George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Courses

Choosing Courses That Interest You

Many Honors College (HNRS) classes are topical seminars, which means that the catalog descriptions are more generic than the section descriptions. With our program, you'll be able to choose seminars and classes that align with your interests and specializations.

Honors College courses are topical seminars, taught by professors at the top of their fields.

For up-to-date information, please refer to the official online schedule of classes via PatriotWeb.


 

Spring 2019

HNRS 122 Reading the Arts

Visual Culture: Visual Literacy for Animation, Illustration, and Digital Arts

Hasani McIntosh, Section 001 TR 12:00pm - 1:15pm, Section 003 TR 10:30am - 11:45am

This course explores diversity in the visual arts with a special focus on digital media and graphic novels. In exploring research topics related to animation, illustration and design, students critically examine issues in digital art and develop digital media assets and/or pitch original  stories and designs.   

20th and 21st Century Poetry from Around the World

Vivek Narayanan, Section 002, MW 3:00pm - 4:15pm

‘World Poetry’ is a mind-boggling and unfathomable thing.  In this course, we’ll imagine and puzzle our way into it by sampling moments of global convergence and mutual influence: modernism and its early love of translation; 'beat' poetry, internationalism, sound and visual art; the transnational political poetry of the 1970s and after; and, today, poetry across the internet as both possibility and limitation.  We’ll look at poetry not only on the printed page but as something that can be performed, listening to audio recordings and other multimedia.  Students in the class will have regular opportunities to write and develop their own poems—in response to the works we encounter—in addition to learning and exploring critical reading and writing. 

Contemporary Southern Literature

Lindley Estes, Section 004, TR 1:30pm - 2:45pm

The South is more than the grotesque, Baptists and banjos. It is a dynamic place and the way Southern stories are told is likewise changing. Students will read classic texts (Faulkner, Welty, O'Connor to name a few) to understand the tradition current authors are navigating before moving on to the current literature of this region: told in traditional stories and novels, and through film and podcasts. We'll read Jesmyn Ward, watch episodes of "Atlanta" and listen to "S-Town." All the while, we will attempt to answer the questions: What are we talking about when we talk about the South? Who are Southern authors, anyway? And, what issues are these authors dealing with? This survey, coupled with a workshop, will provide students with the tools to create their own fiction of place that uses setting not just as backdrop, but with real thematic heft.

Theater and Major Social Shifts

Charles Leonard, Section 007 MW 10:30am - 11:45am, Section 010 MW 12:00pm - 1:15 pm  

This course focuses on the literature and production of theater by studying drama as a mirror of society. The development of drama in most cultures has a distinct relationship to changing social, political, historical, technological, and psychological issues of the time. We will explore theater's role as a banner indicating change, as well as being a vehicle for change. Our purpose is to develop new ways of seeing theater and gain new insights into the world by reading and seeing theater.  Student involvement includes critical thinking, analysis, and class discussion.  Additional readings may also be made available through Blackboard. 

Comic Books and Visual Narrative

Jennifer Stevens, Section 008, TR 4:30pm - 5:45pm

Whether they’re called comic books, comic strips, sequential narratives, and/or graphic novels,  comics are a vibrant art form that includes a wide variety of genres, styles, viewpoints, and  topics. In this class, we’ll focus on reading and interpreting the visual narratives presented by  comics creators. We’ll start with Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics (a comic about  comics), and then move on to look at a variety of comics.    We’ll also look at the larger cultural context that comics are created and read in. In addition to  class readings and discussions, we’ll have two guest speakers from the Mason community talk  about how comics have influenced their own work. And in order to get a better understanding  of the creative process behind comics, you’ll make your own minicomic at an in class workshop.

HNRS 130 Conceptions of Self

Know Thyself?

Catherine Prueitt, Section 005, MW 3:00pm - 4:15pm

Socrates admonished that before we can know anything else, we must know ourselves. Yet, around the same time and halfway around the world, the Buddha traced the root of human suffering to the erroneous view that we have enduring selves at all---wisdom doesn't come from knowing oneself, but rather from knowing that one has no self. What is this elusive self? Can we know it? What does having or not having a self mean about who we are? Is authentic identity tied to being oneself, or rather is it formed through interaction with others? This course will take a cross-cultural look at these fundamental questions about self, knowledge, and identity. We'll examine debates about the self in classical Eastern and Western philosophy with an eye to understanding selfhood in the contemporary world.

The History of Our Selves

Michael O’Malley, Section 004, MW 10:30am - 11:45am

This course surveys a history of ideas about the nature of the self. It begins by examining the self in relation to the idea of the divine, and ends with the idea of artificial intelligence. On the way it examines the nature of individualism, the role of the social, and the relationship between the self and the body.

Locating Identity: Body, Subjectivity, Self

Alison Landsberg, Section 007, TR 10:30am - 11:45am

What make us who we are?  Is identity grounded in the psyche?  Is identity “natural”? Does it have a biological basis? Is it manifested on the body? Or is identity externally imposed by the social world we inhabit? How free are we to invent ourselves? To what extent can one change one’s identity or self? To answer these questions, this course will explore various philosophical, psychological, sociological, and historical conceptions of self.  We will consider aspects of identity such as race, gender, sexuality, nationality, and class. It will also assess the impact of the internet on conceptions of the self. Analyzing a broad range of fictional, theoretical/philosophical and autobiographical texts, we will consider how the self is constructed, and both the potential for, and limits on, personal transformation.

African American Literary and Cultural Masculinities

Keith Clark, Section 008, TR 1:30pm - 2:45pm

Undertaking an intense investigation of fiction, drama, autobiography, and criticism, the course will examine African-American male representation in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.  We will investigate a plethora of critical and theoretical issues related to gender, sexuality, history, politics, and--of course--race, as well as address formal and narratological concerns in exploring how black male subject formation has evolved in literary discourse.  How have authors attempted to fashion a counter-narrative of black male subjectivity in a historical context that has often rendered black men feral, menace, and Other?  How have black writers mounted discursive interventions upon an often malignant configuration of black masculinity in the American imaginary?  Have black writers, consciously or not, reconstructed and reformed black masculine representation in contradistinction to what Charles Johnson identifies as an erasure of their “interiority”?  And to what degree have African-American writers upheld or contested a hegemonic apparatus that valorizes patriarchy and phallocentrism while rejecting alternative masculine ontologies as “insufficiently” masculine?  These are only a few potential questions for critical scrutiny; of course, you should formulate and articulate your own points of critical inquiry throughout the semester.

Selves, Others and Relations

Rachel Jones, Sections 009, MW 9:00am - 10:15am

In this section of HNRS130, we will use philosophy, literature and film to explore the question of the ‘self’ and its relations to others. We will begin by examining the birth of modern subjectivity in the work of Descartes and Locke, while also testing the limits of the modern conception of self via Christopher Nolan’s 2000 film, ‘Memento’. Drawing on the work of existentialist thinkers such as Sartre, de Beauvoir and Fanon, we will go on to examine the importance of projects and commitments to our sense of self and the crucial role played by relations to others. Toni Morrison’s 1987 novel, Beloved, will help us explore the self at the intersections of race and gender, and allow us to re-situate the role of memory in relation to history, community and trauma. In the final part of the course, we will broaden the frame and investigate the role of non-human others in human conceptions of self. How might relations between human and non-human need to be re-thought, given the global environmental crises we currently face, and how might this lead us to question or even abandon the very concept of ‘self’?

HNRS 131 Contemporary Society in Multiple Perspectives

Nationalism in a Global Age

David Zeglen, Sections 011 TR 3:00pm - 4:15pm, Section 004 TR 1:30pm - 2:45pm

This course explores the relevance of nationalism in the age of globalization. We will take up this question by exploring several key debates within global studies. First, we begin with an overview of the debate over the historical origins of the “nation.” This discussion will be followed by an introduction to competing theories over how nationalism is reproduced over time. Then, we will consider the nation’s connection to the state, and the claim of latter’s declining sovereignty under globalization. Students will then be asked to critically evaluate the link between nationalism, colonialism, and violence, before considering the realms of national culture and global culture. The course will conclude with a discussion on the meaning and relevance of Transnationalism, Cosmopolitanism, and Internationalism in relation to national citizenship. Throughout the semester, various case studies from around the world will be drawn upon to test the various arguments introduced in each module. Students will be asked to critically evaluate these arguments, and to consider whether nationalism is not only still relevant in a global world, but whether it is still desirable and necessary.

Sociology of Higher Education

Amber Kalb, Section 002 MW 12:00pm-1:15pm, Section 007 MW 3:00pm - 4:15pm

One of the cornerstone principles of the American meritocracy is the idea that education provides everyone equal opportunity to achieve their full potential. Education is seen as the great equalizer in a society that is, by most measures, far from equal. Over the last generation the role of higher education has become more important as policy makers are telling us of the increasing importance of higher education in the competitive global marketplace. At the same time, federal and state funding has been systematically cut for higher education while private, corporate funding and student tuition has risen to cover the costs. Among the questions we will explore are: What is the role of higher education in American democracy? What is the mission of higher education and how has it changed? How has the logic of neo-liberalism impacted the university? 

Wealth and Poverty

Steve Pearlstein, Section 005, TR 10:30am - 11:45am

In this seminar, we will explore wealth and poverty through different disciplines (literature, economics, politics, sociology, philosophy), different media (biography, non-fiction essays, journalism, novels, plays, movies) and the experience of different countries (England, Russia, the United States).  How are the wealthy different from the rest of us? Why are the poor poor, and how do we explain the persistence of poverty even in wealthy societies? Through history, how have the poor viewed the rich and the rich view the poor? What is the moral justification for great differences in wealth? How have views of social class changed?  Students will be required to write an essay answering one such question, drawing on the course readings as well as their own research and experiences.  Readings include Brideshead Revisited (Waugh), Behind the Beautiful Forevers (Boo), The Other America (Harrington), Grapes of Wrath (Steinbeck) and Bonfire of the Vanities (Wolfe).  Movies include “Remains of the Day, “The Cherry Orchard,” “There Will Be Blood,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” and “Wall Street.”

Eliminating Global Hunger

Phil Thomas, Section 006, MW 3:00pm - 4:15pm

Global hunger and food insecurity is one of the most critical problems confronting the global community in the 21st Century. Despite numerous national and international efforts over the pasty 60 years, its elimination remains elusive due to a complex array of environmental and human factors. Despite the existence  of an adequate supply of food to feed the global population at this time, the absence of effective political resulting from flawed and corrupt governance  at the national and international level is perhaps the most significant obstacle to achieving global food security. Today over 800 million people are chronically malnourished while millions more are suffering from acute malnutrition due to unprecedented political instability and conflict. Hunger is number one on the list of the world's top health risks. Missing out on essential nutrients in the 1000 days from conception to a child's second birthday translates into irreversible damage  to physical and cognitive development. Global food security is a major foreign policy issue  severely affecting national security and economic development.The global community needs to increase food production by at least 60 percent  by 2050, while facing increasing pressures on land and water resources from a growing population and a changing climate. Insufficient access to adequate water, and limited arable land further exacerbate food insecurity.         This course is a broad-based cross-cutting interdisciplinary review of the causes, impact, challenges, and opportunities of global hunger. It is designed to provide a comprehensive  perspective on food insecurity as a multidimensional challenge to the global community. The key objectives of this course are to  1)define the nature and scope of global food insecurity; 2) assess food insecurity's  impact on people, nation state, and the global community; 3) review and examine the development and implementation of U.S. Government and multilateral policies and programs designed to achieve global food security; 4) review and evaluate  the relationship between  national governments, multilateral institutions, non-profits, and profit oriented entities  in addressing global food security issues; 5) analyze  the relationship between food security and national security; 6) review and anlyze food safety issues; 7) examine the challenges confronting the  the elimination of hunger and attainment of global food  security; and develop policy and program options for eliminating global hunger and attaining food security.     This course emphasizes critical thinking, class discussion, role playing, research and analysis. It is designed to motivate students to engage in a semester-long critical thinking exercise on one of the most daunting and complex challenges of our time, global hunger.

Culture and Social Inequality

Blake Silver, Sections 008, TR 12:00pm - 1:15pm

How does culture shape inequality in our broader social landscape? How do symbolic boundaries, cultural resources, and collective identities shape the form this inequality takes? And what is the role of socialization, daily interactions, and discrimination in the production of social disparities? In responding to these questions, this course will examine the ways that inequality is produced and reproduced in daily life. Examining the context of the contemporary United States, students will explore key cultural mechanisms that influence the ways we make meaning of, contest, and reinforce social inequality. Throughout the semester, assigned readings and discussion topics will offer opportunities to think through the influence of cultural meanings and practices. Building from a focus on disparities by race, class, and gender, the course will expand to give students the opportunity to use a sociological lens to consider the relationship between culture and inequality in a range of social locations.

HNRS 230 Cross Cultural Perspectives

Public Policy Challenges: Climate Change Adaptation

Dana Dolan, Section 001, F 1:30pm - 4:15pm

This course examines climate change adaptation as a long-term governance challenge for the U.S. and other advanced democracies. Since at least 2007, the public debate about climate change has focused primarily on mitigation (efforts to reduce the amount of heat-trapping gases emitted globally), with far less attention paid to adaptation (efforts to prepare society for the anticipated impacts of climate change). Adaptation, in addition to mitigation, is an essential component of the government response to climate change that demands more attention. After introducing the science of climate change, its impacts, and opportunities for adaptation, we will turn our attention to the puzzle of why the U.S., despite its high adaptive capacity, still struggles to adopt policies aimed at adapting to the threats of a changing climate. In this course, we will investigate climate change adaptation as a public policy problem, examine actual policies as potential solutions to the problem, and analyze the politics that surround efforts to adopt these policies. What makes policymaking for the future so difficult? How have some countries overcome these challenges in certain cases? Students will examine questions like these by reading and discussion scholarly and primary sources, engaging in related class exercises, and applying these ideas to develop their own case study research papers.

Civil Society, Philanthropy, and the Nonprofit Sector

Emily McDonald, Section 002, TR 10:30am - 11:45am

The nonprofit and philanthropic sector - the “third sector” - in the United States is a key development of modern civil society. This course will provide an in-depth, critical understanding of the third sector, including its historical development, institutions, elements, and operation. The following questions will be explored: What is the basis, forms, and challenges of private action for the public good? How are philanthropic dollars distributed? How do nonprofit organizations and philanthropic dollars effect a modern democracy? How do non-governmental organizations operate domestically and globally? This course will include readings in political philosophy, sociology, and public policy. Students will: (1) engage in the conceptual frameworks and research regarding philanthropy and social change and, (2) work in teams to develop an applied practice in designing and implementing a strategy.

US Vaccine Hesitancy/Refusal

Timothy Leslie, Section 003, TR 10:30am - 11:45am

Vaccination exemption and hesitancy have become a nationwide cultural debate that has implications in the medical, education, and public health fields. Major vaccination aspects such as the history of vaccination, vaccination exemption, vaccination policies, and the current research on vaccination behavior will be evaluated and discussed.  Students will engage the topics through instructor-provided lectures and readings, student-driven reflections, and an externally-focused course project. The intended final product will be the production of an audience-specific and culturally vaccination related intervention (through a number of filters) that is draws on the student’s expertise.

Connecting Indigenous Knowledge and Modern Society through Water

Thomas Woods, Section 004, F 1:30pm - 4:10pm

Water is a foundation of all life and cultures.   It can be used to develop respect between cultures through common goals of human and ecosystem health, food production, cultural values and public policy.  In this course, students will engage in the intersection of current issues involving water from the views of indigenous people and modern society to discover common ground.  Both the biological and cultural role of water will be used to develop this knowledge. 

Leadership, Civility, and Personal Responsibility

Charles Thomas, Section 005, T 7:20pm - 10:00pm

This course will explore issues pertaining to leadership, civility, and personal responsibility within an ever-changing world landscape. Themes related to leadership mass incarceration, mental health, communication, decision-making, and personal responsibility and meaning will be discussed. This course will seamlessly weave the aforementioned themes into a cohesive narrative that will challenge conventional thinking. The classroom engagement model will encourage students to leverage their personal leadership styles and commitment to personal responsibility in ways that enhance civil discourse between and among like-minded and divergent thinkers.

Community Engagement for Social Change

Lauren Cattaneo, Section 007, TR 10:30am - 11:45am

This class will explore influences on social problems and approaches to addressing them by drawing from student experience and the perspectives of multiple disciplines. As a case example, we will focus on the social problem of poverty through students’ service to community organizations (a minimum of 20 hours over the course of the semester, arranged by the instructor), readings, class exercises and both written and oral projects. The class is meant to be relevant across majors, for those who have an interest in social justice and a willingness to dive into the complexity of social problems and solutions.

Global Student Movements

Jennifer Ashley, Section 009, MW 12:00pm - 1:15pm

This course considers the role of student movements in questioning structures of power and promoting the protection of human rights. The course begins with a discussion of some of the theoretical frameworks commonly used to analyze social movements. We will then work through a series of case studies to think through the emergence, the development, and decline of social movements in particular spaces and historical moments. Through a discussion of cases such as the March for our Lives Movement, the student movements in Chile and Nicaragua, and the DREAMers, we will consider the reasons that drive individuals to participate in social movements, the resources and opportunities upon which these organizations draw in order to further their causes, and the role of leadership in successful social change. Throughout the course we will pay special attention to media as contested terrain for political struggle. Over the semester, we will critically interrogate mainstream media representations of the social issues that we will study to consider the ways in which they may fail to do justice to the cultural and historical particularities of a phenomenon, while at the same pay close attention to how activists creatively navigate the media infrastructure available to them in order to strategically draw attention to their cause.

Social Justice and Contemporary Education

Maoria Kirker, Section 010, TR 3pm-4:15pm

The course will explore issues related to access in U.S. education in a discussion-based format. The course looks at socioeconomic, racial, and geopolitical differences that shape American education. The first half of the class will focus on K-12 education while the second half will focus on post-secondary education. The class is meant to be relevant to students in any major as there will be space to explore a topic of their own interest related to social justice and U.S. education.

HNRS 240 Reading the Past

Foods and Drugs in Latin American and the World

Joan Bristol, Section 002, MW 10:30am-11:45am

This course examines the role of Latin American commodities, including foods like chocolate and sugar, drugs like cocaine and marijuana, and other products like cotton, in constructing the modern world system from the sixteenth century through the twentieth century. While these commodities are not all indigenous to Latin America they have all played a significant role in the region’s economy and culture. We will examine how these commodities were exported and imported, how they affected populations, and how ideas about these goods and their meanings developed through time and over space. Commodity flows are integral to world politics, economics, and historical events. The desire for commodities justified colonialism, created significant trade imbalances, and led to the exploitation of land and labor in many parts of the world.   

Technological Impacts: Special Effects

Jan Allbeck, Section 004, MW 9:00am - 10:15am

This course will look at the history of special effects from their origins in the 1920 through today. We will study the progression of techniques and their impact on film and tv audiences.

Slavery and the Historical Imagination

Stefan Wheelock, Section 005, F 10:30am - 1:10pm

The historical research on American Slavery has grown substantially in recent decades; and this class is concerned with the ways historical writers of various stripes have reflected on slavery and its traumas in the historical wake of abolition.  Any meaningful approach to the discussion of slavery must be mindful of the role black antislavery biography and black polemic played in advancing early critiques of slavery.  Along with legal historians and philosophers, we will consider the role black autobiography and polemic played in the historical discussion of slavery.  Authors include Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Ida B. Wells, Michelle Alexander, and Eddie Glaude Jr.

HNRS 312: Research in the Public Sphere

Kevin Stoy, Section 001, R 4:30-7:10 pm

Building on projects begun in HNRS 310, students use research/scholarship skills to address community problems presented by nonprofit organizations. Designated as a research and scholarship intensive course.

 

HNRS 330 Research, Technology, and Online Community

College Application Coaches

Richard Stafford, Section 002, TR 12:00pm - 1:15pm
 
Interested in improving access to college? Want to help students who would be the first in the families to attend college prepare? By enrolling in this section of Honors 330, students agree to participate in the College Application Coaches service project. This will involve learning how to provide effective coaching to high school students who will be the first in their families to attend college as they develop resumes and college application essays. Students participating in College Application Coaches will meet with the students they are coaching face-to-face and will provide online coaching. Students will also be expected to engage in regular class meetings and complete assignments intended to help them understand and engage with questions regarding college access and college preparedness mentorship.
HNRS 353 Technology in the Contemporary World

Innovation and Adaptation

Zachary Schrag, Section 002, MW 10:30am - 11:45am

Who made that? Who used it? And how did they imagine it? In this section of HNRS 353, students will work in groups to trace the history of a technology in use today. Each group will select a technology, anything from a kitchen appliance to a weapons system to a medical device. Throughout the semester, they will gather press accounts, patents, advertisements, fictional representations, and other sources to explore how people created the tool, used it, adapted it, and represented it. The goals are to understand technology as the product of negotiations between producers and consumers, and to develop a range of skills of research, interpretation, and presentation.

Cybernetics

Dean Taciuch, Section 004, TR 10:30am- 11:45am

The course will begin with the concept of Cybernetics, popularized by Norbert Wiener's Human Use of Human Beings, a book he wrote (in 1950) specifically to explain cybernetics to the interested non-expert. Cybernetics, as Wiener and the first generation of computer engineers defined it, is the science of control and communication in machines, animals, and human beings. Cybernetics gave us the concepts of "cyberspace" and the "cybernetic organism"—the cyborg.
 
Throughout this course, we will address technology, in particular the idea of cybernetics and AI, from the perspectives of of a wide range of disciplines including engineering, statistical mechanics, mathematics, linguistics, sociology, psychology, neuroscience, biology, and philosophy. The field of cybernetics (the topic of our first text) is inherently interdisciplinary, born as it was from the fields of engineering and mathematics combined with biology, neuroscience, and sociology to form what today would be called information theory.

Technology in a Changing Society: Theater

Charles Leonard, Section 005 TR 9:00am - 10:15am, Section 013 TR 1:30pm -2:45pm

Theater has pushed the envelope of technology in many directions. Students will examine new developments of tech designed for use in theater and new uses of existing tech, focusing on the cutting- edge. We will also look at bleed-over tech moving from one area into use in other areas, including theatre.     

Life in the Universe

Harold Geller, Section 010, TR 3:00pm - 4:15pm

In this course we will critically analyze emergent technologies and their impact on contemporary culture as our species seeks to understand its place in the universe. The core concepts surrounding the technologies and their legal, social, and ethical issues will be considered. Students will develop a significant research project related to the search for life in the universe which, communicated through written, oral and digital means, demonstrates a critical understanding of the technologies and their impact via multiple disciplinary perspectives. Students will communicate their findings, both verbally and non-verbally, through ethically and culturally aware critical thinking and scientific reasoning. Major topics include the: physical and chemical basis of the universe and its origins; birth, life and death of galaxies and their stars; geology of solid celestial objects; biochemistry of life on Earth and possibly elsewhere; diversity and similarity of life on Earth and implications for the universe; search for planets outside our own solar system; and, exploration and colonization of space and its extraterrestrial planets.

Science of Cities

James Trefil, Section 011, M 4:30pm - 7:10pm

What will the Washington area look like in 50 years? This course will focus on the technology and development of cities, using the capitol area as an example. Students will look at present-day Washington from a historical standpoint and learn what we can predict for its future in light of robotics, nanotechnology, and genetic engineering.  Course will use an AI Program called sInvestigator.

Scientific Revolutions

James Trefil, Section 012, T 4:30pm - 7:10pm

Critically analyzes emergence and impact of specific technologies on contemporary cultures and the core concepts surrounding these technologies, including legal, social, ethical issues and the technology’s relationship to core information security issues. Students develop a significant research project employing multiple disciplinary perspectives. This project will be communicated ethically and with cultural awareness through written, oral and digital means, showing a critical understanding of technologies and their impact.

Contemporary Central Asia

Benjamin Gatling, Section 014, MW 1:30 - 2:45pm

This course explores everyday life in contemporary Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and surrounding places like Afghanistan and western China. We will use readings from a range of disciplines—history, anthropology, political science, sociology, and more—as windows into how global themes, such as the effects of labor migration, worries about religious radicalism, tensions between global powers, water rights, ecological challenges, threats to democratic governance like creeping authoritarianism, and human rights, affect the everyday lives of Central Asians.     Our course will begin with history, helping us to contextualize contemporary developments. We will use ethnographic accounts to think about ground-level perspectives as well as policy papers and think tank reports to think through different modalities specialists use to write about Central Asia. Drawing on your own disciplines and majors, students will conduct original research on a topic of their choosing related to the region and produce a final research paper. No background in the study of Central Asia is expected. 

Television, Technology, and Power

Hatim El-Hibri, Section 015, T 4:30pm - 7:10pm

The course examines how pre-existing cultural attitudes and patterns of power have shaped the course of television’s technological development. The landscape of TV has changed dramatically since the era of state-run broadcasters, or the era of the ‘Big Three’ networks in the U.S. As programming diversifies, social media burns, media platforms and screens proliferate, more and more parts of public life seem made for TV. This course will interrogate the priorities that continue to shape television by examining key debates and critical approaches to the policies, cultural formations, and social and economic contexts that shape this key media technology.

HNRS 410 Thesis Preparation

Richard Stafford and Dean Zofia Burr, Section 001, TR 9:00am - 10:15am

Students in HNRS 410 will work with faculty, classmates, and mentors through the process of developing an individually-designed research or creative project. This class is open to students of all majors who seek to develop a substantial or original product to put forward for consideration to some audience outside of our classroom. Because of the wide differences between disciplines in what counts as “substantial” or “original,” as well as what it means to “put [work] forward for consideration,” some aspects of the research or creative process and/or product are expected to vary. However, all students will be expected to try out some ways of engaging with their project that lead them beyond their standard disciplinary processes or professional training.

Throughout the process of developing your individual projects, the class will work together to pursue the insights that emerge from a consideration of research and creative practices across disciplinary and professional boundaries.

This class is especially well-suited for students who seek to explore and begin to develop a new research question or creative project outside of their regular coursework; who would like to continue pursing a research question or creative project that emerged in a prior class; who are developing a research proposal (for instance for an OSCAR grant or fellowship); or who are concurrently enrolled in an individualized study, a thesis or capstone course in the major; or who are currently undertaking a funded OSCAR project.

HNRS 411 Thesis

Zofia Burr and Richard Stafford, Section 001,TR 9:00am - 10:15am

Directed research on topic agreed on by student, advisor, and the Honors College to be undertaken with instructor permission by students who have previously taken HNRS 410. Meets concurrently with HNRS 410.  

HNRS 430: Multidisciplinary Challenges in Professional Environments

Anthony Hoefer, Section 001, R 4:30-7:10 pm

Students in this course will work in multidisciplinary teams to design a solution to a challenge or problem offered by two of Mason’s partners from the Northern Virginia business community: Northrup Grumman Corporation and the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. Students will be supported in this project by a faculty instructor and a mentor from the participating partner. They will have opportunities to synthesize the knowledge and practices they have developed over the course of their undergraduate experience; to develop the skills and strategies necessary for working effectively in multidisciplinary teams; and to apply all of this as they work to solve a problem or challenge in professional environment. Work on the project will culminate with the public presentation of the team’s proposed solution, as well as a final report to be delivered to the participating business partner.

Fall 2018

HNRS 122 Reading the Arts

Expression in Video Games: Syllabus

Jan Allbeck: Section 001 – MW 9-10:15 am

This course will examine video games and expression, including expression manifestation in color choice, lighting, animation, pacing, dialogue, environmental storytelling, and character design. We will also look at video games as a form of expression for both game designers and players. Finally, we will discuss the influence of society on video games and the influence of video games on society.

Theater and Major Social Shifts

Chuck Leonard: Section 002 – TR 10:30-11:45 am & Section 003 – TR 1:30-2:45 pm

Explores the language of the art medium and the relationship of parts to whole in art works, connections among different art forms, and links between art and its historical context. In exploring multiple art forms, including literature, students will also learn how various artistic devices contribute to meaning. Students will critically explore detail and nuance in the social, historical and personal context of the work(s). Students will also participate in or attend a visual or performance based art work(s) or event(s).

Medieval Poets and the Material World: Syllabus

M. Leigh Harrison; Section 005 – TR 1:30-2:45 pm

Medieval artisans and poets made their works shine with bold color, elaborate organization, and rich detail. To discover why, we’ll examine a range of creations taken from ruined cities and secluded monasteries, bustling universities and stately halls. We’ll pair our exploration of some of the most striking and enigmatic poetry from the Middle Ages with an investigation of the role of materials in the medieval worldview. We’ll compare printed poems and stories with other texts that have been carved into stone and engraved on glass—as well as written in “the book of nature.” Throughout, we will consider the shared preoccupations of visual art and poetry.

Contemporary American Drama

Heather McDonald: Section 006 – TR 3:00-4:15 pm

Through study of contemporary American plays and musicals, students will explore theatre as a mirror of the culture. Dialogue and the importance of valuing and evaluating multiple perspectives and points-of-view are core to theatre. The central concerns of the class are listening to the myriad voices currently working in American theatre, seeking to understand why live stories urgently matter, looking at theatre’s relationship to other art forms, placing theatre in its political and cultural context, forming questions about how contemporary dramatists wrestle with and ask questions about the great American Experiment, and building a portrait of our contemporary world.

Pompeii: A Window on Ancient Roman Life and Art: Syllabus

Christopher Gregg: Section 007 – MW 10:30-11:45 am

Since its rediscovery over 200 years ago, the Roman city of Pompeii has fascinated the modern world. This minor Roman town, entombed by a volcanic eruption in AD 79, has fired the imagination of both scholars and artists. As an example of Roman civilization, Pompeii gives us a view into a past society that has had a tremendous impact on Western European and North American architecture, art, law and literature. This class will use the unparalleled physical remains of Pompeii’s art, architecture and infrastructure as well as primary Roman literary source material in translation to explore the complex urban and cultural environment of this ancient civilization. Class discussion, critical reading of sources, and visual analysis will all play significant parts in our multi-disciplinary approach to interpreting this familiar yet “foreign” culture.

Literature of the Middle East

Amal Amireh: Section 008 – MW 12:00-1:15 pm

Music and Exoticisim: Syllabus

Gregory Robinson: Section 010 – MW 1:30-2:45 pm

This course will explore discourses of exoticism as they emerge in and surround music. We will begin by reading selections from Edward Said’s landmark 1978 study, Orientalism, along with additional writings from the academic fields of musicology and ethnomusicology that will help us to contextualize his ideas. We will then consider musical performance in several major world regions, alongside outsider representations of these regions, in order to see how Said’s insights on the relationship between the arts and politics play out (or do not play out) in these areas. Students will learn and practice critical reading and listening skills, and will gain a discipline-specific introduction to current research in the arts and humanities.

 

 

HNRS 130 Conceptions of Self

The Romantic Self: Syllabus

Kristin Samuelian: Section 002 – TR 10:30-11:45 am

In Honors 130, we will explore conceptions of selfhood from a period in European history when writers, philosophers, and political thinkers were becoming increasingly preoccupied with questions of what it meant to be an individual self distinct from a communal or collective identity: the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, often referred to as the Romantic Period or the Age of Revolution. Through reading selections of fiction and philosophical essays by some major and some lesser-known eighteenth- and nineteenth-century writers—including David Hume, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, William Hazlitt, and Charlotte Brontë—and writing essays both formal and informal, we will explore the origins of a concept of selfhood that remains the basis of most modern psychological and philosophical doctrines, from Freudian psychoanalysis and theories of personality to existentialism and beyond.

HNRS 131 Contemporary Society in Multiple Perspectives

Artifical Intelligence

Jesse Kirkpatrick: Section 001 – W 4:30-7:10 pm

This course serves as an introduction to a range of ethical and social issues that may arise in connection with the development of artificial intelligence (AI). Rapid advances in technology have already enabled the production of AI systems that allow robots to serve as caregivers, outperform humans in games like chess and Go, mine huge amounts of data, and allow cars to drive autonomously. As technology advances further at an accelerating pace, we may possibly produce non-human systems that equal or surpass human capabilities in a growing number of activities. Trends and developments such as these raise fundamental ethical and social issues that will be explored using such sources as scholarly literature, art, film, and science fiction.

Congressional Elections: Syllabus

Steven Pearlstein: Section 004 – T 9-11:45 am

We will study the 2018 Congressional campaign as it unfolds this fall in Virginia and around the country—an election that will be referendum on the Trump administration in which control of both houses of Congress will be at stake. We will not only follow it through the mainstream (and not so mainstream media), but also through the eyes of individuals who are in some way participating in it: a farmer, a small business owner, a teacher, a soccer mom, a nurse, an evangelical minister, etc. Each student will be assigned someone who comes from as different a background, and has as different views, as we can find (that’s the “multiple perspectives” part). Students will speak to their subjects by phone weekly, keeping a journal and “seeing” the election through his or her eyes. Along the way, we will read about politics, political journalism and public policy and discuss the interaction among them. A campaign manager, a pollster, an elected official and a political journalist will be invited to speak to the class. We will also conduct an exit poll on Election Day. Some summer reading may be required. Registration closed after August 1.

Freedom: Syllabus

Ted Kinnaman: Section 006 – TR 9-10:15 am

This course will offer a philosophical and historical perspective on contemporary society. The course will focus on freedom. In American society today there are few concepts more used and less understood than freedom. We will be asking questions such as, What is freedom? What if any value does it have? Is the human will free– and what are the consequences if it is not? To guide us in this we will read texts by Plato, Kant, Mill, Hume, and Milton Friedman, among others.

Relgion, State and the Law

Randi Rashkover: Section 011 – MW 3:00-4:15 pm

What is the relationship between democracy and religion? Should democracies separate church from state or are there ways to incorporate religious ideas into democratic governments? In this course we will explore contemporary ideas concerning the separation of church and state and examine a range of international models for how the two areas can and do work together.

Globalization and its Impact on Institutions, Society, and the Individual: Progress, Problems, and Challenges: Syllabus

Phil Thomas: Section 013 – MW 12:00-1:15 pm

Globalization is a dynamic process that has brought the world’s diverse population closer together since the beginning of civilization through the exchange of goods, products, information, jobs, knowledge and culture. Contemporary globalization in the beginning of the Twenty-First Century is the result of dramatic advancements in technology, communications, science, transport and industry. The current global population of 7 billion people has become increasingly interdependent. The economic, cultural and political implications of globalization are matters of great controversy and debate. A fundamental question remains unanswered. Will a smaller technologically enhanced interdependent world produce an environmentally sustainable, safer and more just world? As we progress toward the year 2050 with the prospect of the global population projected to reach 9 billion people, many challenges exist confronting the viability and stability of the global community. In this class we will identify and examine the many multi-dimensional and crosscutting issues and challenges affecting globalization in the Twenty-First Century including: communication/social media, governance, democracy, nationalism, conflict, humanitarian crises, food insecurity, environment, biotechnology, climate, population growth,commerce, discrimination, freedom and responsibility. Phil Thomas is the instructor for this course. He has an extensive background in globalization issues that includes a variety of academic, government service, and international research projects.

Global Politics and Humor

Jennifer Ashley: Section 015 – TR 3:00-4:15 pm

This course explores the relation between entertainment television and global political discourse. We begin the course with an examination of the work of Habermas on the public sphere. This discussion will be followed by a consideration of humor and satire as a form of political communication, drawing on Bakhtin’s discussion of the carnivalesque. We will consider how scholars have taken up these theoretical frameworks to analyze the use of  satire television (such as The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update in the US and Les Guignols de l'info in France) to promote public debate. Students will be asked to critically evaluate the concept of the public sphere in relation to media as they consider whether, why, and how television allows for (or fails to allow for) critical engagement with issues of public concern. They will also be asked to consider the potential and limits of dissident laughter in effecting political change.

Gender, Race, and Immigration: Syllabus

Mark Rudnicki: Section 016 – MW 10:30-11:45 am

Emerging Powers, Changing Trends: Syllabus

Susana Carrillo: Section 017 – F 1:30-4:10 pm

The world is going through unprecedented changes with important impacts on the global economic and financial architecture. Demographic trends, financial and trade flows are shaping the emergence of economic growth poles. China and India are examples of emerging economies that will play a strong role on global governance. Along these emerging economies, new global institutions are contributing to change the world balance of power. In addition, priorities of a growing middle class will define economic consumption patterns and global connections. In this class, we will examine and analyze these changing trends and global interactions. We will discuss questions such as: In today’s interconnected world, how will our own society be impacted by these shifting dynamics? How are emerging economies contributing to a different global landscape? Are new global governance institutions defining new models of cooperation to solve emerging global challenges? Be prepared to learn about new concepts and participate in engaging group discussions.

HNRS 230 Cross Cultural Perspectives

Cross-Cultural Communications

Megan Patrick: Section 002 – TR 12:00-1:15 pm
This course in cross-cultural communications is designed to provide students with the fundamental principles to understand the diverse cultures that inform the operations of a 21st century professional environment. The class will explore how professional language, behavior, work practices, and organizations are shaped by culture and interpreted through one’s own cultural locus. By establishing mindfulness of our own cultural programming, as well as an understanding of the obstacles to cross-cultural engagement, participants will build the necessary skill set to navigate the contemporary workplace.
HNRS 240 Reading the Past

The History of Science: Syllabus

James Trefil: Section 001 – M 4:30-7:10 pm

This course will trace the development of science from the construction of monuments like Stonehenge to the beginning of the twentieth century. No previous scientific knowledge will be presumed, and the major ideas of science will be developed in their historical context. The course will include readings from important historical texts, and students will be asked to develop and present topics related to the course subject matter.

History of the Family: Syllabus

Spencer Crew: Section 002 – TR 10:30-11:45 am

The definition of family and the role of each member has evolved over the years. Often the changes are related to economic circumstances and the social beliefs of the society. This course will primarily examine the way the American family has changed since colonial days. In the process we will study how the responsibilities of women, children, and men have evolved and why. In addition we will learn how oral history can aid in researching family history.

History of Emotions: Syllabus

Peter Stearns: Section 003 – TR 12:00-1:15 pm

This course focuses on the history of emotions, a rapidly growing field that seeks to contribute both to an understanding of the past and to interdisciplinary analysis of emotion itself. Key methodological and analytical issues in the field will be addressed, along with work (both existing and potential) on emotions such as love, shame, fear, and nostalgia. Coverage will focus on American patterns but with opportunities for comparison with other societies. Student participation will be emphasized, including recurrent discussion of why history seems to have undertaken an “emotional” turn and whether this is a desirable direction.

Technology and Identity: Syllabus

Zachary Schrag: Section 004 – TR 1:30-2:45 pm

We define ourselves by the tools we make, the tools we use, and the tools we reject. Individuals select consumer goods, communities deploy infrastructure, and whole nations seek glory through science, invention, and warfare. This course will explore the intersection of technology and identity in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the United States and other nations. We will learn how people living today and previous generations made choices about three sets of technologies: vaccination; electrification of cities, homes, and farms; and aviation, with an emphasis on the role of the pilot. By learning this history, we can better understand the choices we ourselves face as individuals, communities, and nations.

Roots of American Music: Syllabus

Suzanne Smith: Section 006 – TR 1:30-2:45 pm

This course explores the roots of American popular music.  American roots music encompasses a wide array of music styles including: the blues, gospel, early jazz, country, bluegrass, Western swing, as well as immigrant music such as polka and zydeco.  Throughout the semester, we will study how these different styles evolved, influenced each other, and laid the foundation of rock and roll.  Another important dimension of the course will be learning how the history of race relations, gender relations, and class in America play a key role in understanding why certain musical styles develop and become popular.  Since music is the focal point of the course, weekly assignments include readings, listening to music, and screenings of films about American roots music.

Elizabethan Politics and Prose

Chuck Leonard: Section 007 – MW 1:30-2:45 pm & Section 008 – MW 10:30-11:45 am

This course will examine Elizabethan history, writers and the politics of the period. A major project will be construction of a performance piece, after considering multiple period and contemporary performance styles. Works by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, as well as historical narratives will be explored to further understanding of the period.

The History of Normal: Mosters, Freaks, and Crips: Syllabus

Teresa Michals: Section 009 – MW 3:00-4:14 pm

"The distant past inspires the sense and the respect of differences between men, at the same time as it refines our sensitiveness to the poetry of human destinies.”

– Marc Bloch, 1944

Before 1840 or so, the word "normal" commonly meant "perpendicular." This meaning derived from the carpenter's square, called a "norm." Today we rely heavily on a very different idea of "normal.” How did people make sense of themselves and each other without this sense of "normal," and how did this idea come to have the power it holds today? This course will focus on the rise of statistics, medicine, education, and the state in nineteenth-century Britain, arguing that these developments created new ways of seeing ourselves and others that now feel natural. In addition to medical and statistical models, we will consider wonder, the monstrous, cruelty, pain, laughter, sentiment, and the freak as categories that eighteenth and nineteenth-century writers use to frame the very different behaviors, minds, and bodies they try to describe. We will also take a look at the field of disability studies as a place where social history and political activism intersect. Course work will include a class presentation, short papers, quizzes, and a 7-page research project (in discussion with me, you are free to research any topic of your choice, as long as it is relevant to the intellectual framework of the class). This class demands a good deal of discussion and interaction. In order to help us focus on this task, I do not allow the use of cell phones or laptops during class time.

HNRS 310 Honors College Connects I
Kevin Stoy

The first of a two-semester course in which students work in groups on long-term service projects coming from community nonprofit organizations.

HNRS 330 Research, Technology, and Online Community

Communication Strategy Research Team

Richard Todd Stafford: Section 001 – F 9-11:20 am

Our students receive communications from the Honors College through a number of different media, including emails, newsletters, flyers, and our website. At the same time, the Honors College frequently communicates with other audiences, both within the University and in the broader community, including alumni, business partners, other academic units, and more. We are looking for a multidisciplinary team of students who would like to undertake a comprehensive study of how we currently communicate, how well our current practices are working, and how we might improve our communication strategy moving forward.

There are opportunities for students of all disciplines to participate, as one of our core objectives  involves learning to undertake collaborative multidisciplinary research. We will work to analyze the research needs of the Honors College, develop a formal research proposal that we will present to Honors College faculty in charge of communication strategy, then undertake the primary quantitative, interpretive, and/or qualitative human research necessary in order to answer our questions.

In this class, each student will be encouraged to develop an individual skill development plan, focusing on skills that are of interest to the student and necessary to meet our group’s research needs. Throughout the course, we will actively reflect on the challenges and opportunities entailed by work on a multidisciplinary team.

Mentorship in Undergraduate Research

John Woolsey: Section 002 – F 12-12:50 pm

In this course students serve as Peer Research Mentors (PRMs) and guide first year Honors College students through the research process used in HNRS 110: Research Methods. PRMs act as student leaders and liaisons in the HNRS 110 community. Working closely with the Research Curriculum Coordinator, faculty and librarians, PRMs hold regular office hours, design and lead workshops, and help plan the Honors College Fall Research Exhibition.

Interested students can apply here: https://goo.gl/forms/X3rRsQ4p092Qeh9F2

Contact Dr. Woolsey if you have questions: jwoolsey@gmu.edu

Diversity & Representation in Student Governance (1 Credit)

Blake Silver: Section 003 – TR 1:30-2:45 pm

This course will offer students the opportunity to develop, refine, and work within a democratic student governance structure to address challenges relevant to the Honors College. Those involved in the course will work to create the Honors College’s new Student Advisory Board. This task will involve engaging with questions related to community, diversity, representation, and inclusion. Students in the course are not required to serve on the Advisory Board. Rather, they will have a direct voice in the creation and support of the board. For more information or to apply, contact Dr. Silver at bsilver@gmu.edu.

Application emails should include your: (1) name, (2) major, and (3) any involvement in extra/co-curricular groups at Mason. Include “HNRS 330-003 Application” in the title of your email.

Social Science Research Lab

Blake Silver: Section 004 – TR 1:30-2:45 pm

This course will offer students an opportunity to work through the research process in a team setting. Designed for students across fields/majors who are interested in gaining experience with multidisciplinary social science research, this course is situated between HNRS 110 and students’ future individual research projects. For many students in the social sciences, making the transition between these levels of research is more feasible after gaining experience with advanced stages of the research process. With this in mind, the Social Science Research Lab will offer students the opportunity to take part in instrument construction and testing, data collection, data management, data analysis/interpretation, and the presentation of research findings.

The sorts of methodological approaches used in this lab will be especially relevant to students in a range of majors and minors including: sociology, anthropology, psychology, education, communication, conflict analysis, global affairs, integrative studies, social work, cultural studies, women and gender studies, African and African American studies, immigration studies, etc. The first project this lab will address (beginning in Fall 2018) examines the experiences of first-generation American students during the transition out of college. For more information or to apply, contact Dr. Silver at bsilver@gmu.edu.

Application emails should include your: (1) name, (2) major, and (3) a brief description of your interest in the course (no more than a few sentences). Include “HNRS 330-004 Application” in the title of your email.

HNRS 353 Technology in the Contemporary World

Effective Responses to Crime: Policies and Strategies: Syllabus

Laurie Robinson: Section 002 – TR 1:30-2:45 pm

While the violent crime rate in the U.S. today is far lower than 25 years ago -- and much closer to rates in the 1960s -- the nation continues to face challenges in areas such as gun violence, gang crime, domestic violence and high rates of incarceration, and there is deep concern about how fairly the criminal justice system responds to racial and ethnic minorities, as events over recent years in Ferguson, Missouri and numerous other jurisdictions have highlighted. In the 1960s, a Presidential Commission appointed by Lyndon B. Johnson issued a landmark report that comprehensively looked at all facets of the criminal justice system and set out a blueprint for reform. No single document in criminal justice since that time has been so influential.

In this seminar, Honors College students will act as members of a crime commission to look at key issues in criminal justice in the United States and what solutions are -- or could be -- used to address them effectively. They will examine aspects of policing, prisons and sentencing, juvenile justice, substance abuse, courts and (more broadly) innovation and technology, and hold "hearings" at which they can question expert guest witnesses (for example, frontline criminal justice practitioners, such as police chiefs) and explore evidence-based approaches that are being, and should be, taken to address problems. Students will serve on subject area task forces and develop reports on their topics.

The work will culminate in the students presenting their research-based recommendations at the end of the semester to a leading policymaker who will visit the class.

This seminar is suitable for any student interested in public policy, government, technology, communications, criminology, political science, conflict resolution, or economics.

Life in the Universe: Syllabus

Harold Geller: Section 004 – TR 3:00-4:15 pm

In this course we will critically analyze emergent technologies and their impact on contemporary culture as our species seeks to understand its place in the universe. The core concepts surrounding the technologies and their legal, social, and ethical issues will be considered. Students will develop a significant research project related to the search for life in the universe which, communicated through written, oral and digital means, demonstrates a critical understanding of the technologies and their impact via multiple disciplinary perspectives. Students will communicate their findings, both verbally and non-verbally, through ethically and culturally aware critical thinking and scientific reasoning.
Major Topics to be Included:
* The physical and chemical basis of the universe and its origins.
* The birth, life and death of galaxies and their stars.
* The geology of solid celestial objects.
* The biochemistry of life on Earth and possibly elsewhere.
* The diversity and similarity of life on Earth and implications for the universe.
* The search for planets outside our own solar system.
* The exploration and colonization of space and its extraterrestrial planets.

Cybernetics: Syllabus

Dean Taciuch: Section 005 – TR 1:30-2:45 pm

The course will begin with the concept of Cybernetics, popularized by Norbert Wiener's Human Use of Human Beings, a book he wrote (in 1950) specifically to explain cybernetics to the interested non-expert. Cybernetics, as Wiener and the first generation of computer engineers defined it, is the science of control and communication in machines, animals, and human beings. Cybernetics gave us the concepts of "cyberspace" and the "cybernetic organism"—the cyborg.

Throughout this course, we will address technology, in particular the idea of cybernetics and AI, from the perspectives of of a wide range of disciplines including engineering, statistical mechanics, mathematics, linguistics, sociology, psychology, neuroscience, biology, and philosophy. The field of cybernetics (the topic of our first text) is inherently interdisciplinary, born as it was from the fields of engineering and mathematics combined with biology, neuroscience, and sociology to form what today would be called information theory.

Norbert Wiener. The Human Use of Human Beings.
Nick Bostrom. Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. 

Technology and the Changing Economy: Syllabus

Lisardo Bolanos: Section 006 – TR 1:30-2:45 pm

Will most of your income in the future come from the peer-to-peer economy (e.g., Uber, Lyft, Airbnb)?  Will robots take over your future job?  Will faster and cheaper transportation allow workers from other countries to take over your job?  Or maybe the future is more complex?  With this in mind, students will develop projects to assess the benefits and risks of current technological breakthroughs, from industrial robots and nanomaterials to new trends in agriculture.  To understand how technologies will change the economy in the next one hundred years and beyond we need to look at the past.  The class will explore the following questions: Why was England in the 1700s able to start the industrial and agricultural revolution?  What obstacles are there for the development of vaccines?  Why was Japan able to take over China in the production of silk?  Why is the production of so many electronic products spread throughout a global supply chain?  Why don´t we see more tractors and factories in the rural areas of the developing world? 

HNRS 410 Thesis Preparation

Multidisciplinary Research and Creative Projects Seminar

Richard Todd Stafford: Section 001 – F 1:30-2:50 pm, Section 002 – W 12-1:20 pm, Section 003 – T 8:30-9:50 am

Students in HNRS 410 will work with faculty, classmates, and mentors through the process of developing an individually-designed research or creative project. This class is open to students of all majors who seek to develop a substantial or original product to put forward for consideration to some audience outside of our classroom. Because of the wide differences between disciplines in what counts as “substantial” or “original,” as well as what it means to “put [work] forward for consideration,” some aspects of the research or creative process and/or product are expected to vary. However, all students will be expected to try out some ways of engaging with their project that lead them beyond their standard disciplinary processes or professional training.

Throughout the process of developing your individual projects, the class will work together to pursue the insights that emerge from a consideration of research and creative practices across disciplinary and professional boundaries.

This class is especially well-suited for students who seek to explore and begin to develop a new research question or creative project outside of their regular coursework; who would like to continue pursing a research question or creative project that emerged in a prior class; who are developing a research proposal (for instance for an OSCAR grant or fellowship); or who are concurrently enrolled in an individualized study, a thesis or capstone course in the major; or who are currently undertaking a funded OSCAR project.

HNRS 411 Thesis
Richard Todd Stafford: Section 001 – F 3-4:20 pm

In this course, you will continue working with faculty, classmates, and mentors on a research or creative project you began in HNRS 410 or in some other similar course. Students who have not previously taken HNRS 410 thinking about taking HNRS 411 should discuss these two options with the instructors.

At the same time you are developing your individual projects, our class will continue to work together to pursue the insights that emerge from a consideration of research or creative practices across multiple disciplines.

The focus of this course is on communicating about a research or creative project that is well underway.