Spring 2022 Honors Colloquia Courses

All Honors College students are required to complete at least two Honors Colloquia courses. Colloquia courses count towards the 25 HONS credit requirement, and students may take additional Colloquia courses as an Honors elective. Colloquia courses do NOT count towards the College’s General Education requirements (with the exception of HONS 227, which counts towards the General Education History requirement).

***The prerequisite(s) for ALL Honors Colloquia Courses are as follows: Honors College Student, HONS 100, HONS 110, and at least one Honors Foundation course.

HONS 225-01 Early Modern Witch Hunts (Professor Jason Coy)
TR: 10:50-12:05

This Honors colloquium will examine the great witch-hunts that swept Europe and the Americas during the early modern period, claiming over 50,000 lives between 1450 and 1750. Employing methodologies drawn from the disciplines of History and Anthropology, we will analyze the intersection of power, religiosity, and magical beliefs that fueled the trials. By discussing recent historical interpretations of the witch-hunts alongside primary sources from the era, including demonological treatises and trial records, we will seek to answer the most enduring questions in the field: what were the most important factors that caused and sustained the trials? What was the role of misogyny in generating accusations? How did the era's religious tensions, state formation, and socioeconomic crises affect witchcraft prosecution?

HONS 225-02 Identity, Conflict, and Cultural Exchange in the Early Modern Atlantic World (Professor Jennifer Cavalli)
MW 2-3:15

This course examines the connections, conflicts, and exchanges among peoples, cultures, commodities, ideas, and beliefs among the four continents making up the Atlantic zone from initial encounters to the age of revolutions. Topics include geographical knowledge and navigation, early reactions to the opening of the Atlantic, voluntary and forced migration, trade, governmental structures, social and legal hierarchies, coerced and forced labor, religious beliefs and institutions, and the blending and redefining of cultural forms and identities in the creation of colonial societies in the early modern period.

HONS 225-03 The Art of Pilgrimage: Transformative Travel on the Way of St. James (Professor Lisa Signori)
TR: 12:15-1:30

Pilgrimage is experiencing a modern resurgence, as travelers rediscover the art of slow travel, exploring the world on foot and bike. This course explores the transcultural and transformative act of pilgrimage, a practice that comprises both physical and internal journey. We will look closely at the phenomenon of pilgrimage from historical and cultural perspectives, exploring ancient and medieval pilgrimage destinations like Jerusalem, Mecca; post-modern sites of pilgrimage such as Jim Morrison’s grave and Graceland; labyrinths as pilgrimage in place. More specifically, we will examine the Way of St. James, a network of medieval heritage routes stretching over thousands of kilometers throughout Europe. The Way has undergone a renaissance in the last 30 years and is once again walked by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims every year. The course will focus on the central enduring question: Why is an ancient religious practice increasingly popular in a modern secular world? Along with literary works, we will examine historical texts, art, and architecture. Additionally, articles and other secondary readings, web pages, videos, will bring alive the spirit of this pilgrimage route and others.

*This course has been designated as "Globally Connected" by the School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs and will incorporate the following into its objectives:

  • Engagement through dialogue and shared activities with persons, especially peers, of one or more target cultures. This engagement can involve collaborative on-line international learning.
  • Participatory activities with international partners to develop an understanding and respect for other cultural perspectives and/or points of view.
  • Development of skills and attitudes that lead to behavior and communication that are both effective and appropriate in intercultural interactions.

The class will feature four remote guest speakers (three abroad – two in Spain and one in Canada; the other in California) with pilgrimage experience, and additional collaboration with students in Spain who will have walked at least a portion of the Camino.

HONS 227-01/02 Foundations of Western Civilization – Modern History (Professor Irina Gigova)
MWF: 1:00-1:50 (Section 01)
MWF: 2:00-2:50 (Section 02)

This interdisciplinary colloquium examines the development of Western civilization from the scientific revolution to the contemporary world. It relates the arts, literature and philosophy of the Western world to their political, social and economic contexts. This course counts towards the College’s General Education History requirement.

Prerequisite(s): Honors College Student, HONS 100, HONS 110, and one additional HONS course of at least 3 credits (excluding HONS 115 and HONS 216).

HONS 230-01 Issues in Artistic and Cultural Heritage (Professor Brooke Permenter)
MWF: 10:00-10:50

This course examines the negotiation of cultural heritage and wealth resulting from art forgery, destruction, theft, and repatriation. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, we will examine some of the most famous cases of art crime as a means of understanding the intersection of identity and economics in the art world. Regardless of the circumstances, changing a work of art’s cultural context changes its meaning. Given the associated risks, why do humans steal and destroy works of art? What are the advantages and disadvantages of cultural appropriation? How do we determine the necessity and processes for the restoration of artistic and cultural heritage?

HONS 230-02 Mind, Body, and Spirit in the Italian Renaissance (Professor Jennifer Cavalli)
MW: 3:25-4:40

What did mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing look like in the Italian Renaissance? How did Renaissance Italians cultivate the mind, body, and spirit, and what connections did they make among these elements of existence? Incorporating primary, scholarly secondary, and popular sources, this discussion- and project-based course investigates these central questions from an interdisciplinary approach, drawing particularly on the disciplines of history, philosophy, art history, education, and public health. Topics include history of the book and Renaissance humanism; anatomy, medicine, and theories of disease; municipal and artistic responses to the Black Death; history of emotion; and religious institutions, rituals, and practices of piety.

HONS 230-03/04 The Writer in the Community (Professor Marjory Wentworth)
TR: 1:40-2:55 (Section 03)
TR: 3:05-4:20 (Section 04)

The Writer in Community focuses on creative writing and service learning. Texts and writing prompts are focused on the ways in which writing and literature can restore our humanity, create empathy, and create a more just and equitable society. Students develop service learning sensitivity, creative writing competency and craft, as well as develop original pieces and age-appropriate interdisciplinary creative projects for partners in the schools.

More specifically, however, this class is an introductory creative writing and upper level service learning class in which we examine how our experiences and those of our students influence our creative writings. Together we look at how writers have broken the silences that render many of our experiences, and those of our students, invisible or marginalized. Through class discussions, self-reflective journal work, creative writings, and public presentations we join a global community of writers who speak out against social injustice. We will tackle what it means to be a writer in the community, and what the writer’s role is when tied to community engagement.

HONS 230-05 Hollywood’s Chosen: The Jewish Experience in Film (Professor Ezra Cappell)
W: 5:30-8:15

In our course we will explore cinematic representations of Jewish people from a variety of times and places in order to better understand Jewish culture. Students will develop critical viewing and writing skills as we survey films that have helped shape Jewish identity in the 20th and 21st centuries. We will discuss and analyze various topics, including: immigration, gender, the Jewish family, tradition and modernity, anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, Israel, assimilation, and humor.

HONS 235-01 Religion, Ethics, and Health Care (Professor Jeremy Fisher)
TR 9:25-10:40

This course is designed to examine the ethical principles that commonly guide health care decisions in a liberal, pluralistic society. In our discussions, we will critically analyze a variety of theoretical frameworks offered by contemporary ethicists, and explore debates about the implications of these principles within Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and humanistic traditions. Topics and case studies include: terminating life-sustaining treatment; suicide and assisted suicide; abortions and maternal-fetal relations; reproductive technologies (including cloning, the use of embryos and Stem Cell Research, and applied human genetics/genomics); using human subjects in research; justice and access to health care; and public health.

HONS 245-01 The Ecology of War (Professors Chris Freeman and Bryan Ganaway)
MWF 11:00-11:50

How have human conflicts and wars impacted ecosystems and biodiversity across the globe? This is an enduring question in modern times, especially as increasing human population size drives our species into new regions of the world. Human history has been intimately tied to climate and the environment, but the expansion of humans has also resulted in conflicts and major wars that have had lasting environmental impacts. This interdisciplinary course introduces major events in human history from both a historical and ecological perspective, with the goal of highlighting the complex interplay between human conflict and the environment.

HONS 245-03 Perspectives on Human Nature (Professor Todd Grantham)
MW: 2:00-3:15

Philosophers and social scientists have struggled with the idea of human nature. Is there some distinct “essence” to human kind? Or does the diversity of our species undermine the notion of human nature? Historically, some philosophers conceptualized humans as rational/thinking beings (Homo sapiens), emphasizing that our intellect and morality sets us apart from non-human animals. In contrast, some anthropologists argue that culture is our basic adaptation. And since culture varies so much, perhaps there is no fixed “human nature” beyond our capacity for culture. This course examines how different disciplines have approached the issue of human nature, focusing specifically on philosophy, evolutionary biology, and anthropology. As we explore these competing perspectives, we will ask: Are there any “human universals”? Are any traits truly innate? Are humans unique in our intellect or sense of morality? If we answer these questions in the negative, does that mean we should we abandon the concept of human nature?

HONS 250-01 Zip Code or Genetic Code: What Decides our Health? (Professor Morgan Hughey)
MWF: 9:00-9:50

This course will critically examine how individuals living in neighboring cities, towns, zip codes, and neighborhoods can have disparities in life expectancy and various health conditions. We will explore the intersection of genetic, social, and environmental determinants of health and discuss current and future solutions to these ongoing issues.

HONS 260-01 Data Visualization and Storytelling (Professor Lancie Affonso)
TR: 10:50-12:05

How do we tell compelling stories with our data? For thousands of years, storytelling has been an integral part of our humanity. The human drive for understanding the universe underlies the knowledge-generating, transformational process that is constantly at work in our everyday lives. Even in our “big data” digital age, stories continue to appeal to us just as much as they did to our ancient ancestors. Data visualization and storytelling with data changes the way we interact with data, transforming it from a dry collection of statistics to something that can be entertaining, engaging, thought-provoking, and even inspirational. In this interdisciplinary course, students will be introduced to the theory and practice of designing effective visualizations of data from multiple sources. A broad overview to the data visualization field will be provided, covering principles, methods, and techniques that are foundational to both information and scientific visualization. Students will learn how to detect and articulate the stories behind data sets and communicate data findings in visual, oral, and written contexts for various audiences.

HONS 260-02 How Cognitive Measures of Attention, Memory and Emotional Wellbeing Impact Academic Achievement (Professor Mindy Hong)
T: 4:00-6:45

Why do some students succeed and others struggle when the conditions for learning seem equitable? What role does environment, temperament, and leadership play in the complex learning system? In this course, students will study how cognitive science can help us to understand and to maximize our learning potential. We will explore how factors of emotional well-being influence the way we learn.

*Please note that Spring 2022 course offerings are tentative, and are subject to change