Spring 2019 Honors Scholars Seminars

A list of all Spring 2019 Honors Scholars Seminars offered through the University of Louisville Honors Program.

Board of Overseers International Travel Seminar

Crime, Detectives, and Victorian Popular Culture / WR

The application for this course is closed.

HON 336-XX / HON 346-XX
TTh, 2:30 - 3:45
Professor Michael Johmann
Projected Cost of Travel: To be announced

Demon Barbers! Cannibalistic Pie-Makers! Reanimated Corpses! Whitechapel Rippers!  Pint-Sized Pickpockets! Pederastic Poets!  Cocaine-Addicted Super-Sleuths!  To anyone familiar with the popular literature of the Victorian era, the greatest age of Britain’s Empire was also a time awash in the sensationalism of crime, both real and imagined.  Newspapers raced to outdo one another in the reporting of crime, murderers attained celebrity status in the course of their trials, audiences swelled to the tens of thousands to witness public hangings, and penny-pamphleteers hawked gallows-confessions even before the guilty had swung.  Divided by class, by education and by wealth, Victorians nevertheless found a common macabre delight in the underworld of crime and so laid the groundwork for the emergence of the world’s first great detective, Sherlock Holmes.  But in the midnight shadows of London’s teeming slums, rippers, thieves, and poisoners preyed on the city’s illiterate poor, creating a legacy of horror that defied even the best efforts of Scotland Yard.  This course examines the legacy of Victorian Britain’s fascination with crime and the lasting influence that era has had on both the image of the criminal and the popular culture of crime that continues into the 21st century.  During the semester we will explore the reality of crime in 19th century London, western culture’s first truly modern city, as well as the portrayal of crime in the popular media of the day, including classic literature, penny-dreadfuls, popular melodrama, newspapers, street ballads, and song.  We will also take advantage of more modern technologies such as film to explore how the delicious nightmares of the Victorian era remain part of our own world in the contemporary era, continually reworking the old stories to suit our own particular tastes.  At the end of the semester we will travel to London and explore the Victorian legacy of the city that remains as part of Britain’s capital.  Tours will include such attractions as the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Parliament buildings, the Inns of Court, the haunts of Jack the Ripper in Whitechapel, the “rooms” of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson at 221B Baker Street, and the City of London Police Museum.  Day trips outside London may include destinations such as Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Canterbury and the Cliffs of Dover.

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


Music Scenes & Subcultures

HON 331-03 / HON 341-03
MW, 2:00 - 3:15 
Professor Luke 

"New York. London. Paris. Munich. Everybody loves pop music." It is impossible to trace the history of popular music in the 20th century without considering the development of music scenes (local, regional, and otherwise) and subcultures. The global musical landscape is dotted with many independent factions that operate--and, in some cases, thrive--according to their own set of rules and ideals. These scenes emerged and developed as alternatives to mainstream popular culture or societal norms. In this seminar, we will examine (through listening, reading, and viewing) some of the major music scenes and subcultures that developed over the last 75 years, while also dedicating time to exploration of lesser-known national and--time permitting--international scenes. We will grapple with questions such as:  What is it that defines a musical subculture? What constitutes a music scene? What is genuinely and authentically local about local culture? How does the production and consumption of its music affect a scene? What happens when the sounds of a scene are co-opted and absorbed into popular music? Are music scenes bound by physical space and geography? How has the Internet transformed music scenes and subcultures? How does the relationship between musicians and fans shape a scene? How is music used to represent or depict a place, a community, or its way of life? Or to put it all another way: Who took the bomp from the bompalompalomp? Who took the ram from the ramalamadingdong?

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


Inventing the Future /WR

HON 336-05 / HON 346-05
TTh, 4:00 - 5:15
Professor Charlie Leonard

Oriented toward students who are interested in applying for prestigious national and international fellowships and scholarships, Inventing the Future will help students develop writing, presentation, and interviewing skills that will be useful across a variety of life situations. Importantly, having an interesting and impressive resume—if written honestly—requires one to live an interesting and impressive life. Our seminar will help you to intentionally draw an academic and professional roadmap with the potential for payoff, regardless of whether the fellowship or award actually comes your way.

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

Amazonian Archaeology

HON 341-01 / HON 351-01 / ANTH 364-01
TTh, 2:30 - 3:45
Professor Anna T. Browne Ribeiro

Amazonia, the world’s largest tropical forest biome, is also among the most poorly understood regions of the world.  Students will embark on an exploration into Amazonia's deep history and contemporary socio-biodiversity through archaeology and material evidence.  Together, we will examine the narratives that led us to common misconceptions about Amazonia, and the range of archaeological evidence we have uncovered that corrects these impressions.  We will learn about ancient lifeways and cultural phenomena that have transformed a once pristine landscape into the garden forest we see today.  These data are crucial to contemporary debates about human and non-human populations living in Amazonia, and the future of the biome itself.  Through this exploration, we will gain a fuller understanding of the importance of Amazonia to archaeology, to the study of Amerindians, to global understandings of the tropics, and to colonialism.

This course fulfills requirements in the Social Sciences, the Natural Sciences, or the Department of Anthropology.

Economics of Social Issues

HON 341-06 / ECON 490-01
MW, 9:30 - 10:45 
Professor Audrey Kline

The Economics of Social Issues course will engage students in learning to apply microeconomic concepts to contemporary social issues.  Students will work in small groups to analyze issues from an economic perspective. Student groups will lead and students will participate in classroom discussions with their peers.  Students will also (possibly) create a short music video on an economics topic. Students will write reflections on the various presentations and discussions throughout the semester.  Note: Completion of ECON 201 is a pre-requisite for this seminar. 

This course fulfills requirements in the Social Sciences or the Department of Economics.

History, Mystery, and Medicine: The Early History of Medicine Through Historical Fiction

HON 341-07 / HON 351-07
TTh, 11:30 - 12:45
Professor Joseph Steffen

The course outlines the development of the medical field through a historical lens utilizing historical fiction written in a series format.  Students will read four novels, each of which is the first in a series, following an individual in the practice of medicine and defining the historical progression and early development of the field.  The course will be discussion based, with student in-class participation a critical component of grade determination.  Some class periods may be held at the Art Library, the Kornhauser Health Sciences Library, or the Ekstrom Library Rare Book/Archives spaces to view and discuss original documents from different historical periods related to the novels read.  Each student will submit a 10-page paper focusing on a student-selected aspect of the early developments in the history of medicine.

Course readings include Medicus by Ruth Downie, The Physician by Noah Gordon, The Unquiet Bones: the First Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon by Mel Starr, and The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Potzsch. 

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


Ecological Science Fiction / WR

HON 436-01 / HON 446-01 / ENGL 402-01
MWF, 12:00 - 12:50
Professor Amy Clukey

Science fiction has long been concerned with climatological, geographic, biological, and ecological extremes, so it’s not a surprise that it has taken up the environmental and social crises posed by climate change. In this course, we will read science fiction texts that explore the ethics of terraforming barren planets; traverse the frigid terrains of Earth’s polar regions; wade through expanding equatorial jungles; portray new contagions that decimate cities as much as bodies; imagine alien invasions of Earthly habitats and Earthling bodies; depict intelligent apes that can talk and make war; and envision human men into alligators or mutants or other “swamp things.” The course will also draw on theoretical readings on related contemporary topics, such as the Anthropocene, petrochemical culture, extinction, human-alien-animal hybridity, non-human alterity, environmental racism, and ecofeminism. Potential readings include texts by Donna Harraway, Octavia Butler, Margaret Atwood, Samuel Delany, J.G. Ballard, Kim Stanley Robinson, Jeff VanderMeer, H.G. Wells, among others.

This course fulfills requirements in the Humanities, the Social Sciences, or the Department of English.

Alchemy and the Occult in the Middle Ages / WR

HON 436-02 / HON 446-02 / ENGL 402-02

TTh, 9:30 - 10:45
Professor Andrew Rabin

During the Middle Ages, the search for the ‘Philosopher’s Stone’—a magical substance that could transform base substances into gold—captured the imagination of scientists and poets, theologians and heretics, scholars and laypeople alike. Tempted by the lure of a magical substance that would bring power, fame, love, and wealth, would-be alchemists from all walks of life set up laboratories, pored over ancient texts, and practiced arcane rituals, all the while concealing their pursuit from Church authorities who viewed such practices as the work of the devil. Although the Philosopher’s Stone remained elusive, the search had a profound impact on Western culture: it inspired such authors as Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson; it produced some of the earliest translations of Islamic scientific and medical texts for Christian readers; and it led to the development of methods of experimentation that shaped the modern fields of Chemistry, Physics, and Biology.

In this course, we will trace the history of medieval magical and alchemical practices from their late Classical beginnings through their proliferation in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Our readings will range from alchemical manuals passed in secret from hand to hand by practitioners of the “Mysterious Science” to literary texts concerning figures such as Simon Magus and Dr. Faustus.  And as we follow their search for the Philosopher’s Stone, who knows? Perhaps we might even succeed where others have failed…

This course fulfills requirements in the Humanities, the Social Sciences, or the Department of English.

Everyday Life Under Authoritarianism / WR

HON 436-03 / HON 446-03 / POLS 504-01
MW, 4:00 – 5:15 
Steven Brooke

Today nearly 3 billion of the world’s 7.5 billion citizens live in non-democratic countries.  Political scientists have described and theorized a variety of these less-than-democratic countries, ranging from totalitarian states where no dissent is tolerated, such as contemporary North Korea, to “milder” authoritarian regimes that couple limited space for the opposition with a variety of coercive strategies, such as many of the regimes in the Arab World.  These scholars have examined how these regimes maintain support, why they collapse, and the ways in which their legacies influence the types of politics that emerge in the aftermath.  At the same time, much of this research lacks an appreciation or understanding of what everyday life is like for ordinary citizens in these regimes.  To rectify this, we will pair cutting-edge political science research on non-democracies with critical readings of novels and short stories written by citizens living in these types of regimes.  Identifying the complementarities and contrasts between social science and the humanities will help provide students with a diverse set of tools with which to understand one of the key features of politics in today’s world.  

This course fulfills requirements in the Humanities, the Social Sciences, or the Department of Political Science.

International Law / WR

HON 436-05 / HON 446-05
TTh, 11:00 - 12:15
Professor Julie Bunck

In this course we explore the subject of international law.  When does law matter in the international arena?  When is its impact great?  When is its impact significantly less?  Under what conditions does law have no impact at all?  We will explore a wide array of areas in which international law plays an important role.  We will examine the law of the seas, laws that address refugee, alien, and nationality status, laws of war, human rights, terrorism, sovereignty, treaty law, extradition and criminality, and many other areas.  Much of the class will focus on particular cases, and the students will write briefs on at least three cases throughout the seminar.  The growing body of international law and its dramatically expanding impact on international relations help to make this course both fascinating and relevant!

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

Problems in United States Legal History / WR

HON 436-09 / HON 446-09
MWF, 10:00 - 10:50
Professor Thomas Mackey

This seminar surveys and analyzes some of the major issues in the History of the Law in the United States from the Colonial Era through the Twentieth Century.  Major issues such as the foundations of the American judicial system, race and law, law and culture, and law and the economy will be examined through a series of books and articles and primary sources.  Students will participate in the seminar through their analysis of the books and documents, produce an analytical book review, write a final examination, and research and produce a term paper on some topic in United States Legal History chosen with the approval of the instructor.  Skills such as issue spotting, critical thinking, critical speaking, and critical writing will be developed over the course of the seminar and the seminar will provide students a wider content base on the Law in American History.

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

Corporate Social Responsibility

HON 441-05 / BUS 441-01
MW, 2:30 – 3:45 
Professor Jenna Haugen

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives provide businesses with opportunities to engage in public dialogue, legitimize the company’s for-profit activities, and build positive relationships with external stakeholders. In this class, we will learn how businesses do well by doing good through their CSR efforts. Additionally, we will get a better understanding of the beneficiaries of CSR and learn how to craft messages that can help publicize our efforts to external audiences.

In this class, industry leaders like Brown-Forman, PNC, LG&E, the Kentucky Distiller's Association and more will showcase their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives and provide the business case for engaging in CSR. You will also get the opportunity to engage in the community outreach efforts of the College of Business.

This course fulfills requirements in the Social Sciences or the College of Business.

Great Ideas in Psychology: Grawemeyer Awards / WR

HON 446-06 / HON 456-06 / PSYC 414-01
MW, 2:00 – 3:15 
Professor Woody Petry 

What makes the annual $100,000 Grawemeyer Award in Psychology unique is that it honors ideas, rather than life-long career achievement.  The Psychology Award is the youngest of the five Grawemeyer Awards, with the first award given in 2001 for the idea “Imaging the human mind” (Posner, Raichle, Peterson).  Grawemeyer Awards have been made annually in Psychology since then and the topics have been as diverse as the field of psychology.  For example, in clinical psychology: “Cognitive behavioral therapy” (Aaron Beck); cognitive psychology: “Successful intelligence” (Robert Sternberg), “The malleable nature of memory” (Elizabeth Loftus); social psychology: “Self-efficacy” (Albert Bandura); perception: “Feature integration theory” (Anne Tresiman); sensory neuroscience: “Gate control theory of pain” (Ronald Melzack); and personality: “Demystifying willpower” (Walter Mischel).  In this seminar we will take a close look at the 19 great ideas in psychology honored by the Grawemeyer Award and the people that created them.  We will read descriptions of the ideas as originally presented, listen to the winners describe the development of their idea in video presentations and also explore the impact that these ideas have had on subsequent scientific exploration, medical advances and public policy. The seminar will culminate with the Grawemeyer Awards week activities in April when the winners of all five Grawemeyer Awards come to Louisville to present a public lecture on their award-winning idea and accept their award.  The 2019 Psychology Award winner will be invited to attend the class and students will have the opportunity to meet the winner, discuss the winning idea with its author and attend the Grawemeyer Awards banquet.  The ideas contributed by these award-winning individuals have been transformative and have made a tremendous impact on the field of psychology and on the community.  The story of each one is fascinating.

This course fulfills requirements in the Social Sciences, the Natural Sciences, or the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

Psychology and Social Media / WR

HON 446-08 / HON 456-08 / PSYC 414-03
TTh, 1:00 - 2:15
Professor Cara Cashon

For many people, social media is used on a daily basis. It has become integrated into the lives of individuals all over the world of varying ages and backgrounds. However, the ways in which people use and interact with social media varies. The effects of social media vary as well; some of its effects are positive and some are negative. In this course, we will examine social media usage and its effects from a psychological perspective. Covering topics such as personality and gender differences in social media usage, social media use among children and adolescents, the effects of social media on mental and physical health, the psychology of what makes something go viral, selfies, online dating, etc., we will draw from the science of social psychology, clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, neuroscience, etc., to help us better understand social media usage by ourselves and others.

This course fulfills requirements in the Social Sciences, the Natural Sciences, or the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

Winter & Spring Botany in the Parklands of Floyds Fork

HON 341-XX / 351-XX
W, 3:30-6:00
Professor Dan Jones

Never learned to identify the trees, shrubs and plants of Kentucky?  Would you like to?  This is the course for you!  Each week we will take a hike in the field, starting with the trees and plants of the UL campus and Old Louisville, then moving to The Parklands of Floyds Fork for more extensive hikes and botanizing exercises.  Students will develop a twig collection, write short essays on trees and plants of their choice, and do a final project on botany, all the while learning both winter and spring plant ID.  There will be short field exercises/quizzes and a final field exam on plant ID.  Finally, students will also learn to put the plants into ecological and evolutionary context, while mastering “reading the landscape” to pull all the pieces together in an overview of local natural history. 

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