Honors Seminars

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Seminars Home - Spring 2012 Seminars

Fall 2011 Seminars

Honors General Psychology, Jennifer Peluso
Intellectual Foundations Category: Society and Human Behavior
The purpose of this course is to provide you with a broad survey of the field of psychology. In successfully completing this course, you will demonstrate your knowledge about what is and is not currently known about the physiological, behavioral, cognitive, social, and emotional bases of human and non-human behavior. Moreover, you will be able to distinguish among a variety of theoretical explanations for behavior, critically examine the differing research methodologies used to investigate psychological questions, and apply psychological principles to real-world settings. It is my hope that by the end of the term you will learn what it means to observe behavior and to think critically and objectively about behavioral phenomena and the “human experience.”

Developments in Science & the Evolution of Artifice, Adam Ferguson
Intellectual Foundations Category: Written Communication
As a ‘self aware’ fiction workshop, this course is designed to be a hybrid bridge between a history and development of short fiction while students write stories of their own.  Students will read short fiction from throughout the twentieth century alongside essays that examine the scientific understanding that have changed, and continue to change, the way we think about the world as well as the way we write about it. Then, they will write short stories, either conventional or experimental, that are informed by study and discussion.

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The Birth of Aviation and Its Impact on the Twentieth Century, Barbara Ganson
Intellectual Foundations Category: Western Identity
In this course, we will specifically examine gender and various technologies, such as the airplane, bicycle, automobile, and the Hollywood film industry.  Special emphasis will be placed on how gender roles and technology have been altered particularly during wartime, particularly during World War II.  We will also explore how new technologies have altered fashion and provided new opportunities, particularly for women.  For the purposes of this course, the term fashion means more than the usual way people dressed; it can also be associated with other behaviors, including differences in style, attention to habits, trends, use of language, body language, or even business practices.  There could be unwritten rules that were supposed to be followed, as well as unacceptable behavior for a group.

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Probability in Everyday Life, Robert Cooper
Intellectual Foundations Category: Mathematics and Quantitative Reasoning
This Seminar will focus on understanding the properties of randomness. It is an amazing fact that random phenomena, which by definition are unpredictable, can actually be predicted (in the long run). We will study this apparent paradox by using mathematical models (theory) to describe randomness, and we will compare their predictions with the results of computer simulations (experiment). The examples we study will come from everyday life, like lotteries, cards, dice, sports, natural disasters, political polls, and, especially, queues (waiting lines), which are simple and ubiquitous, yet will reveal many subtle and surprising effects. The prerequisites are feeling comfortable with mathematical reasoning, ability to understand simple computer programs (written in BASIC, a computer language often taught in middle school), and intellectual curiosity.

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History and Appreciation of Music, Heather Coltman
Intellectual Foundations Category: Creative Expression
The Classical, Western music tradition gives full and rich expression to enduring themes of life. This course will explore the West's current and historical evolving musical attempts to both find and create meaning, to define, to share, to survive, to transcend and experience in depth our existence. Preliminary lectures will introduce students to the basic elements of classical music (e.g., melody, rhythm, meter, harmony, instrumentation, etc.). Historical perspective will be gained by additional introductory lectures describing the six basic eras in music composition (Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Twentieth/Twenty-First Century), their major composers, and each period’s stylistic traits. Genres, forms and structures will also be introduced and discussed. Successive lectures will center around central themes of life through an in-depth study of selected compositions. Listening selections, lectures, discussions, and live performances by Dr. Coltman and other professional musicians will enhance each class. The following central themes provide the core topics of the course: Nature, Childhood, Romantic Love, Tragic Love, Death, Nationalism, War, and Spirituality.

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Autobiography and Anthropological Perspective, Michael Harris
Intellectual Foundations Category: Global Perspective
Anthropological insights into such domains of human life as childhood, play, biological needs, gender roles, social structure, family and kinship, economic organization, enculturation, ritual, and religion are ordinarily taught in relation to non-western or non-North American cultures. In this course, you will conduct an examination of other cultures through the usual texts, while concurrently writing your own cultural life history. Each student will create and present her/his own anthropological autobiography in a series of structured weekly writings that are contextualized by understandings of other cultural groups' practices.
   
 Last Modified 4/28/14