Fall 2019 Honors Courses

First-Year Courses

Lee Ann Westman, Where’s Mom? The Erasure and Vilification of Mothers in Art, Literature, and Popular Culture
50:525:152:01 (AAI, DIV)
MW 3:45-5:05

Art, literature, and popular culture have a long history of erasing mothers as subject matter or characters. For example, while women are represented frequently as a subject of art in western cultural history, mothers are rarely represented (not including, of course, the Virgin Mary, who was a special type of mother). In western literature, women are primarily daughters, sisters, girlfriends, and wives, but their roles as mother are not examined as closely. In popular culture, mothers are erased from TV shows, Disney films, and Hollywood films. When a mother does manage to stay in the frame of art, myth, literature, or popular culture, she’s often vilified as a villain: the evil stepmother, or as an overbearing, jealous, smothering, and/or destructive biological mother. This course will examine the historical representations of mothers in western culture, as well as more contemporary representations by women artists and writers, and study art, literary, and feminist theory about motherhood and its absence and/or vilification in the

Students will write short analysis papers, take two exams (a midterm and final), and prepare a presentation as a final project. Ideally, the presentation will be revised and submitted as a proposal for presentation at a national conference.

Richard Demirjian, Exploring Identity in Early America
50:525:154:01 (USW)
TTh 2:00-3:20

Scholars of the early American republic are currently debating the question of whether such a thing as a national identity existed in early America.  This course explores the idea of American national identity and the manner in which it might have formed in the years between the settlement of North America and the American Civil War.  The course will take an interdisciplinary approach in focusing on the roles played by ethnicity, race, gender, class, culture, religion, politics, and regionalism in the possible formation of a national identity in Early America.  

Cyril Reade, Introduction to Museum Studies: Philadelphia Museums
50:698:205:H1 (AAI)
Thursday 2:00-4:50
[Course note: Museum visit every other week.]

The City of Philadelphia has a wealth of art museums with outstanding collections that provide residents, visitors and students with moving aesthetic experiences. The more an individual opens themselves to what these institutions collect and exhibit, the more their quality of life deepens and becomes richer. The quality of life of the city is enriched as well by the vibrancy of its cultural institutions. Our visits to Philadelphia museums during class time will take us to a wide variety of museum types—and we will discover what role the individual institution plays in offering art to the public. The Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rodin Museum, the Barnes, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Eastern State Penitentiary, and the Philadelphia Rail Park individually reflect a part of the city’s cultural and social history,  a topic students will undertake.

In addition to acquiring this appreciation of museums, which we will address globally in class time, we will select examples of museum architecture and examine the role of the curator, the art press, and the private collector. Students will address some of these topics in short essays and presentations. Because images capture what often challenges the human ability to describe, there will be class tutorials in how to take pictures of artworks and museums. With these, students will compile an album about art and museums with a mix of images and text.

Alexandra O’Donnell, Introduction to Psychology 

50:830:101:H1 (PLS)
TTh 9:35-10:55

Introduces students to some of the many methods, theories, facts, and concepts in the major fields of psychology.  Topics covered include: the history of psychology, biological basis of behavior, learning, health, personality, psychological disorders, and psychological treatment.  Students will also be required to either participate in psychological research or complete an approved alternative activity to receive credit upon completion of this course.  Assignments include 10 short answer, in-class writing prompts based on the topic covered in class that day, five quizzes, two exams, and one short APA-style paper on how psychological research is represented by major media sources.

Nicole Karapanagiotis, Cults and New Religious Movements (FULL)

50:840:366:H1 (USW)
MW 9:35-10:55

This course examines religious groups in the United States that have been labeled in the public as “cults” (new religious movements, or NRM’s). This course will examine an array of such groups, concentrating on the following in particular: The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (i.e., the Hare Krishnas), The Church of Scientology, Heaven’s Gate, The Peoples Temple, the Nation of Islam, and The Church of Satan.    

 In studying these groups, we will investigate their beliefs about the world, the self, the divine, and the “good life,” as well as their histories, recruitment strategies, social dynamics, commitment to social and political causes, and relationships with the public.  Focus will be on building a scholarly toolkit by which to understand these religious groups in an objective and critical manner.  Towards this end, we will examine critical debates on the growth of new religious movements, charges that converts to these groups are “brainwashed,” the ways in which these groups are portrayed in the media, and how we might best understand these groups as scholars of religion.  Last but not least, as a class we will examine debates (and debate ourselves) about whether these groups deserve the label of “cult” at all. 

Course materials will include primary and secondary textual readings, audio and video clips, and in-class films.  As a class, we will also visit the religious center of one group that has been labeled a cult: the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).   Evaluations will be based on two essay exams, active and engaged class participation, and a series of  weekly reading reflections.


Sophomore-Level Courses

Timothy Martin, Irish Literature
50:525:153:01 (GCM) 
TTh 11:10am-12:30pm

Why might students be interested in Irish literature? Perhaps they are among 40 million Americans of Irish heritage who want to know more about their roots. Maybe they are interested in histories of politically-repressed minorities struggling for independence and recognition. Or maybe they would like to get to know one of the world’s most compelling literary traditions: Ireland has produced four Nobel Prize winners, and its population has never exceeded 8 million people.

This course will study stories, poems, and plays written in Ireland since the beginning of the twentieth century. We will consider the difficult relationship between Ireland and its English conquerers, the complicated role of the Roman Catholic Church in Irish life, and the harshness of Irish family life in the context of poverty and chronic economic underdevelopment. Famous writers like James Joyce and W. B. Yeats will be supplemented by lesser known figures like Liam O’Flaherty, Edna O’Brien, and Eavan Boland.

Assignments will be geared toward non-majors: several short, informal “response” papers and a couple of tests, with opportunities for extra credit.

Instructor TBA, Seminar in Professional Nursing
57:705:105:H1 (Nursing Students only)
Tuesday 8:00am-10:50am

This introductory nonclinical course in nursing is designed to provide the student with a foundation in nursing knowledge that will provide the basis for ensuing theory and clinical nursing courses. Major foci will be the discipline and profession of nursing, its history, its conceptual and theoretical structures, and the patterns of knowledge needed for developing the science and practice of nursing. It requires the integration of previously acquired knowledge in the sciences, arts, and humanities and introduces basic concepts in epidemiology, demographics, and cultural competencies, as well as the knowledge necessary for a beginning understanding of the research process, and for development of interpersonal and interdisciplinary communication skills. The ethics and values of the profession as well as the scope of practice and other legal and regulatory aspects will be introduced. Current issues in nursing and the many roles of the baccalaureate-prepared professional nurse will be examined and discussed as the student is socialized to become a self-reflective, accountable, lifelong learner given to self-appraisal as she or he navigates the route to achieving the terminal objectives of the curriculum.

Instructor TBD, Seminar in Professional Nursing
57:705:105:H2 (Nursing Students only)
Thursday 8:00am-10:50am

(See above)

Instructor TBA, Aging and Health in Global Communities (FULL)
57:705:313:03 (GCM)
Wednesday 8:00am-10:50am

The population of the world is aging.  In some societies aging is associated with a good quality of life and in others with the loss of health and well-being. This course will explore issues and challenges related to the aging population. Maintaining health and preparing for a peaceful death will be addressed from a global perspective appropriate to the impact that aging will have on the global community.

The course content will examine how a variety of disciplines have viewed the culture of aging over time and the historical evolution of health care services for older adults.  Although the primary focus will be aging in America, lessons learned from other global societies will be incorporated to ensure that students are able to understand the meaning and significance of healthy aging.  Students will examine the aging population in the context of enhancing contemporary understanding of the impact of individuals over 65 who will outnumber the population of young people for the first time in history by mid-century.

Eric Chwang, Biomedical Ethics
50:730:249:H1 (EAV)
MW 12:30pm-1:50pm

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:

1. 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.

Sara Beth Plummer, Groups at Risk in Contemporary Society
50:910:352:H1 (EAV, DIV)
F 12:30pm-3:20pm

This course addresses social work’s mission to engage in sensitive practice and its ethical mandate to serve and advocate for the welfare of vulnerable and oppressed, and for at-risk groups. It brings to the student’s awareness critical concepts regarding diversity in families, in age, gender, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity in a pluralistic society. The significance of respect for diversity and cultural competence in the formation of collaborative relationships with clients and formulation of appropriate interventions is stressed. Service providers must have some understanding of the value systems, family interactions, role assignments, including parent-child relationships, religious practices, the impact of immigration and cultural adjustments, the extended family network, and the help-seeking patterns and behaviors of ethnic groups. Factors such as societal structures, various practice models agency systems, and barriers within the social worker (that may be expressed through implicit bias, micro-aggressions, etc.) that may negatively affect access to resources and optimal development on the part of client populations will be discussed. Special attention will be directed to racism, sexism, classism, ageism, privilege and sexual orientation.

Aaron Oster, American Musical Theatre (FULL)
50:965:308:H1 (USW)
MW 9:35am-10:55am

This course explores the evolution of the American Broadway musical from its origins in operetta, vaudeville, minstrelsy and melodrama, to its contemporary incarnations such as Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen. The course focuses on key artists of the mid-twentieth century who transformed the light, pop-focused musical comedy of the 20s and 30s into a substantial and (sometimes) serious form of theatrical expression, as well on the impact of musical theatre on American popular culture. Special attention will be paid to the contributions of diverse American ethnic groups to the creation and development of the American Broadway musical from its beginnings through the present day. Class activities will include lecture-presentations, student-lead seminars, and reading and writing assignments, as well as viewing and response to examples of significant musical theatre performances, both live and on video.