Archived list of past seminars
Fall 2016
Spring 2016
Fall 2015
Spring 2015
Fall 2014
Spring 2014

HONORS CLASSES Spring 2017

Seminars

50:525:103:01
Cyril Reade, “Art of the New Deal”
T 1:30-4:20, CS 203
Course note: Satisfies a Fine Arts requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences & School of Nursing
Course note: Satisfies Arts & Aesthetics requirement in the School of Business

This course examines art in the age of the New Deal; that is, the art of the 1920s and the 1930s and, more specifically, the works created through programs of the Federal Art Projects of the 1930s. The Roosevelt administration’s New Deal fostered government sponsorship of the visual arts (murals, painting, photography), film, theater, literature, and music. The course includes field trips to local museums holding important collections of New Deal art. Students will locate and research local examples of public art created during this period that are still accessible to the public.

50:525:103:02; 50:700:121:H1
Julianne Baird, “Opera: The Art of Revenge, Adultery, and Murder”
W 6-8:40, FA 229
Course note: Satisfies a Fine Arts or a Heritages (C) requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences
Course note: Satisfies the Transcultural Health and Diversity or Fine Arts or Heritages (C) requirement in the School of Nursing
Course note: Satisfies Arts & Aesthetics or a Heritages (C) requirement in the School of Business

Wanted: Dramatic Tenor Soloist. Training in sword-fighting, ability to deal passively with angry mob required.  Valid Certificate of Vaccination(rabies) desirable.  Salary: $52,000 per six-week contract; 10% of salary required as pay-off to the claque

Yes . . .  Welcome to the world of the grand opera singer, as it is played out in the major capital cities of the world.  In this Honors seminar we will examine such issues as gender bending, racism, betrayal, murder, and suicide.  Among the fantastical opera plots we will encounter

  • A hunchback with a secret, and an assassin
  • A dark-eyed Spanish flirt, a bullfight, and a murder-suicide
  • Escort service by night, respectable society lady by day
  • An abandoned baby adopted by an entire Army troop
  • An 18-year-old forced by her father to marry a 70-year-old
  • A coldhearted princess who beheads every suitor

On four evenings during the semester (1/25, 3/1, 3/15, and 4/26), in place of our regular class meeting, we will be transported to the Cinemark Theatre in Somerdale, where, starting at 6:30 p.m, we will see the following operas:  Roméo et Juliette, Rusalka, La Traviata, and Eugene Onegin.   Sometimes the show end at 10:30.  We will adjust class times to compensate. 

50:525:104:01
Daniel Shain, “The Evolution of Worms and of Peace”
TTh 4:30-5:50, CS 203
Course note: Satisfies a Natural Sciences requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences
Course note: Satisfies Physical & Life Sciences requirement in the School of Business

Segmented worms (for example, earthworms and leeches) occupy some of the most diverse environmental niches on Earth, ranging from geothermal vents at the ocean floor to glaciers in Alaska. This course will use worms as a model system to explore questions and phenomena in the natural world. Topics will include the origin of life, the relationship between different types of life, adaptation to extreme conditions, animal reproduction and development, parental care among animals, and consciousness.  An emphasis will be made to connect these discussion topics to each other, as well as to contemporary issues such as coexistence, racism and human conflict. Grading will be based on hypothesis-driven midterm and final papers, and class participation.

50:525:107:01
Harry Rhea, “International Criminal Justice”
MW 1:20-2:40, CS 202
Course note: Satisfies a Social Sciences requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences
Course note: Satisfies the Transcultural Health and Diversity requirement in the School of Nursing

What acts are so egregious that they are considered the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole?  How is international criminal law established?  And how are perpetrators held accountable for committing international crimes?  This course will explore the answers to these questions by examining issues related to genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.  The course will identify, analyze, and compare different types of international crimes and how perpetrators are brought to justice under international law.  The course will explain the basic philosophy of international criminal justice, including international criminal courts and procedure.  The course also evaluates key institutions and processes of international law, such as the United Nations.  The course will involve three examinations and a short research paper.

50:525:109:01  
Lee Ann Westman, “Art Literature Protest”
MW 2:50-4:10, CS 203
Course note: Satisfies a Literature requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Nursing
Course note: Satisfies Arts & Aesthetics requirement in the School of Business

This course was linked originally to the Fall 2009 “The Disappeared” exhibition at University of Texas at El Paso. The exhibition traveled around the United States and now is traveling around the world. We will begin the course by studying examples from “The Disappeared” exhibition and examining how art is used as a form of political protest; we will also watch films related to the exhibition. Our study of “The Disappeared” will be followed by looking at historical examples of art, poetry, and music that aimed to explicitly or implicitly criticize governments or cultural norms. For example, we will study Greek drama as a potential protest against women’s dependent status (Sophocles’ Antigone), as well as Virgil’s Aeneid as a text that seems to question the founding of Rome. In the second half of the course, we will examine contemporary examples of poetry, art, music, and film as social and political protest.

50:525:109:02  
Jill Capuzzo, Journalists in/on Film
TTh 3:00-4:20, CS 202
Course note: Satisfies a Literature requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences
Course note: Satisfies a Literature or Transcultural Health and Diversity requirement in the School of Nursing
Course note: Satisfies Arts & Aesthetics requirement in the School of Business

For many, our understanding of what journalists do has been shaped by popular culture, more specifically, by how reporters, editors and media moguls are portrayed in film. From the hapless bumbler to the crusader, the hard bitten cynic to the power-hungry megalomaniac, the ambitious scoundrel to the intrepid investigator, cinema’s depictions of journalists, real or fictional, have both reinforced stereotypes and provided keen insights. This course will offer a comprehensive look at how the news, and those who produce the news, are portrayed in movies and how that impacts our perceptions of the media. We will view and discuss films focused on journalists from over the last 80 years, including His Girl Friday, Citizen Kane, Superman, All the President’s Men, Good Night and Good Luck, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Shattered Glass, Anchorman, Truth, and last year’s Best Picture Oscar winner, Spotlight. Graded assignments will include a film viewing journal blog, a movie critique and a researched, analytical magazine style article.

50:525:112:01 (G)
Laurie Bernstein, “The Making of Modern Europe: 1700-1950”
MW 2:50-4:10, CS 202
Course note: Satisfies a History requirement or a Global (G) requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences
Course note: Satisfies Global Communities requirement in the School of Business

This course is designed to introduce students to the modern era. Moving from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries, we will trace how the Atlantic system of trade, ideas born in the European Enlightenment, urbanization, and industrialization reshaped not only Europe, but the world at large. We will examine both the political picture of monarchs, wars, and revolutions, as well as the social one of ordinary men and women. Course work includes lectures, discussions, and in-class analyses of primary sources. The Making of Modern Europe counts as the equivalent of the second half of a Western Civilization survey (History 510:102).

50:525:112:02
Peter Dear, “God, Science, and Nature”
TTh 11:00-12:20, CS 202
Course note: Satisfies a History requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences

Are science and religion necessarily opposed means of understanding the world?  Or are they “non-overlapping magisteria,” to use the evolutionary biologist Steven Jay Gould’s grand phrase?  Do they inevitably tread on each other’s toes, or do they concern fundamentally different questions?  This course examines historical episodes of apparent tension between religious teachings and institutions on the one hand, and scientific ideas on the other, to see whether any generalizations about the relationship between science and religion can be found, or whether different episodes can only be understood in their own times, places, and specificities.  Among the topics to be studied (using both secondary accounts and, especially, primary source documents) are medieval attempts to reconcile Christianity and Aristotelian philosophy, the Galileo affair concerning the motion of the Earth, so-called “natural theology” in eighteenth century Britain, Darwin and evolution, twentieth-century U.S. creationism, the “cosmological anthropic principle,” and other intersections between theology and scientific naturalism.  The course will involve short weekly reports, a midterm paper, and a final paper.

50:525:120:01
Emily Wood, “Psychology of Religion”
MW 1:20-2:40, CS 202
Course note: Satisfies a Social Sciences requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences

This course introduces major issues, theories, and empirical research to the psychology of religion. Addressing the diversity of religious experience, we will examine the influence of religion on individuals, including their health and their interpersonal and societal relationships. Topics will include the empirical methods used to study religion, religion over the lifespan, conversion, helping behavior, prejudice, the relationship between science and religion, religious conflict and tension, atheism, and the diversity of religious experience. This course will focus on the psychological aspects of religion by reading a classical text by William James, an additional modern text, the textbook Psychology of Religion (4th edition), and recent research articles. Students will be graded through reflective notes, writing assignments, discussion leadership, and exams.

50:525:121:01 (D)
Richard Epstein, “Language, Class, and Culture”
TTh 4:30-5:50, CS 202
Course note: Satisfies a Diversity (D) requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences
Course note: Satisfies the Transcultural Health and Diversity requirement in the School of Nursing  
Course note: Satisfies Global Communities requirement in the School of Business

The main goal of the course will be to introduce students to the field of Sociolinguistics, the area of Linguistics that studies the way social factors (age, gender, socio-economic class, ethnicity, occupation, etc.) and regional differences give rise to variation in language (that is, “dialects”).  Particular topics that we’ll cover include: descriptive vs. prescriptive views of language (why are certain ways of using English “correct” while others are “incorrect”?); standard vs. non-standard dialects; language and ethnicity (in particular, the controversies over African-American English); language and gender; language and social context (including formal and informal speech styles, bilingualism); pidgin and creole languages; political and social factors affecting language choice in multilingual or developing nations (including the U.S.); language attitudes (the notion of “authority” in language); the relation between language, cognition and culture.  Required coursework includes a midterm and final exam plus a field research project (collecting real-world data about people’s dialects).

50:525:127:01 (W)
Paul Bernstein, “Screenwriting: The Art of Playwriting Transformed”  (W)
TTh 3:00-4:20, classroom TBA
Course note: Satisfies a Writing (W) and a Fine Arts requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences
Course note: Satisfies a Fine Arts requirement in the School of Nursing
Course note: Satisfies Arts & Aesthetics requirement in the School of Business

This is a hybrid course which examines the principles of Playwriting and ventures into related elements of Screenwriting, utilizing effective perspectives and techniques from both written forms. Each student will write a one-act play and one short film script. In addition, we will view Theater and Film while incorporating a system for critical analysis. Our study of plays and film scripts and the work of several artists will provide a key academic component for this writing intensive course. Each of the plays selected for this class were made into films, just as thousands of years of writing for the stage has led us to a mere one hundred years of writing for film. The relation between the two forms has become infinite.

50:525:129:01
Joan Maya Mazelis, “Housing and Homelessness in the U.S.”
TTh 11:00-12:20, CS 203
Course note: Satisfies a Social Sciences requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences
Course note: Satisfies the Transcultural Health and Diversity requirement in the School of Nursing
Course note: Satisfies US & The World requirement in the School of Business

Shelter is one of the most fundamental human needs. But for those who confront severe economic deprivation in the United States, housing is often unaffordable, leaving many without predictable, consistent, and safe places to live. In this course we will use a sociological perspective to explore issues of home ownership, segregation, housing subsidies, eviction, housing policies, and homelessness, and their relationship to the history of urban and suburban development in the U.S. We will read books about homelessness and affordable housing, watch relevant films, welcome guest speakers with personal experience and professional expertise, and have the opportunity to visit a college-student-run homeless shelter and a soup kitchen. Course requirements will include active participation in class discussion, short essays or quizzes on the assigned books, and exams. No prior knowledge of sociology needed!

Heritages and Civilizations Classes

Note: All sections satisfy the Civilizations and Heritages requirement in the General Education Requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Nursing, and School of Business.

50:840:110:01; 50:525:123:01
John Wall, Introduction to the Bible (C)
MW 1:20-2:40, BSB 118
Course note: Satisfies a Heritages (C) or a Religion requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences
Course note: Satisfies the Transcultural Health and Diversity or Heritages (C) requirement in the School of Nursing
Course note: Satisfies a Heritages (C) requirement in the School of Business

This course examines the historical, literary, and contemporary worlds of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and New Testament. These rich and controversial writings have profoundly influenced worldwide culture and thought for thousands of years and continue to inspire, challenge, and trouble people today. We discuss who wrote the Bible, its social and political contexts, different ways to think about reading it, its meanings and functions as literature, possible interpretations for the twenty-first century, and core themes such as God, creation, evil, covenant, prophesy, justice, and love. Students will leave the course with a complex understanding of what one theologian has called “the strange world of the Bible.”