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  • Honors 120 classes are New Freshman Seminars (FRSM). Each freshman Honors Scholar should register for only ONE FRSM course. Honors 120 classes are a requirement for freshmen in the Honors Scholars Program and are restricted to Honors Scholars.
  • Honors 320 classes are generally taken during the junior year and are a requirement of the Honors Scholars Program. They are restricted to current Honors Scholars.

Honors Program Courses  Spring 2015

HONS 120-FR1 (CRN 18084)
Monday, Wednesday: 3-4:15 p.m.
Location: Peck Hall 0309
Instructor: Jeffrey D. Skowblow

On Failure

If success is the goal, then it would seem failure is the enemy, and know thy enemy is an important precept. But maybe this is too narrow a way to think about failure. Maybe failure is more complicated and interesting than simply the opposite of success. Maybe it is even, often, difficult to recognize. In this Honors seminar we will be exploring the question of failure from multiple perspectives (academic, personal, political, moral, etc.), examining different usages and conceptions of the term, and different case studies, seeking fresh ways of analyzing and understanding the experience of failure. We will base our studies on an eclectic mixture of texts—fiction, poetry, non-fiction, film, song, painting—as well as on our own experiences, and we will engage in various exercises designed to help us understand the value and meaning failure in our own lives and in the world at large.

HONS 120-FR2 (CRN 18114)
Tuesday, Thursday: 9:30-10:45 a.m.
Location: Peck Hall 0302
Instructor: Bryan Lee Lueck


All of us, during the course of our lives, will inevitably both do and suffer wrongs. Because of this, we cannot avoid having to wrestle with questions about whether or not to forgive and about how to seek forgiveness. For a couple of different reasons, these questions turn out to be surprisingly difficult to answer. First, it is hard to say precisely what it means to forgive. Is it simply to put the wrong out of mind? Is it to treat the wrongdoer as if he or she had never done the wrong? Or is it merely to set aside our anger at having been wronged? Second, it is hard to formulate a criterion that could help us distinguish between cases in which forgiveness is appropriate and cases in which it is not. Must the wrongdoer acknowledge the wrong? Must he or she explicitly ask for forgiveness? Must the wrongdoer give evidence that his or her character has been reformed for the better? And if the wrongdoer has done these things, are we obligated to forgive? Or does forgiveness remain optional? Our course will be devoted to investigating questions like these from both a historical and a philosophical perspective. We will begin with an examination of the ways in which the meaning of forgiveness has developed from the ancient world to our own time. After that, we will focus on different theoretical articulations of forgiveness advanced by such prominent scholars as Charles Griswold, Vladimir Jankelevitch, and Jacques Derrida.

HONS 320-002 (CRN 18083)
Monday, Wednesday: 4:30-5:45 p.m.
Location: Peck Hall 0309
Instructor: Carl P. Springer

Pain (and Suffering)

What is pain? Is it entirely different from pleasure? How best to describe it? Treat it? In this junior-level seminar Honors students will be given the chance to study this complex and important problem from an interdisciplinary perspective. We will read the Greek tragedy, “Oedipus the King,” the biblical book of Job, and Susan Sontag’s “Illness as Metaphor,” as we consider the problems (e.g., theodicy) posed by the issue of human pain and, alternatively, its “redemptive” possibilities (suffering). At the same time, students will be asked to consider the palliative promise (and limitations) of ancient and modern pharmaceutical remedies. The rich intersection between these two disciplinary perspectives, complementary in many ways, not simply contradictory, should help students better to appreciate in its fullness the complex problem of pain and the variety of ways in which it can be addressed today. Research paper required.

HONS 320-003 (CRN 18132)
Tuesday, Thursday: 2-3:15 p.m.
Location: Peck Hall 2411
Instructor: Kiana Marie Cox

Understanding Contemporary Racism: Social Scientific Approaches

This course explores the roots of racism as a structural phenomenon. How is race part and parcel of U.S. social structure? Is it possible that racism is as much the product of "bad" systems as "bad" people? We will explore these questions from a variety of perspectives including sociology, social psychology, history, popular culture, and genetics. The course will feature significant amounts of group work and in-class discussion as well as introductory training in qualitative and quantitative research methods.

HONS 320-004 (CRN 18083)
Tuesday: 6-8:50 p.m.
Location: Alumni Hall 3401
Instructor: Melodie Ann Rowbotham

Cultural and Complementary Healthcare Practices

This course provides an overview of current complementary therapies and the influence cultures have on healthcare. Complementary therapies, also commonly referred to as alternative therapies, recognize the person as a physical, mental and spiritual being and that disease affects each of these areas of life. Students will also explore how culture impacts healthcare.

Honors Program Courses  Fall 2014

HONS 120-FR1 (CRN  34208)
Monday, Wednesday: 3-4:15 p.m.
Location: Peck Hall 1404
Instructor: Rowena McClinton

Faulkner and Southern History

The aim of this Freshman Honors Course is to examine the American South from before the Civil War to the early twentieth century through the literature of William Faulkner. William Faulkner conveyed this tumultuous era using careful observations of Mississippi and incorporating eye-witness accounts in his numerous novels and short stories. As a result of losing the Civil War, Faulkner thought that Southern society lost a sense of identity; therefore, ruling elites sanctioned extreme violence against African Americans. Turmoil led to racial and family disputes. Blindness to progress exacerbated living in the present. Faulkner succinctly explained: the "past has not passed." An intense observer of peoples who had undergone defeat, Faulkner elucidates the effects loss (of the Civil War) had on his fictional characters in Sound and Fury, Light in August, Intruder in the Dust, and short stories edited by Malcolm Cowley in The Portable Faulkner. Southern history intertwines with conflict, intensity, and irony and this course will address these themes, in particular, against the backdrop of historical facts. Texts to be read and discussed include the following: Malcolm Cowley, The Portable Faulkner (New York: Viking Press, 1945); Thadious M. Davis, Games of Property: Law, Race, Gender, and Faulkner's Go Down Moses (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2003); and Joel Williamson, William Faulkner and Southern History (New York and London: Oxford University Press, 1993). 

HONS 120-FR2 (CRN 37695)
Tuesday, Thursday: 2-3:15 p.m.
Location: Peck Hall 0307
Instructor: Matthew Schunke

What Am I and How Can I Be Happy?

This course aims to address two questions. The first is: ‘What am I?,’ that is, what is it to be a human, a person, a self? The second is: ‘How can I be happy?’ This includes questions such as: what is pleasure; what is the good life; what is well-being, and; what is it to flourish?  As we will see, these two questions are intimately related. Thus, we will not explore them as distinct questions, but together. You should leave the course with a variety of answers to the two guiding questions and a clearer sense of how you would answer the question yourself. We will examine texts from Plato and Aristotle through to the contemporary period.

HONS 120-FR3 (CRN 37696)

Health Policy, Health Reform, US Health System

Tuesday, Thursday: 3:30-4:45 p.m.
Location: Peck Hall 3417
Instructor: Linda W. Alford

In this course, we will discuss:

  1. Healthcare in America
  2. Health professionals and organizations in the U.S.
  3. Healthcare finance and reimbursement in the U.S.
  4. Access, quality and availability of healthcare in the U.S.
  5. The future of healthcare in America

Course activities will include:

  1. Interviews with legislators
  2. Writing letters to legislators
  3. Attendance at the School of Nursing Legislative Night
  4. Writing letters to editors of newspapers on health policy issues
  5. Attend local legislative sessions

HONS 120-FR4 (CRN 37504)

Tuesday, Thursday: 9:30-10:45 a.m.
Location: Alumni Hall 3317A
Instructor: Sofia Zamanou-Erickson

Living and Succeeding in a Multicultural Society

The purpose of this course will be to expose students to issues of
 diversity, to give them an understanding and empathy for others’ points of view
 and cultural experiences, and to move them to acceptance and appreciation of
 differences. Students will examine their own identities, appreciate their 
unique cultures, and will learn about other cultures (through guest speakers,
 readings, class activities, participation in cultural events on campus and 
beyond). Finally, students will learn communication skills that will allow them 
to be more successful in their interactions with others, who may be different 
than themselves. Diversity will be discussed in a broad sense of the term
, including dimensions beyond race and gender, such as ethnicity, religion,
 disabilities, sexual orientation, education, and age, etc. Finally, there will be a
 big writing component in this class since students will keep a journal
 and write feedback/critique for every new experience to which they are exposed.

HONS 120-FR5 (CRN 36865)

Monday, Wednesday: 4:30-5:45 p.m.
Location: Peck Hall 1404
Instructor: Carl Springer


What makes us laugh? How does humor work? How can you learn to use it effectively in your own writing and conversation? In this seminar, we will be studying theories of humor from Aristotle and Cicero to Bakhtin and Freud and exploring practical applications from the ancient world to the present. Not only the comedies of Aristophanes and Shakespeare, in other words, but Monty Python, Woody Allen, and the Colbert Report will provide us with the texts that we study in this class. We will explore a variety of rhetorical techniques such as irony, sarcasm, and puns as well as literary genres that rely heavily on humor such as satire, jokes, and sitcoms.

HONS 320-001 (CRN 37341)

Tuesday: 6-8:50 p.m.
Location: Peck Hall 3313
Instructor: Eric William Ruckh

Literary and Philosophical Reflections on Illness

In this seminar, we will examine illness from a humanistic perspective. We will be less interested in illness as a product of certain biological processes or vectors and more as a historical and cultural phenomenon. We will not be asking: what causes these symptoms, or, what biological or physical processes do these symptoms reveal and how can we fix or cure them? Rather we will be asking, what does illness mean? What does the experience of illness reveal to humans who suffer it or suffer from it? We explore these questions about the meaning of illness by weaving together historical, literary, and philosophical examinations of illness broadly conceived. Three broad responses will be examined: that illness reveals the truth of human existence; that illness reveals specific dynamics of a historical situation; that illness reveals nothing but itself. Each of these responses will be critically examined and we will try to see how each contains paradoxes within it that limit its persuasiveness. In the end, we will be left with a richer, and I dare say, healthier horizon within which to formulate for ourselves what illness means to us. We will read reflections on illness from Michel de Montaigne through Dostoyevsky and Mann to Susan Sontag. 

HONS 320-002 (CRN 37693)

Wednesday: 6-8:50 p.m.
Location: Peck Hall 0405
Instructor: Johanna L. Schmitz

Truth or Dare: Being and Seeming to be in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

“There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so” (2.2.245-246)

Where is the line between fact and fiction? Things are either true or seem to be true, so how can we determine when our perceptions are trustworthy or deceptive? In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Hamlet’s life depends on his ability to figure out the answer to this question in various forms:  who is on his side and who is “using” him to “damn” him. For Hamlet to fight his murdering and devious uncle, he must first figure out how to use theatrical weapons of artifice and “seeming to be” something he is not. To save his life he must “act” to find out: if the ghost is a ghost or a demon sent to destroy him; if his mother is loyal to him or just another complicit pawn; if his friends want to help him or hurt him; and even if his love is true love or just another game. The most famous line in Hamlet, “To be or not to be, that is the question,” not only queries the challenges and hardships of being alive in contrast to the peace we might find in death’s “undiscovered country,” it is also, and perhaps more importantly, an attempt to throw his enemies off his trail by lying to them.

This course will explore how being and seeming to be are inherent in the action of the play, both dramatically and meta-theatrically. Novels are complete and ready for a reader but plays only have all their necessary parts when they are performed for an audience. We will examine how performance choices including directing and acting as well as how theater architecture and reconstruction contribute to completing the play in production.

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