2012-2013 Honors Seminars
HOPR 1953, Section 901
How to Change The World: Social Entrepreneurship
Jeff Snell, Special Advisor to the President, Office of the President
Course Description: This seminar helps students discover the power of innovation and entrepreneurship in the world of building social enterprises. Through a combination of case discussions, readings, and field work, we explore the underlying concepts that make some social enterprises succeed at higher than expected rates. We explore the opportunity to engage in some field work to see successful social enterprises in action.
HOPR 1953, Section 902
The Beatles and the British Invasion
Bruce Cole, Collection Development Librarian for The Jean Cujé Milwaukee Music Collection, Raynor Memorial Libraries
Course Description:The course explores musical and cultural change shortly before and for a period of roughly three years after the arrival of the Beatles and their highly anticipated initial appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. We look at how the British Invasion bands came, established a new order in popular music, and changed forever not only rock and roll music, but the business of popular music and popular culture here in America and internationally. They came, they conquered—and they never left.
HOPR 1953, Section 903
Memoirs written by Young Adults: Making Sense of Life
Debra Oswald, Associate Professor, Psychology
Course Description:There are numerous memoirs written by young adults that have the focus of gaining insight into recent life experiences. In this seminar we read and discuss 2-3 of these memoirs. First, our discussions focus on the book - examining the author’s motivation for writing the memoir, the ways in which the author attempted to gain understanding of the event, and how the author’s life was changed (or not changed) by the events in the book. Second, we also read psychology research in order to discuss questions such as “How much influence do parents have on their child’s development?” “How resilient are people when faced with adversity?” and “How do people gain self-understanding and insight?” By integrating psychology research we should gain further understanding of the events. Third, several of the classes are dedicated to student journaling activities. These journaling activities are directed and focused on topics related to the book. For example, in “Falling through the Earth” the author reflects on her life growing up with a father who had severe PTSD. Similarly, we do a self-reflection writing activity on how much influence our own parents had on our life. Thus, we seek to gain greater self-insight through written reflection of events in our own lives.
HOPR 1953, Section 904
Our Daily Bread
Susanne E. Foster, Associate Professor, Philosophy
Course Description: In this course students reflect on the practice of eating. Though a seemingly mundane activity that we share with all living things, what we choose to eat, how we prepare the foods, who we share our meals with - or fail to share them with, and the manner in which we consume food provides riches for significant research and reflection. Issues of social justice, sustainability, aesthetics, animal welfare, sociability, and lifestyle choices are among the topics we cover. The goal of the course is that students should become mindful of their daily bread. The readings for the course will be drawn from a variety of disciplines. Shakespeare, David Foster Wallace, Peter Singer, Vine Deloria, and the Dali Lama will be among the authors covered.
HOPR 1953, Section 905
Rock and Roll as a Reflection of the American Psyche
Stephen M. Saunders, Associate Professor, Psychology
Course Description: The seminar examines how rock and roll music has reflected concurrent societal issues. Some examples include the explosive growth of rock and roll in the late 1950s because of the “high school movement” of the previous decades, which led to the daily gathering of teenagers, who naturally developed common interests (including music). The music of the 1960s reflected terrible angst about the war in Vietnam and racial equality, whereas music of the 1970s seemed to reflect a wish to be free of important concerns (hence Disco and "arena rock" acts). The 1980s saw a backlash against the feminist movement, exemplified by salacious rock music that seemed to promote objectifying attitudes towards women. Finally, there are numerous examples from current rock music that reflect many modern concerns, such as domestic violence, the war in Iraq, distrust of authority figures, and violence in our inner cities. The seminar treats the topic chronologically, and it emphasizes listening music and analyzing lyrical content. To bring the topic into the modern era, students make presentations of their favorite music and how it reflects the current American psyche. The seminar entails some brief readings regarding the historical context, listening to legal copies of musical recordings, and assignments intended to get students to discover the socio-historical context of some of their own music.
HOPR 1953, Section 906
Matthias A. Seisay, MAPS, Academic Counselor/Recruiter, Educational Opportunity Program
Course Description: This seminar is designed to create an opportunity for students to take a mental journey into the lives of their peers in Africa, particularly those that live in conflict regions. Emphasis is placed on an intellectual assessment of social issues that may be considered “normal” here in the United States. Considering the diversity in African cultures, political and social lives, a good number of current issues will be discussed, and analysis will be based largely on individual understanding and perspectives. Contributions from Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Robert Graf, Caesar Chavez, Rosa Parks, Angela Davies, etc.; alongside their African counterparts Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, Ahmad Kathrada, Robert Sobukwe, Winnie Mandela, Mkhsuli Jack, Dr. Ken Saro-Wiwa, etc. will be discussed, to find out what similarities and or differences exist in their fight for global citizenship and social justice. Students will be encouraged to get into groups and research issues relevant to the seminar, and give perspectives on what it would look like if those issues happened here in the United States.
HOPR 1953, Section 907
Feminism at Home and in the World
Amelia Zurcher, Associate Professor, English; Director, University Honors Program
Course Description: What is it about the f-word that generates so much controversy? Are we really “post-feminist” now? What does feminism have to teach us about gender and the ways it organizes our experience and shapes our ideas – men and women, straight and not-straight, mainstream and “other”? And, how do people in other parts of the world understand and use feminism? How does feminism build bridges across spaces and cultures? In this seminar we will engage with a variety of voices, from college students to performance artists to international activists, to begin to become familiar with the extraordinary diversity and richness of feminist movements and the changes they seek to bring to the world.
HOPR 1953, Section 908
Why We Laugh
John Su, Associate Professor, English
Course Description: In this course, we explore the social function of laughter. That is, why do people laugh at certain events or portrayals that would potentially elicit very different responses if they occurred outside of the genre of “comedy”? We try to combine sources that students find elicit their laughter with sources from people of different generations or different cultural backgrounds to explore the extent to which laughter has specific functions in a time and place. To help our understanding, we counterpoint these primary sources with secondary sources on laughter taken from research and creative nonfiction. Ultimately, we try to investigate the notion that laughter provides a socially sanctioned space for exploring potentially transgressive ideas. For example, what does it mean for a largely white audience to listen to an African-American comic talking about race? Is it genuinely true that comedy enables us to confront issues we would otherwise avoid, or is it also true that laughter enables us to avoid confronting our own anxieties? And when does comedy cross the line to become offensive or even terrifying?
HOPR 1953, Section 909
Thinking Philosophically with Joss Whedon
James South, Associate Professor and Chair, Philosophy
Course Description: Popular culture surrounds our lives, but how should we think about popular culture and what resources for thinking does popular culture provide? By examining various examples of the work of Joss Whedon—movies, TV shows, music, comic books, etc.—, we try to answer these two questions. Such topics as self-knowledge, authenticity, appearance and reality, the uses and abuses of technology and the role of power in society will figure prominently in our discussions.
HOPR 1953, Section 910
Leadership and Service: The Dynamic Duo
Felisa Parris, Graduate Academic Advisor, College of Professional Studies
Course Description: This seminar is devoted to an intellectual exploration of leadership and service. Student reflect on their personal leadership style and identify strategies that promote and maximize their individual leadership and service styles. Students explore current leadership literature and current issues to identify leaders who are making a difference through their leadership practices. We discuss the leadership similarities and differences between local and world leaders (ethics). What can we learn from these leaders and how can we apply what we learn? We discuss the connection between leadership and service. Is service a requirement of effective leadership? Why or Why not?
HOPR 1953, Section 911
Global Health as Part of Your Future
Terry Tobin, Retired Associate Professor, College of Nursing
Course Description: The seminar commences with the students developing a dynamic definition of health and how it impacts their own lives. Introducing the Healthy People 2020 document of the U.S. Government we explore the broad range of issues involved in the health of the nation and how they are being addressed on national, state, community and personal levels. Current events in varied media introduce the role of health in politics, economics, religion, and culture throughout the world. Major health issues in developing countries require the student to focus on the plight of poor, disenfranchised peoples. Issues include malnutrition, diarrhea, malaria, HIV/AIDS, immunization, TB, and maternal child health. The status of women in other cultures impacts the state of their health. Poverty, sanitation, water supply, and food sources are all part of the equation that dictates the quality of life for people wherever they live. While this is broad and encompassing content, the objective is for the students to begin to think on an elevated plane and share ideas of world issues as they work toward their professional and life goals.
HOPR 2953 Section 901
Explorations of the Narrative Self
Ed de St. Aubin, Associate Professor and Assistant Chair of Psychology
Wed 12 p.m. to 1:40 p.m.
Narrative Psychologists suggest that contemporary adults define themselves through an identity life story – one’s reconstructed past, perceived present, and anticipated future. We tell ourselves and others stories about who we were and who we want to be. Such stories are core to self-understanding and to social interactions. Participants in this seminar will explore different methods for creating, collecting, and analyzing these narratives of self. We will learn how to interpret stories for psychological meaning. We will practice five interrelated modes of inquiry: 1) Writing the Self. 2) Presenting an Analyzed Self. 3) Group Analysis of a Life Story. 4) Exemplars Approach. 5) Presenting and Analyzed Other. Each student will present an analysis of the life story written by another student in the class. Students not wishing to share their personal material have other options.
HOPR 2953 Section 902
John Su, Professor of English
Tu 4 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
In this course, students will study the fundamental practices of yoga. Yoga represents a blanket term to describe a wide variety of practices that are both very old and relatively recent. In the process of studying, the goal is to open up to pedagogical styles that might be less familiar to students in the American educational system. By the end of the semester, depending on the level of commitment to and engagement with the course, students should be able to: 1) practice yoga asanas as part of a daily discipline, and to describe your personal experiences with these practices; 2) articulate how yoga resembles and differs from other contemplative practices that have emerged from other traditions, both Christian and otherwise; 3) critically examine personal experiences in light of an ongoing contemplative practice.
HOPR 2953 Section 904
Buddhist Meditation: the Foundations of Mindfulness
Michael Vater, Associate Professor of Philosophy
Th 4 p.m. to 5:40 p.m.
The course will introduce students to mindfulness practice, or more specifically, to oldest Buddhist meditation practice: the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. The first part of the seminar will focus on the meditation practice itself and its usefulness in disarming negative emotions. The second part will be a more scholarly study of the Buddha's teachings, specifically what is new and unusual in them, viewed against the background of contemporary Indian beliefs and practices, including early Jain and Vedic teachings.
HOPR 3955 Junior Seminar
HOPR 3955 Section 901
Honors Undergraduate Research Opportunity (HUROP)
Astrida Kaugars, Associate Professor of Psychology
Th 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
HUROP is intended to provide the Honors student with an opportunity to participate in, conduct, write up and disseminate an original research project with a university faculty member and in the context of a community of fellow honors students engaged in research projects. It consists of a preliminary seminar (HOPR 3955, 3 credits, spring semester), a summer research project, and a culminating research presentation. The student gains a hands-on experience of research that leaves them with not only the insights gained from engaging in a particular research project, but also with an understanding of the nature of the wider humanistic context (historical and contemporary) of research, what unifies it, its diversity of method, kind, proximate/distal goals, an appreciation of the intricacies and limitations of research, and a sense of the social and communitarian nature of research enterprises.
HOPR 3953 Section 901
Digging the Bible
Deirdre Dempsey, Associate Professor and Assistant Chair of Theology
Tu/Th 2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
An interdisciplinary seminar focusing on how Biblical Studies uses and abuses archaeology, and how archaeology uses and abuses biblical studies. It will delve into both interesting interpretive issues and politics, and will also look at some of the most important archaeological finds in the Middle East?
HOPR 3953 Section 902
Design in Nature and Society
John (Jack) Winters, Professor of Biomedical Engineering
T/Th 5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.
This seminar develops and explores design strategies at work in nature and in technology innovation within a changing society. Includes physics as nature’s playing field, design of form and function in plants and animals within their natural ecosystems, small and effective “bio-widgets” that provide bio-inspiration, comparative designs of muscles and motors including history of human- and fossil fuel-empowered machines, infrastructure supporting human creativity and design innovation, strategies behind designing human communities, relation of universal design principles to social justice, and possible futuristic products in service of humans (e.g., service co-robots) and of the planet (e.g., sustainable technologies). Includes a final project on a topic of interest.
HOPR 3953 Section 903
Music and History
Michael J. Zeps, S.J., Associate Professor of History; University Minister, Residence Life
M/W 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
This Honors Seminar will combine history, science, philosophy, art and music appreciation. The first half of the semester will combine lectures and discussions drawing from several disciplines. It will start with the mathematical analysis of musical harmonics by Pythagoras and the Greeks which continued to be the center of musical education in the quadrivium of the Middle Ages. This approach to natural law on earth was extended to the harmony of the heavens by Ptolemy of Alexandria in an attempt to reconcile the two realms. Philosophers like Plato and Aristotle had things to add as did theologians like St. Augustine. Gregorian chant in the monasteries using Greek modes gave way to more complex music that developed according to the rules of natural harmonics. The course will cover Renaissance polyphony and Baroque music plus the mystical “music of the spheres” found in early scientists like Kepler. After music and science parted ways the giants of classicism like Haydn and Mozart appeared followed by Beethoven and the Romantic composers. Opera became prominent. Nationalism in music was followed by atonal and serial music in the 20th century although older forms survived in rock and roll, for example. Other considerations like aesthetics, acoustics, architecture, and art related to music will be included.
HOPR 4953 Section 901
Pop Art and Philosophy
Curtis Carter, Professor of Philosophy
Tu/Th 2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
An examination of the philosophical, artistic, and cultural aspects of foundations of Pop art. The course will consider the role of American artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg, as well as British and Chinese Pop artists. Following the inward looking art movements (Surrealism Salvador Dali) and Abstract Expressionism (Jackson Pollock), Pop art reintroduced realism into art focused on everyday objects such as soup cans, brillo boxes, flags, and superstar figures in the entertainment world. The aim of the course will be to consider Pop art as a critical lens to view mid-twentieth century consumer based culture and the life style issues of mid-twentieth century life as reflected in the works and ideas of Pop artists. Philosophers such as Arthur Danto have examined the role of Pop art as a central turning point in the history of art, calling for a rethinking of our understanding of art and leading to postmodern art. Class will provide visits to cultural events: symphony, ballet, repertory theory with a discount. Site visits and the use of images will augment readings and class discussions.
HOPR 4953 Section 902What does it mean to “do good” in modern societies? Are there universal values that transcend international and cultural differences so that a global ethic of a common good is possible? What happens when theory is put into practice, and social interventions result in complicated or unintended outcomes? The first part of this seminar examines the first two questions based on research and writings from the sciences and humanities. This includes scientific debate over whether altruism is a natural social behavior; political and legal effort to impose global governance; cross cultural and historical comparisons of the good society, and philosophical search for universal standards to guide conflict and interaction in global contexts. This examination lays a foundation about what can (or should) be possible to then analyze studies of contemporary social intervention work. Topics include domestic and international programs, services, and campaigns intended to help people and realize social justice. In addition, guest speakers from local organizations will be invited to discuss how theories and ideals work in the often messy practice of trying to do good and change the world.
Alexandra Crampton, Assistant Professor, Social and Cultural Sciences
M 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
HOPR 4953 Section 903
The Quest for Christian Identity
David Schultenover, S.J., Professor of Theology
M/W 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
What difference does it make to the development of the human person and consequently to the choices one makes for oneself and for one’s society to believe or not to believe (1) in God and (2) in Jesus Christ as God incarnate?This twofold question is therefore about belief and its consequences, with a focus on specifically Christian belief and therefore on Christian identity, i.e., on what being a Christian means both theoretically and practically.