Honors Core Courses: Spring 2020

The following Spring 2020 Honors courses will fulfill the Honors Core requirement for University Honors Laureate (for entering classes of Fall 2018 or later). Always check to make sure you are registered for an Honors section.

Course Number Title Gen Ed Honors*
AH 1030 Interdisciplinary Approach to Obesity Prevention CA 3 STEM
ANTH 2600 Microscopy in Applied Archaeobotany Research CA 3-lab STEM
ANTH 3340E Culture and Conservation E SS, D&M
BADM/MGMT 2234 The Entrepreneurial Journey   SS
DMD 2620 [UConn Stamford] Human Development, Digital Media, & Technology CA 2, CA 4 SS, D&M
ECON 2120 Honors Core: Rights and Harms CA 1 A&H
HEJS 1103 Who Are the Jews? Jewish Identity through the Ages CA 1, CA 4 A&H, D&M
POLS/WGSS 3247 Gender and War SS, D&M
PSYC 3884 (Seminar in Psychology) Science of Learning and Art of Communication SS
SLHS 3295 (Special Topics) Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Communication Disorders: From Brain to Behavior SS, D&M
SOCI 1701 Society in Global Perspective CA 2, CA 4-Int SS, D&M
SOCI 3823 Sociology of Law: Global and Comparative Perspectives CA 2, CA 4-Int SS, D&M
WGSS 2105W Gender and Science CA 4-Int,W SS, D&M

Distribution categories for the University Honors Laureate award

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 defined in the catalog as open to freshmen and sophomores in the Honors Program. If you are an Honors student who will have 54 or more credits when this course is offered, 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; (5) the class number from Student Admin; and (6) confirmation that there are seats available in the course.

ANTH 2600: Microscopy in Applied Archaeobotany Research

Archaeobotany, the study of plant use in antiquity, is an inherently interdisciplinary sub-field of archaeology that integrates botany, ecology, archaeology, and social theory to explore a wide range of topics including: 1) the nature, timing, and cause of plant domestication events around the world; 2) the social and environmental dynamics and causes of the transition from hunting-and-gathering to early agriculture; 3) the role that plant-based agriculture, viticulture, or irrigation played in the emergence and collapse of early social complexity, social hierarchies, and the development of the first cities; 4) the ways in which farmers modified plant-based agriculture to suit prevailing environmental conditions and social and economic needs; and 5) the choices that people made in the past to select and procure fuel in order to sustain everyday household activities and emerging craft specializations and industries.

This course integrates lectures on current and emerging trends in archaeobotanical research with hands-on instruction in the use of a range of lab equipment, microscopy, and digital imaging tools commonly found in many labs to address the topics listed above. These tools include: 1) botanical reference material; 2) analytical balances; 3) a muffle furnace; 4) student binocular microscopes; 5) an upright materials microscope with transmitted, incident, and polarized light; and 6) a confocal microscope with NIS Elements imaging software. Hands-on instruction is also provided in the use of a Jeol NeoScope JCM 6000Plus benchtop scanning electron microscope with Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy capabilities for elemental mapping. Throughout the course, students actively engage in the research process by using the tools learned in class to design and conduct an individualized research project (selected from a list provided in class).

ANTH 3340E: Culture and Conservation

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.

Culture and Conservation is an 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.

The objective for this class is for students to gain a thorough understanding of the diverse social and environmental repercussions of climate change in a local context and be able to apply this knowledge to the design and execution a conservation-based service learning project. In this course 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.

BADM/MGMT 2234-002: The Entrepreneurial Journey

Open to all Honors students. Register for MGMT 2234 if you have a major in the School of Business. Otherwise, register for BADM 2234.

Do you want to learn how to see things that others don’t see? Do you enjoy developing solutions that others cannot?

The Entrepreneurial Journey will be taught in a dynamic, multidisciplinary environment, where we can all learn from each other. Early on, we will discard pre-conceived notions of what it means to think and act entrepreneurially. You will learn how to think like an entrepreneur and generate value/benefits from that thinking — and how doing so can benefit you in all of life’s environments, not just in business! Through experiential learning, you will acquire useful knowledge and skills in problem-solving and opportunity exploration, and you will have the opportunity to meet with participating entrepreneurial thinkers and learn, first-hand, about their Journeys.

DMD 2620: Human Development, Digital Media, and Technology

[UConn Stamford]

Requires ENGL 1010, 1011, or 2011 as a prerequisite or co-requisite for spring 2020 (taken in spring 2020 concurrently with the Honors Core offering) 

This interdisciplinary course examines the social, economic, and cultural influences on youths’ interactions with, and use of technology for formal and informal learning. Examples include media literacy, digital divide, technology in education, and cyberbullying. Through discussion, lectures, and application of relevant research and social science theories, students will think critically and creatively about issues that have emerged since the rise of the World Wide Web during the 1990s and the growth of social media during the early part of the 21st century. The impact of these issues on youth and their families will also be explored.

ECON 2120: Honors Core: Rights and Harms

This course will expose students to a conceptual framework at the intersection of law, economics, and philosophy – what we can call the paradigm of rights and harms.  Working within this framework, you will analyze and debate a large set of controversial social issues.  The goal of the course is to encourage you to think critically and rigorously about such issues and to hone your skills in argument and persuasion.  Students from all majors and backgrounds welcome.

Consider a famous legal case analyzed by the Nobel Laureate Ronald Coase.  A physician sets up an examination room with a wall that is shared by a candy factory.  Noise from the candy machinery makes it impossible for the doctor to examine patients with a stethoscope.  If the candy factory has the right to make noise, the doctor is harmed; if the doctor has a right to quiet, the factory is harmed.  Economists and philosophers have developed ways of thinking about who should get the right – and thus who should bear the harm – in cases like these.  Most if not all controversial social issues take exactly this form: who has the right?  Who is harmed, and in what way?  As we will see, in many of these cases, the harms are immaterial: there is no tangible emission like noise.  I may harm you (make you angry or unhappy) by giving a speech in favor of Marxism or by selling my kidney to the highest bidder – even if you are nowhere in the vicinity and learn of my behavior only through a third party.  Should I have the right to engage in these behaviors?  Or should you have the right to stop me?

Recent syllabus

Trouble registering? This class has a catalog-level pre- or co-requisite of any 1000-level economics course. 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; (5) the class number from Student Admin; and (6) confirmation that there are seats available in the course.

HEJS 1103: Who Are the Jews? Jewish Identity through the Ages

Who are the Jews? While this may seem like a straightforward question, in this course you will find out that Jewish identity can be a bit complicated. To clarify the issue, we will have a look at the history, religion, and culture of the Jewish people, with a special emphasis on the role played by each of these elements in defining “the Jews.” The major literatures of the Jews that have shaped their sense of peoplehood are discussed throughout. 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 its 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.

POLS/WGSS 3247: Gender and War

War is studied in this course as a range of experiences with armed political violence in the international system. Men, women, and children experience war directly or indirectly through media representations of war, gender combat practices, the militarization of masculinity, terror wars and women suicide bombers, rape in war, use of child soldiers, refugee camps, and through the application of international laws governing gender relations in war and post-war situations. To illustrate these and other points we consider recent wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Nigeria (Boko Haram) as well as the Mexican drug war, cyberwar and prospects for nuclear war using a variety of resources including fiction, autobiography, and academic studies. Throughout the course, students work in groups on these wars and periodically present their research and updates to the class.

Note POLS 3247 is coded at the catalog level as “open to juniors or higher” but other Honors students may contact Prof. Sylvester for a permission number. In your email, confirm that you are a member of the Honors Program, provide your PeopleSoft number, and very briefly explain your interest in taking the course.

PSYC 3884-001: (Seminar in Psychology) Science of Learning and Art of Communication

One of the least-known areas of psychology is the science of learning. After decades of research, a great deal is known about the principles that govern the best (and worst) methods for effective study and instruction. Key principles have to do with communication — creating engaging presentations designed to maximize memory. The principles we will learn about will have immediate application for students; many of the most common study strategies are the least effective, while the most effective strategies are non-intuitive. These principles generalize beyond the college classroom, with implications for education and science communication at all levels, with implications for education, health, policy, journalism, and public understanding of complex challenges facing society.

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; and (6) confirmation that there are seats available in the class. 

SLHS 3295-001: (Special Topics) Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Communication Disorders: From Brain to Behavior

This course will link the behavioral presentation of communication disorders to an understanding of the neural architecture supporting speech, language, and hearing abilities. This course will consider communication disorders from an interdisciplinary perspective, drawing together an understanding of speech and language processing from the domains of psychology, linguistics, neurobiology, and clinical fields. The course will cover numerous communication disorders including developmental disorders (i.e., autism, dyslexia) and acquired disorders (i.e., aphasia, hearing impairment). For each disorder, an interdisciplinary description of etiology, function, and rehabilitation will be addressed. In addition, the course will cover common imaging tools including EEG methods (e.g., ERP, ABR) and fMRI. Students will be instructed on the basic neuroanatomical methods of these tools as well as strengths and limitations of each one. The course will highlight multicultural aspects of speech, language, and hearing disorders including multicultural aspects of Deaf culture. The course will consider the broad implications of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Note SLHS 3295 is a “variable credits” course. Please ensure that you register for 3 credits.

Note SLHS 3295 is coded at the catalog level as open to juniors or higher. If you are an Honors student who will have fewer than 54 credits when this course is offered, 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; (5) the class number from Student Admin; and (6) confirmation that there are seats available in the course.

SOCI 1701: Society in Global Perspective

This course will introduce students to the sociological perspective of society in global perspective. The course will focus on the economic, social and cultural processes that shape contemporary society and will 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 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; women’s, gender, and sexuality studies; and human rights.

SOCI 3823: Sociology of Law: Global and Comparative Perspectives

The course will examine the relationship between law and social change. We will examine the impact of Western Law on Third World countries, the ways in which legal strategies can and have challenged inequality based on class, race, sex, religion and sexuality, and the impact of international human rights treaties. Students will become knowledgeable about different types of legal systems and will learn to analyze the ways in which the law contends with issues of difference and inequality. Students will also be able to analyze the interrelationships between the law, social structure, and the ways in which nations are linked globally.

In this course, students examine:

  • Theoretical perspectives and empirical studies relating the type of law found in a society to its social structure
  • How the law figures into fundamental social change
  • Anthropological studies of dispute processing in societies that are structured primarily on the basis of kinship
  • What impact the introduction of Western Law into Third World countries has had on economic growth, democratic political development, and human rights protections
  • Cross-national influences on law in the post-colonial world
  • The ways in which legal strategies can and have challenged inequality based on class, race, sex, religion, and sexuality
  • The critiques and limits of legal approaches to social change
  • What is the impact of international human rights treaties on the legal systems of different countries?
  • To what extent are international treaty obligations relevant in domestic court proceedings?
  • What is the relationship between social movements and the law?

Note SOCI 3823 is coded at the catalog level as “open to juniors or higher” but other Honors students may contact Prof. Bernstein for a permission number. In your email, confirm that you are a member of the Honors Program, provide your PeopleSoft number, and very briefly explain your interest in taking the course.

WGSS 2105W: Gender and Science

Requires ENGL 1010, 1011, or 2011.

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 WGSS 2105W is coded at the catalog level as open to sophomores or higher. If you are an Honors student who will have fewer than 24 credits when this course is offered, 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; (5) the class number from Student Admin; and (6) confirmation that there are seats available in the course.