John F. Reed Honors Program

Previous Honors Forums



Fall 2016



HON 221/421 Food Fight!!! (Bill Mangrum)

  • How often have you heard questions such as: Are you gluten free? Do you buy locally? Eat organically? Are you a vegan or vegetarian? Have you heard about food deserts, slow food movement, urban gardens, GMOs, Whole Foods market, Food Not Bombs, or the Food Network? In this forum, we will explore how food impacts our lives, paying close attention to contemporary key activists and thinkers within the food politics movement, including Michael Pollan, Vandana Shiva, Lucas Benitez, and Will Allen. We will explore food rhetoric focusing on issures of power, privilege, culture, and identity.

    
HON 222/422 I don't care! You don't care! They don't care! (Bill Mangrum)

  • When things don’t go our way, we often say, “I don’t care!” When the person we love slights us, we sometimes say “You don’t care!” When communities remain entrenched, indifferent to racism, poverty, human trafficking, and more, we emphatically say, “They don’t care!” But what does it mean to “care” about a person, an issue, or a community? Drawing on the work of a Jewish Philosopher, Milton Mayeroff, and a Feminist Educator, Nel Noddings, this seminar explores “caring” as foundational to human survival and to planetary well-being. Our future depends on linking “critical thinking”  with “caring” for ourselves, our neighbors, and our  world. 

         
HON 223/423 4th and Long: Sociological, Scientific, Historical, and Cultural Perspectives on the NFL (Missy Thompson)

  • The National Football League is the largest professional sports league in the US, making it the perfect topic for interdisciplinary analysis.  This course is designed for those who want to go beyond the level of inquiry of the typical armchair quarterback. We will examine the NFL using a variety of disciplines and examine the thinking of some of its major innovators. Sample topics will include the science of player safety (concussions), historical perspectives of team relocation, sociological aspects of player conduct; and, of course, no analysis would be complete without discussing Deflategate.

        
HON 223/423 The Poisoner's Handbook (Bill Collins)

  • This course will look at how poisonings have affected historical figures, as well as important/pivotal historical events. Additonally, we will follow the evolution of forensic chemistry as a tool for solving poisonings (both homicidal, accidental, and environmental). Finally, we will delve into the principles of toxicology (aka "what makes a poison a poison?") and see that many historical poisons are now being utilized as targeted modern medicines.


Spring 2016



HON 221/421 Atonement in Christian Thinking (Justin McBrayer)

  • The atonement refers to the religious work done by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.  On its face, the atonement is a strange doctrine: why would God kill his son and ask his followers to eat his flesh and drink his blood?  This course explores the history of Christian thinking about and philosophical theories of the atonement including the penal substitution view, the Christus Victor view, the kaleidoscopic view, and the healing view.

         
HON 222/422 American Asylum: 'Commitment' to the American Dream (Jillian Wenburg)

  • Our subject is early twentieth and twenty-first century American texts focused on the disenfranchised and their quest for the American Dream. We will seek to reconcile how writers discuss the American Dream notion with the reality that befell those in society attempting to realize its fruition. Moving through history from the early 1900s, we will discuss fiction and non-fiction texts, journal articles, art, music, pop culture, and film.

         
HON 222/422 Trust and Distrust: Writing for Social Change (Michelle Bonanno)

  • The way we talk and write about an issue can shape how we think about it, react to it, and move forward as a community.  In this forum, we will use rhetorical theory to study social movements, protests, and conflicts.  We will examine how words and images shaped the course of events in communities such as the present-day Ferguson, Missouri or civil-rights-era Birmingham, Alabama.

        
HON 223/423 Oops…I did it again! (Bill Mangrum)

  • We all make mistakes. Our days are full of human error. But why do we make certain kinds of mistakes again and again? Is it possible to challenge and correct our misguided ways? Is it possible to learn from our mistakes?  With discipline, we can live well, committing fewer egregious errors in thought, perception, and behavior. Scholars in this seminar will read essays by and interact (via Skype and email) with the insights of Pulitzer Prize winning author Joseph T. Hallinan. 

       
HON 223 The Animas River (Cathy Hartney)

  • In August 2015, at least 3 million gallons of waste water from the Gold King Mine was accidentally released into the Animas River by the EPA, disrupting local agriculture and recreation, angering residents, and raising awareness of the importance and vulnerability of the river that flows through our community.  Speakers from multiple disciplines and organizations will present their concerns, their proposed or ongoing research, their data, and/or their reactions to the spill.


Fall 2015



HON 221/421 Beer, Bombs, and Biotech (Kenny Miller)

  • This course will explore the science and historical impact of agriculture, systematic fermentation, conventional weapons, and pharmaceuticals.  We will work at the intersection of history, archaeology, chemistry, biology, and ethics to evaluate the influences, both positive and negative, of these scientific 

 
HON 222/422 Experimental Typography (Shawn Meek)

  • Students will be introduced to and will analyze and practice various methods of utilizing typography for messaging and communication. Students will experiment by exploring, discussing, and evaluating various untraditional methods and will identify contemporary models.


HON 223/423 Phantom Limbs and Haunted Brains (Steve Fenster and Cathy Hartney)

  • Students will be introduced to and will analyze and practice various methods of utilizing typography for messaging and communication. Students will experiment by exploring, discussing, and evaluating various untraditional methods and will identify contemporary models.

 
HON223/423 Born to Run (Missy Thompson)

  • Were we born to run?  This class will explore the history and cultural aspects of human running, as well as select themes on the science of running.   Topics will include evolution of human running, exploration of cultures that rely on running, the running shoe industry, and the physiology and biomechanics of barefoot running.  This course will include some running, but grading will not be based on ability so individuals of all fitness levels are encouraged to attend.


Spring 2015



HON 221/421 Dissidents and their Movements in Modern History (Ellen Paul)

  • This course will lead students in an exploration of non-violent political dissidents and their movements with a special historical focus on 20th century Russia & Eastern Europe.  While limited to non-violent, political dissident actions, students will have the chance to focus on a dissident or dissident movement of their choice beginning with the uncensored samizdat publications of the 1950s USSR and continuing through the plays of Vaclav Havel of Czechoslovakia and including the (debatably) dissident actions of Edward Snowden in 2013.

         
HON 222/422 Backpacking with the Saints: Religious Environmentalism as Critical Action and Spiritual Practice (Bill Mangrum)

  • In the American Southwest, millions of people are religious and green, a serious combination of environmental action and religious practice, a "green faith." In this course we will read historical material on the relationship of religion, nature, and the environmental movement. We will also study various meditations and writings based on Muslim, Hindu, Mystic, Buddhist, Jewish, and Secular texts. An optional weekend camping trip into the desert will be organized as an extension of this course.

         
HON 223/423 NAGPRA + 25: Repatriation, Reflection, Education (Kathy Fine-Dare)

  • NAGPRA, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, was passed in 1990.  In this course we will view films, visit with guest speakers, and analyze works created by scholars, activists, and practitioners on the successes and failures of NAGPRA during its first 25 years. Our discussions and writings will connect to an important task, which is to design an educational NAGPRA symposium to be held at FLC during the Fall of 2015. In addition, we will think about appropriate and effective ways that education about Native American human, property, and cultural rights might continue into the future. Those enrolled in 423 will write an additional research-based essay.


Fall 2014



HON 221/421 Minding Animals:  The Influence of Bekoff on Our Thinking about Animals and Emotion (Keri Brandt and Cathy Hartney)

  • Led by a sociologist and a veterinarian, this class will explore the writing and thinking of Marc Bekoff, who expanded our understanding of animal emotion and behavior.  The focus will be the challenging question of what we can infer about animal emotions based on our observations of animal behavior.  Students will read several of Bekoff’s books in addition to responses to his writing.

         
HON 222/422 Dancing with the Dalai Lama: Exploring Individual and Societal Ethics through Mindfulness and Movement (Judy Austin)

  • This course will explore concepts presented in the Dalai Lama's book Ethics for the New Millennium in an experiential format using mindfulness techniques and dance and theater processes.  We will be conducting our own explorations of the themes presented in the book in conjunction with an international team who is working on secular curriculum development of this material at the request of the Dalai Lama, supported by current literature and research in the field of applied ethics.  Come explore your own discernment, self-knowledge, and empathy from the inside out, create a unique expression of your most deeply held beliefs, and become part of a profound social movement.  No prior mindfulness or movement experience is necessary.

         
HON 223/423 Color, Chemistry, and Art (Bill Collins)

  • This course will investigate how the interaction and manipulations of matter on a molecular level (chemistry) can generate an evocative or pleasing physical form (art). This course will look at the synergistic connections of art and chemistry in a historical context: from early alchemists and artists all the way to how modern science can be used to validate art authenticity. Specific topics include: The theory of color, the chemistry of vision and perception, how molecular structure affects pigments, macromolecules and binders, solid-state structure and metallurgy, ancient and modern dyes, and spectroscopy as a tool to detect fraud.  In addition to lecture students will get the opportunity to work on lab/studio projects pertaining to class topics. No prior knowledge of chemistry is needed.


Spring 2014



HON 221/421 Neither White Nor Right: Asian, Native, African, and Latina/o Portraits of Jesus (Bill Mangrum)

  • Asian, Native, African and Latina/o Portraits of Jesus

       
HON 222/422 Kidnapping Smokey The Bear: Power Struggles over U.S. Federal Public Lands (Scott Sidner)

  • A dominant theme of U.S. environmental history has been the struggle between those who emphasize the commercial values of public lands and those who seek to uphold a broader set of natural resource benefits such as development.  This course will investigate the range of viewpoints and arguments that influence the policy directives of U.S. federal public land management.

         
HON 223/423 Gothic (Popular) Culture: Then and Now (Michele Malach)

  • From its beginnings in 18th century haunted castles to contemporary vampire movies, gothic literature and media reflect our cultural tensions around a host of issues.  Why are the macabre, the mysterious, and the supernatural so scary? And why do we enjoy them so much?

    
HON 223/423 Figure Drawing: Structure and Vision (Chad Colby and Cathy Hartney)

  • This course will combine the study of anatomy with an introduction to the basic skills, techniques, and materials related to drawing.  Anatomical emphasis will be on musculoskeletal structure, including hands and feet, and visible structures such as the eye, ear, nose, and mouth. Students will have multiple opportunities to draw from live human and animal subjects. 


Fall 2013



HON 221/421 Disney: Man, Mouse or Machine (Michele Malach)

  • Who or what is "Disney"? For some, it symbolizes an adorable cartoon mouse, star of film, TV his own club, and theme parks. For others it symbolizes a man who created an empire/corporation that is omnipresent in the American public's mind and world corporations. So who or what is "Disney"? This course will present an inquiry into this phenomenon of American business and economics, pop culture, the media, historiography, gender theory, and even literary theory. Students also will be expected to bring their own experiences with this phenomenon in order to ask questions about who or what "Disney" represents to them, especially within their own field of study.

         
HON 223/423 After Patriarchy: Feminist Transformations of World Religions (Bill Mangrum)

  • This class explores seven religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) through the eyes of seven note-worthy feminist scholars. Each author is both a feminist scholar (from different continents) AND a faithful adherent of the major religious tradition they critique. This class (thus) addresses both religion and feminism on a global scale.

         
 HON 223/ 423 Green Businesses: Citizens and Communities (Michelle Bonanno)

  • This class is part of the Freshman Learning Community (Green Business), but all students are welcome. This course will examine green business practices within the framework of ecological citizenship. Students will explore interconnectedness of human and natural communities as well as their own conceptions of citizenship, community, and engagement. This class is not offered at the 400 level.


Winter 2013



HON 222/422 American Asylum: American Dream (Jillian Wenburg)

  • Society's commitment to the American Dream can equate to a sense of forced institutionalization which can imprison society. In this course, our subject is the notion of the American Dream and the reality that befalls those attempting to realize its fruition. We will discuss texts including John Steinbeck, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Clifford Odets, and more. In order to broaden our idea of the representation of the American Dream, we will also look at other art forms including music, art (Edward Hopper, Albert Bierstadt, and Andy Warhol) and film (American Beauty, Do the Right Thing, and Smoke Signals).

         
HON 223/423 Sacred Pain: Inking, Piercing, Scarification (Bill Mangrum)

  • This course looks at rituals of body modification and practices of inking, piercing and scarification in multiple religious traditions.


Fall 2012



HON  221/421 Morrison's Unspeakable Things (Nancy Cardona)

  • Toni Morrison remains the only African American woman to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize 1987) and the Nobel Prize for Literature (1993). Although her twentieth century novels focus upon the African American family and community, her more recent work indicate an interest in an examination of the American experience in general. She asks questions such as, How did we become the country we have become? What role does race play in our society today? How do we understand the answer to these questions as we move into the twenty- first century? In this two-credit seminar, we will read at least four of Morrison's novels (Song of Solomon, Sula, Beloved, and a Mercy) to think through her ideas about the role of the African American community in the development of the United States as well as the evolution of the United States as a whole.

         
HON 222/422 Atheism (Dugald Owen)

  • This course explores both personal and social dimensions of atheism. What are its implications for the value of life and the possibility of personal fulfillment? Might it enhance the depth and purpose of our lives? Can there be an objective morality in a godless universe? We will survey the history of atheism, assess tensions between scientific and theistic viewpoints, and consider whether theism, agnosticism, or atheism offers the most reasonable position overall.

         
HON 223/423 Multicultural Look at Math (Vera Furst)

  • Mathematics is a language, and like any other language, it is not only influenced by the culture of its practitioners but also influences the culture of its practitioners. The purpose of this Honors forum is to take a critical look at mathematics. We will explore the mathematics of various non-western cultures, using society to explain mathematics and mathematics to shed light on society. For example, we will learn about the modern study of group theory in the context of Australian Aboriginal kin relations, which govern marriage (and breeding). With a multicultural perspective, we will analyze the societal biases that may have impacted our own mathematics education.

         
HON 223/423 Homeopathy: Healing or Hogwash (David Blake)

  • The recent resurgence of homeopathy has revived the discussion as to whether homeopathic medications are an effective treatment to heal diseases or if they are hogwash and no more than an elaborate placebo effect. This honors course will explore the major principles set forth by Samuel Hahnemann the founder of homeopathy and discuss how these compounds are marketed, regulated and administered to sick individuals. Opinions from local scientists, homeopaths and business leaders will be incorporated into the course.


Winter 2012



HON 221/421 The Thought of C. S. Lewis (Justin McBrayer)

  • This course will focus on specified breakthrough thinkers, their works, and the reception of their works from a broad range of disciplines. 

         
HON 222/422 American Supervillains (Jennifer Stollman and Michele Malach)

  • In the American 20th century, the concept of a "superhero" has been deployed to express American values and goals, represent ideal male and female archetypes, and in entertainment contexts deal with national and international conflicts. This honors course explores the evolution of male and female superheroes during the 20th century and how American ideals and anxieties regarding men and women, political, social, economic, domestic, and international issues were displayed and explored on the radio and on television, in comic books, and at the movies.

         
HON 222/422 Politics of Fear (Nathan Guss)

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Fall 2011



HON  222/422 American Superheroes (Jennifer Stollman and Michele Malach)

  • In the American 20th century, the concept of a "superhero" has been deployed to express American values and goals, represent ideal male and female archetypes, and in entertainment contexts deal with national and international conflicts. This honors course explores the evolution of male and female superheroes during the 20th century and how American ideals and anxieties regarding men and women, political, social, economic, domestic, and international issues were displayed and explored on the radio and on television, in comic books, and at the movies.

         
HON 222/422 Do We Really Need Government? (Brad Clark)

  • The general theme for this Honors Cluster is Human Nature and Environmental Protection (i.e., why is government regulation necessary to compel individuals to act and behave in environmentally-sensitive manners?). Why can't we, as rational, thoughtful beings operate in environmentally-sensitive ways on our own, without the presence of environmental policy and laws? Class discussions will focus on these critical questions and the two divergent literatures will be explored in order to draw-out and further articulate their implications. Students must also register for SW 181 US/SW Environmental History (CRN 20739) and PS 130 Intro to Environmental Policy (CRN 20631). 

         
HON 223/423 Death: A Cross-Cultural Experience (Susan Kraus) 

  • This course is designed to explore a variety of cultural beliefs about death and dying, grief and loss. Our beliefs and rituals surrounding dying say quite a bit about who we are, and what we most deeply believe and value. We will take an in-depth look at diverse cultures examining similarities and differences. We will explore questions about the dying process, grief, and what happens after death and the purpose of life. This course is also designed to encourage students to examine their own beliefs, and to think about their own reaction to death and dying.

         
HON 223/423 Old West/New West (Andy Gulliford)

  • This course will explore multidisciplinary perspectives in the history of the American West from the 16th century to the present. We will examine conquest, conflicts, and compromises related to ethnicity and race, water rights, public and tribal lands, immigration, settlement, urbanization, tourism, conservation and the environment. Using art, photography, films and textbooks, we will compare and contrast the mythic west to the modern multicultural communities we live in today. We will have a fieldtrip to an historic site and a downtown Durango walking tour.


Winter 2011



HON 221/421 Julie, Julia and Anthony (Stephanie Vie)

  • "It's so beautifully arranged on the plate - you know someone's fingers have been all over it." Julie Childs said it, and Anthony Bourdain lives it! We are a society that emphasizes, appreciates, and eats food! You will read books by and about these two individuals who revolutionized the cooking industry, but from two very different perspectives. Julia Child broke many boundaries (gender, social, cultural, intellectual) when she became a master chef; CIA-trained Anthony Bourdain blew the lid off the proverbial cooking pot with his first tell-all book: Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (he had previously written two mystery books based on the culinary arts). Along with learning about these individuals, you will also look into the many surprising, yet simple, techniques for creating some fantastic dishes as there will be some cooking in this course!

         
HON 222/422 Knowledge for What? (Michelle Bonanno)

  • Harry C.Boyte argued that "Education should be seen and practiced as a transformative process, a dynamic engagement with the world, its problems, and its work." For Boyte, college campuses have the responsibility to extend their academic resources outside of the classroom to focus on pressing social, economic, environmental and civic issues. In this course students will explore theories of leadership, citizenship and civic engagement and participate as informed citizens in real problem solving work in the community. Students will reflect on their own citizenship, learn about methods of community participation and models of student activism, and engage peers and others in public issues. 

         
HON 222/422 Video Games of the Mind (Ava Santos)

  • Have video games shaped humanity? Video game companies are in a race to develop the platform, and consequently the game, that mimics human experience as closely as possible. We have computer graphics that can no longer be distinguished from reality, controllers that use natural bodily gestures to interact in the game universe, and game reward systems that successfully make players come back for more. At the same time, critics decry that video games are responsible for the increase in crimes and short attention spans, advocates point out that video games enhance eye-hand coordination and other cognitive skills, and some games are considered addictive to the point that their players will forsake "real life" just to keep playing. The natural answer to the original question, of course, is both--that humanity and the video game interact. This course explores the details and the nuances of this interaction. This course will also examine how video game theory has influenced, and been influenced by, psychology, history, literature, political science, and even human biology.

         
HON 223/423 Anatomically Correct (Cathy Hartney)

  • This will be a study of basic human anatomy (knowledge of human anatomy is not a prerequisite) in the context of Western beliefs, issues, and values about the human body. Topics may include: abnormality vs. normality, voluntary alteration of the body (e.g. tattooing, piercing, make-up), involuntary alteration of the body (e.g. trauma, war injuries), privileging of body parts, changing expectations of body shape, hair as rhetorical message, media presentation and media critique of human anatomy, gender and body image, nudity, bodies as metaphors and metaphors of bodies.


Fall 2010



HON 221/421 Anarcha-Feminism: Theory and Practice (Jennifer Gehrman-Seis)

  • During the "first wave" of feminist movement in this country a time when many women were struggling to win the right to vote and get paid fairly for jobs outside the home, Emma Goldman (1869-1940) took a very different path. She advocated a completely new way of life for women and men through the espousal of anarchism, the abandonment of all coercive economic and political systems and the adoption of complete personal freedom, mutual aid, and voluntary cooperation. In this class we will examine a collection of speeches and essays by Emma Goldman in order to understand the theory of anarchism and its implication for sex and gender roles. Then we will turn to the novel, THE DISPOSSESSED, written by Ursula LeGuin in 1974. Published in the midst of the "second-wave" of feminism, LeGuin's speculative novel attempts to illustrate what a functioning anarchist society would look like, again emphasizing its implications for sex and gender roles. We will explore the impact these women had on both anarchist and feminist movements during their lives and consider the influence their ideas have had on succeeding generations.

         
HON 222/422 The Big Questions (Justin McBrayer)

  • This is a learning community packaged with Dr. Justin McBrayer's PHIL 141:Intro to Philosophy and Michael Uhes PSYC 157:Intro to Psychology. Students must take all three together. You came to college to learn to think for yourself and one of life's biggest questions concerns how we ought to live. In particular, human kind has struggled with questions about how one ought to order a society from an ethical point of view and what kinds of alterations are physically, philosophically and psychologically feasible. Some preliminary questions we will examine are: is science our best source of knowledge? Do our genes determine everything we do? Is there such a thing as right and wrong? Is religion the way to go? Is there a God? From these we will examine the concept of a perfectly ordered society, known more commonly as utopia. In this course, we will examine three of the classic western texts on utopias including UTOPIA (Thomas More), LOOKING BACKWARD (Edward Bellamy), and WALDEN TWO (B.F.Skinner). Class discussions will then focus on the crucial philosophical and psychological issues that arise in each of the texts, pulling them into interaction with one another, as well as the texts from the two classes that are part of this learning community. Some of the final questions we will consider then are: Is it possible to build a utopia? If so, what would it look like?

         
HON 223/423 Disney: Man, Mouse, or Machine (Michele Malach)

  • Who or what is "Disney"? For some, it symbolizes an adorable cartoon mouse, star of film, TV, his own club, and theme parks. For others it symbolizes a man who created an empire/corporation that is omnipresent in the American public's mind and world corporations. So who or what is "Disney"? This course will present an inquiry into this phenomenon of American business and economics, pop culture, the media, historiography, gender theory, and even literary theory. Students also will be expected to bring their own experiences with this phenomenon in order to ask questions about who or what "Disney" represents to them, especially within their own field of study.

         
HON 223/423 Is Internet Shaping Our Future? (Elaine Labach)

  • This course will explore the evolution of the Internet and how it is changing our political, social, economic and global environments. Topics will include how the Internet affects our social and political interactions as well as how organizations (for-profit and non-profit) are evolving to use this technology. Ethical and security issues will be explored as they relate to the use of information on the Internet, as well as how the growth of the Internet will affect us in the future.


Winter 2010



HON  221/421 Marx and the Marxists (Byron Dare)

  • An inquiry into the place of modern socialist thought in the western tradition. Intellectual and historical influences on Marxism are clarified, along with the ambiguities in the legacy left by Marx and Engels. The stillbirth of Marxism is traced from these ambiguities through the major discrepancies in the thought of Lenin, Bernstein, Kautsky, and Mao Tse-Tung. After reading and discussing these ideas, students will apply them to an area of their own interest.

         
HON 222/422 Modernisn: Crisis and Creation (Nathan Guss)

  • Generally situated between 1890 and 1945, modernism was a transatlantic reaction among artists and intellectuals to a crisis of authority. During this period, urbanization, rapid industrialization, large scale war, colonialism, and technological and scientific advances undermined religious and moral certainties and the belief in human progress. Modernist works tend toward stylistic innovation and virtuosity, complexity and sophistication, technical experimentation, and interiority. To analyze the diverse phenomena of modernism, the course will adopt the academic disciplinary perspectives of philosophy, literary criticism, architecture, music studies, history, art history, and film studies.

         
HON 223/423 Economics of War and Peace (John Gadbois)

  • This class meets Jan 12-Feb 18 only. This course will explore the tradeoffs (social, cultural, political, intellectual, religious, propaganda, and economic) that countries must make when pursuing a path of war or peace. Particular attention will be paid to how different societies might weigh these tradeoffs differently, and some of the economic reasons (implicit and explicit) to consider when choosing war or peace.

         
HON 223/423 Anatomically Correct (Cathy Hartney)

  • This will be a study of basic human anatomy (knowledge of human anatomy is not a prerequisite) in the context of Western beliefs, issues, and values about the human body. Topics may include: abnormality vs. normality, voluntary alteration of the body (e.g. tattooing, piercing, make-up), involuntary alteration of the body (e.g. trauma, war injuries), privileging of body parts, changing expectations of body shape, hair as rhetorical message, media presentation and media critique of human anatomy, gender and body image, nudity, bodies as metaphors and metaphors of bodies.


Fall 2009



HON  221/421 Tolkien: Fantasy Realized (Michael Martin)

  • J.R.R. Tolkien is widely recognized for his books The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. While these texts are major accomplishments and world renowned, Tolkien is also known for his academic work in Anglo-Saxon studies, Norse mythologies, commentaries on the epic poem Beowulf, his coverage of World War II, and his friendships with the likes of C.S. Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia). Many believe that all of these events and people had some impact on his fantasy works; Tolkien vehemently denies many external influences upon his work. Working from both premises, students will examine what is it that Tolkien has taught us. Throughout the course students will examine how, in cooperative and separate manners, popular and academic culture shaped, and has been shaped by, Tolkien's many works.

         
HON 221/421 Obama's Writings (Jennifer Stollman)

  • Often we study great thinkers in history from a distance and examine the impacts of their lives and work on generations of people. In light of Barack Obama's historic election as president, students will get to examine a living innovative thinker, his works pre-election, as well as present innovations as they develop. This course will not only examine the writings of President Barack Obama but also those historic individuals who have influenced his philosophies, approaches and programs. Throughout this course, students will examine the ways in which our culture has been shaped by this innovative thinker prior to his election as President, and also since then and how the world might be shaped through his works.

         
HON 222/422 Corporation Nation (Charles Yoos)

  • This course will critically analyze the foundations, and continued presence of corporation as a national social institution. Through independent research and interdependent discussion, students will comprehend the corporate form, study its history, and consider the benefits and obligations it entails to individuals, businesses, and societies. Case studies of actual corporations will exemplify corporate processes and outcomes. The course will culminate with student projections, individual and collective, about the form and role of corporations in the future.

         
HON 222 The Big Questions (Justin McBrayer)

  • This course participates in The Big Questions Honors Learning Community. You came to college to learn to think for yourself, and one of life's biggest questions concerns how we ought to live. In particular, human kind has struggled with questions about how one ought to order a society from an ethical point of view and what kinds of alterations are physically, philosophically, and psychologically feasible. Some of the preliminary questions we will need to examine about the formation of a community are: is science our best source of knowledge? Do our genes determine everything we do? Is there such a thing as right and wrong? Is religion the way to go? Is there a God? From these, we will examine the concept of a perfectly ordered society, known more commonly as utopia. In this course, we will examine three of the classic western texts on utopias including Utopia (Thomas More), Looking Backward (Edward Bellamy), and Walden Two (B. F. Skinner). Class discussions will then focus on the crucial philosophical and psychological issues that arise in each of the texts, pulling them into interaction with one another, as well as the texts from the two classes that are a part of this learning community. Some of the final questions we will consider are: Is it possible to build a utopia? If so, what would it look like?

         
HON 223/423 Art as Propaganda (Paul Booth)

  • Propaganda is created through a myriad of means to influence the minds and actions of people (for good or bad), in order to generate a response that achieves the goal(s) of the propagandist. This goal is achieved through combining many disciplines, meanings and needs into a unique message and from which creates a multitude of messages within many audiences. Throughout history, politicians and governments often use propaganda to obtain support/compliance for their policies. Propaganda is similar to marketing/advertising in many ways, particularly in the way messages are selectively formulated to emotionally engage the recipient. This course allows students the opportunity to reflect on their cultural assessment of propaganda art. Students will gain knowledge in history and socio-economic policies and politics, in order to understand better the importance, as well as influences, of propaganda art.

         
HON 223 Human History and Liberal Arts (Andrea Birkby)

  • This course participates in the Human History and the Liberal Arts Learning Community. Human history is far more than names and dates. It is the anthropology as well as the history of complex social and political processes. If you have ever wondered - Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are things the way they are? - then this learning community is for you. Come study the art and science of what it means to be human!


Winter 2009



HON  221/421 Foucault: Discipline and Punish (Brad Benz )

  • This course will focus on the work of Michel Foucault, one of the most radical and groundbreaking thinkers of the 20th century. Readings will include Foucault's text DISCIPLINE AND PUNISH, as well as some selected essays, including "The Discourse on Language," "What is an Author?" and parts of HISTORY OF SEXUALITY, VOL 1. After reading and discussing Foucault's philosophy and methodology, students will apply his ideas to an area of their own interest.

         
HON 221/421 Sci Fi's Heinlein and Dick (Stetphanie Vie)

  • Throughout the years, the literary genre of science fiction has challenged the status quo and offered us visionary ways of looking toward possible futures. During the Golden Age of SF, Robert Anson Heinlein envisioned revolutions in gender roles, marriage customs, race relations, the role of the government, and religious view in his foundational works such as THE PUPPET MASTERS, STARSHIP TROOPERS, STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, and THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS. Both foundational and controversial, Heinlein helped shape the landscape of science fiction and assist in its emergence from pulp magazines to mainstream literature. Heinlein's contemporary, Philip Kindred Dick, explored themes of drug use, paranoia, alternative universes, and government surveillance in many of his novels, including THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, VALIS, A SCANNER DARKLY, and DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?, and his legacy lives on in a myriad of films based on his works. Throughout this course, students will examine ways in which our culture has been shaped by these foundational thinkers in science fiction.

         
HON 222/422 Philosophy of Ecomonics (Deborah Walker)

  • Philosophy of Economics would seem to be two disciplines that could be at opposite ends of the academic spectrum. Economics is more than just number crunching, calculators and economic forecast speculations. There is a philosophy behind the discipline of economics. This course then will delve into the various philosophical issues inherent in economic theory. Philosophical issues discussed will include conceptions of rationality, self-interest and individual responsibility, economic freedom, economic justice, morality and markets, morality and income distribution ('processes' versus 'end states'), morality and socialism, morality and communism, and the methodology and presuppositions of diverse schools of economic thought.

         
HON 223/423 Myths and Mountains (David Gonzales)

  • Mountains are an important icon of many cultures and have had a profound influence on the activities and beliefs of humans. In the first part of this course we will discuss the geological forces and processes that create different mountain ranges in the world. Then discussion will turn to the myths and mythologies that have evolved from humans about mountains. We will examine the myths and impacts on cultures, as well as the activities and beliefs of people about the mountain or mountains. Some possible avenues of discussion will include the sleeping Zeus on Crete, the spiritual connection between cities like Macchu Picchu and Cuzco and the mountains they were built on, or even the La Plata Mountains in our very own backyard here in southwestern Colorado.


Fall 2008



HON 221 Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea (Cathy Hartney)

  • This course participates in the Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea and Me Learning Community. Greg Mortenson, the author of the Fall 2008 Common Reading Experience selection THREE CUPS OF TEA, believes that, "When you educate a man, you educate an individual. When you educate a woman, you educate a community." The course will examine how Mortenson helped to change the paradigm for understanding education within the context of gender discrimination, religious intolerance, ethical concerns, political pressures, and the war on terror in remote Pakistani villages. The course will examine not only what Mortenson did, but why and how he accomplished such a high level of success.

         
HON 221/421 Louis Henkin and Human Rights (Suzanne Wilhelm)

  • Louis Henkin, the "father of human rights," has shaped western thought on human rights and international law since World War II. He sees his approach to these concepts in terms of a revolution because he argues that human rights and international law are not just about nations interacting but also how they treat individuals, an idea that is still scandalous in the international law community. The class would begin with basic international law principles and Henkin's idea of human rights (first through his text HOW NATIONS BEHAVE)-what they are (should be) and how (if) the international community protects those rights.

         
HON 222/422 Sex, Culture and Conflict (Andrea Birkby)

  • Jane Goodall's theories about human evolution were initially contradictory to what people wanted to believe about human beings (i.e., we are unique as a species), but has now come full circle. Her work with chimpanzees has shown that we are not all that unique and we are in fact (in surprising ways) pretty similar to chimpanzees (and all primates). Her work has become rather fundamental to some of what we now know regarding our own evolution. We will examine these questions in terms of biology, anthropology, psychology, and theory in general, as well as other possible disciplines that the students would like to bring to the discussions. Some of the texts that will be considered are: Goodall's THROUGH A WINDOW; then, some relatively new texts providing new, possibly foundational, theories: Dale Peterson and Goodall's DEMONIC MALES, and Frans de Waal's work on non-reproductive uses of sex within bonono society.

         
HON 223 Human History and Liberal Arts (Michael Martin)

  • This course participates in the Human History and The Liberal Arts Learning Community. Human history is far more than names and dates. It is anthropology as well as the history of complex society and political processes. If you have ever wondered - Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are things the way they are? -then this learning community is for you. Come study the art AND science of what it means to be human!

         
HON 223/423 The Ontology of Leadership (Charles Yoos)

  • What does it take to be a leader? Can one be a leader? What is leadership? Is there such a thing as leadership? Ontology in general looks at questions of who we are and what is real: the study of the nature of being. Leadership is one such level of "being" that may exist in the world today. And the term "leadership" is a label everybody uses, but no one can define in a valid, intersubjective way. Students will address, evaluate, and attempt to synthesize possible meanings of "leadership". In part, students will inquire into the meaning of leadership by considering several questions, for example: is leadership best thought of as something real, to be discovered as true, or something imaginary, to be invented as useful.

         
HON 223/423 Disney: Man, Mouse, or Machine (Michele Malach)

  • Who or what is "Disney"? For some, it symbolizes an adorable cartoon mouse, star of film, TV, his own club, and theme parks. For others it symbolizes a man who created an empire /corporation that is omnipresent in the American public's mind and world corporations. So who or what is "Disney"? This course will present an inquiry into this phenomenon of American business and economics, pop culture, the media, historiography, gender theory, and even literary theory. Students also will be expected to bring their own experiences with this phenomenon in order to ask questions about who or what "Disney" represents to them, especially within their own field of study.

         
HON 223/423 Election Fever (Kim Martin)

  • Are you tired of your voice not being heard? Do you have 'election fever'? Has the election process of 2008 created more questions than answers? In this forum students will learn some election history, be civically engaged and get involved in today's campaigns, all in order to understand the political process as it culminates in the elections in November. For example, how have gender and race become part of the political process, but also how have they impacted how politics are covered in the media, discussed at national and community levels, or just why are they political? How has the segregation of Church and State been reconfigured in recent decades? How did the media become part of the political game, as advocate, critic, but also a pawn of the process? The final weeks of the course will examine and deconstruct the results of the process.


Winter 2008



HON 220/420 Exploring the Chaco Phenomemon (Chuck Riggs)

  • This course examines the implications of an incredible prehistoric civilization, complete with roads, great houses, trade networks, etc.

         
HON 220/420 Being a Leader (Michelle Bonanno)

  • This forum is based on Edward Zlotkowski's "Students as Colleagues" model which highlights ways to create opportunities for students to take on real leadership roles in connecting their studies with community change. During the course, students will learn more about community issues they care about, discover what actions are being taken to address those issues and design classroom projects to create community change.

         
HON 220/420 Excavating for the Truth (Julie Markin)

  • How well do programs like History Channel's "Digging for the Truth" or Discovery Channel's "Going Tribal" educate the public about anthropology and archaeology? This course will challenge students to think about how best to communicate anthropological tenets such as diversity, cultural acceptance, appreciation and preservation of cultural heritage to the greater community in factual and entertaining ways.


Fall 2007



HON 220 Human History and Liberal Arts (Michael Martin)

  • This course participates in the Human History and The Liberal Arts Learning Community. Human history is far more than names and dates. It is anthropology as well as the history of complex society and political processes. If you have ever wondered - Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are things the way they are? -then this learning community is for you. Come study the art AND science of what it means to be human!

         
HON 220 Staying Alive (Sarah Roberts-Cady)

  • This course participates in the Staying Alive Learning Community.

         
HON 220/420 Theatre for Social Change (Lisa Kramer)

  • This course will explore some of the interactive theatre techniques used throughout the world to examine and combat institutional, social, cultural, interpersonal, and personal oppressions. These techniques are often used with non- actors to help bring about social change.

         
HON 220/420 Covering: Hiding Who We Are (Michael Martin)

  • This course will use Kenji Yoshino's Covering: The Hidden Assault on our Civil Rights to examine first what it means to 'cover' or 'pass' in mainstream society and then the effect of this on our personal and civic lives.

         
HON 220/420 JW Powell: Into the Unknown (John Ninnemann)

  • Explore the legacy of JW Powell, Civil War vet, explorer, scientist, and first to float the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. His impact is still felt today.

   
HON 220/420 The Origins of Language (Aaron Lampman)

  • This course ranges from human ancestors to recent studies and explores what language is "good at" and "bad at" in order to understand why it evolved.