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2014 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.

Class Name/Description Human Inquiry Civic Responsibility

The Simple Life

For most people, the American Dream involves some degree of material success. However, an alternative vision of the American Dream exists, one centered on the idea of the Simple Life. This interdisciplinary seminar will explore the concept of the simple life from the nineteenth century to the present. We¿ll read Henry David Thoreau¿s "Walden" and consider what simplicity means in our age of Walmart and Facebook. Readings will include a science fiction novel by Ursula Le Guin and works on economics. We¿ll watch the film "The Queen of Versailles," conduct experiments in simplifying our lives, visit an Amish family, and harvest vegetables at a local family farm.

Course#: FSP 101-H1
Professor: Robertson, Michael
Day/s & Time/s: TF: 2:00 - 3:20

10 - Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts

Harlem Renaissance: "Black Paris"

This course focuses on the international elements of the Harlem Renaissance, the resonance of which was particularly important in Paris during and after the First World War. Paris became the capital of the Black Diaspora hailing from America, and from Africa and the Caribbean as well. Foundational Diasporic ideas sprung out of the "city of lights" to shape the future of people of African descent. The Pan-African Congress meetings led by Dubois gave birth to the Panafricanist movement, which in turn led to the movement of decolonization. This seminar questions external constructions of race, gender and class between the two World Wars in Paris. This course also offers students an in-depth exploration of the diverse ways that persons of African descent, and others, articulated and analyzed the key issues of their time, Pan-Africanism, Garveyism, The Negritude movement, and "The African Personality" are thoroughly explored, as well as the role of Paris as a crossroad of African cultural production and political consciousness.

Course#: FSP 102-H1
Professor: Sow, Moussa
Day/s & Time/s: M: 5:30 - 8:20

10 - Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts Race and Ethnicity

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
Professor: Kamber, Richard
Day/s & Time/s: MR: 2:00 - 3:20

11 - Worldviews and Ways of Knowing

Social Justice and the Documentary

What are the moral and philosophical tensions that arise when doing documentary work? Whose reality is being documented? What are the responsibilities of the filmmaker/photographer to the subject? Is exploitation of the subject ever justified in the interests of social change? The twentieth century witnessed a substantial increase in social documentary photographs, films, and literature¿work that described and attempted to transform conditions that perpetuated social inequality. In the process of doing documentary work that intends to "do good" however, questions related to ethics, representation, responsibility, and objectivity/subjectivity have persisted.

The seminar will explore these controversies and issues using examples from classic documentary works of the 1930s as well as contemporary documentaries on social issues. Each week in the seminar's readings, discussions, screenings and written work we will examine the important underlying theoretical and philosophical questions that are at stake for documentary work. At the end of the seminar, you will be asked to apply some of these concepts and issues to the preparation of your final writing project related to your community learning experience.

Course#: FSP 111-H2
Professor: Ryan, Susan
Day/s & Time/s: TF: 2:00 - 3:20

11 - Worldviews and Ways of Knowing

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
Professor: Gross, Jo-Ann
Day/s & Time/s: (FSP 134-H1) M: 9:30 - 12:20
Day/s & Time/s: (FSP 134-H2) M: 3:30 - 6:20

13 - Social Change in Historical Perspective Global Awareness

Genetics in the Post-Genomics Era: Or do these genes make my butt look big?

Can we clone humans? Is there a gay gene? Have we learned anything about evolution? Can you really patent a gene? Am I going to end up like my parents? Can I pick my kid¿s eye color? Are there intelligence differences between races? Why should I care if my food is genetically modified? Is it possible to modify the human genome? Why can¿t we cure cancer? Do my genes actually make my butt look big? It is clear that genetics in the post-genomic era deals with a different set of questions than the simple transmission of genetic information. In fact, this new era of genetic analysis requires tools that integrate multiple aspects of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and clinical medicine, among other disciplines.

This course will begin with the basics of genetic analysis and no prior knowledge of any discipline is assumed. The course content has been selected to reframe classical genetics in light of recent genetic discoveries and modern molecular tools that have revolutionized the detection of genotype-phenotype interactions. In class, work will focus on learning the technical aspects that surround hot-button topics such as assisted reproductive technology, genetics of complex diseases and psychological disorders, next-generation sequencing, therapeutic cloning, stem cells, sequencing of the human genome, among others. The writing assignments will allow students to intensely explore the technical, social, legal, financial, and ethical issues of that have been created by unparalleled access to biological data. At the conclusion of the course, students should have the framework to understand the complex interactions between science and society and become better-informed citizens.

Course#: FSP 141-H1
Professor: Nayak, Sudhir
Day/s & Time/s: MR: 11:00 - 12:20

14 - Natural Science

The Art and Science of Color!

This course is designed to bridge the gap between those who use color (artists, designers) and those who understand the molecular level chemical structures of the compounds involved. This seminar explores the rich history and chemical structures of compounds of color, from ancient inorganic pigments to modern organic dyes. How is dye/pigment chemistry related to art history? How does an artist know which colorants are best for a given application? How do molecular structures relate to their colors? Can any student master chemical structures in one semester? From lipstick to house paint, we add color to everything around us, including ourselves. Learn to appreciate this one aspect of “better living through chemistry.”

Course#: FSP 141-H2
Professor: Allison, John
Day/s & Time/s: MR: 2:00 - 3:20

14 - Natural Science

Learn more about the Honors Program