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). WRITING INTENSIVE.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. WRITING INTENSIVE.HONR 300C/S War, Identity, and Justice: Lessons from Bosnia
What is the contemporary character of war and its destructive impact on societies? How does social violence confront and ultimately transform social identities at the individual and collective level? What is justice and its necessity to social order? Drawing upon sociology, anthropology, literature, and philosophy, we will study the crimes against humanity in Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1992-95, the social construction of identity in multi-ethnic societies, the political character of nationalism, and the concept of justice in modern times. From the study of Bosnia, we will develop a sociology of war, an anthropology of identity, and a philosophy of justice. To conclude, we will apply this knowledge to the situation in Iraq today. The goal will be to develop a perspective that is comparative, critical, and historical, one that is both objective and moral, humanistic and empirical. Well known theories like Samuel Huntington’s theory of the clash of civilizations and Edward Said’s critique of orientalism will be reviewed and studied in this context. WRITING INTENSIVE.HONR 300S Religion and Politics in the United States
Do religion and politics mix? If so, with what ingredients and recipe? In this course students will read and discuss four books that provide very different interpretations of the proper relationship between religion and politics in the United States. At the end of the course, students will write a paper using those four alternatives to place themselves in relation to this issue. This will allow students to consider the central religious question of how faith and public life should be related. Assignments will include: a Moodle entry for one chapter of each book, Moodle replies to the entries of other students and a final paper. WRITING INTENSIVE.HONR 300S The Many Faces of Journaling
This course is designed to introduce students to different journaling styles. We will examine a wide range of journaling formats, reading excerpts from published journals and writing entries in each of the various formats. The focus of the course will be on the elements of a good journal and the elements of excellent journal writing. Assignments for at least thirteen different journal-writing formats will be given. The final assignment will include a longer writing exercise that involves developing a journal entry that is suitable for publication. WRITING INTENSIVE.