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The Honors Program seminars change every semester, but most fulfill General Education requirements. Enrollment in Honors seminars is limited to 15 students to ensure direct and regular interaction with professors and engage in active discussion during class sessions.


Fall 2022 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 393 Introduction to Sustainability 
Instructor: Andrea Varga (Theatre Arts)

Introduction to Sustainability Seminar: An exploration of regenerative, just, and sustainable strategies for the environment and society: Utilizing the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development students will examine the three pillars of sustainability - environment, society, economics - to promote and practice regenerative, just and transformative solutions for contemporary challenges as global citizens. Students will explore how today’s human societies can endure and build healthier systems in the face of global change, ecosystem degradation and resource limitations. Cross-disciplinary study and perspectives will be utilized to promote systems-thinking and understanding.

HON393 The Literature of Witness
Instructor: Michelle Woods (English)

This course will explore modes of witnessing through examining both first- and second generation Holocaust texts as well as works from other sites of conflict, genocide, and disaster as they create an aesthetics of moral imagination, social and political protest, and personal and collective resistance. The course will examine how artists treat human rights and social justice issues, trauma, and atrocity as well as protest genocide and violence occurring in a Holocaust and post-Holocaust, global world. Themes examined will include human rights abuses (slavery, colonialism and apartheid, incarceration and detention, political repression and torture, genocide, conflict, identity-based violence, social and economic deprivation, structural inequality, and environmental injustice); the representation of pain; resistance; redress and reconciliation; and resilience. In addition, the course will examine dimensions of the artistic process of witnessing (including such concepts as witness and testimony, memory and counter memory, and post memory) as well as aesthetic and theoretical questions about this form of literature. The course will include a range of genres and texts (oral testimony, memoir, creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, film, and photography) as well as theoretical and critical perspectives drawn from various disciplines including memory and trauma studies, Holocaust studies, human rights studies, psychology, sociology, and literary criticism.

HON393 The Psychology of Story
Instructor: Tabitha Holmes (Psychology)

This course will explore how stories and story construction can be used to understand the human condition. This will include examination of topics concerning how stories influence empathy and perspective-taking and the role of stories in development and relationships. We will pay particular attention to autobiographical memory, self-narrative, and identity development, as well as how narratives are related to health and wellness.

HON393 Human Ecology
Instructor: Eric Keeling (Biology)

What is (or should be) the relationship between humans and nature?Human Ecology is a broad and evolving multi-disciplinary field focused on understanding and guiding human relationships with humanized and non-humanized environments including wild nature. In this course, we will critically examine and discuss approaches and ideas about human ecological relationships from biological ecology, philosophy, environmental history, and other disciplines. Our inquiries will be in the context of the current predicament of environmental sustainability, ethical questions related to human impacts on non-human nature, the need for environmental justice, and the search for meaningful relationships with non-human nature in a world increasingly dominated by technology and humanized environments. Students will combine scientific knowledge and methods, field experiences, philosophical arguments, social theories, and their own disciplinary expertise and creativity to explore these contemporary and perennial questions about humans and nature.



Spring 2022 Seminars 

HON 316 Debates in U.S. History
Instructor: Patricia A. Sullivan (Digital Media & Journalism, Honors)
GE Requirement:  United States Studies (USST)

An exploration of selected and pivotal topics in the history of the United States from the colonial period through today. Politics, economics, society, and culture will be examined focusing on primary source documents and images.

HON 378 Humans at Play
Instructor: Doug Maynard (Psychology)

An exploration of play across the human lifespan in all of its myriad forms, including play's possible functions, subjective experiences, communities, and the influence of culture and technology.

HON 203 What Causes Cancer?
Instructor: Jen Waldo (Biology)
GE Requirement: Natural Science (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: Sue Books (Teaching and Learning)
GE Requirement: World Civilizations (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 Ethical Fashion: Understanding Consumerism, Globalization, Justice & Sustainability Through Textiles
Instructor: Andrea Varga (Theatre Arts)

Utilizing the Global Goals for Sustainable Development as a framework, students will explore textile, dress and adornment history relating practices from prehistory through the present day to our relationship with textiles, consumer behaviors and sustainability. This course will allow students to understand personal choices and behavior (from understanding fibers to personal economics, and social communication, regulations and industry standards) and connect them to the globalized fashion industry. Students will explore the implications of consumer choices on the environment, people, and other living creatures by utilizing research tools and data available through organizations like Fashion Revolution and Good on You. Students will have the opportunity to empower themselves as consumers to have a voice and be a change agent by making informed choices and communicating sustainability norms to the companies that they engage with.

HON 393 Cherokee History, Culture, and Politics: Past and Present
Instructor: Meg Devlin (History)

This course examines the pre-colonization history of the Cherokees through the present moment. It will focus on cultural, social, and political history in order to understand the contemporary issues that impact citizen Cherokees. Particular attention will be given to tribal sovereignty, citizenship, gender, and race.