Course Descriptions: 2021-2022

Spring/Summer 2021

HNR 250 01 Jazzin' the Culture

Kurt Ellenberger

First six weeks - Asynchronous Online

This course will study the history of jazz and the American culture in which it developed and also how jazz, in turn, influenced American and World Culture so profoundly in the 20C. We will learn about jazz from its origins in the 19C in the slave populations of the deep south and its subsequent move northward from New Orleans to Kansas City, Chicago, and New York. The important style periods will be studied, including blues and ragtime, dixieland, swing, cool jazz, bebop, latin jazz, hard bop, avant garde, fusion, European jazz, and contemporary trends. Students will determine their defining characteristics of this music through deep listening and engagement with the music and the cultural contexts which influenced its development and whose development was, in turn, influenced by the music. This course does not require previous knowledge of music. There will be no discipline specific content in music theory, history, or performance; however, we will introduce a small amount of very simple music terminology that will be explained and demonstrated.

 

HNR 350 01 Lit Expl/Medical Controv

Coeli Fitzpatrick

First six weeks - Asynchronous Online

When we think about medical controversies such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, where African-Americans in Tuskegee, Alabama were denied medical treatment of syphilis in the name of science, we might assume that the days of such scandals are past. Yet new scandals and unthinkable controversies in the name of medicine, science, and progress are exposed with alarming regularity. These controversies are very often intertwined with issues of race, culture, social class, and politics. This interdisciplinary seminar uses fiction, memoir, film, podcasts, and essays to explore the sites where medicine, the elevation of science, and real bodies meet. The course will look at topics such as research/experimentation, the “war on drugs” and the opioid epidemic, “the obesity epidemic”, medicalization, risk and stigma, gun-control as a medical issue, and healthcare access. Students will also have the opportunity to use course assignments to explore their own areas of specific interest. 

 

HNR 350 02 Haiti Rediscovered

First six weeks - Peter Wampler

TR 6:00-9:20pm (Combination of Synchronous and Asynchronous Online)

This course will use a combination of on-line learning activities to explore the past, present, and future of Haiti.  We will view and discuss videos, read fiction and non-fiction books and book excerpts, and participate in on-line discussions with Haitians and others who work and live in Haiti.  We will use the knowledge and perspective we gain to reflect on historic, economic, political, and environmental events that have shaped Haiti.  We will also explore some of the unique challenges that Haiti faces such as occupation and influence by foreign powers, the 2010 earthquake, hurricanes, economic and civil unrest, and political dysfunction.  We will also highlight some of the beauty and culture of Haiti through art, music, and virtual field trips.

 

HNR 350 03: Prophetic Critique

Jeremiah Cataldo

Last six weeks - Asynchronous Online

Do the biblical prophets have anything to offer us in the 21st century? This course will set the biblical prophets in conversation with today’s politics, social events, news media, movies, music, and more.  It will seek to understand the influence of the Bible in modern U.S. cultural expressions and seek to discern whether that influence has strengthened or weakened what some call the moral fabric of U.S. society. In what ways might the prophetic critique bear down on modern social and political issues, concerns, and problems?  How might the prophets have responded to immigration? To same-sex marriage? To unrequited feelings of nationalism? To trends in movies and music? Or, do they have anything to offer at all? This course will explore these questions. We'll watch movies. We'll listen to songs. We'll analyze social and political policies. We'll analyze cultural phenomena. What does Beyoncé or A Perfect Circle have to do with the Bible and prophecy? What about Star Wars? The Matrix? The Crying Game? The "subway prophets" of NYC? Come find out! 

 


Fall 2021

HNR 201 Live. Learn. Lead.

Section 01: Peter Wampler TR 4:00-5:15pm HON 148

Section 02: Ellen Adams TR 1:00-2:15pm HON 148

Section 03: Jeremiah Cataldo MW 1:30-2:45pm HON 148

This course is structured around a series of campus and community lectures, performances, exhibits, or other events. Readings and classroom activities prepare students to experience each event as fully as possible. Group attendance, follow-up discussion, and written reflections help students derive meaning from each experience and place it in larger contexts. The ultimate aim of the course is to equip students to engage in intelligent participation in public dialogues.

HNR 250 01 The Holocaust and Its Legacy

Robert Franciosi

MW 4:30-5:45pm HON 220

The Holocaust is one of the most catastrophic events in world history. The fact that this enormous crime occurred in the modern world, in the heart of a ‘civilized’ society, raises challenging questions about Western institutions, values and thought. As Yehuda Bauer argues, the Holocaust’s historical context is central to understanding it, yet its complex philosophical and psychological implications also require interdisciplinary inquiry, and readings will utilize approaches from other disciplines to uncover the motives of perpetrators and the effects of the trauma inflicted on survivors.  Particularly important to our contemporary society, the Holocaust serves as a warning about the consequences of prejudice and the effects of indifference to discrimination and violence. By analyzing the steps leading to the Holocaust, the event itself, and its present-day legacy, students will be prepared to address its significance for civil rights, democratic values, and respect for a multicultural society.

 

HNR 250 02 Jazzin’ the Culture

Kurt Ellenberger

Asynchronous Online

This course will study the history of jazz and the American culture in which it developed and also how jazz, in turn, influenced American and World Culture so profoundly in the 20C. We will learn about jazz from its origins in the 19C in the slave populations of the deep south and its subsequent move northward from New Orleans to Kansas City, Chicago, and New York. The important style periods will be studied, including blues and ragtime, dixieland, swing, cool jazz, bebop, latin jazz, hard bop, avant garde, fusion, European jazz, and contemporary trends. Students will determine their defining characteristics of this music through deep listening and engagement with the music and the cultural contexts which influenced its development and whose development was, in turn, influenced by the music. This course does not require previous knowledge of music. There will be no discipline specific content in music theory, history, or performance; however, we will introduce a small amount of very simple music terminology that will be explained and demonstrated.

 

HNR 250 04: Wicked Community Engagement

Barry Kanpol

TR 11:30 - 12:45pm HON 220

This course explores the concepts of Wicked Problems and Community Engagement. The literature recognizes wicked problems such as climate change, pandemic challenges, racial injustices and poverty for example, as broad social ills that are both messy and mostly insolvable. Students will be equipped with qualitative research tools to initiate how they can both individually and in project-based learning groups engage with these and other real wicked problem social apprehensions. Students will explore their own defined “big” wicked problem issues and questions across their individual disciplines and locate these matters locally in Grand Rapids communities. They will develop a research approach to tackle these issues so as to answer these fundamental questions: Where do I begin to help define, deal with and engage wit the ills in my community? What role can I play in this process?

 

HNR 251 01 The Healing Power of Plants

Karen Amisi

T 6:00-8:50pm HON 148

From early time, man has recognized that plants have the power to heal and sustain life. Plants remain the first resort cure for 80% of the global population. This course will explore the various roles medicinal and poisonous plants hold in various cultures.  Medicinal and aromatic plants (herbs and spices) have gained consumer interest worldwide. Poisonous plants contain toxic chemical compounds which can adversely affect the health of humans and animals. However, some poisonous plants can be utilized in medicine and as natural insecticides. Dosage plays a key role in dictating the eventual harmful or helpful effect of the toxin. Natural products derived from plants play a dominant role in the discovery of leads for the development of drugs to treat human diseases. The future of medicinal plants rests on our ability to invest in researching and documenting the plants and their active ingredients.  

 

HNR 251 02 Biodiversity Matters

Gary Greer

MW 3:00-4:15pm HON 214

Course description.  This course explores the evolutionary processes that have created the diversity of life on Earth, the ecological relevance of biodiversity and its importance to human welfare, the anthropogenic causes of the current mass extinction, and solutions for its preservation.  In addition to interactive lectures and activities, students will work in small teams to investigate a specific aspect of biodiversity and formulate solutions to its loss.

 

HNR 251 03 Molecules that Matter

Thomas Pentecost

MW 1:00-2:50pm HON 214

Molecules are all around us and inside us. Many have altered the course of human history. This course will give students an opportunity to explore some very important/interesting molecules or classes of compounds. The course will begin with exemplar molecules to introduce some basic science of how molecules are held together and how the three-dimensional structure influences the chemical/physical properties of the substance. Additionally, the influence of the example molecules in human activity will be discussed. During the last portion of the course, student teams will formulate a question about a specific molecule or class of compounds and prepare a written and oral report answering their question. There is no science prerequisite for this course and the specific projects will be tailored to the interests of each student team.

 

HNR 251 04 Megafloods, Meteors & Mishaps

Peter Wampler

TR 2:30-3:45pm HON 214

From the Taiga in Russia to the streets of Pompeii our world is shaped by both human and natural environmental changes. Some of these events are referred to as “disasters” while others are infrequent natural events which may impact our lives if we happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Environmental changes can take place in minutes or stretch out across millennia. This course will be an intellectual and virtual journey to explore exploding volcanoes, nuclear meltdowns, toxic spills, and cataclysmic floods and how these events leave a lasting legacy on the landscape, our lives, and our cultures.

How can we know if we live in a dangerous place?  What are the risks?  How do we evaluate the danger and make decisions about how to avoid it?  Are we more likely to be in an airplane crash, hit by a meteor, or poisoned by radon gas?  What is the cost of being “safe”?  What are the consequences of making mistakes with things like nuclear energy and toxic chemicals? We will explore these questions and many more by sifting through news accounts, first-hand narratives, and data to find the answers.

 

HNR 251 05 Our Evolving World

Gary Greer

TR 11:30-12:45pm HON 214

Course description.  This course explores the mechanisms of biological evolution and their application to improve human welfare.  In this course you will learn about: (1) major events in the history of life on earth; (2) the evolutionary processes that have generated organismal and ecological complexity; and (3) how principles of evolution are used to conserve biodiversity and manage and the ecosystems on which we depend, domesticate animals and plants, and improve our own health and lifespan.  You will also apply the lens of biological evolution to understand and contribute to solution of environmental and social issues through student-designed investigations.

HNR 350 01 Textual Tease

Jeremiah Cataldo

Asynchronously Online

We often assume that the Bible speaks clairvoyantly about social-political issues that concern us in our present moments, mostly in the form of “Thou shalt not ...” But what if the Bible is more scandalous in nature? What if it betrays the same struggles with gender, politics, and even religion that we moderns do? What if the Bible likes sex? This course dives into the depths of those issues, exploring what may be the darker side of the biblical texts. It compares authorial intent with modern reception in an analysis of the multidimensionality of sexuality in the Bible—where sexuality is an arena in which building blocks of society are defined and measured. By understanding that, this course will argue, we gain a better understanding of what shapes modern public discourses on gender, sexuality, politics, and even religion.

 

HNR 350 02 Plague Lit

David Eick

MW 11:30-12:45pm HON 220

Writers have limned the devastating effects of pandemics since the fifth century BCE when a plague befell Athens, threatening its democracy. The medieval "Black Death" sparked the Italian Renaissance, according to medical historian Gianna Pomata. In The Plague Camus urged empathy, solidarity and action--and warned of fascism. In The Stand, Stephen King depicts a demagogue rising to power by appealing to Americans' basest instincts as a pandemic decimates the world. In the age of Covid-19, can literature spanning two and a half millennia--in genres ranging from military history, theatre, letters, encyclopedias, the short story, the novel, and graphic non-fiction--provide perspective and perhaps even solace? This literature course will incorporate various "ways of knowing," including a role-playing game, and bring in interdisciplinary expertise from GVSU professors in Classics, English, History, Public Health, and Theatre.

 

HNR 350 03 Leadership & Problem Solving

Rosalynn Bliss

M 6:00-8:50pm HON 148

A study of various historic and current leadership theories and concepts as well as innovative leaders past and present.  An examination of effective leadership skills, innovative approaches to leadership, creative problem solving and how to bring ideas to action. There will be a focus on personal leadership development with students developing a deeper understanding of their own leadership values and philosophy, personal strengths and areas for growth. Classes combine lectures, discussions, group activities, self-assessments, guest speakers and audiovisual materials.

 

HNR 350 04 Music, Culture, Aesthetics

Kurt Ellenberger

TR 10:00-11:15am HON 219

This course studies classical music, jazz, and popular music first from an aesthetic viewpoint in which styles and genres are identified and compared. Students learn to identify the major style periods in classical music and jazz through listening and class discussions about what we are hearing in the various different eras. We also engage with music as it intersects with and helps define culture in present-day America (where culturally-diverse genres coexist and cross-pollinate in a surprising manner), and contrast this with similar developments during pivotal historical events since the Enlightenment. We use aesthetics as a means of identifying embedded cultural values that transcend genre, thus illuminating our understanding of music in a broader societal context. This is a class for those who like listening to music and talking about music, and those who enjoy exploring music in its role as a cultural force.

 

HNR 350 05 Remembering 9/11

Robert Franciosi

MW 1:30-2:45pm HON 218

Each year GVSU’s Student Senate installs a display of 2977 miniature American flags to commemorate the lives lost on September 11, 2001, a memorial gesture that expresses the hold 9/11 still has on our national memory.  Often described as the defining moment of our times, the day when “everything changed,” that September morning is now two decades in the past.  And most of the students who set out those three thousand flags have no direct memory of the event. The twentieth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, then, seems a fitting moment to trace the evolution of 9/11 in American cultural and political memory.

The seminar will be built around three major units. First, students will begin with contemporary and historic accounts of the September 11 attacks, including minute-by-minute coverage from the various television networks that has been archived; second, they will engage a wide range of responses to 9/11 during the ensuing two-decade period, including films (both documentary and Hollywood treatments), reportage, literature, graphic novels, websites, national and local memorial efforts, as well as discussions regarding the event’s political and journalistic implications; and finally, they will consider some controversies surrounding the events of September 11: political influence of 9/11 families; persistent belief in 9/11 conspiracies; designation of the World Trade Center site as “hallowed ground”; controversy over a proposed Muslim center nearby; and, most recently, rhetorical invocation of 9/11 to express the urgency and loss of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

HNR 350 06 Lit Expl/Medical Controv

Coeli Fitzpatrick

MW 3:00-4:15pm HON 220

When we think about medical controversies such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, where African-Americans in Tuskegee, Alabama were denied medical treatment of syphilis in the name of science, we might assume that the days of such scandals are past. Yet new scandals and unthinkable controversies in the name of medicine, science, and progress are exposed with alarming regularity. These controversies are very often intertwined with issues of race, culture, social class, and politics. This interdisciplinary seminar uses fiction, memoir, film, podcasts, and essays to explore the sites where medicine, the elevation of science, and real bodies meet. The course will look at topics such as research/experimentation, the “war on drugs” and the opioid epidemic, “the obesity epidemic”, medicalization, risk and stigma, gun-control as a medical issue, and healthcare access. Students will also have the opportunity to use course assignments to explore their own areas of specific interest. 

 

 


Winter 2022

HNR 201 Live. Learn. Lead.

Section 01: Coeli Fitzpatrick TR 11:30-12:45pm HON 148

Section 02: Ellen Adams TR 1:00-2:15pm HON 148

Section 03: Jeremiah Cataldo MW 1:30-2:45 HON 148

This course is structured around a series of campus and community lectures, performances, exhibits, or other events. Readings and classroom activities prepare students to experience each event as fully as possible. Group attendance, follow-up discussion, and written reflections help students derive meaning from each experience and place it in larger contexts. The ultimate aim of the course is to equip students to engage in intelligent participation in public dialogues.

HNR 250 01 Jazzin’ the Culture

Kurt Ellenberger

Asynchronously Online

This course will study the history of jazz and the American culture in which it developed and also how jazz, in turn, influenced American and World Culture so profoundly in the 20C. We will learn about jazz from its origins in the 19C in the slave populations of the deep south and its subsequent move northward from New Orleans to Kansas City, Chicago, and New York. The important style periods will be studied, including blues and ragtime, dixieland, swing, cool jazz, bebop, latin jazz, hard bop, avant garde, fusion, European jazz, and contemporary trends. Students will determine their defining characteristics of this music through deep listening and engagement with the music and the cultural contexts which influenced its development and whose development was, in turn, influenced by the music. This course does not require previous knowledge of music. There will be no discipline specific content in music theory, history, or performance; however, we will introduce a small amount of very simple music terminology that will be explained and demonstrated.

 

HNR 250 02 The Holocaust and Its Legacy

Jason Crouthamel

MW 1:30-2:45pm HON 218

The Holocaust is one of the most catastrophic events in world history. That this enormous crime occurred in the modern world, in the heart of a “civilized” society, raises challenging questions about Western institutions, values and thought. As Yehuda Bauer argues, the Holocaust’s historical context is central to understanding it, yet its complex philosophical and psychological implications also require interdisciplinary inquiry, and readings will utilize approaches from other disciplines to uncover the motives of perpetrators and the effects of the trauma inflicted on survivors. Particularly important to our contemporary society, the Holocaust serves as a warning about the consequences of prejudice and the effects of indifference to discrimination and violence. By analyzing the steps leading to the Holocaust, the event itself, and its present-day legacy, students will be prepared to address its significance for civil rights, democratic values, and respect for a multicultural society. To grapple with this enormous topic, students will participate in semester-long projects devoted to addressing two major challenges: 1) sifting through a wealth of primary sources—documents, books, video testimonies, photographs, films—as well as an ever-growing scholarly literature; and 2) engaging the mass death these sources convey, as well as the significances of individual lives.

 

HNR 250 03 Machos, Mestizos, and Madonnas

Elizabeth Gansen

TR 1:00-2:15pm HON 219

This course will examine the construction of race and gender in Latin America. Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Caribbean in 1492 prompted an unprecedented mixing of peoples and cultures, giving rise to the mestizaje (mixing of races) of today. How was race interpreted in this early period? In what ways have the racial legacies of colonialism endured, and how have they changed? How was gender articulated in colonial life, and how is its presence still felt in the macho culture of today? Students will apply critical thinking skills to define and interrogate expressions of race and gender and the role they have played in the formation of Latin America. Students will play a Reacting to the Past game and they will also create their own Reacting to the Past game as a class based on a contemporary problem or issue related to these topics.

 

HNR 250 04 Wicked Community Engagement

Barry Kanpol

TR 11:30-12:45pm HON 220

This course explores the concepts of Wicked Problems and Community Engagement. The literature recognizes wicked problems such as climate change, pandemic challenges, racial injustices and poverty for example, as broad social ills that are both messy and mostly insolvable. Students will be equipped with qualitative research tools to initiate how they can both individually and in project-based learning groups engage with these and other real wicked problem social apprehensions. Students will explore their own defined “big” wicked problem issues and questions across their individual disciplines and locate these matters locally in Grand Rapids communities. They will develop a research approach to tackle these issues so as to answer these fundamental questions: Where do I begin to help define, deal with and engage wit the ills in my community? What role can I play in this process?

HNR 251 01 The Healing Power of Plants

Karen Amisi

M 3:00-5:50pm HON 148

From early time, man has recognized that plants have the power to heal and sustain life. Plants remain the first resort cure for 80% of the global population. This course will explore the various roles medicinal and poisonous plants hold in various cultures.  Medicinal and aromatic plants (herbs and spices) have gained consumer interest worldwide. Poisonous plants contain toxic chemical compounds which can adversely affect the health of humans and animals. However, some poisonous plants can be utilized in medicine and as natural insecticides. Dosage plays a key role in dictating the eventual harmful or helpful effect of the toxin. Natural products derived from plants play a dominant role in the discovery of leads for the development of drugs to treat human diseases. The future of medicinal plants rests on our ability to invest in researching and documenting the plants and their active ingredients.  

 

HNR 251 02 Zombie Physiology

Eric Ramsson

TR 4:00-5:15pm HON 214

Zombies seem to be everywhere in our culture. What remains unclear, however, is the question: "Are zombies even possible?" Through this course, you will learn how the human body normally functions, and then use that information to argue the feasibility of zombies through Project-Based Learning. Who knows, you might even convince yourself that zombies already exist...

 

HNR 251 03 Human Body in Motion

Bradley Ambrose

MW 1:00-2:50pm HON 214

This interdisciplinary science course partially fulfills the general education requirements in science for Honors students. The structure and function of human movement are examined from a basic physical perspective, with applications in body composition, biomechanics, and other areas of movement science, in order to develop an appreciation for the human body.  The course also focuses on the nature of science as a human endeavor.  

HNR 350 01 World’s Deadliest Border

David Alvarez

TR 11:30-12:45 HON 219

This seminar explores the causes, character, and consequences of undocumented migration across the Western Mediterranean, a region that for migrants and refugees has become "the world's deadliest border," in anthropologist Maurizio Albahari's phrase. In response to the Mediterranean's transformation into what has been described as a vast "cemetery" for undocumented migrants and refugees trying to reach Europe by sea, writers, visual artists, and filmmakers from around the region have produced a large body of work that explores the experience of clandestinely crossing the lethal maritime border. In this seminar we will examine several literary texts, artworks, and films from this corpus and will study them alongside readings from disciplines that have also shed light on this phenomenon, such as anthropology and sociology. Along the way we will grapple with such issues as the nature of borders, mobility as a human right, and the right of asylum. By the end of the semester, we will have delved deeply into the most dramatic chapter of one of the main stories of our times: the fact that all over the world millions of people are attempting to cross nation-state borders without authorization in a determined effort to find refuge and remake their lives.

 

HNR 350 02 Anne Frank: The Girl, The Text, The Icon

Robert Franciosi

TR 2:30-3:45pm HON 218

She has been called the Holocaust’s best-known victim. Her diary has sold over thirty million copies and, even more remarkably, been translated into more than seventy languages. Each year a million visitors pass through the rooms on 261 Prinsengrcht in Amsterdam, the hiding place where she composed her diary over two years, while countless others encounter Anne Frank’s words and story in classrooms, stage performances, films, children’s books, and museum exhibitions. Seventy-five years after her anonymous death in the Bergen Belsen camp, she remains one of the world’s most famous women, her face, which has been compared to the Mona Lisa’s, almost instantly recognizable.

This course will consider the Anne Frank phenomenon by engaging the details of her life, the evolution of her writings, and, most importantly, the many artistic, cultural, and political uses to which both have been put since the first publication of her diary in 1947.


HNR 350 03 Leadership & Problem Solving

Rosalynn Bliss

M 6:00-8:50pm EC 510

A study of various historic and current leadership theories and concepts as well as innovative leaders past and present.  An examination of effective leadership skills, innovative approaches to leadership, creative problem solving and how to bring ideas to action. There will be a focus on personal leadership development with students developing a deeper understanding of their own leadership values and philosophy, personal strengths and areas for growth. Classes combine lectures, discussions, group activities, self assessments, guest speakers and audiovisual materials.

 

HNR 350 04 Music, Culture, and Aesthetics 

Kurt Ellenberger

TR 10:00-11:15am HON 219

This course studies classical music, jazz, and popular music first from an aesthetic viewpoint in which styles and genres are identified and compared. Students learn to identify the major style periods in classical music and jazz through listening and class discussions about what we are hearing in the various different eras. We also engage with music as it intersects with and helps define culture in present-day America (where culturally-diverse genres coexist and cross-pollinate in a surprising manner), and contrast this with similar developments during pivotal historical events since the Enlightenment. We use aesthetics as a means of identifying embedded cultural values that transcend genre, thus illuminating our understanding of music in a broader societal context. This is a class for those who like listening to music and talking about music, and those who enjoy exploring music in its role as a cultural force.

 

HNR 350 05 Sociology of Consumption

Joel Stillerman

TR 4:00-5:15pm HON 218

Consumption – the desire for, purchase, use, exchange, and disposal of products and services – is an essential feature of our everyday lives, yet we seldom examine its meaning and importance.  Why do we desire certain products?  How are our desires shaped by advertising, marketing, and market research? How do our tastes reflect our class, gender, racial, and age groups to which we belong?  In this course students will have the opportunity to explore these questions by reading key theoretical perspectives on the nature and meaning of consumption as well as recent research on consumer culture in the U.S. Readings have a specific focus on how consumer behavior and consumer culture both reflect and help reinforce social inequalities based on class, race, gender and age.  Significant themes include the role of advertising and promotion in consumption and culture, how historical legacies of racial inequality affect the patterns of consumption across ethnic/racial groups, the symbolic and ritual aspects of consumption, the ethics of consumption, the relationship between consumption and social roles/identities (gender, age, race), and the intersection of consumption/ sales practices with personal relationships.  Classes combine lectures, discussions, group activities, and audiovisual materials.  Assignments include research exercises on consumer behavior, reading summaries and reflective journals on students’ consumption practices.   

 

HNR 350 06 Social Media and Belief

Jeremiah Cataldo

Asynchronously Online

How has the Internet and social media changed the ways we think and believe? How has it remapped the ways we express our deepest religious, political, emotional, and other beliefs? Are we becoming "transhuman"? This course pursues answers to those questions. By reviewing the formation of belief systems in the past across a range of cultures and by exploring current psychological and sociological research on belief formation, religious and other, it will show why our beliefs will never be the same in the dawning of an increasingly digitized world. Its benefit will be for anyone studying how humans behave and relate, such as those seeking careers in politics, business, religion, advertising, computer science, medicine, and more.

 

HNR 350 07:  The “Bloodiest, Darkest Hour:” Envisioning the 1930s

Ellen Adams

MW 3:00-4:15pm HON 220

This course traces the culture, politics, and economics of the 1930s, the era bookended by the 1929 Wall Street crash and the outbreak of World War II. This decade brought the abject poverty of Great Depression and the advent of Walt Disney films; Adolf Hitler, and the man who disproved his virulent myth of Aryan superiority, track star Jesse Owens; the Empire State Building, Social Security, and King Kong. We will focus primarily on how issues and ideas were portrayed in the visual culture of the era, including films, works of art, photography, media, and even spectacles of sports and technology. Topics such as the growth of ultra-nationalism, the rise and consolidation of the New Deal, and a mounting hostility to outsiders will raise questions about how the trauma of the 1930s shaped the world of the 2020s.  The course integrates academic readings with a variety of media materials.

HNR 351 01 Data Detectives

Peter Wampler

TR 2:30-3:45pm HON 214

Number don’t lie, or do they?  Our world is awash in numbers and data.  Who is collecting this data?  What does the data mean? How can we visualize and use data to make better decisions?  We will explore contemporary and historic events and the data that define them. We will explore and answer questions about politics, pandemics,  pizza delivery, earthquakes, and everything in between.  At the end of this course you will be able to be a data detective able to find, analyze, and use data to make informed decisions about important issues.