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Course Offerings

Honors Courses Fall Quarter 2014

The following Honors courses are offered to fulfill University common curriculum and Honors Program Requirements. For students who have already met university Humanities (AISC) or Social Science (SISC) requirements, please contact us regarding other options.

Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture 

ENGL 1110-1 (CRN 2377): Literary Inquiry, Bin Ramke, TR 10:00-11:50, Mary Reed 1
Course Description:
Look up the word “pastoral” and you are likely to find yourself among theology school syllabi—courses on the care of the soul. Next you might be negotiating among Latin poems, then eventually you settle into an array of British poems and the occasional American ecologically-minded discussion of the virtues of wilderness. All of this is relevant, but not sufficiently descriptive of what this course is about. The term “pastoral” refers to an ancient literary form, primarily poetic, and it refers as well to content—descriptions of the rural with an implicit contrast to the urban. And there is a skeptical use of the term as pejorative; often in contemporary usage “pastoral” implies a failure to see current conditions, needs, and dangers. We will consider political, psychological, aesthetic, and historical uses of the term so we might come to understand how the binary oppositions of country and city have been contrasted and used to various purposes over time. But notice also the book list—we will examine pastoral in its absence, by examining the imagined and the real authority of The City.

ENGL 2742-1/JUST 2742-1 (CRN 4302): Modern Hebrew Literature in Translation, Adam Rovner, TR 2:00-3:50, Sturm 311
Course Description:
This course offers a survey of significant works of modern Hebrew literary fiction by major authors in translation. Students will consider how the development of Hebrew literature has contributed to the formation of contemporary Israeli identity, and how the conflicts that define the turbulent history of Israel are treated in works of prose fiction by canonical authors. The selection of diverse voices and literary materials exposes students to the social, political, and historical changes wrought by the rise of modern day Israel. Through lectures, close-reading, and exercises, students will gain an appreciation for some of the fundamental tensions that define Hebrew literature and Israeli culture: (1) collective vs. individual identity, (2) Jewish vs. Arab/Palestinian nationalism, (3) the concept of Diaspora vs. Zion. Our study aims to reveal the historical and ideological context of these tensions to offer a nuanced perspective on an area of the world in conflict. Readings are roughly chronological, and will be drawn from a variety of sources, both primary and secondary. Students will be coached on various interpretive strategies, the intent of which is to make their time spent reading more valuable. While helpful, no knowledge of Hebrew, Jewish tradition, or Israeli history is necessary.

HIST 1360-1 (CRN 4307): World War I, Carol Helstosky, TR 12:00-1:50, Sturm 496
Course Description:
Historians have argued that the First World War definitively shaped the twentieth century. It set the stage for World War II; it redefined the role of government in citizens’ lives; it brought technology full-force into power struggles between nations; it simultaneously birthed communism and fascism; and it desensitized entire generations to violence and brutality. Historians have also argued that the First World War was tragic, incoherent, and senseless. The war was sparked by a minor incident; military leaders never fully grasped the concept of “modern” warfare; and governments were slow to react to constantly shifting military and social circumstances. How could something so irrational be so important? In this class we will explore this central paradox of the war by reading both primary and secondary sources, discussing significant themes and ideas related to the war, and delving into several micro-levels of analysis for this global catastrophe. Students unfamiliar with the war will more firmly grasp the historical significance of the event while students who may be familiar with the war will gain new insights and interpretations of how the war was conducted and why the war mattered. Students will read the words and thoughts of those who participated in the war, as well as interpretations of the war by historians.

Scientific Inquiry:  Nature and Physical World 

COMN 1210-2 (CRN 2876): Foundations of Communication, Roy Wood, MW 2:00-3:50, TBA
Course Description:
In Foundations in Communication we explore dialogic/ethical foundations of communication. We go beyond the notion of communication as transmitting ideas from one person's head to another through the use of language to explore the more foundational view that it is through communication that we constitute and instantiate ourselves and our worlds. We go on, following the French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, to ask whether ethics is at the heart of human sociality.

Scientific Inquiry:  Society and Culture 

None Fall Quarter

Scientific Inquiry:  Nature and Physical World 

GEOG 1264-1 (CRN 2334: Global Environmental Change and Sustainability I, Erica Trigoso, MW 12:00-1:30, Boettcher Auditorium 103
Course Description:
“Global Environmental Change” is a three-quarter honors course that introduces students to the fundamental processes that govern Earth’s changing physical and biological environments. The first quarter explores the dynamic nature of Earth’s atmosphere including processes that affect weather and climate, the role of energy in the atmosphere and the causes and potential implications of global climate change. The second is devoted to the impacts of global change on the biosphere including topics such as biodiversity, evolution and speciation, and the origins of agriculture. The third quarter of the sequence focuses on terrestrial landscapes and environments, including changes from plate tectonics to human modifications of Earth’s land surface.

Labs for Global Environmental Change and Sustainability I: 

CRN 2335 — GEOG 1264-2: Erika Trigoso, R 10:00-11:50, Boettcher West 16
CRN 2336 — GEOG 1264-3: Erika Trigoso, R 12:00-1:50, Boettcher West 16

If accepted for the major or minor sequence in Biology, Chemistry or Physics, AP or IB credit might also satisfy some or all of your honors natural science requirement. Geography majors should take Honors GEOG. Students can also fulfill their Honors natural science requirement by taking full-year sequences starting with the following courses: BIOL 1010: Concepts in Biology – Physiological Systems, restricted to Biology majors and minors (beginning AY 2012-2013, a two-quarter sequence that begins Winter quarter); or the Biology Individualized Option, which concludes with General Ecology).

CHEM 1010: General Chemistry
PHYS 1111: General Physics 1
PHYS 1211: University Physics (which begins Winter quarter; correquisite Math 1951) 

Please note: classes formerly classified as NATS are named according to respective departments and will not count toward Honors credit. Only the Biology, Chemistry, and Physics sequence numbers listed above can count toward the Honors requirement.

Advanced Seminar 

ASEM 2589-1 (CRN 4653): Thinking, Charles Reichardt, TR 12:00-1:50, Sturm 175
Course Description:
This course helps students learn how to think well and understand why they sometimes don't think well. The course addresses a wide range of topics in which thinking is relevant including creativity, argumentation, rhetoric, theory testing, persuasion, problem solving, and intelligence. Students come to understand their personal strengths and weaknesses in thinking and work to improve both their strengths and weaknesses.

Honors Seminars

HNRS 2400-1 (CRN 1562): Mass Extinctions, Bob Dores, W 2-3:50, Mary Reed 1
Course Description:
A mass extinction is defined as an event in which 50% or more of the species have become extinct, in some cases in a relatively short period of time. Since the emergence of multicellular plant and animal life forms 550 million years ago, the persistence of life forms has been radically scared by mass extinctions at the end of the Permian period 225 million years ago (the “first event”), and at the end of the Cretaceous period 65 million years ago (the “second event”). It is estimated that the former extinction event reduced the number of species in marine and terrestrial habitats by 90%, and the latter extinction event resulted in a 50% reduction in species diversity. Both events had very different causes and durations. In addition, “lesser” extinction events have occurred at the end of the Triassic Period (180 MYA), and in the Tertiary Period (55 MYA). This seminar will engage students in a discussion of whether we are currently experiencing a “third” mass extinction event right now. Against this background, the objectives of this seminar are to analyze the various factors that can lead to a mass extinction event, and then to attempt to draw some conclusions with respect to why some organisms are eliminated while other organisms survive these events.

HNRS 2400-2 (CRN 1880): The Impact of Technology on Society, Dan Connolly, T 2:00-3:50, MRB 1
Course Description:
Technology itself is generally considered value-neutral. Often how it is used and in what context it is used determines whether or not it is good or bad. Even despite the best of intentions, there are often unintended negative consequences. For example, in many cases, technology has improved quality of life, communications, economic conditions, and products and services available for purchase, but in other cases, it has invaded lives, eroded people’s social skills, adversely impacted cultural values, and blurred cultural identities. Consequently, there are a growing number of wide-ranging concerns regarding the impact of technology on society facing parents, teachers, and future leaders. These include environmental impacts of technology waste, preparedness of the workforce, ethical uses of information, privacy, freedom of speech, use of intellectual property, and more. This DU Honors seminar will explore, discuss, and debate these important issues facing society to raise awareness and identify potential solutions.

HNRS 2400-3 (CRN 4652), Scientific Literacy of the Citizenry, Keith Miller, R 2:00-3:50, Mary Reed 1
Course Description:
Our society is becoming increasing dependent on science and technology; cellphones, computers, and tablets connect individuals to each other effortlessly across cities, countries, and the world. Yet increasingly, a fundamental understanding of science and technology, and what it means to “do” science, is waning. Many scientists and engineers claim a crisis in science literacy is not looming; it is here! But are they correct? The increase in technology has also facilitated an increase in the participation of citizens in science. This “citizen science” movement is gaining popularity with citizens contributing to a variety of experimental studies including protein folding, climate change, and migratory patterns of birds and butterflies. In this Honors Seminar, we will explore the discourse and activities related to the topics of science literacy and citizen science. We will first start with a discussion on cultural literacy, and what it means to be “culturally literate”. Then, we will move into the science literacy and impact of citizen science on the science research community. As part of our discussion surrounding these topics, we will study informal science learning and how it impacts citizens of all ages. We will then explore the “practice of science’, and as a group, work directly with a local city library to develop library programming in specific areas of science for citizens of all ages; however, our priority will be focused primarily on children (ECE-5) and their parents.

HNRS 3991-0 (CRN 1495), Honors Independent Study

For projects under the guidance of DU faculty that you would like to work on for Honors credit, to be approved by the Honors Program.