University of Vermont

The Honors College

HCOL 086 - First Year Seminars: Spring 2013

  • HCOL 86A D2:Acoustemologies: Sound/Audition/Knowledge
    Professor Vicki Brennan
  • HCOL 86B D2:The Social Construction of Disability
    Professor Holly Busier
  • HCOL 86C D1:Ethnolinguistic Identities
    Professor Maeve Eberhardt
  • HCOL 86D Learning to Live: Universities and Vocation
    Professor Joseph Acquisto
  • HCOL 86E Mixed: D1:Multiracialism in US Culture
    Professor John Gennari
  • HCOL 86F D1:Representing Race
    Professor David Jenemann
  • HCOL 86G D1:Imagining Race and Religion in Early New England
    Professor Mary Kete
  • HCOL 86H D2: She,He, Them: Gender and Ways of Knowing
    Professor Lisa Schnell
  • HCOL 86 A
    D2: Acoustemologies: Sound/Audition/Knowledge
    Professor Vicki Brennan - Religion Department
    MWF 11:45 - 12:35
    North Complex 034

    Course Syllabus (pdf)

    This seminar will examine the role of hearing and listening as critical acts crucial to the formation of knowledge, meaning, culture, and communication. How do humans experience the realm of sound? How are environmental, linguistic, and musical sounds understood and categorized cross-culturally? And, how have practices of listening been transformed historically? We address these questions through an exploration of case studies of soundscapes and practices of audition in a variety of contexts ranging from the rainforests of Papua New Guinea; to the urban spaces of Jamaican popular music; to sounds in and of shopping malls and automobiles in the United States. We also will elaborate on how auditory cultures produce modes of knowledge and experience by examining the relationship between sound and audition in a variety of religious traditions including the recited Qur'an and Islamic music in Indonesia, the role of silence among 17th Century Quakers, and the sonic prompting of possession trance in West Africa. The course will conclude with a discussion of how recording technologies - particularly sampling and digital file sharing - have affected questions of ownership, property, authorship, and copyright. Course work will include informal writing assignments, including keeping a reading notebook and participating in a course blog, as well as more formal writing assignments, culminating in a final research project.

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

    • D2 - Human and Societal Diversity Requirement
    • CAS: Humanities, Non-European Cultures
    • BSAD:Social Science Core, Diversity 2
    • CALS:Social Science
    • CEMS:HSS
    • RSENR:
    • CNHS:
    • CESS:

    HCOL 86 B
    D2: The Social Construction of Disability
    Professor Holly Busier - College of Education and Social Services
    MWF 1:55 - 2:45
    North Complex 034

    Course Syllabus (pdf)

    The focus of HCOL 086 is on the theoretical questions concerning how our culture understands the social construct of disability. Students will examine, critically reflect upon, and engage in dialogue about the historical, biological, social, cultural, political, and economic trends and factors in the societal construction of disability. In addition, students will explore the concept of disability as it relates to issues of diversity.

    Course objectives, which will be explored and examined via literature, a variety of media, and fieldwork, include:

    • Exploring how attitudes and beliefs about people with disabilities affect the personal and social view of disability;
    • Examining the concept of "social construction of disabilities," as well as the relationship between diversity and disability;
    • Studying and considering the complex interaction between historical, social, political, and economic forces as they relate to disability;
    • Analyzing and discussing different ways and models of defining and understanding disability; and
    • Reflecting upon and engaging in critical dialogue concerning issues related to negative social perception, self-fulfilling prophecy, ableism, stigma, political correctness, and discrimination that affect people with disabilities throughout their lives.

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

    • D2 - Human and Societal Diversity Requirement
    • CAS: No CAS distribution - CAS Elective Credit
    • BSAD:Social Science Core, Diversity 2
    • CALS:Social Sciences
    • CEMS:HSS
    • RSENR:
    • CNHS:
    • CESS:

    HCOL 86 C
    D1: Ethnolinguistic Identities
    Professor Maeve Eberhardt - Communication Sciences
    TR 11:30 - 12:45
    North Complex 034

    Course Syllabus (pdf)

    This course centers on the linguistic construction and projection of ethnic identities. We begin the course with a look at the social construction of race and ethnicity, and an overview of the principles of sociolinguistic research, with special attention paid to ideologies of standard language and their connection to race and ethnicity. The bulk of the course will consider the language patterns of several ethnolinguistic groups in the U.S.: African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, South Asian Americans, Hawaiians, Arab Americans, Jewish Americans and Native Americans. We focus on how language is used to shape and project ethnic identities. An enduring theme throughout the course is the idea of double consciousness -how do speakers in these groups express both their sameness as Americans, as well as construct difference from mainstream America? The course ends with units on Whiteness and White privilege, and Mock Language, which explores how seemingly innocuous uses of language reflect deep-seated racist ideologies and are the result of long-standing systemic racism. Students will be expected to come to class regularly and actively participate in discussions and activities. Course assignments will include a group presentation, a research paper (completed in stages), a final exam, and shorter written assignments throughout the term.

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

    • D1 - Race & Racism in the U.S. Requirement
    • CAS: Social Science
    • BSAD: Social Science Core, Diversity 1
    • CALS: Social Sciences
    • CEMS: HSS
    • RSENR:
    • CNHS:
    • CESS:

    HCOL 86 D
    Learning to Live: Universities and Vocation
    Professor Joseph Acquisto - Romance Languages
    MWF 10:40 - 11:30
    North Complex 034

    Course Syllabus (pdf)

    This course is designed to build on the fall semester seminar, where we studied foundational approaches to knowledge and then considered how different disciplines construct knowledge differently. In this spring seminar, we will look, first, at the present and historic role(s) of the university and intellectualism (and its opposite) as a whole in America.

    We will then turn our attention to the notion of engagement. How do knowledge and education contribute to our self-fashioning, to our personal and work lives, to our sense of ourselves as both private/domestic and public/political beings? How do our ways of knowing affect our ways of acting in the world, and our reflection about how we live our lives? We bring this idea of engagement to bear on individual lives and vocations as we read some biographical and autobiographical writing by and about people, including public intellectuals, artists, writers, scientists, and even a motorcycle repairman, who reflect on the role of education in their self-fashioning.

    Authors include Mary Wollstonecraft, John Stuart Mill, John Henry Newman, and Richard Hofstatder, Martha Nussbaum, and autobiographical reading from Jean-Paul Sartre, Martin Luther King, Matt Crawford, Barack Obama, Alice Walker, Richard Rodriguez, Azar Nafisi, and Alison Bechdel, in many cases paired with examples of their intellectual or creative work.

    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 Sciences
    • CEMS: HSS
    • RSENR:
    • CNHS:
    • CESS:

    HCOL 86 E
    D1: Mixed: Multiracialism in U.S. Culture
    Professor John Gennari - English
    TR 10:00 - 11:15
    North Complex 034

    Course Syllabus (pdf)

    This seminar will examine the theme of multiracial identity and culture in the United States. We'll consider how U.S. concepts and ideologies of race have developed historically, and why within that history multiracial people and culture have been considered both a problem (e.g. the "tragic mulatto" figure in pre-1960s fiction and film) and a solution (e.g. the vaunted racial pluralism of jazz, the reformist rhetoric and ideology of post-civil rights era multiculturalism). We'll consider how mixed-race identity and experience challenge and complicate racial classification schemes that govern U.S. institutional life, public policy, popular perception, and private imagination. We'll reckon with the myriad ways multiracial people and culture point up the massive confusion of American thinking about race - a confusion perhaps best typified by the heralding of a so-called "post-racial" order upon the election of a mixed-raced President, only immediately to see Barack Obama's racial and national identity become a source of lurid obsession. Course materials include historical and theoretical literature, personal essays and narratives, film, music, and other forms of popular culture. In addition to participating actively in class discussions, students will engage in regular informal and formal writing (in-class free writing, short essays, a longer final paper) and will stage a group presentation.

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

    • D1 - Race & Racism in the U.S. Requirement
    • CAS: Not CAS Distribution - CAS Elective Credit only
    • BSAD: Social Science Core, Diversity 1
    • CALS: Social Sciences
    • CEMS: HSS
    • RSENR:
    • CNHS:
    • CESS:

    HCOL 86 F
    D1: Representing Race
    Professor David Jenemann - English
    TR 2:30 - 3:45
    North Complex 034

    "Representing Race" is a follow-up to the fall semester of the FY Honors College seminar ("The Pursuit of Knowledge") in which the students read three philosophers -Descartes, Hume, and Aristotle - who gave them three different perspectives on how and what we know: rationalism, empiricism, and a kind of humanistic thinking that we referred to as narrativism. In the reading that followed our exploration of those philosophical texts, we looked, sometimes directly, often indirectly, at the ways in which subjectivity can play a role in the construction of knowledge. Following on that experience, "Representing Race" narrows the focus to consider questions of knowledge (what do we know?), persuasion (how do we know it?) and power (who decides?) in the field of race and race relations. These are exceedingly vexing questions which play out across disciplinary boundaries. How biologists consider race is likely different than how a legal scholar thinks of the issue and distinct once again from how a poet, a painter, or philosopher thinks about the question. At the turn of the twentieth century, the issue of racial representation was further complicated by the births of cinema and the mass media, which offered spectators images of race that were at once "authentic" pictures of reality while at the same time culturally-determined fabrications. Hence in the first half of Representing Race, we will take a broad view of racial representations across a variety of disciplines, (biology, legal theory, visual arts, literature, philosophy, etc.) dating from antiquity to the present-day. In the second half of the semester, we will examine how these various types of knowledge play into representations of race in the mass-media from early silent films to television shows to the Internet, and beyond. In addition to traditional assignments, the course will culminate in the opportunity to a creative, collaborative project incorporating materials and ideas from the class.

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

    • D1 - Race & Racism in the U.S. Requirement
    • CAS: Humanities
    • BSAD: English Core #2, or Language & Literature Core #6, Diversity 1
    • CALS: Social Sciences
    • CEMS: HSS
    • RSENR:
    • CNHS:
    • CESS:

    HCOL 86 G
    D1: Imagining Race and Religion in Early New England
    Professor Mary Kete - English
    TR 1:00 - 2:15
    North Complex 034

    Course Syllabus (pdf)

    In this seminar we will working at the nexus of three disciplines: history, geography and literature to investigate the construction of two categories within which Americans understand themselves: "race" and "region." Taking advantage of our locale in New England, we will be exploring the historical legacy of earlier attempts to understand America and Americans from the colonial era through beginning of the nineteenth-century. One goal of the course is to survey the literary traces of early America and especially those of early Vermont. A second is to use these traces to establish an historical context for the notions of race and region that shape us today.

    Some of the primary texts we will be reading may include the Pequod William Apess's An Indian's Looking Glass for the White Man, the French colonist Hector St. John de Crevecoeur's Letters from An American Farmer, the Puritan Mary Rowlandson's The Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, and the freed African slave Venture Smith's The Life and Adventures of Venture Smith. Students will be asked to write an analytical paper as well as a more speculative project ("Here Now, Here Then") investigating the intersections between our contemporary sense of regional and racial identity and that of the colonial past.

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

    • D1 - Race & Racism in the U.S. Requirement
    • CAS: Humanities
    • BSAD: English Core #2 or Language & Literature #6, Diversity 1
    • CALS: Social Sciences
    • CEMS: HSS
    • RSENR:
    • CNHS:
    • CESS:

    HCOL 86 H
    D2: She, He, Them: Gender and Ways of Knowing
    Professor Lisa Schnell - English and Honors College
    MWF 9:30 - 10:25
    North Complex 034

    Course Syllabus (pdf)

    In order to demonstrate the complexity of gender as a way of knowing, we will look at texts both ancient and modern in this course; at texts by both women and men, white and black; at written, and dramatic, and filmic texts; at texts written by Westerners (mainly) as well as one by an Iranian woman. Many of the texts we read in the course are not American, but in the context of the seminar discussions they will be interpreted in a context that both appreciates their distance from our American context and observes the uncanny way in which they engage in very timely American issues.

    The course will be divided into three major units: the first deals with what is arguably the originary myth of gender in the West - the story of Adam and Eve. We will explore the Book of Genesis, of course, and also parts of Milton's Paradise Lost. In addition, we will read a poem by a 17th-century woman writer, and watch a film by a contemporary filmmaker who introduces race into the myth. In the second unit, we will engage, both intellectually and histrionically, in the performance of gender. Shakespeare's wonderful comedy Twelfth Night plays with what Judith Butler, in an essay we will read, calls "imitation and gender insubordination." We will both read the play and some criticism associated with it (in addition to the Butler) and actually perform it, or parts of it. We will also spend some time in this section of the course with the amazing 1990 documentary film by Jennie Livingston, "Paris is Burning" about the drag ball culture in New York City in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. Like the film in the previous section of the course, this text introduces the issues of race into our discussions of gendered performances. In the last section of the course, we will read Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran, a book that places issues of women and knowledge - and particularly women's access to knowledge -- front and center.

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

    • D2 - Human and Societal Diversity Requirement
    • CAS: Literature
    • BSAD: English Core #2 or Language & Literature #6, Diversity 2
    • CALS: Social Sciences
    • CEMS: HSS
    • RSENR:
    • CNHS:
    • CESS:

    Last modified April 10 2013 02:11 PM