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Fall 2017 Honors Seminars

HONS 1810W-66
“Dante and the Foundations of Modern Western Civilization”
MW 2:10 – 3:25 pm
Professor William Franke
Department of French & Italian
AXLE: Humanities & Creative Arts (HCA)

This course broaches major topics in the history of ideas from love and governance to the possibility and limits of knowing God and the world as they are articulated across disciplines from philosophy and literature to religion.  It takes the theoretical and critical texts of Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) as seminal for the birth of the modern world.  We will concentrate particularly on The New Life, The Banquet, On the Vulgar Tongue, and Monarchy.  Each of these works is monumental in its own right and inaugurates a new secular outlook that, nevertheless, is still firmly ensconced in ancient and medieval processes of theological revelation.  Revelation itself, as Dante conceives it, is becoming thoroughly historicized and individualized. He shows exactly how Christian, incarnate revelation renders possible the emergence of the new outlook of the modern world in its autonomy and concrete reality as we know it. All of Dante’s ideas, moreover, are presented as originating from his overwhelming experience of love for a woman, his “beatifier,” Beatrice.  Dante’s universal vision takes on renewed relevance today in a world facing the twin challenges of globalization, on the one hand, and ethnic fragmentation and religious sectarianism, on the other.


HONS 1820W-32
“Cultural History of Disease”
TR 11 – 12:15 pm
Professor Arleen Tuchman
Department of History
AXLE: Perspectives (P)

In this seminar, we will explore how cultural values have shaped and reflected the experience and understanding of disease in the past. Focusing on the modern period (1750-present), we will examine medical diagnoses that are no longer considered legitimate, such as masturbation, as well as diseases that continue to do harm and to kill, such as cholera, diabetes, syphilis, schizophrenia, and fetal alcohol syndrome. Each student will write a research paper based on primary sources.


HONS 1830W-54
“Investigating Practices of Care”
TR 11 – 12:15 pm
Professor Keith Meador – School of Medicine
Professor Dan Morrison – Department of Sociology
Professor Sarah Suiter – Department of Human & Organizational Development
AXLE: Social & Behavioral Sciences (SBS)

“Investigating Practices of Care” is the first of a two-course sequence that provides an opportunity for faculty-mentored, hands-on experience in hospital and community health care and non-profit contexts. Our focus is on the theory and practice of care in its many dimensions. This course situates the ethics of care among other moral theories and incorporates rigorous training in qualitative research methods to understand the complex dynamics of caregiving across diverse community and clinical settings.
* Students need to apply for this seminar as it is part one of a two-course sequence.


HONS 1840W-33
“American Theater”
TR 1:10 – 2:25 pm
Professor Edward Friedman
Department of Spanish
AXLE: History & Culture of the United States (US)

The course will deal with the representation of U.S. society through the medium of drama, from the second half of the twentieth century to the present. The focus will be on ties between artistic creation and social contexts. The topics that will be discussed include intersections among history, politics, social issues, and the arts. We will examine how playwrights bring the family, race, gender, sexual identification, class, ethnicity, economic status, and the practice of political correctness, among other subjects, into their works. As we look at ways in which plays and films reflect and refract reality, we will pay special attention to the structure and artistic qualities of the works under scrutiny and to methods of analyzing dramatic texts and performance.


HONS 1860W-17
“Revolutionary Awakenings: From the Russian Revolution to the Age of Globalization”
MWF 10:10 – 11 am
Prof. Allison Schachter
Department of History and Jewish Studies
AXLE: International Cultures (INT)

What is the experience of becoming a revolutionary? What are the histories and narratives of revolutionary awakening? How do they relate to our contemporary times? In this course, we will look at narratives by and about revolutionaries to examine how individuals come to identify with and commit themselves to revolutionary movements. The course will begin with the Russian revolution and the socialist and anarchist precursors, including leading figures such as Emma Goldman, Leon Trotsky, and Rosa Luxembourg. We’ll read accounts by unknown figures who gave up their lives to fight fascism, narratives of anti-colonial nationalism, and here in the United States for example, groups like the Black Panthers and the Weather Underground. Finally, we’ll look at current-day revolutions, of which there are many: Occupy Wall Street, the Orange Revolution, and the Arab Spring, to name a few. Are we now living in revolutionary times?