Advanced Electives

Each fall and spring, Honors offers five to six Advanced Elective seminars, making it possible for students to choose courses from a wide array of topics and disciplinary approaches. The seminars are limited to 16 students and run only once. Freshmen are not permitted to enroll in advanced electives without permission from the honors director. Each semester, an entirely new set of topics is announced. 

Fall 2016

Freshmen are not permitted to enroll in Advanced Electives
 without permission from the Honors Director

ART 359 Humor in Advertising

Course will focus on the correlation between the growth of humor in culture and its use in marketing and advertising in the years between 1950 and today.  According to Beard“As one of advertising's most frequently used message tactics (U.S. advertisers alone may spend as much as $60 billion a year hoping they can make their audiences laugh!), humor is an admittedly complicated topic: One viewer may react very differently from another to the exact same ad or an ad may get a laugh but not make a sale.”  Starting with earliest uses of humor in advertising this course will outline the growth and integration of cultural comedic touchstones and their use as initial campaign strategies that overlap to become zeitgeists of their own.
Prerequisites: A sense of humor – oh yeah - and the ability to write.

ENG 359 Democracy and Literature in Ancient Athens: Reacting to the Past

This course will make use of an innovative pedagogy known as role-immersion or reacting to the past. Using the handbook designed by Ober and Carnes, the semester will be divided into three sessions in which students will be assigned the role of historical figures and compete to establish a particular form of government in Athens. Students will inhabit those roles in classroom sessions designed to reflect the political issues at stake in emerging democracy in Athens. Students will be assigned roles that require them to inhabit the perspective of various factions in Athens at the time, argue and interact with others who have been assigned roles with opposing perspectives, and compete to have their perspective prevail. In role immersion pedagogy, students are referred to as their roles in the classroom and encouraged to fully adopt the perspective of that individual. For instance, in a session devoted to the trial of Socrates, students will be assigned the role of Socrates, the role of Aristophanes, a radical democrat, an oligarch, or a slave, etc. The course makes use of traditional reading and other kinds of assignments that are geared toward having student fully understand the intellectual and cultural climate in which they are immersed. It will combine lecture with classroom sessions in which students debate with each other in an imaginary Athenian assembly or court. In addition, the course will address and dramatize the tensions related to political rule, gender and justice as represented in Greek drama and philosophy.

FIN 359  The Business of Clean Technology

This course focuses on clean technology and examines ways that businesses can help improve the environment. Clean tech businesses can be looked at from an investment standpoint, such as investing in alternative energies, as well as a corporate standpoint in terms of the financial viability of capital budgeting projects.  The course will examine pressing environmental problems and then focus on energy solutions such as solar power, wind power and geothermal power, in addition to other forms of alternative energy. Business cases that focus on sustainable business will be studied.

PHI 359  Philosophy and Mysticism

Mysticism and philosophy are usually thought of as diametrically opposed. Philosophers, we are told, appeal to argument and evidence in supporting their claims. Mystics, by contrast, are said to eschew argument in favor of revelation and ecstatic experience. The reality is rather different however. For one thing, many mystics do engage in argument, and appeal to forms of evidence. Further, the views of many philosophers are at times virtually indistinguishable from those of the mystics -- and how they arrive at those views often involves a transformative process that resembles the classic mystical “ascent to the Absolute.” This course will explore the complex relationship between philosophy and mysticism, calling into question (as the foregoing suggests) the conventional understanding of the two. We will also explore the question of the often subterranean influence of mysticism on philosophy. Readings will consist of short selections from mystics and philosophers, assembled in a course packet. Authors/schools covered in the course will include: Heraclitus, Parmenides, Plato, Plotinus, Augustine, Pseudo-Dionysius, Meister Eckhart, Hildegard of Bingen, Nicholas of Cusa, the Jewish Kabbalists, the Muslim Sufis, Leibniz, Schelling, Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Heidegger. In some cases readings from philosophers will be paired with selections from mystical authors, for close comparison. The purpose of this class, however, is not simply to provide a historical survey of “mystical philosophy.” Our purpose is to learn from these traditions, and, hopefully, to be profoundly changed by them. (Although reference will be made to Eastern philosophy and mysticism, the focus of the course is on the Western tradition.)

THE 359  “Other” Theatrical Voices

This survey course will examine American theatrical literature and production that was written, performed and/or created by LGBT and African-American playwrights. How does the status as an “other” in society, as a non-white-male-heterosexual, effect the writing and production of theatre? Is there a different aesthetic that gets applied in the creation and critical reception of plays written by minority writers?  How has this changed as society makes gains in tolerance/acceptance of minorities? The class will read significant plays written by LGBT and African-American writers, as well as critical essays about their work.  Each student will examine one writer and his/her work in depth as a term project.  Students will also attend a play in New York City.