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Paths to Knowledge

Each Paths to Knowledge (Paths) course is unique, asking students to consider different interdisciplinary topics from many angles.

This course is required for anyone who is fulfilling their General Education requirements using Honors courses for the Honors Track of the Drake Curriculum. The Paths course is designed to help you reflect upon your interdisciplinary courses of the past and prepare you to make the most out of your interdisciplinary studies in the future. The foci of sections of Paths to Knowledge differ depending upon the Honors faculty teaching. The lab must be taken with the same instructor who is teaching the course.

The two sections of Fall 2023 HONR 100: Paths to Knowledge courses will address: 

Theories and Isms? (Professor, Matthew Hayden, Honors Program Director)

Theories are the fundamental construct of academic activity, and despite the conventional notion, most of us do not know what, exactly, theory is. What makes a theory a theory? Why are theories used? To what extent do theories help us mis/understand the world? When is theory un/helpful? This course will attempt to answer these and other questions about theories. Despite the conventional notion that theory is impractical, it guides the activity of most academic research, knowledge production, and disciplinary pursuits, and then filters out into public consciousness, influencing the way people think and live. This course will begin with the examination of three specific theories such as postmodernism, Marxism, feminism, and pragmatism, socialism, critical theory, or capitalism. Students will explore the origins, key characteristics, and applications of these theories to various disciplines in the humanities, liberal arts, and professional fields. Students will gain the skill a capacity to work with, apply, and deconstruct complex issues using theories, and as such, this course would be of particular interest and use to students considering graduate school.

Why People Hate Their Jobs: The Problem of Employment (Associate Professor, Nate Holdren)

In 2017 a poll by the public opinion research company Gallup found that 85% of people world-wide hated their jobs. This poll sparked a flurry of editorials that questioned the exact figures and the definitions of terms. That response made it clear that for many influential people it was scandalous to treat work as a problem, yet many people do. In addition, work is frequently defined as either changing rapidly in the present or as having remained fundamentally the same for ages, and those changes are always potentially Earth-shaking. In all of these depictions, work tends to be treated as in some way problematic - people need to change their relationship to work or prevent that relationship from changing - but there is little agreement about what exactly the problem is. Given current trends in work related to the economy, policy, and technology, it is likely that work will continue being treated as a problem and one about which there is widespread disagreement. What is clear, however, is that we have to work, we’re expected to have a set of feelings and attitudes toward work which others will see as correct or incorrect, and work remains a problem about which our society disagrees deeply. With all of that in mind, in this class we will investigate the ways in which employment is variably treated as a source of satisfaction and dissatisfaction; a matter of personal calling, purpose, and identity; an imposition and a burden; a thing to embrace and a thing to avoid; something we need in order to be happy and free and something we need to escape in order to be happy and free.  



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