Honors Seminar Sections 2011-2012
- HON200 -
first semester | second semester | past seminars
The Viet Nam Wars (HON200.1, Fall 2011)
Dr. Mike Toliver (Biology)
This seminar will examine the most recent wars—especially the one involving the U.S.—which took place in Viet Nam. The first war, often called the 1st Indochina war, was between the Viet Minh and the French and led to the defeat of France and the partitioning of Viet Nam. It also led directly to the second Indochina war (what we call the Vietnam War) between the U.S. with their South Vietnamese allies and the Viet Cong with their North Vietnamese allies. This war will occupy most of the seminar, since it is the one most directly connected to our own experience. Finally, the Vietnamese incursion into Cambodia (which ended the Khmer Rouge holocaust) and the war between the Vietnamese and the Chinese will be briefly discussed.
Required readings will include Vietnam: A History by Stanley Karnow, Dispatches by Michael Herr, and Hell in a Very Small Place by Bernard Fall. We may also watch a few movies and read some poetry and listen to some music.
The Alexander Technique: Exploring the How of What You Do (HON200.2, Fall 2011)
Professor Holly Rocke (Theatre)
According to the American Society for the Alexander Technique, “The Alexander Technique is an educational method used worldwide for over 100 years. By teaching how to change faulty postural habits, it enables improved mobility, posture, performance and alertness and relief of chronic stiffness, tension and stress. Athletes, singers, dancers, and musicians use the Technique to improve breathing, vocal production, and speed and accuracy of movement.” Students in this seminar will explore how the principles behind this technique can apply to their academic disciplines, read original Alexander Technique texts, be given individual lessons in the technique, and create a project studying the application of the technique.
The Mind of the Insurrectionist (HON200.1, Spring 2012)
Dr. Junius Rodriguez (History)
Radicalism or fanaticism in a socio-economic or political sense is often rooted in a noble cause that becomes sullied by the “means to an end” employed to advance the idea. Change, which is a constant force in cultural advancement, depends upon toning down and humanizing the more radical notions that emerge from the mind of the insurrectionist. This course will examine the writings some of the most significant change-agents of Western culture—individuals whose ideas (or methods) were considered too radical for their era, but nonetheless influenced the notion of progress over time.
A Matter of Interpretation (HON200.2, Spring 2012)
Dr. Prabhu Venkataraman (Mathematics)
The American judicial system, prominently the U.S. Circuit Courts and the U.S. Supreme Court, deals on a regular basis with cases that involve the most fundamental liberties of all persons, such as speech and privacy, as listed in the Bill of Rights. If judges could simply apply the existing law (constitutional, statutory, or common law) to all the cases that come before them in order to decide the outcome, then why is it that judges and legal scholars, even those of the same judicial or political philosophy, often come up with different answers? This course seeks to examine this question via a case-study approach. We will examine selected (and often controversial) decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court through the lens of some of the existing judicial philosophies in constitutional law, such as originalism, textualism, pragmatism and the newest addition--active liberty--and discuss which, if any, of these can serve as a politically neutral guide to deciding some important constitutional questions.
Recent Honors Seminars
Mathematical Mysteries, Classical and Modern Mathematics
Slaughterhouse V: A Sticky Unsticking English
Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics Philosophy
Challenges in Conservation Ecology Art
The Politics of Prison in the United States
The Making of the Atomic Bomb
Packaging Gender in the Media
Peak Oil: Fact or Fiction?
Exploring the Black Church Experience
Writing Under the Influence: The Poetics of Inspiration
Sticking it to the Super-Man: What Superheroes Tell Us about Gender and Culture
Bioethical Debates in Reproductive Medicine
Literature as the Gateway to Personal and Social Ethics
As I Lay Dying: Reflections on Death
Nuclear Weapons: From Trinity to Dirty Bombs
Reflections from Prison: Historic Writings of the Incarcerated
Adventures in the Dark Side
The Historical Roots of the Creation-Evolution Controversy
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Mind of the Insurrectionist
If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It: Rewriting the Classics
The Road Less Traveled