Course Descriptions 2022-2023

Spring/Summer 2022

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 journal articles, essays, film, podcasts, and memoir to explore the sites where medicine, the elevation of science, and real bodies meet. The course will look at topics such as research/experimentation, CIA experiments, women’s health, “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 Prophetic Critique

Jeremiah Cataldo

Last six weeks - Asynchronous Online

Do the biblical prophets have anything to offer us in the 21st century? Conversing with today’s politics, social events, news media, movies, music, and more, this course will analyze prophetic models in modern U.S. culture. 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 2022

HNR 201 Live. Learn. Lead.

Section 01: Maria Cimitile TR 4:00-5:15p.m. HON 148

Section 02: Kurt Ellenberger TR 1:00-2:15p.m. HON 148

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

Section 04: Melba Velez Ortiz TR 2:30-3:45p.m. 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 02 Community, Identity, & Wonder

Ellen Adams

TR 2:30-3:45p.m. HON 218

The Parthenon in Athens, Michelangelo’s David sculpture in Florence, and Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington: what do these artworks, widely varied in form, scale, and location, have in common? All were created for public spaces, intended to edify, beautify, inspire, and/or challenge their communities. Through readings, research, discussion, field research, and a semester-long project, students in this course will delve into the meaning and varieties of art created in and for public spaces. Students will also consider the problem of defining a public or publics in relation to works of art that inhabit spaces that are deemed public or common. What happens, for example, when a work of art that might be seen to properly provoke an elite museum-going audience is seen as offensive when inserted into everyday public spaces? How is this complicated when that work of art is paid for by public funds? And what kinds of communities are beautified by public art and which communities are left out? After an introduction to the history of public art, the class will cover public space and the modern world, art and site specificity, contested/controversial public art, race and ethnicity, memory, and public/private partnerships.

HNR 251 01 The Healing Power of Plants

Karen Amisi

T 6:00-8:50p.m. 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 Our Evolving World

Gary Greer

MW 1:30-2:45p.m. HON 214

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 251 03 Inequality By The Numbers

Joel Stillerman

TR 2:30-3:45p.m. HON 214

It is widely recognized that inequalities based on class, race, gender, and sexuality have intensified in recent years.  This course explores cutting edge statistical research on traditionally-recognized and newly discovered forms of inequality.  The course will help students develop skills in understanding, interpreting, and applying statistical data as well as conceptualizing social inequality from distinct perspectives.  Additionally, students will complete a substantial group project focused on a specific form of inequality and policies designed to address it.  They will publicly present their results in either an oral presentation or a poster at the class's completion. The course utilizes interdisciplinary scholarship on inequalities from economics, sociology, public health, demography, urban studies, environmental studies, and gender/sexuality studies. Course topics may include analyses of growing income and wealth inequality; how  educational institutions reproduce and intensify inequalities based on class and race; the effects of employment discrimination based on gender, race, sexual identity and/or physical appearance; unequal access to housing and credit based on race and sexual orientation; unequal health outcomes based on race (e.g. risk of exposure and death from covid, incidence of chronic disease like asthma, lead exposure, and infant mortality); as well as the gender based wage gap and the effects of sexual harassment on health and career outcomes. Students completing the class with have a deeper understanding of the causes and consequences of inequality and enhanced skills in quantitative literacy. Click here to learn more about Professor Stillerman and this course!

 

HNR 251 04 Hollywood Science

Eric Ramsson

TR 4:00-5:15p.m. HON 214

Have you ever watched a movie or TV show and thought "That doesn't sound right..." as they describe something "science-y"? Through this course, you will learn how the human body normally functions, and then use that information to determine the validity of TV and/or movies through Project-Based Learning. You will learn more about yourself and gain skills to navigate a world of misinformation.

 

HNR 350 01 Textual Tease

Jeremiah Cataldo

Asynchronously Online

We often assume that the Bible speaks clairvoyantly about social and 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. It analyzes the multidimensionality of sexuality in biblical interpretation. And, it investigates sexuality as an arena in which the 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 Games in Circumpolar World

John Kilbourne

MW 11:00-12:15p.m. HON 220

A historical and philosophical study of the games of indigenous Arctic people, including an overview of the cultural attributes that inform the above.

 

HNR 350 03 Leadership & Problem Solving

Rosalynn Bliss

M 6:00-8:50p.m. 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 Culture Wars in Education

Barry Kanpol

TR 10:00-11:15a.m. HON 219

CRT, cancel culture, “Don’t Say Gay,” charter schools, 1619 vs. 1776—what’s behind all these hot-button issues in education today? Whether public or private, primary or secondary, college or university, the field of education presents a landscape of endless interpretation. What is the purpose of education? Are school curricula meant to reproduce or challenge the social order? Can they produce an alternative vision to the current cultural climate? Exploring the theoretical foundations of the field of Education inevitably leads us to the culture wars we’re seeing now in communities across the country. Are we a society that values individual accomplishment higher than community engagement? Is one’s educational worth more important than one’s worth as a human being? Are we such a competitive society that finding paths to equality is a hopeless aim? Is democracy even possible when coercion and power are misused? These paradoxes and conflicts are a small part of the culture wars that this course explores. Through foundational readings and several significant films, we will navigate through the murky waters mentioned above that may lead to a counter narrative of HOPEFUL enthusiasm. All our narratives tell a story, as well as mine. Let’s explore how our narratives reside within the culture wars through theoretical and research-based text, media, reflection, and dialogue as we move forward to establish a liberal education response to the current culture wars in education.

 

HNR 350 05 The Bloodiest, Darkest Hour

Ellen Adams

MW 12:00-1:15p.m. HON 148

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 Magnitude: The Importance of Size to Almost Everything

Gary Greer

TR 11:30a.m.-12:45p.m. HON 214

This course explores the importance of size to inquiries and issues in the natural sciences, technology, engineering, social sciences, and arts.  Properties change with size and as a result, the tiny and the large are not merely small and large versions of one another, rather they differ in their essence.  At the extremes, the very tiny and the very large are inhabit fundamentally different worlds within the world.  Profound and highly-useful insights emerge from the study of size.  After developing a “universal” tool kit of concepts and skills and an exploration of some of its applications in the literature, students will work in small teams to explore questions of personal interest in which size is relevant. Click here to learn more about Professor Greer and this course!


Winter 2023

HNR 201 Live. Learn. Lead.

Section 01: to be determined

Section 02: Ellen Adams TR 1:00-2:15p.m. HON 148

Section 03: Jeremiah Cataldo MW 1:30-2:45p.m. 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 creative engagement with the music and the cultural contexts which influenced its development and whose development was, in turn, influenced by the music. As an Honors 250, this course features some “hands on” creative activities where students will experiment with making their own music using GarageBand. 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 251 01 Megafloods, Meteors & Mishaps

Peter Wampler

TR 1:00-2:15p.m. 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.  We will explore questions like: What are the human and natural hazards where we live?  What are the risks and how do we put those risks into perspective? 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 02 Brains in Question

Elizabeth Flandreau

MW 9:00-10:15a.m. HON 214

Our first goal is to develop skills as Consumers of Neuroscientific Communication. We will identify a neuroscience story in the news / pop culture as a starting point to find resources to better understand and explain that topic in the context of cellular or systems-level neuroscience.  Our second goal is to develop skills as Consumers of Neuroscience Research Literature.  As a group we’ll choose one of the pop-neuroscience topics to dive deeper into the scientific literature, learn how to read and understand a scientific article, differentiate primary research from review articles, and evaluate scientific writing.  The final goal is to develop skills as Producers of Scientific Communication.  Students must translate complex scientific topics from primary research into plain language for a lay audience, combine information across topics and resources, and develop expertise in the purpose and process of citing sources.  Students must find a balance between being concise yet comprehensive and sparking interest without being sensational.

 

HNR 251 03 Human Body in Motion

Bradley Ambrose

MW 1:00-2:50p.m. 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 251-04 Molecules that Matter

Thomas Pentecost

MW 3:00-4:15p.m. HON 214

Molecules are all around us and inside us. Many have altered the course of human history. In this course we will explore molecules (e.g., vitamin C) and classes of compounds (e.g., spices) that have had social, economic, and historical impact on human activity. Student teams will formulate a question about a specific molecule or class of compounds and prepare a written and oral report answering their question. The answer will include discussion of the science, an exploration of the substance’s importance in the world, and a quantitative analysis of some aspect the substances history, properties, or importance. Some basic science of how molecules are held together and how the three-dimensional structure influences the chemical/physical properties of the substance will be introduced. Additionally, class time will be spent discussing the roles and functions of effective teams.

 

HNR 350 02 Food, Culture, Conscience

John Uglietta

TR 11:30a.m.-12:45p.m. HON 214

If we are lucky, most of us eat every day. However, the regularity of our encounters with food may cover up many of the ways that our food practices reflect our personal, religious, scientific, and philosophical beliefs and also our historical and environmental setting.  We will look at a variety of contemporary and historical sources to investigate the ways we eat, prepare, and talk about food.  We will look at recipes, cookbooks, and food reviews to investigate the methods and difficulties of talking about the taste and judgment we exercise in eating and preparing food. We will explore the nature of American cuisine and some of the great variety of food traditions in the US.  Also, we will consider the ethical implications of what we eat – exploring arguments for and against eating animal products and attempts to influence people to eat healthier foods. 

 

HNR 350 03 Leadership & Problem Solving

Rosalynn Bliss

M 6:00-8:50p.m. 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 Culture Wars in Education 

Barry Kanpol

TR 10:00-11:15a.m. HON 219

CRT, cancel culture, “Don’t Say Gay,” charter schools, 1619 vs. 1776—what’s behind all these hot-button issues in education today? Whether public or private, primary or secondary, college or university, the field of education presents a landscape of endless interpretation. What is the purpose of education? Are school curricula meant to reproduce or challenge the social order? Can they produce an alternative vision to the current cultural climate? Exploring the theoretical foundations of the field of Education inevitably leads us to the culture wars we’re seeing now in communities across the country. Are we a society that values individual accomplishment higher than community engagement? Is one’s educational worth more important than one’s worth as a human being? Are we such a competitive society that finding paths to equality is a hopeless aim? Is democracy even possible when coercion and power are misused? These paradoxes and conflicts are a small part of the culture wars that this course explores. Through foundational readings and several significant films, we will navigate through the murky waters mentioned above that may lead to a counter narrative of HOPEFUL enthusiasm. All our narratives tell a story, as well as mine. Let’s explore how our narratives reside within the culture wars through theoretical and research-based text, media, reflection, and dialogue as we move forward to establish a liberal education response to the current culture wars in education.

 

HNR 350 05 Medical Controversies

Coeli Fitzpatrick

TR 1:00-2:15p.m. HON 219

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 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

Ellen Adams

MW 3:00-4:15p.m. 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 2:30-3:45p.m. HON 214

From Bitcoins to Botnets we are awash in binary bits, numbers and data.  Who is collecting this data?  Where is it stored and for how long? What does the data mean? How can we balance security and privacy?  We will explore all of these question within the context of contemporary and historic events and the data that define them. We will tackle and analyze data used in politics, pandemics, pizza delivery, earthquakes, and everything in between.  At the end of this course you will be a data detective able to find, critically evaluate, analyze, and use data to make informed decisions about important issues.  You will also have a better understanding of our information economy, online privacy and security, cyber security, and cyberwarfare.

 



Page last modified April 13, 2022