University of Vermont

The Honors College

Sophomore Seminars: Fall 2010

HCOL 195 A
Discovering Sense of Place: Thoreau
Professor Jeffery Hughes, Department of Plant Biology
TR 4:00 - 5:15
North Complex 034F

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.

HCOL 195 B
Ecosystems & Human Health
Professor Patricia O'Brien, College of Medicine
TR 4:00 - 5:15
Lafayette L302

Course Syllabus (pdf)

Numerous human-associated factors are straining the ecosystem functions upon which all life depends. Through systematic analysis of a series of contemporary case studies we will explore the causes, consequences, and possible solutions of real-world threats to ecosystem and human health. Events like Hurricane Katrina will be examined to understand how factors such as social justice, communicable diseases, global warming, disaster relief planning, and environmental engineering all influenced the nature and scope of this disaster. Via discussion and written analysis students will examine environmental connections to cancer, respiratory disorders, and a host of other health threats.

HCOL 195 C
CANCELLED!! Ethnobotany
Professor Marta Ceroni, Department of Plant Biology

HCOL 195 D
Sports Nutrition
Professor Robert Tyzbir, Nutrition & Food Sciences
M 4:05 - 7:05
North Complex 34F

Course Syllabus (pdf)

This course presents the scientific basis for feeding recreational and competitive athletes. It emphasizes 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. Students will learn the weekly material on their own via webct, use critical thinking skills to reflect on its meaning and application, and develop a comprehensive question about it. Students will come together once per week to discuss the material 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.

HCOL 195 E
Science & Society
Professor Christopher Koliba, Department of Community Development and Applied Economics
TR 2:30 - 3:45
North Complex 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

Since the dawn of recorded human history, the pursuit of scientific inquiry has collided with religious belief, political ideology, and personal subjectivities. Exploring the relationship between science and society leads us to ask the following questions: What is science? Why conduct science? Who conducts science? How are scientific discoveries used? What role does/should science play in defining and solving public problems? Are there limits to science? In this course we trace the origins of science and the scientific method, and dissect some of the contemporary controversial issues regarding "intelligent design," genetically modified organisms, designer drugs, global climate change, and the relationship between money and science. We also explore the frontiers of science, contemplate the outer limits of human potential, and consider some of the ethical issues that arise when these limits are pressed.

HCOL 195 F
The Democratic Citizen
Professor Robert Taylor, Department of Political Science
MWF 8:30 - 9:20
North Complex 34F

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.

HCOL 195 G
Geology's Intersection with Health
Professor Gregory Druschel, Department of Geology
TR 2:30 - 3:45
North Complex 34F

Course Syllabus (pdf)

There are a number of human health problems that are due to an interaction of humans with their environment. Inhalation of mineral dusts and the contamination of water sources with naturally occurring arsenic are two examples of significant human health problems where scientific evidence needs to be evaluated and understood by public policy, medical, and legal professionals. The health of millions of people and the expenditure of billions of dollars is at stake in effectively bringing together science with public policy and legal advocacy  a politician, scientist, medical worker, or lawyer working on these problems can only responsibly approach it with knowledge of how science, law, politics, and health inevitably come together. This class will utilize real-world examples (Asbestos exposure at an asbestos mine near Eden, VT and the worlds largest case of mass poisoning from Bangledeshi groundwater) to investigate how scientific data is gathered, evaluated, and used in the context of human health problems and the legal and policy issues that arise as societys response. A combination of readings, hands-on field/lab mineralogy and geochemistry techniques, quantitative analyses of scientific/health data, and critical assessment of policy and legal positions will all be part of the class and student performance assessment.

HCOL 195 H
Reading Modernity
Professor Joseph Acquisto, Department of Romance Languages
TR 11:30 - 12:45
North Complex 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

What does it mean to be "modern"? What values and assumptions have shaped our world? How have authors and thinkers across the centuries attempted to situate the modern self? Some key foundational texts, in philosophy, political science, and literature, of "modernity," with special attention to the cultures of France and Germany, will help us characterize the modern self in its relation to the external world. We shall investigate three key moments in the history of modernity: its foundations in the Enlightenment, its manifestation at the turn of the twentieth century, when the art and ideas commonly identified as "high modernism" flourished, and finally the later twentieth century, when many key thinkers posited the demise of the modernist project and, for better or worse, the dawn of "postmodernism." We shall examine how Enlightenment ideals played themselves out in the development, and perhaps the demise, of the modernist era. Authors include Kant, Voltaire, Nietzsche, Freud, Weber, Mann, Marcuse, Jameson, and Hrabal.

HCOL 195 I
French/Francophone Intellectuals and the War
Professor Meaghan Emery, Department of Romance Languages
MWF 9:35 - 10:25
North Complex 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

This course will explore the role French and Francophone intellectuals (actors, artists, film directors, writers, including playwrights and poets) played in Europe (France, England, Belgium) and in the United States in response to the Second World War. In spite of the lure of the ivory tower, some rose to what they saw as a moral urgency to enlist and/or engage in clandestine activities. Others chose other, less "glorious," routes, but no less defiant against the overwhelming feeling of imminent disaster. Such investigations will explore the various forms of collaboration and resistance through a study of artistic production and historical evidence. The main course objective is examining and weighing the political and ethical choices available to artists and intellectuals of the time period through in-class discussion and written assignments. Evaluation will be based upon daily participation, an in-class presentation, short weekly reflection papers, a short midterm paper, a final term paper, midterm, and final exam.

HCOL 195 J
Shakespeare & The Classical Tradition
Professor Angeline Chiu, Department of Classics
MWF 10:40 - 11:30
North Complex 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

This course examines in detail both selections of Shakespeare's work and the cultural context in which it first was written and performed, focusing on the classical tradition both as an influence on Elizabethan English culture in general and on Shakespeare in particular. Specific areas of interest include the intersection of history, literature, and theater; we focus on the classical tradition in terms of historical figures and events and also classical mythology as largely expressed by Ovid. This course is intensive in the areas of reading, writing, and participation as we consider how Shakespeare actively engages with the classical tradition. The semester concludes by considering how Shakespeare himself is part of the transmission of the classical tradition to the modern age. Four papers, a reading journal, several presentations/declamations, and a final exam are required.

HCOL 195 K
Who Owns the Past?
Professor Scott Van Keuren, Department of Anthropology
MW 4:05 - 5:20
North Complex 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

Do museums own the objects they display and curate? Do countries own the artifacts, monuments, or artworks that exist within their political boundaries? Should indigenous groups control what is said about their past, and do their perspectives trump academic voices? And does ownership convey the authority to display, interpret, or even destroy cultural resources? These questions are hotly debated in contemporary archaeology, art history, museology, and related fields. The course examines the ownership of an array of cultural resources in contemporary society, including artifacts, artwork, architectural monuments and landscapes, human remains, and bodies of knowledge. We will survey and discuss a range of perspectives, opinions, and agendas through scholarly publications (peer-reviewed essays, law reviews) and non-academic sources (editorial opinion pieces, blogs). Seminar participants will prepare critical essays, book reviews and topical summaries, and orchestrate in-class debates.

HCOL 195 L
Pathological Science: How Do We Know What We Know?
Professor Joel Goldberg, College of Arts & Sciences
TR 8:30 - 9:45
North Complex 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

This is a course about science; about the way that science is done, what science can reveal and what science cannot reveal. We will do this in a bit of a backwards manner, by exploring the boundaries of science and seeing where some have fallen off the edge. We will approach this in (surprise!) a manner befitting a scientific study: making observations about science, trying to find order in the observations, postulating hypotheses and then testing them to see if they fit our observations.

We will start out by first comparing two "major scientific discoveries", one that has, indeed, had a profound impact on science and one that, alas, has been rejected by the science community. We will look at other examples of scientific discoveries that have either been accepted or rejected over time and try to categorize the rejections in ways that give some insights into how science is done and the pitfalls of pushing science to its limits. We will then address directly the question of "What is Science?" and will look at some models for understanding how science is done. We can then consider some of the fundamental limitations to science: Are there limits to what we can uncover using scientific methods? Are there limits to how well we can understand the universe? Are there limits to the predictive powers of science?

Lastly, we will tackle some of the more interesting (and controversial) science-related issues facing the world today, critically evaluating them using our knowledge of science and our understanding of both how science is done and its limitations. This last portion of the course will be mostly student-led and student-directed.

HCOL 195 M
Returns From the Land: Understanding Industries that Create and Realize Value from the Earth
Professor Rocki DeWitt, School of Business Administration
TR 5:30 - 6:45
North Complex 34F

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.

HCOL 195 N
Controversies in Public Health & Health Policy
Professor Jan Carney, College of Medicine
TR 10:00 - 11:15
North Complex 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

Health policy proposals are often controversial. Demographic trends and public health crises, such as childhood obesity, signal continued rise of health care costs, worsening health disparities, and shortened life expectancy for children currently born in the U.S. Compelling epidemiologic data and scientific evidence suggest strategies to prevent disease and illness. So why can't we, as a nation, translate science into practice to benefit our citizens? Progress in population health is driven by both scientific advances and societal norms, and proposed health policy measures may be controversial, sometimes creating momentum and other times becoming a barrier to progress. We will study access to health care, preventing childhood obesity, binge drinking on college campuses, pandemic preparedness, immunizations, and other issues, to understand what impedes our collective progress towards a healthier society. We will read, discuss, and debate selected scientific papers from well-known medical journals (no pre-requisites required), find information from "high quality" sources, and use written assignments to facilitate learning.

HCOL 195 O
Paranormal Phenomena
Professor Jay Allen, College of Arts & Sciences
TR 1:00 - 2:15
North Complex 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

This seminar is about thinking critically. In a format that is light on lectures and rich in discussion you will be guided through a number of salient topics dealing with our culture's current belief systems regarding science, pseudoscience, religion, psychoanalysis, alternative medicine, faith healing, evolution vs intelligent design and paranormal phenomena such as ESP, remote viewing, near death experiences, alien encounters, and hauntings (to mention a few). Terry Hines' Pseudoscience and the Paranormal, plus a series of articles drawn from Skeptical Inquirer, Free Inquiry and other sources will supply the meat for lively in-class discussion, where I will act as mediator and facilitator.

Last modified November 09 2010 02:18 PM