HONR 300A IMAGES OF THE DIVINE: THE SACRED AND THE LITERARY IMAGINATION
4 SEM HRS
In Ruin the Sacred Truths: Poetry and Belief from the Bible to Present, Harold Bloom writes:
Poetry and belief wander about, together and apart, in a cosmological emptiness marked by the limits of truth and meaning. Somewhere between truth and meaning can be found piled up a terrible heap of descriptions of God.
Bloom might have been talking about the recent film Signs, which we will also consider in this seminar. The course focuses on modern (i.e. post?Enlightenment) literature (predominantly German). We will explore how literature creates meaning and a sense of truth through the interplay of myth, symbol, and the poetic imagination. Furthermore, by focusing on the modern period, we will examine the ways in which literature becomes, as German poet Gottfried Benn suggested, a refuge for metaphysical concerns in an increasingly secularized culture. Throughout the course students will reflect on issues of dualism, symbolic archetypes, the demonization of ancient deities, theodicy, algodicy, and the relationship of reason and the irrational in the sense of the sacred.
This course may be counted toward fulfillment of the learning goal for "Fine, Performing, and Literary Arts": The student should gain an understanding of aesthetic experience and of how the arts enrich and express the human spirit.
The course is taught in English and all readings and discussions are in English. Student enrolled in the Honors program who wish to count the course toward a major or minor in German may do so after consulting with the instructor and gaining his permission to do so. German majors and minors and others may take the course after requesting permission from the Director of the Honors Program, Dr. T. Wilkerson. WRITING INTENSIVE.
HONR 300H EXISTENCE OR ESSENCE
4 SEM HRS
Through readings of major works in twentieth century French literature (primarily novels and plays) the course explores ways in which major questions of the human condition are confronted. The main focus of the course is the relation of these texts to Western intellectual history from Plato and Aristotle to Derrida. Issues of special importance are the various ways in which French literature rebels against the rationalist tradition of the Enlightenment, the influence of nineteenth and early twentieth century thinkers such as Darwin, Freud, Nietzsche and Einstein on modern thought, the relationship of existentialist and absurd thought to postmodern constructions of the world and the illustration in the literary text of postmodern notions that meaning is created, plural, shifting. Authors to be read include Proust, Sartre, Camus, Beckett, Ionesco, Robbe-Grillet, Genet, Wittig, Beauvoir, and Cixous. All work for the course is in English, no knowledge of French is assumed. Evaluation will be based on a course paper (a series of short papers brought together in a long paper), exams, and the student's participation in discussions. WRITING INTENSIVE.
HONR 300N SCIENTIFIC PROGRESS & PUBLIC POLICY
4 SEM HRS
Why doesn't the patent office even consider perpetual motion machines? Why does a large number of Americans believe in UFOs when there is little, if any, scientific evidence to support their existence? In this course, we will begin by understanding exactly how scientific research progresses. We will then address the importance of scientific literacy in modern society. From this, we will discuss the role of the public in making policy decisions. Current issues in which science plays an important role, such as stem cell research, cloning, pollution, and global warming will be discussed. WRITING INTENSIVEHONR
4 SEM HRS
This seminar introduces students to basic concepts and contemporary discussions in bioethics. Topics may include organ procurement, abortion, reproductive technologies, euthanasia, use of human subjects in research, genetic engineering, cloning and stem cell research, autonomy, consent, truthtelling and deception, confidentiality, access to health care, rationing, allocation of scarce resources, use of animals in research, and environmental concerns. Readings from a wide variety of disciplines - medicine, law, economics, and literature as well as philosophical and religious ethics. Oral presentations and papers will develop students' ability to identify moral issues, analyze moral arguments, and make and defend moral judgments. WRITING INTENSIVE.
HONR 300S ARCHITECTURAL GEOGRAPHY: ETHNIC & ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES ON THE LANDSCAPE
4 SEM HRS
This topic of this course is geography and landscape studies. It will focus on how the influence of ethnic traditions and environmental factors shape what we see on the visible landscape. Many of the cultural artifacts that we pass on a daily basis have their roots in some type of symbolism that is derived from various entities. The shape, style and materials of the buildings we use can be traced back to the earliest civilizations. It can be argued that many are simply modified versions of what was built, on a monumental scale 4000 years ago. As humans migrated, they took their cultural practices with them and, along with changing environmental conditions, shaped what we think of today as "modern". The pure essence of architectural design, its symbolism and its function, results in its form. This is contrary to the usual dictum that 'form follows function'. This class will examine the geography of architecture, and compare basic architectural design with what we see today. Is our landscape a newer version of the modern, or an older version of the traditional? It is hoped students will be able to answer this question as they learn to read the landscape and "see" what they are "looking" at. WRITING INTENSIVE.