Myes Hall

Past Course Descriptions

Course Listings - Fall 2005

Fall 2005

HONR 300R  - BioEthics

4 credits


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, truth telling 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  - Bosnia-Hercegovina: An Interdisciplinary Study

4 credits


One over-looked causality of the recent war in Bosnia-Herzegovina is her society’s collective commitment to a pluralistic, tolerant, integrated society. Unconscionable violence and vicious propaganda were brought to bear against her heritage, cultural convictions, social practices, and civic order--making it next to impossible for Bosnia to sustain her multi-confessional and syncretistic-informed traditions. Tone Bringa, author of Being Muslim the Bosnian Way, writes, "Neither Bosniak, nor Croat, nor Serb identities can be fully understood with reference only to Islam or Christianity respectively but have to be considered in a specific Bosnian context that has resulted in a shared history and locality among Bosnians of Islamic as well as Christian backgrounds."

When one carefully considers Bringa's statement, one understands that multiculturalism is a misnomer for recounting Bosnia's heritage, even if the term is frequently used. In Bosnia, there were not multiple cultures co-residing in the same vicinity. Nor were there multiple cultures simply co-existing independently. There was a singular, trans-ethnic culture that encompassed each ethnicity and made different faiths, including Christianity and Islam, synergistically interdependent.

This course is part of a project that initiates a shared curriculum through a Fulbright Alumni Initiatives Award between Wittenberg University and University of Sarajevo centered around a Web-based course. Drawing upon different disciplines (anthropology, history, literary criticism, political science, and sociology), the course examines Bosnia’s historical and cultural heritage. The goal is to address what it is about the Jerusalem-like configuration of faiths in Bosnia -- Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Judaism, and Islam -- that made her so vulnerable to the nationalism of her neighbors.

Another goal is to understand what is it about Bosnia's enigmatic mixture of epochs, including a distinctive medieval period from the 13th to 15th centuries, the Ottoman Empire starting in the 15th century, the Austro-Hungarian Empire during the 19th century, and communist Yugoslavia during the 20th century, that made her defenseless in the face of national-state building based on a monolithic ethnicity. When one recognizes the principled, progressive character of Bosnia's tradition, recounted eloquently in the leading scholarly works on Bosnia, one would predict that Bosnia would be the last place where ethnic cleansing could have occurred with such viciousness and sadism.

Examples of course readings are Tone Bringa's study, Being Muslim the Bosnian Way, Noel Malcolm's Bosnia: A Short History, Ivo Andric's Bridge on the Drina, and Mesa Selimovic's Death and the Dervish. Less well known works such as John Fine's The Bosnian Church: A New Interpretation of the Bosnian Church and its Place in State and Society from the 13th to 15th Centuries, Marian Wenzel's "Bosnian and Herzegovinian Tombstones Who Made Them and Why," and Tom Butler's "Literary Style and Poetic Function in Mesa Selimovic's The Dervish and Death" will also be part of the curriculum. WRITING INTENSIVE.

HONR 300S  - Architectural Geography

4 credits


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 in the cultural landscape. 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.

HONR 300S  - Language Awareness

4 credits


Language awareness is the understanding of the structure and properties of human language in general and of specific languages in particular. In this class students will research the impact of language awareness in the life of the individual and of society. We will study the benefits of language awareness from cognitive, aesthetic and social points of view. We will learn to approach language objectively and to use the appropriate methodologies for its analysis. Students will do original linguistic research as an important part of their course work. WRITING

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