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2015 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.

You should choose three of the following Honors FSPs and place them in your First Semester Worksheet. One of these choices will be assigned as your FSP.

Learn more about the Honors Program

Class Name/Description
FSP 161 H1

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 161-H1
Professor: Robertson, Michael
Day/s & Time/s: TF: 9:30 - 10:50

FSP 163 H1

Cross-Dressing Shakespeare

"“Cross-Dressing Shakespeare” looks at Shakespearean heroines who are disguised as men or boys on stage, and examines the Early Modern stage convention that gender was always performative. We will read and watch filmed productions of The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night and As You Like It.  We will also look at two other plays with strong heroines who do not disguise themselves as boys, and examine gender in those plays: Much Ado about Nothing and The Winter’s Tale. We will explore Early Modern ideas about gender.  Each of these plays may be fruitfully explored for themes other than gender – social class, religious persecution, sexual jealously, inheritance, hetero- and homo- sexual desire, and national identity – and the class will not limit itself to gender as an interpretative topic."

Course#: FSP 163-H1
Professor: Steinberg, Diane
Day/s & Time/s: MR: 2 - 3:20

FSP 164 H1

The Beatles and Their World

The Beatles’ lives and musical careers reflect profound cultural changes that took place after the Great Depression and World War II. In particular, the extraordinary transformation of this group in a decade and a half from one of many local Liverpool bands to the most influential popular music group of all time and an international cultural arbiter offers insight into the modern cultural world. With the Beatles as its focus, this seminar will explore such topics in modern cultural history as race relations, women’s rights and gender issues, youth culture, counterculture and protest, mass media and public relations, as well as, of course, developments in popular music. This fall 2015 seminar celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles’ first stadium concert -- at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York, in August 1965 during the New York World’s Fair -- and the release of one of their greatest albums, Rubber Soul.

Course#: FSP 164-H1
Professor: Venturo, David
Day/s & Time/s: TF: 11 - 12:20

FSP 161 H2

Psychology of Protest

From the Civil Rights movement to Ferguson to the Arab Spring, protest has long been regarded as a catalyst for social change. In this course, we will consider major theories on the antecedents and consequences of protest in democratic and authoritarian societies in both psychology and sociology. We will answer such questions as: What motivates people to engage in protest? When is protest most effective? When do people engage in violent (versus peaceful) forms or protest? And how does participating in protest change how protestors see themselves? Readings will include theoretical reviews, empirical papers, as well as writings on and by individual protestors (e.g., King's "Letter from a Birmingham jail", Erikson's biography of Gandhi, and a recent NYT article on the leader of the Hong Kong protest movement). In discussions and assignments, students will be encouraged to apply what they've learned to contemporary protest movements across the globe.

Course#: FSP 161-H2
Professor: Wiley, Shaun
Day/s & Time/s: MR: 2 - 3:20

FSP 164 H2

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 164-H2
Professor: Gross, Jo-Ann
Day/s & Time/s: T: 8 - 10:50

FSP 161 H3

Springsteen's Lyrics as Literature

Bruce Springsteen is arguably the most important American music artist, at least in the Rock genre, of the last quarter 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 Springsteen’s 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 Springsteen’s apprenticeship in the 1960s and his early career in the 1970s, we examine Springsteen’s lyrics for how they manifest cultural issues of these decades (e.g., Vietnam, civil rights movements, recession's effect on the working class, etc.) and of the '80s and '00s as well (e.g., his 2002 album The Rising as a 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 Springsteen’s latest songs; thus, we study the albums in chronological order so that it will be possible to gain insights into the shape of Springsteen’s 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 161-H3
Professor: Konkle, Lincoln
Day/s & Time/s: TF: 11 - 12:20

FSP 161 H5

Born in the USA: 19th Century American Lives

This seminar is about the "First Generation of Americans"--all the men and women who were born in the wake of the Revolutionary War and then came of age during the antebellum period. Students will examine memoirs and autobiographies written by various members of the First Generation in order to learn about those who transformed the United States from a small confederation of coastal communities into a powerful nation-state that stretched across North America.

Course#: FSP 161-H5
Professor: Hollander, Craig
Day/s & Time/s: MR: 2 - 3:20

FSP 161 H4

The Charles Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping Case – Modern Scientific Analysis of Evidence in a Cold Case

Just when America needed a hero, Charles Lindbergh flew nonstop from Long Island to Paris in 1927, becoming the pride of the country.  Five years later, his young son was kidnapped, held for ransom, and eventually found dead.  A suspect was quickly tried and executed.  This “trial of the century” continues to be studied and debated, since so many questions and inconsistencies remain.  Unusual evidence included many ransom notes, and a hand-made ladder, supposedly used to enter the baby’s room and take him.  Modern chemical, instrumental and digital methods, including those used for document analysis, will be applied to the evidence, in light of the many facts and theories that exist, as we go back in time in an attempt to gain new insights into a cold case.  (By the way, this all happened in 1932 in New Jersey, and much of the evidence remains in the state.)

Course#: FSP 161-H4
Professor: Allison, John
Day/s & Time/s: MR: 2 - 3:20