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Seminars

Fall 2017 Seminars

HON 201 The Individual and Society
Instructors: Madeleine Arseneault (Philosophy) James Schiffer (English), Hamilton Stapell (History), Patricia A. Sullivan (Digital Media & Journalism, Honors), & Vicki Tromanhauser (English)
GE Requirement:  Humanities (HUM)

Investigates the relationship between the individual and society through discussion of the philosophic, literary, and historical aspects of major texts.

HON 202 Work
Instructor: Susan Books (Secondary Education)
GE Requirement: World (WRLD)

Learning to do a job is one thing; learning to appropriate and affirm meaningful work for oneself is another. A focus on the broad concept of work invites consideration of a range of conceptual and policy-related questions.

HON 393 Humans at Play
Instructor: Douglas Maynard (Psychology)

Humans have played ever since there were humans, and play is certainly older than humanity. Play is now a serious subject of study with the recent emergence of game studies as a field, gamification is shaping our work and personal lives, and the video game industry is now purportedly larger than the movie industry. But what exactly is play and why do we do it? What functions does it serve? How does it impact our psychological states and interpersonal relationships? How do contextual factors such as culture and technology impact how we play? In this course, we will explore play from a variety of disciplines, including psychology, philosophy, anthropology and sociology.

HON 393 Inequality and Human Health
Instructor: Kenneth Nystrom (Anthropology and Latin American & Caribbean Studies)

This course focuses on discussing the biological consequences of social inequality from a biocultural perspective. The biocultural perspective considers biology and culture to be deeply connected and so our discussion will focus on how sociocultural and political-economic processes affect human biology and specifically how these variables influence health experiences. We examine how political and economic stratification affect the adaptive repertoire of the poor, racialized, and socially marginalized. The biological consequences of inequality include a wide-range of health indicators including trauma, infectious disease, malnutrition, osteoarthritis, exposure to environmental toxins, and lower birth weight. Further, evidence of inequality can manifest in activity patterns and workload stress as well as the postmortem treatment of the dead. The discussion will range widely in terms of time period, drawing on prehistoric, historic, and contemporary case studies and world region, from our own backyard here in the Hudson Valley to the coastal desert of prehistoric Peru. This course seeks to underscore the value of anthropology as a holistic and singular discipline (with many subdisciplines). As such, we combine theoretical perspectives and methodologies employed by cultural anthropology, medical anthropology, biological anthropology, and archaeology.

HON 393 How Administrative Agencies Became the Fourth Branch of Government, Tension, and Dynamism
Instructor: Judge Robert Weisel

Administrative Law is a body of law governing how executive branch agencies make, implement and enforce policy. The field of Administrative Law is continually expanding and we are impacted by administrative law in our day-to-day life. For example, we interact with people who interpret and make administrative decisions on a daily basis. Administrative agencies are now considered to be a "virtual fourth branch" of government. This "branch" is a hybrid in nature; it has rule making authority (like a legislature), adjudicative authority (like a court), and enforcement authority (like the executive). Administrative Law is one of the fastest growing areas of law. The chief reason is simply that more experts in administrative law are needed to help various public and private organizations comply successfully with all the legal requirements attached to the growing number of regulations as well as their complexity. What has remained constant is that Administrative Law is designed to act as a road map, in theory, on how to properly follow the law, once enacted by a legislature. In reality, regulations not only attempt to settle disputes but cause disputes as well. In order to move our country to "a more perfect union", political conflicts arising in the context of regulation have pressed constitutional, as well as administrative claims, such as discrimination in the hiring and firing of government employees and the scope of protection for social welfare clients. Promoting diversity is one of the the major focuses of Administrative Law. We will explore how agencies through regulation seek to promote due process of law in new, challenging areas of law involving, Equal Opportunity, Americans with Disabilities and Gender Equality. We will investigate how administrative agencies respond to the great issues of the day, such as immigration and environmental protection, trying to calm the waters but many times roiling the waters even more. We will discuss basic principles of administrative law. We will read some of the seminal cases in Administrative Law and in the process, learn how to brief a case.

HON 399 Thesis/Project Preparation
Instructor:  Patricia Sullivan (Digital Media & Journalism, Honors)

This course provides support for Honors students who are preparing their thesis or project. Students will refine a research or project topic; develop a thesis statement; identify and evaluate sources; construct an annotated bibliography; receive feedback from peers; and employ communication strategies for working with faculty mentors. 

Spring 2017 Seminars 

HON 201 The Individual and Society
Instructor: Patricia A. Sullivan (Digital Media & Journalism, Honors)
GE Requirement:  Humanities (HUM)

Investigates the relationship between the individual and society through discussion of the philosophic, literary, and historical aspects of major texts.

HON 203 What Causes Cancer?
Instructor: Jennifer Waldo (Biology)
GE Requirement: Natural Sciences (NSCI)

There is no simple answer to the question of what causes cancer. Cancer is not a single thing; it manifests itself differently in each individual. After an introduction to the basic science necessary for understanding the development of cancer, a series of popularly held beliefs regarding cancer causation will be critically analyzed. With these examples as a foundation, students will research and report on a topic on their own choice.

HON 371 Education Across Borders
Instructor: Susan Books (Teaching and Learning)
GE Requirement: World (WRLD)

Exploration of the culture and history of selected non-Western countries - initially, China, South Africa, and Afghanistan - and of how the cultural/historical context affects schooling in these countries, past and present.

HON 393 Love and Heartbreak
Instructor: Lisa Phillips (Digital Media and Journalism)

This interdisciplinary honors seminar will explore love and heartbreak through the lens of literature/literary theory, philosophy, psychology, pop culture, and gender studies. Potential authors/thinkers/artists: Roland Barthes, Bell Hooks, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Stendhal, Mary Wollstonecraft, Sophie Calle, Christina Nehring, Dorothy Tennov, Helen Fisher, Laura Kipnis, James Baldwin, Maggie Nelson.

HON 393 The Materials of History, Thought and Art
Instructor:  Cyrus Mulready (English)

How do the objects in our lives shape our identities and our ways of thinking about the world? How do the things that surround us preserve a record of our history? Do objects make thought, discovery, and creativity possible? Our work will lead us to examine our own processes of learning, writing, and thinking with the hope that a more conscious attention to how the objects of our lives affect us will make us better students and scholars.

HON 393 U.S. Women Win the Vote
Instructor:  Susan Lewis (History)

This course explores how women won the vote in the United States, beginning with the birth of the women's rights movement in the Enlightenment and Age of Revolution, moving to the first public demands for the vote in the 1840s, and following the women's rights movement up to 1920. We will focus particularly on the suffrage and anti-suffrage movements of the Progressive Era in New York State, asking: (1) why did women win the vote in this period, not earlier or later, (2) what forces obstructed women's full political rights and citizenship, and (3) which individuals and groups, and which strategies, were most responsible for the suffrage victories in New York (1917) and nationally (1920)? Students will conduct research projects on individual suffragists and contribute to a nation-wide database.

HON 399 Thesis/Project Preparation
Instructor:  Patricia Sullivan (Digital Media & Journalism, Honors)

This course provides support for Honors students who are preparing their thesis or project. Students will refine a research or project topic; develop a thesis statement; identify and evaluate sources; construct an annotated bibliography; receive feedback from peers; and employ communication strategies for working with faculty mentors.