Course Descriptions

Course descriptions for the Fall 2017 University Honors (UH) classes are posted below. (Watch for updates!) Refer to WINGS Express via the WINGS portal for a complete listing of all Honors courses, including days, times, and locations.

Fall 2017

UH 2010-01, Literature & Rock 'n' Roll (Rubin)

Is Sting a poet? Did the band King Crimson really compose a 12-minute song meant to be the musical interpretation of one of the greatest books of the 20th century? Do hip-hop lyrics tell us as much about modern society as modern novelists or poet laureates do? In this course, we will examine how rock and roll influences literature and how literature influences rock and roll. We might not party like it’s 1999, but we will certainly read about it and write about it.


UH 2010-90, 21st Century Games & Play (Roach)

In 1938, anthropologist and game studies scholar Johan Huizinga asserted that "culture arises and unfolds in and as play.” Games and play have existed throughout history, and the renewed interest in studying them has been driven, in part, by changes in technology. In an increasingly digital world, games and play offer keen insight into our culture. Throughout the course we will consider topics such as: 

-Games as texts
-Video game evolution
-Tabletop games
-Unstructured play (cosplay, memes, etc.)
-Play as a mode of writing
-Gamer culture
-Work versus play
-Game theory and creation

The goal of this course is to examine games and play from a number of angles, using a variety of lenses from across the disciplines. We will write about games, research games, and make games, all with the goal of cultivating meaningful academic discourse about games and play in our culture.

This course is NOT just for hard-core gamers; casual gamers, Candy Crushers, cosplayers, and tabletop fans are all equally welcome here. The urge to play is in all of us, and this course aims to explore what that means about our current cultural moment and about the capacity and limits of our humanity.


UH 2010-03, Introduction to Parks and Recreation and the Notion of Play in Contemporary Culture (R. Leonard)

This introductory course is a cultural examination of contemporary leisure activities. The course will first explore the historical, philosophical, and standard practices in parks and recreation services today. With the historical groundwork laid, the course will explore the cultural definitions of “play” and the role that community members have in successful parks and recreation programming. The course will culminate with an analysis of public, private, and non-profit agencies engaged in leisure services and the impact they have on contemporary culture.


UH 2020-01, Political Parties in America (P. Leonard) 

The first American political parties became a part of the American fabric in the late 1790's.  This course will define today's political landscape, and examine the modern political party system, their constituencies, their positions on issues, and the role they play in governing modern America.


UH 2020-90, Decision Making (Morrisette)

Decision making is an integral part of our daily lives, ranging from the relatively simple--shall I have Coke or coffee?--to the complex and seemingly insoluble--how can we reduce the rate of violent crime in the U.S.? Regardless of one's area of interest or expertise, difficult decisions must be made. This course provides an introduction to the concepts of decision theory, systems analysis, and rational analytic techniques of decision making, as well as an exploration of non-rational theory and processes. Students will analyze the process and the assumptions that underlie the process from several viewpoints and disciplines: rationality, incrementalism, analytical reasoning, and complexity and chaos. (UH 2020 satisfies the Social Science Element in the Core curriculum.)


UH 4000-01, Vampires in History and Culture (Herringer)

This interdisciplinary course looks at vampire stories across cultures, from ancient Greece to Victorian England to 20th-century Japan and in contemporary America, to understand what these stories tell us about a culture’s fears, assumptions, and anxieties. We will study vampire myths in history, literature, and film and also examine the physical basis for beliefs in vampires, including how bodies behave after death and burial rituals in different cultures. The culminating research paper will ask students to explore the cultural significance of one or more vampire stories and/or to compare the vampire to other horror figures, such as zombies.


UH 4000-02, Presidential Controversies (Sayer)

This UH 4000 course will examine the most controversial U.S. Presidential elections over the past 200-plus years, including the elections of 1796, 1800, 1824, plus others. The course will conclude with an examination of the Bush-Gore election of 2000.