HONR 300H Orphans! In History, Literature, Law, and Public Policy
This course will focus on the stories Americans of a variety of ethnicities have told about abandoned, orphaned, displaced, indentured, adopted and/or abducted children throughout U.S. history. It will explore the way such stories have helped shaped, and have themselves been influenced by, social practices, laws, and public policies. We will ask very basic questions about how immigration, Westward expansion, enslavement, and poverty helped to create significant numbers of displaced children at various times during U.S. history. We will examine how different groups, at different times, have answered the question of what a community is morally obliged to do for these most vulnerable persons in their midst and take a hard look at public policies that have had the deliberate or unconscious effect of making children of color especially vulnerable to displacement from their families and cultures of origin. We will explore the degree to which certain legal or social traditions privilege “blood” relationships over adoptive or wider kinship-care arrangements-or vice versa-and what this means for adoptive and other families. And, finally, we’ll be examining, on the other hand, the supply and demand aspects of the “baby market” which has created a complex moral landscape for adoptive parents, in particular, and all those whose lives are directly touched by adoption and foster care.
The course will thus especially attend to African American, American Indian, European American cultural traditions and also to the voices and experiences of displaced children in those ethnicities-as well as hearing the voices of birth parents, adoptive parents, institutional agents, and temporary caregivers whose lives have been directly connected to adopted, orphaned, institutionalized, enslaved, indentured, or fostered children. This honor's class is deliberately designed as a service-learning course, and will require all students to directly engage with child-services in Clark County that are particularly concerned with adoption, foster care, or otherwise supporting children at risk of displacement from their families.
We will ultimately attend to current controversies in adoption and foster care, particularly as related to international and transracial adoption, open adoption, and adoption and fostering by gay and lesbian couples. In
addition to using the text Children and Youth in Adoption, Orphanages and Foster Care (Askeland, ed., Greenwood, 2006; authors proceeds of the class sales will be donated to a local children’s charity of the class’s choice), we will view several films and documentaries and read autobiographies, memoirs, novels of adoption and foster care etc., which will likely include texts, in whole or in part, such as: Harriet Wilson, Our Nig (1859); Zitkala-Sa, American Indian Stories (1920); Art Buchwald, Leaving Home: A Memoir (1993); Barbara Kingsolver, Pigs in Heaven (1993); Barbara Katz
Rothman, Weaving A Family (2005); Jane Jeong Trenka, The Language of Blood (2003), and Dan Savage, The Kid (2000).
HONR 300R Bioethics
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. The 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.
HONR 300S Architectural Geography
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 or ordinary”. 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. This class will meet in the classroom on Tuesdays and will be in the field on Thursdays.