Fall 2019 Core Courses

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

[UConn Storrs]

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.

Note 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 (MCB 1405-001D or MCB 1405-002D); (5) the class number from Student Admin; and (6) confirmation that there are seats available in the course.

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

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—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 Greater Hartford Legal Aid (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; (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.

GSCI 1055: Geoscience and the American Landscape

[UConn Storrs]

Not open to students who have passed GSCI 1050 or GSCI 1051. Equivalent to GSCI 1051 for the purposes of prerequisites.

This is the Honors version of introductory geology. The goal is for students to learn how the earth works, what its history has been, how life and planetary processes have co-evolved, and how the student can put this knowledge to use to solve practical environmental problems. Though geology is the main course, it will be heavily seasoned across time and space by American literature, environmental history, and our national parks.

The main pedagogy involves pre-class student preparation, followed by student-led discussions of each new topic, ranging from crystals to climates as outcomes. Field trips, seminars, a symposium and a final project round out the activities.

In this course, students will:

  • Become geoscience literate
  • Understand geology’s pervasive influence on human society
  • Realize that geoscience is a respected scientific career with excellent job prospects, especially with respect to water and energy resources
  • Realize that a geosciences major is a solid platform for graduate education in other non-scientific fields

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

EEB 3205: Current Issues in Environmental Science

Appropriate for honors students at all class levels, Current Issues in Environmental Science (nicknamed “Alternative Futures”) explores a wide variety of current issues emphasizing linkages between earth, oceans, atmosphere, and biosphere. Topics include: earth processes, climate change; human population; food resources; genetically-engineered organisms; soil/water/air resources; alternative energy; biodiversity; deforestation/restoration; urban planning; risk assessment; tradeoffs; problem-solving. The format includes guest and instructor lectures, class discussions, student-led presentations of scientific and media-reported current events, group and individual projects, and more.

I’m very excited to introduce a discussion/activity section to accompany the course. It is experimental this semester and so listed under EEB 3895. Please sign up for both courses. The discussion section includes field trips (e.g., visit to a zero energy house, recycling facility, UConn co-gen facility, UConn Conservation Area, and guest lectures from award-winning environmentalists from a variety of professions).

ECON 2103: Honors Core: Deep Roots of Modern Societies

This course aims to introduce students to the cutting-edge toolkit for historical and comparative analysis of challenging issues facing modern societies, such as poverty, gender roles, discrimination, migration, labor coercion, and armed conflict. The course will consist of three parts. In the first part, we will develop common ground by learning broadly about the application of recent methods of historical and comparative analysis and the importance of colonization, historical events, and geography. The second part will focus on the channels of transmission between the past and today. We will examine why the effects of certain historical events soon disappear but others persist over time. Using the best examples of persistent effects that have been identified in the literature, we will study the roles of biology, culture, and institutions that transmitted these effects to today. Finally, in the third part we will apply these insights to investigate the deep roots of some of the challenging issues affecting modern societies.

Each student will choose a geographic region of the world and one of the issues to be covered in the course. This choice will guide your individual research and exploration and be the basis for your paper and presentation assignments.

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.

ARTH 2198-001: (Variable Topics) Race, Gender, and the Power of Looking

We are often told that we live in a singularly visual age, where most information is communicated to us via some platform, frame, or program. Yet as we are increasingly dominated by the visual, we seem to be learning less and less about how to read, interpret, engage, or resist the visual culture that swirls around us. This class looks to intervene in that trend and will be a beginning investigation into the issues of what is visual culture and how we might define visual literacy. Thematically then, this class will focus on how we see, or do not see, race, gender, and sexuality.

With those parameters, the major questions the class seeks to address are: What does gender look like? Who has historically been invested in particular ideas of “men” and “women?” How do people “know” race visually? How have artists and others attempted to intervene or disrupt these sight lines? Can we remake how we see race and gender? How do different mediums (sculpture, print, film, or digital) affect how we see bodies?

2000-level. No previous art or visual culture courses needed. An introduction to both visual culture and critical race and gender studies.