Interdisciplinary Courses for Spring 2016

In Search of the Holy Grail

HONS 381.03

This course will focus on an examination of the historical and mythical King Arthur, using literary and historical sources to see where history ends and legend begins.  While the lines between literature and history are frequently blurred, the professors will use the methodologies of History, English, and Medieval Studies to guide the students through a reading of the history of medieval England and the medieval literary and historical accounts of King Arthur. During Spring Break, the students and professors will travel to England and Wales to visit sites associated with King Arthur and the times when the accounts of King Arthur and the Grail legend arose.  After the trip, students will research, write, and present to the class on individual topics about King Arthur.


South African Literature and Culture

HONS 380.02

This course would use a range of readings from modern South African literature as a lens through which to study South African history, politics, and culture more broadly. The course will focus on literature from the apartheid period (formally beginning in 1948) to the present In so doing, it will introduce students not only to a number of powerful writers, but also to numerous theoretical issues concerning language, literature, literacy, race, ethnicity, and so on that the country’s often violent history has made pressingly urgent. We will address these issues both in the context of local debates about the role of the artist and in terms of wider literary and political movements. While the bulk of the course will concern writing produced during the apartheid era
(1948-1994), we will also be looking at texts that deal with the origins and consequences of apartheid, and we will keep up with what is currently happening in South Africa Students may well find interesting connections with the history, literature, and mythrnaking of colonial, independent and contemporary America.


Altered States of Conciousness: Religion, Psychology, and the Paranormal

HONS 381.04

This class will explore altered states of consciousness from an interdisciplinary perspective.  Specifically, we’ll examine how different disciplines (religion, anthropology, psychology) understand altered states of consciousness



HONS 381.01

This class explores how literature and history have used the motif of maroonage to explore a cluster of themes (human nature, relation of humanity to nature, the nature and fragility of civilization) and propose solutions to problems inherent in these themes.  Students will practice a range of analytical skills—literary and historical interpretation especially, but also others such as new historicism and a more interdisciplinary cultural criticism.


The Cat: Biology & Social Construction of a Domesticated Species

HONS 382.02

What is a cat? Is it independent and Solitary, or social? A nonnative predator or part of natural ecosystems? How do we know? How do our social and symbolic perceptions align with scientific data? To what extent is the collection of Scientific data predicated on assumptions derived from social perceptions? And how does all of this relate to relevant policy-making and program development?  This course investigates the construction of knowledge from both biological and social perspectives to better understand what we know and how we know it.


The Supremes

HONS 382.03

Beginning with an historical examination of our legal system and rule of law from Magna Carta through the Constitution of the U.S. and the Bill of Rights, this course will concentrate on the U.S. Supreme Court, its founding days, its influential role through the great events of our history and the impact it has had on our society.  The course will confront the landmark decisions of the Court and will examine the role of its most influential judges.  The student will research and be prepared to discuss some of the great social and political issues of our time and consider how the Court might rule on such issues based upon the studentʼs understanding of our Constitution, its amendments and legal precedent.  Finally, students will undertake a virtual U.S. Supreme Court experience.  The student will select one or more significant current societal issues. The student will take on the role of an advocate before the Court — researching and assembling facts to support an opinion or contesting another studentʼs opinion.  The student will reduce his or her argument to a written report in the form of a legal brief, make an oral argument and be prepared to dissuade all contra arguments


Education Law

HONS 382.01

This course examines legal principles applicable to educational institutions, including federal and state constitutional provisions, legislation, administrative regulations, and case law. Students in this course will also examine the concept of service-learning and engage in service-learning experiences with a local area public school and a regional legal rights organization. Students will examine the concept, history, and rationale for service-learning and analyze service-learning research, methodologies, and potential outcomes. While the basic foundations of this course are grounded in educational law, it is interdisciplinary in nature as it draws upon the theoretical underpinnings of other areas such as politics, history, and finance of education