Honors Core Courses: Spring 2015

The following spring 2015 courses will fulfill the Honors Core requirement for Sophomore Honors.

Course Number Title Gen Ed
AH 1030 Interdisciplinary Approach to Obesity Prevention  CA 3
ANTH 1001W Anthropology Through Film  W, CA 1, CA 4-Int
ANTH 3098-005- cancelled Variable Topics – Honors Core: Analyzing Religion cancelled
CLCS 1002 Reading Between the Arts (online!)  CA 1
ECON 1107 Honors Core: Economics, Nature, and the Environment  CA 2
HEJS 1103 Literature and Civilization of the Jewish People  CA 1, CA 4
SOCI 1701 Society in Global Perspective  CA 4-Int
WGSS 2105W Gender and Science  W, CA 4-Int

AH 1030: Interdisciplinary Approach to Obesity Prevention

Obesity is considered a national epidemic and possibly a pandemic as it affects many developed countries around the world. This interdisciplinary course explores the biology of obesity, including genetic predispositions and behaviors that increase obesity risk (dietary, physical activity, social, and psychological); the obesigenic environment, including how communities are physically built as well as the economic relationship to obesity risk; and the policy and ethical implications for obesity
prevention. Multi-level obesity prevention approaches that involve the individual, family, organization, community, and policy will be considered. The format will consist of common lectures, weekly discussions, hands-on activities, team projects, and synthesis of material presented.

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 Spring 2015 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 (9299); (4) the course number and section (AH 1030-001); (5) the semester you entered UConn as a freshman (e.g., Fall 2013); and (6) confirmation that there are seats available in the course.

ANTH 1001W: Anthropology Through Film

This course introduces cultural anthropology through the medium of film. By studying and comparing the diverse experiences and viewpoints of people around the world, cultural anthropologists seek to explain why people in other societies hold beliefs and behave in ways that differ from our own. Cross-cultural comparisons also provide a fresh vantage point for studying our own society, making it possible to gain awareness of ideas and practices so basic to our personal experiences that they often seem natural.

Cultural anthropology studied through film opens up discussion of issues relevant to a wide range of humanities and human scientific inquiry pertaining to the politics and ethics of representation and what influence the conceptual, temporal, and spatial “frames” in which social researchers situate their topics of study may have on anthropological depictions of the human world.

In this course, students:

  • Learn basic concepts and methods used by cultural anthropologists.
  • Develop habits of critical viewing and reading based on the principle that both filmed and written accounts of other people’s lives are not unmediated reflections of reality, but representations crafted from the authors’ particular points of view and framed in ways that include certain ideas and evidence but exclude others.
  • Hone observational, critical, and expository skills basic to how cultural anthropologists understand, describe, and analyze their surrounding world.

Note Requires ENGL 1010, 1011, 2011, or 3800.

ANTH 3098-005: Variable Topics – Honors Core: Analyzing Religion

This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to the academic study of religion. The goal of the course is to acquaint students with frameworks for understanding religion as an institution embedded in culture and social life. Students will learn conceptual tools for understanding religious phenomena and religious conflicts in their social, historical, and political contexts, and will consider rationalist and atheist critiques of ‘religion’ and religious belief. Analysis of the common components of religion–theology, cosmology, myth, ritual–will be illustrated with examples drawn from both indigenous non-Western and Western religious systems. Case studies will show how religion has operated as a means of political resistance to colonialism and capitalism. Other topics include comparative models of the divine in the three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) and the “science versus religion” debate. Course activities will include student-led discussions of issues and texts, group exercises, and independent projects. Active engagement in the class is expected of all students.

CLCS 1002: Reading Between the Arts ONLINE CLASS

In everyday reading of news media, we are often exposed to a dynamic intermixing of media and arts as well as an intermixing of images and stories about events around the world. This intermixing is also prevalent in the arts and cultural expressions such as cinema, theater, visual art, text, music, and computer and video games. In this course, students will explore, analyze, and unravel some of this intermixing and transmedia. The course is an introduction to aesthetics, semiotics and structures of interart relations. Students will develop transferable multimedia reading skills in an effort to become interpreters of 21st century multi- and transmedia products. Much of the work will bridge natural sciences and the humanities.

Questions that will inform discussions and work include: Are there similarities connecting the diversity of expression in various arts and media? Can one characterize the arts as an area of research comparable and equal to scientific inquiries; and if so, how? Does art, as a diverse world of signs, help us recognize and understand reality? What can we learn about individual approaches to experiencing art and media when focusing on sensory perception?

ECON 1107: Honors Core: Economics, Nature, and the Environment

In this course students study the interactions between economies and their natural environment from global and historical perspectives. The course is multidisciplinary and synthesizes insights from various disciplines, including economics and the social sciences, geography, archaeology, history, and ecology, while emphasizing a scientific approach. Among the many topics discussed are the effects of geography and climate on economic development and income inequality, the impact of humans on their environment, the causes and consequences of environmental problems, the environmental collapses of societies, the valuation of ecosystem services.

Beyond offering a solid understanding of the subject, this course aims to:

  • Illustrate that a multidisciplinary approach is critical to the analysis of most real-world problems.
  • Emphasize the scientific method as that the basis for our understanding of such problems (and for possible subsequent actions).
  • Foster students’ long-term interest in current research and recent findings in various fields.

HEJS 1103: Literature and Civilization of the Jewish People

The purpose of this course is to introduce the student to the history, religion, and culture of the Jewish people. Special attention will be given to Jewish civilization as it is portrayed in the literature of the Jews. No prior knowledge of Hebrew or Jewish culture is required.

This course fulfills General Education requirements in Content Areas I (Arts and Humanities) and IV (Diversity and Multiculturalism). One of the main goals is to enable students to develop a keen understanding of who the Jews are and an appreciation of the diverse cultures and traditions that comprise Jewish civilization. The emergence of Judaic ideas and their influence on Christianity and western civilization will be especially emphasized. The so-called “Judeo-Christian” tradition is broken down so that students understand the values and ideas that both Judaism and Christianity share as well as their distinctiveness. Students get a taste of how the earliest, ancient rabbis thought and how they succeeded in transforming a biblical religion into Judaism as we know it. Along the way, you will be challenged to think “talmudicly/midrashicly,” a critical form of analysis that may very well enable you to appreciate literary traditions belonging to other peoples and cultures in an entirely different light.

SOCI 1701: Society in Global Perspective

This course will introduce students to the sociological perspective on society in global perspective. The course will focus on the economic, social and cultural processes that shape the contemporary societies and help students understand the links between their personal experiences and larger social forces by focusing on the transnational social relationships in which they are embedded. Students will learn to think critically about of the causes and consequences of social inequalities and the social construction of human life across the globe.

This class will include active learning, peer mentoring, debates on controversial topics, and engagement (via Skype and blogs) with scholars and students in other parts of the world to help students develop global sociological imaginations. Sources for course materials and topical coverage include sociology; environmental studies; political science; economics; women’s, gender, and sexuality studies; and human rights.

WGSS 2105W: Gender and Science

This class will critically examine how social constructions of gender, race, class, sexuality, and disability shape science, medicine, and technology. We will consider the complex relationships between constructions of nature, science, objectivity, and the body to highlight how culture influences the theory and practice of different sciences, medical research, and technologies.

Some of the questions we will explore include:
How does science and technology influence everyday life? How are gender, race, sexuality and nation woven through the historical development of Western sciences? How has feminist science studies intervened or critiqued the construction of science, medicine and technology? Is there such a thing as a neutral or gender-free science? Is there such a thing as a feminist science?

We will focus particularly on the culture of science and power of scientific discourse. We will look specifically at how science is used to make claims about social differences, as well as examine the some social implications of medical technologies for women, e.g. how current medical technologies create novel, and even moral, demands and dilemmas for women. No scientific background or experience is required; only a willingness to critically examine both science and ourselves.

Note Requires ENGL 1010, 1011, 2011, or 3800.