Current Course Offerings - Honors Program

HONORS COURSES 2015-2016

Fall 2015

HON 1101, Sec. 001, Literature of Social Change
CRN 21461, Area Distribution for Honors IDS: I, II, IV, 4 credits
Dr. Thomas Morgan, TR 10:00-11:40 a.m.
Course Description: This course introduces students to a variety of perspectives and attitudes toward social change. Students read classic and contemporary works and hear from local activists who devote a significant amount of their time working for change. Students read several genres - fiction, autobiography, political philosophy, and propaganda. They are encouraged to adopt a critical and skeptical attitude toward what they read and hear.

HON 1111, Sec. 001, Utopia, Dystopia and the Idea of Human Perfectibility
CRN 20303 Area Distribution for Honors: Fulfills DGN requirement, 2 credits
Dr. Thomas Morgan, T 12:00-1:40 p.m.
Course Description: This course explores the idea of human perfectibility in utopian and dystopian literature. Emphasis is given to the dystopian critics. Some of them have seen that human perfectibility is unfeasible or at least difficult in view of the "dark side of the human condition." Others have depicted, often brilliantly, the dangers of external, coercive approaches to human perfectibility. This course will help students approach great books (philosophy and fiction) and to think, speak and write critically about what they read and hear.

HON 1111, Sec. 002, The Responsible Self: Great Ideas
CRN 20304, Area Distribution for Honors: Fulfills DGN requirement, 2 credits
Dr. Randall Poole, R 12:00-1:40 p.m.
Course Description: This course explores ideas and practices of human dignity in some of the world's great religions, focusing not only on the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, but also on the Eastern traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism. Human dignity-the intrinsic value and worth of every person-is a core belief in all these traditions, something sacred for all of them. We will explore what human dignity means in them, how it relates to their understanding of God or the divine, and how it has shaped the lives of people and their work in the world. Our goal will be to learn some of the wisdom of the world's religions, following the precept that God has spoken to us "in many and various ways" (Hebrews 1:1).

This class fulfills the fall Dignitas requirement. Dignitas is a year-long common experience for first year students that serves as an introduction to The College of St. Scholastica: who we are, what we stand for, and how to find your place in this community. It provides a framework for your college experience by introducing you to the key components of a St. Scholastica education: community, reflection, intellectual challenge and social justice.

HON 1111, Sec. 003, Utopia, Dystopia and the Idea of Human Perfectibility
CRN 20901, Area Distribution for Honors: Fulfills DGN requirement, 2 credits
Dr. Thomas Morgan, R 12:00-1:40 p.m.
Course Description: This course explores the idea of human perfectibility in utopian and dystopian literature. Emphasis is given to the dystopian critics. Some of them have seen that human perfectibility is unfeasible or at least difficult in view of the "dark side of the human condition." Others have depicted, often brilliantly, the dangers of external, coercive approaches to human perfectibility. This course will help students approach great books (philosophy and fiction) and to think, speak and write critically about what they read and hear.

HON 2405, Sec. 001, The World
CRN 21462 Area Distribution for Honors IDS: II, VI, VII, IX, 2 credits
Dr. Anthony Barrett, MW 3:30-4:20 p.m.
Course Description: This course aims to give students exposure to and an opportunity to analyze current issues from around the globe. Since the text is a British publication, it exposes students to foreign perceptions of the United States. Students will gain the research skills needed to quickly get additional information on events around the world.

HON 2243/TRS 2243, Women and Religion
CRN 21585, Area Distribution for Honors IDS: I, X, 4 credits
Dr. Denise Starkey, TR 2:00-3:40 p.m.
Course Description This course emphasizes the work of contemporary women thinkers in several disciplines who are exploring various dimensions of the question of women's presence, exclusion and contribution to religions of the world. Through historical and comparative study the course provides both a critical and a constructive understanding of the contributions that women make to religions, as well as the influence of religions on the situation of women in the world. We will focus particularly on the origins of gender norms, women's lived experiences in indigenous religions, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, as well as critical issues including violence against women sanctioned implicitly or explicitly by religion, the impact of patriarchy on men, and other contemporary issues. The course is organized as a seminar; therefore discussion is key and depends upon the engagement and commitment of all learners to the course.

HON 3777, Sec. 001, Great Ideas: Beauty
CRN 21463 Area Distribution for Honors IDS: IV, VIII, IX, 4 credits
Dr. Patricia Hagen, MWF 1:00-2:05 p.m.
Course Description: John Keats famously said, "Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty. That is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know" (Ode on a Grecian Urn). He might have been right-we can discuss it-but a circular definition like this doesn't get us very far with a term that has been debated over the ages. In this class we'll discuss questions like What is beauty? Is it in the eye of the beholder or are there universal principles underlying what we call beautiful? Is there a biological basis for our perceptions of beauty? An evolutionary purpose to perceptions of the beautiful? A spiritual purpose? In other words, we'll try to examine the notion of beauty through multiple lenses. Readings will span the centuries: we'll look at Plato and Aristotle, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, some poetic and artistic manifestoes, a contemporary look at visual culture in Minneapolis, and much more.

HON 3777, Sec. 002/HIS 3777, From the Arab Spring to ISIS
CRN 21501 Area Distributions for Honors IDS: VII, X, 4 credits
Dr. Neal Keye, TR 10:00-11:40 a.m.
Course Description: This course will explore the recent history of the Middle East from the "Arab Spring" to the ominous rise of the self-proclaimed "Islamic State" in Syria and Iraq. The first part of the course will trace the various social upheavals and revolutions in the Arab world beginning in late 2010, including Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Syria. The first two regimes to fall - Tunisia and Egypt - not only marked the end of two brutal U.S.-backed states willing to serve the military and economic needs of the neo-liberal West; it also signaled the end of the colonial world order put in place by the British and French mandate system in the Middle East following World War 1. In this part of the course, we will examine the critical events that led to the Arab Spring, from failed neo-liberal economic plans and cronyism to inspiring displays of individual acts of courage and collective people power in the face of state-backed oppression, violence, and domination. Finally, we will raise questions about what happened to the Arab Spring, and why in many parts of the Middle East it has turned into an "Arab winter."

The second part of the course will explore the roots of the Islamic State (also ISIS or ISIL) in the American occupation of Iraq and the Syrian civil war. Formed out of al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2013 - with the support of American allies Qatar and Saudi Arabia - ISIS initially joined Sunni-dominated rebel groups fighting against Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria. In January 2014, however, ISIS brought that war of attrition to Iraq, with no end in sight. After capturing large parts of northern and western Iraq, including the cities of Falluja and Mosul, as well as Iraq's largest oil refinery in Baiji, ISIS finally got the Obama Administration's attention after it went on to threaten Baghdad to the south and the Kurdish capitol of Irbil to the north. On August 8, 2014, President Obama ordered the aerial bombing of ISIS militants on the frontlines of Irbil, putting the U.S. military back in Iraq less than three years after he declared the war in Iraq over.

In this part of the course, we will also trace "the woman question" in ISIS-controlled areas of Iraq, for once again, Iraqi women living under ISIS control once again face the politics of everyday fear, violence and repression on a scale not seen since the sectarian violence unleashed by the U.S occupation. When they haven't been forced from their homes and raped by ISIS militants, they have been ordered to cover up their faces and bodies and remain in their houses. As Yafit Susskind puts it, Executive Director of MADRE and fierce critic of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, this is how the "extremist agenda" of ISIS "is imposed: on women's bodies." To be sure, precisely: this is what "liberated" Iraq looks like twelve years after the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

HON 4410/ENG 4410, Chaucer: Game of Stories
CRN 21528 Area Distribution for Honors IDS: IV, WI, 4 credits
Dr. George Killough, MWF 2:15-3:20 p.m.
Course Description: Geoffrey Chaucer lived during a real game of thrones. The Hundred Years War between England and France started before he was born and continued after he died. The Black Death in 1348-49, the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, and factionalism in the English court insured that no life-long servant of the crown, such as Chaucer was, could ever expect to be secure. In response to the relentless violence of life, Chaucer played a game of stories. They run the gamut from saints' lives and sad tales of love and death to sex escapades and fart jokes. They engage themes such as the value of women, the instability of life, the reliability of language, and the question of free will, with Chaucer, ever the master gamesman, only hinting at what he thinks. The course will introduce you to the Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Criseyde, Chaucer's language, and his cultural and historical context. You will develop critical thinking, reading, and writing skills at an advanced undergraduate level. The course serves as an upper-level elective for Honors (literature or writing intensive).

HON 4777 Sec. 001/ENG 4777, Gothic Literature
CRN 21529 Area Distribution for Honors: IDS: IV, WI, 4 credits
Dr. Suzanne Yunis, TR 12:00 - 1:40 p.m.
Couse Description: In this course, we will read the Gothic novel as a critique of the Victorian home and family relationships it engendered. We will explore how ghosts, secret passageways, trap doors, tombs, and vampires were vehicles that allowed both women and men to safely criticize the nearly sacred institution of the family. Finally, we will discover that these Gothic tropes still haunt the popular imagination because traces of the Victorian family still haunt us.

Tentative Spring 2016

HON 1112, Sec. 001, And Dignity for All: Great Ideas
CRN 60251, Area Distribution for Honors: Fulfills DGN requirement, 2 credits
Dr. Thomas Morgan, T 12:00-1:40 p.m.

HON 1112, Sec. 002, And Dignity for All: Great Ideas
CRN 60252 Area Distribution for Honors: Fulfills DGN requirement, 2 credits
Dr. Randall Poole, R 12:00-1:40 p.m.

HON 1112 Sec. 003, And Dignity for All: Great Ideas
CRN 60814 Area Distribution for Honors: Fulfills DGN requirement, 2 credits
Dr. Thomas Morgan, R 12:00-1:40 p.m.

HON 2405, The World
CRN Area Distribution for Honors IDS: II, VI, VII, IX, 2 credits
Dr. Anthony Barrett, MW 3:30-4:20 p.m.
Course Description: This course aims to give students exposure to and an opportunity to analyze current issues from around the globe. Since the text is a British publication, it exposes students to foreign perceptions of the United States. Students will gain the research skills needed to quickly get additional information on events around the world.

HON 3777/ECN 3777, Applications of Game Theory
CRN 61319 Area Distribution for Honors IDS: II, V, 4 credits
Drs. Robert Hoffman and Luther Qson, MWF 9:15-10:20 a.m.
Course Description: Game theory is a set of analytical tools for studying the strategic behavior of individuals in both cooperative and non-cooperative settings. In this course we will learn the principles of game theory, show how evolutionary biology has affected our understanding of game theory, and apply the principles of game theory to a wide variety of fields. This course will use problems to develop our understanding of game theory. In many applications of game theory, modeling the interaction of individuals can become quite complicated. The use of computer simulations has allowed researchers to model complex strategic interactions and we will, in this course, use computer simulation models to help us solve various problems. This course will appeal to students interested in economics, political science, psychology, biology, computer science-in general anyone wanting to learn formal tools for anything competition and cooperation in social interactions.

HON 4777, Sec. 001/ENG 4777, Poetry Movements: Practice and Theory
CRN 61320 Area Distribution for Honors IDS: IV, WI, 4 credit
Prof. Ryan Vine, MWF 10:30-11:35a.m.
Course Description: Students will study selected movements in poetry (both historical and contemporary) and write and workshop original poems in the context of each particular movement. We will begin with the Modernists and move forward from there, reading the Imagists, the Projectivists, the
Beats, the Confessionalists, the Deep Imagists, the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets and Flarfists, to name a few. Throughout the semester we will ask this question again and again: what makes a poem a poem?

HON 4777, Sec. 002 Great Ideas: Truth
CRN 61321, Area Distribution for Honors IDS: IV, IX, 4 credits
Dr. Thomas Zelman, MWF 2:15-3:20 p.m.
Course Description: Daily, we are challenged by strange and hard-to-believe pieces of information, all making truth-claims. These truths (or "truths") come to us as propaganda, disinformation, photo-shopped images, digital enhancements, bad translations, and on and on. To live in the 21st century is to be wary.

What is truth and where does it come from? Do we pursue it? Discover it? Construct it? How is it tied in to language? Are scientific truths and fictional truths essentially different from one another? Is the truth whatever I care to believe? In this upper-level Honors Seminar, we will be reading texts--both scientific and literary--to explore issues of believability, illusion, authenticity, and deception. Although our focus will be on fictional and scientific texts, we will make several side trips into other areas (photography, architecture, and cinema). The course materials--readings, films, photographs--will come from a variety of historical periods; the authors and artists will be an international mix.

HON 4777, Sec. 003/CTA 4420, Film and Literature
CRN 61322, Area Distribution for Honors IDS: VIII, 4 credits
Dr. Tammy Ostrander, MW 11:45-12:50, T 4:00-7:00 p.m.
Course Description: Film and Literature focuses on how images are created to meet the needs and demands of a written text compared to a visual and auditory one. What decisions must a filmmaker make to adapt a written text to film form? How true to the original written text must a filmmaker stay for "authentic" storytelling in a differing art form? The course covers both literature and film as an art form, not just a narrative structure. This course is appropriate for a general student audience (i.e. not just lit majors and film geeks.)

HON 4885/HIS 3305, Sec. 001, The Holocaust in Comparative Perspective.
CRN 61323, Area Distribution for Honors IDS: VII, 4 credits
Dr. Randall Poole, W 4:00-7:00
Course Description: The Holocaust-the systematic destruction of millions of people, mainly Jews but others as well, by the Nazis and their collaborators-stands out as the most notorious case of mass murder in human history. It epitomizes the human capacity for evil, which capacity, in the Holocaust's dark light, appears to be virtually unlimited. The word "genocide" was coined after the Second World War to describe that evil and to galvanize efforts (in human rights and international law) to contain it. This course explores the history of the Holocaust, tracing the rise of the Third Reich, its unleashing the Second World War, and its implementation of the "Final Solution." Topics include the history of European anti-Semitism, Nazi ideology, the role of "ordinary Germans," and collaboration, resistance, and indifference outside Germany. We shall examine the Holocaust as a pan-European event, placing it in the border perspective of the history of genocide and comparing it in particular to Stalinist mass murder in the Soviet Union. Finally we shall consider philosophical and theological questions about the meanings of the Holocaust and other forms of radical evil. Readings will consist of works of scholarship and w

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*Interdisciplinary Course Option - Honors Program
Some Honors courses fulfill the traditional General Education areas (history, literature, fine arts, social science, philosophy, religious studies, natural science, analytical reasoning). However, many courses will be identified as "Interdisciplinary" (IDS) courses, the content of which spans more than one academic discipline. Students and their advisors decide on an appropriate General Education area each IDS course will meet .

A minimum of 20 credits of regular General Education courses must be taken. Students must enroll in the Writing and Oral Communication components of the General Education Program. Students should review what General Education courses are required for their majors and minors before selecting Honors courses.

For more information, please contact the instructor or Dr. Debra Schroeder.