Winter Session 2021 & Spring 2022 Honors Scholars Seminars

A list of all Winter Session 2021 & Spring 2022 Honors Scholars Seminars offered through the University of Louisville Honors Program.

Winter Session 2021 Seminar Offering:

Nonprofit Development 

Click the title to hear Professor Bobbitt speak more about this topic!

HON 331-50 / HON 341-50
Professor Eddie Bobbitt
Distance Education

If you want to change the world, you must figure out how to pay for it. Currently, the City of Louisville has over 2,200 nonprofit organizations that provide support for social services, environmental research, pediatric healthcare, education, child advocacy, and more. With such an abundance of nonprofits, there is great competition in fundraising and development. This seminar will examine nonprofits in Louisville. Specifically, the course will focus on how public charities can maximize revenue to make a greater social impact. The course will explore earned income strategies, philanthropic giving, grant writing, crowdfunding, consumption philanthropy, and special events. This course will analyze the dos and don’ts of nonprofit development using both theoretical and case study approaches. 

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

Spring 2022 Seminar Offerings:


Click the title to hear Professor Clark speak more about this topic!

HON 331-02 / HON 341-02
Professor Arielle D. Clark
TTh, 9:30-10:45 AM

Entrepreneurship is a one-of-a-kind journey: create your own business, be your own boss, and watch a dream of yours come to life. But where do you start? And what happens when you’re a marginalized entrepreneur? 

In this seminar, you will bring a business idea, a business concept, or a random concept; and we will create your own business. Along with practical information (such as how to register your business), we will also cover the different, essential pieces of entrepreneurship (such as customer discovery, knowing how to pivot, and completing a business model canvas). While learning about the entrepreneurship process, we will also cover barriers that marginalized entrepreneurs face, from funding to how generational wealth gives unfair advantages. We will cover how racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, fatphobia, etc., affect entrepreneurship success and how to overcome these barriers. 

At the end of the semester, you’ll have a completed business plan, knowledge of the barriers regarding entrepreneurship, general knowledge on how to start a business, and access to resources to overcome gatekeeping and barriers. 

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


Comics, Senses, and Emotions // WR

Click the title to hear Professor Turner speak more about this topic!

HON 436-02 / HON 446-02 / ENGL 402-02
Professor Joe Turner
MWF, 10:00-10:50 AM

On August 8, 1961, Stanley Lieber and Jacob Kurtzberg released an unheralded little comic book. Each had worked in comics since the 1940s and each was dissatisfied with his place in the industry. Lieber wanted to write the Great American Novel and felt stifled by comics limitations. Kurtzberg wanted to prove those who had criticized his art work wrong and re-establish himself as the creative genius who co-created one of the 1940s' most popular heroes and the 1950s’ most popular comic genre, the romance comic. The book the men better known as Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created, Fantastic Four #1, launched a comic book storytelling revolution that reimagined superheroes and the stories that could be told with them, inspiring a generation and making comic book heroes and heroines matter in ways they never had before. “Excelsior! Marvel Comics in American History and Popular Culture, 1961-2021” tells the amazing story of modern American superheroes and superheroines and the uncanny men and women who told—and tell—their stories. Face front, True Believer! Welcome to the House of Ideas!

This course fulfills requirements in the Humanities or Social Sciences.

Frankenstein, the Villa Diodati, and the ‘Ghost Story Challenge’ 

HON 436-01 / HON 446-01 / ENGL 402-01 (WR)
Professor Karen Hadley
TTh, 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM

The eruption of Mount Tamboro in Indonesia in 1815 affected weather worldwide, producing dropping temperatures, torrential rainfall, and frequent darkness at midday; to many across the globe, the atmosphere lent a supernatural quality, a sinister sense of impending gloom. It was in this atmosphere, in the “year without a summer,” that the celebrated Romantic poets Lord Byron, Percy Shelley and their entourage gathered at the Villa Diodati on the shores of Lake Geneva. They spent long evenings by candlelight in discussion ranging from philosophy, to contemporary scientific topics such as alchemy, galvanism, and the principles of animation, to tales of ghosts and vampires. One evening Lord Byron read the Fantasmagoriana, a collection of German ghost stories (with titles such as “The Death Bride” and “The Black Chamber”) and—against lightening flashing over the Alpine scenery outside—challenged those present each to write a ghost story. The challenge produced in literary fragments and poems, notable among them Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein and Polidori’s novel The Vampyre, forerunner of Stoker’s Dracula, and of modern vampire fantasy fiction.  

This course will explore the lives of the individuals present on this occasion, the contemporary contexts informing their discourse, and the texts generated in response to Byron’s “ghost story challenge.” Among these texts, we will place special emphasis on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Where she was a “silent auditor” to these conversations, we will explore how nonetheless she represented an interpretation of the remarkable occasion in her novel: its setting, its characters, its themes. We shall see how Mary herself and her “monstrous” desire to write, is figured in Victor Frankenstein’s “monster”—which monster, in turn, will serve as guiding light for the course. 

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

Wellness: A Life Span Perspective // WR

HON 446-08 / HON 456-08 / PSYC 414-01
Professor Suzanne Meeks
TTh, 4:00-5:15 PM 

From a life span perspective, “aging” begins at birth, or even before.  That is, “aging” is part of the natural development of the organism, or, more accurately, development is part of aging.  From this perspective, we are all aging, but we often divide the life span up into segments and tend to think of those parts of life that we are not in, either because we’ve completed them, or we haven’t gotten there yet, as somewhat alien. By looking at life in discrete segments, we lose out on a broader understanding of how continuity and change are interwoven, and how our attitudes and behaviors at one phase of adult life affect how the next phases are lived. In this class, we will examine important constructs and practices from positive psychology (for example, positivity, gratitude, forgiveness, optimism, activity engagement) alongside theories of life span development and societal attitudes about aging (“ageism”) to answer the question “what does it mean to age well?” – exploring original research findings to inform our understanding. Students will write a research paper on one positive psychology construct that resonates with their lives, and participate in other reflections, class discussion, and exercises to help them explore the scientific articles that will be the primary source material for the seminar.   

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


Music Scenes: U. S. & Beyond

HON 331-03 / HON 341-03
Professor Luke Buckman
TTh, 2:30-3:45 PM

In this course, we will examine the U.S. and international music landscapes, with particular emphasis on the music “scenes” that emerged in the last half of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries. Along the way, we will grapple with the evolving perceptions of what exactly constitutes or defines a music scene. Many of the scenes we will consider developed as localized alternative responses to mainstream popular culture or societal norms and expectations. The internet and virtual connectivity have provided avenues for musicians, artists (and their fans) to creatively collaborate and usher in a new era of virtual scenes. In this seminar, we will take a multidisciplinary approach as we dive into some of the following: Tropicália (a Brazilian artistic and political movement in the 1960s); Detroit in the 1960s (Motown, Proto-Punk, and P-Funk); international fan communities and the increasingly complex relationship between artists and fans (e.g. the depiction of Depeche Mode fans as seen in Our Hobby Is Depeche Mode); West Germany music collectives in the early 1970s and the beginnings of Krautrock; 1980s Japanese Techno and City Pop’s recent resurgence in popularity online. Assignments for the course will include presentations, a few short writing assignments, and a final project.

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


STEM on Stage: Plays about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Click the title to hear Professor Hall speak more about this topic!

HON 331-04 / HON 351-04
Professor Ann Hall
TTh, 1:00 - 2:15 PM

While we tend to separate STEM from the humanities, science and theatre have a shared history.  Even the architecture of early scientific rooms borrowed from the theatre and were known as “operating theatres.”  In this course, we’ll examine how STEM is presented on stage (and a few films).  Plays such as Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus,  former Czechoslovakian President Vaclav Havel’s Temptation, and The Life of Galileo dramatize the trials and tribulations of scientists and researchers.  Other plays will illustrate recent scientific discoveries.  Michael Frayn’s Coppenhagen, is about a meeting between Nels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg who discovered quantum mechanics.  Anna Ziegler’s Photograph 51, is about Rosalind Franklin’s discovery of DNA and the politics behind important scientific research.   Selections such as John Mighton’s Possible Worlds, Lucy Prebble’s The Effect, and David Feldshuh’s Mrs. Evers Boys dramatize scientific experiments.  And still others like Alfred Kopit’s Wings and Simon Stephens’s script The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time complicate our understanding of illness, disease, and disability.  We might even have time for a comic SNL skit that asks medical doctors who minored in theatre to try to explain the CDC masking rules.  In the end, I’m hoping that we discover that STEM and theatre, science and art have a lot in common after all.  The book list will appear long, but remember, plays are short!  

This course fulfills requirements in the Humanities or Natural Sciences.

Speculative Schools: The Campus Novel Across Genres

Click the title to hear Professor Smith speak more about this topic!

HON 331-05 / HON 341-05
Professor Bethnay Smith
MW, 2:00-3:15 PM

 In this seminar, we’ll explore the many forms a story about the university experience can take. What makes the college campus such an intriguing setting for storytelling? Is it the fantasyof college as a site full of potential—for social mobility, utopian possibility, intellectual transformation? Is it thefearof college as a site of risk—of corruption, peril, disillusionment? Is it theexcitementof the college campus as a site for independence, exploration, ideological confrontation, and coming-of-age? And why is it that, even in the most wildly imaginative stories about worlds where aliens, ghosts, and dragons abound, we still so often find authors and readers are drawn to campus settings and to libraries, dorms, and exams as a backdrop for even the most outlandish of plots?  We will read recent works in speculative genres (including sci fi, fantasy, and horror) that update or rethink the traditional campus novel in interesting ways. Along the way, we’ll talk about how we use storytelling to make sense of our experiences at college and beyond.

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


Environmental Justice

Click the title to hear Professor Darst speak more about this topic!

HON 331-06 / HON 341-06
Professor Tim Darst
MW, 4:00-5:15 PM

Low-income communities and people of color are disproportionately impacted by pollution and other environmental issues.  Poor and vulnerable populations are impacted first and hardest by environmental problems.  This course will explore the history of environmental injustices in our city, county, and around the globe, and look at current cases.  We will look at some of the causes and possible solutions to this pervasive problem.  We will explore the impacts of environmental problems on human health, and their intersection with poverty, race, and socioeconomic status.  This course includes a tour of sites in our city where you will see (and smell) first-hand what some residents experience on a daily basis. 

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

How We Know: The Beginnings of Western Science

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

What is science?  How do we know? We are often more familiar with the modern age of science, beginning with the Renaissance and culminating in the reductionist and explanatory version of science that surrounds us today.  However, we are less familiar with the evolution of scientific thought, from cultures that were primarily oral and less technological and theoretical and mostly descriptive, to our own era in which science could be seen as anything that follows the constraints of scientific methodology.      

This course will examine the beginnings of philosophical and scientific theories that underlie the fields of mathematics, astronomy and medicine.  We will begin with an examination of science before the Greeks (Mesopotamia and Egypt), discuss Greek, Roman and Hellenistic sciences, Islamic science and the medieval revival of learning in the west extending for the three millennia ending in approximately 1450.     

“For me, the history of ideas has always been the most fascinating aspect of our past.  Discovering how people approached the fundamental questions about our planet and the universe, how they passed their theories on to future generations, and expanded the frontiers of intellectual knowledge, is compelling.  Much of this type of history is obscured in erudite books, on the shelves of research libraries, but this should not be the case.  By taking a broad view and writing about the characters and stories, rather than focusing on the scientific content and historical minutiae found in the academic books, it is possible to bring the history of ideas to life.”**  

** From “The Map of Knowledge: A thousand year history of how classical ideas were lost and found”, by Violet Moller (2019).    

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

Jerks, Liars, and Cheats: What We Can Learn From Difficult Behavior

HON 431-01 / HON 441-01
Professor Kandi Walker
TTh, 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM 

In this course, we identify and examine the underbelly of human behavior paying close attention to how people can behave in difficult ways and how challenging behavior can provide opportunities for immense learning.  We will identify relational challenges, personal challenges, and cultural challenges surrounding people behaving in less than ideal ways.  Some topics we will cover include: Is cheating always bad? Is a small lie helpful or hurtful? Is cursing appropriate (and if yes, by whom, what words, and what context?)?, Why do we hurt the ones we love? How do we navigate interactions when people are constantly on their phones?  This class will cover material that explores how people behave in ways that are sometimes inconsiderate, difficult, challenging, disruptive, and unconventional.

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

Mission and Marketing

Click the title to hear Professor Bobbitt speak more about this topic!

HON 431-75 / HON 441-75
Professor Eddie Bobbitt
T, 5:30 - 8:15 PM

Should nonprofits utilize advertising to further their social impact? Is it appropriate for 501(c)(3) public charities to spend resources on marketing at the expense of programming? The answer is YES! Marketing is the way that we determine what our clients and our supporters need. In this course, we will examine how you can collaborate with various media platforms to communicate your organization's message and further its mission. Just like the for-profit world, nonprofit marketing includes advertising, promotion, public relations, and customer relationship strategies. This seminar will explore each of these areas through the lens of nonprofits here in Louisville. We will specifically use one nonprofit as a case study to see how marketing efforts are implemented to improve the lives of families impacted by pediatric cancer.   

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

Russia & Eurasia (WR)

HON 336-01 / HON 346-01 / POLS 347-01
Professor Charles E. Ziegler
MWF, 10:00 - 10:50 AM

Russia is back as America’s chief enemy. Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has engaged in a war with Georgia, annexed Crimea and destabilized Ukraine, poisoned opposition figures at home and abroad, supported the brutal dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, modernized nuclear weapons, dispatched mercenaries to Africa, and interfered in American elections. Russia has teamed up with China in a strategic partnership designed to limit U.S. influence around the world and works closely with “rogue states” like Venezuela and Iran. Is this a new Cold War?

In this course we’ll examine how Russia and key states of Eurasia (Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Belarus and the Baltic States) have evolved since the collapse of communism. We will discuss the roots of authoritarianism, problems of building democratic institutions, issues of economic reform and political participation, the development of civic culture and ethnic relations, and the role of leadership in these countries. We will also discuss how Russia and Eurasia factor into America’s national security, whether in Europe, the Middle East, or the Indo-Pacific.

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