieces are widely admired and some of his technological innovations have fascinated the imagination of youths everywhere, his fundamental science work has not been known very well. In particular, it took the attentive investigation of scientists and engineers to reveal its width and depth. As an example, drawings that were previously thought to be random dwindling turned out to represent elaborate mathematical transformations. The most remarkable aspect of da Vinci's enormous body of work is that his art served his science and his science was educated by his artistic aesthetics. He did not consider them separate. In fact, they were two parts of the same relentless endeavor to discover truth and beauty in everything natural and human. Leonardo's diverse thought encompassed human and other animal anatomy and physiology, plant morphology, geology, mechanics, optics, waves, fluid dynamics, civil (town and canal) engineering, ballistics and mathematics. In all these fields his discoveries were depicted in specialized drawings but, remarkably, his "pure art" was often a tour-de-force of scientific information (for example, the "Virgin of the Rocks" is an impressive study in geology).


HONR 104: American Philosophy, (Fall 2014) 3 credit hrs.   

A study of the central texts and ideas of American philosophy from transcendentalism in the nineteenth century to pragmatism in the twentieth, readings will include but not be limited to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, William James, John Dewey, W.E.B. DuBois, Nelson Goodman and Catherine Elgin.


HONR 104: Introduction to European Women's History, 1848-Present, (Fall 2009) 3 credit hrs.   

This course covers women in the later industrial revolution of the 19th century, alterations in family structures and in laws affecting women, the rise of suffrage movements, women's participation in left-wing politics through WWI, and women in WWI, the Depression, WWII, and second wave feminism in the more recent past. Focus is on economic, political, and social history, using first-person documents and film when possible.


HONR 105: Concept of Judgment, Philosophy, and Religion, 3 credit hrs.   

The course compares the view of Biblical theology and philosophy on the subject of judgment. The theological study of the subject of God’s judgment in the Bible will be guided by Dale Patrick’s new book “Redeeming Judgment.” It will focus on certain biblical texts which describe judicial proceedings in which God acts as judge. The task of the Israelite prophets was to convincingly convey God’s judgment to the people. The rhetorical challenge to the prophet was to persuade the accused of their guilt, and their need to accept their punishment in hope. First, we will study the common human condition depicted in Genesis 2-11, then look at Israel’s calling, and the prophetic announcement of judgment (exile). The course will end showing how judgment is swallowed up, so to speak, in redemption. Judgment will also be investigated from a philosophical point of view. From the perspective of philosophy, it is not only a question of “who” judges, but also “with whom” judgment should be made. Here we will look to Aristotle to inquire into the nature of the judging community, how it is constituted, and by what communicative process deliberation leading to judgment should take place.


HONR 106: Comparative Religion, 3 credit hrs.   

This course serves as both an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of comparative religion and an exercise in the interdisciplinary practice of comparative religion. (Note that comparative religion does not rate and rank religions but rather identifies and explains the similarities and differences between religions.) The introductory component of the class considers the strengths and weaknesses of several different models and methods of comparing religions, while the practical component takes up the actual comparison of a number of different religions with respect to the theme of religious responses to suffering. (Optimally, the class will also produce multidisciplinary explanations of these comparisons.) This year's class will interface with a public program in comparative religion consisting of a number of visiting scholar lectures and local inter-faith dialogues. This means that the religions the class compares will be determined by the foci of these activities. (The possibilities include American Indian religions, African religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Shinto, Judaisim, and Islam.) 


HONR 107: Religion and American Politics, (Fall 2016) 3 credit hrs.   

This course will explore the distinctive relationship between religion and politics in U.S. history. Beginning with the colonial era and moving up to the present day, we will examine the origins of religious disestablishment and liberty as enacted by the U.S. Constitution; the role of religious institutions and values in American party politics; the evolution of church-state relations as reflected in major court cases; and the key reform movements, ranging from antislavery to Civil Rights, that brought intense religious conflict and rhetoric into the public square. By semester's end, students will have a better grasp of both the historical interplay between religion and U.S. politics and how this dynamic has shaped American democracy.


HONR 107: Iconic Culture, (Fall 2011) 3 credit hrs.   

This course will address various kinds of "icons" that embody cultural ideals and express cultural tensions in their (inevitable) internal tensions. Iconic Culture will explore the range of uses of cultural icons such as monuments—like the Statue of Liberty or the Vietnam War Memorial, famous persons who represent some principle or ideal—George Washington, Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol, photographs that have come to stand for a time or place or idea—raising the flag at Iwo Jima or standing in front of the tank in Tianamen Square, and potent terms or phrases in political discourse—liberty, equality, and family values. In this course, we will explore the range of uses of cultural icons such as these to provide a broader sense of social and historical context.


HONR 108: Philosophy of Science, 3 credit hrs.   

The course will examine the major topics and issues of contemporary philosophy of science, including (but not limited to) the demarcation criteria of science, the rationality and objectivity of scientific theories, the verification and falsification of scientific theories, and the claims and merits of realism, pragmatism, empiricism, and constructivism. The course will also consider the ways in which various contexts of scientific activity (technological, social, historical, economic, political) affects the practice and aims of science. 


HONR 109: Religions of the Middle East, (Spring 2016) 3 credit hrs.   

Three of the largest and oldest religions developed from the cultures of the Middle East. Although the religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share similar foundations and many similar beliefs, their histories and innovations led to distinct religions that are often entangled in deep religious and political conflict. Religions of the Middle East will begin by exploring the histories and beliefs of these religions. The class will then examine two major issues that effect and are influenced by the religions of the Middle East (these topics are open and will rotate each semester).


HONR 109: Gender and War, (Fall 2012) 3 credit hrs.   

Most mainstream international relations scholarship shares a basic assumption that war is "gender neutral." However, feminist scholarship has shown that war is a highly gendered phenomenon. Socially constructed norms of masculinity and femininity have been used by nation states to mobilize their populations for war and to create soldiers, typically out of young men. Nation-states must go to great lengths to train their soldiers to kill, and the construction of a militarized masculinity is a key component in state efforts to achieve this objective. Nation-states also use femininity to mobilize support for war. States have relied on social and cultural depictions of supportive mothers and faithful wives of soldiers to mobilize support for war. Similarly, state depictions of innocent women as a class of people especially vulnerable to external military threats also have been used in wartime rhetoric to mobilize public support for military operations. In addition to serving as a tool for mobilizing war support and creating soldiers, gender contributes to war's divergent effects on men and women. While men are more likely to serve as combatants, women are more likely to serve in support roles (nurses, aid workers, etc.) Women and children make up a higher proportion of civilian casualties and war refugees and also are more likely to be victims of rape whereas men are more likely to suffer as combatants. The effects of war on men vary from country to country. They may be forced to fight in political systems that do not have volunteer armies, and as combatants or potential soldiers it is harder for them to get refugee status. As As soldiers, they may be treated as heroes in popular wars but reviled if wars are unpopular. For men serving in the upper echelon of the military (and high-ranking military officials are primarily men), military service can be a path to political power, a path generally denied to women. These differential effects of war on men and women can be explained largely by socially constructed gender identities that define men's and women's wartime roles in different ways. With this background in mind, this course will examine the ways in which gender norms contribute to our understanding of the causes, tactics, and consequences of war.


HONR 110: Constructing Americans, (Spring 2014) 3 credit hrs.   

This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the politics of membership in the U.S. We begin, in Part I, by exploring theories of citizenship and political identity. How are political communities constructed and maintained? What can political communities credibly ask of members? What can communities legitimately or justifiably do to maintain themselves as communities? In Part II, we apply our theoretical discussion of community and membership to the American political community itself, exploring how American political culture, law, and policy have structured access to membership in the American political community, with particular emphasis on the historical role that race-, class-, ethnicity-, and gender-based distinctions have shaped access to full ‘member’ status. In Part III, we explore several mechanism of community-building in the U.S., with a particular focus on shame, deviance, fear, and personal responsibility as mechanisms of community-building that construct insiders and outsiders through the regulation ‘proper’ behavior. In Part IV, we discuss contemporary theoretical and policy debates about patriotism, treason, immigration, control, asylum, naturalization, globalization, and the fate of democratic citizenship in an ‘Age of Terror’ to unpack the nature, meaning, and requirements of citizenship. We conclude, in Part V, with a discussion of possibilities for bridging the gap between democratic membership’s inclusive promise and our political system’s legacy of race-, gender-, class-, and ethnicity-based exclusions. Our discussion, throughout, is informed by readings from law, classical and contemporary political theory, anthropology, geography, American studies, public policy, and sociology. These materials will allow us to gain some traction into several questions at the heart of our political community’s ongoing ‘identity crisis’: Who are we? Who are the ‘we’? What should we be? What does it mean to be an ‘American’? How far should the claims of political community extend?


HONR 111: American Philosophy, (Spring 2011) 3 credit hrs.   

A study of the central texts and ideas of American philosophy from transcendentalism in the nineteenth century to pragmatism in the twentieth, readings will include but not be limited to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, William James, John Dewey, W.E.B. DuBois, Nelson Goodman and Catherine Elgin.


HONR 112: Chinese Philosophy to Contemporary Art, (Spring 2017) 3 credit hrs.

This class reads major developments in 20th- and 21st-century art and aesthetics through the lens of Chinese philosophy and Chinese writings on the arts. In the process, we find that contemporary art is not only a phenomenon of "post-modernity," as it is often framed; rather, the contemporary scene has also been shaped by traditions and practices that are neither produced by nor responding to European modernity. We begin with a solid grounding in the Chinese philosophical tradition, before considering the questions and debates of art theory in the West. Throughout the course, we engage with a range of contemporary artists and art movements to appreciate the multi-cultural influences that together shape the art world today. 


HONR 112: Philosophy ad Postcolonialism, (Fall 2015) 3 credit hrs.    

This course will investigate the issue of Eurocentrism in the discipline of philosophy, with special attention to the critical resources of postcolonial and decolonial theory. We will look at the colonial history behind the development of today's accepted philosophical "canon" and the various debates in Europe during the late 1700's and early 1800's that led to the exclusion of African and Asian sources from this canon. We will critically examine how discussions internal to Europe over contested categories such as philosophy, religion, and science helped shape the discipline of philosophy as we know it today. Finally, we will also consider future possibilities, with reference to recent work in Latin American, African, and Asian philosophy that seeks to "decolonize" not only the philosophical canon but also the theories and methods that shape contemporary philosophy's professional and disciplinary identity.  


HONR 112: Curatorship Seminar, (Fall 2008) 3 credit hrs. 

Students in this course will co-curate an exhibition on the architectural legacy of Eliel and Eero Saarinen at Drake University that opens in Drake's Anderson Gallery in November 2008. The exhibition will explore the confluence of architectural, institutional, and cultural forces that led to the choice of the Saarinens to create a campus plan and build nine buildings at Drake between 1945-1957. After a visual, historical, and theoretical orientation to the topic of study by the instructor and guest speakers, as well as a visit to the traveling Saarinen retrospective on view at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, students will work in groups to research and write text for the labels of the exhibition and for the online historical tour that will accompany the show. Students will also be introduced to other collaborative curatorial responsibilities including layout and installation, promotion, and educational programming. They will consult with students in Graphic Design III, who will be working on the design of the printed material for the show and the exhibition design. For their final projects, students will be responsible for giving at least one tour of the exhibition and/or campus to a visiting group.


HONR 113: Philosophy of Art, (Fall 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

Students will learn about aesthetics and the philosophy of art from both historical and contemporary perspectives, and through readings in both analytic and continental philosophy. Our overarching question will be "What is art?" and we will read, discuss, and evaluate four proposed definitions: art as representation, art as expression, art at form, and art as aesthetic experience. Students will engage these definitions at a theoretical as well as a practical level, in application to actual works of art. Finally, students will end the semester by putting forward their own "manifesto" on the nature of art.  


HONR 113: Intersection of Physics and Eastern Thought, (Spring 2007) 3 credit hrs.  

Patterns of thought in Eastern religion in some ways resemble physical phenomena as understood by quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity. In this class, we will explore the Eastern traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism and discuss the degree to which parallels to modern physics are most tenable, for example by comparing the quantum notion of "superposition" with Buddhist conception of "emptiness," and the "ERP paradox" with Asian theories of "dependent origination." Course readings are designed to familiarize students with these seminal Asian religious traditions (and to a more limited extend their literary permeations), as well as with the historical development of models of the universe from Ptolemy to Einstein (and beyond).


HONR 113: Existentialism, (Fall 2007) 3 credit hrs.  

The existentialist—or so called existentialist— philosophers refused to have their approach categorized, defined, or, perhaps most irritating to them, classified as a "school." This antipathy to being grouped together in any way reflects one of the commitments common to all of the existentialists—freedom. Other common themes include alienation, authenticity, rebellion, and the importance of choice. Much of existentialism is also atheistic, with the notable exception of the so called "founder" of existentialism, Soren Kierkegaard. But whatever their attitude towards the possibility of there being a god, existentialists see human beings as essentially alone in the world without any prior definition of who they are. This is the meaning of that famous saying of existentialism, "Existence precedes essence." In the words of one of the most influential of the existentialists, Jean Paul Sartre: What is meant here by saying that existence precedes essence? It means first of all. Man exists, turns up, appears on the scene, and, only afterwards. defines himself. . . Not only is man what he conceives himself to be, but he is also only what he wills himself to be after this thrust towards existence. What sort of philosophy is possible with such an apparently nihilistic world-view? Where does philosophy begin without any starting point beyond where each of us is, right now? What sort of ethics is possible in such a world (a world about which Dostoievsky famously said: "If God didn't exists, everything would be possible.")? These questions will be at the center of the course. By the end, hopefully we will be further along the path that begins with these questions. Or maybe we won't. In this case we will be in good company. But however our investigation turns out, along the way, we will study the most influential and interesting philosophers and artists ( Some like Sartre and Camus were both) whose sense of things was primarily existentialist. Our study will include Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Unamuno, Marcel, Sarte, Camus, Jaspers Heidegger, Simone de Beauvoir, and Hannah Arendt. Existentialism also worked its way into psychotherapy, theater and film We will try to extend our study in these directions as well.


HONR 114: Religions of Des Moines, (Spring 2016) 3 credit hrs.  

This course serves as an introduction to a particular religious tradition with an emphasis on how that tradition is practiced in the greater Des Moines area. Among the course requirements are frequent site visits to a local religious community and the facilitation of digital stories by and about that religious community.


HONR 114: Crime and Punishment in the United States, (Spring 2007) 3 credit hrs.  

This course explores topics in the theory and practice of crime and punishment in the contemporary U.S. Topics include the moral foundations of the criminal law, the politicization of crime and punishment, the politics of the criminal process, and the edges of the criminal law, including "parallel" systems of juvenile and educational justice. Readings are drawn from political science, history, law, economics, sociology, and political philosophy. The goal of the course is to provide students with the information and skills necessary for informed, disciplined, and thoughtful analysis of commonly-held assumptions about the nature of the criminal law and criminal justice system in the U.S. Special themes include: the political construction of "normal" versus "deviant" behavior, the law "on paper" and the law "in practice," and the tension between civil rights and civil liberties and the security interests of the state.


HONR 116: Community Writing, (Spring 2018) 3 credit hrs. 

Community writing, or community-engaged writing, is the interdisciplinary study of writing based in genres such as service-learning, community-based research, ethnography, activist/advocacy writing, and creative writing produced across a variety of print and digital platforms on behalf of a community beneficiary. In the Spring 2018 version of this course, we will partner with HCI Care Services & Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, a non-profit community-based healthcare and human services organization that provides compassionate care, comfort and support to vulnerable populations. Students will work with selected families facing chronic or serious illness, individuals receiving grief support services, or parents learning how to care for their children. Participants will use a combination of established and innovative processes that involve interviewing and writing as a form of direct or indirect service, such as recording and editing a storybook or short video of a client or a hospice patient’s life as a gift to the family and the organization, creating profiles of extraordinary volunteers, or showing a “day-in-the-life” perspective of direct care employees to share with donors. Required work: in addition to the content produced as service in connection with our community partner, students will participate in an orientation taught by HCI Care Services and VNS of Iowa; maintain a written journal requiring both personal reflection and critical analysis on selected topics; read literature from several genres on the subjects of healthcare, illness and grief; and produce two articles (one research and one auto- biographical). All undergraduate and graduate students with strong writing skills and a desire to serve are encouraged to enroll, including those from the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Some travel may be required (transportation can be arranged). Background check clearance, liability waivers, and TB shots required of all participants.


HONR 116: Rhetorics of Class, (Fall 2013) 3 credit hrs.

This course will address the troubled status of the concept of class in American public discourse and the class politics of texts that shape social relations and popular culture in daily life. Students will be introduced to rhetorical approaches to defining and analyzing class and consider different means of drawing attention to class interests in public areanas. In addition, we will examine the ways that rhetorics of class intersect with discourses of race, gender and sexuality to form and maintain relations of power in contemporary culture.


HONR 117: Transatlantic Landscapes, (Spring 2018) 3 credit hrs.

This new course focuses on an interdisciplinary understanding of “landscape” conventions within a transatlantic context. We will read theories about art history and aesthetics (particularly in history and landscape painting) by Sir Joshua Reynolds, John Ruskin, Thomas Cole, Asher Durand and others. We will examine paintings, prints and drawings by John Constable, J.M.W. Turner, Frederic Church, 19th century American women painters and amateur travelers. Our focus will be on how different aesthetic modes reflect and produce different understandings of "nature" and the human presence in the landscape. We will look at art/writing in the context of colonialism, economic change, the rise of the middle class, travel/tourism and other contexts that shape 19th century identity (both national and individual) in Anglo-American contexts. We will also consider ways that writing and the visual arts share certain concerns--but also represent nature, humanity, history and divinity in different ways.


HONR 117: Religious Models for Civic Healing, (Spring 2015) 3 credit hrs.

This is a research-based seminar exploring the role religion can play in addressing the repercussions of social violence and injustice. Deep engagement of the history of South Africa, apartheid and the Truth and Reconciliation process will constitute the method we will use to understand the notion of restorative justice, which we then apply to U.S. contexts and case studies. This course is highly participatory and writing intensive. Students will be deeply involved in developing the research questions and agenda for the work we will do in the final third of the semester.


HONR 117: New Materialist Feminisms, (Spring 2013) 3 credit hrs.  

This honors course is a study of what has become to be called the “nonhuman turn” in social sciences and humanities that addresses questions of matter, nature, affect, and the nonhuman in relation to culture. We will examine how feminist thought has taken up these themes, and we will read several contemporary works addressing issues such as the meanings of “nature” and “culture”, the agency of matter, ecological co-existence, feminist readings of evolutionary theory, animal studies and companion species, and technology and objects.


HONR 117: Constructing Presidential Popularity, (Spring 2011) 3 credit hrs.  

As the title suggests, this class will focus on the American Presidency and how the success and failure of that office is tied to popularity. During the course, students will study factors that affect the President's approval rating and his political capital. Course content will cover both external events and things the President does and doesn't do, as well as possible reactions and the effects of those choices. This course will address how the universe of possible actions has changed over time, and discuss the changes over the history of the constitution that have altered the way that the public and the president interact.


HONR 118: Youth, Culture, and Society, (Spring 2018) 3 credit hrs.  

This course provides students with an introduction to the study of youth, culture, and society, focusing on urban contexts and schools. This course will examine youth (and adolescence) as historically and culturally specific social formation. We will engage and discuss the construction of youth and its relationship to larger structural forces (e.g., racial, cultural, social, economic, and political contexts) that impact and shape their lives. Using multiple texts, writing assignments, and reflective practices, students will critically examine ideological and representational understandings of youth and youth cultural practices. Specific topics include representations, popular culture, incarceration, subculture, social movements, immigration, sexuality, the politics of urban schooling; and the multiple ways in which youth negotiate, resist, and disrupt their identities.


HONR 118: Eastern Philosophy, (Fall 2012) 3 credit hrs.  

This honors seminar will examine the philosophical ideas contained within the core texts of Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism, with special emphasis on the way in which these Southeast Asian and East Asian "philosophies" challenge the commonplace Western distinction between philosophy and religion. Texts, philosophies, and philosophers to be considered include (but are not limited to) Hinduism's Upanishads, Bhagavad-Gita, and philosophical schools of Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa, and Vedanta; Theravada Buddhism's sutras, and Dhammapada; Mahayana Buddhism's sutras and philosophical schools of Madhyamaka and Yogacara; Confucianism's Analects, Mengzi, and the Neo-Confucianism of Zhu Xi and Wang Yangming; Daoism's Daodejing and Zhuangzi; and the East Asian Buddhism of Chan/Zen and Pure Land. Philosophical topics to be addressed include (but are not limited to) the nature and role of god/s, the origin and order of the cosmos the nature and extent of knowledge, the nature and role of language and rationality, the path and goal of "salvation", the nature and role of religious experience, the nature and destiny of human beings, the good life, the nature and role spiritual disciplines and practices, and the similarities and differences between Eastern and Western philosophy.


HONR 119: Black Christianity & Prophetic Politics, (Spring 2016) 3 credit hrs.  

African American citizens have played a distinctive role in U.S. democracy. From enslavement, through Reconstruction, Jim Crow segregation, Black Power movements and into the present, African Americans have vigorously critiqued the civic body and enacted robust dissent against its prevailing racial practices. This course will explore the various forms of Christianity within the African American community, and identify the unique ways in which Black Christianity in particular has contributed to democracy. Attention will be given to both what Black Christianity has said to the civic body, as well as to debates within the Black community. Contemporary manifestations of this prophetic politics will also be a significant focus. Opportunities will be created to explore the role that Black Churches have played and continue to play in the Iowa (and Des Moines in particular) context.


HONR 120: Modern Political Satire, (Spring 2014) 3 credit hrs.  

The intent of satire is to correct society by poking fun at it. Satirists use sarcasm, irony, ridicule, etc. in denouncing, exposing, or deriding vice, folly, abuses or evils of any kind (Hodgart, pg. 7). The most common target of satire is, for obvious reasons, government. Because satire can only be effective if its consumers have a fairly sophisticated understanding of the social and political context it addresses, the class will focus on modern (post-WWII) American political satire. Although satire has a rich history in literature (particularly English and Irish literature of the late 18th Century), today it appears in many forms -- from satirical novels to musical theatre to episodes of "The Simpsons" and "South Park" to the performance art of the Guerilla Girls. In short, satire has found a home in nearly every medium of modern society. Moreover, the objects of modern satire cover every topic of current political debate: political personalities, social, economic, and foreign policy, religion, race, gender, and government institutions. This class is designed to closely examine the role of satire as a means of social and political change. As such, we will examine not only various forms of modern political satire, but we will also address the following questions: How does satire differ from other forms of political humor and/or commentary? Is all satire political satire? What motivates people to use satire rather than other forms of social protest? What is the relationship between satirists and the society in which they live? What (or who) are the most frequent objects of political satire and why? What rhetorical tools are most often used by satirists (for example, how are utopian and dystopian conditions used as satirical tools)? Is satire an effective means of change? Why or why not? 


HONR 121: Comparative Religion, (Fall 2016) 3 credit hrs.  

This course serves as both an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of comparative religion and an exercise in the interdisciplinary practice of comparative religion. (Note that comparative religion does not rate and rank religions but rather identifies and explains the similarities and differences between religions.) The introductory component of the class considers the strengths and weaknesses of several different models and methods of comparing religions, while the practical component takes up the actual comparison of a number of different religions with respect to to the theme of "ineffability," the class will also produce multidisciplinary notion that divine beings or mystical experiences transcend our ability to speak about them. (Optimally, the class will also produce multidisciplinary explanations of these comparisons.)


HONR 122: Framing Race (Spring 2017), 3 credit hrs.

What are the necessary individual and institutional ethical responses to long legacies of systemic racial injustice and hierarchy? This course will explore what it would mean and what it would take to move the framework for discussing race away from diversity and inclusion and towards a focus on structural change and repair of harm done. The class will explore political, educational, corporate and ecclesial approaches to reparations, while paying careful attention to the current national racial climate out of which such calls emerge, especially arguments being made by activists such as those affiliated with Black Lives Matter. This course is affiliated with the 2016-2019 Baum Chair for Ethics in the Professions.


HONR 122: Language and Reality, (Spring 2014) 3 credit hrs. 

An introduction to philosophy of language, linguistics, and semiotics focused on the issue of linguistic relativism, i.e., whether languages are significantly different, and if so, whether they shape significantly different views of reality. Examines evidence both in support of and against linguistic relativism, and then uses this evidence as a means of addressing the relationship between language and reality.


HONR 122: Religion as Lived Experience: Religious Autobiographies, (Spring 2009) 3 credit hrs.

This interdisciplinary class begins with reading theoretical issues surrounding both the subjective nature of religious experience and the subjective nature of self-representation in literary works. We then explore these issues in eight autobiographies that introduce students to a diverse set of religious traditions. Emphasizing critical reading, class sessions entail discussions of the text, the authors’ intentions, and our own reading responses. Rather than focus on religion as doctrine and belief, we will explore how religious people live in both mundane and extraordinary settings.


HONR 122: Dilemmas of Self in Postmodernity, (Spring 2008) 3 credit hrs. 

This course will pursue two inter-related questions: 1. What does it mean to be a self in Postmodernity? 2. What does it mean to do philosophy in Postmodernity? We will investigate these questions by studying how some of the most influential philosophers of Postmodernity tried to integrate their life and their work into a single project. Such a project, daunting in its difficulty and complexity, seems to be characteristic of philosophy after Nietzsche. Heidegger was able to say of Aristotle that the only important things we need to know about his life is that "he lived, he worked and he died." Such is not the case today. For Postmodern thinkers, autobiography and philosophy are inexorably intertwined. Indeed the central question of postmodern philosophy can be read as " What does it mean to be a self?" For postmodern thinkers that question is intimately connected with their awareness of the omnipresence of the political, the embeddedness of the self in relations of power, and perhaps most importantly, the possibility of freedom. Of course, how we come to understand and perhaps even define "Postmodernity" will be an essential accompaniment to our inquiry, as will the question of whether what it means to be a self and what it means to do philosophy is substantially any different for Nietzsche and his followers than it was for Socrates and his.


HONR 122: Politics of Interpretation, (Spring 2006) 3 credit hrs.

This course will pursue two inter-related questions:

1. What does it mean to be a self in Postmodernity?

2. What does it mean to do philosophy in Postmodernity?

We will investigate these questions by studying how some of the most influential philosophers of Postmodernity tried to integrate their life and their work into a single project. Such a project, daunting in its difficulty and complexity, seems to be the characteristic of philosophy after Nietzsche.

Heidegger was able to say of Aristotle that the only important things we need to know about his life is that “he lived, he worked and he died”. Such is not the case today. For Postmodern thinkers, autobiography and philosophy are inexorably intertwined. Indeed the central question of postmodern philosophy can be read as “what does it mean to be a self?” For postmodern thinkers that question is immediately connected with their awareness of the omnipresence of the political, the embeddedness of the self in relations of power, and perhaps most importantly, the possibility of freedom.


HONR 123: Global Climate Change, (Fall 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

This course will be an interdisciplinary investigation of anthropogenic global change, using global warming as a semester-long case study. In this course students will learn to investigate a major environmental issue by first obtaining a strong scientific background in the issue, then applying methods of policy analysis, and finally advocating for effective governmental decision making. Students will also gain a strong appreciation for the complexity and gravity of climate change issues. 


HONR 124: Salem Witch Trials, (Fall 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

What caused the infamous witch trials? Religious attitudes? A social crisis? Introduction of new ideas from the West Indies? Trauma from recent Indian attacks? Changes in the status of women? This course will read a variety of explanations of the Salem witch trials. However, rather than decide what "really" caused them or argue about what "really" happened, this course will focus more on the nature of evidence. When we read a description of "what happened" what constitutes the evidence? Who gets to decide what is valid and what is not? How do these ideas of evidence come into play with various strategies of writing from personal narrative to sermon to other forms? How does this increased awareness of the way evidence is "embedded" in social reality affect your views about your own reading, writing, and judging? In addition to thinking and writing about these questions, we will assess similarities and differences between the witch trials and the trail of Anne Hutchinson. We will do this through a "Reacting to the Past" curriculum which provides selected readings and role playing. 


HONR 125: Philosophy of Religion, (Spring 2012) 3 credit hrs.

While interest in the philosophy of religion remains quite strong outside of the formal disciplines of philosophy and religious studies, philosophers and religionists are increasingly skeptical about the long-term direction and viability of the field. This class begins in this dilemma, familiarizing itself with both a typical problems- based approach to philosophy of religion (arguments for and against the existence of God, issues of religious experience and religious language) and its recent criticisms (insufficient awareness of claims). This class then turns to three recent proposals for the future of philosophy of religion, seeking to evaluate their respective visions of the future of the field.


HONR 126: Philosophies of Dialogue and the Interpersonal: "In Search for the Ideal", (Fall 2007) 3 credit hrs. 

The course will focus on the question: What is communication like when it's at its best, when we are most effectively utilizing our capacity as human beings to communicate? In the field of Rhetoric and Communication, the ideal is often referred to as communicating at the level of the "Inter-personal." In philosophy, the term used to describe the ideal is "Dialogue." Though these terms come from different academic traditions and so reflect some different ways of thinking and talking about things, I believe these different versions of the ideal can be brought into interesting and fruitful conversation, and so I have joined them together in this course. This "joining together" will not only give us a wide variety of perspectives from which to draw in our search for the ideal, but will also give us the opportunity to explore, better understand, and contrast various methodological approaches to the study of human communication. We will focus especially on the relationship between self and other, for that is where the problems and possibilities of human communication are worked out. What is the "self"? Who is the "other"? How might we negotiate a relationship between self and other which "works" and at the same time shows "care" about the identity and the integrity of each? Some of the theorists and philosophers of communication we will study include Paul Watzlawick, George Herbert Mead, SÆren Kierkegaard, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Emmanuel Levinas, Maurice Blanchot, Richard Rorty, Kenneth Burke, and Martin Buber.


HONR 127: You Are Here: Place, Time and Identity, (Spring 2011) 3 credit hrs. 

You are Here: Place, Time, and Identity is an Honors course focusing on the study of place and time—specifically, how these concepts relate to personhood and identity. Using such disciplines as phenomenology, human geography, contemporary art, film, visual culture, philosophy, and religious studies, the course intends to approach and decipher the multifaceted nature of these ubiquitous terms. The course structure is broken up into three main topics: taxonomy of place, death and its relation to place and time, and personal identity theories. Each topic will cumulate in a visual, audible, or ephemeral presentation by each student in an attempt to integrate the information into a greater understanding of place and time.


HONR 127: Health and Social Justice, (Spring 2006) 3 credit hrs.

This course looks at the intersection of issues in health and social justice. As such, this course pulls from a number of different fields - politics, economics, sociology, philosophy, epidemiology, medicine, biology and anthropology (and probably some others). We will spend time looking at international health and justice as well as domestic issues of health and justice. In particular we will discuss the impact of the health of a population on economic and political justice on the health of a population.


HONR 128: Minds, Brains, and Computers, (Fall 2014) 3 credit hrs. 

What is it to "have" a mind? Are minds, "things"? If so, are they physical things? What is the relationship between your mind and your brain/body? Can computers think, feel, and be conscious? Might you be a computer? In this class we will critically evaluate a variety of answers to these questions and the arguments given for those questions. We will start by examining some traditional approaches to the relationship between mental and physical phenomena, including dualism, logical behaviorism, mind/brain identity theory, and functionalism. Next, we will consider the nature and locus of intentionality and consciousness and how the phenomena of intentionality and consciousness may bear on theories about the mind/body relationship. We will also examine the "common-sense" appeal to beliefs, desires, and intentions in explaining human behavior and explore whether and/or to what extent those explanations can be illuminated, supplemented, revised, or undermined by empirical science. Finally, we will look at some recent work on mind, embodiment and action, and consider the extent to which this work provides an alternative to the traditional accounts of the mind/body relationship. Our discussion of these issues will be informed by the arguments of prominent philosophers, as well as theoretical and empirical developments in psychology, computer science and neuroscience.


HONR 128: The Sixties: Revising Tumult, (Fall 2010) 3 credit hrs. 

The decade of the 1960s left a major legacy for America, one that continues IN the present day. This course will examine the decade to show how its influence can be directly linked to political, social, and cultural developments in contemporary society. The growing influence of the nation's media in the 1960s--especially the rise of television--will be addressed. In 1963, television became the major way in which citizens obtained their news. The list of subjects is long:

• Today's leaders and how they were influenced by the 1960s.

• The presidencies of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon.

• Vietnam War.

• Civil rights.

• The environmental movement.

• Women's rights.

• The assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Sen. Robert F.

• Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers.

• Man on the moon. • Cuban missile crisis.

• Protests in the streets and urban riots.

• Sexual revolution and drugs.

• Counterculture and Woodstock.

• Folk music revival.

• The Beatles in America.

And the list goes on.


HONR 128: Civil Rights in America: The Media Role, (Fall 2006) 3 credit hrs. 

This course will address historical and contemporary aspects of civil rights in American society and will explore the media role in seeking to tell the overall story. It will study media coverage of events in earlier days and interpret the contemporary legacy of the events. We will draw on books, magazines, newspapers, DVDs and videotapes, and the World Wide Web for a wide-ranging exploration of the historical and political background of the civil rights movement in America, and we will learn to analyze and to think critically about the media role in civil rights. We will seek to show the difference between news and history through case studies --i.e., what news was reported at the time and what history and the media tell us today--especially in interpreting the events of the 1950s and 1960s. Among subjects to be explored, we will use case studies of the desegregation of Little Rock (Ark.) Central High School; the Montgomery (Ala.) bus boycott; the Greensboro (N.C.) sit-in; the integration of the University of Mississippi; the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.; Martin Luther King Jr. and the news; passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965; the assassinations of Dr. King, Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers; the roles of American presidents in the fight for civil rights; and the formerly secret files of the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission.


HONR 129: Inventing “Religions”, (Spring 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

This class traces the construction of category of "religion" as a distinct object of inquiry in the modern West. Special attention will be devoted to the construction of the category of "world religion" at and through the 1893 World Parliament of Religions, and the consequent delineation of bounded and unified religious traditions such as "Hinduism," "Buddhism," and the "Judeo-Christian" tradition. Such constructions will be considered in and from a variety of disciplinary perspectives (e.g., history, sociology, anthropology, psychology, philosophy).


HONR 129: Literary Genres: Politics and Nature Writing, (Spring 2008) 3 credit hrs. 

Within the larger field of nature writing, I believe there is a sub-genre that uses "nature" as a means of supporting political views. These political views are, in general, expressed either as a way to support the status quo (the "nature" of things, belief in a natural order that must be followed) or a form of dissert (nature used as a rallying call to return to an earlier past, a purer society, etc.). Therefore, they are broadly drawn rather than narrow political positions. Hence, the dissent really comes as a form of revolution or radical rethinking of the world and society rather than a call for a policy change or a change in law. In this course, we will read texts that let us see HOW nature is used to support status quo or to argue for dramatic changes. We will look at the use of science, activism, metaphor – the way the writing moves from literary moments to moments that seem more political. Instead of arguing "for" or "against" positions, we will learn to ask how/why "Nature" is being brought into the argument, and how nature is defined. We will also look at narratives of nature – how nature can be written about. Another set of larger questions we will ask is what this does to OTHER studies of nature – such as scientific studies, local studies – when we have a legacy of linking a broad sense of "nature" to political purposes. Does it make all nature seem culturally constructed? Does it allow for interest in "nature for nature's sake"?


HONR 131: Major Figures: Charles Dickens, (Fall 2012) 3 credit hrs. 

This course focuses on Charles Dickens, arguably the most popular novelist of the Victorian Age and certainly one of the most enduring. Dickens was so prolific that one cannot read even half of his works in the space of one semester. We will examine approximately five of his novels (final reading list to be determined) as well as some of his journalism (including collaborative pieces) and his personal letters. Students will enjoy discovering (or rediscovering) the quirkyness, weirdness, hilarity, and sometimes inexplicable oddness of works such as "Great Expectations", "Little Dorrit", "Oliver Twist", and "Bleak House." Students will also read essays about Dickens' works and learn to place their critical voices in conversation with those of other scholars.


HONR 131: Heidegger: From Philosophy to Life  , (Fall 2008) 3 credit hrs. 

Martin Heidegger was arguably the most important and influential philosopher of the twentieth century. His project, as he saw it, was literally to bring philosophy back to life, to recover the intellectual vitality and enthusiasm that made philosophy “happen” in ancient Greece. Heidegger argued that so much of philosophy since then, especially in the modern period, had “fallen out of its element,” into overly analytical and life-deadening abstraction. Heidegger said “philosophy is philosophizing,” by which he meant to suggest that, as it was with the Greeks, philosophy ought to be transformative, to lead the student not only to a new way of thinking, but, in Pierre Hadot's words, to “a new way of being.” In order to move towards this ambitious objective, philosophy needed to focus on what Heidegger called “lived experience,”—life as human beings actually live it. This en-livening of philosophy brought to light a new way of seeing human being's relationship to the world, a relationship in which human beings could live as they truly are, fulfilling most deeply what Heidegger called their “own most potentiality for being.” In this course we will read together some of Heidegger's most influential and suggestive texts, in an attempt to capture for ourselves the sense of life and philosophy that Heidegger tried to teach. In the process, we will also gain a perspective on how philosophy came into being in ancient Greece in the first place.


HONR 132: Philosophy of Science, (Fall 2008) 3 credit hrs. 

This honors seminar will examine the major problems and positions of philosophy of science, including (but not limited to) the demarcation criteria of science, the rationality of scientific theories, the verification and falsification of scientific theories, the ontological and epistemological status of natural laws, and scientific realism and empiricism. Questions to be considered therefore include (but are not limited to): Are there objective-rational criteria by which to distinguish science from pseudo-science (especially in the case of Intelligent Design)? Are there objective-rational criteria by which to determine the truth of scientific theories (especially in cases of competing theories)? Can scientific theories be objectively and conclusively verified or falsified? In what sense do natural laws exist? Are scientific theories true of mind-independent reality or just empirically adequate? 


HONR 134: Rhetoric in Popular Culture, (Fall 2015) 3 credit hrs. 

Rhetoric and Popular Culture is a course that critically examines how the signs and symbols we all encounter in daily life work to shape our cultural practices, our political commitments, and even our social identities. By learning to analyze common cultural texts, objects, and spaces through the lens of rhetoric, students will reflect on how particular ideas, values, attitudes, and actions can appeal to publics to become social norms. Examining how these cultural rhetorics operate will also afford students opportunities to consider the consequences of these influences as well as the possibilities for social change.


HONR 135: Rhetorics of the American Family, (Spring 2007) 3 credit hrs. 

Rhetorics of the American Family is a special topics course in rhetorical studies that focuses on the politics of public discourse about, and popular representations of, marriage and the family in contemporary American culture. Specific topics covered in the course will include:

• national debates over the status of same-sex relationships and/or marriage,

• usage of the political slogan "family values,"

• struggles over historical representations of the American family,

• discourse on the impact of changing gender roles in domestic space,

• arguments about the role the family plays in communal and national identity and changing representations of sex and love in marriage in popular film, television and magazines.


HONR 136: Rhetorics of Space & Place, (Spring 2012) 3 credit hrs.

This course will consider the rhetorical aspects of space and place by studying how spaces become places: the process through which certain locations come to create a "sense of place" and the meaning and function of those places in public culture. Readings and assignments will address how communication about places plays a role in social identities (such as through references to a national, regional, or familial home as a descriptor of who/what we "are) as well as how communication by places (through architecture and other symbols) can work to invite or exclude particular people and/or practices. Students will learn how to apply rhetorical methods of analysis to places and also consider the function of distinctions such as those between public and private, (sub)urban and rural, and formal and informal in our interactions with our cultural environment.


HONR 137: Women Madness and Culture, (Spring 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

This course explores the relationship between gender and socio-cultural definitions of mental health and illness, and examines the history of the treatment of women within the major settings of the mental health system; psychiatry, psychoanalysis and asylum. The first major goal is to understand the social relations of power within which psychiatry emerged and within which women became defined as "hysterical", "irrational" or "mad." A second goal is to chart the relationship between women's social roles and the experience and treatment of mental illness, making use of autobiographical and fictional accounts by women, films and other materials.


HONR 138: Constructing Normal, (Fall 2014) 3 credit hrs. 

This course will explore social, cultural, individual, and structural definitions of "normal" and "abnormal" in the United States. We will consider the issue through a range of interdisciplinary sources including media, literature, ethnography, history, science, and public policy. The course will address such issues as disability, sexuality, gender, race, and socioeconomic status in an attempt to understand how social definitions of normality shape our views of ourselves and others, as well as how they are implicated in the maintenance of power relations. We will consider the ways understandings of normal are contested and shifting in the contemporary United States at individual community, cultural and structural levels of society. 


HONR 139: Rights and Responsibilities, (Fall 2015) 3 credit hrs. 

Investigation of the philosophical questions regarding moral rights. Assuming that we have them, what are they? Why do we have them? Does the obsession with rights lead to a problematically individualistic culture? As we look at all of the questions, we will also be looking at the extent to which rights are connected with responsibilities. 


HONR 139: Leaders, Followers, Power Wielders, (Spring 2010) 3 credit hrs. 

Students develop a greater understanding of their leadership potential as they learn about the role of leadership in organizations. This course explores qualities of successful leaders and how leaders build the capability of the organization to achieve business strategy. Topics include understanding management, leadership, followership, leader characteristic, practices, and the situational components of leadership style. 


HONR 140: Liberation and Feminist Theology, (Spring 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

Study of the emerging field of liberation and feminist theologies as these disciplines are related to contemporary religious, social, and political issues in Latin America and North America. The course explores the relation between theological reflection, social context, and socio-political location of theologians.


HONR 141: Digital Religion: Jonestown, (Fall 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

This semester Digital Religion will analyze the Peoples Temple movement and their agricultural project in Jonestown, Guyana. This group, led by Jim Jones and an inner circle of devoted socialists, rose to prominence in the San Francisco Bay area in the 1970's, working on radical political issues, establishing communal living facilities, and emphasizing racial and economic equality. The group left the Bay Area for Guyana where it established a communal agricultural project. Ultimately, the group committed what they called "revolutionary suicide" in late 1978. In cooperation with the "Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and the Peoples Temple" project hosted by the San Diego State University, students will assist in the analysis and annotation of an online selection of documents originally produced by Jim Jones and members of the Peoples Temple. 


HONR 141: Theories of Knowledge & Belief, (Fall 2011) 3 credit hrs. 

What can I know, and how can I know it? In this course, we will consider a number of significant issues in the theory of knowledge (also known as epistemology), including the criteria of meaning and truth, the possible objects and types of knowledge, the nature justification, the sources of epistemic authority, the relationship between perceiving, reasoning, and believing, and the problem of skepticism. Along with using traditional philosophical methods of analysis, our investigation will be informed by the methods and results of sociology, psychology, and biology.


HONR 141: Representing Australia, (Spring 2008) 3 credit hrs. 

This course considers issues surrounding Australia and its representation in writing and other arts. What does it mean to "represent" something artistically, how have key aspects of Australian society and history been represented, and what might the intersection of Australia and representation suggest about each?


HONR 141: Professional Speaking and Persuasion Theory, (Spring 2007) 3 credit hrs. 

This seminar, with your full willingness to learn, experience, and explore, will focus on the psychological and social aspects of formal communication with the goal of expanding your self-awareness, increasing your self-esteem, and mastering professional speaking communications skills. It takes only seven seconds for you to make an impression on other people. Ours is an era in which both information and interpretation keep getting more tightly compressed. That seven seconds is crucial in the making and breaking of impressions, relationships, sales and decisions that affect the direction of our lives. Like it or not, a communication symbol of our age is the easily distracted, time-stressed individual who moves from personality to personality, presentation to presentation, in mere seconds, in search of some gratifying mix of entertainment, inspiration or information.


HONR 142: Free Will, Determinism & Moral Responsibility, (Fall 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

We say that people who hurt us have acted immorally but branches that fall and hurt us do not. This is because we view people as having the ability to choose whether to hurt us or not (and if they couldn't choose, then we don't hold them morally responsible). At the same time, reflection on the scientific nature of the world (and the processes of our body, including our brain) leads us to the possibility that perhaps no one has the ability to choose. Philosophers have examined this topic in great detail and we will, in this course, look at a wide variety of arguments focuses on if, and in what way, we might or might not have free will and the impact this has on our ability to speak meaningfully about moral responsibility. 


HONR 142: Speaking with Many Voices: A Sampling of Native American Cultures, (Spring 2011) 3 credit hrs. 

Speaking with Many Voices aims to take a step toward making audible and visible some aspects of the rich and varied Native American cultures that have flourished on this continent for millenia. During the course of the semester, we shall read novels written by Native Americans, listen to Native American music, traditional and contemporary, get acquainted with Diné, Pueblo, Anashinaabe, Chickasaw, and Lakota histories and myths, and view films by and about Native Americans. We shall also have conversations with Native visitors to the class and speakers as well as visit the web to access Native news and issues important to current Native life. Among other things, we shall familiarize ourselves with some aspects of the quest for Native survival, its failures and successes; with the resistance to Western hegemony and with the fusion of Native and Western discourses. All the while, we shall be careful not to reduce live cultures and agents of such cultures to objects. Therefore, some of the questions we shall be examining are concerned with how we learn about an "Other," how we engage with cultures we hardly know and often dismiss or exoticize. Should we speak for others, if so, why, and what are the consequences? The goals are many. Some of the less obvious may be: the discovery of ideas and knowledges that will enhance your own production of knowledge; a glimpse of the histories and cultures of this continent going further back than the last 500 years; an acknowledgement of the presence of peoples who have influenced the American way of life; and a greater realization of your place in the world


HONR 143: Intro to Christian Theology, (Fall 2015) 3 credit hrs. 

This course is an introduction to the study of Systematic Theology in which we will explore the major theological doctrines and issues that have defined Christian theology. Our emphasis will be the western theological tradition. The course is divided into three separate parts designed to work together to enhance theological understanding: a dynamic engagement with the Nicean Council; a study of the current state of major theological concepts; a reading of important primary source documents of the 20th century. Students will be encouraged to develop a solid understanding of major streams in theological thought, to understand the implications of particular theological conflicts to Christian communities and to recognize the relationship between historical and social contexts and the particular developments that have taken place in Christian Theology.


HONR 143: Ethics of Transnational Adoption, (Spring 2007) 3 credit hrs. 

This course will critically explore the phenomenon of transnational adoption and its increasing popularity in the U.S. We will draw on a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives to consider the ways this practice is shaped by the politics of reproduction, race, gender, class, global poverty, and international politics. We will critically consider this practice in which the children of poor women worldwide are transferred to affluent women (and men) primarily in the U.S. and Western Europe. We will explore U.S. media narratives about the "salvation" of babies transnationally and how they are used to promote and justify this social practice. We will explore the life stories of birth mothers in socio-cultural context to understand how particular laws, cultural attitudes and practices, and social policies limit and channel the range of reproductive choices available to single pregnant women in a variety of national contexts. We will consider implications of this practice for the adoptees themselves in terms of identity development, as well as the current fascination with transnational adoption in the U.S. media. Drawing on such sources we will explore the question of how to define an ethical approach to this social practice.


HONR 144: Health and Development Aid, (Spring 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

Certainly, a desire to "give back" and help make the world a better place is a noble ambition. Unfortunately, the road to perdition is paved with such good intentions. The data is clear that health development aid can do harm as well as good. In this seminar, we will explore why countries are poor, what can be done to alleviate their poverty, and some of the results of health and development aid schemes. This is a reading and discussion intensive seminar type course that will familiarize students with current theories, and controversies in health and development aid. Working in this area is not easy. Idealists and do-gooders burn out quickly. Having an awareness of the major issues in development will assist you in being as effective as possible in your volunteer work or career as an aid worker. It will also make you a better informed citizen and voter. If you finish the course more confused than when you started it, that simply means you now understand how complex health and development aid actually is.


HONR 144: War and Memory, (Fall 2010) 3 credit hrs. 

Some say that television functions as one of culture's primary historians. Movies function along similar lines. What does it mean when movies and TV are the major constituents of a nation's cultural memory? Is it important that most of us rely on commercial visual texts when we want to find out about the past? What about our own memories about events? Can we distinguish what we 'really' remember from what others may have told us? Does it matter? The main aim of the course is to better understand the role of the visual text as the most pervasive and persuasive medium for conveying the past to people of the present. We live in a time with many motivations for mining the past for specific uses - nationalism, reparations, law, trauma, and mourning are but some of the ends. How do we know what we know about the Vietnam War? What has shaped German `knowledge' about the Third Reich? There is no unmediated past and as conscientious citizens we must therefore grapple with the appropriation or creation of private/public memories and cultural memory.


HONR 145: Global Reproductive Politics, (Fall 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

This course will explore reproductive practice, policies, and politics throughout the world. We will consider local practices of human reproduction and production -- the bearing and raising of children -- in a transnational context, exploring the ways power relations shape social practices of family formation across the globe in varying ways. We will consider this issue through a range of interdisciplinary sources including media, literature, ethnography, history, and public policy. This course will address such issues as sexuality, birth control, pregnancy, abortion, adoption, and child rearing in the context of particular social and cultural traditions as they are affected by global power relations.


HONR 145: Gender and Culture in Islam, (Spring 2011) 3 credit hrs. 

This course examines issues and ways of life pertaining to sexuality, education, religion, and women and the state, in various rural and urban geographical locations in the Muslim world. Gender will be used as the mail filter through which we shall observe the issue and we shall use case studies in order to "sample" different locations. The goals of the course include understanding the multiplicity of Muslim Women's experience, gaining knowledge of the articulation of Islam and its complexities, and the challenging media stereotypes.


HONR 146: Restorative Justice, (Fall 2014) 3 credit hrs. 

Restorative justice is a perspective that views crime as a harm against people and the community, which needs to be addressed through the involvement of offenders, victims, and the community. This course provides an introduction to the principles and practices behind restorative justice. A restorative justice movement has been growing dramatically globally in the past couple of decades. Along with this growth come many challenges, pitfalls, and critics. The course is designed to allow students to struggle along with the experts in trying to navigate the opportunities and challenges, the success stories and the pitfalls that accompany restorative justice programs. In the process, students will explore questions about justice, crime, imprisonment, punishment, rehabilitation, forgiveness, and the purpose of a legal system. The course relies heavily on international perspectives to learn about these issues.


HONR 147: Race, Religion, and Civic Culture, (Fall 2010) 3 credit hrs. 

This honors seminar will engage students in exploring how race and religion have been, and remain, powerful venues of human activity in the United States. We will develop a broad understanding of critical race theories, which argue that race is a social construct. We will, then, use this understanding as a lens through which to explore ways religion has contributed to the construction of race and racial identities in select moments of U.S. history. This exploration will take into account how religious activity has created and maintained racial stratification, as well as how it has undermined stratification by fueling resistance movements for justice. Throughout the course emphasis will be on Caucasian, African American and Native American communities. Through a combination of lectures, discussion, readings and research, students will be encouraged to develop critical tools for recognizing and accessing the impact of race and religion on civic culture in the United States. Students will also be encouraged to pursue and to develop "expertise" in a topic of their own choosing that pertains to matters of religion and race in the United States.


HONR 148: Religion and Science, (Fall 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

What is Science? What is Religion? Why has there been so much conflict in western history between these cultural forces, and is such conflict inevitable? Are religionists speaking about science or scientists speaking about religion overstepping the legitimate boundaries of their respective disciplines? This course offers an examination of these and other questions. We will begin with an introduction to several perspectives and terms that will shape our discussion, and then we will proceed with a historical survey of the interaction of science and religion in western culture. Students who successfully complete this course will achieve a greater knowledge of the history of science and religion, sharpened skills for analyzing the nature of both the scientific enterprise and religious thought and practices, and a cultivated awareness of how science and religion continue to interact in contemporary American society to shape public policy and perceptions. 


HONR 148: Nazi & Resistance Cultures, (Fall 2011) 3 credit hrs. 

"How could it have happened here?" is a questions that has frequently been posed about Germany. Germany has arguably been the dominant country in western musical development since the sixteenth century and has witnessed an extraordinary flowering of literature, philosophy and the visual arts. In fact the country has been referred to as "das Land der Dichter und Denker" (the land of poets and thinkers). "How could it have happened here" is a major historical and philosophical question, which we cannot expect to answer in the present course but it will lie behind everything we do. We will therefore investigate what happened to German culture from January, 1933, when Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of the German Reich to May, 1945, when Allied forces secured Germany's unconditional surrender in WWII. Implicit in the very concept of this course is that culture matters, and we, in the U.S., are not used to think of ourselves as a particularly "cultural" nation. However, culture mattered overwhelmingly when the Nazis came to power seventy years ago. An important subtext is that art and politics could not be separated (for Hitler, himself a failed artist, politics was an art). And this course will deal with the Nazi assault on the German culture and with the response to the resistance to that assault. Films and literary texts both from and after the period are the media through which we will examine the issues. This will be a seminar with common production of knowledge through discussion of assigned material. It is the goal that we emerge from the semester with a deeper understanding of a historical period, which is a momentous marker in the Western world. We will probe the connections between culture and politics, try to come to grasps with fascist cultural philosophies and last, but not least, learn how resistance can be exercised to and under a tyrannical and deadly regime.


HONR 149: Africa's Colonial Movement, (Spring 2015) 3 credit hrs.

Africa's history in the 19th and 20th centuries is crucial not only to understanding Africa's role and relevance in world history but also to understanding current circumstances and challenges that face the continent today. This is the case because, during this period, Africa experienced on of the most disruptive times in the continent's history -- the period of European conquest and colonial rule. European powers endeavored to 'civilize' Africa -- a process intended to "transform" Africans not only economically and politically but also in terms of how Africans saw themselves and their place in the world. Thus, in many ways, the continent in 1970 looked quite different than it had a century earlier. However, despite the differences, European powers clearly failed in their attempts to transform Africa and to 'civilize' its people according to their late 19th century notions of civilization. This course endeavors to analyze why?


HONR 149: Health & Social Justice, (Spring 2012) 3 credit hrs.

This course looks at the intersection of issues in health and social justice. As such, this course pulls from a number of different fields (as it deals with real life and real life seldom fits into the nice disciplines we have), politics, economics, sociology, philosophy, epidemiology, medicine, biology and anthropology (and probably some others). We will spend time looking at international health and justice as well as domestic issues of health and justice. In particular we will discuss the impact of the health of a population on economic and political justice and the impact of economic and political justice on the health of a population. This course is an opportunity for intelligent, interesting and interested people to get together and discuss a world situation in a way that leads to better understanding, some avenues of change and, ideally, opportunities for change.


HONR 149: Health and Human Rights, (Spring 2007) 3 credit hrs. 

"The highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being. Health and well-being are nearly impossible to achieve when other fundamental rights are neglected or violated, which is the fate of millions of people around the globe. For example, in southern Africa, where HIV/AIDS exists in catastrophic dimensions, women continue to be infected at disproportionately high rates and often lack legal protection against discrimination and neglect of their rights. People fleeing war-torn regions are often politically and socially marginalized and subject to violence and neglect or violation of many of their rights, including those relating to access to basic social services. Despite advances in developing countries, the disparity between the fortunate few and the huge population of the poor results in the lack of adequate food, shelter, and health care for millions. The collaboration of scholars and activists working in human rights, public health, and humanitarian relief in recent years is a powerful force to bolster human rights and health." - From the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard School of Public Health.


HONR 150: Theories of Justice, (Fall 2013) 3 credit hrs.

Issues of distributive justice are frequently topics of passionate discussion with everyone agreeing that we ought to be just but also disagreeing about what criteria have to be met for justice to have been achieved. Since the mid-twentieth century, philosophers have spent considerable time working to articulate and defend plausible theories of justice. This course focuses on close examination of several of these theories Students will read primary texts, work to understand arguments presented in texts, apply the different theories to particular cases and evaluate the arguments.


HONR 150: Prophetic Literature of the Old Testament, (Spring 2007) 3 credit hrs. 

A study of Israelite prophecy as preserved in the prophetic books of the Old Testament: history, rhetoric and thought.


HONR 151: Japanese Philosophy: Meiji to Present, (Spring 2017) 3 credit hrs.

The word for "philosophy" was translated into Japanese during the Meiji era. Around the same time, a cluster of other European/English terms were translated, including religion, science, and superstition. With these terms, Japanese scholars began to map the contours of Western thought. This class examines the philosophical and religious traditions of Western thought. This class examines the philosophical and religious traditions of Japan both before and after the importation of Western terminology. In the process, we not only learn about great Japanese texts and thinkers, but we also problematize the disciplinary and professional identity of fields such as philosophy and religion in academia today. 


HONR 151: Cyborgs, Science & Monsters, (Spring 2011) 3 credit hrs. 

This course introduces students to various critical analyses of technology, science, and knowledge as mobile sets of situated practices that always bear the marks of those particular social, historical, cultural, and political-economic locations in which they emerge and are practiced. Drawing especially from recent work in feminist science studies, from actor-network theory, and the intersection of studies of new media technology and affect, students are asked to consider these critiques of science and knowledge work as opening up new ways to think, do inquiry, and evaluate knowledge claims that take the materiality and matter of the world seriously-respecting much about the very traditions these texts criticize-while following the promises of this work toward building ways of knowing in which ethics and politics are as important as epistemology. Among the topics considered are representationalism and its critique, the relationship of matter and meaning in knowledge work, the laboratory as a political stage, distributed and networked agency, posthumanism, the "intra-action" of human as well as non-human entities in the production of knowledge, the nature of reality, objectivity, and truth; new media technology; measurement, ontology, and embodiment.


HONR 152: Post-Colonial Rhetorics, (Spring 2011) 3 credit hrs. 

Most people in the world live in the aftermath of colonialism or in the shadow of empire—or both. This course proposes to explore the rhetorical significance of the postcolonial condition, examining distinctive forms of colonial discourse, rhetorics of resistance, and the theorizing of contemporary discourses distinctively shaped by the still-existing relationships between colonizer and colonized.


HONR 153: Ecological Economics, (Fall 2015) 3 credit hrs. 

Economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources among individuals. Ecological Economics is an interdisciplinary branch of economics, and addresses the policy side of this issue: how can we efficiently allocate scarce resources in order to maximize social welfare? However, ecological economists take issue with the neoclassical model in several important ways. For example, they consider the human economy to be a subset of the larger environmental system. Humans and their economies could not currently function without the natural resources they depend upon as inputs, let alone air to breathe, water to drink, and food to eat. This distinction was largely irrelevant when economics was young--natural resources were so vast that it was reasonable to treat them as inexhaustible. However, ecological economists argue that in a "full world" this is no longer the case, and standard corrections are not sufficient to capture the depth of this new reality. Ecological economists also tend to believe that attempts by economists to produce a "value free" science of economics have resulted in value-laden outcomes that are ethically unjustifiable. They question basic tenets of the neoclassical model on these grounds, including the ideas of consumer sovereignty and Pareto optimization. In this class, we will discuss the interactions between environmental, social, and economic systems largely through the eyes of ecological economics. We will look at environmental issues such as climate change, resource depletion, and over- consumption and use the tools of economics to propose solutions. In many cases (cap and trade, alternative GDP), these solutions have been developed by economists working within the neoclassical model. In others, the extensions proposed by ecological economists (zero- throughput-growth economy, returning to "happiness" as the basis for utility) are strongly criticized by neoclassicists. 


HONR 154: American Literature to 1900, (Fall 2014) 3 credit hrs. 

In this American Literature course, we will read some "classics" and famous authors alongside a broader exposure to popular print culture. We will focus on several popular genres-- the captivity narrative, the slave narrative, the sketch, magazine writing and the historical romance- as we assess what people were reading in the past. Discussion will focus on issues of "value" and appeal to readership as well as questions about how we read the material today in relation to how it was perceived in the past. The class will also spend a significant amount of time on short research projects, in which groups will investigate primary documents, like lists of property on slave plantations, nonfiction on household management, and tour guides, to explore the connections and differences between what we call "literature" and other kinds of writing. Readings will include Hobomok by Lydia Maria Child, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, writings by Hawthorne, Irving, and Melville and magazines/newspaper writings by Catharine Maria Sedgwick and Fanny Fern.


HONR 155: Culture, Knowledge, Power, (Spring 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

The last two decades of the 20th Century witnessed a variety of challenges to conventional disciplinary thought and practice in the humanities and the human and social sciences of western scholarship. Many of these involved a critical rethinking of usual understandings of culture, knowledge, and power, at the least. This course aims to introduce students to themes, questions, and ways of reading, writing, and speaking that may be loosely referred to as "post-" thought, analysis, and criticism that that has constituted a major part of this challenge. Influences from French post-structuralism, cultural Marxism, feminism, psychoanalytic criticism, postcolonial studies, queer theory, critical race theory, and science/knowledge/ complexity studies will be reviewed. Students will be asked to consider the emergence of these critical perspectives and practices relative to established and dominant ways of thinking and writing/speaking defined by existing disciplinary knowledges inside as well as outside the academy. The following themes/perspectives will be central in the course: *The Importance of Discursive Practice *Reality and Knowledge as Constructed *Reflexivity and Knowledge Practices *The Implosion of Ontology and Epistemology *Reconceptualizing Power *Difference *Theory as Resource for Activism *Ethics of Activism


HONR 156: Modes of Cultural Inquiry, (Spring 2010) 3 credit hrs. 

This seminar gives students the opportunity to answer crucial epistemological questions through hands-on social inquiry. Most centrally, we will investigate how a writer's social position affects the production of his or her writing. A focus on centrality of language and practices of representation in cultural analysis will give participants an opportunity to experience these dilemmas as they engage in the practices of analysis, reading, and writing. We will deploy these practices to discuss empirical or written materials; practices may include discourse analysis, textual analysis, various forms of ethnography, interviewing, and other methods of research and criticism. The course will address the ethical and epistemological debates in cultural analysis. Our questions will include both theory and practice. In acknowledging that any representation of the social world is constructed by the author, how might an author undertake the ethical and epistemological issues inherent in speaking for others? How should an author construct knowledge about people, cultures, and texts within a given terrain of power relationships? How might we interrogate the notions of objectivity and positivism, and how do these concepts become constructed as the elements of "good research?" What alternative positions might one take in evaluating representations of the social world? As we work through these issues, the class will also examine the complexities of cultural relativism vs. universalism and the problematics as well as strategic uses of essentialism. This semester, the course will explore these themes through a consideration of global flows of people as tourists, migrants, and workers, as well as fantasies and objects of desire. This focus will allow us to explore issues of power, inquiry, social location and representation through a series of readings, written projects, out-of-classroom experiences and conversations.


HONR 157: Feminism, Nature, Matter, (Spring 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

This course is a study of what has become to be called the "nonhuman turn" in social sciences and humanities that addresses questions of matter, nature, affect, and the nonhuman in relation to culture. We will examine how feminist thought has taken up these themes, and we will read several contemporary works addressing issues such as the meanings of "nature" and culture, the agency of matter, ecological co-existence, feminist readings of evolutionary theory, animal studies and companion species, and technology and objects.


HONR 157: Semiotics/Hermeneutics, (Fall 2009) 3 credit hrs. 

While hermeneutics and semiotics arguably have roots stretching all the way back to ancient Greek philosophy, it was not until the nineteenth century that each of these fields came into its own as a less localized field of inquiry. Of central importance to both of these fields at this time (and still to this day) was an appreciation of the ways in which human experience, understanding, and interpretation is linguistically mediated. Despite this common core focus, though, there has been little significant dialogue between these fields. The aim of this course is to fill this lacuna, placing hermeneutics and semiotics in dialogue with one another so as to ascertain the extent to which they are mutually enriching, redundantly overlapping, or critically opposing fields of inquiry, and in doing so to better appreciate the relationship between language, experience, and world. To do so, we will focus on the most prominent systematic formulations of hermeneutics and semiotics: Hans-Georg Gadamer’s Truth and Method and Umberto Eco's A Theory of Semiotics, respectively. One rather interesting and recent similarity between Gadamer’s hermeneutics and Eco’s semiotics is the way in which they've found themselves in opposition to more radical theories of (unlimited) textual interpretation: Jacques Derrida’s deconstruction and Richard Rorty’s neo-pragmatism, respectively. And so a second focus of this course will be these “encounters” both between Gadamer and Derrida and between Eco and Rorty on the limits of textual interpretation, for it is here, I believe, that we learn something important not only about the similarities between but also about the essences of Gadamer’s hermeneutics and Eco’s semiotics.


HONR 158: Phenomenology & Existentialism, (Fall 2014) 3 credit hrs. 

HONR 158: Phenomenology & Existentialism, 3 credit hrs. Fall 2014 Phenomenology and existentialism are arguably the only truly innovative philosophies developed in the twentieth century. They both came about as a reaction to what was perceived as the overly abstract and theoretical nature of philosophy as it had developed up to that point. The "founder" of modern phenomenology, Edmund Husserl, believed that philosophy had become too far removed from everyday existence, where life, as human beings live it, really takes place. He tried to evolve a philosophical method which would tear away the layers of abstraction and return us to an appreciation of "the things themselves." This course will try to recapture the excitement of "discovering existence" which permeated German philosophy early in the century. We will trace the development of phenomenology and existentialism from its precursors, namely Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, through to its "new beginning" in the work of Edmund Husserl, to its flowering in the influential teachings of his student, Martin Heidegger. Along the way, we will also read selections from Heidegger's most influential students, including Hans- Georg Gadamer, Hannah Arendt and Emanuel Levinas. We will conclude with essays from the French existentialists Sartre, Camus, and Merleau-Ponti.


HONR 159: Moral Truth, (Fall 2012) 3 credit hrs. 

"Honesty is good." "Murder is wrong." Are these statements capable of being true or false similar to statements about astronomy or mathematics? Or are they expressions of personal taste or opinion similar to statements about whether chocolate is good? Or something else? More importantly, given our options for action, how do we decide to behave? This course is a study of the discussions in analytic philosophy about the meaning (or lack thereof) of moral statements in addition to discussions about moral reasoning. We discuss whether moral statement can be true or false, justified or unjustified and what implications on moral reasoning and theory follow from the different answers. The purpose of this course is to continue development of critical thinking, speaking and writing skills as well as to familiarize students with 20th century discussions in analytic philosophy regarding the possibility and nature of moral truth and moral reasoning. Additionally, we will discuss in what way these highly theoretical discussions are relevant to everyday life and decisions or decision-making. By the end of the semester students should have a good understanding of the different positions taken and their associated arguments. Students should be capable of having intelligent and informed conversations on these topics with people who have not taken the class.


HONR 160: Gender, Technology, Embodiment, (Spring 2014) 3 credit hrs. 

In this course we will study the social and ethical implications of new technologies that alter the understanding and experience of embodiment and that challenge the boundaries and meaning of gender and race-ethnicity. We will read critical feminist and social analyses of topics such as genetic testing, new imaging technologies, reproductive technologies such as ultra-sonography, transnational surrogate motherhood, posthumanism, and affect and biotechnologies of control. We will study theoretical concepts through which to analyze the changing relations between biotechnologies and social relations.


HONR 161: Africa/Africans/Atlantic/Slavery, (Spring 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

The immense growth of slavery and slave trade research in the last quarter century has made examinations of unfree labor a major issue for world research. Studies of Atlantic slavery have generated the bulk of that research, and as a result have challenged many traditional perceptions of that trade and its associated system of slavery. However, despite the unquestioned value of these recent analyses, most of these studies have looked at Atlantic slavery from the American side of the ocean. Consequently, the African nature of Atlantic slavery has often lacked close scrutiny. This course has two goals: 1) to root Atlantic slavery and its trade in its African context, and 2) to help incorporate recent research findings into popular understandings of the Atlantic trade. The major argument of this course is that one cannot know why the Atlantic trade happened as it did nor how Atlantic slavery developed as it did without understanding the context which produced the people who were sold into slavery. Therefore, the course looks at the influence political, social, economic, and cultural factors in Africa had on the making of slavery and the slave trade both in Africa and the Americas. In doing so, the course will challenge students to rethink their own notions of Atlantic slavery as they analyze and critique the ideas encountered in this course.


HONR 162: Urban Environmental History, (Spring 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

This course will address cities and environment. The specific investigations--places and times-- have evolved each semester. Most recently the course has covered four subjects: Historicizing post-Katrina New Orleans, Midwestern well as how humans have in turn shaped the environment. Themes include the interconnectedness of people and nature, health (ecological and social health are environmental issues), and the link between local and global. The course balances the physical (rocks, conservation and ecology) and the cultural (ideas, perceptions, and images) environment. Likely topics: historicizing post-Katrina New Orleans, Midwestern flooding, urban planning, and campus sustainability.


HONR 163: Environmental Ethics, (Spring 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

Typically when we think about how to behave, we think about the impact of our behavior, either directly or indirectly, on other people. However, there is a long tradition of thinking about what we owe to those who are not people, that is to animals, plants, ecosystems. While this tradition has, historically, played a rather minor role in larger conversations, in the last 50 or so years, thinkers have taken up the question of our moral responsibility to non-humans. These questions have ranged from whether (and which) non-humans might have rights to whether we have a moral responsibility to prevent species from going extinct regardless of the impact of their extinction on anyone or anything. Not only are these questions interesting in themselves, but carefully attending to these conversations we are able to think about ethics and ethical reasoning simply in virtue of looking at them from a different angle than we might typically.


HONR 164: Existential Films, (Fall 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

Explore the meaning of life through films as well as readings in existential philosophy. This class will investigate questions about personal identity, fate and human freedom, moral relativism and universal truth, and finding fulfillment in life through readings by philosophers from a variety of world cultures. These readings will be paired with a selection of films all providing a different perspective on existential themes. All films will be available on reserve at the library, and students should plan on watching movies outside of class as part of weekly homework assignments. 


HONR 164: Theories of Consciousness, (Spring 2014) 3 credit hrs. 

A multidisciplinary and multicultural study of questions regarding the nature of mind and consciousness will be pursued in this course. To this end students will read and discuss current and traditional scholarly and experiential sources regarding these questions, which will include approaches to understanding consciousness and theories of mind from Western sciences and humanities. Similarly, readings describing theories of mind and consciousness from selected traditional and contemporary philosophical and spiritual/psychological systems and practices developed in Eastern cultures and in North American indigenous cultures will be discussed.


HONR 164: Postcolonial South Asia, (Spring 2008) 3 credit hrs. 

This honors seminar will focus on the intense contradictions surrounding postcoloniality. The course will focus on colonial and post colonial South Asia in examining inequities in modes of representation. Using Edward Said's crucial text Orientalism as our major guide, we will look into how colonial European culture produced and managed the Orient politically, sociologically, ideologically and imaginatively during the post-enlightenment period. We will examine cultural texts that reinforced the structures of imperialism in South Asia as well as some post colonial texts that focus on lives profoundly affected by the experience of colonization. By focusing on notions of hybridity, split subjectivity, migration and exile, the class will further explore issues of representation, identity, agency, discourse and history. The course will especially focus on subaltern studies, which is specifically aimed at recovering the agency of the subaltern that got covered within elite based discourses of colonial South Asia.


HONR 165: Technoscience Culture/Practice, (Spring 2014) 3 credit hrs. 

This course is intended as a historical and theoretical overview of the development of the interdisciplinary field called science studies or the social studies of science and technology. Readings and class discussion and writing will focus on writing and research that have emerged mostly since the 1970s, although earlier important arguments and work will be reviewed. The history of the social study of science framed here is one of movement from the examination of so-called "social factors" or "forces" that "influence" and "shape" the social organization of science and scientific work to science studies, which has taken the very content of science, that is scientific knowledge and science as a set of mundane practices as central topic for critical examination. The point of course is not to "oppose" science--whatever that could mean--but rather to treat it critically as the social-cultural complex that it is.


HONR 166: Women Western Traditions, (Fall 2008) 3 credit hrs. 

Readings in the work of women intellectuals, and their male colleagues, particularly addressing women’s nature, God, and political rights, over approximately the last three thousand years, starting with the mysterious J at the court of King Solomon, and ending with the American Zora Neale Hurston.


HONR 167: Journalists in Fiction, (Fall 2008) 3 credit hrs. 

This course examines the portrayals of journalism in fiction as well as the work of journalists who have become successful writers of fiction. Journalists are often portrayed in fiction as authors, protagonists, characters, victims, narrators, and this course will serve as a vehicle through which we will explore journalism, history and a variety of related topics.


HONR 168: Storytelling as a Social Practice, (Spring 2009) 3 credit hrs. 

Storytelling is ancient. As Trinh Minh-ha puts it, "[s]torytelling is the oldest form of building historical consciousness in community." And as a mode of professional discourse, storytelling is also, in one sense, nothing new. Autobiography, the "personal essay," the memoir, the travelogue, and other written genres of storytelling have long enjoyed an important position in the pantheon of Western literary genres. By contrast, there recently has been a move towards a practice of storytelling which deliberately challenges the boundaries of this reserved space of Western culture for aesthetic self-reflection. What social roles have storytellers played? What are the functions and effects of different approaches to storytelling? Through reading and writing about different examples and theories of storytelling, you will investigate issues such as the relationship between writer (or speaker), story and reader (or listener), the functions of storytelling, and the place of experience in storytelling. We will consider how and why stories affect us-where we become engaged with parts of the story as well as where we resist or ignore other parts of the story. In other words, we will consider how an approach to storytelling does or does not have power, and consider how social determinants influence our responses to story. You will work in your writings towards a better command of yourself as a writing subject shaped by story and narrative as well as your relationship to communities, audiences, and the broader culture.


HONR 169: Crime and Punishment in U.S., (Spring 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

This course explores topics in the theory and practice of crime and punishment in the contemporary U.S. Topics include the moral foundations of the criminal law, the politicization of crime and punishment, the politics of the criminal process, and the edges of the criminal law, including "parallel" systems of juvenile and educational justice. Readings are drawn from political science, history, law, economics, sociology, and political philosophy. The goal of the course is to provide students with the information and skills necessary for informed, disciplined, and thoughtful analysis of commonly-held assumptions about the nature of the criminal law and criminal justice system in the U.S. Special themes include: the political construction of "normal" versus "deviant" behavior, the law "on paper" and the tension between civil rights and civil liberties and the security interests of the state.


HONR 169: Telling Our Lives: Narrative Medicine, (Spring 2009) 3 credit hrs. 

There is no question that the health care professions are science-based. Our epistemology of health care practice - our way of knowing who we are and what we do - is increasingly evidence based. We know what to do based on our science and our science tells us what the right drug is, the best dose to choose and the adverse events to monitor for. Patient care is taught according to the biomedical model. We know patients have a disease when we can measure a problem with their biology. Epilepsy is misfiring neurons and congestive heart failure is poor pumping action of the heart. This thinking is reductionist--it reduces the patient to her simplest elements of a few malfunctioning cells or a broken organ system. Certainly health care education has been successful for many years, using the epistemology and reductionism I describe. But, the longer I teach and the longer I think about it, the more I am convinced that our epistemology and its attendant reductionism, although not actually wrong, are inadequate. It is this inadequacy that I will try to redress in this course. In my view, although we as practitioners are our science and our patients are their biology, we are not only our science and our patients are not only their biology. Our patients and ourselves are also our stories. People lead biographical lives, not just biological ones. The most significant unmet need of any patient is the need to be heard as a person and not just seen as defective biology. Science, with its attendant epistemology and reductionism will continue to be the cornerstone of the educational model for the healing professions. But it's not enough. Simply stated, my hope for this course is to mitigate some of health care education's epistemological and reductionist limitations by encouraging students to see patients in a fuller and more complete manner.


HONR 169: The Political Theories of American Conservatism, (Spring 2007) 3 credit hrs. 

One of the most remarkable features of the contemporary political and intellectual landscape in the United States is the resurgence of the conservatism that appeared moribund in the wake of the Goldwater defeat in 1964. With due regard for the perils that attend the drawing of historical parallels, we might understand that resurgence in terms of the character of the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation. In the United States the "culture wars" of the last thirty years amount to a conflict between a peculiarly American Reformation and Counter-Reformation. If the political and cultural thrust of the 1960s was a general liberalization that emphasized individual autonomy over against traditional authorities and orthodoxies (the Reformation), then the conservative political reaction that arose in the 1970s has been an attempt to reassert those traditional authorities and orthodoxies (the Counter-Reformation). Nevertheless, while those traditional authorities and orthodoxies might agree in opposing what they consider the failures or even sins of American liberalism, that agreement on a common enemy can obscure the substantive and extensive disagreements among what this course will lead students to see as the multiple streams of contemporary American conservatism. That multiplicity appears in the proliferation of terms such as traditionalist conservatism, libertarian conservatism, religious conservatism, free-market conservatism, social conservatism, paleoconservatism, and neo-conservatism. It is for this reason that I entitle the course The Political Theories of American Conservatism rather than The Political Theory of American Conservatism.


HONR 170: Women and Gender in Modern America, (Spring 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

Seventy years ago a pioneering historian asked what U.S. history would look like seen "through women's eyes." In recent years historians have tackled the project, producing a dynamic new history of women and transforming our understanding of the past in the process. This course pursues three related questions. How does our vision of U.S. history change when we place women at the center of analysis? How has gender shaped, and been shaped by, developments in U.S. history? And how can we explain the differences among women's experiences? In this seminar, we will examine historical experiences common to American women while paying close attention to differences and divisions among them. We will also explore how individuals and groups have contested and perpetrated the ways Americans think about and experience gender in family life, education, sexuality, work, marriage, and politics. The course is designed for upper-division students to deepen their knowledge of U.S. history, to learn about important themes in women's and gender history, and to provide a structured opportunity to conduct historical research and analysis in this field.


HONR 170: Crime and Society in Europe, 1400-1800, (Fall 2006) 3 credit hrs. 

In this course, a colloquium designed for juniors and seniors, we will read and investigate two kinds of crime, theft and assault/murder. Readings will be based as much as possible on actual court records. These will include: impersonating a husband, witchcraft; infanticide; varieties of theft; rape; murder to supply anatomy school with bodies. We will not only see to understand the records, lawmaking, and purpose of relevant laws; we will also try to understand the changes in European society through the kinds of crimes attempted by both habitual and accidental criminals, male and female.


HONR 171: Neuroscience and the Law, (Fall 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

This course investigates assumptions about choice, responsibility, and punishment reflected in our legal system and considers the extent to which our growing knowledge of the brain may support or challenge those assumptions. The course also considers what kinds of changes to existing legal and public policy may be reasonably supported by this investigation. 


HONR 171: Teaching Writing Theory & Practice, (Spring 2012) 3 credit hrs.

This course focuses on the theory and practice of teaching writing. Students will be introduced to competing theories of writing and explore their implications for various teaching practices. Topics to be addressed include the overall design and structure of writing and writing- intensive courses, relations between writing and reading, assignment writing, responding to student papers, responding to "error," and working with diverse student populations.


HONR 172: Legal Research and Writing, (Summer 2007) 3 credit hrs. 

This course will involve an introduction to basic legal research methods and development of writing skills needed to prepare for law-related coursework and complete legal documents, such as briefs and memoranda. Basic proficiency in legal research and writing enhances the skills needed for moot court, mock trial, and legal coursework.


HONR 173: Physics and Philosophy, (Fall 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

Some of our current physical theories have quite radical and seeminly paradoxical things to say about reality. But what do they really mean? What are their philosophical consequences? Why should we take them seriously? This course offers an examination of these and other questions. We will study various conceptions of space and time across history and consider philosophical issues arising from classical and quantum mechanics. Topics will include: the various conceptions of space and time; the debate between absolute and relative space; special and general relativity; spatio-temporal locality and non-locality; the ontology of fields; determinism and interdeterminism; and the interpretation of quantum mechanics, including wave-particle duality, the measurement problem, and the uncertainty principle. The course is self-contained: all of the math and physics necessary for doing well in the course will be taught in class. A prior detailed knowledge of physics is not required. This course will be presented primarily on a conceptual level, with use of mathematics limited as much as possible, but we will occasionally make use of some algebra and basic calculus. 


HONR 173: Politics & Society of Late Imperial China, (Fall 2009) 3 credit hrs. 

This course is an introduction to the history and the historiography of modern China, covering the period from the founding of the Qing dynasty (1636-1912) to the present day. The objective of the course is to introduce students to some of the classic historiographical debates on modern China as well as provide them with an understanding of key issues, events, and figures during this period. Topics to be studied in this course include the Manchu conquest, Western imperialism, nineteenth century rebellions, the self-strengthening and reform movements, and the Chinese revolutions.


HONR 175: South African Literature, (Fall 2009) 3 credit hrs. 

This course is an intensive study of twentieth-century literature from South Africa. Reading novels, short stories, non-fiction, and poetry, students will consider the ways in which writers use fiction to capture, represent, comment upon, and challenge the complexities of South African life and culture. We will, of course, spend a substantial amount of class time learning about apartheid, and students will view several films. In addition to learning about the not-so-distant historical events that occurred during the apartheid era, we will consider the state of South Africa during the dismantling of apartheid and its present-day struggles. 


HONR 175: Feminist Anthropology, (Fall 2008) 3 credit hrs. 

Is female to male as nature is to culture? Are women subordinated to men cross culturally and through time? Should studies on men and masculinities be part of a feminist Anthropology course? This course will examine cultural constructions of gender from a cross-cultural perspective in trying to tackle these questions. We will examine through texts, videos and other material from popular culture, the ways in which individuals and societies reproduce, negotiate, perform and contest dominant gender ideologies and identities. Focusing on feminist practice, positionality, performance and queer theories, we will examine the importance of feminist analytical perspective in anthropology. Bringing diverse voices from varied cultural spaces we will look at how women negotiate social control, globalization, empowerment, socio-cultural change and collective political action in diverse ways.


HONR 177: Gender & Violence, (Fall 2011) 3 credit hrs. 

This course examines gender and violence, including the social construction of the problem, interdisciplinary theoretical explanations, and the social and cultural contexts. In this course, we will explore how media, politics, and popular discourse impact policy for intervention and prevention, and individual understandings of gender and violence. Some specific themes include the discovery and conceptualization of gendered violence, such as how definitions, measurements, politics, and language affect the understanding and response to the problem. Students will discuss how particular research questions and theoretical assumptions impact social policy, political agendas, and overall understanding of gender and violence. We will explore the lived experience of gender and violence from the perspectives of victims and perpetrators. Lived experience will be examined in context of the intersections of gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation, religion, and culture. Interdisciplinary explanations of gender and violence will be studied. And students will explore the social and cultural responses to gendered violence (and lack of response). Topics will include victim blaming, attitudes towards gendered violence, media images of violence, and the backlash against the battered women movement. We will also learn about programs and institutions that are involved with intervention in and/or prevention of cases of abuse and violence.


HONR 178: Music & Politics, (Fall 2011) 3 credit hrs. 

This class will examine different ways in which music and politics intersect and interact. This will involve the study of many topics, including (but not limited to) reception history (i.e., ways in which music may be intentionally or unintentionally politicized by audiences), legal directives (particularly censorship laws and conventions), how patronage may determine how and what kind of music is written, ways in which music helps articulate facets of identity (including racial, religious, gender, or national identity), how music may act as a socio-political critique, and the role of music as propaganda. Since this is a seminar course, students should expect to participate extensively in discussion of the readings, assigned listenings, and topics under discussion each class period. Students will also be assigned a series of short papers over the course of the term that considers the readings or subjects for the week in greater depth. A final project/presentation will also be required, in which students will find examples of the issues discussed over the course of the term in contemporary society, and explain the issues surrounding their manifestation. We will be looking at works from both the western art tradition (particularly opera) and various popular streams including excerpts from the following texts, among others.


HONR 179: Thinking About Music, (Spring 2006) 3 credit hrs.

What is “music”? What are the major ways of thinking about music, and how might those ways relate to how we think about things other than music? How do persons other than theorists or philosophers of music define music? What does it mean to “be” musical or to “think” musically, as opposed to being or thinking in any other way? How might we describe and account for the place of music in our lives, collectively and individually? What are some principle differences in the place of music in society from culture to culture, and from era to era? These and related questions would inform the course.


HONR 181: Death and Society, (Spring 2014) 3 credit hrs. 

How do we respond to death and why? This course examines historical and contemporary perspectives on death and dying. Students will explore variations in attitudes and rituals concerning death, funerals, grief, memorialization, and dying. Though the experiences of death and dying are intensely personal, they are shaped by social, political, legal, and cultural forces. These experiences also vary by culture, social class, age, race, gender, and religion.


HONR 181: Philosophy of Education, (Spring 2011) 3 credit hrs. 

This course is focused on understanding (a) what learning is, (b) what obligation (if any) society has to educate its citizens, (c) how learning is possible, (d) what the purpose of education is and (e) how learning can best happen. Studying these questions will take us through a variety of areas including epistemology, philosophy of mind, ethics, social and political philosophy, psychology, and politics, to name a few. Students are expected not only to study and become familiar with different positions but to take them seriously, be able to identify differences, articulate reasons one might reject or accept positions and be able to reach reasoned (though tentative) conclusions about which positions make the most sense.


HONR 183: Social Context: Urban Schools, (Spring 2017) 3 credit hrs.

This course provides students with an introduction to urban education. We engage the philosophical, social, economic, and political contexts of urban schooling. We begin by examining the utility and demarcation of space (e.g., urban, suburban, rural, etc.). We then explore historical and contemporary understandings of the notion of "urban," focusing on how "urban" has been constructed and evolves over time. We focus on the impact on schools and communities, in particular, urban educational reform and pedagogical strategies. In addition, we engage the intersections of urban education with questions of political economy, immigration, militarization, and racism. Finally, we discuss how students experience urban schools -- the challenges they may face in urban contexts as well as practices of hope and humanization. 


HONR 184: Theories Language and Discourse, (Fall 2015) 3 credit hrs. 

The course is designed to familiarize students with the different ways theorists have studied and defined language and discourse. Theories constructed by philosophers, psychologists, linguists and social theorists are examined, and students become involved in critical analysis of the epistemological assumptions of these theories.


HONR 188: Principles of Marxian Political Economy, (Fall 2007) 3 credit hrs. 

Marxian economics is one of the most important, yet one of the most neglected, schools of economic thought. This negligence is largely due to a widespread misconception that Marxian economic theory is about communist economics, or that it represents the theoretical basis for the centrally-planned economies of the ex-Soviet type countries. Our study in this course will show, however, that his work contains very little that is helpful to a communist economy, or to a centrally-planned economy, because Marx chose to devote almost all his attention to the capitalist economy, seeking to explain the principles of its evolution, its strengths, and its weaknesses. The course will examine major Marxian economic theories and categories such as:

• the theory of value, surplus value, and exploitation,

• money and the fetishism of commodities,

• conditions for reproduction and expansion of capitalism,

• technological innovations and economic growth,

• the nature of economic crisis under capitalism,

• globalization and interdependence of markets,

• economic determinants of imperialism, and the like.

We will also discuss Marxian theories of social classes, of control and alienation, of state structure and civil institutions, and of nationalism, fascism, and militarism.


HONR 191: Women and Hebrew Scriptures, (Spring 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

The basics of the course include reading Biblical accounts involving women and various commentaries on those Biblical accounts with a critical eye. These accounts will include "Genesis", "The Red Tent", and "The Five Books of Miriam". The goal is to come to an understanding of how the Jewish Bible deals with issues involving women and how such an understanding can help us understand issues today. 


HONR 192: Space Matters II, (Fall 2011) 3 credit hrs. 

This course is the result of a collaboration between five students who participated in the premiere of the 1996 FYS, entitled Space Matters: Readings in Science Fiction taught by Dr. Vibeke Petersen. Together, they developed a Senior Seminar where theoretical issues could be explored in depth and with more sophistication. The material for the course consists of visual and literary science-fiction as well as theoretical texts. The purpose is an investigation into the representation of gendered, raced, sexed, and classed subjectivities in an electronic age. We shall pursue the formation of such subjectivities in the realm of cyber-punk, feminist utopian, or general dystopian SF discourse and our examination will be guided by current questions from eco/scientists and feminist/historians of science about human-ness, genetic engineering, ethics, and ecology. Moreover, the texts pose questions about alternatives to a Euclidean space, whether the future is uninhabitable, manifestations of spirituality, and the treatment of post-nuclear holocaust stories, among others. On a more general level, we shall discuss why a particular text was created at a particular time, what relevance it may have (had) to various historical contexts, and how it relates to us as men and women, and to the genre as a whole. We will be employing gender, sexuality, race, and class as the primary filters through which ideas of space and the future are sifted--both by us in the classroom and by the creators of the movies and novels.


HONR 194: Educational Equity and Social Justice, (Summer 2007) 3 credit hrs. 

Educational Equity and Social Justice is a five-week, cross-listed course that is designed to explore the challenges and opportunities of teaching with educational equity for social justice. Education does not happen in a vacuum. Any teaching (formal or informal) is influenced by cultural, political, professional, and personal contexts. In educational settings that are increasing diverse, addressing issues of social justice requires both analysis and action: careful analysis as to how we ought to live and learn, and then action as agents of social change to teach what ought to be in a manner that ought to exist in all areas of education. In examining the interaction of persons, their contexts, and education, it is not useful to focus on who has been oppressed the longest or the most. Rather, this course seeks awareness in order to identify change strategies that move from what is and has been to what ought to be.


HONR 195: Imagining Realities, (Fall 2015) 3 credit hrs. 

In this seminar, we will think deeply about the power of storytelling and the potential for books (from the very short to the very long) to shape our perceptions of the world. We will continuously interrogate where the line lies between fiction and reality, between imagination and actuality, and between perception and deception. Books, of course, do not exist without writers, so we will take up the linked questions of what it means to wield the “power of the pen,” what sorts of responsibility writers may or may not have to their subjects, and what role writers in any genre play in our daily lives. We will regularly ask ourselves why we read and why we write, and students will reflect critically upon their own reading experiences. Reading list may include "MAUS I" and "MAUS II", "Atonement", and "The Princess Bride". 


HONR 195: Women and the Law, (Fall 2013) 3 credit hrs.

This seminar reviews how sex role understandings have affected various aspects of the law including criminal law; employment credit and insurance discrimination; abortion and fetal protection; family law; and lesbian and gay rights. Standards of review for laws that discriminate on the basis of sex as opposed to other kinds of discrimination also are discussed, as is the issue of how women are treated in courts today.


HONR 198: Independent Study, (Fall 2016) 3 credit hrs. 

To encourage independent scholarship, students may earn Honors credit in an approved independent study either within the Honors Program or another department. Examples include a scientific experiment, a painting, a work of literary criticism, a short film or a research paper based on community service learning. The product typically is a written work that is presented at a public forum near semester's end. The project is coordinated with the Honors Program and completed in conjunction with a faculty adviser. Interested students must consult with the Honors Program director. 


HONR 199: Honors Senior Thesis, (Fall 2016) 3 credit hrs.

A preliminary agreement form is available at the Honors Program website, Forms The form must be submitted to the Honors Program Director before enrollment in the course is allowed. Students are asked to prepare a 1-2 page proposal summary and submit it, with the appropriate form, to the faculty project mentor and to the Honors Program Director for their signatures of approval. The form is due within three weeks of the start of the semester. Students will present their findings at a student/faculty forum held prior to the student's graduation. The Senior Thesis/Project offers students a time to develop ideas suggested by coursework or that have grown out of other learning experiences. It is an opportunity to do reading and pursue interests outside the structure of the classroom. The directed research involves a project that results in a product, such as a research paper, scientific experiment or creative work. The interdisciplinary project, which can be within or outside the student's academic concentration, is coordinated with the Honors Program and completed in conjunction with a Drake faculty adviser. For criteria and restrictions, students consult with the Honors Program director. Registration is limited to seniors in the Honors Program unless otherwise approved by the Honors Program director.

University News