Course Descriptions

Course descriptions for the Fall 2016 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 2016

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 2010-02 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 (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 American Presidential Elections (Leonard)

TBA

UH 2020-02 Search for Community (Eguaroje)

This social science course delves into the importance and relevance of community in a modern world. Class community studies are reviewed and used as the basis for discussions, role playing exercises, and a case study. Students will collectively author a course product: a mini-community study of a nearby small town. This course will be conducted in a seminar format, enhanced by multi-media presentations and films.  (UH 2020 satisfies the Social Science Element in the Core curriculum.)

UH 2020-03 Writing/Rewriting the Constitution (Sayer)

Students will study the 1787 writing of the U.S. Constitution, plus the 27 Amendments that have been added since then. Students will also form their own Constitutional Convention in rewriting this historic document to meet today's perceived needs.  (UH 2020 satisfies the Social Science Element in the Core curriculum.)

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 Witchcraft in Colonial America (Chamberlain)

The 1692 witch-hunt in Salem, Massachusetts is one of the most notorious episodes in American history.  The inspiration of plays, novels, and movies, this tragic event, which resulted in the execution of 19 persons, has become a symbol of the consequences of unchecked government power.  The Salem witch-hunt, however, was the climax of the American phase of the era of great European witch-hunts and the last in a series of more than 60 witchcraft trials in colonial America.  In this course, therefore, we will focus on the social origins of witchcraft.  How did the colonists themselves understand witchcraft? What factors contributed to accusations and convictions for witchcraft?  How have historians attempted to explain the function of witchcraft beliefs generally and the Salem hunt in particular?

UH 4000-02 Presidential Memories (Sayer)

Rankings of our U.S. Presidents have been conducted for over 60 years. This course will involve the study and methodologies of history, political science, and communication in examining critically the most recent "Top Ten" Presidential rankings conducted by the Siena Research Institute, contrasted with earlier rankings. Students will critically assess both the current and prior Presidential rankings, develop and justify a course-wide ranking, and present their findings both orally and in written form.

UH 4000-04 Shifting Selves: Feminist Disability Studies (Roberts)

This course will address some of the intersecting theories (i.e., critical, feminist, queer, crip, etc.) and interdisciplinary perspectives within the field of Feminist Disability Studies, which examines dis/ability, disability as difference, and dis/ability as a relationship of differential privilege and power, and suggests that dis/ability, as a social construct, is mediated by issues of age, class, ethnicity, gender, race and sexuality. We will explore postmodern semiotic representations of individuals with disabilities and examine alternative reflections of and by individuals with disabilities which revolutionize these views. Students will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of the intersections of disability to age, class, ethnicity, gender, race and sexuality; explain how attitudes and beliefs about disability and gender may impact personal and various theoretical views of disability, sexuality, the body, etc.; and, through a social justice framework, examine the complex interplay of cultural and political forces on gender and disability in the concerns, issues and experiences of individuals with disabilities.