University of Vermont

The Honors College

Sophomore Seminars: Fall 2014

All classes have not been evaluated for individual college/school credit. The list will be updated as we receive the information.

HCOL 185 B
Information Through the Ages
Professor Jeff Frolik - CEMS
T 4:00 - 6:45
U Hgts North 034F

Course Syllabus (pdf)

Over the past few decades, networked computing has evolved from closed institutional use to today's open and pervasive internet. This period of history has thus, in some camps, been called the Information Age. But what is information? How has technology related to information impacted society and vice-versa? This course will explore these questions through an investigation of the history of information. Beginning with the earliest known examples (e.g., cave paintings and petroglyphs), we will identify the key attributes of information. The impact of making information mobile through writing and printing will then be explored. Building on these foundational tenets, the historical significance of major milestones in telecommunications (i.e., the near instantaneous exchange of information over a distance) will find context. Finally, the course will focus on the digital representation of information and will cover topics such as compression, security, big data, and the cloud.

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

  • CAS: No distribution, no CAS credit
  • BSAD: History Core
  • CALS: Humanities, Social Science
  • CEMS: Satisfies humanities/social science (HSS) requirements
  • CESS:
  • CNHS:
  • RSENR:Consult with Advisor

HCOL 185 C
Cultural Crisis 19th Century Europe
Professor Ian Grimmer - Department of History
TR 8:30 - 9:45
U Hgts North 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

European culture expressed a unusual paradox at the end of the nineteenth century: while the lives of most Europeans were improving materially, the same social conditions that gave rise to this well being also contributed to profound anxieties and feelings of malaise, suggesting to many that the world they had always known was coming to an end. This course will explore this interrelationship of European consciousness and society during the fin de siecle and belle epoque, covering themes such the experience of the metropolis, new conceptions of gender and sexuality, the psychoanalytic discovery of the unconscious, fears of degeneration, and the rise of new forms of mass politics including socialism, nationalism, and modern anti-Semitism.

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

  • CAS: Humanities
  • BSAD: History Core, Global & Regional Studies
  • CALS: Humanities
  • CEMS: Satisfies humanities/social science (HSS) requirements
  • CESS:
  • CNHS:
  • RSENR: Consult with Advisor

HCOL 185 D
Crafting Democratic Institutions
Professor Ned McMahon - Department of CDAE
TR 1:00 - 2:15
U Hgts North 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

This course will address the basic question of what constitutes a democracy at the level of the nation-state.This apparently simple question is, of course, hardly that.It will pull students from a variety of disciplines into a host of fundamentally important issues surrounding definition of the democracy concept.This course will focus particularly on the issue of institutional design, i.e. what types of democratic institutions are most appropriate in different socio-politico-ethno-historical-contexts?

A challenge that faces many countries moving away from authoritarian governance to democracy is what specific institutions to adopt.This course will draw on a rich body of academic and theoretical literature, analyses of specific issues, and the experience of individual and organizational practitioners. Students will be challenged to absorb and internalize key concepts relating to democratic institutional development of a particular country.

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

  • CAS: Social Science
  • BSAD: Social Sciences Core
  • CALS: Humanities, Social Sciences
  • CEMS: Satisfies humanities/social science (HSS) requirements
  • CESS:
  • CNHS: Elective
  • RSENR:Consult with Advisor

HCOL 185 E
Ancient Warfare Gaming
Professor John Franklin - Department of Classics
R 4:00 - 6:45
U Hgts North 034F

Course Syllabus (pdf)

This class focuses on the Macedonian conquest of Greece by Philip, Alexander's great campaigns as far as India, the forty years of war between his generals following his death, and the main features of the Hellenistic Age which these events inaugurated. We will combine the traditional approach of studying ancient political and social history through primary texts (here Demosthenes, Arrian, Plutarch, and others TBA) with sophisticated board game simulations of the period. 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'. Up to the first third of each class will be spent in discussion. The remainder will be spent playing games, which will cover the tactical (individual battles), strategic (large scale movements with political and economic factors), siege (the famous siege of Tyre) and naval (triremes). Warning: Some of these games are COMPLEX. If you do not like strategy games, you will not like this class. BUT, this class also involves a lot of reading and a major term paper, and you must be self-disciplined to do it well.

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

  • CAS: Humanities
  • BSAD: GRS Core
  • CALS: Social Sciences
  • CEMS: Satisfies humanities/social science (HSS) requirements
  • CESS:
  • CNHS:
  • RSENR: Consult with Advisor

HCOL 185 F
One Health
Professor Burton Wilcke - Medical Lab & Radiation Science
MWF 9:35 - 10:25
U Hgts North 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

There is evidence that the relationship between the environment and human health was observed as early as 400 BCE by Hippocrates. Over time, however, the fields of human health, animal health and environmental health have become ever more separate and distinct areas of study and scientific inquiry operating within their own respective spheres. In 2007 the human health and animal health communities came together to promote and formalize the concept of viewing health from a "one health" approach. This course will delve into issues that clearly demonstrate how closely the health of humans, animals and the environment are connected. It will explore the potential benefits that might accrue from studying health in a more interdisciplinary way. Through presentations by experts in all three disciplines, various readings representing all three fields, and the study of both historical and contemporary "one health" case studies, students will be provided the opportunity to see how closely intertwined and interdependent these areas are. Further, students will be given the opportunity to propose innovative approaches which they feel could be effective in addressing "one health" challenges going forward.

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

  • CAS: No distribution, CAS credit only
  • BSAD: Elective Credit only
  • CALS: Social Science
  • CEMS: Satisfies humanities/social science (HSS) requirements
  • CESS:
  • CNHS:
  • RSENR: Consult with Advisor

HCOL 185 G
Women in Science
Professor Donna Toufexis - Department of Psychology
TR 4:00 - 5:15
U Hgts North 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

In 2005 Larry Summers, the President of Harvard University, gave a speech at a conference on diversity in which he stated there is a difference in the standard deviation and variability of the male and female population. A finding, he went on to say, that explains why there would be more men than women at the elite levels of mathematical ability, and thus, why there are so few women represented in science and engineering. These remarks engendered a great deal of anger and debate. But what exactly was he saying? And is there any truth behind his remarks? In this course we will examine sex-differences in the brain and behavior. We will also examine the paradigm of western science. What exactly is the scientific method? Does sex affect the way science is done? We will also discuss the work and lives of several prominent scientists who are women. Why are there so few examples of successful women scientists? What factors, including nature and nurture, led these particular women into science? Were they stymied by their sex? What obstacles hindered these women in their pursuit of science as a career? Do these barriers still exist?

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: Humanities, Social Sciences
  • CEMS: Satisfies humanities/social science (HSS) requirements
  • CESS:
  • CNHS: Elective
  • RSENR:Consult with Advisor

HCOL 185 H
Political Economy for a Finite Planet
Professor Eric Zencey - Department of RSENR
TR 11:30 - 12:45
U Hgts North 016

This course will examine the ways that contemporary economic and political theory, and institutions and practices grounded on them, encode the assumption that the planet is infinite. It will ask students to explore and evaluate ways of adapting those ideas, institutions and practices to a world that has ecological limits. Many people have come to the realization that our physical infrastructure needs to be adapted to finite-planet reality; we need solar and other renewable energy systems, we need a post-petroleum agriculture, we need mass transit, and we need compact village and urban centers in a working landscape. Less obvious are the changes that need to be made to our intellectual infrastructure; this course examines those changes as well.

The primary objective of the course will be to empower students to become informed participants in our culture's transition to a sustainable relationship to its host ecosystems. This transition is inevitable: by definition an unsustainable system doesn't last. The key question is not "will we have a sustainable society?" but "what will our society look like when it becomes sustainable?" The choices we make now will determine the answer, and choosing wisely requires understanding where and how unsustainable premises are embedded in our systems.

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

  • CAS: CAS Credit Only
  • BSAD: Social Science Core
  • CALS: Humanities, Social Sciences
  • CEMS: Satisfies humanities/social science (HSS) requirements
  • CESS:
  • CNHS: ENVR Science/Studies
  • RSENR:Consult with Advisor

HCOL 185 I
Individualism and Its Dangers
Professor Alex Zakaras - Department of Political Science
TR 10:00 - 11:15
U Hgts North 016

Course Syllabus (pdf) Course Syllabus

The term "individualism" is often used to describe a pervasive tendency in the culture and politics of the modern West. Since the 1820's, critics have used it to describe the disintegration of community and tradition, the erosion of civic allegiance, the triumph of selfishness, and the pervasive experience of personal alienation. Almost as soon as the term was introduced, however, others began hold it up as an ethical and political ideal. To them, "individualism" (and the related term "individuality") was a celebration of the power, beauty, and creativity of the self-reliant individual: the rugged frontiersman, the yeoman farmer, the artist, the rebel, or the self-made businessman. Both points of view are still powerfully represented in contemporary literature, poetry, film, philosophy, and social theory. The tension between them gives rise to a number of enduring questions. Which forms of individualism, if any, are worth aspiring to? What are their dangers? And which forms should be resisted? These questions pertain directly to the oldest of ethical questions: What is the good life? But they also have important implications for the related questions: What is the good society? And what are the proper aims (and limits) of government?

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: Satisfies humanities/social science (HSS) requirements
  • CESS:
  • CNHS:
  • RSENR: Consult with Advisor

HCOL 185 J
Issues in Food Systems - Food Safety
Professor Catherine Donnelly - Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences
MW 4:05 - 5:20
357 Carrigan

Disease outbreaks linked to a variety of foodborne pathogens including Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7 and Listeria cause over 48 million people to become ill each year in the US. This course will address food safety issues by reviewing outbreaks caused by notable pathogens. We will explore the development of microbiological food safety policy through analysis of how science and risk assessment are used in establishing policy. Using selected case studies and readings, we will examine the factors which have created current food safety policies and explore how pending legislation can either protect or compromise public health. Students will become familiar with the roles and responsibilities of the FDA, USDA and CDC in shaping policy, as well as the use of tools such as HACCP, risk assessment, FoodNet and PulseNet in identification of emerging food safety issues. Through extensive class writings, students will become familiar and gain experience in submitting written public comments to Federal Register notices concerning changes in food safety policy.

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

  • CAS: No distribution, no CAS credit
  • BSAD:Elective Credit Only
  • CALS:Social Science
  • CEMS:Satisfies humanities/social science (HSS) requirements
  • CESS:
  • CNHS:
  • RSENR:Consult with Advisor

HCOL 185 K
Art of Literary Adaptation
Professor Andrew Barnaby- Department of English
TR 2:30 - 3:45
U Hgts North 016

This course addresses a paradox: how truly creative work might begin in what we steal from others. In literary contexts, we call such "theft" adaptation. The course will investigate the art of adaptation in a theoretical way - what is creativity? what is adaptation? - in an analytical way - by reconstructing how specific literary artists have adapted the work of their predecessors - and through our own creative efforts - by doing our own creative adaptations. Units for the course will include: 1) an introduction to the "Theory of Adaptation"; 2) "Hamlets," in which we will consider everything from Shakespeare's original borrowing from his sources to modern adaptations of the play; and 3) "Film Adaptation," in which we will consider specific examples of how filmic art emerges from source-texts. Along the way, we might also consider examples of adaption ranging from Biblical adaptation to the modern novel, and our own creative efforts will include short mash-ups and longer group efforts.

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

  • CAS: Literature
  • BSAD: Elective credit only
  • CALS: Humanities, Social Science
  • CEMS: Satisfies humanities/social science (HSS) requirements
  • CESS:
  • CNHS:
  • RSENR:Consult with Advisor

HCOL 185 L
Climate Change. Complexity & Society
Professor Brian Beckage - Department of Plant Biology
TR 11:30 - 12:45
Jeffords 227

Course Syllabus (pdf)

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 only
  • BSAD: Social Science Core
  • CALS: Consult with Academic Advisor
  • CEMS: Satisfies humanities/social science (HSS) requirements
  • CESS:
  • CNHS:
  • RSENR:Consult with Advisor

HCOL 185 M
Controversies in Modern Genomics
Professor Tamara Williams - Department of Pharmacology
MW 4:05 - 5:20
U Hgts North 034F

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 Creditonly
  • BSAD: Elective Credit Only
  • CALS: Humanities, Social Sciences
  • CEMS: Satisfies humanities/social science (HSS) requirements
  • CESS:
  • CNHS: Science/Elective
  • RSENR: Consult with Advisor

HCOL 185 N
Trees and Culture
Professor Katharine Anderson, RSENR
W 12:50 - 3:50
U Hgts North 016

Course Syllabus (pdf) Course Syllabus

Big trees have long fascinated humans. Beyond supplying food, fiber, medicines and construction materials, some trees become historic markers, cultural symbols and even sacred places. How and why do particular trees come to occupy such prominent places in the landscape and human imagination? What is their role today? Exploring these questions will take us into a range of disciplines including geography, botany, anthropology and art. Through readings, hands-on activities, discussions, field excursions and story-telling we will examine botanical and cultural dimensions of tree species from around the world. Well then apply our knowledge to a service-learning project: What if we could transform the UVM campus into an arboretum, that is, tree plantings with a mission? Well examine how the trees already here shape the campus environment, then combine ideas from the community with your insights to develop a proposal that could contribute to campus sustainability. Be prepared to venture outside (even in the cold!), conduct your own investigations (interviews, observations), contribute artistic talents you may have (drawing, photography)and do lots of writing.

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: Humanities, Social Sciences
  • CEMS: Satisfies humanities/social science (HSS) requirements
  • CESS:
  • CNHS: Elective credit
  • RSENR:Consult with Advisor

HCOL 185 O
Land, Business and Society
Professor Rocki-Lee DeWitt, School of Business
TR 2:30 - 3:45
Kalkin 322

Course Syllabus (pdf)

Whether journalist, attorney, scientist, public policy maker, entrepreneur or corporate titan, each can benefit from understanding the interplay of land, business, and society. This course is designed to leverage the knowledge of students in all majors to develop your understanding of the influence of legal and social systems on land's use in commerce. You will develop the 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 distribution - no CAS Credit
  • BSAD: Social Science Core
  • CALS: Social Science
  • CEMS: Satisfies humanities/social science (HSS) requirements
  • CESS:
  • CNHS:
  • RSENR:Consult with Advisor

HCOL 185 P
Shakespeare & The Classical Tradition
Professor Angeline Chiu - Department of Classics
MWF 10:40 - 11:30
U Hgts North 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.

p> This class fills the following distribution/college requirements: (If you don't see your college, please contact your advisor.)
  • CAS: Literature
  • BSAD: Language & Literature Core # 6
  • CALS: Humanities
  • CEMS: Satisfies humanities/social science (HSS) requirements
  • CESS:
  • CNHS:
  • RSENR:Consult with Advisor

Last modified September 17 2014 08:21 AM