Honors Core Courses: Fall 2023

Important information: This is a DRAFT list of Honors Core courses for Fall 2023. We should be finalizing the list soon.

The following Fall 2023 Honors courses will fulfill the Honors Core requirement for University Honors LaureateAlways check to make sure you are registered for an Honors section.

Course Number & Campus Title Instruction Mode Gen Ed Honors*
Ethnicity and Race In person SS, D&M
ANTH 3340E
Culture and Conservation In person CA 2, CA 4-Int, E SS, D&M
ECON 2103
Honors Core: Deep Roots of Modern Societies In person CA 1 A&H
ERTH 1055
Geoscience and the American Landscape In person CA 3
(CA 3-Lab option)
Migrant Workers in Connecticut (Service Learning) In person CA 1, CA 4 A&H, D&M
MCB 2612
Honors Core: Microbe Hunters – Crowdsourcing Antibiotic Discovery In person CA 3-Lab STEM
PHIL 2410
Know Thyself In person CA 1 A&H
POLS 2062
Privacy in the Information Age Hybrid SS
Women and the Law In person SS, D&M
POLS 3622
American Political Leadership In person SS
POLS 3608
The Art, Science, and Business of Political Campaigns In person CA 2 SS
SOCI 1701
Society in Global Perspective Online Synchronous CA 2, CA 4-Int SS, D&M
SOCI 2275
Social Well-Being In person SS
WGSS 2105W
Gender and Science In person CA 4-INT, W SS, D&M

Distribution categories for the University Honors Laureate award

AFRA/SOCI 2510: Ethnicity and Race

[UConn Storrs]

Are “Emily” and “Greg” more employable than “Lakisha” and “Jamal”? Did the election of Obama mean the end of racism? Do White Supremacists have inter-racial friendships? How do we count multiracial people on the US Census? How can one provide empirically-based solutions to the problems of racial inequality, racial discrimination, and systemic racism? What kind of sociological concepts can help us interpret what data we collect and analyze? How does field of sociology intersect with, in ways that both align with and depart from, other fields, such as biology, economics, history, genomics, or political science? This honors course will answer these questions and more by providing a rigorous and interdisciplinary introduction, rather than individual disciplines in isolation, to the scholarship on race and ethnicity. This interdisciplinary focus will be bounded within the context of North America, with a focus on the attainment, application, and production of knowledge related to ethnicity and race.

The course will be a hybrid of lecture and discussion, with regular writing exercises, and culminating in each student’s independent research project.

ANTH 3340E: Culture and Conservation

[UConn Storrs]

Today, there is growing interest in conservation, and social and environmental scientists, alike, have an important role to play in helping conservation succeed for the sake of humanity, the environment and other species. Many researchers in these fields now argue that ecological data and an expansion of ethics that embrace more than one species, is essential to a well-rounded understanding of the connections between human behavior and environmental wellbeing. Inextricably linked to this, as well, is the fact that we, as the species that causes extinctions, have a moral responsibility to those whose evolutionary unfolding and very future we threaten.

ANTH/EVST 3340E: Culture and Conservation is a rigorous course investigating the ways in which innovative and intensive new interdisciplinary approaches, questions, ethics and subject pools are closing the gap between the study of culture and the implementation of environmental conservation initiatives around the world. The course emphasizes the importance of increased collaboration between anthropologists, climate scientists, Connecticut communities and conservationists and represents an ongoing shift towards an environmentally focused perspective that embraces not only cultural values and social equity, but also the underlying urgency of local level sustainability initiatives.

This course is designed to educate students on (1) the cultural theories that inform cross-cultural community-decision making and (2) the science of climate change underlying contemporary global warming and contributing to heightened concerns regarding food security, coastal resilience, human and environmental health, and increasing storm frequencies, etc. Students will then apply this knowledge to the design and execution of a conservation-based service-learning project that analyzes these interactions in Connecticut. You will be encouraged to bring in your own experiences and expertise, for no productive discussion of conservation should be one-sided. This class, as well as the study and implementation of conservation, in general, should be a multidisciplinary effort.

ECON 2103: Honors Core: Deep Roots of Modern Societies

[UConn Storrs]

Requires ECON 1200 or both ECON 1201 and 1202.

This course examines the sources of challenging issues facing modern societies, such as inequality, racism, sexism, and armed conflict. You will learn pathbreaking approaches that inform our understanding of these issues by revealing their historical roots and the channels that transmitted these roots to today.

The course will consist of three parts. In the first part, we will survey a brief economic history of the World, our long journey from a period in which human life was “nasty, brutish, and short,” to highly developed modern societies with vastly higher but unequal living standards. The second part will examine the origins of our journey by differentiating between the proximate reasons and deep roots of today’s problems and the channels of transmission between the past and present. We will study the relative importance of institutions, culture, geographic endowment, agricultural history, and human diversity. In the third part, we will apply these insights to examine the deep roots of some of the important problems facing modern societies.

Each student will choose a geographic region of the world and one topic from each of the three parts of the course. These choices will guide your individual research and exploration and be the basis for your writing and presentation assignments. You will have the opportunity to contribute to class discussion from the perspective of your region and topics.

ERTH 1055: Geoscience and the American Landscape

[UConn Storrs]

Not open to students who have passed ERTH/GSCI 1010, 1050, 1051, or 1070. Formerly offered as GSCI 1055.

Welcome to the Honors Core version of introductory geoscience. The main goal is for students to learn how Earth works, what its history has been, and how this knowledge can be put to good use. More specifically, to reframe environmental thinking, mitigate natural hazards, and obtain the resources we need. Climate change, ecological collapse, human inequality, and planetary futures look very different when seen through an earthly lens.

The main pedagogy emphasizes hybrid learning via pre-class explorations, readings, and podcasts followed by in-class, student-led discussions. Four “cohort” days give students a chance to bond as a group and help guide the course direction. A final creative project is presented in a student symposium. There are zero tests or quizzes.

By the end of this course, students will:

  • Comprehend how the Earth works as a grand holistic system that includes ecosystems and human systems as components.
  • Realize that the world we know is a thin membrane created and controlled by whole-earth processes.
  • Understand the deep-time origins of landscapes to enhance their appreciation and management.
  • Learn that geoscience is a rigorous, environmental STEM career with excellent job prospects and one that provides a solid platform for graduate education in non-STEM fields.

General Education information ERTH 1055 alone is a CA 3 non-laboratory course. If you add the ERTH 1052 geology laboratory (either in the same semester or a future one), you may request the conversion of ERTH 1055 to fulfill your CA 3-Laboratory requirement.

HIST/LLAS 1570: Migrant Workers in Connecticut (Service learning)

[UConn Storrs]

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; the course will offer guest lectures by university faculty and by practitioners in the field, and will visit 2 farms. The emphasis is on migrant workers—mostly Spanish-speaking from the Caribbean and Latin America—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’ SL placement will depend on transportation: They may choose any placement if they have their own car; if not, they may choose a CO volunteer experience or a placement along the Hartford busline 913. Either way, students will travel on a weekly basis to organizations 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 Students for a Dream (undocumented student advocacy); Collegiate Health Service Corps; CO tutoring programs for migrant children; Windham Hospital; and Immigration Advocacy and Support Center (legal advocacy).

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) your registration “pick time”; (4) the course number and section (5) the class number from Student Admin, HIST 1570-001 is class #11264, LLAS 1570-001 is class #10920; (6) confirmation that there are seats available in the class you selected; (7) why you are interested in taking the class and (8) your commitment to approximately 3 hours of service work, plus travel time, per week.

MCB 2612: Honors Core: Microbe Hunters – Crowdsourcing Antibiotic Discovery

[UConn Storrs]

The purpose of this course is to provide underclassmen and non-science majors with an opportunity to undertake real-world scientific research in a fun, supportive, and immersive environment. As part of the Small World Initiative, you will join with college students around the globe to crowdsource antibiotic drug discovery. Your guided independent research projects will involve taking soil samples, isolating bacteria within them, and testing them for antibiotic activity, and there is the opportunity for further pursuit of any promising findings. We have access to the database generated by students at other Small World sites, allowing us to explore issues of biodiversity, effective use of large data sets in the sciences, and the effectiveness of crowdsourcing for scientific research. At the end of the semester, your results will join that database.

As part of the Honors Core, UConn’s Small World course adds an interdisciplinary emphasis on the social aspects of disease: its definition, what it means to be “diseased,” how those definitions have changed over time, and the pivotal role of antibiotics in the evolution of those definitions. We will use both fiction and non-fiction in this exploration, and we will end up in the modern era to consider antibiotic-resistant microorganisms and the ethical, philosophical, and policy issues we may face if antibiotics cease to be effective in treating many common diseases.

PHIL 2410: Know Thyself

[UConn Storrs]

As thinking beings, we have rich inner lives. And we have unfettered access to these inner lives. Whatever we might imagine at any given moment, we know (without fail) that this is what we are currently imagining. It would be absurd for someone else to correct us. To respond to a sincere claim like “I am imagining a house on a meadow” with “No you are not” would be facetious. We have this kind of unfettered access to many of our internal and bodily states. When someone thinks they are in pain, are hungry, tired, or wanting something, it would be absurd to correct them (except in very particular circumstances). One has similarly unfettered access to some parts of one’s identity, like one’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or religious beliefs.

There are, hence, a great many things about ourselves that we know about us better than anyone else. But, by contrast, there are a great many things about ourselves that are very difficult for us to know and that other people might know better. These include our habits, implicit assumptions or prejudices, and character traits. It might take someone else to point out one of our habits for us to realize we have it, or a supervised exercise to uncover our biases. Indeed, we might think of ourselves as good, virtuous people until someone else points out our failings. In such cases, it is far from absurd for someone to correct our beliefs about ourselves.

We will examine the tension between the kind of self-knowledge for which our self-perception is our best guide and the kind of self-knowledge for which we might be best served by perceiving ourselves through others. What is the ‘inner sense’ that gives us unfettered access to imagination, sensation, desire, and identity? And what it is about habit, prejudice and character that hides them from this sense?

Trouble registering? This class has a catalog-level pre-requisite of one 1000-level PHIL course. We can override this pre-requisite. If you are an Honors student, you may register by emailing honors@uconn.edu and including (1) your name; (2) your 7-digit Student Admin number; (3) your registration “pick time”; (4) the course number and section (PHIL 2410-001); (5) the class number from Student Admin; and (6) confirmation that there are seats available in the course.

POLS 2062: Privacy in the Information Age

[UConn Storrs]

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/WGSS 2807: Women and the Law

[UConn Storrs]

What is the status of women under the law in the United States today? How have women’s rights advocates sought political, legal, and social change over the past 300 years? What strategies have their opponents used to prevent significant change? This course starts by examining the legal and social status of women during the years before the formation of the Republic. We will examine the role of women as society extolled the virtues of Republican Motherhood, took steps toward abolishing slavery, faced wars at home and abroad, and debated citizenship and voting rights. By the end of the semester we will reach the present day, where women have greater recognition under the law but inequalities remain. We will examine significant challenges rights advocates faced (and continue to face) advancing and maintaining those rights. We explore theories of leadership, political agenda setting, judicial decision making, and backlash. Students will explore those theories by engaging with a variety of primary sources, including music, advertisements, documents, and artifacts.

POLS 3622: American Political Leadership

[UConn Storrs]

This course will approach the subject of American Political Leadership from a number of different perspectives.   Students will review  groundbreaking studies on leadership that hail from a variety of disciplines, as well as extensive case studies of U.S. political leaders.   Students will be asked to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of existing approaches to the study of political leadership.   We will also conduct simulations in which students assume different roles in political conflicts; through these simulations, students may effectively test some of the findings on leadership that have already been discussed. At least two themes will receive special emphasis over the course of the semester:  (1) how do the structure of American political institutions, American political culture, and American democratic principles define both opportunities and constraints for political leaders? and (2) Do great leaders make history or does history make great leaders, and how can we even know the difference?

Trouble registering? POLS 3622 is coded at the catalog level as “open to juniors or higher.” We can override this requirement. If you are an Honors student, you may register by emailing honors@uconn.edu and including (1) your name; (2) your 7-digit Student Admin number; (3) your registration “pick time”; (4) the course number and section (POLS 3622-001); (5) the class number from Student Admin; and (6) confirmation that there are seats available in the course.

SOCI 1701: Society in Global Perspective

[UConn Storrs – Distance learning]

This course will introduce students to societies from a global perspective. The course will focus on the political, economic, social and cultural processes that shape contemporary societies and will help students understand the links between their personal experiences and the transnational social relationships in which they are embedded. We will examine topics such as globalization, human rights and its limits; violence against women; migration patterns including forced migration and trafficking; technology-driven transformation of societies, including AI; climate change, sustainability, and environment justice activism. Students will learn to think critically about the causes and consequences of social inequalities and the social construction of human life across the globe. This class promotes active learning; students will engage in debates and discussions, design a part of their own evaluation, and learn from scholars in other parts of the world.

Sources for course materials and topical coverage include sociology; environmental studies; women’s, gender, and sexuality studies; decolonial studies, and human rights.