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Spring 2009 Honors Courses

HON 203 H, Democracy and Its Friendly Critics (Required for all Honors Students; 3 Hours Credit)

HON 203HA

Democracy and Its Friendly Critics

MW 2:00-3:15 Dr. Peter Lawler

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

HON 203 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 2:00-3:15

Dr. M.E. Cooley

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 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.    


Honors 250HA, Science Fiction and Politics (3 Hours Credit)

HON 250 HA

Science Fiction and Politics

T 4:00-6:30 Dr. John Hickman

Course meets these requirements:

  • an HON 250 course (3 of 9 elective required hours for all Honor students)
  • an elective requirement for the Government major or minor

Course description:
Writers and filmmakers have long found science fiction irresistible as a vehicle for arguing their politics.  This course explores the political in science fiction’s stories of dystopian societies and encounters with the extraterrestrial, machine or post-human Other.  Implicit or explicit in these stories are questions about individual identity, and thus the legal rights associated with that identity, and about human nature, and thus political ideology.  Typical of the assignments would writing an essay on the possible scope of the legal rights that might be extended to the short lived artificial humans in the 1982 film Blade Runner and David Brin’s 2002 novel Kiln People.  This course also explores the effect of popular anxieties in the 20th century that made specific works of science fiction effective as vehicles for political arguments.

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

HON250 HC

Media Law  

MWF 12:00-12:50        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/ REL 382A, Women in World Religions(3 Hours Credit)

HON250 HD

Women in World Religions

TH 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 seminar is a multileveled and interdisciplinary inquiry into the role of women in the religious history of the world.  The course is divided into four units:  Feminist scholarship, Women in Indigenous Traditions, Women in Asian Traditions, and Women in Abrahamic Traditions. In the subsequent units we apply this interdisciplinary approach to specific case studies of women in respective religious traditions. Classes combine instructor and guest lectures with discuss on readings, student presentations, and analysis of multi-media materials including artwork, music, and dance. While striving to understand respective traditions in and on their own terms, we are also challenged to ‘think globally’ about the possibility of establishing a universal ethic for the treatment of women in all communities at all times.

Honors 250/HIS 333A, Twentieth-Century Europe (3 Hours Credit)

HON250 HE

Twentieth-Century Europe

TH 9:30-10:45 Dr. Matthew Stanard

Course meets these requirements: 

  • An HON 250 course (3 of 9 elective required hours for all Honors students)
  • Counts as the history course requirement or the fifth free elective course in the Humanities general education core (3 of 15 hours required)
  • May count toward the major with departmental approval

Course description:
This course examines the history of Europe since 1914.  The course does not aim for encyclopedic coverage of every single event and development in Europe since 1914, rather it seeks to explore major political, social, and cultural developments that shaped European history in the 20th century.  As such, the course is designed around six main themes:  the causes and outcome of World War I; fascism and Nazism; the Holocaust; the end of European overseas empire; the Cold War; and the role of memory in European history. 

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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