HCOL 1000 A – Populism and Authoritarianism - Prof. David Jenemann - CAS, English and Honors College
Catamount Core: WIL1, GC1
This course examines populism and authoritarianism as contemporary challenges to democracy with long historical roots. From earlier political philosophies to the rise of populist movements in the early 20th century and the emergence of conspiracy groups and authoritarian political figures on the contemporary political landscape, the tension between the rule of law and political control has animated much of the discourse around democratic norms in the United States and elsewhere. This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to populist and authoritarian ideas, and we will consider historical and contemporary analyses of these phenomena across the political spectrum while also examining literary and cinematic portrayals of authoritarian and populist movements.
HCOL 1000 B – The Opioid Crisis – Prof. Ian Grimmer - Honors College & Department of History
may count towards the following major/minor requirements: HSCO (toward the 9 additional credits)
Catamount Core: WIL1, GC1
During the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, the ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States worsened considerably. Vermont, in particular, was especially impacted, standing out as having the highest per capita overdose fatality rate in the country. This course will inquire into the historical, social, and economic underpinnings to this contemporary problem, and explore how professionals in fields from medicine to social work are trying to address it. Key course themes include the role of stigma and racism in shaping the current crisis, reasons why the opioid epidemic has occurred in four distinct waves, and implications for future policy and treatment. As a writing-intensive course, students will have opportunities to express their ideas in written form throughout the semester. Because the opioid crisis is best understood from an interdisciplinary perspective, students from a diverse range of academic interests and backgrounds are also encouraged to join this seminar.
HCOL 1000 C – Unsustainable Societies- Prof. Deborah Noel – CAS, English
Catamount Core: WIL1, AH2
We'll be reading dystopian fiction and discussing the social problems featured in these narratives, with supplemental readings from many disciplines to facilitate a comparison/contrast of the storyworlds and our actual world. Our goal will be to consider what makes a human society unsustainable, in terms of both environmental/ecological problems and social/political problems. Authors featured in class readings may include: George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, Kurt Vonnegut, Samuel Delany, Ray Bradbury, Ursula Le Guin, N. K. Jemisin, and Ted Chiang. Major topics we'll explore include: totalitarianism, climate disasters, slavery, war, colonialism, and the effects of technology in an increasingly technological world. We'll look at both intended and unintended consequences.
HCOL 1000 D - Misinformation and Cultural Wars – Prof. Eliana Castro, CESS, Secondary Education
Catamount Core: WIL1, D2
This course will explore issues surrounding different forms go misinformation (including disinformation and fake news), how they take root, why they endure, their direct and indirect effects on society, and ways to prevent and debunk them. Students in the seminar will also consider how misinformation foments ideological divides — “the culture wars” — in the U.S. and globally. Over the course of the semester, we will develop and enhance our ability to 1) articulate the relationship between communication technologies and sociopolitical changes; 2) interrogate the factors that contribute to the emergence and acceptance of misinformation; 3) examine the patterns of interaction that can strengthen and weaken the hold of misinformation; and 4) consider the role of education in advancing news literacy for democratic citizenship.
HCOL 1000 E – Ideological War in Ukraine – Devin Casper-McFadden, CAS, German & Russian
Catamount Core: WIL1, GC1
During the quiet hours of a chilly Thursday morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his military troops across Russia’s South-Western border into Eastern Ukraine, forever engraving the date February 24, 2022 in Ukrainian and Russian histories. Not only is this act of war a complete escalation from Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, but it is also one of the most aggressive assaults in contemporary European history. Importantly, in the weeks preceding the war, there were widespread talks in Western Europe and America about Ukraine joining NATO. Seizing an opportune moment, Putin claims to have invaded Ukraine because he has “no other option” and needs to protect “Russian security.” The interplay between these events are not merely coincidental, but speak to a larger, widespread ideological and culture war between Russia in the “East” and Europe in the “West,” exploiting Ukraine to be a shield and prize between the two worlds. Putin’s actions necessitate an investigation into this ideological war, and what he specifically means by “Russian security.” In this course, we will unpack Putin’s motives through examining Russia’s cultural, social, political relationship with Ukraine across time and space.
HCOL 1000 F - Street Children – Prof. Jonah Steinberg - CAS, Anthropology
Honors College Distribution
CAS: social sciences
Under review for Catamount Core: GC1, WIL1
may count towards the following majors/minors: Anthropology
Populations of street children can be found in cities across the planet. With numbers in the tens or perhaps hundreds of millions, they are among the least powerful and the least privileged in our contemporary global system Their existence and situation presents us with a powerful lens for studying the ways that large-scale processes affect individual people and places. Through an inspection of the ethnography of street children, we can better understand the ways that historical forces like globalization, colonialism, and industrial capitalism shape people’s daily lives and experiences.
Observations of street children point to important questions about social life, history, and subjective personal experience. The purpose of this course will be to explore those questions. We will examine in particular detail questions which might help us explain how and why populations of street children come into existence. For our purposes, the term “street children” generally refers to youth who either live or work full-time on the streets, especially runaway youth, but we will interrogate and explore this poorly understood definition in greater detail.
HCOL 1000 G – Mental Health Stigma – Prof. Judith Christensen – CAS, Psychological Sciences
CAS: social science
Under review for Catamount Core: WIL1, D2
This course is an overview of mental health practices from a global perspective using history, medicine, psychological science, etc. to understand the omnipresent stigma present especially in Western cultures. We will consider mental health stigma from the many "meanings of madness" and how psychological science can advance our understanding, prevention and treatment of mental health challenges. Most importantly, we consider the important role of psychological science in overcoming the long-standing stigma associated with mental health problems.
HCOL 1000 H & N – The Problem of Modernity -- Prof. Joseph Acquisto – CAS, Romance Languages and Cultures
Catamount Core: WIL1, AH3
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 and cultural theory, 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 will use these texts to help us understand the music, art, and literature of one of the most exciting, eccentric, and vibrant periods, the turn of the twentieth century. Along the way, we will talk about progress, power, freedom, individualism, race, sexuality, the role of art, and much more.
HCOL 1000 I – Grief and Loss in 21st Century – Prof. Lisa Schnell – CAS, English
Catamount Core: WIL1, AH3
We are always losing things. Who “we” are, what those “things” are, and how we understand our relationship to those lost objects are issues that are particular to times and spaces – historical moments and the cultures that inhabit them. But there is also something truly universal about the experience of loss. In this section of HCOL 1000, we will focus on the experience of loss as it has played out in some of the events and experiences of the first 23 years of the twenty-first century: 9/11, the war in Iraq, the loss of Black lives, the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m an English professor, so this course is not so much an examination of what led to the losses we will explore, or their political fallout, but more particularly what it feels like to lose something, and how we shape grief with language and with art more broadly. Among the writers we may read in this class are Jonathan Safran Foer, Ada Limon, Heather Raffo, Zadie Smith, Louise Erdrich, and Jesmyn Ward. HCOL 1000 is a course that will fulfill your Writing and Information Literacy I requirement, and we will indeed do a lot of writing in this class – writing and revising. The objective will be to move past the 5-paragraph essay form you’ve been using at least since the 4th grade and toward good, clear writing that matters to you about things that you care about.
HCOL 1000 J – Isolation and Social Development – Prof. Jennifer Prue, CESS, Secondary Education
Catamount Core: WIL1, S1
This Honors College fall seminar for first time students will focus on the impact of isolation on social development in our COVID world. We will explore how COVID related experiences have changed the way adolescents navigate social relationships. And, how social isolation impacts identity development.
HCOL 1000 K - Hip Hop & Political Resistance – Amer Ahmed, Vice Provost of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Catamount Core: WIL1, D1
Hip Hop is a cultural form cultivated from evolving Black and African aesthetics drawn from ancestral expressions of culture. For many in the United States, Hip Hop appears to be simply a pop culture phenomenon with limited representations associated with the culture and often consumed through mass media. Despite its contemporary role in modern pop culture in the United States and beyond, the roots of Hip Hop connect to a profound history of struggle and resistance to oppression. In its expression, the implications of race and spirituality as an integral component of Hip Hop emerge when examined with greater depth. These implications in how Hip Hop emerged in the United States now translates in variety of ways including political resistance throughout the world. This course will explore how history, race, and culture interweave into the use of Hip Hop culture as political resistance in the world.
HCOL 1000 L – Reproductive Rights –Susan Munkres, Director of Community-Engaged Learning
Catamount Core: WIL1, S1
This course will engage with the topic of reproductive rights in the United States, with a focus on the history of activism and protest in the 20th century to present, and the rise of "pro-choice" and "pro-life" movements. We'll explore the framing, strategy and tactics used by activists, and explore leverage points for influence. In so doing, we'll address a central - and current - question: why, if a strong majority of Americans favor legal abortion under some circumstances, do we see the current dramatic restriction of reproductive rights at the state and federal level?
HCOL 1000 M – Dystopian Technology - Prof. Randall Harp, Department of Philosophy, CAS
Catamount Core: WIL1, AH3, GC2
Technology is a tool that we human beings use to satisfy our wants, needs, and desires. Technology also helps to determine what our wants, needs, and desires are. Technological changes thus introduce a large and cascading number of changes in who we are and how we interact with others as human beings, which in turn speaks to fundamental ethical questions of how we ought to live and how we ought to interact with other things in the world (other people, non-human animals, the environment, etc.). When technological changes outpace our capacity as humans to accommodate our other ethical obligations, we can find ourselves in a technological dystopia. This course will look at ethical questions of technology through a philosophical lens.