Honors Course List Fall 2012

HONR 001: Honors First-Year Practicum, 1 credit hr.

Honors First Year Practicum meets one hour per week and is designed by the Director of Honors. Two honors students of upper-division standing will lead weekly seminars with small groups of 10-12 first year students interested in the Drake University Honors program. This course is designed as a practicum for entering first year students. Nuts and bolts information about the workings and expectations of the Honors Program will be examined alongside some of the practical learning method- ologies deemed critical to navigating the distinctive Honors curriculum. Students will work in small groups of 10-12 peers. Groups collaborate with and are guided by two experienced upper level Honors students working closely with the Director of Honors to design topics relevant to the experience. Expect to get to know the program, the university. Expect to define and apply practices of active reading, active writing, active listening and active discourse to selected themes and expect to take the initiative as you activate 'responsibility for one's own learning'. All individuals interested in the Honors Program are strongly encouraged to take Honors First Year Practicum.

Instructors: Honors Director and upper class Honors Students Crosslist: None

 

HONR 053: Life & Teachings of Jesus.  Brad


Jesus was the founder of the world's largest religion and one of the most controversial figures in religious history. "Life and Teaching of Jesus" is an analysis of the early Christian writings with the objective of studying the life and message of Jesus. This exploration will use the tools of historical, anthropological, sociological, and literary scholarship to investigate Jesus and the early Christian communities that produced the literature about him within their historical, cultural, and religious contexts. Crowell.

Instructor: Bradley Crowell Crosslist: Religion 053

 

HONR 054. Apocalyptic America. Brad Crowell.

The dramatic end of the current world order remains a fascination in American culture. From the Puritan desire to establish a Christian utopia prompting the return of Jesus and the expansionist mandates of Manifest Destiny to the Left Behind series and 2012, many Americans continue to anticipate an imminent end of the world. Apocalyptic America will examine this trend in popular culture by exploring the ancient religious documents (the biblical books of Daniel and Revelation, along with portions of the Gospels and the Letters of Saint Paul) on which this vision is based. The role of the "Millennial Kingdom" in American history and culture will then enable students to analyze contemporary incarnations of the theme. The course will conclude with student projects and group presentations that examine current cultural productions including apocalyptic religious movements, cultural productions ("The Road" and "2012"), and apocalyptic language in political discourse. 
Cross-listed with REL 131

HONR 072. Modern Spiritual Masters. Jim Laurenzo.

This course will read, explore, discuss, and present the writings and vision of Thomas Merton, Mary Oliver, and Abraham Joshua Heschel. While the goal of each was much the same, the path for each was unique. "Dialogues with Silence," "Everything is all right and everything is not right," and "I asked for wonder and God gave it to me" are where these three began to engage our lives on a variety of levels, and then so much more. These modern spiritual masters, seekers themselves, found a wide audience in their lifetimes, and still do. The witness and body of materials regarding these "spiritual guides" continues to grow. In the main, they are rooted, although differently, in long-established traditions of spirituality. Each also was augmented in their thinking and living with untested paths. In each case, they have engaged in a spiritual journey shaped by the influences and concerns of our age, concerns such as the challenges of modern science, religious pluralism, secularism, and the quest for social justice. These religious thinkers interrelate their spirituality with different forms of modern thought: theology and philosophy, history and poetry, engagement with our modern world today, and ancient traditions often misunderstood and misused. 

HONR 076. Conflict, Forgiveness & Apology. Nancy Berns.

Scholarship continues to grow regarding the intersections of conflict, forgiveness and apology, including research from philosophy, sociology, biology, psychology, and theology. Forgiveness is not limited to a religious discourse but has become common in policy discussions ranging from responses to individual crimes to national programs after genocide. Forgiveness is also a popular strategy in some therapy models. Apologizing is a common response from high profile people, but are the apologies genuine or merely political? In this class, students will explore questions including: How can one study forgiveness and apology? Does forgiveness resolve conflict and provide healing for those involved? Does an apology need to happen before forgiveness? Is forgiveness always possible? Is it ever unethical to forgive? Can a nation apologize? Can an individual forgive a nation? What are the politics of forgiveness and apology? Students will explore these issues through readings, discussion, and writing. This course is restricted to first and second-year students. Juniors and Seniors need instructor permission to enroll. 
Cross-listed with SCSS 076

HONR 080. Medical Sociology. Andrea Kjos.

This course applies sociological principles to health, illness, and health care. In order for students to fully develop an understanding in this context, a variety of perspectives will be explored and critiqued including that of patients, providers and society. This draws on foundational disciplines at the broader level and frames them into the biomedical experience. For example, sociological constructs of age, gender, ethnicity, and social class; psychosocial aspects of personal illness experience, historical and political perspectives of dominance, regulation and governance of providers and health care organizations will be the multidisciplinary topics covered. Other topics may include but are not limited to: history of 'western' medicine, models of illness, stress and well-being, social stratification of illness, health demography, medicalization and de-medicalization of illness, disability, and patient-provider relationships. A combination of reading, discussion, reflective activities, and paper/project composition will be used to facilitate comprehension of the course material. May be used as part of Sociology or Anthropology major/minor/concentrations. 

HONR 089. History of Cosmology. Charles Nelson.

Cosmology is the study of the origin, fate and nature of the universe on its grandest scales. Over the millenia, it has had a powerful influence on our thinking about the significance of the Earth and human civilization. It is a rich topic with many different flavors, ranging from the poetic to the technical, from the mundane to the truly bizarre. Historically, cosmological ideas have evolved with and influenced the philosophy, art, psychology, culture and ego of humankind. In this class we will examine the human investigation of the Cosmos on its largest scales. We will take an historical perspective of the development of cosmological ideas from flat Earth to inflation, studying how these ideas have developed and changed since antiquity and how these developments have resonated through our societal and cultural experience. We will also explore the modern scientific view of cosmology and discuss how observational results either support or conflict with theoretical ideas about the cosmos. We will employ both descriptive and mathematical approaches to see how these work together to deepen our understanding.

HONR 091. Microcosm, Macrocosm. Angela Battle.

This is an unusual course that looks at the intersection of visual language and the study of natural history. Students will explore the fundamentals of art making through the lens of organic form and function. We will take a critical look at artists as scientists and naturalists through out history - those who used drawing to hypothesize about living systems. We will gain a better understanding of our own relationship with the natural world as we explore their processes of visualization in studio. The course will consist of seminar, art studio, and experimental field trips to important resource sites locally and statewide. 
Cross-listed with ART 019 

HONR 096. Human Evolutionary Psychology. Steven Faux.

Human social behavior will be critically examined from the perspective of modern evolutionary theory. Do people behave in ways that tend to maximize their reproductive success? The course will examine the issues critically, and will use readings to facilitate vigorous classroom discussion. Topics include: the history of the Darwinian revolution, sexual selection, kin selection, human evolutionary history, the evolution of mating systems, strategies for reproduction, and Darwinian views of "moral" behavior-- specifically, altruism and cooperation. Evolutionary psychology has generated a great deal of controversy because it uses biology as a rudimentary explanation of differences between male and female behavior. Does such a science promote the "status quo?" Can such a science be deconstructed as a political ploy? Or, is it possible that this science represents a great advance that achieves the original goals of Freud and reveals the inner workings of the human mind? While the controversies will receive active discussion, the primary focus of the course will be to determine what science can tell us about our prehistory and how that prehistory might reveal something about our behavior now. The goal of this class is to address the question: Is there such a thing as "human nature?" Intended audience: This course is directed to life science majors and Honors Program students at the sophomore or junior levels. Prerequisite: An introductory psychology course or biology course. 
Cross-listed with PSY 026

HONR 100. Paths to Knowledge. Jennifer McCrickerd.

You have spent much of your life in school with the intended goal of acquiring, among other things, knowledge. In this class we will be looking at the question of what knowledge is, why it's important and how it is most productively acquired. More specifically, our discussion of knowledge will shift to a discussion of truth and understanding, how (or whether) these are related to knowledge and which of these is most desirable. Our primary focus in class discussions will be on the topic of moral truth/knoweledge/understanding in particular. Are moral statements true or false akin to scientific claims? Or are they simply statements of preference? How should we decide what behavior is moral behavior? What is the best way to answer this question? What tools should we use? What counts as evidence to draw upon? How can we become more moral people? In the course of these discussions, we will touch on many disciplines including but not limited to philosophy, religion, neuroscience, art, sociology and history.
Cross-listed with HONR 159 and PHIL 128

HONR 101. Honors Practicum Guide Experience. Jennifer McCrickerd.

This course gives upper-division Honors students the opportunity to craft effective leadership skills to mentor small groups of 10-12 first year students enrolled Honors 001 First Year Practicum. Students collaborate in pairs as co-guides on development and implementation of curriculum, service and social activities for assigned first year groups. Guides will work closely with the Director of Honors to develop the skills and materials necessary to lead the assigned groups. The Goals of the Practicum (subject to mild modification): communicate information about making the most of the Honors Program; foster community within the group; foster connections of the group with the larger Honors community; enhance students understanding of their own learning processes; develop skills necessary for success in Honors courses; nurture intellectual curiosity. Guides must be independent thinkers, thoughtful leaders and effective communicators who are committed to growing in all of these areas. 

HONR 106. Comparative Religion. Timothy Knepper.

This course serves as both an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of comparative religion and an exercise in the interdisciplinary practice of comparative religion. (Note that comparative religion does not rate and rank religions but rather identifies and explains the similarities and differences between religions.) The introductory component of the class considers the strengths and weaknesses of several different models and methods of comparing religions, while the practical component takes up the actual comparison of a number of different religions with respect to the theme of religious responses to suffering. (Optimally, the class will also produce multidisciplinary explanations of these comparisons.) This year's class will interface with a public program in comparative religion consisting of a number of visiting scholar lectures and local inter-faith dialogues. This means that the religions the class compares will be determined by the foci of these activities. (The possibilities include American Indian religions, African religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Shinto, Judaisim, and Islam.) Assignments are yet to be determined but will at least include frequent reading responses and a couple of lengthy papers. 
Cross-listed with REL 121 and PHIL 121

HONR 109. Gender and War.  Debra DeLaet.

Most mainstream international relations scholarship shares a basic assumption that war is "gender neutral." However, feminist scholarship has shown that war is a highly gendered phenomenon. Socially constructed norms of masculinity and femininity have been used by nation states to mobilize their populations for war and to create soldiers, typically out of young men. Nation-states must go to great lengths to train their soldiers to kill, and the construction of a militarized masculinity is a key component in state efforts to achieve this objective. Nation-states also use femininity to mobilize support for war. States have relied on social and cultural depictions of supportive mothers and faithful wives of soldiers to mobilize support for war. Similarly, state depictions of innocent women as a class of people especially vulnerable to external military threats also have been used in wartime rhetoric to mobilize public support for military operations. In addition to serving as a tool for mobilizing war support and creating soldiers, gender contributes to war's divergent effects on men and women. While men are more likely to serve as combatants, women are more likely to serve in support roles (nurses, aid workers, etc.) Women and children make up a higher proportion of civilian casualties and war refugees and also are more likely to be victims of rape whereas men are more likely to suffer as combatants. The effects of war on men vary from country to country. They may be forced to fight in political systems that do not have volunteer armies, and as combatants or potential soldiers it is harder for them to get refugee status. As As soldiers, they may be treated as heroes in popular wars but reviled if wars are unpopular. For men serving in the upper echelon of the military (and high-ranking military officials are primarily men), military service can be a path to political power, a path generally denied to women. These differential effects of war on men and women can be explained largely by socially constructed gender identities that define men's and women's wartime roles in different ways. With this background in mind, this course will examine the ways in which gender norms contribute to our understanding of the causes, tactics, and consequences of war.
Cross-listed with POLS 109

HONR 118. Eastern Philosophy. Timothy Knepper.

This honors seminar will examine the philosophical ideas contained within the core texts of Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism, with special emphasis on the way in which these Southeast Asian and East Asian "philosophies" challenge the commonplace Western distinction between philosophy and religion. Texts, philosophies, and philosophers to be considered include (but are not limited to) Hinduism's Upanishads, Bhagavad-Gita, and philosophical schools of Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa, and Vedanta; Theravada Buddhism's sutras, and Dhammapada; Mahayana Buddhism's sutras and philosophical schools of Madhyamaka and Yogacara; Confucianism's Analects, Mengzi, and the Neo-Confucianism of Zhu Xi and Wang Yangming; Daoism's Daodejing and Zhuangzi; and the East Asian Buddhism of Chan/Zen and Pure Land. Philosophical topics to be addressed include (but are not limited to) the nature and role of god/s, the origin and order of the cosmos the nature and extent of knowledge, the nature and role of language and rationality, the path and goal of "salvation", the nature and role of religious experience, the nature and destiny of human beings, the good life, the nature and role spiritual disciplines and practices, and the similarities and differences between Eastern and Western philosophy.
Cross-listed with REL 111 and PHIL 111

HONR 128. Minds, Brains, and Computers. Martin Roth.

What is it to "have" a mind? Are minds, "things"? If so, are they physical things? What is the relationship between your mind and your brain/body? Can computers think, feel, and be conscious? Might you be a computer? In this class we will critically evaluate a variety of answers to these questions and the arguments given for those questions. We will start by examining some traditional approaches to the relationship between mental and physical phenomena, including dualism, logical behaviorism, mind/brain identity theory, and functionalism. Next, we will consider the nature and locus of intentionality and consciousness and how the phenomena of intentionality and consciousness may bear on theories about the mind/body relationship. We will also examine the "common-sense" appeal to beliefs, desires, and intentions in explaining human behavior and explore whether and/or to what extent those explanations can be illuminated, supplemented, revised, or undermined by empirical science. Finally, we will look at some recent work on mind, embodiment and action, and consider the extent to which this work provides an alternative to the traditional accounts of the mind/body relationship. Our discussion of these issues will be informed by the arguments of prominent philosophers, as well as theoretical and empirical developments in psychology, computer science and neuroscience. 
Cross-listed with PHIL 130

HONR 131. Major Figures: Charles Dickens. Melisa Klimaszewski.

This course focuses on Charles Dickens, arguably the most popular novelist of the Victorian Age and certainly one of the most enduring. Dickens was so prolific that one cannot read even half of his works in the space of one semester. We will examine approximately five of his novels (final reading list to be determined) as well as some of his journalism (including collaborative pieces) and his personal letters. Students will enjoy discovering (or rediscovering) the quirkyness, weirdness, hilarity, and sometimes inexplicable oddness of works such as "Great Expectations", "Little Dorrit", "Oliver Twist", and "Bleak House." Students will also read essays about Dickens' works and learn to place their critical voices in conversation with those of other scholars.  Prereq. English 60. 

HONR 155. Culture, Knowledge, Power. Joseph Schneider.

The last two decades of the 20th Century witnessed a variety of challenges to conventional disciplinary thought and practice in the humanities and the human and social sciences of western scholarship. Many of these involved a critical rethinking of usual understandings of culture, knowledge, and power, at the least. This course aims to introduce students to themes, questions, and ways of reading, writing, and speaking that may be loosely referred to as "post-" thought, analysis, and criticism that that has constituted a major part of this challenge. Influences from French post-structuralism, cultural Marxism, feminism, psychoanalytic criticism, postcolonial studies, queer theory, critical race theory, and science/knowledge/ complexity studies will be reviewed. Students will be asked to consider the emergence of these critical perspectives and practices relative to established and dominant ways of thinking and writing/speaking defined by existing disciplinary knowledges inside as well as outside the academy. The following themes/perspectives will be central in the course: *The Importance of Discursive Practice *Reality and Knowledge as Constructed *Reflexivity and Knowledge Practices *The Implosion of Ontology and Epistemology *Reconceptualizing Power *Difference *Theory as Resource for Activism *Ethics of Activism Intended audience: This course is intended for sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
Cross-listed with SCSS 110.

HONR 159. Moral Truth. Jennifer McCrickerd.

"Honesty is good." "Murder is wrong." Are these statements capable of being true or false similar to statements about astronomy or mathematics? Or are they expressions of personal taste or opinion similar to statements about whether chocolate is good? Or something else? More importantly, given our options for action, how do we decide to behave? This course is a study of the discussions about the meaning (or lack thereof) of moral statements in addition to discussions about moral reasoning. We discuss whether moral statement can be true or false, justified or unjustified and what implications on moral reasoning and theory follow from different answers. The purpose of this course is to continue development of critical thinking, speaking and writing skills as well as to familiarize students with 20th century discussions in analytic philosophy regarding the possibility and nature of moral truth and moral reasoning. Additionally, we will discuss in what way these highly theoretical discussions are relevant to everyday life and decisions or decision-making. By the end of the semester students should have a good understanding of the different positions taken and their associated arguments. Students should be capable of having intelligent and informed conversations on these topics with people who have not taken the class. 
Cross-listed with HONR 100 and PHIL 139

HONR 162. Urban Environmental History. Amahia Mallea.

This course will address cities and environment. The specific investigations--places and times-- have evolved each semester. Most recently the course has covered four subjects: Historicizing post-Katrina New Orleans, Midwestern well as how humans have in turn shaped the environment. Themes include the interconnectedness of people and nature, health (ecological and social health are environmental issues), and the link between local and global. The course balances the physical (rocks, conservation and ecology) and the cultural (ideas, perceptions, and images) environment. Likely topics: historicizing post-Katrina New Orleans, Midwestern flooding, urban planning, and campus sustainability.

HONR 171. Neuroscience and Law. Martin Roth.

This course investigates assumptions about choice, responsibility, and punishment reflected in our legal system and considers the extent to which our growing knowledge of the brain may support or challenge those assumptions. The course also considers what kinds of changes to existing legal and public policy may be reasonably supported by this investigation. 
Cross-listed with PHIL 140

HONR 195. Women & The Law.  Sally Frank.

This seminar reviews how sex role understandings have affected various aspects of the law including criminal law; employment credit and insurance discrimination; abortion and fetal protection; family law; and lesbian and gay rights. Standards of review for laws that discriminate on the basis of sex as opposed to other kinds of discrimination also are discussed, as is the issue of how women are treated in courts today.

HONR 198. Honors Independent Study. (Requires preliminary agreement signed prior to registration.)

HONR 199. Honors Senior Thesis Project. (Requires preliminary agreement signed prior to registration.)

University News
October 31, 2014
A retired U.S. diplomat and United Nations peacekeeper will discuss the UN’s role in peacekeeping on Nov. 6.
×