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UNIVERSITY HONORS

HNRS-302
Honors Colloquium in Social Sciences (3)

Course Level: Undergraduate

Topics vary by section, may be repeated for credit with different topic. Usually offered every term. Prerequisite: permission of University Honors program director.

HNRS-302
001H
UNIVERSITY HONORS
SPRING 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Honors Colloquium in Social Sciences (3)

Understanding the International Financial Crisis

The extent of the recent financial turmoil has been far-reaching and global, with disruptions in sovereign debt markets raising questions about the viability of the Eurozone. No longer just a Wall Street problem, the international financial crisis also has greatly affected Main Street. This course presents a how-to guide for understanding the complexities underlying recent events in the international financial markets and what it means for us as individuals. It takes a comprehensive look at the constantly changing global financial landscape and the role of demographic, economic, political, social, and behavioral factors in shaping its future.

HNRS-302
002H
UNIVERSITY HONORS
SPRING 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Honors Colloquium in Social Sciences (3)

Contract Law: Law of the Deal

In our increasingly capitalist world, the deal takes on great importance and the law of contracts sets the rule by which this game is played. This course studies the U.S. laws governing the creation, performance, and breach of contracts from the perspective of the allocation of risk, an element that exists in every deal. For example, when is a deal a deal, and when do circumstances allow for releasing parties from their legal obligations? It examines the legal rules governing the sale of goods and services in the United States and compares them to laws governing contracts internationally. Students debate such politically divisive topics as the use, or abuse, of punitive damages and the allocation of the legal fees and other costs of litigation between parties. Emphasis is paid to the distinctions between the legal and ethical obligations of individuals and enterprises. Students are also introduced to legal research and writing.

HNRS-302
003H
UNIVERSITY HONORS
SPRING 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Honors Colloquium in Social Sciences (3)

Extreme Punishments: Life, Death, and Solitary Confinement

America has the highest incarceration rate in the Western, if not the entire, world. In addition, America leads the world in the use of extreme penal sanctions: life sentences, death sentences, and extended solitary confinement. Conditions in American prisons, particularly high security prisons reserved for those serving extreme sanctions, are uniquely harsh and have been described by researchers as dehumanizing and hellish, and ultimately un-survivable in the face of widespread and even routine violations of human dignity. The nature, scope, and origins of these cruel penal practices, as well as the human rights violations they entail, is the focus of this course.

HNRS-302
004H
UNIVERSITY HONORS
SPRING 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Honors Colloquium in Social Sciences (3)

Media and the American Mind

Movies, TV shows, newspapers, and advertising influence who we vote for, how we define America's role in global politics, and where we stand on such major issues as same-sex marriage and stem-cell research, while at the same time helping to shape our moral values and to determine how we dress and how we spend our leisure time. This course explores the vital role that the various media genres play, historically as well as in contemporary times, in affecting American society writ large and simultaneously influencing the individual attitudes and actions of those of us who make up that society.

HNRS-302
006H
UNIVERSITY HONORS
SPRING 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Honors Colloquium in Social Sciences (3)

Who Killed JFK?

This colloquium is a full examination of the many continuing mysteries and the latest findings about the murder of President John F. Kennedy in the streets of Dallas more than 50 years ago. Questions of who was responsible and why are supplemented by a thorough look at the impact this tragic event has had on America's government and its citizens.

HNRS-302
007H
UNIVERSITY HONORS
SPRING 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Honors Colloquium in Social Sciences (3)

Kenya: Race, Sex, Violence and Other Myths re: Human Nature

This course explores and explodes core myths about human nature, such as biological race is real; humans are inherently violent; and there is a biological basis for differences in male and female behaviors and desires. Much of the evidence that sheds light on these fallacies comes from data from Kenya on the evolutionary and social history of human beings. As such, this course familiarizes students with past research conducted in Kenya that is central to our understanding of human evolution, as well as current interdisciplinary research projects taking place in the country that shed light on the development of social organization around the world. The class also engages in critical examinations of film, television, museum installations, literature, magazines, and newspapers from around the world that are used to explore intersections of science, history, and culture at the heart of our nature/nurture beliefs about human behavior. These materials are also used to emphasize how the study of human nature is relevant to communications, law, public affairs, business, international service, humanities and the social sciences. This course includes an optional Honors Study/Travel trip to Kenya during spring break for an on-site learning experience based on topics covered in class.

HNRS-302
008H
UNIVERSITY HONORS
SPRING 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Honors Colloquium in Social Sciences (3)

The American 1990s: Scandal, Conflict, and the Internet

This colloquium explores a decade defined by a variety of decisive moments, including the emergence of the Internet and the World Wide Web and the spectacle of a president's impeachment. The colloquium also considers the spasms of domestic terrorism in the 1990s, a U.S.-led war in Iraq, the robust economy of the last half of the decade, and memorable developments in popular culture. Includes research outings to the Library of Congress and the Newseum.

HNRS-302
009H
UNIVERSITY HONORS
SPRING 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Honors Colloquium in Social Sciences (3)

Revolution, Counter-Revolution, and Reform in Egypt

The 2011 Egyptian Uprising called for the fall of the regime, dignity, and social justice as the Mubarak regime was quickly swept from power after three decades of "durable authoritarianism." This course analyzes the Egyptian uprising, its genesis, and its prognosis by exploring these three main demands of the uprising. It focuses particularly on the actors, mobilization, institutions, and issues which propelled the Arab Spring, but it also considers both empirically and theoretically the fallout of the uprising and continued political contestation in Egypt. The course pays particular attention to ongoing political mobilization in Egypt, and deep-rooted economic and social problems which continue to confront the Egyptian polity. Since academic studies on the Arab Spring are still emerging, research and readings rely heavily on primary sources, social media, and engagement with guest speakers.

HNRS-302
011H
UNIVERSITY HONORS
SPRING 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Honors Colloquium in Social Sciences (3)

Bioethical and Legal Dilemmas in Healthcare

This colloquium provides students with a basic understanding of the relationships between bioethics and the law, a grounding in the principles of bioethics, and an introduction to the key bioethics debates. Students learn about a range of legal and bioethical issues that confront healthcare providers and patients in a time of rapid technological change and about new ways of thinking about these issues. Students relate fundamental principles of bioethics to several clinical topics and public policy problems, including informed consent, diagnostic genetics, end-of-life care, advanced directives, the right to die and physician-assisted suicide. A major portion of the course is devoted to examining the evolution of bioethics decision making in judicial contexts and where U.S. society is in the contemporary debate. Students look at recent bioethics issues that have stirred public controversy and have yet to be decided by the courts, and consider the role of bioethical issues in public policy making. The course is an excellent overview of contemporary issues relating to law and medicine and foundational for student considering careers in law, medicine, or other healthcare professions. Beyond the substance of the issues it presents, this course helps students to enhance their analytical thinking, public speaking ability, and skills in writing clearly and cogently.

HNRS-302
001H
UNIVERSITY HONORS
FALL 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Honors Colloquium in Social Sciences (3)

Legal Issues in Globalization

This course examines the legal aspects of international trade and investment. It explores the nature of international investment law, the private customary law of trade, and both domestic and international schemes for the regulation of international trade. Students become familiar with the legal mechanics of engaging in direct foreign investment, as well as questions surrounding the choice of law issues in national regulation. Special emphasis is placed on the trade protection laws of the United States and the development of the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Although the course examines these issues from a legal perspective, it also deals with the political, social, economic, and environmental aspects of trade regulation and economic regulation in this era of globalization.

HNRS-302
002H
UNIVERSITY HONORS
FALL 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Honors Colloquium in Social Sciences (3)

Masterworks in African Studies

Masterworks are central to understanding civilizations. They are a window on ways of thinking and living. They can provide deep insights into the history of peoples and contemporary dynamics. This colloquium probes novels, films, prison diaries, histories, political speeches, music, art, and scholarly analysis to explores questions such as how to grasp the masterworks of global Africa diasporas, as well as the continent itself; whose voices are represented and silenced in major texts on Africa; who produces these works; and how to address oral as well as literary production. Students are asked to engage differences--values about race and ethnicity, class, religion, gender and sexual orientation--in various contexts.

HNRS-302
03CBH
UNIVERSITY HONORS
FALL 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Honors Colloquium in Social Sciences (3)

Social Construction of Childhood in the U.S.

After a review of the socio-cultural and historical context of the passage of public policies to protect children such as child labor, compulsory schooling, and protection from child abuse, students critically analyze the current state of the right to be a child in the United States. Course content emphasizes how issues of inequality affect children and their environments.

HNRS-302
004H
UNIVERSITY HONORS
FALL 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Honors Colloquium in Social Sciences (3)

Justice Stories

The justice system is a world apart from the larger world. From arrest to trial and disposition, the justice system offers moments of high drama and excitement against a background of mind-numbing boredom and empty routine. Violence and violation are recurring hazards experienced by people processed by the justice system and by some of the people who work in the system as well. This course explores the contours of the strange and often paradoxical world embodied in our justice system using stories of all sorts, fiction and nonfiction, all true to life in their own way.

HNRS-302
006H
UNIVERSITY HONORS
FALL 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Honors Colloquium in Social Sciences (3)

Future and Foresight

Smart organizations use foresight tools to chart a course for a successful future. Future success for business and government, and for global society--some would even say survival--depends on the ability to understand change and then drive to the futures we want. In nearly any professional area, the ability to recognize and understand the trends that affect the future and then predict the resulting future challenges and opportunities is needed. In this course students use the tools of foresight to explore the future 10, 20, or 30 years from now. The course futurizes and then equips each student with a toolbox of future methods. Futurizing means to develop an anticipatory consciousness. Future methods are qualitative methods, including techniques to create future scenarios and to choose an "aspirational" future. This is a learning-by-doing course. It has clients around whose interests the class explores change, builds scenarios, and looks for preferred future outcomes.

HNRS-302
007H
UNIVERSITY HONORS
FALL 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Honors Colloquium in Social Sciences (3)

Alien Contact: Science and Science Fiction

This course is about mankind's desire for extraterrestrial contact. It examines the historical links between film and television to historical world events as they relate to increased reports of contact. Students read and study about the Roswell Incident in 1947, the Phoenix lights in 1997, and other UFO phenomena revealed by the recent declassification of international government files on UFO sightings. The class sees classic science fiction films from the 1950's to the present and reads the novels that spawned them as well as examining television shows that have become part of our "alien pop culture" for fifty years. Archival news footage of space exploration is integrated into the course as well as interviews with Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking and Michio Kaku. Prominent guest speakers are also featured.

HNRS-302
008H
UNIVERSITY HONORS
FALL 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Honors Colloquium in Social Sciences (3)

The Critical Media Consumer/Participant

Consumers are bombarded daily with news and information from outlets that are considered conservative or liberal or balanced, and social media has become the tool of the everyman who wants to reach audiences directly. A savvy consumer can separate opinion from fact, hype from news, and entertainment from information by critically examining the information, its source, and its purpose. In this course students focus on critical thinking skills to evaluate and understand both the purpose and the performance of the mass media, as well how they can become active participants in the media. Assignments include critiques of news coverage, movies, plays, music, and other cultural phenomena. Students are encouraged to generate their own ideas for assignments and become more comfortable critiquing themselves as well as others.

HNRS-302
010H
UNIVERSITY HONORS
FALL 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Honors Colloquium in Social Sciences (3)

Politics and Policy of Health Care

Comprising more than one-sixth of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), health care has become a driving force in American economics and politics. This course provides historical background on the forces that shaped our current health care system, analyzes the impact of ongoing policy changes on businesses and individuals, and studies potential future effects on national politics and fiscal policy. In short, the course serves as a primer on health care policy for individuals contemplating a career in the field, be it in politics, economics, business, or medicine.

HNRS-302
009H
UNIVERSITY HONORS
FALL 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Honors Colloquium in Social Sciences (3)

Development and Democracy in South Asia

South Asia presents striking divergences in democratization and development, both within and across the countries that compose the region. India has largely maintained the integrity of its democratic institutions since Independence despite high levels of poverty, illiteracy, and social diversity. Several of India's neighbors, however, exhibit political histories that are marked by periods of authoritarianism and military rule. Cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Mumbai boast incredible wealth and are centers of innovation and international investment. Concurrently, underdeveloped villages and vast urban slums remind us that South Asia is a region of extreme poverty and inequality. With a nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, networks of terrorist groups, a Maoist insurgency, border disputes, and episodes of ethnic and religious conflict, the region of South Asia continues to experience serious instability and violence. Still, social movements have emerged throughout the region to promote and deepen democracy, protect human rights, curb corruption, and hold politicians and officials accountable. This course examines trends in democracy and development across South Asia. A majority of the course focuses on India, but also covers Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal. A number of related themes, including democratization, federalism and local governance, urbanization and urban poverty, elections and political parties, ethnic conflict, and the political economy of development are investigated.

HNRS-302
011H
UNIVERSITY HONORS
FALL 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Honors Colloquium in Social Sciences (3)

Militarization of US Foreign Policy:Uniforms or Pin-Stripes?

This course explores today's broad, global involvement of the U.S. military in a component of U.S national security, building partner capacity, advising foreign militaries, ministries, police, courts, and delivering economic development projects in 80 countries. Students hear from policymakers, do intensive research and make policy proposals on this major foreign and national security policy topic.

HNRS-302
012H
UNIVERSITY HONORS
FALL 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Honors Colloquium in Social Sciences (3)

Environment and Development

This course is an overview of the multidisciplinary field of environment and development. It focuses on debates concerning various human-made or development-related root causes of natural-resource degradation in the South. Special attention is paid to the relationship between the rural poor and the environment. The course also looks critically at current innovative policy initiatives--from local to global levels--attempting to resolve the linked problems of environment and development. Students learn "root-cause analysis" to assess both the debates and the policy initiatives.