Spring 2021 Honors Courses
Paul Bernstein, Theater and Film in Europe
Tuesday 2:00pm-4:50pm, Sakai
This course will help students gain an in-depth understanding of film studies, centering around five masterpieces of the European cinema, and the cultural aftermath of World War II. Multiple European cultures are witnessed through the lens of filmmakers from Former Yugoslavia, Germany, Italy, and England. The course will cover technical aspects of informed film viewing: narrative analysis, and the nature of traditional and non-traditional storylines. From a non-production perspective, we will retrace a series of viewing challenges that allow us to “read film”. Our perspective covers aspects of societal upheaval, literary trends, cultural realization, as well as contemporary screenwriting. In-class viewings, lectures, and discussions are supported by readings and writing assignments. Students will learn to notice the compositional choices that comprise a work of art on film. Each of the films covered was originally a play before becoming part of the popular film culture in Europe. The necessity for renditions and adaptations lend another layer of complexity to examination of contemporary and post-modern film.
Don Daedalus, PTL, Hacking the Archive
Mondays 12:30pm, Sakai
The police impunity for killings of black people exists in an ambiguous zone. Official data is intentionally omitted by local, state and federal agencies, which furthers the gaslamping and lack of accountability. The United States National Archives maintains “materials from private sources, including motion pictures, still pictures, and sound recordings, that are appropriate for preservation by the government as evidence of its organization, functions, policies, decisions. “In this course, students will learn how to leverage the archive for historical and social justice. Working as citizen archivists, students will collect the many ephemeral videos, erata and documents of police killings of black people for submission to the National Archive. Roving through digital sources such as television, social media, and hashtags, we will learn aspects of library science, preservation, research, law and politics.
525:152:04; 525:160:01, AAI & DIV – FULL
Erin Lucas, Contemporary Children’s Literature
Monday & Wednesday 12:30pm-1:50pm, Canvas
In Contemporary Children’s Literature we will study children’s picture books, early readers, graphic novels, and chapter books published within the last decade and examine the ways in which these texts represent social categories including race, gender, sexuality, and ability. As a class we will interrogate cultural perceptions about what makes a book “appropriate for children,” as well as what those perceptions can tell us about childhood as a social construct, our collective values and expectations regarding children, childhood, and education, and the extent to which these values are often hypocritical or disingenuous in considering the daily realities of children from marginalized populations. We will deal heavily in “controversial” or frequently challenged texts, such as A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo and George (numbers 1 and 2 on the American Library Association’s list of Banned Books for 2019), as well as texts centered on the most pressing social justice issues of the 21st century, including trans rights, the treatment and exclusion of immigrants, and police brutality.
Instruction for Contemporary Children’s Literature will be delivered remotely. Course requirements include a weekly blog or vlog entry, a short close reading essay, and a final research paper with accompanying digital research poster presentation.
525:155:01, EAV – FULL
Nate Walker, Happiness
Monday & Wednesday 9:35 am – 10:55 am, Canvas
Happiness is a multidisciplinary exploration of human flourishing. The course draws from the academic study of happiness as explored in the humanities, specifically psychology, philosophy, religious studies, cultural studies, history, and law. The course surveys empirical research in the sciences, such as positive psychology, neuroscience, and biology. The content of what is studied mirrors how it is taught by drawing upon teaching methods used in resiliency education. Ultimately, the course is a study of how humans organize themselves, their internal lives, their relationships, and their environments, communally and globally.
525:155:02, EAV – FULL
Margaret Betz, Ethics of Food
Even something as seemingly mundane as food has philosophical significance. This course examines multiple ethical issues surrounding the production, sale, policy, and accessibility of food. Topics include international and national hunger; unsafe food production; factory farming; and the predominance of processed food in America.
Cathy D’Ignazio, Sports and Gender – FULL
This course, Gender & Sport, examines the way gender shapes sport and the way sport shapes gender in the US, mostly. Many of the more familiar sports will be examined. Neither gender nor sport are consistent over time therefore historical context will provide the foundation for our multi-disciplinary study. Specifically, we will examine the origins of baseball, football and basketball and encounter individuals like celebrity athlete Ora Washington and unsung heroes like Curt Flood and consider many others. Milestone changes in the law also contribute to our study. If you are curious about the origins of sports and how sports are experienced by athletes and society broadly this course provides critical frames and historical examples for understanding.
Cynthia Saltzman, Childhood and Adolescence in Society
Tuesday & Thursday 9:35am-10:55am, Canvas
The course focuses on the study of childhood in various societies with attention to the socialization process in a variety of cultural contexts (e.g., family, peer groups, and social or religious institutions). This class also looks at the variability of the adolescent experience in the United States and other societies, and it examines the complex biological, cognitive, and cultural transitions that mark this stage of life when many individuals become increasingly independent and relationships acquire new meaning. When did the idea of the “teenager” and youth culture begin? How does the adolescent experience affect families, friendships, and romantic relationships? We will explore how this is a time of broadening horizons and self-discovery for many, but how it can also can be a time of new dangers including the threat of youth gangs and harmful peer pressure.
Tim Martin, Ten Books I Should Have Read by Now
Tuesday & Thursday 11:10am-12:30pm, Canvas
This version of “Ten Books I Should Have Read by Now” will link several literary works from the ancient and medieval eras in Western Europe with several modern works, showing a continuity of human concerns and literary themes over some 2700 years. Pairings will include Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey with L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz, the Book of Genesis with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and with Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Ovid’s Metamorphoses with Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, and Sophocles’ Oedipus the King with Angus Wilson’s modern play Fences. The aim is to provide an experience of historically and culturally meaningful literary works and to make connections between them. The course will be taught mostly with recorded lectures and on-line student discussions. There will be three or four synchronous Zoom class meetings on the TTh 11:10-12:30 schedule, dates TBA. Two short papers, a midterm, a final, and on-line discussion posts will form the basis of grading. The course satisfies the Heritages and Civilizations requirement in General Education.
443:210:H1, GCM & DIV – FULL
Lee Ann Westman, Global Gender Issues
Monday & Wednesday 9:35am-10:55am, Canvas
This course is intended for lower-division students as an introduction to contemporary gender issues on a global level. It will focus on how issues such as health, education, sexual identity, trade, and the environment manifest themselves globally, looking at the intersection of these types of issues with gender and sexual identity in various regions of the world. The course will also examine how feminist and LGBTQ organizations have become globalized into transnational forces for social change, and the challenges that attend globalization as well.
Eric Chwang, Biomedical Ethics – FULL
In this class we’ll discuss a variety of issues in biomedical ethics, for example abortion and euthanasia. In all cases, our goal will be to get clear on the arguments involved and to assess those arguments critically, using reason rather than emotion. A large part of our goal will be to help you become better at critical thinking, honest assessment, and elimination of bias about controversial issues. Upon completing this course, students should be able to do the following:
- Interpret, explain, and compare significant systems and theories of human ethics and/or values.
2. Analyze ethical debates in terms of their underlying assumptions and implications.
3. Recognize the ethical values at stake in practical, concrete, and/or everyday situations.
4. Apply ethical reasoning toward solving practical problems.
5. Formulate, communicate, and evaluate effective ethical arguments.
Robert Schindler, Spirituality in Business: Balancing Head and Heart
Monday & Wednesday 2:05pm-3:25pm, Canvas
This seminar will focus on spirituality, which holds within it a view of human nature that is at once both ancient and radical. Our study will draw on sources of wisdom such as religion, folklore, and language as well as some of the latest advances in behavioral research. In our discussions, we’ll learn about metaphors and theory in social science and about current methods of scientific study. Throughout the seminar, we’ll keep in mind how insights from this view of human nature can be applied to key business tasks, such as effectively dealing with customers and managing interactions with others in a business organization, and to preparing for a satisfying career in the business world
Monday 8:00am-10:50am, Canvas