Spring 2014 Classes

 

HONR 054: APOCALYPTIC AMERICA, 3 credit hrs.

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.

Instructor: Bradley Crowell Crosslist with Religion 131

 

HONR 073: US Latino Language and Cultures, 3 credit hrs. 

US Latino Language and Cultures is an interdisciplinary course that examines current issues pertaining to Latinos in the U.S. Students will learn how Latino demographics, history, religion, social and economic structures, political participation, education, language, and literature have shaped the development of a Latino identity within the USA and impacted the U.S. culture as a whole. Key topics include Latino diversity, popular culture, social inequities and socioeconomic status, history, and contemporary experiences, language and education, assimilation, literary and religious traditions, as well as social movements and political participation in the context of the Latino population of the U.S. This course is taught in English.

Intended audience: Honors Track students who have credit hours as first-year or sophomores.

Instructor: Eduardo Garcia Villada Crosslist: World Language Culture 150

   

HONR 091: Critters 101, 3 credit hrs. 

This non-traditional course will take a critical and creative look at the lives of animals through the lenses of natural history, the biological sciences, mythology, the fine arts, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and film. It will provide the environment for expression of ‘lives’ yet to be examined. Sparked by research, ‘lives’ become evidence through the arts of 2-D, 3-D, video, fiction, poetry, and music. As we entangle our lives with the lives of animals, students are encouraged to explore expressive methods of understanding both inside and outside familiarity.

Instructor: Angela Battle Crosslist: Art 123

  

HONR 092: Journalism on Screen: 1955 to Present, 3 credit hrs.

Why is reporting such a compelling subject in film and, later, on television? What are key elements in the public’s ongoing images and expectations of journalism? From the mid-1950s forward, films about reporters offer plots that are more international, more danger-filled, and more entangled in power politics and media conglomerates. This course will examine particular films and television programs keeping in mind basic issues of production values, film theories, and the structures of American film and television. American history will also provide a backdrop for the course material, as directors attempt to recount realistic and even real-life cases, from Watergate to wars in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and the Persian Gulf. Expect to see “Black Like Me,” “Heat Wave,” “The Year of Living Dangerously,” “Under Fire,” and even “Kolchak: the Night Stalker,” among others.

Intended audience: Honors Track students who have credit hours as first-year or sophomores.

Instructor: Lee Jolliffe Crosslist: None

 

HONR 100: Paths to Knowledge, 4 credit hrs.

This is an interdisciplinary course focusing on different modes of reasoning and inquiry (i.e., “paths to knowledge”) in the sciences and the humanities. It should help us to better navigate our way through an increasingly information- and knowledge-saturated society. In pursuing this aim, we will explore the modes of reasoning and inquiry that are typically employed in the production of various forms of knowledge. Among the questions we will examine are: Why do we seek knowledge? How is knowledge created? How should we judge the value and validity of knowledge claims? How should society make decisions about the uses to which knowledge is put? In seeking answers to these questions, we hope to hone those critical and analytical skills that will allow us to become sophisticated producers/consumers of creative output. A weekly lab section is co-requisite.

Intended audience: Honors Track students, second-semester students and above.

Topics & Instructor(s): Varies; please see side bar for Paths to Knowledge.                                                                                          

 

HONR 102: Service Learning, 3 credit hrs.


This course will help students think critically about volunteerism, reflect on their own volunteer service, discuss social issues and problems that impact Drake's campus, the community or global populations, understand critical issues in service learning research, and most importantly, develop a service learning project.  Students will examine the definition of service-learning, volunteerism trends, project development issues, and possible project ideas that can impact the lives of others. They will also engage in readings and discussion to investigate social issues that influence a particular area of need. This will lead to the development of a final service project to be designed and implemented individually or collaboratively.  After completion of the project, students will present it to an audience and complete final written reflections of their experiences.

The Friday meeting clas time will meet in the classroom only at the beginning and end of the semester.  Otherwise, Friday meeting times will be an occasion to meet onsite with service leader provider(s).

Instructor: Sally Beisser Crosslist: Education 199

 

HONR 110: Constructing Americans, 3 credit hrs. 

This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the politics of membership in the U.S. We begin, in Part I, by exploring theories of citizenship and political identity. How are political communities constructed and maintained? What can political communities credibly ask of members? What can communities legitimately or justifiably do to maintain themselves as communities?

In Part II, we apply our theoretical discussion of community and membership to the American political community itself, exploring how American political culture, law, and policy have structured access to membership in the American political community, with particular emphasis on the historical role that race-, class-, ethnicity-, and gender-based distinctions have shaped access to full ‘member’ status.

In Part III, we explore several mechanism of community-building in the U.S., with a particular focus on shame, deviance, fear, and personal responsibility as mechanisms of community-building that construct insiders and outsiders through the regulation ‘proper’ behavior.

In Part IV, we discuss contemporary theoretical and policy debates about patriotism, treason, immigration, control, asylum, naturalization, globalization, and the fate of democratic citizenship in an ‘Age of Terror’ to unpack the nature, meaning, and requirements of citizenship.

We conclude, in Part V, with a discussion of possibilities for bridging the gap between democratic membership’s inclusive promise and our political system’s legacy of race-, gender-, class-, and ethnicity-based exclusions. Our discussion, throughout, is informed by readings from law, classical and contemporary political theory, anthropology, geography, American studies, public policy, and sociology. These materials will allow us to gain some traction into several questions at the heart of our political community’s ongoing ‘identity crisis’:  Who are we? Who are the ‘we’? What should we be? What does it mean to be an ‘American’? How far should the claims of political community extend?

Instructor: Joanna  Riley Crosslist: Politics 158

                  

HONR 114: Religions of Des Moines, 3 credit hrs.

This course serves as an introduction to a particular religious tradition with an emphasis on how that tradition is practiced in the greater Des Moines area.  Among the course requirements are frequent site visits to a local religious community and the facilitation of digital stories by and about that religious community.

Instructor and Religious Tradition: Varies; Please see side bar, Religions of Des Moines

 

HONR 120: Modern Political Satire, 3 credit hrs.

The intent of satire is to correct society by poking fun at it. Satirists use sarcasm, irony, ridicule, etc. in denouncing, exposing, or deriding vice, folly, abuses or evils of any kind (Hodgart, pg. 7). The most common target of satire is, for obvious reasons, government. Because satire can only be effective if its consumers have a fairly sophisticated understanding of the social and political context it addresses, the class will focus on modern (post-WWII) American political satire. Although satire has a rich history in literature (particularly English and Irish literature of the late 18th Century), today it appears in many forms -- from satirical novels to musical theatre to episodes of "The Simpsons" and "South Park" to the performance art of the Guerilla Girls. In short, satire has found a home in nearly every medium of modern society. Moreover, the objects of modern satire cover every topic of current political debate: political personalities, social, economic, and foreign policy, religion, race, gender, and government institutions. This class is designed to closely examine the role of satire as a means of social and political change. As such, we will examine not only various forms of modern political satire, but we will also address the following questions: How does satire differ from other forms of political humor and/or commentary? Is all satire political satire? What motivates people to use satire rather than other forms of social protest? What is the relationship between satirists and the society in which they live? What (or who) are the most frequent objects of political satire and why? What rhetorical tools are most often used by satirists (for example, how are utopian and dystopian conditions used as satirical tools)? Is satire an effective means of change? Why or why not? The class is designed to be heavily discussion oriented. Class materials will include a collection of political/ editorial cartoons, essays and commentaries from online sources like The Onion, segments from Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, The Simpsons, South Park, and other TV shows, and musical recordings including a performance of The Capitol Steps and the Broadway musicals Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1978) and Urinetown (2001). In addition, students will read both scholarly analyses and satirical fiction and view movies (such as Dr. Strangelove, Bulworth, Bob Roberts, and Wag the Dog) outside of class. Taken as a whole, the goal is to prompt students to critically assess the value and efficacy of political satire in a democratic society.

Instructor: Rachel Paine Caufield Crosslist: None

 

HONR 122: Language and Reality, 3 credit hrs.

An introduction to philosophy of language, linguistics, and semiotics focused on the issue of linguistic relativism, i.e., whether languages are significantly different, and if so, whether they shape significantly different views of reality. Examines evidence both in support of and against linguistic relativism, and then uses this evidence as a means of addressing the relationship between language and reality.

Instructor: Tim Knepper Crosslist: Philosophy 128

 

 HONR 123- Global Change, 3 credit hrs.

This course will be an interdisciplinary investigation of anthropogenic global change, using global warming as a semester-long case study. In this course students will learn to investigate a major environmental issue by first obtaining a strong scientific background in the issue, then applying methods of policy analysis, and finally advocating for effective governmental decision making. Students will also gain a strong appreciation for the complexity and gravity of climate change issues.

Instructor: David Courard-Hauri Crosslist: Environmental Science and Policy 135

 

HONR 124- Salem Witchcraft Trials, 3 credit hrs.

What caused the infamous witch trials? Religious attitudes? A social crisis? Introduction of new ideas from the West Indies? Trauma from recent Indian attacks? Changes in the status of women? This course will read a variety of explanations of the Salem witch trials. However, rather than decide what "really" caused them or argue about what "really" happened, this course will focus more on the nature of evidence. When we read a description of "what happened" what constitutes the evidence? Who gets to decide what is valid and what is not? How do these ideas of evidence come into play with various strategies of writing from personal narrative to sermon to other forms? How does this increased awareness of the way evidence is "embedded" in social reality affect your views about your own reading, writing, and judging? In addition to thinking and writing about these questions, we will assess similarities and differences between the witch trials and the trail of Anne Hutchinson. We will do this through a "Reacting to the Past" curriculum which provides selected readings and role playing. This unit will be about a month of the semester and will give us another "body of evidence," so to speak. Readings will include historical and sociological explanations of the witch trails, 17 century readings (diaries, accounts of trials, etc.), and 19th - 21st century imaginative writings about eh Salem event, such as "The Crucible." There will be several short papers rather than a single large project.

Instructor: Elisabeth West Crosslist: English 124

      

HONR 125- Philosophy of Religion, 3 credit hrs.

While interest in the philosophy of religion remains quite strong outside of the formal disciplines of philosophy and religious studies, philosophers and religionists are increasingly skeptical about the long-term direction and viability of the field. This class begins in this dilemma, familiarizing itself with both a typical problems-based approach to philosophy of religion (arguments for and against the existence of God, issues of religious experience and religious language) and its recent criticisms (insufficient awareness of claims). This class then turns to three recent proposals for the future of philosophy of religion, seeking to evaluate their respective visions of the future of the field. No prerequisites are necessary (though it'd be great if you have had a philosophy or religion class.)

Instructor: Timothy Knepper Crosslists: Philosophy 125 and Religion 125

        

HONR 137: Women, Madness & Culture, 3 credit hrs.

This course explores the relationship between gender and socio-cultural definitions of mental health and illness, and examines the history of the treatment of women within the major settings of the mental health system; psychiatry, psychoanalysis and asylum. The first major goal is to understand the social relations of power within which psychiatry emerged and within which women became defined as "hysterical", "irrational" or "mad." A second goal is to chart the relationship between women's social roles and the experience and treatment of mental illness, making use of autobiographical and fictional accounts by women, films and other materials.

Instructor: Janet Wirth-Cauchon Crosslist: Sociology 137

 

HONR 143: Introduction to Christian Theology, 3 credit hrs.

This course is an introduction to the study of Systematic Theology in which we will explore the major theological doctrines and issues that have defined Christian theology. Our emphasis will be the western theological tradition. The course is divided into three separate parts designed to work together to enhance theological understanding: a dynamic engagement with the Nicean Council; a study of the current state of major theological concepts; a reading of important primary source documents of the 20th century. Students will be encouraged to develop a solid understanding of major streams in theological thought, to understand the implications of particular theological conflicts to Christian communities and to recognize the relationship between historical and social contexts and the particular developments that have taken place in Christian Theology.

Instructor: Jennifer Harvey Crosslist: Religion 153

 

HONR 146: Restorative Justice, 3 credit hrs.

Restorative justice is a perspective that views crime as a harm against people and the community, which needs to be addressed through the involvement of offenders, victims, and the community. This course provides an introduction to the principles and practices behind restorative justice. A restorative justice movement has been growing dramatically globally in the past couple of decades. Along with this growth come many challenges, pitfalls, and critics. The course is designed to allow students to struggle along with the experts in trying to navigate the opportunities and challenges, the success stories and the pitfalls that accompany restorative justice programs. In the process, students will explore questions about justice, crime, imprisonment, punishment, rehabilitation, forgiveness, and the purpose of a legal system. The course relies heavily on international perspectives to learn about these issues. Prereq. one Sociology course or consent of instructor.

Instructor: Nancy Berns Crosslist: Sociology 146


HONR 157: 
New Materialist Feminisms, 3 credit hrs.

This honors course is a study of what has become to be called the “nonhuman turn” in social sciences and humanities that addresses questions of matter, nature, affect, and the nonhuman in relation to culture. We will examine how feminist thought has taken up these themes, and we will read several contemporary works addressing issues such as the meanings of “nature” and “culture”, the agency of matter, ecological co-existence, feminist readings of evolutionary theory, animal studies and companion species, and technology and objects.
Pre-requisite: One entry level course in Sociology, Anthropology, or Women’s Studies/Environmental Science/Sociology 075.

Instructor: Janet Wirth-Cauchon Crosslist: Sociology 150

 

HONR 158: Phenomenology & Existentialism, 3 credit hrs.

Recent developments in continental philosophy have influenced a variety of other disciplines, from sociology, to political science, to architecture. These developments have their roots in the fields of existentialism and phenomenology, associated with scholars from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries such as Nietzcshe, Heidegger, Satre, and Levinas. This class approaches existentialism and phenomenology not only from a historical perspective but also considers the relevance of these philosophies to everyday life. Prereq: at least one PHIL course or consent of instructor.

Instructor: Leah Kalmanson Crosslist: Philosophy 110

 

HONR 160: Gender, Technology, Embodiment, 3 credit hrs.

In this course we will study the social and ethical implications of new technologies that alter the understanding and experience of embodiment and that challenge the boundaries and meaning of gender and race-ethnicity. We will read critical feminist and social analyses of topics such as genetic testing, new imaging technologies, reproductive technologies such as ultra-sonography, transnational surrogate motherhood, posthumanism, and affect and biotechnologies of control. We will study theoretical concepts through which to analyze the changing relations between biotechnologies and social relations. Prerequisite: One entry-level sociology or anthropology course.

Instructor: Janet Wirth-Cauchon Crosslist: Sociology 178

 

HONR 161: Africa/Africans/Atlantic/Slavery, 3 credit hrs.

The immense growth of slavery and slave trade research in the last quarter century has made examinations of unfree labor a major issue for world research. Studies of Atlantic slavery have generated the bulk of that research, and as a result have challenged many traditional perceptions of that trade and its associated system of slavery. However, despite the unquestioned value of these recent analyses, most of these studies have looked at Atlantic slavery from the American side of the ocean. Consequently, the African nature of Atlantic slavery has often lacked close scrutiny. This course has two goals: 1) to root Atlantic slavery and its trade in its African context, and 2) to help incorporate recent research findings into popular understandings of the Atlantic trade. The major argument of this course is that one cannot know why the Atlantic trade happened as it did nor how Atlantic slavery developed as it did without understanding the context which produced the people who were sold into slavery. Therefore, the course looks at the influence political, social, economic, and cultural factors in Africa had on the making of slavery and the slave trade both in Africa and the Americas. In doing so, the course will challenge students to rethink their own notions of Atlantic slavery as they analyze and critique the ideas encountered in this course.

Instructor: Glenn McKnight Crosslist: History 161

 

HONR 163: Environmental Justice, 3 credit hrs.

Environmental Justice is a field where primary investigation is of the impact of environmental degradation on those who are poor or otherwise disenfranchised and grew out of the Environmental Racism discussion where the argument has been made that race is a primary factor in determining whether a community will experience a disproportionate amount of suffering due to environmental hazards. The bulk of the course will be spent looking at both domestic and international realms and the extent to which people experience a disproportionate amount of suffering due to environmental hazards. We will look at, among other things, the environmental effects of consumerism, technology and energy production and whether the environmental effects of these things are distributed justly. Involved in these investigations will be discussion of what constitutes a just distribution of hazards and what constitutes consent. By the end of this course, students will be better informed regarding the issues of environmental justice and ethics that are part of their everyday lives and be able to responsibly participate in discussions of what behaviors are and are not environmentally just.

Instructor: Jennifer McCrickerd Crosslists: Philosophy 151 and Environmental Science and Policy 157

 

HONR 164: Theories of Consciousness, 3 credit hrs.

A multidisciplinary and multicultural study of questions regarding the nature of mind and consciousness will be pursued in this course. To this end students will read and discuss current and traditional scholarly and experiential sources regarding these questions, which will include approaches to understanding consciousness and theories of mind from Western sciences and humanities. Similarly, readings describing theories of mind and consciousness from selected traditional and contemporary philosophical and spiritual/psychological systems and practices developed in Eastern cultures and in North American indigenous cultures will be discussed.

Instructor: Judith Allen Crosslist: Psychology 154

 

HONR 165: Technoscience Culture/Practice, 3 credit hrs.

This course is intended as a historical and theoretical overview of the development of the interdisciplinary field called science studies or the social studies of science and technology. Readings and class discussion and writing will focus on writing and research that have emerged mostly since the 1970s, although earlier important arguments and work will be reviewed. The history of the social study of science framed here is one of movement from the examination of so-called "social factors" or "forces" that "influence" and "shape" the social organization of science and scientific work to science studies, which has taken the very content of science, that is scientific knowledge and science as a set of mundane practices as central topic for critical examination. The point of course is not to "oppose" science--whatever that could mean--but rather to treat it critically as the social-cultural complex that it is.

Instructor: Joseph Schneider Crosslist: Sociology 135

 

HONR 181: Death and Society, 3 credit hrs.

How do we respond to death and why? This course examines historical and contemporary perspectives on death and dying. Students will explore variations in attitudes and rituals concerning death, funerals, grief, memorialization, and dying. Though the experiences of death and dying are intensely personal, they are shaped by social, political, legal, and cultural forces. These experiences also vary by culture, social class, age, race, gender, and religion. This course is reading and writing intensive. Prereq: One entry level sociology or anthropology course or instructor consent.

Instructor: Nancy Berns Crosslist: Sociology 181

 

HONR 184: Theories, Language & Discourse, 3 credit hrs.

The course is designed to familiarize students with the different ways theorists have studied and defined language and discourse. Theories constructed by philosophers, psychologists, linguists and social theorists are examined, and students become involved in critical analysis of the epistemological assumptions of these theories. Prereq ENG 60 and 61 and one course between 100 and 174. May be used as part of Women’s Studies Concentration.

Instructor: Craig Owens Crosslist: English 160

 

HONR 191: Women & Hebrew Scriptures, 3 credit hrs.

The basics of the course include reading Biblical accounts involving women and various commentaries on those Biblical accounts with a critical eye. These accounts will include "Genesis", "The Red Tent", and "The Five Books of Miriam". The goal is to come to an understanding of how the Jewish Bible deals with issues involving women and how such an understanding can help us understand issues today.

Instructor: Sally Frank Crosslists: Religion 151 and Law.

 

HONR 198: Independent Study, 1-3 credit hrs.

To encourage independent scholarship, students may earn Honors credit in an approved independent study either within the Honors Program or another department. Examples include a scientific experiment, a painting, a work of literary criticism, a short film or a research paper based on community service learning. The product typically is a written work that is presented at a public forum near semester's end. The project is coordinated with the Honors Program and completed in conjunction with a faculty adviser. Interested students must consult with the Honors Program director. Prereq.: Sophomore or higher standing and consent of the Honors Program director.

Honors Director: Jennifer McCrickerd Crosslist: None

 

HONR 199: Honors Senior Thesis, 3 credit hrs.

A preliminary agreement form is available at the Honors Program website, Forms The form must be submitted to the Honors Program Director before enrollment in the course is allowed. Students are asked to prepare a 1-2 page proposal summary and submit it, with the appropriate form, to the faculty project mentor and to the Honors Program Director for their signatures of approval. The form is due within three weeks of the start of the semester. Students will present their findings at a student/faculty forum held prior to the student's graduation. The Senior Thesis/Project offers students a time to develop ideas suggested by coursework or that have grown out of other learning experiences. It is an opportunity to do reading and pursue interests outside the structure of the classroom. The directed research involves a project that results in a product, such as a research paper, scientific experiment or creative work. The interdisciplinary project, which can be within or outside the student's academic concentration, is coordinated with the Honors Program and completed in conjunction with a Drake faculty adviser. For criteria and restrictions, students consult with the Honors Program director. Registration is limited to seniors in the Honors Program unless otherwise approved by the Honors Program director.

Honors Director: Jennifer McCrickerd Crosslist: None

 

University News
October 29, 2014
The Drake University Board of Trustees recently approved new degree programs in mathematics, science, education, technology, and health sciences while taking initial steps to further enhance the University’s programming through $65 million in new construction and renovation.
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