HCOL 186 Sophomore Seminars - Spring 2018

HCOL 186A -The History of Psychoanalytic Thought - Prof. Ian Grimmer, Honors College & Department of History

CAS: Humanities
GSB:  Social Science Core or Humanities Core
CALS:  Social Science
CEMS: Engineering Students - Gen Ed Elective; Math/Stat/CS/DS students check with your advisor
RSENR: Consult with academic advisor
CNHS:  Consult with academic advisor
CESS:  Consult with academic advisor

 This course will explore the cultural and intellectual history of one of the most influential ways of understanding human subjectivity in the twentieth century: the tradition of psychoanalytic thought.  Beginning with a close reading of several of Sigmund Freud’s key writings, we will then consider the competing interpretive frameworks and splits in the movement that emerged in the aftermath of his death.  Our concern here is not only with psychoanalysis as a therapeutic practice but also as a way of understanding culture and society.  In the final weeks, our coursework will consider the diverse influences of psychoanalytic ideas on social theory from the work of the Frankfurt School to contemporary feminist and queer theorists.  Authors to be discussed include Freud, Klein, Winnecott, Lacan, Adorno, Mitchel, and Butler.

HCOL 186B - D2: Islam & Human Rights - Prof. Bogac Ergene, Department of

CAS:  Humanities, Non-European Cultures
GSB:  Humanities Core
CALS:  Humanities, Social Science
CEMS: Engineering Students - Gen Ed Elective; Math/Stat/CS/DS students check with your advisor
RSENR: Consult with academic advisor
CNHS: Consult with academic advisor
CESS: Consult with academic advisor

Are Islam and human rights compatible?  Both human rights and Islam raise universal claims that may conflict in some cases.  In this course, we will consider various attempts by religious and legal theorists to reconcile these claims through reinterpreting Islam or deriving human rights from Islamic sources. We will explore the practical side of these issues by examining legal documents and legal practices in various Muslim countries, paying special attention to the status of women and non-Muslim minorities.  We will also examine tensions arising from Muslims living in Europe and North America, such as recent debates over secularism and religion, and multiculturalism and the scope of tolerance.

Course grades will be based on students’ participation in and contribution to seminar discussions and written assignments. At least one of these written assignments will be a research paper.

HCOL 186C - Crafting Point of View - Prof. Jenny Grosvenor, Department of English

CAS: CAS Elective
GSB: Humanities Core
CALS:  Humanities
CEMS: Engineering Students - Gen Ed Elective; Math/Stat/CS/DS students check with your advisor
RSENR: Consult with your academic advisor
CNHS: Consult with your academic advisor
CESS: Consult with your academic advisor

Syllabus: PDF iconHCOL_186C_S18-Grosvenor.pdf

Think about it. Point of view shapes everything—in life and, more so, in writing. This opening sentence demonstrates its power: that direct-address, invisible "you" as in  Nike's legendary slogan, "Just do it."


In this course, through immersion and imitation, you—in this case, students—will examine how writers make rhetorical choices and utilize point of view to craft short stories, novels, essays, memoirs, poems, and media messages. As readers and writers, students will study: how point of view impacts voice; how it relates to audience and  purpose; and how authors shift points of view, often from the "I" in order to reckon with  traumatic life experiences—their characters' and their own.

Through literary and rhetorical analyses, as well as drafting and revising their own original works, students will experience wait, what? moments as they probe and come to appreciate the transformative power and mastery—see the magic, the point—in the manipulation point of view.

Students will take a 'scientific' approach to syntax, dissecting sentences, and scrutinizing diction. They will debate pros and cons as they contemplate omniscient versus limited, direct address versus inclusion, singular versus multiple "I"s. They will question: Does this work? How? Why? Or why not? They will experiment in first-, second-, and third* person treatments to expand their own perceptions of the discipline—and art—of writing.

HCOL 186D - The Problem of Experience - Prof. Kevin Trainor, Department of Religion

CAS:   Humanities
GSB:   Humanities Core
CALS:   Humanities
CEMS:Engineering Students - Gen Ed Elective; Math/Stat/CS/DS students check with your advisor
RSENR: Consult with Academic Advisor
CNHS: Consult with Academic Advisor for further clarification
CESS: Consult with Academic Advisor for General Education Requirement Approval

Syllabus: FileHCOL_186D_S18-Trainor.docx

This seminar will examine the role of experience in human knowledge, with special attention to the issue of religious experience. We will investigate experience from several angles, drawing upon accounts of extraordinary states of human consciousness (sometimes called "mystical" states), reflections on the challenges of intercultural   understanding, and readings on the process of knowledge construction in the humanities and in the natural and social sciences.

The topic of religious experience is of particular interest because it highlights the tension between subjectivity and objectivity in human knowledge. Many accounts of religious experience grant a privileged status to the personal and subjective. Scholarly
knowledge, in contrast, is commonly marked by its "public" character, whether this is defined by the rigorous standards of empirical testing or by the broader criteria of publication and adherence to standards of rationality. We will explore this tension through a variety of texts, including a modern novel, a highly influential classic Buddhist text, scholarly essays drawn from several academic disciplines, and through conversations with visiting faculty who will discuss their research. Class participants will complete a substantial research paper and present their research to the seminar.

HCOL 186E - Democratic Theory - Prof. Jan Feldman, Department of Political Science

CAS: Humanities
GSB: Social Science Core
CALS:  Humanities, Social Science
CEMS: Engineering Students - Gen Ed Elective; Math/Stat/CS/DS students check with your advisor
RSENR: Consult with Academic Advisor
CNHS: Consult with Academic Advisor for further clarification
CESS: Consult with Academic Advisor for General Education Requirement Approval
 

Syllabus: FileHCOL_186E_S18-Feldman.docx

The democratic ideal is currently so pervasive that even the most authoritarian rulers and subnational groups worldwide rarely reject it outright. Tyrannical governments ranging from the former Soviet Union to the Islamic Republic of Iran have adopted (or coopted) the ideal of democracy. It is understood that democracy is the requirement for popular legitimacy, equality, prosperity, and stability—in short: justice.  What is democracy? Does its justification rest on the outcomes it produces or is it a good in itself? Is it desirable even when it arguably does not produce good governance? Can we trust our fellow citizens to be rational voters or even to know their own best interests? Should leaders to do what is “best” or what their constituents want? When we demand that our elected officials show ‘leadership’, does that violate democratic principles?

 

This course will examine five points of conflict in democratic theory:

The first is normative (seeking to justify democracy in terms of social justice, fairness, human dignity and autonomy). The second is procedural (seeking to justify democracy in terms of performance (do democratic procedures that aggregate individual interests in order to carry out collective decisions  produce superior policy outcomes?) The third is explanatory, historical, and empirical ( focusing on evolution and preconditions for democracy. How does contemporary democracy differ from the classical version? How does liberal democracy differ from non-liberal variants?)  The fourth is genitive and ontological. (Does democracy have a recipe or a blueprint?  Can it take root anywhere at any time?  Is political culture important? Does democracy require democrats in order to get started?) The fifth is prescriptive. Should we (the US) push other countries to adopt democracy, or is this another form of ‘imperialism’ and Western conceit?

The course will be structured around these five categories. Appropriately, we will operate as a democratic collective, which requires much from you. There will be opportunities for group projects, individual reflection essays and class discussion. 

 


 

HCOL 186F - Self Cultivation & Spiritual Practice: Comparative Perspectives - Prof. Adrian Ivankiv, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Science

CAS: Humanities
GSB: Humanities Core
CALS: Humanities
CEMS: Engineering Students - Gen Ed Elective; Math/Stat/CS/DS students check with your advisor
RSENR: Consult with your academic advisor
CNHS: Consult with your academic advisor
CESS: Consult with your academic advisor
 

This course introduces students to the comparative study of religion, spiritual, and psycho-physical practices - exercises by which individuals and groups deepen, develop, challenge, and transform their perceptions and capacities for action in harmony with religious, moral-ethical, or philosophical ideas.  The course covers a range that stretches from ancient Green and Roman philosophers (Stoics, Epicurians, Skeptics and Neoplatonists), the yogis and monks of ancient medieval South and East Asia, medieval Christian ascetics and Renaissance mages, to practitioners of modern forms of westernized yoga, martial arts, ritual magic, and forms of "civil religiosity" such as environmental activism.  Readings of ancient texts and contemporary philosophical writings will be complemented by practical exercises and writing and presentation assignments.

HCOL 186G - Vitamin N: The Medical Potential of Nature - Prof. Sean Flynn, Department of Neurological Sciences

CAS: No CAS credit
GSB: Elective Credit Only
CALS: Social Science
CEMS:Engineering Students - Gen Ed Elective; Math/Stat/CS/DS students check with your advisor
RSENR:  Consult with your academic advisor
CNHS: Consult with your academic advisor
CESS: Consult with your academic advisor

The natural world offers the health sciences a vast and varied array of resources that can directly benefit human health.  Hospital patients recovering in rooms with tree views have shorter hospital stays and require less pain medication.  In Japan and South Korea, governments are investing in 'forest bathing' and 'health rangers' to help residents deal with everything from addiction to post-traumatic stress disorder.  Venoms from cone snails, snakes, and spiders are being broken down and repurposed to treat patients with seizures and motor disorders.  Clinicians across the country are working with park services to create "Prescription Trails", to combat the obesity epidemic and the associated rise in diabetes.  In this course we will investigate work being done around the world utilizing nature to improve human health, focusing on four major topics: nature based therapeutics, physical health, mental health, and public health.  Culture and community facilitate the nature-health interaction and will be featured throughout the course.  Over the semester we will dive into the primary literature, discussing and critiquing their results and conclusions.  Armed with this new knowledge, we will look to the future and propose novel ideas and discuss how a new generation of scholars can push forward.

HCOL 186H - Pathological Science: How Do We Know What We Know? - Prof. Joel Goldberg, Department of Chemistry

CAS: Non-Lab Natural Science 
GSB: Natural Science Core (non lab)
CALS:  Social Science
CEMS: Engineering Students - Gen Ed Elective; Math/Stat/CS/DS students check with your advisor
RSENR: Consult with your academic advisor
CNHS: Consult with your academic advisor
CESS: Consult with your academic advisor
 
 
“GMOs are bad for you!” “Vaccines cause autism!” “We only use 10% of our brains!” “Infinite Energy machines can provide limitless cheap energy!” “Scientists have discovered a particle that travels faster than the speed of light!” “WiFi causes cancer!” “Eating an alkaline diet helps keep your body pH balanced, helping fight illness and disease!”

Fake News? or Amazing New Discovery?

This is a course about science, 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. By critically evaluating its failures, we can better understand what makes science work. 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 looking at examples of scientific discoveries that have either been accepted or rejected over time and, then, 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 address directly the question of "What is Science?" and 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 turn to 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 186I - "War is Hell" - Prof. Charles-Louis Morand Metivier, Department of Romance Languages

CAS:  Literature 
GSB: Humanities Core
CALS:  Social Science, Humanities
CEMS:  Engineering Students - Gen Ed Elective; Math/Stat/CS/DS students check with your advisor
RSENR: Consult with your academic advisor
CNHS: Consult with your academic advisor
CESS: Consult with your academic advisor

In this class, students will discuss, in primary sources (fiction and film) how war is represented by, though, and with emotions.  After a discussion on the main trends on the history of emotions, and the different theories that are applied to it – literary, historical, psychological, sociological and the findings of neurosciences, students will have to examine two main issues.  First, what is a war? Can it be defined? Are wars the same throughout history, with only a change of weaponry? Or does the evolution of mentalities, sciences, and technology profoundly altered the meaning of war?  Then, we will focus on how this idea of war impacted its actors and victims, and specifically, their reaction to it.  Did the dying 12th century knight suffer as much as the soldier shot by a sniper, in a contemporary guerilla-style urban conflict?  If the scientific and medical definition of pain, namely the physical and neurological signals have barely changed, does the setting of the conflict, of the ideology behind its origins, and the way war is presented to its protagonists and its victims change the perception of its emotions? Students will study primary sources from the Middle Ages to the 21st century and confront them to up-to-date scholarship on emotions coming from a large array of disciplines.  Though this multidisciplinary approach, they will get to understand how modern theories can help understand old texts, and how conflicts and narratives that may not have any common points may be dealing with the same issues.  Students will learn and decipher how emotions are complex tropes that are built through physical, mental, and physiological inputs as well as constructed through the handling, analysis and depiction of history and events.


 

HCOL 186J - Controversies in Public Health - Prof. Jan Carney - College of Medicine

CAS:   No CAS Credit
GSB:   Social Science Core  
CALS:    Social Science
CEMS:   Engineering Students - Gen Ed Elective; Math/Stat/CS/DS students check with your advisor
RSENR: Consult with Academic Advisor
CNHS: Elective – Consult with Academic Advisor for further clarification
CESS: Consult CESS advisor for General Education Requirement Approval

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 186K - Women and Fairy Tales in the European Tradition - Prof. Cristina Mazzoni, Department of Romance Languages & Linguistics

CAS: Literature
GSB: Humanities Core
CALS: Humanities 
CEMS:  Engineering Students - Gen Ed Elective; Math/Stat/CS/DS students check with your advisor
RSENR: Consult with academic advisor
CNHS: Elective – Consult with Academic Advisor for further clarification
CESS: Consult CESS advisor for General Education Requirement Approval
 

 

The course explores the role of women in traditional European fairy tales, both as characters and, to a lesser extent, as authors. We will read fairy tales dating from the sixteenth throwh the twenty-first centuries, and hailing from Italy, France, Germany, and England; we will also view and discuss the film adaptations of some of the stories. Students will become familiar with some of the classics of 'fairy tale analysis, including the structuralist work of Vladimir Propp and the psychoanalytic interpretation of Marie Louise von Franz. Readings will be in English and films will have English subtitles. Evaluation will be based on class participation, three short essays, a midterm, and a final exam. "Women and Fairy Tales in the European Tradition" fulfills category B of the Italian Studies Major and Minor (significant Italian content).

HCOL 186L - SU: Complexity, Climate Change and Society, Prof. Brian Beckage, Plant Biology

CAS:  No CAS distribution
GSB:   SU, Social Science Core
CALS: Social Science, Natural Science
CEMS:  Engineering Students - Gen Ed Elective; Math/Stat/CS/DS students check with your advisor
RSENR: Consult with Academic Advisor
CNHS: Consult with Academic Advisor
CESS: Consult CESS advisor 

Syllabus:  http://www.uvm.edu/~bbeckage/Teaching/HCOL_186_2018/HCOL186.html

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.

HCOL 186M - Animal Products and Human Nutrition - Prof. Jana Kraft, Department of Animal and Veterinary Science

CAS:  No CAS Distribution – CAS Elective Credit
GSB:  Elective Credit Only
CALS:  Natural Science
CEMS:Engineering Students - Gen Ed Elective; Math/Stat/CS/DS students check with your advisor
RSENR: Consult with Academic Advisor
CNHS: Consult with Academic Advisor
CESS: Consult CESS advisor

Syllabus: PDF iconHCOL_186M_S18-Kraft.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.

HCOL 186N - SU: SL: Soils and Sustainable Civilization: Mesopotamia to Vermont - Prof. Donald Ross, Plant Science

CAS:  Elective Credit Only
GSB:  SU, Natural Science Core (non lab)
CALS:  Natural Science
CEMS: Engineering Students - Gen Ed Elective; Math/Stat/CS/DS students check with your advisor
RSENR: Consult with Academic Advisor
CNHS: Consult with Academic Advisor
CESS: Consult CESS advisor 

Syllabus: FileHCOL_186N_S18-Ross.docx

Course description: We will explore the connection between the rise and fall of civilizations and their use and abuse of soil.  It is well documented, but not widely appreciated, that many past civilizations went into decline when their soils lost the ability to provide sustenance.  The course will present the basics of sustaining soil fertility and examine the evidence for the relationship between soils and civilizations, both past and present.  We will use our study of past problems as a reference for the study of sustainability in present-day Vermont.  Topics will include the range of soil types in Vermont, the potential for carbon sequestration, the challenges of agricultural nutrients and Lake Champlain eutrophication and the overall maintenance of soil quality in a changing climate.  The course will conclude with a discussion of the contribution of Vermont’s soils to a sustainable, local food system.  Class activities will include discussion of readings; topical videos; guest lectures on Vermont soils, sustainable forestry, agriculture and food systems; and field trips to local agricultural enterprises.  We will also have hands-on investigation of different soil types and soil development by looking beneath the surface around campus and nearby UVM lands.

HCOL 186O - SU: Climate Change and Human Health - Prof. Christine Vatovec - Biochemistry

CAS:  CAS elective credit
GSB:  SU, Social Science Core
CALS:  Social Science
CEMS: Engineering Students - Gen Ed Elective; Math/Stat/CS/DS students check with your advisor
RSENR: Consult with Academic Advisor
CNHS: Consult with Academic Advisor
CESS: Consult CESS advisor

Syllabus: PDF iconHCOL_186O_S18-Vatovec.pdf

Global climate change is among the “greatest health risks of the 21st Century,” according to the World Health Organization. The health effects of climate change are already being felt around the world, including increased prevalence of heat-related illness, transmission and spread of infectious disease, risks from extreme weather events, and effects on the quality and quantity of environmental determinants of health including air, water, and food. Using a lens of sustainability, and engaging with authentic hope for creating a more sustainable future, this course will critically examine the human health effects of climate change, and the options for mitigating these negative health outcomes. We will focus our efforts around recent scholarship that suggests many mitigation and adaptation strategies will produce co-benefits that will promote both human and ecological flourishing.