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You are here: Home Current Students Honors Courses & Registration Spring 2011

Course Offerings, Spring 2011

Students should always defer to the online schedule of courses for any updates made to registration numbers, or to be advised of class cancellations.

PRIORITY REGISTRATION begins October 2010. Registrar will confirm date and starting time by e-mail.  Advising starts mid September 2010.

In your advising appointment you will speak with an advisor about getting into Honors courses.  Honors staff will be responsible for granting Honors students permission to add these restricted courses. Once registration starts, students have 48 hours to use their permission. If the student does not add the honors course during this time, s/he will be removed from the list, and the next eligible student will be offered the space. Students will be notified of available spaces via their U of L e-mail accounts. Check your U of L account often.

A new policy, as of Feb. 26, 2007: students who are not already members of the University Honors Program, and wish to apply, may not apply from September 21-October 21, 2010. We will begin seeing new applicants on October 21, 2010. This change is to better serve students: new applicants need to hear more about the program, its benefits, as well as be advised for the upcoming semester.

Honors Integrated Courses

General Honors Courses

Honors Scholars Seminars


Honors Integrated Courses

This course will satisfy more than one general education requirement, providing a free elective in a degree program. It is expected that Honors students will take advantage of these electives to provide opportunities in their schedules at a later date for Honors seminars.

Topics in Social Sciences and Oral Communications (OCSB)
HON 214-xx
see below
Prof. Christine Steineck

This course satisfies General Education learning outcomes for Social Sciences and Oral Communication. See below for information on specific sections of HON 214:

Course Course Number Meeting Times Room Instructor
214-01 7808 MW, 4:00-5:15 TH 132 Christine Steineck
214-02 9228 TR, 1:00-2:15 TH 132 Christine Steineck

General Honors Course Offerings

Honors Principles of Accounting
ACCT 205-01 (5922)
TR 9:30-12:15
Prof. Christy Burge

Prerequisites: MATH 111 or 205 (or concurrently). Open only to students accepted in the Honors Program. Replaces Accounting 201/202 sequence in the business core. Students explore financial statement analysis and managerial accounting techniques and use these tools to solve business problems.

Art History
ARTH 290-01 (13104)
TR 11:00-12:15
Prof. Delin Lai

Course description can be found in the course catalog.

General Chemistry I (S)
CHEM 202-03
Lecture: TR 1:00-2:15
Prof. Mark Noble
See below for specific section information

The course will explore the relationship of the observable world with chemical or physical processes and with scientific aspects at the atomic and molecular level. Topics in the lecture will include problem solving, elements and compounds, chemical reactions, gas laws, energy, atomic structure, chemical bonding and molecular shape. The recitation section will provide more in-depth discussion of selected topics. See recitation information below:

Course Course Number Meeting Times Room Instructor
CHEM 202-03A 9738 W, 10:00-10:50 CB B16 Mark Noble
CHEM 202-03B 9740 W, 1:00-1:50 CB B16 Mark Noble
CHEM 202-03C 9742 W, 3:00-3:50 CB B16 Mark Noble

Introduction to Chemical Analysis III-SL
CHEM 209-03
Lecture: M 10:00-10:50
Prof. Rick Baldwin
See below for specific section information

Prerequisite: CHEM 208 and successful completion of or concurrent registration in CHEM 202. Continuation of CHEM 208.

Course Course Number Meeting Times Room Instructor
CHEM 209-03a 11180 M, 1:00-3:55 CB B16 TBA
CHEM 209-03B 11182 T, 2:30-5:20 CB B16 TBA
CHEM 209-03C 11184 R, 2:30-5:20 CB B16 TBA

Organic Chemistry Lab I
Prof. Chris Burns
See below for specific section information

Prerequisite: Co-requisite of CHEM 341 for 343; 341, 343 prerequisite and 342 co-requisite for 344. 4 lab. Techniques of modern organic chemistry: syntheses, mechanistic studies, identification of unknowns by chemical and spectroscopic methods, special projects.

Section Course Number Meeting Times
-04 7070 R, 9:30-1:25
-05 7072  F, 12:00-3:55
F, 1;00-4:55
R, 8:30-12:25

Speech Communication (OC)
COMM 111-18
TR 11:00-12:15 (7922)

The honors section of Communications 111 will focus on developing skills in both thinking about communication and in actual performance. Students will plan and deliver speeches, analyze example speeches (text and video), and critique the presentations of others in the course.

Interpersonal Skills (OC)
COMM 115-03 (7862)
TR 11:00-12:15
Training in basic processes and skills of face-to-face interaction. Emphasis on developing language, nonverbal, and conflict management skills.

Engineering Analysis Core I (M)
See your Speed Advisor for more information on registering for this course.
EAC 102-xx
See below for specific section information

Introduction to vector methods and development and use of differentiation and integration to solve engineering problems, including those involving motion, related rates, optimization, moments and centers of mass. Available sections include:

Section Course Number Meeting Times Instructor
-11 5204 M, 12:00-12:50 Tyler & Ralston
 -12 5206 M, 12:00-12:50 Tyler & Ralston
 -13 5212 M, 12:00-12:50 Tyler & Ralston

Principles of Macroeconomics (SB)
Prof. Jay Vahaly

An introduction to the U.S. economy, including long-term structural developments and short-term fluctuations. Theoretical models are presented to explain changes in national output, the price level, employment, and unemployment. Competing macroeconomic models are examined and contrasted. The models provide a framework for studying fiscal and monetary policy, and the effectiveness of macroeconomic policy during recent economic history is evaluated. May be taken before ECON 201.

-02 5764 MW, 1:00-2:15
-03 5762 MW, 4:00-5:15

Advanced Composition for Freshman


See below for specific section information

Students share reading and writing with one another; develop critical-thinking processes with special emphasis on the conventions of primary and secondary research; develop writing processes; and practice producing finished papers that reflect academic conventions, including longer texts of 1500-2000 words that require documentation. Course content includes formal and informal writing, readings, and collaborative work in writers’ groups. ENGL 105 will be offered at the following times:

Section Course Number Meeting Times Instructor
-01 7110 MWF, 1:00-1:50 TBA
 -02 7682  TR, 2:30-3:45 Schneider

Business Writing -- WR
ENGL 306-04 (6372)
MW 2:00-3:15

Prerequisite: ENGL 102 or 105. Note: Approved for the Arts and Sciences upper-level requirement in written communication (WR). Designed for advanced Business students and Arts and Sciences students anticipating careers in law, business, or government. Concentrates on writing in a variety of forms of business discourse. Emphasizes practicing writing processes, developing an appropriate style, learning professional problem-solving, integrating oral and written communication, and using new communication technologies.

History of Civilizations I (SB)
HIST 105-01 (7422)
TR, 1:00-2:15
Prof. Thomas Mackey

The purpose of this course is to trace the development of Western Civilization from earliest times to the beginning of early modern times, A.D. 1300. The contribution made during these times to that development that emanated from a non-western area, namely what is now called the Middle East, will be integrated into the larger European and Mediterranean context. In this way, a methodology and framework will be provided whereby the student can understand how the culture we now live in came to being, and how we may utilize our understand of past events to deal intelligently with the problems we face today. In addition, through reading and understanding ancient and medieval documents (albeit in translation), students may also gain some insight as to how professional historians do their work. Grades will be based on three non-cumulative midterm examinations. These examinations will be one of the non-multiple guess, true/false, fill-ins, curved variety. There will also be map work.

Honors Thesis (WR)

HON 420-01 (10496)
John Richardson

Note regarding this course: Students taking a departmental course for Senior Honors Project work may not sign up for HON 420. Please contact 852-6293 for more information.

Cultures of America (HCD1)
HUM 152-01 (7686)
MWF 11:00-11:50
Prof. Michael Johmann

Interdisciplinary study of the arts and humanities in contemporary American culture emphasizing the convergence of European, African, Hispanic, Asian, and indigenous cultures as well as the distinguishing characteristics of each culture as revealed in three of the following areas: fine arts, drama, literature, philosophy, religion, and popular entertainment.

Introduction to World Religions (HCD1)
HUM 216-05 (7496)
TR 1:00-2:15
Prof. R. Fuller

Introduction to World Religions will expose the students to the concept and elements of religion, the basic vocabulary of each major religious tradition, and establish the cultural context for each tradition while exploring the influence of religion upon culture. Students will strengthen and improve their respect for the major religious traditions and will be able to compare and contrast how different religious traditions provide humans with a framework to find meaning for life’s questions.


Introduction to Eastern Religions (HCD2)

HUM 218-01 (13222)

MWF 1:00-1:50
Prof. Pranke

A survey of the history, beliefs and sacred literatures of the religions of South and East Asia from the perspectives of the humanities and the history of religions.

Corrections in the U.S. (SB)
JA 202-02 (10946)
TR 11:00-12:15
Prof. E. Grossi

An introduction to the history, practices, and issues related to the correctional function in American criminal justice. Topics included are: history of prisons; inmate subcultures and institutions; correctional issues such as overcrowding, stress, sexual violence, and administrative problems. Both adult and juvenile corrections will be covered.

Management and Organizational Behavior
MGMT 301-01 (5816)
MW, 11:00-12:15
Profs. R.  Bruce

Prerequisite: ECON 201, CIS 100, BUS 201. Designed to provide students with the basic level of knowledge and skills in management and interpersonal processes necessary for more advanced business study and employment success.

Principles of Marketing
MKT 301-03 (8338)
TR 2:30-3:45
Profs. Laforge & Jones

Prerequisites: CIS 100, ECON 201, MGMT 201, Sophopmore Standing or above. A study of the behavioral, functional, societal, international, and institutional foundations of marketing, as well as the following marketing mix variables: product, price, promotion, and channels of distribution.

Calculus II (M)
MATH 206-02 (6920)
MWF 11:00-12:15

Prerequisites: MATH 205 or EAC 101. Continuation of MATH 205; introduction to infinite series.

Introduction to the Francophone World (HCD2)
ML 250-01 (7866)
MW 2:00-3:15
Prof. W. Yoder

A general introduction, taught in English, to the arts, culture and history of areas throughout the world in which French is the primary language.

African Languages in the Diaspora (CD2)
PAS 346-01 (11250)
MW 3:00-4:15
Prof. J. Carew

Course explores the many manifestations of African and other linguistic influences as seen in the Diaspora through an analysis of various media, including literature, political speech, popular culture and other expressive forms. (Humanities) Credit may not be earned for this course and PAS 546.

Introduction to Philosophy (H)
PHIL 205-03 (6586)
MWF 2:00-2:50
Prof. T. Cantrell

Prerequisite: ENGL 101. Selected writings by important philosophers (e.g., Plato, Aristotle), illustrating their problems, methods, and conclusions.

Introduction to Logic
PHIL 311-03 (6694)
TR 9:30-10:45
Prof. J. Post

Introduction to formal and informal techniques of argument analysis, with emphasis on applications to ordinary language.

International Organization (WR)
POLS 331-01 (9962)
TR 4:00-5:15
Prof. M. Fowler

Note: Approved for the Arts and Sciences upper-level requirement in written communication (WR). Work of the United Nations and non-governmental organizations in peacemaking; peacekeeping, and the promotion of global economic, social and humanitarian progress through the interpretation of international law.

Introduction to Psychology (SB)
PSYC 201-03 (7342)
TR 9:30-10:45
Prof. M. Leonard

This course is designed to introduce and explore the scientific study of human behavior. Emphasis is placed on theoretical principles, methods of analysis and scientific application of the various fields comprising psychology. Course work will focus more on the analysis, synthesis, and critical evaluation of these principles, rather than on simple terminology and "facts."

Life-Span Developmental Psychology
PSYC 363-02 (9172)
TR 2:30-3:45
Prof. B. Burns

Prerequisite: PSYC 201 or consent of instructor. Principles of life-span developmental psychology (conception to old age).

Introduction to Sociology (SB)
SOC 201-02 (13267)
MW 4:00-5:15
Prof. M. Austin

Note: Formerly SOC 209. Introduction to the study of human societies. How societies are organized and changed and the implications of social organization on everyday life.

Enjoyment of Theater (A)
TA 207-02 (13905)
TR 2:30-3:45
Prof. M. Hottois

A survey of theatre from its origins to the present, with emphasis on dramatic literature, and theatrical techniques. Attendance at department productions is required.

Honors Scholars Seminars


International Travel Seminar



International Criminal Justice Systems (Overseers International Seminar)

Honors 331/341-01    

TR, 2:30 – 3:45          
Prof. Deborah Keeling

This course is a comparative study of criminal justice systems throughout the world with a specific emphasis on criminal justice in Turkey.  Specifically, the manner in which Turkish history, culture, geographic location and politics have influenced the structure and operations of their criminal justice system will be emphasized.  The course will conclude with a two week trip to Istanbul & Ankara, Turkey, and the surrounding areas. Travel is tentatively scheduled for mid-May 2011. 


Applications for this course will be available beginning Monday, Sept. 13 in the Etscorn Honors Center lobby or online here.  Criteria for applying for this course can be found online here.

This course fulfills degree requirements in the Humanities or the Social Sciences.


Death & Dying

Honors 331/341-02    

TR, 9:30–10:45          

Prof. Jonetta Weber

Although dying is a biological process and death is a naturally occurring result of the process of dying, we have created numerous metaphors and euphemisms to avoid saying directly someone is dead or dying or having to deal with the topic.  We speak of having “lost” the dead, or the dead as having “departed,” “passed on,” “gone home,” and either “laid to rest,” or “resting in peace,” to name but just a few. Some euphemisms are more light-hearted, meant to lessen the gravity of death; the dead are said to have “kicked the bucket,” “given up the ghost,” or are “six feet under.”   Why do we use such language instead of speaking directly about death and dying? 


Death and dying are generally not welcome topics, and many people do not want to consider–let alone discuss–their own death or how they will live through the dying process.  As Woody Allen said in Without Feathers (1976), “It’s not that I’m afraid to die.  I just don’t want to be there when it happens!”  However, many of us want–and need–to discuss death and dying, because, as Plato noted in his last dialogue, Phaedo, "Must not all things at the last be swallowed up in [physical] death?"

When people do confront and either accept or deny death and dying–and handle bereavement, each does so as member of a group or groups and as a member of a society.  How we cope with death and dying is, therefore, impacted by our group memberships (gender, religious or cultural beliefs, etc.).  Because death is an event which we all must face ourselves and often with our loved ones, it warrants examination.  Therefore, this course will examine thanatology (the study of death, dying, and bereavement) from a sociological perspective, exploring how we socially construct death, dying, and bereavement in the United States. 


This course fulfills degree requirements in the Humanities or the Social Sciences.   


The American Century in Movie Musicals

Honors 331/341-03    

TR, 9:30–10:45          

Prof. Bert Harris

Lights! Camera! . . . Sociology?

Strike Up the Band! (and the Economics Department?)

The Show — and the Politics — must go on!

If movies reflect and reinforce contemporary popular culture, what can be gleaned from arguably the most escapist form of popular culture, the movie musical?  How might the fantasies encoded in these entertainments shed light on the everyday experience of the typical American, decade by decade, during the American Century? Can you really figure out, based on these movies, something about why your parents (and grandparents) act and think the way they do?

In this seminar, we will examine each decade from the 1930s through the 1990s, looking at information on social, political, and economic conditions in each decade and then watching a number of musicals from each.  Our recurring question will be: is it possible to connect the style of the musicals to developments in society?  (My premise is that it will be possible.)

Grading in the seminar will be based on a series of in-class presentations and on participation in class discussions.  This course fulfills degree requirements in the Humanities or the Social Sciences.

Designing Greener

Honors 341/351-04    

TR, 2:30 – 3:45

Prof. Sarah Lynn Cunningham

Designing greener buildings and communities—as well as ways of working and living—uses fewer resources, prevents pollution, cuts costs and boosts health and welfare. Because greener designs are more sustainable, they improve the Triple Bottom Line (environmental, economic and social). This seminar will present the principles of greener design, from the single household to the metropolitan community. It will be structured along the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) programs.  And because the greenest designs result only through interdisciplinary teamwork  and communication, this seminar will, too, in the form of classroom lectures and discussions, field trips, readings, short papers and small-group projects. Students may also explore how greener design might relate to their career interests. 


This seminar fulfills a degree requirement in Social Sciences or Natural Sciences.


Architecture and the American Home

Honors 341/351-05    

TR, 5:30 – 6:45          

Prof. Eric Hansen                                                           

There may be no other aspect of life where the ordinary and the spiritual are as intermingled and complex as with the subject of house and home. We will attempt to understand how residential architecture has shaped our society and how it is shaped by society. We will view various historical and geographical housing forms and trace the development of residential Architecture in U.S. history. We will see how different Architects approach the issue of the house and we will travel to various sites in Louisville such as Farmington, St. James Court, Homearama and Norton Commons. We will also visit some noteworthy local homes.


We will discuss the issue of growth in post war America and investigate the proliferation of urban sprawl, urban blight and the concept of smart growth. We will read and discuss books such as "A Pattern Language" by Christopher Alexander and "The Architecture of Community" by Leon Krier. We will discuss our own homes and attempt to visualize various "Dream Homes" that we yearn for. We will look into the idea of the house of the future and explore the likelihood and desirability of housing that is much smaller, urban and sustainable than the houses that we are used to.


I hope that we will be able to create some simple models and drawings of our own design, based around a proposed house located on an actual site near U of L. Our goal will be to better understand how Architecture can help us to become more appreciative of our own dwelling and become more involved with the development of our community.

This course fulfills degree requirements in the Social Sciences or Natural Sciences.


A LGBTQ History of the United States| WR

Honors 336/346-01

MW, 2:00 –3:15

Prof. Nickole Brown


Until 1973, the American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality as a mental disorder, and just last November, California voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage.  This all stems from a long history that began in the Puritan colony of Massachusetts that listed homosexuality as an offense punishable by death.  Many consider gay rights as the civil rights issue of today, and this course will investigate this issue by learning the history of gay rights and experience as told through literature, graphic novels, film, and poetry.  Specific concentration will be given to the life of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, and especially the AIDS epidemic and how this disease impacts the LGBTQ community. Designed as an interdisciplinary course, this class is meant to connect students with this important issue connected with the history and nature of U.S. culture by concentrating on the art that was created within and about it. 

This course fulfills degree requirements in the Humanities or the Social Sciences.


Science Literacy and Popular Culture

Honors 441/451-01    

MW, 2:00 – 3:15        

Prof. Jennifer Gregg


"All I know about science I learned from watching television."


Most people agree that having a basic knowledge of scientific principles is not merely a luxury, but a necessity, in today's world. Further, about 4 in 5 adults think science education is "absolutely essential" or "very important" to the U.S. healthcare system (86%), the U.S. global reputation (79%), and the U.S. economy (77%).  Why is it, then, that 70 percent of Americans cannot read and understand the science section of the New York Times?  Only about 28 percent of American adults currently qualify as scientifically literate. 


Using a science literacy framework, with a theoretical understanding of the mass media, we will analyze movies, television, and fiction to understand the role pop culture plays in creating (or destroying) a scientifically literate society.

 This seminar fulfills a degree requirement in Social Sciences or Natural Sciences.                               

What it Takes to be a CEO

Honors 441-02**

TR, 8:00 – 9:15

Prof. Christy Burge


Are you aspiring to be a great leader? What are the common traits of great leaders? Do you have what it takes?

We will be trying to identify the traits great business, political and sports leaders have in common. We will read and discuss such best-sellers as Good to Great, Lincoln on Leadership, and a couple of others. Every student will have the opportunity to choose a leader he or she believes is great and analyze that leader based on traits identified. There will be opportunity for open debate amongst peers. We will have numerous leaders from the community to discuss their opinions of leadership strategies and traits.  A community project of your design is assigned to help you apply the skills of a great leader. HON 441-02 fulfills degree requirements in the Social Sciences.  This course is cross-listed with the College of Business as BUS 441-01 (9847). For information on registering for this course through the College of Business, please contact them directly.

This seminar fulfills a degree requirement in Social Sciences. **This course is cross-listed with the College of Business as BUS 441-01.

The Literature of the Civil War| WR

Honors 436/446-01**  

TR, 11:00–12:15        

Prof. Susan Ryan


This course draws on a wealth of recent scholarship on the social and cultural resonances of the American Civil War.  We will focus not on generals and battles, but rather on cultural production during and after the war, with particular attention to questions of race, mourning, reunion, and memory.  Primary materials will include a range of texts that are in various ways commenting on or haunted by the war, including Joel Chandler Harris's Uncle Remus tales, Charles Chesnutt's short stories, Frances Harper’s reconstruction novel (Iola Leroy), magazine features that recount the war and its aftermath, soldiers’ personal narratives, and poetry by Whitman, Melville, Dickinson, and others. We’ll also pay attention to the era’s visual representations of the war, including sentimental illustrations, political cartoons, and photographs. Secondary texts will include historical analyses by David Blight (on the Civil War and American memory) and Kirk Savage (on the racial politics of war monuments) and literary/cultural analyses by Kathleen Diffley, Shirley Samuels, Elizabeth Young, and Alice Fahs.  Students will do original archival research as part of this course.

This course fulfills degree requirements in the Humanities or the Social Sciences.  ** This course is cross-listed with English as ENGL 402-01.


Body & Health II: The Community| WR

Honors 446/456-02**

TR, 1:00 – 2:15          

Prof. Paul Salmon

The purpose of this course is to study the topic of health and wellness in the context of the broader community. We will do this by continuing work on a visionary plan for a Community Wellness Center for the West End of Louisville, in collaboration with the office of the Vice President for Community Engagement. The proposed center will serve as an anchor point for facilities, programs, and research on health and wellness conducted by University staff, faculty, and students. The center will serve as a Wellness Center for a diverse population of children and adults drawn from the surrounding geographical area, many of whom have been designated as underserved populations with elevated health risk levels. The Center will offer a diverse range of fitness, health, and wellness facilities, as well as community-oriented health programs, classes, and other resources.  The seminar is divided into 5 sections: 1) Community, Health and Sustainability; 2) Demographics, Health Status, Health Disparities and Access to Healthcare; 3) Community-Wide Health Challenges and Environmental Factors; 4) Personal Health and Sustainability: An Overview of Exercise Programming; and 5) Community Wellness Center: An Integrative View of Sustainable Health.

This course fulfills degree requirements in the Social Sciences or Natural Sciences. **This course is cross-listed with Psychology as PSYC 404-02.

Speech & Hearing| WR

Honors 446/456-03**

MW, 3:30 – 4:45        

Prof. Pavel Zahorik                               

From our abilities of aural communication to the enjoyment of music, the sense of hearing provides us with critical information about the world around us.  This course is an introduction and overview of speech and hearing science.  Topics will include: the physics of sound, the structure and function of the ear and auditory pathway, sound detection and discrimination, masking, pitch perception, musical scales, sound localization, speech production, and speech perception. 

This course fulfills degree requirements in the Social Sciences or Natural Sciences. **This course is cross-listed with Psychology as PSYC 404-01.

Theories and Contemporary Issues in International Relations| WR

Honors 436/446-04**

TR, 4:00 – 5:15          

Prof. Jason Abbott

This course explores “hot topics” within the context of the disciplines of International Relations and International Political Economy in order to provide students with the theoretical and conceptual tools with which to analyze them critically. Issues covered will include: the United Nations and world orders; war and the utility of force in the 21st Century; nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea; religion in international politics; conflict, insurgency, and terrorism; uses of and reactions to US “leadership;” civil wars and the problems and merits of nation-building; the meaning of “globalization” – pros and cons; and the environment and climate change.

This course fulfills degree requirements in the Humanities or Social Sciences.  **This course is cross-listed with Political Science as POLS 506-01. 


Legal History-Revolution, Slavery & Rights| WR

Honors 436/446-76**

R, 4:30 – 7:15

Prof. Thomas Mackey


Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court once wrote, “This abstraction call the Law is a magic mirror, [wherein] we see reflected, not only our own lives, but the lives of all men that have been.”  Holmes believed that this “magic mirror” of the law offered historians an opportunity to explore the social, cultural, and economic choices as well as the moral imperatives of previous generations.  This Honors seminar provides an opportunity to explore some of the major problems in the field of United States Legal History.  In particular, the seminar examines three areas: first, the founding era from the Revolution to the 1787 Constitution.  Second, the seminar examines the problem of slavery and the legal order in the era of Abraham Lincoln; and, third, it examines the rise of a “rights consciousness” over the course of the twentieth-century.  Holmes understood that law can be used as a mirror reflecting a culture’s values; thus, the purpose of this seminar is to analyze on United States values as embodied in the legal choices of previous generations.


This course fulfills degree requirements in the Humanities or Social Sciences.  **This course is cross-listed with History as HIST 510-76.

Sartre and African-American Thinkers| WR

Honors 436/446-05    

TR, 4:00 – 5:15          

Prof. Dismas Masolo


This course seeks tom introduce students to the reading and discussion of the key philosophical texts that shaped the twentieth century liberation movements in Africa and its Diaspora. These readings will introduce students to the elements of the critique of European modernity in European and Afro-Caribbean texts long before “post-modern” became everyone’s terminology.


Existentialism is arguably one of the most popular and perhaps also most influential movements in the history of the discipline of philosophy, not only because of its inter-disciplinary character, but also, and perhaps even more importantly, because of the endeavors of its proponents to make philosophy applicable to the examination of life experiences both everyday and in historical circumstances. Hence we tend to appreciate the connections and ramifications it had with and for many post-WW II social movements in the world. But we rarely focus on those texts that make those linkages directly and explicitly with specific liberation movements such as in Africa and in the African diaspora. Coming at, or concommitantly with, the end of direct colonial and other various forms of domination, existential philosophy, especially as seen by Jean-Paul Sartre, contributed to the intellectual backdrop of African and Afro-Caribbean leaders’ quest for freedom for their people. Some of these leaders, like Léopold Sédar Senghor, did not find influence from Sartre, but shared with him the influence of some European thinkers whose visions are distinctly present in his own work as they are in Sartre’s own. Hence this Seminar will try to focus on the connections between him and his work, on the one hand, and, on the other, the works and thoughts of some of the key players in the Pan-African movement.

 This course fulfills degree requirements in the Humanities or Social Sciences. 

A Course in Thriving | WR
HON 436-06 / HON 446-06  
M, 5:30-8:15
Prof. Harry Pickens

A Course in Thriving provides an overview of research on human fulfillment. Reaching beyond popular notions of 'happiness' and 'success', the psychology of thriving explores human fulfillment in the face of life's inevitable challenges, difficulties, and heartbreaks.

How does a Ludwig Von Beethoven prevail in the face of deafness, a Christopher Reeve lead a life of superhuman dedication and determination, a Helen Keller transform seeming insurmountable physical challenges to become a beacon of hope for many, a Nelson Mandela endure nearly three decades of imprisonment and emerge calm, centered, and committed to transforming a nation?

What does research tell us about the attitudes, beliefs, character traits, social networks, mindsets, actions and choices of these and other thrivers who alchemically transform life's tragedies and tough times into triumph? What are the social and cultural values and mores that cultivate a greater capacity to thrive? What can we learn from thrivers about living more engaged, meaningful, passionate and purposeful lives? What practical steps can we take to cultivate our own capacity to thrive in the midst of whatever challenges life brings our way?

This course fulfills degree requirements in the Humanities or Social Sciences.


Smart Solutions for a Sustainable Society| WR

HON 446-07/HON 456-07

W, 5:30 – 8:15

Prof. Harry Pickens

This interdisciplinary exploration introduces the critical challenges facing humanity at this unique time in history and explores many of the most promising solutions that are emerging around the globe.

“Humanity as a whole faces daunting challenges that put our own survival into question. We do have reason to believe we can turn things around, but time is short to do so. Until we are willing to look squarely at our situation, we remain largely unmoved by its realities. Yet once we summon the courage to confront our predicament, we find that indeed there is much we can do on levels big and small, and many signs of hope and possibility. According to current data, we are rapidly nearing a point of no return for saving much of what we know and love on our beautiful planet. There is no time to wait! Restoring balance and sustainability across the globe will take our best minds and a critical mass of citizens who are not just concerned but committed to making the changes required.”

Allen, Vinit. The Sustainable World Sourcebook (2009)

The course provides an overview of five key areas of concern: environment, energy, economics, social justice, and communities. Students practice thinking critically about local, regional, national and global problems and explore how individuals and communities are making a difference. Students develop a personal sustainability action plan as they discover how they can tap their individual passions, skills, and strengths to make a meaningful contribution to a world that works for everyone.

This course fulfills degree requirements in the Social Sciences or Natural Sciences.



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