Seminar Archives
Fall 2023
Spring 2023
Fall 2022
Spring 2022
Spring 2021
Fall 2020
Spring 2020
Fall 2019
Spring 2019


First Year Forum, XPL
Dr. Lee Ann Westman 9:35am-10:55am
Monday & Wednesday 

The Fall 2023 Honors College First-Year Forum is organized around the question “What is a Just Community?” with a focus on both physical and virtual environments. Students will grapple with this question via guest lectures, readings, discussions, and the planning and execution of a semester-long project.  


Upper Division Honors Courses

Banned Feminist Books, AAI, DIV
50:525:152, 50:525:160
Ellen Ledoux
Tuesday & Thursday 11:10am-12:30pm

In this class, students will study 3 “classic” and 3 “emerging classic” books related to feminist and gender studies topics that have been banned, including Alice Walker, The Color Purple (1982); Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale (1985); Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987); Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak (1999); Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones (2002); and Maia Kobabe, Gender Queer (2019). Each book will be presented in the context of its reception history, and the class would be asked to think critically about who banned the book, why it was found objectionable, and how these injunctions reflect on our current discourse surrounding gender/sexuality especially as it intersects with other marginalized identities. By examining text and context simultaneously, students will develop a keen sense of how people in specific cultural and political environments seek to block access to knowledge that has a direct impact on social justice as it relates to issues of shared trauma and cultural representation. Students will be asked to weigh the pros and cons of banning books, creating a cost-benefit analysis related to the censorship of certain forms of expression.


Gone with the Winds: Environmental, Cultural, and Technological Opportunities and Challenges posed by Offshore Wind Energy in New Jersey, GCM
Sean Duffy
Tuesday & Thursday 2pm-3:20pm

This interdisciplinary course will employ insights from multiple academic and applied perspectives to understand New Jersey’s recent initiative to install offshore wind turbines to provide half of New Jersey’s electrical energy needs by 2030. With the opportunity to reduce New Jersey’s carbon footprint comes numerous challenges: technological, economical, cultural, and psychological in nature. This course will consider offshore wind energy as a case study for the cost and benefits of the adoption of disruptive technologies that aim to mitigate the impact human activity has on the environment and provide novel and creative solutions to intractable and complex problems on a local as well as global scale.


Sustainable Fashion: What and Why?, USW
Mary Jane Murphy-Bowne
Monday & Wednesday 12:30pm-1:50pm

Sustainability can be a buzzword attached to many industries. Sustainable fashion has roots in the early ’60s but did not receive widespread attention from major brands until the ’90s.Unfortunately, it is one of those terms that can have significant meaning or just be a marketing ploy. Students enrolled in this course will explore the multiple dimensions of the issue to become more informed and make responsible consumer choices. Students will have the opportunity to consider what impact the fashion industry has on society and what can be done to improve that impact. They will also explore social injustices that are not sustainable in an equitable society, such as child labor, fair trade, inequitable pollution exposure, and exploitation of the natural resources of third-world countries. Students will also discover the benefits of upcycling, garment rental, and thrift purchases to help offset the industry’s environmental impact. The environmental impact of synthetic versus natural fibers will be discussed, and industry incentives and organizations making environmental improvements will be examined. Student choice will be employed to motivate students to engage with the content. In a Capstone project, students will select a topic of focus, research that topic, and develop a product of choice. Students will present their projects in either an oral TED Talk-style presentation or a poster presentation.


Religion and the City, EAV, XPL
50:525:155, 50:525:162:03
Nicholas Johnson
Wednesday 2:05pm-4:55pm

This course will examine the variety of religious traditions that exist in the Camden/Philadelphia area. Students will learn about the histories and practices of various religious traditions as well as their relationships to surrounding communities in terms of outreach, social services, political action, public policy, and human relationships. More generally, the course will examine the role of religion in urban environments. As an experiential learning course (XPL), students will engage a religious tradition that they either do not know about or is not their own. This will involve engaging that tradition in substantive ways by visiting its place of worship/meeting and dialoguing with its leaders and members to make connections between theoretical issues in urban religion discussed in the course and lived experiences. The purpose of the experiential learning component, and the course broadly, is to provide students with the analytical tools for studying religion to become better informed citizens of multi-religious communities and to develop creative avenues for intellectual curiosity and promoting social justice and the common good. The Camden/Philadelphia area is a world-class laboratory for the study of religion. It is home to hundreds of different religious groups, including many traditions brought to the area by immigrants. This course surveys the rich variety of congregational expressions of religion but also acknowledges that many individuals pursue spiritual quests that are not located in an organized community. Such is the beauty and richness of religious and nonreligious experiences in a metropolis such as Camden/Philadelphia.


The Physics of Cooking, PLS
Hunter King
Monday 2pm – 4:55pm

This course aims to provide an introductory discussion of Polymer Science through the lens of food and the art of cooking. Much of the ‘magic’ in transforming raw materials into the wide variety of food as we know it can be understood via principles and language commonly used in academic or industrial contexts. Every week will feature a relevant demo or hands-on activity with food materials. Topics include rheology, interfacial phenomena, materials processing, heat transfer, and mechanical analysis.