HONR 300A The Darkness Within
Swamps, closets, the occasional summer camp, that’s where monsters live. But during times of cultural disruption and political change, monsters can live far closer to home. In fact, we may find them in our mirror, the self and our own identity made strange through the prism of a world in flux.
This course will examine the literary representation of this darkness within and the broader historical and cultural contexts shading it. We will begin with Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, move on to Charles Brockden Brown’s Weiland, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, all works which produce monsters out of the revolutions of the eighteenth century. We will then look at the effects of twentieth-century totalitarian states on the individual psyche, through works such as George Orwell’s 1984 and Milan Kundera’s The Joke. The darkness within women has proved particularly problematic for both male and female writers, and we will examine nineteenth-century and contemporary representations of monstrous women. Finally, we will look at the crime story, and how in American culture its villains often become its heroes, the darkness within our culture shedding a light on the complexities of our most deeply-held values. Both Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood will attest to this phenomenon.
The course will be writing intensive, and will include three analytical papers, a comprehensive take-home exam, and informal response papers. Students will also participate in formal oral presentations.
HONR 300A/C Classical Musics of the World
What is "classical music"? It is far more than Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms. Many cultures (e.g., Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, and India) have their own classical music. In this course, we will examine the place of such music in each culture and in culture generally. We will examine the part played by the composer (to entertain? to challenge?) and the performer (to create? to recreate?), and we will consider the reception of music by the audience. We will examine the structure of the music we study in considerable detail, by exploring the elements of pitch and rhythm, the instruments used, the role of improvisation, and the element of form (charting the development of a particular work from beginning to end). In addition to recorded music, we will attend live concerts of music. Grading will be based on several tests, several short written assignments, and an oral presentation. Writing intensive.
HONR 300C Art and Culture of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica
Prerequisite: Honors program student or permission of instructor
This course investigates the social, political, and religious functions of visual arts produced by native Mesoamerican cultures before the Spanish conquest. The class surveys the Pre-Classic cultures of the ancient Valley of Mexico and the Olmec; art of the Classic period, including the Maya and Teotihuacan, the Early-Post Classic Toltec and Mixtec; and Late Post-Classic Aztec. Students explore the encounter of the native civilizations with the European conquistadors, Japanese trade, and African influences. 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.