Curriculum Updates

DMD 3998-016: (Variable Topics) Diverse Perspectives in Digital Media and Design (Conversion Opportunity)

[UConn Storrs]

Instructor: Clarissa Ceglio

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

To paraphrase James Baldwin, nothing can be changed until it is faced. This is certainly true of the inequities that have historically shaped digital media technologies, content, fields, and careers. This class interrogates how racism, sexism, classism, ageism, and other forms of oppression are perpetuated through digital media works, practices, and industries. We will, as the chief learning activity of this class, meet and talk with contemporary practitioners who are challenging and changing the status quo. For six of our class sessions, we will meet virtually and sometimes in-person with industry professionals, artists, and media scholars from film, game, design, cultural and other sectors so that we can learn how issues of equity manifest in their work, creative processes, and professions.

Because these practitioners are also part of DMD’s Diverse Perspectives in Digital Media & Design: 2022 Speaker Series, students will also have the opportunity to participate as hosts in the series, learn how to professionalize their on-camera presence, and gain skill in preparing and moderating live Q&A sessions. Interactions with our guests will be supplemented by readings, in-class film screenings, and engagements with other media works.

Permission number required. Contact: clarissa.ceglio@uconn.edu

University Honors Laureate: This Variable Topics course will count toward the Arts & Humanities category and will also meet the Diversity & Multiculturalism requirement.

PHIL 1104: Philosophy and Social Ethics

[UConn Storrs]

Instructor: Tracy Llanera

Is humanity getting better? A way of gauging this question is via the lens of social ethics. Social ethics is concerned about investigating systems of (explicit or implicit) principles governing conduct in human societies. Are we treating ourselves well? Are we behaving in ways that improve the lives of (human and non-human) others as well as our own?  Are we thriving in our communities? Do we owe anything to human beings, even other beings, in the future? This course examines moral and social issues using philosophical argumentation, with the hope of engaging – critically, collectively, and clearly – the challenges raised by the question of human progress.

CA 1.

DRAM 2134: Honors Core: Sports as Performance

[UConn Storrs – Distance Learning]

In this course, students will use the lenses of theatre studies and performance studies to identify and analyze parallels between sports and performance. Consideration of identity, race, gender, sexuality, nation, and human rights will be mediated through readings across multiple disciplines, attendance at an athletic event, film/media viewings, written assignments, experiential activities as well as student-led discussions. This class investigates the interrelated aesthetic, performative, and humanistic values in the arts and athletics in several sports ranging from football to figure skating. Students will conduct independent research and synthesize their findings in a multimodal research presentation.

PHIL 3218: Feminist Theory

[UConn Storrs]

Instructor: Elena Comay del Junco

Prerequisites: At least one of PHIL 1101, 1102, 1103, 1104, 1105, 1106, 1107 or WGSS 1104, 1105 or 2124.

This course will take a philosophical approach to feminism, understood as a theoretical and political attempt to understand and combat gender oppression. Topics of discussion will include: the idea of “feminist philosophy”; the nature and origins of gender inequality and oppression; the concept of patriarchy; the relationship between gender and sexuality; “woman” and the gender binary; race and gender in the American and global context; class, labor, and “women’s work”; pornography; gendered violence; MeToo and other contemporary feminist movements and reactions to them.

We will read a variety of authors, both historical and contemporary, writing in different contexts and with different backgrounds. Our guiding assumption will be that all of these authors offer important insights *and*  that our task is to read them critically, to ask what they do not say and what is omitted from their arguments. The syllabus will include some or all of: Gloria Anzaldúa, Simone de Beauvoir, Talia Mae Bettcher, Judith Butler, Angela Davis, Andrea Dworkin, Shulamith Firestone, John Stuart Mill, Catherine McKinnon, Christine de Pizan, Gayle Rubin, Ida B. Wells, Monique Wittig, Mary Wollstonecraft, Susan Stryker.

MATH 3094: Undergraduate Seminar

MATH 3094-001: Knot Theory

Instructor: Katie Hall

Prerequisites: MATH 2710/W or 2142Q is preferred. Linear algebra and some familiarity with proofs and/or mathematical maturity is necessary. Email instructor with a description of your mathematical background for a permission number.

The objectives are this course are twofold: First, students will learn how to distinguish knots using both basic knot invariants like 3-coloring and more compli- cated invariants like knot polynomials. They will learn how to determine properties of a knot, for example, whether a knot has an alternating knot diagram, from these invariants. Students will also learn about surfaces, including the classification of orientable and non- orientable surfaces. Finally, we will tie these ideas together to see what surfaces we can get from knots.

Second, this class will introduce students to potentially new proof techniques including how to write an appropriately rigorous proof in a very visual area of math.

Course flyer (opens in new window)

MATH 3094-002: Mathematics for Machine Learning

Instructors: Jeremy Teitelbaum and Kyu-Hwan Lee

Prerequisites: MATH 2110Q, MATH 2210Q, and MATH 2710/W, or permission of the instructor. Email one of the instructors for a permission number.

Machine Learning is a “hot topic” that brings together ideas from computer science, statistics, and mathematics to extract structures from large data sets. As a branch of artificial intelligence, it has applications in building automated systems, identifying patterns and making decisions. Some typical problems in machine learning include image recognition, fraud detection and extracting meaning from text.

Machine Learning uses mathematics as its basic language and main resource of important techniques. In order to exploit the immense possibilities of Machine Learning, a thorough mathematical understanding of many of these techniques is necessary.

In this course we will discuss the mathematical foundations of key algorithms in Machine Learning, and, through lab projects, apply these algorithms to some real world data. This course will incorporate computer work in Python. Necessary programming skills will be taught as part of the course.

Course flyer (opens in new window)

PHIL 2217: Social and Political Philosophy – CANCELLED

[UConn Storrs]

Instructor: Nicholas Smith

Prerequisite: One from PHIL 1101, 1102, 1103, 1104, 1105, 1106 or 1107.

How can we best live together? Does living well with others require individuals to give up some of their freedom? Or does social life enable individuals to realize their freedom more fully? Is the exercise of power by some over others ever justified? What, if anything, justifies power exercised by the State? Under what circumstances, if any, is civil disobedience or rebellion against the State called for? We examine such questions through a reading of some the key thinkers of modern social and political philosophy, including Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hegel, Marx, Mill, Arendt and Rawls.

MCB 3219: Developmental and Regenerative Biology (Conversion Opportunity)

[UConn Storrs]

Instructor: David J. Goldhamer

Prerequisite: BIOL 1107.
Recommended preparation: MCB 2400 (Human Genetics), MCB 2410 (Genetics), MCB 2210 (Cell Biology), or equivalents.

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

MCB 3219 emphasizes molecular, cellular, and genetic mechanisms that regulate animal embryonic development. At a fundamental level, animal development across species is remarkably similar. It is these similarities in gene regulatory networks, signaling mechanisms and cellular processes that will be emphasized. Yet, variations (sometimes enormous) on fundamental themes will also be highlighted to give a sense of the richness and diversity by which embryos of different species accomplish the monumental task of creating the next generation.

By emphasizing both classical and modern experimental approaches, you will gain an appreciation for the process of discovery and a conceptual framework by which to understand and approach the study of development, as well as other disciplines. Knowledge gained from the study of embryonic development is increasingly being applied in a clinical setting in the rapidly growing field of regenerative medicine. Thus, the practical value of understanding how embryos develop is enormous, and the relationship between embryology and clinical application will be a theme that runs throughout the course.

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, Fall 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 5650: Introduction to Digital Humanities

[UConn Storrs]

Instructor: Yohei Igarashi

This discussion-based graduate seminar, open also to interested undergraduate students, explores the following topics. What does it mean to study literature and culture today, in the digital age? How can data be used to study literature and culture? How are digital technologies and computation changing how we read and write? Assignments include experiments with computational text analysis tools, shorter written assignments, a presentation, and a final project, and will be coordinated with a visiting speaker series at the UConn Humanities Institute.

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 6750: Seminar in Language and Literature (The Gothic novel and its British and Irish contexts)

Instructor: Mary Burke

This seminar will broadly consider Irish, British, and American Gothic writing from the eighteenth- to the twenty-first century, with attention to the British and Irish particularities of the genre and to the novel and novella forms. Students will have the opportunity to utilize major theories and foci of interpretation, from queer theory, Marxism, feminism, gender, race, and psychoanalysis to postcolonial studies. It is difficult to create a literary history of the British Gothic without considering the impact of Anglo-Irish writers such as Maturin, Le Fanu, Stoker, Wilde, Yeats, and Bowen as well as a British writer born to an Irish father such as Brontë. The colonial relationship between Ireland and Britain means that the course will be less of a literary history and more of an anti-tradition of discontinuities, fracture, gaps, silences and fragments (McCormack; Watt). One of the few coherent connections between most Irish Gothic writers is their origins in or links to the settler-colonial order or “Anglo-Irish” cohort. Foster reads this “siege-mentality” Protestant Irish class as preoccupied with its own impending extermination (Bowen). As hybrid, conflicted figures, the Anglo-Irish were well positioned to nurture a literature that emphasizes “hesitancy over certainty, and which refuses to dissolve binaries such as living/dead, inside/outside, friend/enemy, desire/disgust” (Killeen). Thus, there is a specifically colonial context to Irish Gothic’s use of the broader British tradition’s deployment of the Catholic archaic as site of terror (Walpole; Lewis) and its emphasis on the return of the dispossessed Other. Nevertheless, the prevailing theorization of Anglo-Irish Gothic does not account for the other colonizer-settler cohort in Ireland, the Ulster-Scots, nor for the cultural productions of or about their descendants in America (the Scots-Irish) by important names in American Gothic such as Poe, James, and Faulkner. Thus, we will set earlier themes and texts into relief and broaden our lens on race and colonialism by pivoting to the Americas and the authors just listed, closing with a recent Gothic metafiction centered on a rapacious Anglo-Irish settler-colonial family in midcentury Mexico (Moreno-Garcia).

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)