HONR 300 Directed Reading
Prerequisite: Junior Honors students only
This course is intended to help students explore topics in preparation for the Senior Honors Thesis. Readings for the course will include theses written by former Wittenberg Honors students as well as books and articles selected by individual students, in consultation with the course instructor, as they develop a bibliography for a thesis. WRITING INTENSIVE.
HONR 300B Psychophysiology
In this course, we will look at the ways in which physiological measurements (such as heart rate, blood pressure, electrical activity of the brain, muscle tension, and skin resistance) can be used to assess underlying psychological variables (e.g., learning, attention, arousal). This course will meet for two hours per week in lecture and four hours in lab. Readings in the course will include a textbook in psychophysiology and numerous journal articles. Students will be expected to collect physiological data during the laboratory sessions, analyze this data, and write up the results in lab reports. WRITING INTENSIVE.
HONR 300C/S War, Identity, and Justice: Bosnia, Chechnya, and Iraq
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 first study the crimes against humanity and war crimes 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 the modern era.
From the study of Bosnia, we will develop a sociology of war, an anthropology of identity, and a philosophy of justice. We, then, will apply this knowledge to the more recent wars and violence in Chechnya and Iraq. The goal will be to develop a perspective that is comparative, critical, and historical, one that is objective as well as moral, humanistic as well as empirical. Well known but contrasting theories like Samuel Huntington’s theory of the clash of civilizations and Edward Said’s notion of Orientalism will be re-visited and studied. WRITING INTENSIVE.
HONR 300H Orphans! In History, Literature, Law, and Public Policy
Secrecy and privacy, shame and joy. Adoption and foster care are institutions grounded in complex emotions and complex realities—in both loss and love. As institutions, they purport to be “in the best interest of the child,” but that means that they also always address adult needs and desires, and the broader social need for stable, healthy citizens, as well. In this course, we 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, and 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 have created 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/or how to incorporate them into the existing social order—and how much time, attention, and money to invest in the preservation of families with few resources. We will take a hard look at public policies that have had the deliberate or unconscious effect of making some parents and children, both in the US and in our increasingly globalized world, especially vulnerable to serious disruption of their family ties. On the other hand we will also explore the degree to which certain legal or social traditions privilege “blood” relationships, and certain kinds of families, over adoptive or wider kinship-care arrangements—or vice versa—and what this privilege means for adoptive and other care-giving families outside the “biological” norm, including gay and lesbian parents. And, finally, we’ll be examining the supply and demand aspects of the “baby market.” All of these forces and challenges create a complex moral landscape for adoptive and fostering parents, social workers and adoption agents, children and adult adoptees, and all those involved in creating laws and public policies related to adoption and foster care. Readings will include: Harriet Wilson's Our Nig, Zitkala-Sa's memoirs of off-reservation boarding school, Barbara Kingsolver's Pigs in Heaven, Dan Savage's The Kid, and more. This course is writing intensive and involves service learning as a requirement (12 hours).
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.