University of Vermont

The Honors College

Sophomore Seminars: Fall 2011

HCOL 185 A
Comparative Politics of Gender: A Quantitative Research Workshop
Professor Caroline Beer, Department of Political Science
MWF 11:45 - 12:35
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 by using the scientific method. 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.

HCOL 185 B
Controversies in Public Health and Health Policy
Professor Jan Carney, College of Medicine
TR 8:30-9:45
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 185 C
Shakespeare and The Classical Tradition
Professor Angeline Chiu, Department of Classics
TR 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 185 D
Returns From the Land: Understanding Industries That Create and Realize Value From the Land
Professor Rocki DeWitt, School of Business
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.

HCOL 185 E
French/Francophone Intellectuals and the War
Professor Meaghan Emery, Department of Romance Languages
MWF 12:50 - 1:40
North Complex 034F

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 185 F
D1: Constitutional Law: Civil Rights
Professor Alec Ewald, Department of Political Science
MWF 9:35 - 10:25
North Complex 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

This course is an historical and thematically-structured inquiry into the American constitutional law of equality, an important entry point into the problem of difference in American law and politics. Though we devote considerable time to how non-judicial actors have interpreted and constructed social and political (in)equality, cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court form the backbone of the course.

Perhaps a useful way to describe the course here is to include a list of questions I will distribute to the students very early in the semester, identifying many ideas we will return to regularly in discussion and writing. These are written at various levels of abstraction, and are intended to identify both our central purposes and some of the flavor of the work.

HCOL 185 G
Ancient Inventions
Professor Domenico Grasso
TR 10:00 - 11:15
North Complex 34F

Course Syllabus (pdf)

The recent and dramatic pace of technological change obscures the surprising fact that many of the discoveries and inventions upon which modern societies are based were made in prehistoric times. Ancient inventions provide insights to the type, depth and extent of thinking and capabilities of humankind well before the advent of calculators and computers. Studying the development and role of technology in ancient times will help us better understand and contextualize the massive and unparalleled power at our fingertips today. Students will learn about various technologies developed in ancient times, select an invention to study in depth and prepare a paper discussing the technology behind the invention and its impact on the culture of the times. Then, they will design and build their own ancient invention, using modern instruments and technologies.

Gender, Space & City of Rome
Professor Cristina Mazzoni, Department of Romance Languages

HCOL 185 I
D1: African Americans in the United States Economy
Professor Elaine McCrate, Department of Economics
MWF 8:30 - 9:20
North Complex 016

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, and 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.

HCOL 185 K
Discovering Sense of Place: Thoreau
Professor Jeffrey Hughes, Department of Plant Biology
MW 4:05 - 5:20
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 - 'see' 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 185 L
Twilight Idols: Politics and Culture of Modernity
Professor Patrick Hutton, College of Arts & Sciences
MWF 3:00 - 3:50
North Complex 034F

Course Syllabus (pdf)

This seminar offers historical perspectives on the present age. We shall consider pioneering interpretations of the way leading historical trends in our times have transformed lifestyles, cultural expectations, and conceptions of the pursuit of happiness in Western societies over the past half century. Among such trends, one notes the making of the American consumer economy and its worldwide influences, the transforming cultural effects of the media revolution, the reconstruction of gender relations, the privatization of the good life, the ethical dilemmas raised by biotechnology, and the politics of the American "new world order" in an age of globalization. Among critics who have sought to interpret this epochal transformation, we shall study Walter Benjamin on history, Tony Judt on the waning fortunes of European-style social democracy, Benjamin Barber on the collision of cultures in global politics, François Cusset on French postmodern theory in America, Michel Foucault as intellectual celebrity, Svetlana Boym on the future of nostalgia, Jean Baudrillard on the hyper-reality of cyberspace, Francis Fukuyama on the social implications of biotechnology, Thomas Frank on populism in the conservative turn in American politics, and David Brooks on social mores in contemporary America.

HCOL 185 M
Sustainable Water Management
Professor Alexsandra Drizo, Department of Plant and Soil Science
TR 1:00 - 2:15
North Complex 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

This course will provide an overview of current and novel technologies for water pollution treatment and control. Due to nutrient pollution of freshwaters arising from point and non-point sources and subsequent eutrophication, finding a viable option for nutrient reduction has become one of the most pressing water quality concerns throughout the world. In Vermont, phosphorus pollution entering the Lake Champlain basin leads to frequent algal blooms and deterioration of the lake water quality, posing a serious threat to the environmental and economic vitality of the basin, and as a result, phosphorus reduction has been identified as one of the highest environmental priority issues of Lake Champlain.

The course will discuss global problem of nutrient and pathogen pollution of water courses; phosphorus and sediment enrichment of Lake Champlain; governmental water regulations; the applications of current best management practices (BMPs), accepted agricultural practices (AAPs), constructed wetlands and innovative filter technologies for sustainable water management. In addition, students will have opportunity to learn basic procedures for laboratory water analyses.

HCOL 185 N
Sports Nutrition
Professor Robert Tyzbir, Nutrition and Food Science
M 4:05 - 7:05
North Complex 016

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 185 O
Ethnobotany and Ethnomedicine in the Globalized World
Professor Marta Cernoni, Plant Biology
T 4:00-6:45
North Complex 034F

Course Syllabus (pdf)

Ethnobotany is traditionally associated with the knowledge of how indigenous communities in non-urbanized societies use local plants for given purposes. What is not normally appreciated, though, is the potential of ethnobotany to provide answers to address contemporary problems that occur in rural as well as industrialized societies.

This course provides an innovative and integrated context for ethnobotany to address the global dimension of sustainability of plant resources, fairness of access to medicinal plants, preservation of local medicinal knowledge, and viable rural economies.

The course comprises a variety of learning opportunities including class discussions, group and individual projects, field activities, plant labs, visits with practitioners and a "plant cafe" for informal learning and knowledge exchanges.

Last modified October 19 2011 10:42 AM