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Spring 2008 Honors Courses

HON 200 H, Democracy and Its Friendly Critics (Required for all Honors Students; 3 Hours Credit)

HON 200HA

Democracy and Its Friendly Critics MWF 11:00-11:50 Dr. Eric Sands

HON 200HB

Democracy and Its Friendly Critics TH 12:30-1:45 Dr. Eric Sands

Course meets these requirements:

  • Required course for all honors students
  • General Education core requirement in Behavioral & Social Sciences -- 200 level for Government and International Studies.

Course description:
America 's leading statesmen such as James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt understood that popular government is extremely difficult to sustain.   They understood what we largely have forgotten: Democracy, like all forms of government, comes with its own set of challenges and pathologies.  These lessons about democracy are best expressed by Alexis de Tocqueville, a critic, albeit a friendly one, of American democracy who thoughtfully and forcefully articulated the dangers facing the emerging democratic world.  This course will use Tocqueville's Democracy in America to illustrate the perpetual issues and problems of democracy--many of which are still very real despite our being blind to them---and we will also draw on works of literature, philosophy, film, and theology to give concrete meaning to these problems as they are manifested in American political and social life.

HON 200 H, Democracy and Its Friendly Critics (Required for all Honors Students; 3 Hours Credit)

HON 200 HC

Democracy and Its Friendly Critics MWF 12:00-12:50 Dr. David McKenzie

Course meets these requirements:

  • Required course for all honors students
  • General Education core requirement in Humanities--100 level for Philosophy.
  • May also count as the fifth humanities elective, if religion or philosophy course requirement has been met by other means (e.g. AP credit).

Course description:
The motto “e pluribus unum” was inscribed on the United States National Seal, created by the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War Period. The motto referred originally to the one nation arising from the many nations whose settlers came to America and from the thirteen states which constituted the original union. The idea that it would be possible to create a nation that really is “one, from many” is a seminal idea of American history. As the phrase comes to us, it stands more broadly for the dialectic of the one and the many in American experience, reflected in a wide array of issues. This course focuses on certain moments in this rich dialectic in which the tensions inherent in the interplay of unity and diversity have come to full expression. It explores early arguments related to state and nation from the discipline of politics, cultural conflicts between Native-Americans and European settlers from the disciplines of history and literature, persistent issues of race relation from the disciplines of philosophy and Black studies, treatment of immigrant populations from the disciplines of literature and sociology, the long struggle for gender equality from the disciplines of history and women’s studies, and arguments pertaining to religious identity and separation of church and state from the disciplines of religious studies and politics.

English 102, The Rhetoric of Analysis and Argumentation, Honors (3 Hours Credit)

ENG 102 HB

Inquiry and Writing TH 12:30-1:45 Dr. M.E. Cooley         

Course meets these requirements:

  • An HON 250 course (3 of 9 elective required hours for all Honors students)
  • General Education core requirement in Communication (3 hrs credit)

Course description:
The course focuses on developing analytical and critical thinking and writing skills in argumentative and persuasive prose for academic and professional audiences. Four essays and a revision essay are required; all final drafts require several rough drafts. Class is a combination of lecture and workshop activities. Current event issues are used as the basis for readings and discussions which then become topics for writing.    


English 102, Rhetoric and Writing, Honors (3 Hours Credit)

ENG 102 HS

Inquiry and Writing MWF 10:00-10:50 Dr. Lara Whelan               

Course meets these requirements:

  • An HON 250 course (3 of 9 elective required hours for all Honors students)
  • General Education core requirement in Communication (3 hrs credit)

Course description:
The purpose of the course is to prepare students to become knowing and productive participants in academic, cultural, or civic discourse. Students will learn to use multiple and sustained modes of critical inquiry to build arguable perspectives within particular cultural contexts and conversations. These modes might include writing to learn, report, review, criticize, clarify, convince, persuade, or negotiate. In addition, students will be coached in the rhetorical concepts of persona, ethos & pathos, argument structure, counterargument, and logical fallacy. By the end of the course, students will be able to summarize, evaluate, and synthesize multiple sources in order develop a critical perspective and advance a thesis of their own. Students will also receive guidance in the evaluation and appropriate documentation of print and non-print sources (e.g., online databases, world wide web, film, photography, television, etc.).

Honors 250/HIS 450A, Slavery in the Age of Freedom (3 Hours Credit)

HON 250 HA

Slavery in the Age of Freedom MWF 1:00-1:50 Dr. Jonathan Atkins

Course meets these requirements:

  • an HON 250 course (3 of 9 elective required hours for all Honor students)
  • General Education core requirement in Humanities-- 200 level for History
  • an elective requirement for the History major or minor
  • may count as one of the two free electives, outside of major/minor, required for graduation; OR, as the fifth humanities elective

Course description:
In the late eighteenth century, the American and French Revolutions established the principle that society’s purpose is to promote human freedom and equality. But while the belief in freedom and equality spread throughout the western world, the institution of slavery not only survived but in some areas became more deeply entrenched. This course presents a study of American slavery in the context of western society from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries. Organized as a seminar, the course examines from a historical approach the contradiction between the celebration of liberty and the practice of human bondage. It also explores the legal, religious, economic, sociological, and anthropological arguments for and against the institution, as well as portrayals of slavery in literature.

As a seminar, this course combines lectures and examinations with short papers, discussions, and an oral presentation on an original research paper. Class discussions focus on the implications of slavery for human relations as well as on the institution’s legacy for the modern world. Assigned readings include The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano; selected pro-slavery writings; Uncle Tom’s Cabin; and readings on emancipation and its consequences. Students will be required to attend two evening screenings of films.

Honors 250/ PHI 357A, Contemporary Philosophy (3 Hours Credit)

HON250 HB

Contemporary Philosophy MW 3:30-4:45 Dr. Michael Papazian               

Course meets these requirements:

  • An HON 250 course (3 of 9 elective required hours for all Honors students)
  • General Education core requirement in Humanities -- 100 level for Philosophy (3 hrs credit)
  • May count as one of the two free electives, outside of major/minor, required for graduation; OR, as the fifth humanities elective

Course description:
This course is a study of trends in late 19 th and 20 th century philosophy with a focus on existentialism. Readings consist of philosophical and literary works written by Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Camus, Kafka, and Ortega y Gasset. The course will end with a discussion and reading of the political and religious implications of 20 th century European philosophy and especially its impact on contemporary Islamic political thought. Authors on this topic include Paul Berman and Mark Lilla. The course will consider the following questions: What is existentialism? Is it a uniquely modern movement or is it a perennial philosophy? Is fiction a proper way to do philosophy? What is the relation of philosophy to modern politics and religion?

Honors 250/REL 345A Mysticism East & West (3 Hours Credit)

HON250 HC

Mysticism East & West MW 2:00-3:15 Dr. Jeffrey Lidke  

Course meets these requirements:

  • An HON 250 course (3 of 9 elective required hours for all Honors students)
  • General Education core requirement in Humanities -- 100 level for Religion (3 hrs credit)
  • May count as one of the two free electives, outside of major/minor, required for graduation; OR, as the fifth humanities elective

Course description:
This course seeks to understand mysticism as a phenomenon common to all major religions. Through a careful exploration of mystical tradition from the East (particularly Hinduism) and West (particularly Christianity) we will investigate the impact of mysticism on theology, politics, and cultural practice. Most class sessions will begin by discussing different devotional practices and inviting the students to participate in the practice under discussion for a few minutes. The links with this experience/discussion to the larger themes of the course will be explored.

Honors 250/PSY 385IA Psychology of Women (3 Hours Credit)

HON250 HD

Psychology of Women MWF 12:00-12:50 Dr. Susan Conradsen

Course meets these requirements:

  • An HON 250 course (3 of 9 elective required hours for all Honors students)
  • General Education core requirement in Behavioral & Social Sciences -- 100 level for Psychology (3 hrs credit)
  • May count as one of the two free electives, outside of major/minor, required for graduation.

Course description:
This course is an interdisciplinary investigation of the psychological, social, emotional, and cognitive aspects of gender in our society. In particular, the unique issues and challenges to women’s psychological well-being created by the impact of society (both direct and indirect) and culture will be addressed. Some of the specific topics we will cover include how gender identity is formed, the preponderance of sexist stereotypes, how the media influences our ideas of masculinity and femininity, the occupational and domestic challenges women face, the culture of violence against women across their lives, the experience of birth and mothering, love relationships, and other developmental events unique to women’s development such as menstruation and menopause. Throughout the course the existence of sexism within American culture and beyond will be covered such as inequity in political representation and salaries, sex trafficking, female genital mutilation, and role expectations.

Honors 250/PSY 370A History and Systems of Psychology (3 Hours Credit)

HON250 HE

History and Systems of Psychology TH 12:30-1:45 Dr. Richard Hughes

Course meets these requirements:

  • An HON 250 course (3 of 9 elective required hours for all Honors students)
  • General Education core requirement in Behavioral & Social Sciences -- 100 level for Psychology (3 hrs credit)
  • May count as one of the two free electives, outside of major/minor, required for graduation.

Course description:
Modern Psychology is a diverse, multi-perspective discipline that seeks to describe, to predict, and to explain human mental and behavioral processes. The major objective of this course is to introduce the student to the many theoretical perspectives-both past and present-that psychologists use to understand human and animal behavior. Throughout its short history, psychology has been through many important ‘revolutions’ in terms of how the discipline views the causes of why we think and behave as we do. At any point in its past, what academic psychology believed to be the appropriate subject matter was greatly influenced by older, more established traditions such as philosophy, the physical and natural sciences, theology, and anthropology; today, though modern psychology continues to be affected by these traditions, conceptual analogies from computer science and research on genes and behavior also permeate contemporary psychological science.

Honors 250/COM 416IA Mass Communication Law (3 Hours Credit)

HON250 HF

Mass Communication Law MWF 1:00-1:50 Dr. Brian Carroll               

Course meets these requirements:

  • An HON 250 course (3 of 9 elective required hours for all Honors students)
  • COM major elective
  • COM major, journalism concentration course
  • May count as one of the two free electives, outside of major/minor, required for graduation.

Course description:
Constitutional and legislative foundations of freedom of speech and press, with special emphasis on the law of privacy, libel, censorship, access and broadcast regulation.

We examine the delicate balance that exists between freedom and control of the media in the United States. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is, of course, the major guarantee of freedom of expression. Since the courts, especially the U.S. Supreme Court, are ultimately responsible for interpreting the First Amendment and maintaining the balance between freedom and control, our study focuses on judicial decisions and reasoning, examining how tensions in the law are resolved. Other very significant sources of press freedoms and controls exist, as well, including those produced and enforced by the marketplace, government regulation and even popular opinion or sentiment. Therefore, we consider other factors that influence the balance between freedom and control of mass communication, including statutory law, executive and administrative actions, and ethical concerns. The course also examines how the nature of a medium affects or even dictates how it is controlled or not controlled.

The course is organized into three major sections: Freedom of Expression & the First Amendment; Media Malpractice (privacy invasion and libel); and Special Areas of Media Law (telecom, commercial speech, the Internet, copyright and intellectual property, trial coverage). Because law is largely derived from precedent, there is a significant historical thread that runs throughout the course, providing a timeline on which landmark Supreme Court cases mark the eras of jurisprudential change.

Honors 250, Oxbridge Lecture Series: Our Technological (and Biotechnological) Republic: The Modern Metamorphosis from Locke to Blogs (3 Hours Credit)

HON250 HG

Oxbridge Lecture Series MW 3:30-4:45 Dr. Peter Lawler

(Three public lectures that meet outside of class are also required.)

Course meets these requirements:

  • An HON 250 course (3 of 9 elective required hours for all Honors students)
  • General Education core requirement in Behavioral & Social Sciences -- 200 level for Government and International Studies (3 hrs credit)
  • May count as one of the two free electives, outside of major/minor, required for graduation.

Course description:
This course will be a moral, political, and even theological exploration of the ways technology shapes our lives. It will be less about machines and other inventions than about how the idea of technology shapes our self-understanding. Do we have the marvelous ability by thinking abstractly and imaginatively actually to transform who we are? The course will begin with our country’s partly technological foundation in the philosophy of John Locke and our Founders’ choice of a large republic. It will celebrate the progress in terms of individual freedom and security that come with a technological self-understanding. But it will also come to terms with the dangers that arise when a technological self-understanding becomes too complete--such as a reconstruction of all of human life in terms of meritocratic (or productive) qualities, nihilism (or the reduction of all non-technological or moral and political distinctions to nothing), disorientation and displacement that replace happiness itself with its endless, futile support, the deformation of language, and the replacement of real truth with mere effectiveness. We may lose any sense of gratitude for what we’ve been given by nature and God, as what appears to us to be impersonal natural evolution is gradually displaced by conscious and volitional evolution. Specific contemporary issues will be addressed in detail--such as psychopharmacological mood control, the ambiguous prospect of indefinite longevity, and the possible emergence of a postpolitical, postfamilial, postreligious world.

Honors Thesis

Register for HON 450H if you are starting your thesis.
Register for HON 451H if you completed HON 450H last semester.

You will need an authorization form signed by your thesis director, department chair, and the honors director.

Honorization of Courses

“HONORIZING ” a course or a course within a major.

As you know, an honors student may request to change a “regular” course within a major into an honors course. Follow the procedure below.

BEFORE you begin attending the course, during registration, meet with the instructor. Print and take the form with you (see Forms on the Honors Web page); this form has guidelines for you and your instructor. Discuss with the faculty member your interest in receiving “honors” credit for a particular course. He or she will define the nature of the honors work to be completed.

Honorizing any course is NOT Permitted after the first week of classes.

Complete your part of the form and return the form to Dr. Cooley.
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