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2013 Honors FSPs

All students in the Honors Program are expected to take at least one honors course during their first semester. It is highly recommended that honors students take an Honors FSP. Contact Prof. Deborah Hutton ( if you think you may be unable to take an honors FSP.

Each student should choose three of the following six Honors FSPs and place them in their shopping cart. One of these choices will be assigned as the student’s FSP.

ClassName/DescriptionHuman InquiryCivic Responsibility

Springsteen's Lyrics as Literature

Bruce Springsteen is arguably the most important American music artist, at least in the Rock genre, of the second half of the twentieth century. From his appearance the same week on the covers of Time and Newsweek in 1977, he has been hailed as more than just an entertainer. Like Bob Dylan before him, Springsteen has been recognized as a poet and short story writer working in popular music. In this class, the lyrics of Springsteens recorded songs are analyzed as examples of literary writing. Themes in his songs we examine include timeless universal issues such as growing up, love, death, political power, religious faith and doubt, etc. In addition, because of the upheaval of American society during Springsteens apprenticeship in the 1960s and his early career in the 1970s, we examine Springsteens lyrics for how they manifest cultural issues of these decades (e.g., Vietnam, civil rights movements, recessions effect on the working class, etc.) and of the '80s and '00s as well (e.g., his 2002 album The Rising as a self-conscious response to 9/11). The course also treats albums as analogous to books, each with a unifying principle of theme or type of music rather than a random collection of Springsteens latest songs; thus, we study the albums in chronological order so that it will be possible to gain insights into the shape of Springsteens career and the development of the ideas and techniques in his oeuvre. This section of First Seminar is meant to appeal to anyone who is interested in the writing of Bruce Springsteen.

Course #: FSP 101-H2/H3 (Honors)
Professor: Konkle, Lincoln
Day/s & Time/s: (FSP 101-H2) TF: 10 - 11:20 AM
Day/s & Time/s: (FSP 101-H3) TF: 12:30 - 1:50 PM
10 - Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts

Morality, God, and Free Will

This seminar is a philosophical examination of humanity's quest to understand what it means to be human. Beliefs in morality, divinity, and free will are three of the things commonly cited as distinctive marks of being human. Most human beings take for granted that some actions are right and others wrong. Most think that they have the power to choose between right and wrong and are responsible for the choices they make. Many, if not most, believe in God or gods of one kind or another and assume that there are intimate connections between divinity, morality, and responsibility.

Course #: FSP 111-H1/H2
Professor: Kamber, Richard
Day/s & Time/s: (FSP 111-H1) MR: 2 - 3:50 PM
Day/s & Time/s: (FSP111-H2) MR: 4 - 5:50 PM"
11 - Worldviews and Ways of Knowing

Islam and Politics

This FSP will introduce students to the Islamic faith and its teachings, as well as their impact on politics and society both historically and in the contemporary period. We will read from the religious texts and from some of the most prominent thinkers as they discuss the values of the faith and the code of conduct at its core. We will study and discuss the different teachings related to political authority, the economy, the position of women, and treatment of non-Muslims. We will focus in the final weeks on contemporary issues related to various forms of'Islamic activism.

Course #: FSP 114-H1 (Honors)
Professor: Lowi, Miriam
Day/s & Time/s: TF: 2 - 3:20 PM"
11 - Worldviews and Ways of KnowingGlobal Awareness

Conceptions of the Cosmos

This course will consider fundamental questions about the universe we live in. How big is the universe? How old is it? What is it made of? How did it form and change? Students will consider, in an historical context, philosophical and scientific thoughts about the universe as a whole, a subject we call cosmology. Peoples in ancient civilizations around the world (e.g., Mesopotamia, China, India, Egypt, Mesoamerica) pondered these key questions and some of their creation stories will be explored. Scientists have also been exploring these questions using the scientific method and we will discuss the evolution of these conceptions of the cosmos. The course will end with non-mathematical discussions of modern ideas about the universe, such as the dominance of dark matter and dark energy and the possibility of the existence of multiverses: other parallel universes.

Course #: FSP 114-H2 (Honors)
Professor: Wiita, Paul
Day/s & Time/s: MR: 10 - 11:20 AM
11 - Worldviews and Ways of KnowingGlobal Awareness

The Beatles and Their World

The lives and music of the Beatles reflect profound cultural changes that followed the Great Depression and World War II. The extraordinary transformation of this musical group from a locally popular Liverpool band to one of the most famous (and influential) groups of all time offers insight into our modern world. With the Beatles as its focus, this seminar explores such topics in modern cultural history as race relations, womens rights and gender issues, youth culture, counterculture and protest, mass media and public relations, business practices in the music industry, and, of course, developments in popular music.

Course #: FSP 134-H3(Honors)
Professor: Venturo, David
Day/s & Time/s: TF: 2 - 3:20 PM
12 - Behavioral, Social, and Cultural PerspectivesGlobal Awareness

Understanding Modern Iran

It’s hard to read an American newspaper or watch TV news without hearing the mention of Iran, and it is most often in a negative context. However, beyond the sound bites and political rhetoric, how much do you really know about the history, politics, culture and society of Iran, not to mention the history of US-Iranian relations? This seminar will use the lens of history, literature and film to move beyond media-based images to gain a more grounded understanding of the complex history of modern Iran from the late nineteenth century to the present day Islamic Republic through the eyes of those who have experienced that history. Over the course of the semester will examine issues concerning Islam, politics, revolution, gender, modernization, marginality, exile, and popular culture through reading and discussing background historical texts and novels and viewing Iranian films.

Course #: FSP 134-H1/H2 (Honors)
Professor: Gross, JoAnn
Day/s & Time/s: M: 8 - 12 PM
Day/s & Time/s: M: 2 - 5:30 PM
13 - Social Change in Historical PerspectiveGlobal Awareness

Learn more about the Honors Program

Interdisciplinary Concentration Preference Form
Some First Seminar courses are linked to particular Interdisciplinary Concentrations. If you would like to be enrolled in one that counts toward a concentration click on the link above and complete the preference form.