University of Vermont

The Honors College

Sophomore Seminars: Spring 2013

HCOL 186 A
Introduction to Museum Studies
Professor Jennifer Dickinson - Anthropology Department
TR 4:00 - 5:15
North Complex 034

Course Syllabus (pdf)

This introduction to Museum Studies offers students the opportunity to become acquainted with the theory and practice of museum work. The course combines three key components: readings in museum theory and history; contact with museum professionals working in a range of museum settings; and hands-on experience curating a class exhibit for the Fleming Museum. The theme for our seminar and exhibit will be "Identity and Expression," with an emphasis on museums as vehicles for public and private engagement with objects and ideas. The course is suitable for students for all disciplinary backgrounds and does not require any previous work in Anthropology or Museum Studies.

The readings for the course are organized around the course theme "Identity and Expression". We begin with a brief introduction to the concept of the museum, with an emphasis on an anthropological approach to museums as cultural-shaped institutions. The remainder of the course focuses on four different facets of identity and expression in museum collections, with a general trend for most intimate to most public: the individual collector and his/her collection; the concept of portraiture/self-portraiture, broadly conceived; the role of exhibits in creating the public, even shared side of museum experiences; and national identity as a motivating force in the formation and management of museums.

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 or Humanities
  • CEMS: HSS

HCOL 186 B
Individualism and Its Dangers
Professor Alex Zakaras - Political Science Department
MW 4:05 - 5:20
North Complex 034

Course Syllabus (pdf)

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: Elective credit only
  • CALS: Humanities
  • CEMS: HSS

HCOL 186 C
The History of Utopias
Professor Ian Grimmer - History Department
TR 8:30 - 9:45
North Complex 034

Course Syllabus (pdf)

The concept of utopia, derived in the sixteenth century from the ancient Greek words for "no" and "place," has persisted throughout the Western intellectual tradition, expressing hopes for a better world with the example of a society that does not yet exist. This course will explore the social, cultural, and intellectual history of these aspirations, critically examining not only works of literature and political philosophy but also some of the nineteenth-century communities that attempted to prefigure these ideals. Spanning the visions of classical antiquity to the waning of the utopian motif in twentieth century, and the concomitant emergence of dystopia as a literary genre, we will discuss the historical significance of these critical social imaginaries. Authors to be discussed include: Plato, Thomas More, Charles Fourier, William Morris, Etienne Cabet, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Yvgeni Zamyatin.

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

  • CAS: Humanities
  • BSAD: History Core or Global & Regional Studies Core or Language & Literature Core
  • CALS: Humanities
  • CEMS: HSS credit

HCOL 186 D
Cultural Crisis in Fin-de-Siecle Europe
Professor Ian Grimmer - History Department
TR 11:30 - 12:45
North Complex 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 or Global & Regional Studies Core
  • CALS: Humanities
  • CEMS: HSS

HCOL 186 E
Dante's Worlds
Professor Antonello Borra - Romance Languages Department
MWF 9:35 - 10:25
North Complex 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

Only a few authors have managed to condense in their work all that their age knew and establish themselves as models for generations of writers to come, inventing the very language in which their followers were to express their own work. This is certainly the case with Dante, whose Commedia after seven centuries still challenges and fascinates readers and writers regardless of their cultural backgrounds and systems of belief. Before delving into the Commedia, we will also analyze Dante's intellectual autobiography (Vita nuova) and read from his treatise on language (De vulgari eloquentia) and his philosophical compendium (Convivio), works that are essential for a fuller understanding of the poet's masterpiece

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

  • CAS: Literature
  • BSAD: English Core or Language & Literture Core
  • CALS: Humanities
  • CEMS: HSS

HCOL 186 F
Women in Nazi Germany
Professor Helga Schreckenberger - German/Russian Department
MWF 12:50 - 1:40
North Complex 034

Course Syllabus (pdf)

Women played a variety of roles during National Socialism: they were perpetrators (e.g., convinced party members, brutal concentration camp guards), bystanders and fellow-travelers of the Nazi ideology, victims (due to their race, their sexual orientation, or their political or religious views), and resistance fighters. Drawing on a variety of readings (fiction and non-fiction) and films (documentary and feature films) we will reconstruct the Nazi's idea of "womanhood," and examine the different experiences and options of women living under the National Socialist regime. The objectives of the course are for student to understand National Socialist ideology and the gender policies resulting from this ideology. Students will examine the roles women were supposed to take on according to Nazi ideology and the impact of these expectations on their everyday life. After completing the course, students will be able to analyze the memoirs, fictional texts and films by and about women living through the Nazi Period and the Holocaust from a gendered perspective. They will have made considerable progress in effectively communicating ideas in writing and discussion.

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 or History Core
  • CALS: Humanities
  • CEMS: HSS

HCOL 186 G
Trees and Human Culture
Professor Katharine Anderson - Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources
TR 1:00 - 2:15
North Complex 016

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. We’ll 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? We’ll 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: No CAS distribution, Elective credit only
  • BSAD: Elective credit only
  • CALS: Humanities, Natural Sciences
  • CEMS: HSS

HCOL 186 I
Ecology for Sustainability
Professor Deane Wang - Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources
TR 10:00 - 11:15
North Complex 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

Ecology is a science that has made important conceptual and descriptive discoveries that can be of great use to humanity. However, knowing all this ecology is a daunting prospect for anyone (including ecologists). This seminar takes a non-traditional approach to ecology, by starting with some general concepts and then going into specific ecological details. With no hope of covering the broad spectrum of ecological knowledge, the emphasis is on foundations of science as they relate to a complex system science like ecology. The process of learning ecology is emphasized through short lectures, much discussion, and individual and group work, including a service-learning project. In addition to class room experiences, several field journeys to local ecological systems will be taken, including a weekend trip a bit farther afield. Application of ecology to pressing issues and integration of it with society will be considered in the latter part of the course.

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

  • CAS: Non-lab Science
  • BSAD: Social Science Core
  • CALS: Social Science
  • CEMS: No HSS credit

HCOL 186 J
Controversies in Public Health
Professor Jan Carney - College of Medicine
TR 8:30 - 9:45
North Complex 016

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.

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

  • CAS: No CAS distribution, No CAS credit
  • BSAD: Elective credit only
  • CALS: Social Science
  • CEMS: HSS

HCOL 186 K
Mathematics and the Arts
Professor Sheila Weaver - Mathematics and Statistics Department
MWF 10:40 - 11:30
North Complex 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

We tend to think of mathematics and science as rational and useful disciplines, while the arts are those that speak to our senses and emotions. The ancient Greeks considered math, science, and the arts together – all were reflections of the essential perfection of the universe. This course will explore some of the many connections between mathematics and the arts, and consider how these have changed from ancient times to the present. Some of the ideas we’ll explore: The mathematical ideas of ratio and proportion -- how they were fundamental to the creation of the intervals and scales of Western music, and how they have been incorporated in visual compositions. The symbolism of number and geometric shape in musical and visual compositions. The use of pattern and symmetry in music, art and design. Mathematical perspective in drawing: how to achieve it, and how to recognize other approaches to perspective. The use of systematic and chance mechanisms in contemporary artistic and musical compositions.

A good high school mathematics background is required for this course. Musical and artistic background are desirable, but not required.

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

  • CAS: No CAS distribution - CAS elective credit
  • BSAD: Elective credit only
  • CALS: Humanities
  • CEMS: HSS

HCOL 186 L
Animal Products in Human Nutrition - Food for Thought
Professor Jana Kraft - Animal Science Department
MW 4:05 - 5:20
North Complex 016

Course Syllabus (pdf)

Animal agriculture is a significant portion of our national agricultural economy and foods of animal origin play a significant role in our global food system. A striking but lesser known fact is that animal-derived food products have been an important factor in human evolution (e.g., eating meat has led to increases in the size of both the human body and brain). Current dietary patterns derive from the changes in food production that started with the industrial revolution and from the more recent construction of a global food economy. With increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, obesity, and food-borne diseases, animal products are coming under increasing scrutiny. Broad areas of focus reflect global patterns of consumption of meat, dairy, eggs, fish, and their products. We will explore the connection between animal products, their nutritional attributes, and human and public perception. Particular emphasis will be placed on functional and value-added foods, biotechnology in animal agriculture, as well as animal product quality and safety issues. The course utilizes an interactive approach, involving a broad spectrum of methods including lectures to build fundamental knowledge, student forums to stimulate debate and understanding, individual and group assignments to develop key skills in writing and presenting, and the use of computer-aided learning.

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

  • CAS: No CAS distribution, CAS elective credit
  • BSAD: Elective credit only
  • CALS: Natural Science
  • CEMS: HSS

HCOL 186 M
Ecological Gaming
Professor Scott Merrill - Plant & Soil Science Department
TR 11:30 - 12:45
Hills 17

Course Syllabus (pdf)

Ecological Gaming will examine ecology through the lens of a computer simulation game. The overarching goal of this course is to instill a foundation of ecological concepts by breaking down ecological complexity into simple, digestible pieces. We start by building a simple (virtual) environment (our gaming platform) and slowly add complexity by adding virtual species to the ecosystem and observing their population's development and behavior. As a class, we will build spatially-explicit abiotic environments. These simple environments will be used for the foundation of an ecosystem with the environment subdivided into habitat categories (e.g., good habitat versus poor habitat, or forests versus deserts), which will allow a discussion of some of the essential building blocks of life and life strategies. After our virtual environments have been built, we will examine single population dynamics (resource needs, fecundity strategies, growth rates, lifespan, phenology, reproduction type, dispersal, movement and behavior, within-species competition and density-dependence).

The course will continue by looking at species interactions (e.g., competition, mutualism, predation, trophic levels, trophic cascades, food webs). Finally, ecosystem level biocomplexity will be examined by looking at how ecosystem components could influence evolution, ecosystem stability and chaos.

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

  • CAS: Non lab science
  • BSAD: Elective credit only
  • CALS: Natural Science
  • CEMS: No HSS credit

Last modified May 02 2013 02:44 PM