Spring 2024 Core Courses

SOCI 2275: Social Well-Being

[UConn Storrs]

Well-being is an essential feature of life. It has various dimensions including happiness, life satisfaction, and purpose. It is also a socially-embedded process. This class examines individual and group constructs closely related to well-being. They include self-control, gratitude, altruism, social relationships, social media, money, and more. It explores how these constructs relate to well-being. At the end of the semester, students will have a rich understanding of what increases well-being in our society. They will also have practical strategies for increasing their own sense of well-being.

DRAM 2134: Honors Core: Sports as Performance

[UConn Storrs]

In this course, students will use the lenses of theatre studies and performance studies to identify and analyze parallels between sports and performance. Consideration of identity, race, gender, sexuality, nation, and human rights will be mediated through readings across multiple disciplines, attendance at an athletic event, film/media viewings, written assignments, experiential activities as well as student-led discussions. This class investigates the interrelated aesthetic, performative, and humanistic values in the arts and athletics in several sports ranging from football to figure skating. Students will conduct independent research and synthesize their findings in a multimodal research presentation.

ECON 1108: Game Theory with Applications to the Natural and Social Sciences

[UConn Storrs]

This course offers an introduction to game theory. Game theory develops analytical tools to study strategic interactions between individuals, to better understand and predict behavior, conflicts and cooperation. Game theory is widely used in many disciplines (e.g., economics, political science, law, computer science, biology). The course introduces basic concepts and tools for solving games (e.g., simultaneous games and a Nash equilibrium, sequential games, repeated games, asymmetric information models) as well as a variety of applications (e.g., auctions, evolutionary biology and voting).  Through simple examples, students can develop their ability to think strategically.

ERTH 1000E: The Human Epoch: Living in the Anthropocene

[UConn Storrs]

The planetary potency of humankind requires the naming of a new epoch on Earth’s calendar, the Anthropocene. This tipping point is forcing a paradigm shift in our environmental consciousness, one that embraces the Earth system more holistically and which refutes the false binary separating humans from nature. Ironically, this brave new world is one without wilderness, yet with more wildness than ever before.

Learning how the earth works and what its history has been will reframe the way you think about critical environmental issues: climate change, ecosystem collapse, pollution, natural resources, urban infrastructure, and much more. Earth is not fragile. That designation is reserved for species and communities like ours. The fate of humanity has always been in the hands of geothermal, meteorological, cosmic, and evolutionary processes.

Limited to 19 students, this experiential, interdisciplinary, investigative, and collaborative course provides an opportunity for you to engage with the Honors core goals of exploration, creativity, and leadership.

ERTH 1000E also meets the general education requirement for a CA 3 (science) non-lab course.

DMD/HDFS 2620: Human Development, Digital Media, and Technology

[UConn Stamford]

Requires ENGL 1007, 1010, 1011, or 2011 as a prerequisite or co-requisite  

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, social media, and more recently, Artificial Intelligence. The impact of these issues on youth and their families will also be explored.

Trouble registering? This class has a catalog-level prerequisite of First-Year Writing. If you are an Honors student who will be using First-Year Writing as a co-requisite (by taking at the same time as DMD/HDFS 2620), 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

[UConn Storrs]

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.

ECON 2120: Honors Core: Rights and Harms

[UConn Storrs]

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.

ANTH 2600: Microscopy in Applied Archaeobotany Research

[UConn Storrs]

This course uses archaeobotany as a tool to provide instruction on the research process. Each student develops and executes an independent research project using the various microscopes and equipment within the Archaeobotany Laboratory. 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. Come ready to explore!

AH 1030: Interdisciplinary Approach to Obesity Prevention

[UConn Storrs]

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 and promotion of healthy behaviors and environments for all body sizes. 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.

POLS 3434W: Honors Core: Excavating the International in Everyday Practices

[UConn Storrs]

Requires ENGL 1007, 1010, 1011, or 2011.

What is “international”?  The term translates literally into “between nations” (as opposed to intra/within nations) and typically refers to interactions that occur with other states beyond our borders.  It suggests that the international is distinct from the national, that it happens between world leaders somewhere else, and that it has limited relevance to our daily lives.  And yet, the international could not exist without our individual, daily participation in it.  The international is in the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the furniture we sit on and the music we listen to.  It’s embedded in places we think of as strictly national — our school systems, the national holidays we celebrate, the water we drink, the objects we buy and the television shows we watch.  Through seminar discussions and research modules on specific everyday objects, we explore international relations as an everyday practice.  In so doing, we consider our personal relationship to global power dynamics and inequalities and what this implies for activism, ethical change and social justice.