Featured Courses

PNB 3700: Sensory Physiology (Conversion Opportunity)

[UConn Storrs]

Instructor: Karen Menuz

Prerequisites: PNB 2274 or 3251 or instructor consent; open to juniors or higher.

While this is not an Honors course, Prof. Menuz welcomes Honors students of all majors and would be happy to offer Honors conversions for interested students.

This course is designed to provide students with an in-depth understanding of sensory physiology. Special attention is paid to the receptors, cells, and physiology in peripheral sensory organs. The course covers senses that are familiar to humans, such as olfaction, taste, vision, touch, and hearing, and those that we lack such as magnetoreception, electroreception, and infrared detection. A comparative approach will be taken, highlighting the common principles and key differences in select sensory systems in vertebrates, invertebrates, and other organisms.

The Honors conversion for this course will involve researching one of the “atypical” senses, such as electroreception, and delivering an oral presentation to the class.

ENGL graduate courses, Spring 2022

Graduate courses act as Honors credit, as long as you earn a grade of B- or higher. Contact each instructor directly for permission numbers.

ENGL/AMST 6850: Seminar in American Studies: Keywords (Disability Studies)

Instructor: Brenda Brueggemann

This is a course about “doing disability studies” in the arts and humanities.  In order to maintain some focus we will center our reading and work on AMERICAN texts (literature, film, popular culture artifacts) and the important (and sometimes also obscured) contexts, history, cultural, political, and rights movements that have shaped and grounded the field of Disability Studies. The course is intended to be interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary –as currently aligns with the burgeoning field of Disability Studies itself –and although our focus will be “American” we will make many transnational and global connections.

The course will have four (interwoven) movements.  First:  we will begin in a space of “key words” and “core concepts,” exploring groundbreaking and foundation-building critical vocabulary and analytical frames.  Second: we will draw upon the rights-based, advocacy, activist frames and materialities (social, political, educational, medical) that have shaped American disability studies and have also then inspired much of its creative production.  Third: we will insert disability into identity politics (and identity politics into disability) as we consider disability in complex relationships to other identities and how, once again, that complexity has forged creative and critical production for the field.  Fourth: we will need to engage the issues inherent in accessing the archives around disabled lives –particularly in an American context—and how disability diagnosis and embodiment challenges and invigorates historical excavation and archival work.

Course Elements and Activities:

  • Weekly participation in interactive class activities
  • Annotations and index for 2-3 Disability Keywords entries
  • Five short compositions (multimodal –but accessible—compositions are encouraged) in response to any 4 or 5 weeks of texts/discussions.  Preliminary prompts offered by instructor.
  • Articulation of a final project (determined upon consultation with instructor): a project comprising 15-20 hours of intellectual labor (need not be finished)

PSYC 3770W-002: (Current Topics in Social Psychology) Psychology of the Arts

[UConn Storrs]

Instructor: Blair T. Johnson

Prerequisites: ENGL 1007, 1010, 1011, or 2011 and instructor consent. The catalog-level prerequisite of PSYC 2700 is recommended but will not be required.

Psychology of the arts is far more vast than any individual course can possibly cover, ranging from the written word, to song, to music, to visual arts, performance art, and more. Thus, this course is an introduction to the subject. As a psychological topic, a strong focus of the course is emotions and judgments and their underlying experiential and functional bases; a related focus revolves around the functional purposes of consuming and making art (e.g., self-expression, social justice activity, therapy), along with understanding the motives of people who make art and what might make their art more powerful—or even fail. As a writing seminar, this course will focus on contemporary and classic scholarship as well as the students’ own essays on these subjects.

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ENGL Honors classes, Spring 2022

All of these courses carry the pre-requisite of first-year writing (ENGL 1007, 1010, 1011, or 2011).

ENGL 2101-Z81: British Literature II

[UConn Stamford]

Instrutor: Frederick Roden

British Literature II examines a broad variety of genres (poetry, non-fiction prose, and novel/short story) in three historical periods, from 1800 to roughly 1950: Romanticism, Victorianism, and Modernism. We will pay particular attention to works and movements on the margins of these categorical terms. This era was one of tremendous change with respect to definitions of identity: race, class, gender, sexual orientation, national and ethnic self-understanding, and religion — just to name a few. Honors students will select to focus on clusters of historical documents concerning some of these themes and will develop their formal course writing around those texts.  Professor Roden will mentor these projects individually, and we will meet as an Honors group to workshop this independent study.   Collectively as a full class, we will analyze the literature in the context of the politics of identity and the idea of “subjectivity”: the speaking self.

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ENGL 2301W-003: Anglophone Literatures

[UConn Storrs]

Instructor: Patrick Hogan

The obvious feature that connects Anglophone literatures is the colonial history (partially) shared by their countries of origin. Why would we otherwise link such different nations as Nigeria, India, Canada, and Australia? This course will, therefore, stress colonialism and the ways in which these diverse literatures emerged from colonial conditions. Of course, the diversity of these literatures is as consequential as the similarity. In connection with this, it is important to distinguish various kinds of colonialism. Colonialism in Nigeria is not the same as colonialism in Canada, for example. As this is a literature course, we also need to be aware of the various literary approaches to “emplotting” colonialism, which is to say, creating stories that address the colonial condition. We will begin the semester by considering just what constitutes colonialism (e.g., how we might define “colonialism”). From there we will turn to the chief varieties of colonialism and some of the recurring structures—particularly story genres—taken up by authors in examining colonialism. In connection with these theoretical topics, we will read and discuss some theoretical work—Kwame Anthony Appiah’s The Lies that Bind: Rethinking Identity< and perhaps Dane Kennedy’s Decolonization. (This further engagement with theoretical writing is the main difference between the Honors and non-Honors versions of the course.)

After a few weeks on these theoretical topics, we will turn to literary works. In the course of the semester, we will consider narratives from different types of colony. For example, we will examine a work from Canada (Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing) and one from Australia (Nugi Garimara’s Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence), works from India (including some poetry and visual art from Kashmir), and works from the very different African colonies of Kenya (Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s A Grain of Wheat) and South Africa (J. M. Coezee’s Waiting for the Barbarians and Athol Fugard’s Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act), as well as a selection of stories from across the continent–Ama Ata Aidoo’s African Love Stories. As the title of Aidoo’s collection suggests, we will pay particular attention to the ways in which authors take up the love story genre to address colonialism, though we will touch on other recurring genres as well.

Coursework will include short responses to readings, one or two group presentations, and general class participation, one 6-page essay explicating part of one of the literary works or rewriting it creatively (in line with themes explored in the course), and one 10-page essay involving cultural or historical research integrated with explication of part of one of the literary works, as well as outlines and drafts of the two essays. (Though the course is primarily in person, a limited number of lectures will be recorded and made available on HuskyCT instead.)

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ENGL 2701-003: Creative Writing I

[UConn Storrs]

Instructor: Sean Forbes

Finding Your Artistic Voice Through Creative Writing Prompts

In this introduction to creative writing class we will examine the different approaches that a writer can take when trying to establish a speaker in a poem or short story. We will look at exemplary works of poetry and fiction from writers like David Dominguez, Allison Joseph, Richard Blanco, and Justin Torres. Students will produce a final portfolio of their original work. Class participation is an essential component to this largely workshop-based course along with weekly writing prompts such as writing in iambic pentameter and challenging prose sketches.

ENGL 3640-001: British Film

[UConn Storrs]

Instructor: Gregory Semenza

In this course, we will trace the long and colorful history of British film since the invention of the cinema around 1895 until the present day.  One of the original powers of the global film industry—along with the US, Germany, France, and Italy—the British cinema experienced serious decline in the early years of World War I.  Although, according to some (especially British) film historians, it has never fully recovered, the British filmmaking industry has been at the forefront of numerous historical innovations and developments, serving important roles in the rise of documentary film, wartime propaganda film, cinematic realism, and the evolution of the horror film, heritage film, franchise film, and especially film adaptations of literature—to mention only a few key examples.  Through all these changes, the British film industry has always been linked closely to Hollywood, serving not only a training ground for directorial and acting talent (from Charlie Chaplin to Alfred Hitchcock to Ridley Scott to Emma Thompson), but also as an important site and collaborator in an increasingly multinational film industry (from The Bridge on the River Kwai to Star Wars to Harry Potter).

The course will consider all of these contributions within the context of questions about Britishness itself.  Given the violent forces that forged the British union since the Middle Ages, ideas of Britishness have always had an intensely constructed, political quality which certain powerful interests wished to portray as permanent and consensual.  But from the vantage point of 2021, the artificial nature of this project is much more apparent and seems on the verge of flying apart. The recent Scottish vote for independence was the logical extension of the politics of devolution dating back at least to 1920, when Home Rule in Northern Ireland was implemented and a parliament was established there a year later.  The politics of devolution are at this moment putting “English” identity under extreme pressure—as are changes ushered in by the ongoing reconfiguration of traditional geographical, racial, ethnic, class, and sexual hierarchies.  In this course, we will need to think, therefore, much about ever-changing definitions of what constitutes “British” in order to truly understand the history and culture of British film.

Required films will include, but not be limited to, the following: David Lean’s Brief Encounter (1945); Powell and Pressburger’s Black Narcissus (1947); Carol Reed’s The Third Man (1949); Tony Richardson’s A Taste of Honey (1961); Peter Watkins’ The War Game (1966); Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man (1973); Franco Rosso’s Babylon (1980);  Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero (1983); James Ivory’s A Room with a View (1985); Stephen Frears’ My Beautiful Laundrette (1985); Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting (1996); Steve McQueen’s Hunger (2008); Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank (2009); Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block (2011); Sam Mendes’ Skyfall (2012); and Steve McQueen’s Small Axe (2020).

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SOCI 2260: Science, Medicine, and Race (Conversion Opportunity)

[UConn Storrs]

Instructor: Matthew Hughey

While this is not an Honors course, Prof. Hughey welcomes Honors students of all majors and would be happy to offer Honors conversions for interested students.

An introduction to science, medicine, and the construct of “race.” We will encounter the development of medical sciences, colonialism, eugenics, & Darwinism; modern notions of biology & species; the causes & consequences of health inequities across the color-line; genetic & genomic research; and DNA & ancestry testing.

A critical class for students interested in the role of race, truth, facts, methods, and inequality in the genetic age.

Questions? Contact the instructor:
Matthew W. Hughey, PhD
Professor of Sociology
matthew.hughey@uconn.edu

DMD/HRTS: Human Rights Archives I: Documenting & Curating Community Memory

[UConn Storrs]

HRTS 3540-002 (Topics in Human Rights Practice)
HRTS 5351-001 (Topics in Human Rights Practice)
DMD 3998-007 (Variable Topics)
DMD 5998-010 (Variable Topics)

Instructor: Catherine Masud

While the undergraduate courses (HRTS 3540, DMD 3998) are not Honors courses, Prof. Masud welcomes Honors students of all majors and would be happy to offer Honors conversions for interested students. Seniors may also choose to register for the graduate courses (HRTS 5351, DMD 5998), which act as Honors credit so long as you earn a grade of B- or higher.

This is the first part of a two-semester practice-based unit. Designed to introduce students to the use of human rights archival materials in documentary storytelling, Human Rights Archives Part I will focus on methods and best practices of collecting and managing digital visual and audio-visual archival assets. Students will engage with existing human rights-related archival collections, both private and institutional, to develop an appreciation of the “living” archive and its importance both as a repository of witnessing and memory and as a vehicle for the continuous retelling of history in the present moment. A series of relevant readings, films, and short storytelling exercises will help to provide context and connections. Later in the semester, students will apply what they’ve learned about human rights archives, digital asset management, and storytelling by documenting and digitizing the family stories and artifacts of an immigrant community that bears the multi-generational scars of genocide and displacement, following some of the strategies of the History Harvest model. The assets collected through this collaborative community-centered project will form the basis of an important new collection that students will be involved in processing, organizing, and cataloguing. This collection will be a primary resource for the visual storytelling work in the second course of the unit. Part I, however, is not considered a prerequisite for Part II.

University Honors Laureate: This Variable Topics course will count toward the Arts & Humanities category.

UNIV 1995: Honors Human Flourishing (Special Topics)

[UConn Storrs]

Instructor: Sierra Trudel

1 credit course

Honors Human Flourishing is aimed to engage students in well-being research and how to then apply the research in a meaningful way to their own lives. Each course topic will include a week of analysis of pertinent research followed by a workshop style class to put the research into action. Students will learn meaningful strategies in the areas of meaning and purpose, relationships, character strengths, positive emotions, engagement, and achievement, to promote personal and professional development. Ultimately, the goal of the course is to provide students with the knowledge and skills to foster well-being to support them throughout their undergraduate academic journey.

Please email sierra.trudel@uconn.edu with any questions.

HIST 3510: Civil War America

[UConn Storrs]

Instructor: Prof. Christopher Clark

The Civil War (1861-65) was the direst crisis to face the United States since its founding in the American Revolution. The secession of eleven southern states to form the Confederate States of America would, if it had been sustained, have permanently divided the nation. As it was, it took a four-year-long war and the loss of probably more than 750,000 lives to bring the Confederacy to an end.

Using contemporary documents and recent historical works, we’ll explore the war’s origins, events, and outcomes; explain the creation and eventual defeat of the Confederacy, and why the war lasted so long; examine the abolition of slavery and the postwar legacies of Reconstruction, civil rights, and race-based repression; and look at how the war changed the course of U.S. history, affected Americans of all kinds, and has been marked ever since in national memory.

ENGL 6750: Seminar in Language & Literature

Section 2: Labor, Utterance, & Meaning in the Maritime World

[UConn Storrs]

Graduate courses act as Honors credit, as long as you earn a grade of B- or higher.

Instructor: Mary K. Bercaw Edwards

For as long as history has been recorded, sailors have stepped on shore with a tale to tell. Until the laying of telegraph cables across oceans finally outpaced sailing ships in carrying messages in the 1850s, the sight of a sail on the horizon might be the first herald of news of many kinds: political, cultural, financial, or personal. The figure of the sailor as a storyteller stretches back beyond the earliest written records. The gulf of ocean between the sailor and the port and the events or circumstances that sailor described lent a paradoxical mix of authority and doubt regarding stories sailors told. The writers we will consider in this course inherited willingly or unwillingly the long heritage of these sailor storytellers. This course will examine the chronological development of a literature wherein the sea functions as physical, psychological, and philosophical setting. The course will begin by investigating early uses of the sea in literature and ways in which early works influenced later writings. It will continue with the use of the sea in contemporary literature and literature by writers of color. Through the use of literary theory and maritime history, the course will establish the context in which these works were produced as well as closely examining the works themselves. The requirements for the course will include presentations, several short papers, and a longer final essay.

ENGL 2605. Capitalism, Literature, and Culture

[UConn Storrs]

Instructor: Clare Eby

Prerequisite: ENGL 1007 or 1010 or 1011 or 2011.

In this section dedicated to Honors students, we’ll read some of capitalism’s most influential theorists (such as Adam Smith and Karl Marx) and look at some of its most ardent defenders (including Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand). The primary focus, however, will be on twentieth- and twenty-first century novels and a few films that raise questions about whether capitalism is indeed the best, much less the inevitable, way of structuring the economy—and so many other aspects of our lives. We will consider if there is a racial component to capitalism and also the possibility of a new form of surveillance capitalism emerging in the digital age. The reading list for this course is still a work in progress, but will likely include such novels as Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Dave Eggers’s The Circle, Colson Whitehead’s Zone One, and Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Dispossessed. In addition to a substantial amount of reading, course requirements include a 15-minute presentation on a full scholarly book, a short paper, a research paper, spot quizzes—and lots of lively discussion. I love working with Honors students, and expect this course to be a blast.

If you have any questions, including about waiving the prerequisite, feel free to email me (clare.eby@uconn.edu).

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