Honors Core Courses: Fall 2014

The following fall 2014 courses will fulfill the Honors Core requirement for Sophomore Honors.

Course Number Title Gen Ed
AMST 1700-001 Honors Core: American Landscapes – Walden and the American Landscape CA 1
AMST 1700-H71 Honors Core: American Landscapes – The Connecticut River Valley [HARTFORD CAMPUS]
CA 1
ART 2410-003 and
WGSS 1104-005D
Basic Studio, Photography and Feminisms and the Arts CA 1, CA 4
ECON 1108 Game Theory with Applications to the Natural and Social Sciences CA 2
ENGR 2243 Nanoscience & Society
HIST/LLAS 1570 Migrant Workers in Connecticut CA 1, CA 4
MCB 1405 Honors Core: The Genetics Revolution in Contemporary Culture CA 3
POLS 2062 Privacy in the Information Age
POLS 2998-010 Political Issues: Gender and War
SOCI 2509W Sociology of Anti-Semitism CA 4-Int

AMST 1700-001: Honors Core: American Landscapes
Walden and the American Landscape

Do you like lively discussions about things that really matter? Would you like to visit the fountainhead of America’s environmental movement? Ever feel like digging deeply into a classic of American literature to see how it originated, and how it shapes the present?

If so, then AMST 1700, “Walden and the American Landscape,” is the course for you. Using class lectures, small-group discussions, and field trips, you will learn that Walden, by Henry David Thoreau was a voice of protest against trashing the earth and its human communities in the name of progress, a theme that resonates strongly in our modern era of global change.

During this course, we will visit Walden Pond and other historic sites in Concord, MA. Locally, we will explore a natural history museum, an archive of rare books, and a local nature sanctuary. These trips will help you will discover your own authentic “sense of place” through subjects normally taught separately: history, geology, literature, and art. Drawing on a host of intellectual influences, from Puritanism to Hinduism, Enlightenment to Romanticism, and Science to Society, Walden is the story of how one guy from mid-19th America defied conformity, challenged his neighbors, and created an authentic life for himself based on sincerity, simplicity, and independence.

Did he succeed? He thought so. Cultural critics disagree. Students of this course disagree. Debating these ideas about “deliberate living” with each other will help you learn how to live your own life as deliberately as possible.

Trouble registering? This class is open to freshmen and sophomores in the Honors Program. If you will be a first- or second-year Honors student with 54 or more credits in Fall 2014 and you want to register for this course, please email honors@uconn.edu and include (1) your name; (2) your 7-digit Student Admin number; (3) the class number (9526); (4) the course number and section (AMST 1700-001); (5) the semester you entered UConn as a freshman (e.g., Fall 2013); and (6) confirmation that there are seats available in the course.

AMST 1700-H71: Honors Core: American Landscapes [HARTFORD CAMPUS]
The Connecticut River Valley

From its source on the United States/Canadian border to its merger with the Atlantic Ocean in the Long Island Sound, the 410 miles of the Connecticut River form the main artery and psychological lifeblood of New England. In its successful application to have the Connecticut designated an American Heritage river, the Connecticut River Watershed Council wrote:

Like a grand main street, the Connecticut River runs through the lives and livelihoods of the people and communities of the Valley. New England’s mightiest river, the Connecticut stands at the heart of this region’s human settlement and commerce; it is at the core of its history and culture; and it represents the essence of its environmental quality and economic vitality.

Students will consider a wide variety of ways to think about this foundational natural landmark: geologically; historically; environmentally; as an economic resource; as a transportation network; as a recreational and tourism resource; as a source of water and power; and as a focus of creative expression.

This is an active course, engaging students in thoughtful discussion and hands-on exploration of how “the river that connects us” has shaped New England. Field trips will be included, and may involve journeys to the Connecticut River Museum in Essex, Connecticut, to explore exhibits and eagle watch; the Great Falls Discovery Center at Turner Falls, Massachusetts, to study habitat and natural history of the river valley; and/or the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vermont.

ART 2410-003: Basic Studio, Photography and WGSS 1104-005D: Feminisms and the Arts

For this unique experience, students will take two separate but thematically linked courses concurrently, becoming both critics and creators simultaneously. They will learn in tandem about the power and problems of working with the body, about the technology of the camera and artistic practice in photography, and the limitations and potential of critical language to describe, contain, or define creativity.

In Feminisims and the Arts, you will explore the work of women artists and their treatment of gender, feminism, and sexuality, and you will engage with critical theory about visual culture. Then, in Basic Studio, Photography, you will learn to create your own black and white photography around the same themes. The two courses will speak to and against each other, pushing you to think about art and language in new and potentially transformative ways.

ART 2410 is generally not available to students who are not art or art history majors; this special opportunity waives that requirement and all prerequisites for Honors students.

Note These two Honors classes are offered as a cluster, and you must enroll in both. You will earn 3 Honors credits for each class once you complete it with a B- or better. To fulfill the Honors Core requirement for Sophomore Honors, you must earn Honors credits in both classes.

Note There is a class fee of $20 for ART 2410, and students should expect to spend between $250-$300 on materials in lieu of a textbook for that course. A camera and all readings will be provided. The books for WGSS 1104 cost approximately $50 in total and are also available on library reserve.

Permission numbers Permission numbers are required for both classes. Please email honors@uconn.edu and include (1) your name; (2) your 7-digit Student Admin number; (3) the class numbers (12616 and 14707); (4) the course numbers and sections (ART 2410-003 and WGSS 1104-005D); (5) confirmation that there are seats available; and (6) your commitment to enroll in both classes.

ECON 1108: Game Theory with Applications to the Natural and Social Sciences

Introduction to game theory examines applications in the natural and social sciences and technology, which may include electric power auctions, evolutionary biology, and elections. The course is an opportunity for students to begin to think strategically about many types of problems found in science, social settings, and even university life.

In this course, students will learn: To recognize strategic behavior—and the potential for strategic behavior—in a variety of situations, for example, in social and political situations and even in the natural sciences. To solve games, use solutions to predict and explain behavior, and recognize and learn from the successes and failures of their analyses. How to work through a sequence of short directed projects to learn that choosing a topic for the Honors thesis is not quite as daunting as they may believe.

ENGR 2243 : Nanoscience & Society

Recommended preparation: High school chemistry, physics, and biology

Nanotechnology is already ubiquitous in our daily lives, including food packaging, automobile components, computer devices, and even toothpaste. This course will introduce some of the science and technology behind such nano – enabled products, ranging from commonplace exampl es to seemingly science fiction. In this highly interac tive course, w eekly group and class discussions will address the opportunities, and costs, of these various advances. Societal implications to be considered include the environment, natural resources, 3rd world development, food security, the legal system, and human health. Optional tours of nanotechnology labs will also be offered. Regardless of your intended major, this class is thus an opportunity to learn and discuss what’s the big deal about something so small: Even though a nano – sized Earth would only be about as large as an M&M, the manufacturing and application of this technology is already a ~$20 billion annual market.

HIST/LLAS 1570: Migrant Workers in Connecticut

This 4-credit interdisciplinary Honors course examines the life and work experiences of migrant workers. Weekly sessions will combine short lectures and discussions of assigned readings, and the course will offer several guest lectures by university faculty and by practitioners in the field. The emphasis is on migrant workers—mostly Spanish-speaking from the Caribbean and Latin America, but with some attention to non-Spanish-speaking migrants (e.g., from Haiti) —in the United States with a significant focus on migrant workers in Connecticut. This seminar is introductory. We assume that most, if not all, of you are generally unfamiliar with much of the basic literature pertaining to migrant life and labor. The course is thus intended to provide a very broad and eclectic perspective on the world of migrant labor and experiences.

This seminar combines classroom and service learning as fundamental and equally valued elements of each student’s experience. Service learning involves the student in on-site study and work with a variety of organizations in Connecticut that assist the state’s migrant community. Students will travel on a weekly basis to organizations in Hartford and to farms throughout the area; consequently, you will need to arrange your schedule to accommodate approximately 3 hours of work per week, plus travel time. The organizations may include: Hispanic Health Council (migrant health research); Hartford Public Library (ESOL and citizenship instruction); CT Council Against Domestic Violence (transcription work); Collegiate Health Service Corps or Connecticut Council on Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) in Newington, CT (farm worker health and labor education); and Greater Hartford Legal Aid (legal advocacy). Transportation will be arranged.

Permission number A permission number is required. Please email honors@uconn.edu and include (1) your name; (2) your 7-digit Student Admin number; (3) the class number (either 9657 or 13661); (4) the course number and section (either HIST 1570-001 or LLAS 1570-001); (5) confirmation that there are seats available in the class you selected; and (6) your commitment to approximately 3 hours of service work, plus travel time, per week.

MCB 1405: Honors Core: The Genetics Revolution in Contemporary Culture

This course introduces students to genetics and genetic technologies. Various forms of popular culture—news clips, movies, books, and art—are used to provide a framework for the syllabus and to introduce students to different genetics and technology topics. A textbook introduces the scientific material, which is discussed in the context of the interpretation of science in modern society. Students study the scientific principles of genetics and genetic technology as well as the impact these topics have had on our culture, attitudes towards science, domestic and foreign policy, medical practice, and law.

Trouble registering? This class is open to freshmen and sophomores in the Honors Program. If you will be a first- or second-year Honors student with 54 or more credits in Fall 2014 and you want to register for this course, please email honors@uconn.edu and include (1) your name; (2) your 7-digit Student Admin number; (3) the class number (e.g., 9077); (4) the course number and section (e.g., MCB 1405-001D); (5) the semester you entered UConn as a freshman (e.g., Fall 2013); and (6) confirmation that there are seats available in the course.

POLS 2062: Privacy in the Information Age

Privacy is one of the most important concepts of our time, yet it is also one of the most puzzling. As technology makes information more accessible; academics, activists, policymakers, and citizens struggle to define (and redefine) the meaning of privacy. By providing a thematic overview of the topic of privacy from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, this course prepares Honors students for critical engagement with the many and diverse public policy, legal, and ethical debates that surround privacy.

The course focus will provide students with the opportunity to participate in weekly seminar discussions regarding the impact of technology on the ways in which privacy is conceptualized, valued, enacted, and protected.

Topics of analysis include, but are not limited to:

  • The history of privacy
  • Cultural variations of privacy
  • Philosophical definitions of privacy and debates about the moral/ethical status of privacy
  • Legal/constitutional interpretations of the right to privacy
  • The impact of technology on the meaning of privacy

POLS 2998-010: Political Issues: Gender and War

War is presented here as a range of human experiences with armed collective violence in the international system. Gender studies of war indicate that men, women, and children have always experienced war directly or indirectly depending on their local and international context. Today’s experiences include media representations of war, gender combat practices, the militarization of masculinity, terror wars and women suicide bombers, rape as weapon of war, child soldiers, and international laws governing gender relations in war and post-war situations. To illustrate these and other points we consider the Thirty Year’s war,today’s Iraq war, the Rwandan genocide, the Bosnian war, Sudan’s recent wars and others.

Important! POLS 2998-011 (Political Issues: Congressional Elections) is also being offered for Honors credit during the Fall 2014 semester, but it is not an Honors Core course.

SOCI 2509W: Sociology of Anti-Semitism

In 1898, Mark Twain wrote an article about “a remarkable scene in the Imperial Parliament in Vienna,” entitled “Stirring Times in Austria,” which revealed the openness of anti-Semitism.  He received a number of letters in response to his article and one came from a lawyer, which contained several questions:

Now will you kindly tell me why, in your judgment, the Jews have thus ever been and are even now, in these days of supposed intelligence, the butt of baseless, vicious animosities?  I dare say that for centuries there have been no more quiet, undisturbing, and well-behaving citizens, as a class, than that same Jew. It seems to me that ignorance and fanaticism cannot alone account for these horrible and unjust persecutions. Tell me, therefore, from your vantage point of cold view, what in your mind is the cause. Can American Jews do anything to correct it either in America or abroad? Will it ever come to an end? Will a Jew be permitted to live honestly, decently, and peaceably like the rest of mankind? What has become of the Golden Rule?”

Twain, Mark. Concerning the Jews. Philadelphia: Running Press, 1985:12

More than a century later, after the destruction of the Holocaust, we are still confronting these questions. Thus, this course will apply several perspectives of sociological analysis to the understanding and explanation of anti-Semitism within diverse societies. Theoretical and empirical materials bearing on this topic will be examined and analyzed. In addition, a trip to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum or a similar institution may be arranged (contingent on funding). This course will be useful to students interested in such topics as religion, ethnicity, intergroup relations, prejudice, discrimination, and racism.

Note This class is open to sophomores or higher. Requires ENGL 1010, 1011, 2011, or 3800.