University of Vermont

The Honors College

Sophomore Seminars: Fall 2012

HCOL 185 A
D1: African Americans in US Economy
Professor Elaine McCrate, Department of Economics
MWF 8:30 - 9:20
North Complex 034F

Course Syllabus (pdf)

What accounts for black-white economic inequality in the United States today, nearly 150 years after Emancipation? The primary purpose of this course is to discuss, compare, and critically evaluate different economic theories of racial inequality. We will spend part of the course historically investigating the key institutions and processes which have shaped U.S. racial inequality: slavery, sharecropping, migration, and black integration into modern labor and housing markets, as well as continuing black segregation from many workplaces and neighborhoods. The historical survey is not meant to be comprehensive or continuous, but to examine pivotal moments in history that raise and illuminate key theoretical questions about the roles of individual choices, racial norms, stereotypes, institutional rules, market forces, discrimination, information and cognition. We will spend the end of the semester on a particularly contentious question rich with implications for policy, that of race-sightedness vs. race-blindness. Course work includes short reaction papers (approximately weekly), two exams, a research paper (completed in stages), and a debate.

This class fills the following distribution/college requirements: (If you don't see your college, please contact your advisor.)

  • CAS: Social Science
  • BSAD: Social Science Core
  • CALS: Social Science
  • CEMS: HSS credit

HCOL 185 B
Ancient Worlds in the Media
Professor Scott VanKeuren - Anthropology Department
MW 4:05 - 5:20
North Complex 034F

Course Syllabus (pdf)

We have an enduring fascination with the ancient world, and our understanding of this past is largely shaped by how archaeologists and their discoveries are portrayed in popular media. From "Ancient Aliens" to "National Geographic", the stories that are presented to the public reveal a great deal about how our society romanticizes and mythicizes the past. This course explores how various media forms are critical to our imagining of ancient worlds as well as how archaeologists and other scholars use these outlets to convey their discoveries and research. We will survey and critically discuss depictions of the ancient world in popular magazines, television and film, art, video games, photography, and other media forms. Students will complete creative projects that critically examine how one or more forms of media are woven into narratives about the ancient peoples, places, and things.

This class fills the following distribution/college requirements: (If you don't see your college, please contact your advisor.)

  • CAS: CAS credit - no distribution credit
  • BSAD: Social Science Core
  • CALS: Social Science
  • CEMS: HSS credit

HCOL 185 C
The Meaning of Freedom
Professor Randall Harp - Philosophy Department
MWF 3:00 - 3:50
North Complex 034F

Course Syllabus (pdf)

Do we have free will, or do we not? Before we can answer this question, we ought to answer two related questions: first, what do we mean by 'free will', and second, why do we care? This course seeks to analyze these and related questions by examining the nature of the will and what it means for the will to be free or unfree. We will also examine the broader question of the ways in which we value free will, and of how our understanding of free will affects our social practices and institutions. This course will look at a range of approaches to understanding free will: we will look at philosophical literature on the meaning of free will and of its metaphysical possibility; we will look at scientific literature on willpower and neurobiological determinism; and we will look at literary and humanistic approaches to understanding whether a constrained life can have any value or meaning. Students will be expected to complete short papers and contribute to discussions on the weekly material, and to complete a final project or paper in which they focus on one aspect of the broader question of free will (e.g. philosophical, scientific, humanistic).

This class fills the following distribution/college requirements: (If you don't see your college, please contact your advisor.)

  • CAS: Humanities
  • BSAD: Elective credit only
  • CALS: Humanities or Social Science
  • CEMS: HSS credit

HCOL 185 D
Global Gender Inequality
Professor Caroline Beer - Department of Political Science
MWF 9:35 - 10:25
North Complex 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

Why does the status of women vary so dramatically across countries? The purpose of the course is to answer this question using social science methods. We will examine how different scholars have defined and measured gender equality. We will study the role of women in society, culture, politics, and the economy across various countries in the world. We will also compare gender equality policies (health, education, reproductive rights, maternity policies, violence against women, gay rights). The main assignment will be a workshop style, multi-stage research/writing assignment about the status of women across the world. Each student will choose an indicator of gender equality, collect data on that indicator, and use the data to test hypotheses about the causes of gender equality. While focusing on global gender inequality, the main purpose of this class is teach students how to design research projects and write research papers.

This class fills the following distribution/college requirements: (If you don't see your college, please contact your advisor.)

  • CAS: Social Science
  • BSAD: Social Science Core
  • CALS: Social Science
  • CEMS: HSS credit

HCOL 185 E
The Democratic Citizen
Professor Robert Taylor - Department of Political Science
MWF 11:45 - 12:35
North Complex 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

In this course we will discuss the nature of citizenship in a democracy - its character, values and obligations. Focusing primarily on the American example, we will ask questions such as: Do citizens in a democracy differ from citizens in other regimes? Does democratic citizenship produce unique obligations toward the government (or toward the world at large)? Do democratic citizens require special democratic virtues, or a special set of shared beliefs, in order to fulfill their obligations? These and related questions will be explored by studying mainly (but not exclusively) American texts by classic authors such as James Madison, Henry Thoreau, Henry Adams, and John Dewey, and contemporary philosophers and social scientists such as Richard Rorty, Martha Nussbaum, Gertrude Himmelfarb and Robert Putnam.

This class fills the following distribution/college requirements: (If you don't see your college, please contact your advisor.)

  • CAS: Humanities
  • BSAD: Social Science Core
  • CALS: Humanities
  • CEMS: HSS credit

HCOL 185 F
Germany Since 1945: Memory and the Cold War
Professor Susanna Schrafstetter - Department of History
TR 11:30 - 12:45
North Complex 034F

Course Syllabus (pdf)

This seminar is situated at the nexus of history, German and European Studies, and international relations. It will explore a range of social, political, and cultural developments in the two German states that emerged from the rubble of the Second World War. Major themes will include how the German states coped with the legacies of the past and the political realities of the present. The division of Germany embodied the division of the world into two hostile blocs during the Cold War. Having unleashed a brutal war of conquest, and having perpetrated murder on a massive scale, Germany stood morally bankrupt in 1945. We will analyze how the legacy of the Holocaust affected German politics, East and West, influenced the relations of the two German states with the other countries, and shaped both German societies internally. The end of the Cold War brought about the collapse of East Germany and paved the way for German unification. Ever since, the Germans also have to come to terms with the history of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), leading to a situation termed doppelte Vergangenheitsbewaltigung ? coping with the legacies and memories of two German dictatorships. Students should have an interest in the themes outlined above. They should be willing to actively participate in class discussions, and be prepared to work on a research paper.

This class fills the following distribution/college requirements: (If you don't see your college, please contact your advisor.)

  • CAS: Humanities
  • BSAD: History Core
  • CALS: Social Science
  • CEMS: HSS credit

HCOL 185 G
Ancient Warfare Gaming Workshop
Professor John Franklin - Classics Department
R 4:00 - 6:45
North Complex 34F

Course Syllabus (pdf)

This course will combine the traditional approach of studying ancient political and social history through primary texts, with sophisticated board game simulations of the period. To study ancient warfare, this course will go well beyond the battlefield itself, combining social history, anthropology, material culture, and literary. Games permit unique insights into complex systems: essential factors are identified and abstracted, and then 'put into play' in an infinitely variable, interactive environment. Social and historical processes can be modeled very effectively, allowing students to reach a more intimate understanding of historical events, progressing from 'what' and 'when', to 'why' and 'what if'.

The class will focus on a single, well defined 'event', the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE), which has many attractions. The syllabus will be built around Thucydides, supplemented by Xenophon's Hellenica for the final years which Thucydides does not cover. Also included will be select plays of Aristophanes which, besides lightening the mood, will be uniquely valuable for the period's social history as being vehicles of mass entertainment in Athens throughout most of the war. Assessment will be through participation, weekly essays, and a final paper.

This class fills the following distribution/college requirements: (If you don't see your college, please contact your advisor.)

  • CAS: Humanities
  • BSAD: Elective credit only
  • CALS: Social Science
  • CEMS: HSS credit

HCOL 185 H
Sports Nutrition
Professor Robert Tyzbir - Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences
T 4:00 - 6:45
North Complex 034F

Course Syllabus (pdf)

Sports Nutrition presents the scientific basis for feeding recreational and competitive athletes emphasizing: basic nutritional concepts, energy expenditure during resistance and endurance exercise, diet recommended during training, timing and composition of the pre- and post- competition meals, hydration, use of nutrient supplements, ergogenic/ergolytic aids, and special needs of various athletic groups, e.g. diabetic athletes, female athletes and older athlete. Honors students will learn the weekly material on their own via webct and will have to use critical thinking skills to think about its meaning and application in order to develop a comprehensive question about the material. Students will come together once per week to discuss their application of the material both in small groups or teams and then as a class when each team will present to the class the one question their team deemed most important. The class will then debate/discuss each presentation and decide which team had the most pertinent question. Hence, each weekly 3 hour class is a seminar devoted to debating/discussing the weekly material in such a way that the students learn, think, apply, and teach the material to each other.

This class fills the following distribution/college requirements: (If you don't see your college, please contact your advisor.)

  • CAS: Does not count as A&S credit
  • BSAD: Elective credit only
  • CALS: Consult w/Academic Advisor, Physical & Life Science, Value-personal growth
  • CEMS: No HSS credit

HCOL 185 I
Climate Change, Complexity & Society
Professor Brian Beckage, Department of Plant & Soil Science
TR 1:00 - 2:15
Jeffords 227

Course Syllabus

The earth is a complex coupled human-natural system that is increasingly dominated by human activities. We will examine the nature of global climate change including its causes, mechanisms, and ecological and societal impacts. The course will emphasize climate change as part of an integrated earth system that also includes social, economic and ecological systems. Students will gain a broad perspective on the challenges that climate change presents to human systems by considering responses of current and past societies to climate change and environmental degradation. The class will emphasize readings, discussions, and simulation modeling to understand the scientific and social basis of contemporary climate and environmental change.

This class fills the following distribution/college requirements: (If you don't see your college, please contact your advisor.)

  • CAS: CAS credit - no distribution credit
  • BSAD: Social Science Core
  • CALS: Consult with Academic Advisor
  • CEMS: HSS credit

HCOL 185 K
Discovering Sense of Place
Professor Jeffrey Hughes, Department of Plant Biology
MW 4:05 - 5:20
North Complex 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

Discovering A Sense of Place: A Modern Day Thoreau Experience is not for grade grinds: it's for intellectual adventurers - tomorrow's Ben Franklins, Thor Hyerdahls, Gloria Steinems, Mark Twains, John Muirs, and Chief Seattles - individuals who believe that the status quo isn't good enough. If you value intellectual risk-taking and adventure over the security of a traditional classroom experience, we'll save a cabin for you. This course embraces an age-old way of knowing - observation, exploration, personal reflection, and willingness to challenge the way you've always thought. We'll structure our time together as true "seminars" -- from the root seminorium - 'seed' or 'seedbed'. We will fertilize our seminar seedbed with readings that address place and our relationship to it -- from Walden and Civil Disobedience to Zorba the Greek and poems by David Budbill. We will provide context and inspiration through outings to different landscapes, including a weekend retreat (dates TBD) to a remote cabin in the north woods. In learning to read the landscape around us, we will learn to explore ourselves.

This class fills the following distribution/college requirements: (If you don't see your college, please contact your advisor.)

  • CAS: No CAS credit
  • BSAD: Language and Literature Core
  • CALS: Humanities
  • CEMS: HSS credit

HCOL 185 L
Sex, Fear, and Anxiety
Professor Jane Hill, School of Engineering
TR 10:00 - 11:15
North Complex 016

This course explores the wonderful world of communication through volatile molecules. The course is fundamentally grounded in hypothesis-driven thinking on a topic that inherently links chemistry and the social sciences. As such, the students will encounter topics that cover gender, health, sociology, chemistry, psychology, and mammal biology. After an introduction to major concepts, the course will cycle through three topic areas and then finish with a student-driven project. The three topic areas are: Does sweat make you sexy? Can dogs smell fear? Is anxiety catching? The class will follow a seminar format, where discussion and critique of the current literature will occur. Guest speakers will provide perspective from different academic disciplines.

This class fills the following distribution/college requirements: (If you don't see your college, please contact your advisor.)

  • CAS: CAS credit - No distribution credit
  • BSAD: Elective credit only
  • CALS: Consult with Academic Advisor
  • CEMS: No HSS credit

HCOL 185 M
Returns From the Land
Professor Rocki DeWitt, School of Business Administration
TR 4:00 - 5:15
North Complex 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

Agents of social and environmental change come from all quarters. Whether journalist, attorney, scientist, public policy maker, entrepreneur or corporate titan, each can benefit from understanding the competitive dynamics of industries. This course is designed to leverage the knowledge of students in all majors to develop your ability to describe and forecast business behavior and the evolution of industries that create and realize value from the earth. By the end of the course, through assignments that ask you to apply traditional economics and business analytic frameworks to your reading, listening, writing and speaking, you will become a better informed and potentially more influential steward of the Earth and its inhabitants. Each student will complete a written industry land-based industry forecast and will have an opportunity to present and defend that forecast to a panel of experienced business and public policy professionals.

This class fills the following distribution/college requirements: (If you don't see your college, please contact your advisor.)

  • CAS: No CAS credit - no distribution credit
  • BSAD: Social Science Core
  • CALS: Social Science
  • CEMS: HSS credit

HCOL 185 P
Politics of Culture in Late Modernity
Professor Patrick Hutton, Integrated Humanities
MWF 3:00 - 3:50
North Complex 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

This seminar considers the way leading historical trends in our present age have transformed lifestyles, cultural expectations, and conceptions of the pursuit of happiness in a globalizing civilization. The focus of our reading and discussion will be on critics, theorists, and forecasters who address contemporary realities that are changing the way we understand the human predicament: the rise and fall of the welfare state, the consumer economy and its worldwide influences, the cultural effects of the digital revolution in computer technology, the reconstruction of gender identity, the family and the privatization of the good life, the preoccupation with memory in both the humanities and the social sciences, the ethical issues raised by biotechnology, and the future of artificial intelligence. The principal assignment for the course will be a research project on a topic germane to our work as a seminar, including a formal presentation to the class and a documented research paper.

This class fills the following distribution/college requirements: (If you don't see your college, please contact your advisor.)

  • CAS: Humanities
  • BSAD: Social Science Core
  • CALS: Humanities
  • CEMS: HSS credit

HCOL 185 Q
Controversies of Modern Genomics
Professor Tamara Williams, Pharmacology/College of Nursing & Health Sciences
TR 2:30 - 3:45
North Complex 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

Following completion of the Human Genome Project, Genomics has proven a rich source of controversy. As the applications and implications of rapid, inexpensive, and reliable whole-genome sequencing become clearer, complex ethical, moral, and practical questions emerge. Misuse and misunderstanding of the science behind Genomics has clouded conversations in the public forum and polarized topics that warrant many shades of gray.

This course will focus on thoughtful, engaging, and open-minded discussions of current controversies involving Genomics (the study of the structure, function, and evolution of an organism's entire genome) and Genetics (the study of specific gene function and inheritance) with the goal of distilling out legitimate issues from misinformation. Students are expected to actively participate and prepare for each class through critical review of assigned scientific literature, documentaries, news articles, and other media. There is no pre-requisite knowledge of Genetics or Genomics. Discussion topics will include Genetically Modified Food, Genomic Rights as Part of Human Rights, The Politics and Public Policy of Science, Human Evolution and the Pursuit of Human-ness Genes, Genetic Influence of Behavior, Pharmacogenomics and the Healthcare Industry, Direct-to-consumer Genomics, and Designer Babies and Cloning. Evaluation will include preparing for and actively engaging in class discussions and projects, composing thoughtful reflection papers, and crafting a well-sourced final research paper and presenting it to the class for discussion.

This class fills the following distribution/college requirements: (If you don't see your college, please contact your advisor.)

  • CAS: CAS credit only
  • BSAD: Elective credit only
  • CALS: Social Science or Humanities
  • CEMS: TBD

Last modified October 21 2013 02:49 PM