Honors Seminars

Honors Seminars – Fall 2017

Humanities

MUSI 150-D HS: From Plantation to Page: Following the Path of the American Negro Spiritual 

1 credit Honors Seminar
Wednesdays, 2:30-3:25   Full Semester
Instructor: Lee Wright

This course explores the transcribing and arranging of negro spirituals from the 1860’s to the present day. Spirituals were born as an oral tradition. Why were they written down, and by who? What is the difference between transcribing and arranging? What role does race play in the performance of these songs? We will examine the influences of educational philosophy, market forces, implicit bias, and race on the evolution of the concert spiritual. Early publications of spirituals and the work of scholars past and present, will inform our study. Works of both white and black arrangers will be studied in relationship to the historical setting in which they were written. No prior musical experience is necessary for successful completion of this course.


Social and Behavioral Sciences

POSC 250-02 HS: Politics of Inequality    

1 credit Honors Seminar 
MF 9:05 -10:00     First Half of the Semester    
Instructor:  Caleb Goltz

Political action is often motivated by the existence of inequalities and the pursuit of equality. In this seminar we will examine several forms of inequality and the ways that people have sought equality. Those forms of inequality will include conventional conceptions like economic inequality, as well as inequalities arising from ascriptive characteristics like race, gender, and country of origin. We will also look at inequalities that receive less attention, including between geographic spaces, between human and nonhuman animals, and between generations. Throughout the seminar, we will pay special attention to methodologies of creating, justifying, and resisting inequality. Prerequisite: Honors Program

EDUC 250 –9M   HS: Children’s Literature  

1 credit  Honors seminar 
M 6:00 – 6:55pm    Full semester
Instructor: Johanna Mitchell

Students in this course study the work of a variety of authors and illustrators in children’s literature including those who work with poetry, fantasy and science fiction, realistic and historical fiction, picture books, folk and fairy tales, novels for the young reader, and informational texts. Students read and share a variety of classical and contemporary children’s literature, design, create, and share their own children’s book, learn the history of children’s literature and the controversies surrounding the stories and books written for children, study the history of the field and connect it with politics, economics, ideology, and cultural mores. Students will debate the purposes of children’s literature over time, adult expectations, and what children’s literature tells us about ourselves and others.


Physical and Life Sciences

BIOL 250-03: HS: Genetically Modified Plants: Better Food or Franken-food? Trends and issues in genetically modified agriculture

1 credit Honors Seminar
M 10:10 – 11:05   Full Semester
Instructor: Doug Hamilton   

How much do you know about what is in the fresh produce you eat? Could genetically altered fruits, vegetables, and grains increase nutrition, improve flavor, preserve freshness, or enhance production? Should we worry about new genes inserted into genetically modified (GM) plants becoming part of our genetic makeup? Could added genes trigger a life-threatening allergic reaction in an unsuspecting consumer or cause a genetically triggered blight that could spell doom for agriculture? Is science creating the answer to the world’s food shortage or “Franken-foods” that will ultimately put us and the environment at risk? This course will explore some of these hot debates and will attempt to balance political and scientific arguments in this hotly contested area.

GEO 250 –6: HS: Popular Science and Nature Writing  

1 credit Honors Seminar
Tuesday 2:30 to 3:25 pm   Full Semester       
Instructor: Robert Titus

Scientists are not always renowned for their abilities to communicate with the general public, but in an increasingly scientific and technical society that must change. Too often scientists confuse the use of “short words” with popular writing, but this is far too limited. Scientists must learn to appreciate the spirit and even the philosophy of their sciences in order to reach out.  This course will aim at getting different types of science majors to find themes that will “connect’ with the public and develop the writing skills necessary. The course may include a good deal of field work leading to the preparation of written reports aimed at a general reading audience. We will visit geologic, biologic and environmental sites and then develop short descriptions written to capture the attention of a wide-reading public.

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