Featured Honors Courses: Spring 2020

ANTH 3098-002: Anthropology of Jews and Jewishness (Conversion Option)

Instructor: Sarah Willen

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

What does it mean to be Jewish …
… in Cuba? … in Ethiopia? … in Turkey?
… if you’re an atheist? … LGBTQ? … a convert?

These are some of the questions we will explore in this course, which will tap into the rich anthropological scholarship on Jewish life and Jewish communities around the world.

No prior knowledge of Judaism is required. Prior coursework in anthropology or sociology is helpful but not required. Question? sarah.willen@uconn.edu

Pending approval, this course may count toward the major or minor in Judaic Studies and/or as an ethnographic course toward the major in Anthropology.

ANTH 3098-50: Anthropology and the Writer’s Craft (Conversion Option)

Instructor: Sarah Willen

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

In this seminar, we will dive deeply into classic and cutting-­‐edge anthropological writing – and try our own hand at various genres of writing, in workshop format. Together we will engage critically with the texts we read and reflect on the following questions:
• How, why, and for whom do anthropologists and other social scientists write?
• What genres and writing styles are available to anthropologists, and how do they differ?
• What distinguishes strong – and weak – writing?
• How can deep engagement as readers, and a serious commitment to the revision process, help us become better writers?

The seminar is geared primarily toward advanced undergraduates who want to explore the range of contemporary forms of writing – and become better and more effective writers themselves. Prior coursework in Anthropology is helpful but not necessary. Writing activities will include ethnographic sketches, book reviews, peer review of colleagues’ writing, and blog posts / op-­‐eds for public audiences.

Questions? sarah.willen@uconn.edu.

CAMS/HEJS 3300: Palestine under the Greeks and Romans

Instructor: Stuart Miller

This course addresses the major political, historical and religious currents in Graeco-Roman Palestine, or what the Jews have called since antiquity “The Land of Israel”. Among the central concerns will be the relationship of the Jews to the ruling powers (Ptolemies, Seleucids, Romans, Herodians etc.) and the emergence of sects and other groups such as the Pharisees, Sadducees, Dead Sea Sect, Samaritans, and early (Jewish) Christians. Relations between the Jews, Christians and Romans will also be examined. Special emphasis will be placed on life within the major urban centers, for example, Jerusalem, Caesarea, Sepphoris, Tiberias, and Bet Shean. The literary legacy of the rabbis and the emergence of Christian schools will be given special attention. Relevant archeological evidence will be introduced via slide presentations.

ECON 4206: Mechanism Design

Instructor: Vicki Knoblauch

Prerequisite: ECON 2201

Recommended preparation: Well developed mathematical reasoning skills, ability to work in small groups on an independent project. Prof. Knoblauch is willing to waive the ECON 2201 prerequisite for Honors students who possess the recommended mathematical and analytical reasoning skills.

One-semester introduction to mechanism design. Mechanisms are designed to induce people to act in such a way as to promote social welfare. Topics include public goods provision, 2-sided matching markets and peer evaluation of performance. The project in this course may serve as a good start for an Honors thesis or other piece of research.

ENGL 1701-003: Creative Writing I

Instructor: Sean Forbes

Prerequisite: ENGL 1010 or 1011 or 2011

The Speaker: The Eye of the Poem and the Short Story

According to Frances Mayes, “the poet ‘finds’ the right speaker and the right listener, usually by trying out several approaches.” In this introduction to creative writing class we will examine the different approaches that a writer can take when trying to establish a speaker in a poem or short story. We will look at exemplary works of poetry and fiction from writers like Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Hayden, Marilyn Nelson, and Justin Torres. Students will produce a final portfolio of their original work. Class participation is an essential component to this largely workshop-based course along with weekly writing prompts such as writing in iambic pentameter and challenging prose sketches.

ENGL 2405-002: Drama

Instructor: Jean Marsden

Prerequisite: ENGL 1010 or 1011 or 2011

The course will begin with a quick grounding in Greek drama (Oedipus Rex, Lysistrata) and from there focus on English and American drama from the Renaissance to the present, sampling a variety of authors and genres, from comedies such as Shakespeare’s As You Like It and Behn’s The Rover to tragedies such as Webster’s Duchess of Malfi and Miller’s Death of a Salesman to contemporary dramas such as Kushner’s Angels in America and Stoppard’s Arcadia. Assignments will include two short papers and a longer paper on a drama-related topic of the
student’s choice.

CA 1.

ENGL 3207W-001: American Literature Since the Mid-Twentieth Century

Instructor: Jerry Phillips

Prerequisite: ENGL 1010, 1011, or 2011; open to sophomores or higher

The twentieth century has been described as “the American century.” How did that description come about? Was it still operative as the twentieth century came to a close? If not, why not? What will the twenty first century hold for American society, particularly in its relationship to the rest of the world? American literature is a vital cultural terrain on which these questions might be considered, as writers and artists are heavily involved in the work of national self-conception. In this course, we will read a range of writers including James Baldwin, Norman Mailer, Leslie Marmon Silko, Thomas Pynchon, Russell Banks and Toni Morrison. Course requirements: three papers and a final examination.


HIST 3559: History of Childhood in the United States, 1620-Present

Recommended preparation: HIST 1501 or 1502 or 2100.

This course will examine the history of childhood in the United States from the colonial era to the present. It will consider both the actual experience of children and the changing ways in which adults have understood this phase of life. Readings will include eyewitness accounts, memoirs, and fiction, in addition to scholarly studies. Students will be expected to produce a research paper on a subject of their choosing, focusing on childhood before 1970.

HRTS 3298-003/DMD 3998-003: Social Documentary in Theory and Practice

Instructor: Catherine Masud

This is a special opportunity to learn from an internationally award-winning filmmaker. 

This course aims to open students’ eyes to the tremendous power and possibility of the documentary form as a vehicle of social discourse and change. The first half of this course will examine the documentary from a historical, ethical, and aesthetic perspective, providing a theoretical grounding for students with a special interest in documentaries that address social and political themes. Some of the topics to be addressed include the evolution of the documentary genre, the modes and models of documentary, the rhetorical, narrative, and poetic documentary ‘voice’, and the question of ‘social impact’. Major milestones of the non-fiction genre will be studied along with lesser-known short form documentaries that illustrate specific aspects of technique, style, and content. The second half of the course will provide students with a practical framework for discovering their own documentary voice. Students will be guided through the process of pre-production, shooting and editing as they create their own short form documentaries on a social issue of their choice.

University Honors Laureate: This Variable Topics course will count toward the Arts & Humanities category.

MATH Honors classes Spring 2020

As of 10/18/19, Honors MATH courses were not correctly listed in Student Admin. These are the courses you can expect for Spring 2020:

Campus Course number Title Section Times
Storrs 1132Q Calculus II 059D MoWe 3:35PM – 4:25PM;
TuTh 2:00PM – 3:15PM
1132Q Calculus II 060D MoWe 4:40PM – 5:30PM;
TuTh 2:00PM – 3:15PM
2110Q Multivariable Calculus 149D TuTh 9:30AM – 10:20AM;
MoWeFr 1:25PM – 2:15PM
2142Q Advanced Calculus II 001 MoWeFr 2:30PM – 3:40PM
2144Q Advanced Calculus IV 001 MoWeFr 10:10AM – 11:20AM
2210Q Applied Linear Algebra 013 TuTh 11:00AM – 12:15PM
2410Q Elem Differential Equations 020 TuTh 12:30PM – 1:45PM
3094 Undergraduate Seminar:
Fourier Analysis and Applications
001 TuTh 11:00AM – 12:15PM
3160 Probability 008 TuTh 2:00PM – 3:15PM
Stamford 1132Q Calculus II Z84 MoWe 9:20AM – 11:00AM

MCB 2225: Cell Biology Laboratory

[UConn Storrs]

Instructor: David Knecht

Prerequisite: BIOL 1107 or equivalent

Many Honors students in the life sciences have benefited from MCB 2225, Cell Biology Laboratory.  The laboratory is designed to help students decide if they are interested in research and to prepare them for working in a research laboratory. Students will become proficient with experimental design, quantitative data analysis, and data presentation in the context of learning to work with living cells.  Like a research laboratory, the course laboratory is accessible 24/7 because real science often does not fit into 3 hour time blocks.

Students do not need an extensive knowledge of cell biology in order to succeed in the class.  The background cell biology for each experiment will be discussed in class and a general protocol will be provided.  Students working in pairs will then design the details of the specific experimental question, develop a protocol including the necessary controls, carry out the experiment and then analyze the data.  Experiments are often repeated outside of class time as student researchers fine-tune their technique or protocol.  The results are then discussed in a “group meeting” so that each group can see how others approached related problems. There is great flexibility for students to branch out from the starting point provided to take the experiment in a direction that is of interest to the student.

Students will maintain their own wild type and mutant cell lines throughout the semester.  The laboratory is equipped with computer controlled video microscope workstations for acquiring data on cell behavior. The experiments will focus on the growth, motility, development and underlying cellular structure of the soil amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum.  Many of the experiments will ask questions about how cells move and respond to signals both in unicellular and multicellular environments.  Students will transfect cells DNA to express fluorescent probes (GFP and RFP) and investigate the role of the cytoskeleton in cell motility and signaling. Flow cytometry and confocal microscopy will also be used to analyze cells.  Open source image processing software (Fiji/ImageJ) will be used to analyze the data captured from the microscope.   One emphasis of the course will be on the quantitative analysis of image data.

In the last third of the course, students will work on independent projects of their choosing.  Often these projects involve investigation of mutant cell lines available from a National Stock Center or cells isolated from the local environment.

Unlike many courses that aim to teach science concepts, this course puts an emphasis on teaching students to think like a scientist. The class size is small and there is ample opportunity for individual attention from the instructor and TA. This course will provide students with specific skills and experience that will aid them in applying to any laboratory in MCB (and other departments) for Honors thesis research. There is also the possibility of continuing these projects as Honors thesis research in the instructor’s research laboratory as many of the experiments conducted in the class are an outgrowth of ongoing research projects.

SOCI graduate classes Spring 2020

Graduate courses act as Honors courses, with Honors credit awarded for a grade of B- or higher.

The Sociology department invites Honors students to consider the following graduate courses. For a permission number to enroll in any of them, email the instructor.

SOCI 5203: Quantitative Research I

Instructor: Jeremy Pais

This is an introductory social statistics course for graduate students. The topics covered in this course form the foundation of modern quantitative social research. The primary goal of the course is to introduce students to the fundamentals of statistical reasoning and to the role of statistical methods in social research. Topics include linear regression, hypothesis testing and model selection; regression diagnostics; non-linearity and functional form; mediation and moderation effects; path analysis; and factor analysis.

University Honors Laureate: STEM

SOCI 5231: Qualitative Research I

Instructor: Nancy Naples

This course will emphasize the relationship between epistemology, methodology and method begun in the fall semester. We will also discuss contemporary debates in qualitative methodology and critical perspectives on qualitative methodology including feminist, queer, Third World, indigenous, and postcolonial approaches to social research. We will also explore the design and application of different methods including interviewing, the case method, institutional ethnography, narrative analysis, discourse analysis, content analysis, policy analysis, mixed methods. The readings for the course are designed to assist you in locating your own work within the larger sociological tradition.

The class will include an intensive workshop in use of NVivo for data analysis and conducting research using various media including online and newspaper sources led by Kate Ragon (UConn ABD).

University Honors Laureate: SS

SOCI 5515: Sociology of Immigration

Instructor: Bandana Purkayastha

Do you want to learn about immigration as a terrain of struggle, shaped by forces of inclusion and exclusion? We will use a decolonized approach to the sociological study of immigration by focusing on scholarship from the global South and North. We will focus on internal and international migration, examine migration “by choice” and forced migration (including human trafficking), and examine the racialized/gendered/class/sexualized structures that shape policies and practices towards migrants. We will examine 20th century concepts such as assimilation but we will emphasize 21st century discussions such as changing governance of migrants (including detention) migrant and refugee activism and resistance amidst questions of their human security within national and transnational contexts. The cases will be drawn from the US, selected Asian, European, South and Central American, and African countries.

University Honors Laureate: SS, D&M

SOCI 5601: Gender and Sexualities

Instructor: Mary Bernstein

This course explores the social organization, construction, and politics of sexualities with a particular focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (lgbtq) experiences and the intersection of sexualities, gender, race, age, and class. We look at how institutions, identities, and discourses interact with, are regulated by, and produce sexual meanings. We examine the ways in which sexuality and desire are constituted through the state and the political economy as well as the ways in which sexuality serves as an axis of domination. Other topics include sexuality and immigration, sex work, transnational sexuality, sexuality and masculinity, and adolescent sexuality.

University Honors Laureate: SS, D&M

SOCI 5895-002: (Special Topics) Genders and Globalizations

Instructor: Manisha Desai

“Women’s Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are Women’s Rights,” entered the global human rights discourse at the Second UN World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in 1993 as a critique of the gendered nature of Human Rights discourse and practice. In this seminar we will study the history of women’s mobilizing around the world that led to this articulation; how it has or has not influenced human rights theories and practices; how the gendered critique might perpetuate other inequalities even as it challenges gendered ones; and what it has meant for global gender justice specifically and social justice more generally.

University Honors Laureate: SS, D&M