Current Course Offerings - Honors Program

HONORS COURSES

Honors Courses Fall 2019

HON 1111, Sec. 001: The Responsible Self: Great Ideas
CRN 20174, 4 cr.
Area Distribution for Honors: Fulfills DGN requirement
Dr. Thomas Morgan, TR 12:00-1:40 p.m.
Utopia, Dystopia and Perfection
This course will explore the idea of human perfectibility in utopian and dystopian literature. We will concentrate on 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 20175, 4 cr.
Area Distribution for Honors: Fulfills DGN requirement
Dr. Stephanie Johnson, TR 12:00-1:40 p.m.
Dwelling in Possibility: Women and the Creative Imagination
We will consider women's creativity this semester by introducing you to a range of women artists and examining their responses to the social, economic, and political contexts in which they worked. During the fall semester, our focus will be "Women Writers on Writing." We will read fiction and poetry by twentieth-century women writers paired with their essays about the writing process and the place of art in their lives and communities. Essays will include Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own and selections from the anthology Word: On Being a [Woman] Writer. During the spring semester, our focus will be "Visual Art: Confronting Gender Inequity." We will read essays and social critiques from the twentieth century that examine the visual arts as an instrument for social change as well as an expression of individual identity and experience. As we participate in the Dignitas Program's larger conversation about the value of human dignity for all, we will consider how gender can or should affect the formation of such a value.

HON 1111, Sec. 003: The Responsible Self: Great Ideas
CRN 20445, 4 cr.
Area Distribution for Honors: Fulfills DGN requirement
Dr. Randall Poole, TR 12:00-1:40 p.m.
Science, Faith, and Human Dignity
Is there nothing but the natural universe in space and time, or is there more to reality than we can observe? The "nothing but" view is sometimes called naturalism or physicalism, in preference to the blunter "materialism" or "atheism." The "more" view is theistic, or at least broadly spiritual or religious. This course examines these two conceptions of reality and the debates about them in science, religion, and philosophy. Does science really support materialism as conclusively as Richard Dawkins and the other "new atheists" maintain? Or are there rational grounds for faith in a spiritual reality? Are science and faith compatible? In this course we will explore the "big questions" -questions about reality, human nature, and belief in God: What caused the universe to come into existence? Is its fine-tuning by design? Can life be reduced to chemistry? Is theism compatible with evolution? What is it to be human? Is the will free or determined by natural causes? What is morality? What is the mind and what does its emergence tell us about the nature of reality? Does personal experience (inner experience) count as knowledge? Is science the only way to truth? All these questions bear directly on the idea of human dignity, and throughout the course we will consider them in close relation to that idea.

HON 1111, Sec. 004: The Responsible Self: Great Ideas
CRN 20973, 4 cr.
Area Distribution for Honors: Fulfills DGN requirement
Dr. Audrey Devine Eller, TR 12:00-1:40 p.m.
Educational Justice
Education is necessary to develop our full human dignity and social potential, and yet racial inequalities persist. This course focuses on the experiences of racial minority students in U.S. public education. Students will explore the purpose of education, the concepts of inequality and inequity, and learn a sociological approach to understanding structural inequalities. Students will learn about how white students and students of color experience different educational processes (what's it like to be in the classroom?), access (who gets in to what schools?), and achievement (what are the graduation rates?). Reflections on our own educational pathways and contexts, as well as the local Duluth school district, will help us see social structures in practice. The course will prioritize readings from authors of color.

HON 2777, Sec. 001: 1989: The Wall Comes Down
CRN 21223, 4 cr.
Veritas: VCHI
Prof. Ed Smith, MW 3:30-5:10 p.m.
Seats: 15
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent end of the Cold War. The Berlin Wall was perhaps the most visible symbol of the Cold War, erected in 1961 by the East German government to stem the tide of East Germans escaping to the West. Many people who grew up during the Cold War thought they'd never see the wall come down.
There were many other watershed events in 1989 as well-freedom protests and brutal police action in Tiananmen Square, China; the overthrow and execution of Ceausescu in Romania; the dismantling of barbed-wire borders in Hungary and Czechoslovakia; and the withdrawal of Soviet Union troops from Afghanistan.
On this anniversary, students will reexamine this historic year through various lenses: film, news media accounts, books, and testimonials as well as others.
Texts will include The Berlin Wall: A World Divided, 1961-1989 by Frederick Taylor and Stasiland by Anna Funder.

HON 2777, Sec. 002: The Shadow Knows: Jung and the Mystery Novel
CRN 21224, 4 cr.
Veritas: VCLI
Dr. Suzanne Yunis, TR 2:00-3:40 p.m.
Seats: 15
For large segments of our secular reading public, the detective may have replaced the priest, initiating readers into the mysteries of adulthood: adult sexuality and gender roles; responsible participation in community; response to "the other"; and, of course, the mysteries of death.
Carl Jung first elaborated the psychosocial role of priests within their communities. In this course, we will explore Jungian theory, particularly the heroic archetype of the priest--and its shadow. If we apply this powerful archetype--the master of mysteries--to an array of fictional detectives, from Sherlock Holmes to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, what guidance into adulthood do they offer? In the end, we may decide that popular culture is never "just entertainment," but a mirror of contemporary anxieties about adulthood and a longing for consolation if not solutions.

HON 2777, Sec. 003: Messengers of God: Consciences of the Covenant
CRN 21225, 4 cr.
Cross-listed with TRS 3130
Veritas: VCRS
Dr. Bill Campbell, T 4:00-7:00 p.m.
Seats: 10 HON; 5 TRS
This course examines Jewish prophecy from the eighth to the fourth centuries BCE. It will trace the development of the prophetic movement and its relationship to religious, social, and political institutions as recorded in the prophetic literature of the Hebrew Scriptures. In addition, it explores the literary and theological dimensions of prophecy as well as feminist concerns. The course will also introduce students to issues that have emerged in Jewish and Christian literature concerning prophecy and the problems associated with attempts to reconstruct its development.

HON 2777, Sec. 004: And Justice for All
CRN 21226, 2 cr.
Cross-listed with PJS 2777
Veritas: VCPH, VCSS
Dr. Tom Morgan, T 3:50-5:30 pm
Seats: 12 HON; 3 PJS
This course is connected to the 2019-20 Alworth Peace & Justice lecture series, which brings nationally known scholars to campus around a common theme. This year's series will feature presentations on the idea of justice in the United States from four different perspectives. Students will read books written by the four lecturers and will be given an opportunity to meet and interact with them when they are on campus. Additional related readings may be required. This course can be taken both Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 for a total of four credits.

HON 4500, Sec. 001: Gods and Monsters 

CRN 21227, 4 cr.  

Veritas: VIRS, VILI 

Dr. Neal Keye, TR 10:00-11:40 a.m.

 Seats: 15

This course explores the turn to religion, the supernatural, and youth concerns in American popular culture since the 1990s. Whether one takes a look at the hit TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel or enormously popular films such as The Matrix, Interview with the Vampire and the Twilight franchise, there has been a virtual explosion of angels, monsters, vampires, and aliens in American film, TV, and literature. These supernatural beings haunt America's cultural landscape, offering the promise of perpetual youth. While these cultural articulations of religion and the supernatural do not always focus on youth culture, many of them do, suggesting that modern ideas about youth have begun to merge with both utopian and dystopian narratives of our post-human future. Throughout the course, we will examine how the creation of monstrous "others" not only reflects society's fears about race, class, and gender but also shapes modern forms of knowledge, power, and history-making. To do this, we will consider the brave new world of gods and monsters alongside cutting-edge scholarship in critical theory and cultural studies. Along the way we will also consider the possibility of viewing American history from the colonial era onward as a horror story.

HON 3999: Independent Study
Days and times to be arranged, 0-4 cr.
Students complete an independent study on a specific topic under the supervision of a faculty member, based on a student's particular area of interest. Approval of the supervising faculty member and the Honors Program Director are required.

HON 4888: Thesis
Days and times to be arranged, 0-4 cr.
Individual research projects will result in a thesis. Students will work under the supervision of a faculty member. Approval of the supervising faculty member and the Honors Program Director are required.

HON 4999: Independent Study
Days and times to be arranged, 0-4 cr.
Students complete an independent study on a specific topic under the supervision of a faculty member, based on a student's particular area of interest. Approval of the supervising faculty member and the Honors Program Director are required.

Honors Courses Spring 2020
[Tentative]

HON 1112, Sec. 001: And Dignity for All: Great Ideas CRN 60139, 4 cr.
Area Distribution for Honors: Fulfills DGN requirement
Dr. Thomas Morgan, TR 12:00-1:40p.m.
This is a continuation of HON 1111, Sec 001 from fall semester.

HON 1112, Sec. 002: And Dignity for All: Great Ideas CRN 60140, 4 cr.
Area Distribution for Honors: Fulfills DGN requirement
Prof. Sarah Brokke Erickson, TR 12:00-1:40 p.m.
This is a continuation of HON 1111, Sec 002 from fall semester.

HON 1112, Sec. 003: And Dignity for All: Great Ideas CRN 60390, 4 cr.
Area Distribution for Honors: Fulfills DGN requirement
Dr. Randall Poole, TR 12:00-1:40 p.m.
This is a continuation of HON 1111, Sec 003 from fall semester.

HON 1112, Sec. 004: And Dignity for All: Great Ideas CRN 60863, 4 cr.
Area Distribution for Honors: Fulfills DGN requirement
Dr. Audrey Devine Eller, TR 12:00-1:40 p.m.
This is a continuation of HON 1111, Sec 004 from fall semester.

HON 2777, Sec. 001: The Politics of Science in the United States
CRN 60907, 4 cr.
Veritas: VCNS
Dr. Jennifer Maki, MWF 11:45-12:50 p.m.
Seats: 15
The complexity of science and its place in American culture will be explored. We will consider the role of science in decision making, politics, and environmental issues. Within this framework, we will also examine the industry of science and how it can be inclusive or exclusive of individuals, primarily with regard to race and/or gender.

HON 2777, Sec. 002: And Justice for All
CRN 61189, 2 cr.
Cross-listed with PJS 2777
Veritas: VCPH, VCSS
Dr. Tom Morgan, T 3:50-5:30 pm
Seats: 12 HON; 3 PJS
This course is connected to the 2019-20 Alworth Peace & Justice lecture series, which brings nationally known scholars to campus around a common theme. This year's series will feature presentations on the idea of justice in the United States from four different perspectives. Students will read books written by the four lecturers and will be given an opportunity to meet and interact with them when they are on campus. Additional related readings may be required. This course can be taken both Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 for a total of four credits.

HON 2777, Sec. 003: Law and Economics
CRN 61192, 4 cr.
Veritas: VCSS, VCPH
Dr. Bob Hoffman, MWF 10:30-11:35 a.m.
Seats: 15
The best description of topic of Law and Economics is the one given by David Friedman, whose book will be our main text for the course:
"You live in a state where the most severe criminal punishment is life imprisonment. Someone proposes that since armed robbery is a very serious crime, armed robbers should get a life sentence. A constitutional lawyer asks whether that is consistent with the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. A legal philosopher asks whether it is just.
An economist points out that if the punishments for armed robbery and for armed robbery plus murder are the same, the additional punishment for the murder is zero-and asks whether you really want to make it in the interest of robbers to murder their victims.
That is what economics has to do with law. Economics, whose subject, at the most fundamental level, is not money or the economy but the implications of rational choice, is an essential tool for figuring out the effects of legal rules. Knowing what effects rules will have is central both to understanding the rules we have and to deciding what rules we should have."

HON 3777, Sec. 001: Art and Protest
CRN 60686, 4 cr.
Cross-listed with ART 3777
Veritas: VIFA
Prof. Sarah Brokke Erickson, TR 10:00-11:40 a.m.
Seats: 12 HON; 3 ART
This course examines socially engaged visual art through historical and contemporary lenses. Looking at a range of works from the art of John Heartfield and Kathë Kollwitz in response to war in Germany to anonymous contemporary artists commenting on systems of oppression like The Guerilla Girls and Banksy, students will employ critical analysis through reading and discussion. Examining how or why art could be considered "an instrument of war," as Picasso so famously intoned, will be a primary focus as students culminate their studies through researching a contemporary issue and creating work in response.

HON 4420, Sec. 001: Film and Literature
CRN 61190, 4 cr.
Veritas: VIFA
Dr. Tammy Ostrander, MW 1:00-2:05 p.m., T 4:00-7:00 p.m.
Seats 15
Film and Literature focuses on how storytelling evolves from a written text to a visual and auditory one. When adapting a written text to a film form, the storyteller loses some tools, but gains many others. 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. We will read a variety genres and forms - novels, short stories, graphic novels - and view the resulting film adaptations. Typical selections have included Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, "310 to Yuma," World War Z, "The Man in the Bomb Suit"/The Hurt Locker, "Eisenheim the Illusionist"/The Illusionist, and Chocolat. This course is appropriate for a general audience i.e. not just bookworms and film geeks.

HON 4777, Sec. 001: The Poetry Collection
CRN 61191, 4 cr.
Veritas: VILI
Prof. Ryan Vine, MW 3:30-5:10 p.m.
Seats 15
We know that the unit of thought for the poet is the poem, but what do we make of a whole book (or collection) of poems? How do the best of them become more than a collection, more than simply the sum of their parts? By what magic does each poem in a collection stand together and alone? What do we learn, or more importantly experience, of the primary emotional concept of the collection? It's these questions and more that we'll ask of the following prize-winning books: Denise Duhamel's Kinky; Maurice Manning's Laurence Booth's Book of Visions; Sharon Old's Stag's Leap; Claudia Rankine's Citizen; Matt Rasmussen's Black Aperture; Patrick Phillip's Boy and Danez Smith's Don't Call Us Dead.

HON 3999: Independent Study
Days and times to be arranged, 0-4 cr.
Students complete an independent study on a specific topic under the supervision of a faculty member, based on a student's particular area of interest. Approval of the supervising faculty member and the Honors Program Director are required.

HON 4888: Thesis
Days and times to be arranged, 0-4 cr.
Individual research projects will result in a thesis. Students will work under the supervision of a faculty member. Approval of the supervising faculty member and the Honors Program Director are required.

HON 4999: Independent Study
Days and times to be arranged, 0-4 cr.
Students complete an independent study on a specific topic under the supervision of a faculty member, based on a student's particular area of interest. Approval of the supervising faculty member and the Honors Program Director are required.

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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. Stephanie Johnson.