Information contained on this page is subject to change. Please be sure to double check this information before registering by referring to the online schedule of courses (link to schedule of courses).
Information contained on this page is subject to change. Please be sure to double check this information before registering by referring to the online schedule of courses (link to schedule of courses).
National Travel Seminar By
National travel seminars are by application only. A panel comprised of the faculty teaching the seminar, the Honors Director, and counselors will review each application, rate it and make final determination in time for chosen students to select how they would like the course to count before priority registration begins. A waiting list is typically maintained for the course, comprised of alternates chosen from the applicant pool. Students are expected to comply with payment deadlines and participate actively in the course. Student cost for this course is estimated at $350.
Urban Philanthropy: How Modernism Invaded Philadelphia – WR
Dr. Patricia Condon
This seminar directs its attention to the private motives, civic patronage and philanthropic intentions of the elite vanguard of early modern art collectors who earned their permanent place in cultural history by dedicating their energies and their distinctly American fortunes to acquiring contemporary European and American art works from art dealers and artists (primarily in New York and Paris), and then gifted their entire collections for public viewing. Two Philadelphia art institutions, the Barnes Foundation and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will be our central focus in this comparative study of the broad artistic, economic, intellectual, legal and ethical issues raised by the gifting of private art collections as an “intact” unit to a public museum. Students will dedicate the initial weeks of seminar research and discussion to establishing a solid grasp of the perimeters of the topic. Then, as a national travel seminar, we will take a Spring Break trip to Philadelphia (projected for Sunday March 9th thru Wednesday March 12th) where we will experience the museums in their urban settings in Fairmont Park along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. In this course, we will tighten our historical lens on early modernist art movements to study just the artists and art works acquired by five prominent Philadelphia collectors: Albert C. Barnes, Henry P. McIlhenny, Louise and Walter Arensberg, and A. E. Gallatin. You will get to know these collectors intimately, exploring the circumstances of their wealth, the events which served as catalysts to set them on the course of collecting art and eventually determined their decision to share their personal treasures. This course will fulfill requirements in the Humanities or Social Sciences.
Prof. Joy Hart, Kandi Walker
This seminar will examine the global phenomenon of TED Talks. Beginning with TED’s initial emphasis on Technology, Entertainment, and Design and moving to the expanded focus (i.e., featuring many disciplines and including individuals from myriad cultures), the class will discuss these “Ideas Worth Spreading.” During the semester, we will analyze several TED Talks, including ones by well-known public figures as well as less famous individuals. Our analysis will focus on what makes these talks so successful and popular as well as what has fueled the growing popularity of this communication practice. Given the thousands of posted TED Talks and billions of online viewings, with each of these numbers rapidly increasing, the course will address questions such as, “What’s all the talk about?,” “What factors might account for TED’s popularity?,” and “Why have these talks caught on across cultures?” This course will fulfill requirements in the Humanities or Social Sciences.
of Oil - WR
HON 336/346-03; POLS 502
Prof. Chuck Ziegler
For more than a century oil has been integral to the growth and development of the world economy, and a key to American prosperity. Control of oil supplies has been a critical factor in international relations, and is closely tied to military conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere. Oil dependency constrains the foreign policy options of even the most powerful nations. Major oil companies are presumed to have considerable influence on the policies of many countries, including the United States. Oil wealth generated by some of America’s closest allies in the Persian Gulf has been used to fund terrorist organizations. The consumption of oil contributes to global warming and other environmental problems. And many scholars have argued that oil wealth undermines democratic governance.
This course examines the linkages between oil and politics, using a broad, cross-national approach. We will look at the relationship between oil and politics for some of the major oil exporters, including Saudi Arabia, Russia, Canada, Venezuela, Kazakhstan and Nigeria, and major importers such as the United States, Europe, China, India and Japan. We will discuss the role of oil in major international conflicts—including the Gulf wars—and its impact on internal conflicts such as those in Sudan and Nigeria. We will discuss the “resource curse”—how oil wealth supposedly hinders both development and democracy, and we will seek to understand why. We will examine how energy impacts the national security of the United States and our allies, and what alternatives to oil are realistically available. Finally, we’ll discuss how recent technological developments—shale oil and gas “fracking”—might alter the energy equation. Will the US finally become energy independent? This course will fulfill requirements in the Humanities or Social Sciences.
William Faulkner’s America - WR
HON 436/446-03; ENGL 402-02
Prof. Amy Clukey
This course will use William Faulkner’s fiction as a lens through which to read American culture—and vice versa—and examine what Faulkner’s “little postage stamp of native soil” reveals about the regional, nation, and hemispheric contexts in which it is embedded. Drawing on history, art, sociology, film, law, and music, we’ll consider how the South, far from being merely “peripheral,” played an integral role in the construction of American cultural and literary identity in the early twentieth century. This course will fulfill requirements in the Humanities or Social Sciences.
This Must Be the Place: Musical Cities in American Culture
Prof. Luke Buckman, Andrew Grubb
This course will explore the relationship between music, place, and subcultures in major American cities during the 20th and at the dawn of the 21st centuries, leading students in an investigation of how cities have generated cultural movements through music. It will address questions of how places affect the production and performance of music (and vice versa); how songs, music industry presence, and musical events affect public perception of places; and how these places, so affected by music, change and continue to impact the landscapes of local and national culture. Understanding the development of American music subcultures tied to specific places is especially valuable as people increasingly purchase and listen to music through placeless means like iPods, iPhones, iPads, Amazon, Pandora, Spotify, and satellite radio. By studying American music; the history of cities where it was made; and its participants in conjunction with critical theory that helps us understand the significance of place and placelessness to culture, we can gain insights into the development of American culture(s) and its persistent association with (even in the face of increasing disconnection from) physical place.
Through class discussion, reading, supplemental materials (e.g., music and film), and in-class presentations, we will attempt to address how (and to what extent) cities give rise to and sustain musically creative environments and cultural movements. The focus will be on North American music from the mid-twentieth to early twenty-first century. The following U.S. cities will serve as the foundation for course readings and discussions related to music genres, movements, and “scenes”: New Orleans, Nashville, Memphis, Detroit, Chicago, New York, and Louisville. This course will fulfill requirements in the Humanities or Social Sciences.
Beargrass: The Study and Stewardship of an Urban Stream
Prof. Russ Barnett, David Wicks
Beargrass Creek drains 61 square miles of Jefferson County; it has three forks — Muddy, Middle and South which empty into the Ohio River. It is a typical urban stream that has faced years of abuse and neglect, channelization, and the direct discharge of raw sewage, but still has significant ecological and aesthetic beauty. This course will focus on the lower 1 ½ miles of backwater of the creek from its confluence with the Ohio River at Waterfront Park up to the Home of the Innocence.
The area is being transformed. In addition to the work on Louisville’s Waterfront Park, there are several large projects working on Beargrass Creek and its water quality:
• Project Win, MSD’s 850 million dollar waste/storm water renovation;
• the proposed Waterfront Botanical Gardens;
• the reclamation of the Louisville Police tow lot;
• a new Water and Sustainability Education Center;
• the 9th Metro council district’s Green Triangle;
• and a planning effort by the Metro Louisville Sustainability office to restore the riparian area of the creek.
Through field trips, community speakers, individual and group research, the students will investigate the aesthetic, cultural and ecological aspects of a watershed. Then using these experiences and independent research, students working in groups in collaboration with the above mentioned groups develop strategies for land management, providing access to the creek and adjacent lands, and improving water quality within the main stem of Beargrass Creek. Student research, recommended strategies and papers will be presented to the community and the Louisville Office for Sustainability.
Five days of field study: Three daylong field trips (on weekends) are scheduled. We will paddle
canoe and kayaks on three streams: Beargrass Creek, then two other streams to
compare and contrast our stream to; 14 mile creek in Charleston State Park and
the Little Miami in Cincinnati, Ohio. Two day long field trips will explore the
lower 1 ½ miles of the creek and the adjacent neighborhoods by foot. On all
field trips we will be conducting water quality and biodiversity
investigations. There will be a $50.00
equipment rental fee per student.This
course will fulfill requirements in the Social Sciences or Natural Sciences.
Science Literacy and Pop Culture
Prof. Jennifer Gregg
The purpose of this course is to understand the role of the mass media as a vehicle for contemporary debate about science and technology. We will cover the main concepts used to analyze media content, media institutions, and media effects. Readings will include both theoretical material and examples of empirical research. We will look at media coverage of science/technology and medicine depicted by journalists. Further, we will look at popular presentations of science/technology and medicine in popular dramatic programming. At the end of the course students should be able to outline the main theoretical foundations used to study the media, outline the main features of science coverage in the mass media and the effects such coverage has on the public, and comment on the strengths and weaknesses of different media for conveying information about science. This course will fulfill requirements in the Social Sciences or Natural Sciences.
The Wire and Complex Representations of Urban Poverty - WR
HON 436/446-02; ENGL 402-01
Prof. Debra Journet
In this seminar, our goals will be to examine how the complexities of urban poverty are represented in serial narrative. The Wire challenges our notions of good/evil and problem/solution: no single institution or easily resolved story can do this subject justice. The Wire complex narrative structure instead offers viewers a sense of the structural nature of poverty in which the causes and effects or poverty are interwoven into all aspects of the city, including drug gangs, police, labor and unions, political systems, education, and journalism.
Course material will include viewings of The Wire (done outside of class); research in sociology and anthropology concerning urban poverty; research in narrative theory; and research on The Wire itself. Course assignments will include short presentations on the viewing and readings and a final seminar paper. This course will fulfill requirements in the Humanities or Social Sciences.
Prof. Susan Matarese
This course will explore the nature of political extremism in the United States. From colonial times to the present there have been individuals and groups of Americans who have radically dissented from the mainstream principles and practices of American politics. The course will examine the challenges of defining extremism and explore the contours of what has been called the “extremist style,” a constellation of beliefs and behaviors exhibited by extremists on both the left and the right. It will examine some of the reasons social scientists have offered to explain the appeal of groups like the Ku Klux Klan, the American Nazi Party and the Weather Underground. It will also consider contemporary extremist groups including the Aryan Nations, the Army of God and the Earth Liberation Front among others. It will also examine the phenomenon of the “lone wolf” as illustrated by extremists like the Unabomber, Timothy McVeigh and Eric Rudolph. This course will fulfill requirements in the Humanities or Social Sciences.
Greek Culture in the Age of Alexander the Great - WR
Prof. Linda Gigante
One of the most intriguing figures in ancient history is Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE). His conquest of the Persian Empire resulted in the spread of Greek culture across the known world, as far east as the Indus River Valley. Born into the line of Macedonian royalty, Alexander was raised in a kingdom which was regarded by other Greeks as alien and uncivilized. His father, Philip II, educated his son in the arts of warfare and provided him with a foundation in Greek culture.
Alexander matured at a time when the Greek world was in a state of
political and economic turmoil, conditions on which Philip capitalized. By 338
BCE, what was once a land of independent city states became unified under
Macedonian authority. Following Philip’s assassination two years later, Alexander
embarked on a campaign to conquer Greece’s arch enemy, the Persian Empire and,
in so doing, changed the ancient world forever. Hailed as king of all Asia and
pharaoh of Egypt, Alexander succumbed to fever in Babylon in 323 BCE and, at
the age of 33, became divine. To later Greeks and Romans alike, Alexander’s
achievements were legendary.
The objective of this course is to examine Greek culture in the age of
Alexander. We will study this period from a cultural perspective, beginning
with an overview of Greek history and the impact of Alexander’s conquests on
the ancient world. We will also examine literary works and artistic monuments
not only with a view to their aesthetic merit but also within the context of
the historical and social climate. Among the issues we will consider is the
Greeks’ relationship with their gods and those deities, like Dionysos and the
healing god Asclepios, who were particularly popular during this period.
We will read selections of ancient literature, including speeches by
Demosthenes and Plutarch’s ‘Life of Alexander’, as well as secondary sources on
the period. We will also study works of art and architecture, such as the great
Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and Praxiteles’ statue of Aphrodite for her shrine
at Knidos, the first large-scale depiction of a nude woman in Greek art. This course will fulfill requirements in the
Humanities or Social Sciences.
and Contemporary Issues in International Relations - WR
HON 436/446-04; POLS 506-01
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 will fulfill requirements in the Humanities or Social Sciences.
What it Takes to be a CEO
HON 441-02; BUS 441-01
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. For information on registering for this course through the College of Business, please contact them directly. This course will fulfill requirements in the Social Sciences.
Overseers’ International Travel Seminar By Application Only
International travel seminars are by application only. A panel comprised of the faculty teaching the seminar, the Honors Director, and counselors will review each application, rate it and make final determination in time for chosen students to select how they would like the course to count before priority registration begins. A waiting list is typically maintained for the course, comprised of alternates chosen from the applicant pool. Students are expected to comply with payment deadlines and participate actively in the course. Student cost for this course is estimated at $1,400.
Irish Literature & Culture: Fiction, Poetry, Politics, Drama, and Film – WR
Prof. Suzette Henke
This course will be an interdisciplinary seminar focused on modern literature by such authors as James Joyce, W. B. Yeats, Lady Augusta Gregory, J. M. Synge, and Sean O'Casey. After discussing highlights of the Irish Literary Renaissance, we will examine Ireland's transition, in the early part of the 20th century, from British subaltern status as "John Bull's Other Island" to independence, cultural change, and the emergence of a roaring Celtic tiger in the 1990's. We will analyze the literary and cultural influence of Parnell's rise and fall, the Easter Rising of 1916, and an Irish Civil War that tore a nation into antagonistic factions that continued Anglo/Irish hostilities into the current century. We will talk about film adaptations of Irish literary works, as well as contemporary cinematic representations of Ireland's emergence as an international, multi-cultural site for Irish film and music--from Bernard Shaw to Bono in less than a century.
Our geographical field trip to Ireland in May 2014 will center on Dublin, Sligo, Galway, and the Aran Islands. Dublin highlights will include the Irish Writers’ Museum, the James Joyce Museum, Dublin Castle, Kilmainham Gaol, and the Abbey Theater. In Sligo, we will visit the Yeats Museum and tour the surrounding countryside that inspired Yeats’s poetry, then travel by bus to the port of Galway. After exploring Galway city, we’ll spend a day on Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands, with its 3,000-year-old Atlantic ring fort, Dun Aonghasa (Dun Aengus). This course will fulfill requirements in the Humanities or Social Sciences.