HONR 300 Directed Reading
Prerequisite: Junior Honors students only and 3.5 GPA
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 300 Poverty, Development and Education: Seeking Responses -- Creating Heroes
A recent national report indicates that as of fall 2010, more people now live in poverty in the United States than in any time in our history. Similarly on an international level, efforts to confront both the causes and effects of poverty are framed by tragic frustrations. This course examines the intersection of community development, poverty and education through a case study approach. First we will struggle with defining poverty in its human dimension in part by reading and collecting narrative accounts. Then we will examine community and place-based efforts that build local assets, most especially the assets of women and children through education and economic opportunity. We will read about heroes such as Greg Mortensen, but just as significantly, our scholarly investigations will be grounded in two practical and ongoing efforts -- one in Springfield Ohio and one in Makutano, Kenya. We will interact with those directly involved in those efforts. In the service learning dimension of this course, we will consider how we can use our own assets to be of direct assistance. Writing intensive.
HONR 300A Art of the Theatre
Interested in becoming a critic or sharpening your critical skills? In this honors course we will spend the first few weeks of the course studying how to critically respond to the various elements of a theatre production. These elements will include the six elements of drama, acting, directing and design components such as sets, costumes, lighting and sound. After spring break we will visit area theatres to see live productions. Students will write critical reviews of the productions and discuss each other's responses in class. The goal of the course is to broaden each student's exposure to the art of theatre and to improve their critical observation and writing skills. When schedules allow, there will be field trips on some Sundays and weekday evenings. There will be some expense involved in purchasing tickets; therefore, textbook costs will be kept to a minimum. Besides live productions we will be seeing videos of stage productions in class. The critical skills you develop will transfer to film criticism as well. Writing intensive.
HONR 300A Gender and Genius in Art
This course will explore the lives and works of women in the history of western art, surveying examples from Prehistory to the present. Students will become familiar with visual language and terminology, and will engage in discussion of artworks that illuminate historic, social, personal, and political issues related to the artworks. The course will also introduce the student to gender theory, and examine how feminist theory has brought attention to the relationship between gender constructs and issues of race, ethnicity, class, and sexual preference. Students will develop skills to conduct interdisciplinary research. 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 of course that means that they always address adult needs and desires, and the broader social need for stable, healthy citizens, as well. Especially when large sums of money are involved, e.g., as adoptive parents pay for adoption services, some would in fact say that the whole enterprise inevitably serves their needs as consumers—and gravely risks turning children into commodities. 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, and grieving birthparents, 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. And, finally, we’ll be examining the supply and demand aspects of the “baby market.” As Ricki Solinger puts it, “There is no such thing as adoption except off the backs of resourceless women” (Chronicle of Higher Ed. 11/2002). The asymmetries inherent in adoption and foster care can cause deep and lasting scars for birthparents (or “first families” as I will sometimes call them), and can traumatize some young children who are placed for adoption or foster care. These painful facts, finally and inevitably create a complex moral landscape for adoptive and fostering parents, social workers and adoption agents, and all those involved in creating laws and public policies related to adoption and foster care. Books will include: Children and Youth in Adoption and Foster Care (ed. Askeland), The Girls Who Went Away (Fessler); Our Nig (Wilson); American Indian Stories (Zitkala-Sa); The Kid (Savage); We Should Never Meet (Phan), and One Small Sacrifice (DeMeyer). Service learning is required in this course (12 hours); a reading journal, service learning journal and reflection; midterm exam, two analytical papers, one of which is a 15-page researched paper. Writing Intensive. Can be taken as a CLAC course. Cross-listed: WMST.
HONR 300N Climate, Energy and Sustainability
This course will analyze the global issues of climate change, energy production and consumption, and sustainability from primarily a scientific perspective. Thus, what do we know, and with certainty do we know it, about what is happening to the climate of the planet in the 21st century, particularly with regard to how human activities may be affecting the global climate? This inevitably leads to an analysis of energy production and consumption and further engages the topic of sustainability. What options do we have, both nationally and internationally, to create the condition of sustainability? The impact of national and international politics and the effect of economic factors will be considered at times, but this will not be the main focus of the course. The course will carry the General Education label “N” (Natural Sciences) and the content of the course will include very heavy doses of science (mostly chemistry and physics, but other sciences that inform discussions of the environment) although no college-level science background is assumed. The primary pedagogy of the course will be discussion, based on assigned readings. Lectures will occasionally occur to supplement scientific background not included in the readings. There will be three one-hour exams, on-line homework, and a final exam. 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.