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Spring Courses 2014

Honors Seminars

HNRS 312.01 People and the American Landscape
Instructor: Rebecca Ambers

As lifestyles, technologies, and values have changed over time, the relationship between humans and the American landscape has also evolved. Through examination of the issues of food and agriculture, urbanization, and wilderness protection, this course analyzes how and why people's connection with the land has changed through time. The emergence of the American environmental movement is also explored. Offered alternate years. May be counted as an elective toward the majors and minors in environmental science and environmental studies. Not open to students who have received credit for HNRS 191 or ENVR 319. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

HNRS 264.01 Contemporary International Writers
Instructor: Cheryl Mares

This course will examine the rich array of contemporary literature thoughout the world. Students will read and discuss the writers' work and will explore the particular historical, cultural, and political circumstances out of which these works have emerged. Students will be encouraged to apply their own particular interests in the humanities (e.g., anthropology, history, government, modern languages) to their research projects, oral presentations, and written assignments. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

First-year Honors Seminars

Creativity and Critical Thinking; TR 1:30 – 2:45
Instructor: John Casteen

Writers and artists make expressive work as a personal response to the world around them, but the nature of that response is often intuitive or visceral rather than considered and interpretive.  This course invites students to examine the creative process—their own, or that of other writers and artists—through the lens of critical thinking and academic discussion.  Readings will include Twyla Tharp, Richard Hugo, Malcolm Gladwell, James Baldwin, Jorie Graham, and Chinua Achebe.  Assignments will include personal or analytical essays, short fiction, and poems; if students wish to augment their writing with original creative work in the visual arts, video/film, or other disciplines, they may either collaborate with one another or integrate their own projects into a cohesive whole.

Nutritional Challenges of the 21st Century; MW 3 – 4:15
Instructor: Bonnie Kestner

We will examine different views on “healthy eating,” explore the relationship between diet and chronic disease, and discuss informational, biological, political, economic, psychological, and socio-cultural obstacles we face in attempting to meet our nutritional needs.  Using readings, videos and small group discussions, we will consider different strategies for overcoming these challenges. Students will learn strategies for critically evaluating nutritional claims and developing their own nutritional pathway. They will research a topic of their choosing and make a final presentation based on their research.

Questions of Sanity; MW 3 - 4:15
Instructor: Tim Loboschefski
This course will examine the topic of insanity from various perspectives (psychological, cultural, legal, physiological, and historical) and how the line between sanity and insanity has never been as clear a distinction as we would like to believe. We will supplement our understanding of current Psychiatric disorders utilizing a case study approach and examine issues ranging from the treatment/punishment of the mentally ill, to those cases where the development of abnormal behavior might be viewed as the most adaptive option available. Cases will include Norton I, Emperor of the United States, Truddi Chase from “When Rabbit Howls,” and Susannah Cahalan’s “Brain on Fire.”


Heroes and the Heroic in Homer’s Iliad; MWF 10 - 10:50 AM
Instructor: Bryce Walker

This course offers an in depth reading of Homer’s Iliad with a particular focus on the nature of the Greek hero. How should we understand heroes and the “heroic” in the literary and cultural context of this foundational work of epic poetry? To what extent can we understand these concepts as they were originally understood, and in what ways might they inform our own understanding of the human condition?

Honors Sections

Departments with multiple sections of regularly offered introductory courses may offer one of the sections as an Honors Section.

Honors Variants

Students interested in taking an Honors variant of a regular departmental course should contact the course instructor. To enroll in an Honors variant, students must submit an Honors Variant Contract to the registrar by the add deadline.