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Spring 2018 Course Offerings

HONR 051: Physicial Science3 credit hrs.

Intro to Physical Science is designed for education students to cover concepts of physical science and the scientific method, with discussions of their applications to modern technology. There are two hours of lecture and two hours of lab per week. The course will also explore the history of science as well as the philosophy/nature of the physical sciences. That is, the course will explore physical phenomena, explore the historical development of human understanding of these phenomena, and work to make explicit the underlying assumptions, social forces, and epistemic commitments of the physical sciences. Honors Track students may apply this course either towards the honors elective requirements OR the lab science requirement, but not both at the same time.


HONR 053: Life & Teaching of Jesus, 3 credit hrs.

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.


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.


HONR 066: Beatles Popular Music / Society, 3 credit hrs.

Often referred to as the greatest rock and roll band of all times, The Beatles' influence on popular music and contemporary culture is unquestionable. The societal context of the growth of Rock and Roll will serve as the framework for this course, which will chart the Beatles rapid rise to fame, their careers as a band and solo artists, and their continued impact on popular music and culture in the 21st century. This course will provide an in-depth, record-by-record, look at the music of this extraordinary group and the unique songwriting partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Additionally, the course will explore the development of global cross-promotional marketing, as applied by the Beatles and their corporation, Apple. Designed for non- music majors, this course will help to develop critical listening skills, and demonstrate the progression of musical concepts and themes still being applied in popular music today. Intended audience: Honors Track students who have credit hours that classify them as first-year or sophomore.


HONR 086: Borders and Borderlands, 3 credit hrs.

Borders and Borderlands: Comparing the U.S.- Mexico Boundary and Beyond-- This course examines the topic of borders and borderlands from an anthropological perspective that will allow students to become familiar with various dynamics and problems as well as with key concepts, debates, and approaches within the disciplines of anthropology and border studies. We will examine numerous topics including migration, policing, in/security, violence, environmental vulnerability, cultural production, etc. through particular case studies of the U.S.-Mexico border and beyond. By looking at these issues, we will consider the social and political relations that shape popular understandings, expectations, and attitudes towards this boundary and trace, in turn, how the boundary and its dynamics affect the North American social and political landscape.


HONR 087: Haunted Futures, 3 credit hrs.

Haunted Futures: Theories of Horror and Science Fiction and Science Fiction as Cultural Genres This course will explore analysis and theories of film, literature, podcasts, and other forms of cultural production in the genre of Horror and Science Fiction. Methods of analysis will include visual art, film theory, philosophy and post-colonial thought.


HONR 100 - 4173 - Paths to Knowledge, 4 credit hrs.

The topic chosen as the focus of interdisciplinary study this semester is that of 'friendship.' Just about every discipline has something to say about friendship and when anyone writes about friendship they inevitably draw on work from other disciplines. This makes it a particularly good topic for our study. We will begin the course with an overview but as time progresses we will, as a class, decide what focused question we want to answer. Then, as the semester progresses, each student will also decide what particular question regarding friendship, as an individual, to answer.


HONR 100 - 8029 - Paths to Knowledge, 4 credit hrs.

As a response to the Drake mission to prepare "students for responsible global citizenship," this course will examine the use of humanities, social, physical, behavioral sciences as cognitive tools to understand and respond to the established and long-lived historical fact of globalization and contemporary global problems. The course will be organized around the multiple conceptions of what 'knowledge' is, what it means, how it is generated, and how it operates via the identification of issues of global significance such as global population, global environment and climate, economic globalization, and global security issues (variously defined). In particular, students will be challenged to examine their knowledge through understanding the nature of science, economics, politics, psychology, sociology, history, among other discipline-based ways of knowing. How do you know about a global problem? What do you know about a global problem? Who gets to decide it is a (global) problem? Whose problem is it?


HONR 100 - 9162 - Paths to Knowledge, 4 credit hrs.

In this course we will undertake an interdisciplinary study of creativity, and among the questions we will address are: What is it to be creative? What are the sources of creativity? Are there different forms of creativity? Why is creativity important? What is the relationship between creativity and knowledge? Can creativity be taught?


HONR 110: Contructing 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 mechanisms 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 of '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?


HONR 116: Community Writing, 3 credit hrs.

Community writing, or community-engaged writing, is the interdisciplinary study of writing based in genres such as service-learning, community-based research, ethnography, activist/advocacy writing, and creative writing produced across a variety of print and digital platforms on behalf of a community beneficiary. In the Spring 2018 version of this course, we will partner with HCI Care Services & Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, a non-profit community-based healthcare and human services organization that provides compassionate care, comfort and support to vulnerable populations. Students will work with selected families facing chronic or serious illness, individuals receiving grief support services, or parents learning how to care for their children. Participants will use a combination of established and innovative processes that involve interviewing and writing as a form of direct or indirect service, such as recording and editing a storybook or short video of a client or a hospice patient’s life as a gift to the family and the organization, creating profiles of extraordinary volunteers, or showing a “day-in-the-life” perspective of direct care employees to share with donors. Required work: in addition to the content produced as service in connection with our community partner, students will participate in an orientation taught by HCI Care Services and VNS of Iowa; maintain a written journal requiring both personal reflection and critical analysis on selected topics; read literature from several genres on the subjects of healthcare, illness and grief; and produce two articles (one research and one auto- biographical). All undergraduate and graduate students with strong writing skills and a desire to serve are encouraged to enroll, including those from the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Some travel may be required (transportation can be arranged). Background check clearance, liability waivers, and TB shots required of all participants.


HONR 117: Transatlantic Landscapes, 3 credit hrs.

This new course focuses on an interdisciplinary understanding of “landscape” conventions within a transatlantic context. We will read theories about art history and aesthetics (particularly in history and landscape painting) by Sir Joshua Reynolds, John Ruskin, Thomas Cole, Asher Durand and others. We will examine paintings, prints and drawings by John Constable, J.M.W. Turner, Frederic Church, 19th century American women painters and amateur travelers. Our focus will be on how different aesthetic modes reflect and produce different understandings of "nature" and the human presence in the landscape. We will look at art/writing in the context of colonialism, economic change, the rise of the middle class, travel/tourism and other contexts that shape 19th century identity (both national and individual) in Anglo-American contexts. We will also consider ways that writing and the visual arts share certain concerns--but also represent nature, humanity, history and divinity in different ways.


HONR 118: Youth, Culture, and Society, 3 credit hrs.

This course provides students with an introduction to the study of youth, culture, and society, focusing on urban contexts and schools. This course will examine youth (and adolescence) as historically and culturally specific social formation. We will engage and discuss the construction of youth and its relationship to larger structural forces (e.g., racial, cultural, social, economic, and political contexts) that impact and shape their lives. Using multiple texts, writing assignments, and reflective practices, students will critically examine ideological and representational understandings of youth and youth cultural practices. Specific topics include representations, popular culture, incarceration, subculture, social movements, immigration, sexuality, the politics of urban schooling; and the multiple ways in which youth negotiate, resist, and disrupt their identities.


HONR 122: Framing Race, 3 credit hrs.

What are the necessary individual and institutional ethical responses to long legacies of systemic racial injustice and hierarchy? This course will explore what it would mean and what it would take to move the framework for discussing race away from diversity and inclusion and towards a focus on structural change and repair of harm done. The class will explore political, educational, corporate and ecclesial approaches to reparations, while paying careful attention to the current national racial climate out of which such calls emerge, especially arguments being made by activists such as those affiliated with Black Lives Matter. This course is affiliated with the 2016-2019 Baum Chair for Ethics in the Professions.


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. Prerequisite: Math 020, Math 050, or Math 070.


HONR 125: Philosophy of Religion, 3 credit hrs.

The philosophy of religion, broadly defined, is the philosophical examination of religious reasoning. As practiced, however, the philosophy of religion usually gets narrowly focused on either the rationality of modern-western religion or the religiosity of modern-western philosophy. This course ventures a new approach in the philosophy of religion, one that is religiously diverse and historically grounded. As such, it seeks first to survey several different instances of reason-giving in several different religions of the world. It will then formally compare these instances of reason-giving in an effort to detect important and interesting similarities and differences between them. Finally, it will ask whether and how these instances and patterns can be critically evaluated with respect to their truth and value. Since this is a philosophy of religion course, particular emphasis will be placed on this third and final step: can one inquire into the truth and value of religious reasons and ideas? If so, how? If not, why not? Note that this class is designed to accompany Drake University’s public program in comparative religion, The Comparison Project ( As such, its topic of comparison is The Comparison Project's 17-18 theme: miracles.


HONR 129: Philosophy of Science, 3 credit hrs.

This course will examine the major topics and issues of contemporary philosophy of science, including: debates about the demarcation of science; issues related to theory change; questions of confirmation, evidence, and falsification; the nature of scientific explanation; the nature of laws; and the relative merits of various positions in the scientific realism debate.


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.


HONR 144: Health & Development Aid, 3 credit hrs.

Certainly, a desire to "give back" and help make the world a better place is a noble ambition. Unfortunately, the road to perdition is paved with such good intentions. The data is clear that health development aid can do harm as well as good. In this seminar, we will explore why countries are poor, what can be done to alleviate their poverty, and some of the results of health and development aid schemes. This is a reading and discussion intensive seminar type course that will familiarize students with current theories, and controversies in health and development aid. Working in this area is not easy. Idealists and do-gooders burn out quickly. Having an awareness of the major issues in development will assist you in being as effective as possible in your volunteer work or career as an aid worker. It will also make you a better informed citizen and voter. If you finish the course more confused than when you started it, that simply means you now understand how complex health and development aid actually is. Prerequisite: HSCI 144 or POLS 127.


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.


HONR 152: Interfaith: Understanding / Engagement, 3 credit hrs.

In this course, students will develop the literacies, skills and experiences relevant to becoming an interfaith leader. We will study contemporary texts on issues of religious diversity (including atheism and agnosticism), pluralism, and interfaith understanding. These texts will serve as the basis for our own self-reflection on personal faith experiences and our engagement with others through interfaith dialogue. We will create digital stories about faith experiences as well as host an interfaith dialogue event, open to the campus community. This course serves as a prerequisite for students wishing to work as counselors at Drake's 2018 Interfaith Youth Camp.


HONR 157: Feminism, Nature, Matter, 3 credit hrs.

This 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 SCSS, SCSA, or WGS/ENSP/SCSS 075.


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.


HONR 162: Urban Environmental History, 3 credit hrs.

The history of cities cannot be understood without under- standing the physical world. This course introduces the ways that the environment has been influential in shaping human experience, as well as how humans have in turn shaped the environment. Themes include the interconnectedness of people and nature, public health, ecological health, and the link between local and global. The course balances environments that are both physical (geology, rivers, trees and concrete) and cultural (society, ideas and design). We will investigate urban environmental history through different times, places and lenses. We seek to use historical context to understand recent social and environmental events like Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey, Midwestern flooding, and municipal water supply crises (Flint and Des Moines). We will include subjects like campus sustainability, environmental inequality, urban agriculture, food justice, urban planning, walkability, and our class will ponder post-industrial challenges and visions. Importantly, we will understand the city through environmental and social lenses and link the two. We'll explore urban environments with texts, guests and field trips. We'll define the city as the environment and an environment. We'll consider the future in light of its past and, as we become sensitive to historical context, we'll see how diverse actors, dramatic events, and policy-making reverberate today.


HONR 164: Existentialism and Film, 3 credit hrs.

Explore the meaning of life through films as well as readings in existential philosophy. This class will investigate questions about personal identity, fate and human freedom, moral relativism and universal truth, and finding fulfillment in life through readings by philosophers from a variety of world cultures. These readings will be paired with a selection of films all providing a different perspective on existential themes. All films will be available on reserve at the library, and students should plan on watching movies outside of class as part of weekly homework assignments.


HONR 165: Science and Society, 3 credit hrs.

This course examines the nature of science as a thoroughly social and cultural practice. It focuses on the very doing of science rather than the many ways that science as an "institution" impacts "society." It considers science as a way of thinking and seeing, as well as a way of being in the world and draws on major works from the history and sociology of science and from science studies to do this. Prerequisites: One sociology or anthropology course or instructor permission.


HONR 170: Women & Gender in Modern America, 3 credit hrs.

Seventy years ago a pioneering historian asked what U.S. history would look like seen "through women's eyes." In recent years historians have tackled the project, producing a dynamic new history of women and transforming our understanding of the past in the process. This course pursues three related questions. How does our vision of U.S. history change when we place women at the center of analysis? How has gender shaped, and been shaped by, developments in U.S. history? And how can we explain the differences among women's experiences? In this seminar, we will examine historical experiences common to American women while paying close attention to differences and divisions among them. We will also explore how individuals and groups have contested and perpetrated the ways Americans think about and experience gender in family life, education, sexuality, work, marriage, and politics. The course is designed for upper-division students to deepen their knowledge of U.S. history, to learn about important themes in women's and gender history, and to provide a structured opportunity to conduct historical research and analysis in this field.


HONR 171: Neuroscience and the Law, 3 credit hrs.

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.


HONR 173: Physics and Philosophy, 3 credit hrs.

Some of our current physical theories have quite radical and seemingly paradoxical things to say about reality. But what do they really mean? What are their philosophical consequences? Why should we take them seriously? This course offers an examination of these and other questions. We will study various conceptions of space and time across history and consider philosophical issues arising from classical and quantum mechanics. Topics will include: the various conceptions of space and time; the debate between absolute and relative space; special and general relativity; spatio-temporal locality and non-locality; the ontology of fields; determinism and inter-determinism; and the interpretation of quantum mechanics, including wave-particle duality, the measurement problem, and the uncertainty principle. The course is self-contained: all of the math and physics necessary for doing well in the course will be taught in class. A prior detailed knowledge of physics is not required. This course will be presented primarily on a conceptual level, with use of mathematics limited as much as possible, but we will occasionally make use of some algebra and basic calculus.


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.


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.

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