An HONR Seminar is a small, co-created, multidisciplinary, rigorous, enriched course that leverages a captivating topic to cultivate in talented students the critical reflection proficiency, intellectual and creative courage, and ethical awareness they will require in order to become impactful and responsible leaders in their fields.
HONR 208D – Insect Biodiversity: The Good, The Bad and The Weird
The rich diversity of insect life continually captures the imaginative mind, from Charles Darwin to modern naturalists and scientists alike. Think of colorful, charismatic butterflies pollinating native plants. Now consider how these graceful creatures are closely related to mosquitoes, insects that serve as a nuisance at best and transmitters of devastating disease at worst. Insects profoundly shape our world, for the good, bad, and downright weird. This seminar, designed for students of any major, will celebrate the dominance and incredible variety of insects on our planet, as well as their value to society as providers of ecosystem services. In addition to discussions, we will use the Entomology Teaching Lab to illustrate and explore the diversity of insects and their ecological functions. Also in the lab, we will examine samples collected from streams and wetlands, and observe the behaviors and interactions among insects. Collecting insects around campus will also allow us to assess the diversity of life in local habitats. Discussions will focus on sustainability, and the role of conservation and restoration to ensure the future of insects (and us) on our planet.
HONR 208L– Justice Matters: Law, Literature, and Film
Justice Matters is "a law and literature course" in which we discuss questions that matter: when is there a duty to disobey an unjust law? Is it ever justified to take the law into one's own hands to revenge a serious wrong? How does our criminal justice system impact minorities, the poor, and immigrants? How should we punish those guilty of infanticide? Is capital punishment ethical and viable: should we kill the death penalty or reform death penalty statutes? How should we treat the mentally ill when they are convicted and crimes? There is nothing more dramatic than a criminal trial. We will view high-quality film depictions of trial scenes in connection with our readings.
HONR 208P– Tolkien: Mythmaker
Ever wonder what the story is behind your favorite story? J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings has attracted a large audience and dedicated fandom since its 1954 publication. This course will consider Tolkien's masterwork within its context. How do Tolkien's other works and his sociopolitical environment help us better understand LOTR? In what ways did his friends, family, and life experiences factor into his creation? And how much do we care about context when we’re escaping into the world he created?
Our seminar also will consider how LOTR transcends its original context. Tolkien's stated aim for his fiction was to create a body of mythology for England, an extensive collection of stories about gods and heroes like the northern myths. How unique was his project; how did he succeed; and what other mythic worlds did he inspire? Can we call Tolkien a mythmaker for our time?
HONR 209G- Elements of Drawing for Non-Majors
Note: Students must pay a $40.00 studio lab fee for this course.
This is a foundation level course on the theory and practice of drawing. Various traditional and non-traditional media techniques include line, painterly materials, color, digital photography, and collage. Theories and principles of composition, form, and space preside over the course. Subject matter and content vary, embracing still life, human form, complex interiors, and personal photography. The course also aims to improve discourse and critical thinking in drawing and art. While intended for non-majors, the curriculum prepares the student for further study in studio art if desired.
HONR 209W- War Stories: Personal Narratives, Fiction, and Film
What is it like to go to war? What it is like to stay at home while someone you love goes to war? Is there such a thing as a good war? What was it like to serve in the Vietnam War? Women are serving in combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan: what are their stories and how do they differ from the experience of the male soldier? Is torture ever justified? Is it ethical or legal for a soldier to refuse to fight if he or she thinks that a war is unjust? What is it like to have PTSD and how effective are the treatments? This course examines the experience of war by from the perspective of the soldier, his or her family, veterans, and prisoners of war—both from the US perspective and war stories of our nation’s enemies. We will read true first person accounts, fiction, and film. This is your chance to debate whether it was worthwhile to save Private Ryan and to consider how Hollywood’s treatment of war has changed over the past decades to critique and condemn US military involvement.
HONR218A - "Furies from Hell" to "Femi-Nazis": A History of Modern Anti-Feminism
Depending on the person you ask, feminism is either the downfall of Western civilization or a crucial component for saving the world. How are these contradictory interpretations possible? In this course, we will examine the origins of the modern anti-feminist movement in the eighteenth century, focusing especially on how thinkers deliberated about women’s rights in conjunction with issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality. We will then deepen our analysis by examining related political, social, and cultural debates since that time, looking at major issues, movements, and moments like the campaigns for women’s suffrage, debates about reproductive rights, the Second Wave of feminism, issues of homophobia and transphobia, and feminism and racism.
HONR218E - "Naturally Chic": Fashion, Gender, and Nationalism in French History
“Frivolous Froth” or “Instant Communication”? “Sartorial Imprisonment” or “Artistic Expression”? Opinions about fashion are as varied as the colors of the clothing you wear, and yet no matter your opinion of it, the industry of fashion greatly impacts every single person who dresses in the morning. This course will explore the origins of the modern fashion industry, beginning with its use as a language of power for royalty in early modern France and the French Revolution. It will then take a historical lens to some of the most crucial and controversial angles of fashion, including labor, femininity, cultural conformity, religion, and ecological impact. So, is fashion “Silly” or “Life-Enhancing”?? Ultimately you will decide!
HONR 218F- Keeping it Real: Art and the Representation of Reality
Jesse Cordes Selbin
Why bother depicting daily life in art, literature, film, or television? At first glance, nothing could be more boring: ordinary reality surrounds us, so why make it an object of art? Yet for the last several centuries, everyone from the Grand Masters of high art to radically colloquial poets, reality TV producers, and Instagram aficionados have attempted to capture what it feels like to inhabit reality in the modern age. In this class, we will ask questions like: is it possible to document reality, and where does reality meet perception? What counts as ordinary? And what forms of experience are deemed “authentic” or “real”? While our reading will focus largely on novels, short stories, and poetry, we will also explore the curious tenacity of realism in popular modern genres like cinematic neorealism, documentaries, sitcoms, reality television, and contemporary visual culture and social media.
HONR 218G- How and Why We Read
Jesse Cordes Selbin
Reading is one of the first things we teach children and is often seen as an essential skill of modern life. Why? What happens when we read, and why do we do it? How does reading for pleasure differ from the reading we do in school, online, or on the go? As we will see, debates still rage not just about why we read, but about who reads, and when and where and how they do it. This course explores how people have read historically and across cultures, from ancient scroll interpreters to modern book-nerds. As we analyze specific reading methods commonly held to build skills like critical thinking, we will ask how different disciplines read. We will also investigate why reading has long been understood as a liberating activity that enables its practitioners to flourish and, finally, we will ask whether a world mediated by text presents problems for those who lie outside its scope.
HONR218I- It Happened to Me – Truth, Lies, and Discovery in Memoir and Memory
How good is your memory? Remembering is a tricky process that can change based on how long ago an event happened and our relationship to it. From recalling an early personal memory to participating in cultural memories, our memories can even disagree with other people’s. Do you trust the memory of someone who was there when it happened, or a historian who pieces together facts from multiple accounts and objects years later? We will read personal histories in which memories disagree, childhoods are forgotten, generational memories morph over time, and memories may be false or created. Through field trips to the Holocaust Memorial Museum and the African American Museum of History and Culture, our own creative writing, and a classroom pop-up gallery, we will explore how memory is traced, recorded, and shared – as well as investigate the critical problems of suppression, recovery, and disputation of memory – to understand its echoes and recall in our present.
HONR 218J- Sustainability and Development: From the Individual to the Global
In the battle to save the environment and fight climate change, sustainability has become a major issue. However, it is hard for diverse populations worldwide to come to consensus how to best achieve sustainability. But, can we really talk about sustainability without exploring the contested nature of development? After all, the idea of development ranges from the dominant worldview of economic growth and industrialization to broader perspectives that examines human well-being, equity and justice that are situation-dependent and tied to national & global power relations. To identify all the ramifications of sustainability and development may seem like an endless task. But, this course will help students better recognize the interconnections of sustainability and development, including how they relate to the personal and the political, the individual and collective, humanity and all species, effluence and affluence, progress and destruction, indifference and responsibility. The more we understand our world and our relationship with it, the better equipped we are to know how to engage respectfully, and to respond to—“why you matter to the globe’s future and how can you make a difference?”
HONR 218M- Elements of Music Composition for Non-Majors
William C. Evans
Have you always wanted to write and record a hit song? Want to write an arrangement for your acapella group or instrumental group of your favorite song? Are you curious how composers and songwriters put it all together! Work with the latest computer music software to compose your own masterpiece in HONR218M. Each class is a musical laboratory featuring state of the art computer music hardware and software. Study the form and analysis of famous composers to build your own palate of musical colors.
HONR218N - Suffering and Its Resistance
When Freddie Gray was killed in 2015, citizens of Baltimore took to the streets. News agencies from all over the world covered the protests as people demanded justice. Five years later, corruption and violence remain a problem, while the city’s murder rate has climbed to one of the highest per capita in the U.S. So what did the citizens’ calls for justice accomplish? What good is protesting? And how do we respond to suffering in Baltimore and beyond amidst historical and structural causes, intergenerational resonances, and uneven distribution? In probing these questions, we will discuss politics, theology, and literature as we debate the work and thoughts of rebels and questioners, philosophers and leaders, poets and activists. We will write scenes and perform in a reader’s theater, and we will write arguments to support our points of view in classroom debates. Throughout this seminar, our investigation of the relationships among power, injustice, and suffering will push us to find connections among resistance, empathy, and hope.
HONR 218O - Wild and Wasted: Nature in Film and TV
The gaze of the camera lens is for many people the most common way we experience nature. It is a medium filled with potential for insight, empathy, and conservation; it is also fraught with misrepresentation and exploitation. We will examine nature in film and TV through three genres: Wildlife and Slow Film, Documentary, and Big Hollywood. These units we will show how media both supports and masks ecological realities, how indigenous others are represented by colonizing explorers, how nature is depicted variously as resource, wilderness, and acculturated playground, and the differences in focus and ethic between niche-market and popular films. The second half of class will be filmmaking. In small groups students will collaborate to produce a short film that may have a thematic focus such as food, habitat, transportation, or waste. Groups will draft and revise a short screenplay, and set up the locations, interviews, and any other elements of production. Each group will then produce a short film of ~5 minutes in length and present it to the class. Exceptional work may merit additional support to enter into film Festivals.
HONR 218P- Immigration: Personal Stories and Policy Changes
Despite the symbolism of the statue of liberty, prejudice against foreigners is embedded in our nation's history. President's Trump's initiatives curtailing immigration are nothing new. Ben Franklin labeled immigrants as "generally of the most ignorant Stupid Sort of their own Nation…Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens who will...never adopt our Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion?" This course considers the personal stories of immigrants and the public policy debate around key issues by looking at first person accounts, fiction, and film. Are you an immigrant or do you belong to an immigrant family? What is your family's immigration story and how does it shed light on current policy debates? How is the experience of immigrants today affected by colorism or racism? What factors help refugees and other immigrants succeed in the US socially and financially? Does broad immigration help our country's economy or take jobs away from American citizens? How should immigration policy be reformed? This course will provide you an opportunity to consider and debate these questions and to share your own family's immigration story.
HONR 218T- Political Theater: On Stage and in Washington
Note: Students must contribute $20.00 toward theater ticket purchases.
“Should the theater be political? Absolutely not.” That declaration from U.S. playwright David Mamet sums up much of the perplexing anti-political prejudice on the American stage – a stance that artists are now wrestling to change. How can theater effectively respond to social events? Can playwrights still attack through fiction, as Arthur Miller confronted McCarthyism via The Crucible? This seminar will examine the shifting patterns of political theater, and will study the latest practices by attending several live professional shows in Washington, where theaters are increasingly mindful of the platforms they have mere blocks from the White House and Capitol Hill. No previous experience with theater required.
HONR 218W - The Idea of Crime
What (if anything) motivates an individual to commit acts of crime? Why is crime concentrated in a small number of communities? What are the trends in crime, especially violence, over time? Why do some societies have high rates of crime and violence while others do not? What can the government do (if anything) to prevent and control crime? These questions have challenged and bedeviled social thinkers for centuries. Indeed, such big questions have no easy answers. This seminar seeks to engage students in a thoughtful, in-depth examination of the idea of crime. We will explore fundamental debates about the definition of crime, its nature, its explanation, and its control. In this era of “alternative facts” and “fake news,” emphasis will be placed on scientific facts, not ideology.
HONR 219D - On Beyond Dinosaurs: Patterns and Enigmas in Vertebrate Evolution
Charles Darwin’s discovery of evolution is the pivotal event in the history of biology. His breakthrough not only accounts for organismal changes over time, but implies that lineages share common ancestry, forming an all-encompassing “tree of life.” Surprisingly, the detailed description of this tree has only been a primary goal of Biology for less than half a century. More surprisingly, although the idea that the evolution of lineages and the development of individuals is linked has been around for over a century, the science of developmental biology – the study of individual development, is only now being integrated with the search for the tree. Exploring these developments will take us through many evolutionary and paleontological topics. For example, the closest fossil relatives of vertebrates have a mouth, but nothing resembling a head. How did their featureless front ends give rise to our brains, jaws, eyes, ears, and noses? In how many separate ways did vertebrate anatomy change to facilitate the momentous transition to life on land? How did the ancestors of mammals’ jaw bones get transformed into components of the modern mammalian ear? Why do a turtle’s ribs grow outside of its arms and legs? Why does an adult crocodile’s heart resemble that of a human fetus? These and many more intriguing topics await.
HONR 219M- Why Do We Do What We Do? The Role of Motivation in People's Achievements and Choices
“The starting point of all achievement is desire.” –Napoleon Hill
Motivation is what causes us to act. HONR 219M will help students understand the nature and development of individuals’ motivation for different activities, with a focus on achievement motivation, or motivation when standards of excellence are involved. In the first part of the course we will examine and critique major theories of motivation primarily from the developmental and educational psychology literatures. We then will discuss the development of motivation in the home and school. We finish with a discussion of gender, culture, and motivation. Learning to critique research articles will be an important part of the course. Overall, this course aims to explore three basic questions:
1. How do psychologists, sociologists, and educators define motivation currently and what are the major current theoretical models of motivation?
2. How does our motivation change from early childhood to early adulthood?
3. What factors (e.g., environmental, relational, cultural, gender) influence the development of motivation?
HONR 219T- Surviving Natural Disasters: Learning from Hurricane Katrina, Big Earthquakes, and Other Natural Hazards
Natural disasters wreak havoc on communities, and they can lead to significant loss of life and property. Major historical events such as the San Francisco Earthquake in 1906 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 have been major wake up calls for the U. S. with respect to the risk represented by these natural hazards. Ironically, significantly worse devastation has occurred globally, at times having consequences that exceed well over 100,000 lives and $100B of property lost. With each event we learn more about the hazards and what might be done to minimize their impacts. Yet, the events and subsequent devastation continue as demonstrated recently by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and the earthquake near Mexico City, all occurring within the span of 31 days. Why do we remain so vulnerable to these events, and what can we do about them? We cannot prevent the hazard events, but we can prepare for them and mitigate their impacts. This course examines the different types of natural hazards and the forces that they impose on communities and society in general. It explores the issue of why losses occur and what approaches might be used to reduce losses through examining historical and recent natural hazard events. Have we applied what we learn to reduce this vulnerability and if not, why? What is necessary, politically, economically and scientifically to change these trends and prepare for the more uncertain future that is emerging with the nexus of continuing climatic, social and geopolitical change? You can be part of the problem, or with knowledge you'll gain in this class, an important part of the solution!
HONR 219W- Africa and the Global Criminal Economy
Although some academics, policymakers, and journalists argue that Africa is “falling off the world economic map”, some processes and activities associated with the global criminal economy forge strong economic links between parts of Africa and the rest of the world. Illegal economic activity, and the global networks that allow it to flourish, can be described as criminal, deviant globalization, or perverse development. This course explores the more sordid manifestations of globalization and how they impact African development and influence the Global North’s perception of the continent. In the course, students critically analyze why many types of illegal activities are geographically concentrated in African countries. We investigate how the economic and social contexts in which illegal products/services are produced, sold, and used for profit vary across place. Since criminal activity tends to be opportunistic, the course considers both the role of demand in destination countries (often among the world’s most affluent) and supply in the sites of production (often within the world’s poorest places, including African countries). We focus on two illegal global production networks—the illegal trade in gemstones and wildlife—and two forms of illegal activities that disrupt legal flows of money and goods—maritime piracy and cybercrime. Examining these activities the through the lens of traditional development theories and Amartya Sen’s capabilities approach, this course explores the perverse incentives that contribute to some members of African societies becoming participants in the global criminal economy. We also explore the consequences of illegal economic activity on global economic integration, consumption patterns, and international security.
HONR 228T– Journalism and Peace
We have no shortage of war correspondents. But where are the peace correspondents? Where are the journalists whether in print or broadcast, whether toiling for the wealthy corporate media or going it alone as independents, whether columnists or editorial writers, whether reporters and editors on high school or college newspapers or reporters and editors of large circulation dailies, who bring to the public the news about peace? This course is a modest effort to examine some of the issues involving journalism and peace.
HONR 229K– Achieving Justice and Equality in the 21st Century: Problems, Policies and Practice
Despite advancements brought on through the Civil Rights Movement, landmark court decisions, and major legislation, African Americans continue to experience disadvantage in many realms as a result of discrimination and institutionalized racism. Even as more African Americans are moving into the middle class, entrenched inequality circumscribes upward mobility and threatens to reverse hard-won gains. This course examines sociostructural factors that shape life chances for African Americans and contribute to their status and experiences in contemporary American society. It also considers policy and practice solutions that address inequality. We focus on the role of racial attitudes, poverty, social mobility, employment, education, family functioning, and the criminal justice system in the attainment of justice and equality for African Americans.
HONR 229R- Short Texts, Great Ideas
The essay, a brief exploration of an idea, phenomenon, or topic, has become more important than ever as online content from blog posts to magazine articles has predisposed us toward shorter pieces that get to the point quickly and effectively. In this course we will consider forerunners by an ancient Greek skeptic, a tenth-century Japanese lady in waiting, and a fifteenth-century French nobleman before turning to a series of monumental modern examples. Besides polishing our reading skills, we will also practice writing, and learn the basics of pitching an idea to an editor so that students can become active participants in public discourse.
HONR 229W- Revenge of the Funny Women
In 2007 provocateur Christopher Hitchens wrote the opinion column “Why Women Aren’t Funny” based on normative biological distinctions between the sexes: Hitchens claimed that males must “perform” for females to impress them; females have no biological drive to entertain, and therefore no aptitude. Patriarchy has an allergy to funny women for good reason: humor undercuts power structures and refuses to stay in the box. Elizabeth Bennet knew the power of wit when she poked fun at Mr. Darcy’s pride, and women like Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett opened up new avenues for women in their shows. In today’s culture, women of different races, religions, social classes, and sexual preferences gain viewers not only through traditional media platforms, but in the fan cultures of social media where they can use their humor to argue for social change. Contrary to Hitchens, humor is not just a biological instinct, but a social act that serves an important role in human social evolution. In this seminar, we will learn the theory and conceptual tools we need to analyze the various feminist revolutions on stage and screen from the early 20th century to today; we will expand the range of contemporary figures profiled in scholarly discourse; and we will write and perform our own group comedy routines.
HONR 238C– The Future of Energy and Climate Policy
This course brings the Washington, DC policy debate of the future of U.S. energy and climate policy into the College Park classroom. The course reveals far more than what you read in the news, offering students an up-close-and-personal tour of the people and strategies that shape how and why Congress and the President promote their energy and climate initiatives. Students will learn first-hand the behind-the-scenes fights between different competing special interests that shape our legislative and regulatory energy and climate policy outcomes, as the semester will feature numerous DC policy experts who work on the front lines of these high-profile fights. The class explores different grassroots, media and lobbying strategies that organizations utilize to influence the positions that Congress and the Executive Branch take on energy and climate policy. The course also introduces students to the difference between the academic analysis of various energy policy reforms—such as U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations to address climate change—and the ways in which well-funded advocacy groups shape the public’s (and lawmakers’) perception of these programs.
HONR 238G- The Manhattan Project: A Century of Radioactivity, Nuclear Weapons, and Nuclear Power
The United States successfully undertook some of the greatest science and engineering projects in the twentieth-century, and among them was the development, production and delivery of an Atomic Bomb. This seminar will deal with the science, politics and history that surrounded the bomb’s development. From the discovery of nuclear fission to the unleashing of one of the most dangerous – and controversial – weapons man has ever seen, this seminar will take a multi-disciplinary look at this important moment in history. Based on the Pulitzer-Prize winning book written by historian and journalist Richard Rhodes, the science discussed will be accessible for students of all majors.
HONR 238R – Global Terrorism
Manchester Arena. Pulse in Orlando. Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Fort Hood. Mumbai. San Bernardino. Hebron. Oklahoma City. Beirut. Tokyo. Political and religious fanatics, suicide bombers, mass murder, fear of flying, fear of foreigners, fear of public places. Welcome to the world of modern terrorism. No part of the world is immune, no humans are safe. Terrorism is a shared nightmare. This course explores this global phenomenon, its nature, causes and consequences. The subject matter might not be for everyone, but it is for those determined to understand this vast, complex problem and how to fight it.
HONR 239A- Constructing and De-Constructing the Colonial Chesapeake
The Chesapeake Bay region during the colonial era — comprised of the colonies of Maryland and Virginia — has been one of the most fertile fields of early American scholarship. Incorporating the first permanent English settlements in the New World, the evolving Chesapeake society was marked by a cultural richness borne of the mixture of Native American, African, and English peoples. The society and culture that resulted had a prominent place in the development of the emerging American nation, and thus has particular relevance to today’s world.
The work of scholars from a range of related disciplines — historians, archaeologists, architectural historians, museum curators, and other material culture specialists — have joined forces to gather evidence from a variety of sources to bring to bear in studying this time and place. Students will have the opportunity to adopt those roles in gathering, manipulating, and interpreting primary data — both on-site and online — to address a number of issues related to the development of Chesapeake culture and society.
• Attendance and participation in class discussions
• Leading class discussion on a selected topic
• Four short exercises in gathering and analyzing primary data
• A capstone project and presentation to the seminar, in collaboration with one or more classmates, on a research question of your choice that will be an extension of classroom work.
Students will read a variety of secondary sources written by specialists in the study of the Colonial Chesapeake; online resources will include a number of recently compiled data bases of primary evidence comprising: early Chesapeake buildings, enslaved African American housing, archaeological collections, and primary documents
Field trips to colonial Chesapeake buildings and sites in the area; Bostwick house, the mid-18th-century home of the prominent Lowndes family, which is located in nearby Bladensburg, will serve as an ongoing laboratory for investigating topics related to Chesapeake architecture and cultural dynamics.
HONR 239C- The Creative Process in Dance
Experience the creative process in dance by focusing on creating movement, manipulating movement and organizing it in forms similar to those in music composition. This course will create movement inspired by spoken word, music, poetry and visual art. This class will encourage students to examine how dance exists in an environment with other arts and humanities.
HONR 239J- “Enemy of the People”: When Journalism Investigates the Powerful
Note: Credit will only be granted for HONR239J or JOUR289P.
President Trump has called the news media “the enemy of the American people.” But he is not the first president to attack reporters, who have been exposing wrongdoing in American ever since George Washington. How and why does the press uncover misconduct by individuals and institutions in the US? How do their targets react? Why does this matter? This seminar will trace the history of investigative journalism and its impact on society.
HONR239Q - Visual and Verbal Representations in Art: Chinese Poetry, Calligraphy, and Painting
The Chinese artistic tradition carries a key concept called sanjue, “three perfections,” which refers to works of art that synthesize three separate media—poetry, calligraphy, and painting. In this course, students will examine the cultural, historical, and theoretical issues that characterize the complex relationship between word and image in Chinese art and culture. Using the same tools and materials utilized by Chinese poet-artists, students will practice Chinese calligraphy and make their own works of art in which word and image are combined for personal and artistic expression. Students will also design and write a curatorial statement of their own digital 3-D exhibitions of the works of art in the mode of shituyu, a “painting of poetic ideas” which demands viewers (and readers) to traverse between the “three perfections” of sanjue, thereby enriching their aesthetic experience. This course provides excellent opportunities for students to examine the nature of art, the notion of mimesis in aesthetics, and the fundamental question of validity of interpretation in the humanities, while obtaining valuable skills in critical judgement, creative problem solving, and learning about aspects of curating works of art.
HONR 239V- Introduction to Visual Storytelling
This course is for non-Journalism majors only.
Students who enroll in this course will be invited to challenge themselves creatively on a visual communication level. The world we live in is becoming more and more loaded with visual stimuli. Everyone is taking photos. Everyone is shooting video clips. Everyone is uploaded and retweeting. Whether it be Facebook pop up advertisements, Instagram photos, Vine videos, selfies or video shorts, visual communication takes up a big part of our lives. A grand majority of that visual imagery is not so great. How do you make your imagery stand out? Through the introduction to a series of key visual techniques, documentary skills, compositional tools and with the use of a powerful software suite, students will learn how to shoot, edit, display and tell simple to complex stories through the use of still photos and video clips. The semester will be broken into two equal parts. The first half of the semester will deal with still photography, one the most powerful forms of communication. Weekly assignments and in class exercises will center on instilling good visual skills. You will learn how to find great images instead of snap photos. Tried and true compositional technics will be taught alongside sound documentary and ethical skills. Students will work consistently with the latest version of Adobe Photoshop, the industry standard for photo editing and digital manipulation.
HONR 239Z - Applying Reason to Passion: The Philosophy of Sex
In this class we will examine and critique philosophical arguments pertaining to sexual acts, sexual choices, and sexual relationships. We will start by investigating questions related to consent. For instance: What counts as consent? What, if anything, makes sexual consent different from medical consent and consent in the market arena? What undermines consent? In order to answer this last question about consent, we will investigate the philosophical literature on moral rights, coercion, deception, and exploitation. For instance, what kinds of threats undermine sexual consent? Must the threat be sufficiently harmful? Must it be a threat to violate the rights of the victim? Or would a threat to reveal a dark secret be sufficient to undermine sexual consent? Next, consider deception into sex - or lying to get laid. Do some lies used to obtain sex undermine sexual consent? Which lies fall into this category? Why? Finally, we will investigate some applied topics; for instance: is it morally permissible to buy and sell sexual services? What, if anything, is morally problematic about pornography? What, if anything, is morally problematic about sexual monogamy? For what reasons is it wrong to have sex with children and animals - given that we don't require their consent in other important arenas?
HONR 248J- A Most Human Nation
What does it mean to be represented in the national capital? This course examines the history of portraiture in Washington, D.C. We will look at depictions of national leaders and ordinary Americans and consider what public displays reveal about private lives and the condition of political structures in America. What is lost and gained when your likeness is “taken”? How important is it for portraits to be “real”? Human and civil rights struggles; virtual reality in an era of globalization, balkanization, and digital technology; surveillance and privacy rights; and concerns about the human habitation of the city all will be covered. Visual and verbal “portraits” likely will include paintings of George Washington; monuments commemorating war heroes; Depression-Era photographs; writings by Langston Hughes, Edward P. Jones, Marjorie Williams, Katherine Graham, and Anthony Calypso; scenes from movies (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Talk to Me, Shattered Glass, Selma); newspaper profiles; recent art exhibitions (“Asian American Portraits of Encounter”); and musical selections (e.g., Hamilton). Note: Credit will not be granted for both HONR248J and HHUM205.
HONR248V – Music, Poetry, Sound and Sense
Why do the arts express meaning in a way that is frequently described by using language that reflects our physical experience in the world? For instance, we talk about melodies that rise and fall as if they were subject to the force of gravity, or about certain aspects of poetry as if poets were singers. In other words, we use metaphor to relate the ineffable qualities of music and poetry to our physical experience in the world. This course will explore the use of metaphor in music and poetry by using another metaphor—“translation”—to reveal commonalities in the way movement, time, space, texture and other perspectives are expressed in art. The primary assignment in the course will be to keep a journal for half of the semester, collecting metaphors you encounter in the world and finding poems and music (of any style) that make use of these metaphors. The final project will be to compile a select mini-anthology of the poems and music that you collect and provide commentary on the connections you find between pairs (a musical work and a poem) of works.
HONR249G - How Do You “Man Up?”: Men, Masculinity, and Mental Health
In August 2018, the American Psychological Association released guidelines regarding the best practices for researchers and mental health professionals when working with boys and men. Many reacted with the question, “are we treating masculinity as a mental health issue?” This course aims to answer that question by taking a historical perspective on how American society has viewed masculinity from the beginning of psychology as a field of study until present day. An intersectional approach will be taken to better understand how race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, and socioeconomic status impact men and masculinity. We will address the questions: How does one prove their manhood? How much of masculinity is biological versus socialized? What experiences are unique to men? And how do psychologists and mental health professionals understand and address mental health concerns among men?
HONR 258A- Renewing the Body: The Science Behind Regeneration and Immortality
Regrowing lost body parts. Defying aging. These phenomena are not just fiction – they are a reality for many animals capable of these remarkable (and enviable!) feats. Although we humans can’t even regrow a finger, some animals can regenerate every part of the body, even from a tiny fragment. And while aging and death are inescapable in humans, some animals don’t age at all and are immortal. In this seminar, we will explore the biological basis for regeneration and immortality to learn what is known, and not known, about these fascinating phenomena. Throughout the seminar, students will engage in authentic scientific practices that provide translatable skills, including evaluation of scientific data, generating hypotheses, designing experiments, scientific writing, oral presentation, and peer review. The seminar includes both individual and group projects, extensive discussion, and a supportive environment.
HONR 258B - “Watch out! Calm down.”: The Goals of Risk Communication
You’re working at the FDA, and you receive a preliminary report stating that Mad Cow Disease may have compromised a major beef distributor’s supply. More tests need to be run to be sure, and the full report will take about two weeks. Do you wait for the full report, not wanting to start a panic? Or do you warn the public, even though the scare might not pan out? If you do warn the public, how do you communicate the findings of the report? People’s lives and millions of dollars are on the line: what do you do? The right messages to the right people at the right time can save lives, and risk communication helps us think about how to convey sensitive messages about crucial issues from public health, to technological accident, to natural disaster. We will cover current thinking about the nature of risk, risk perceptions, theoretical perspectives on risk communication, and application of these theories to risk events in its real-life context. For example, we will examine such questions as: “Why do people continue to smoke despite knowing the health risks with the habit?,” “Why people choose not to leave a high-risk environment, e.g., voluntary evacuation areas prepare for possibility of Hurricane Irma?,” “What are the most effective things the government/local leaders can do to get them out of harm's way?,” and "How can we communicate controversial science effectively?
HONR 258E- Creating the Future through Systemic Thinking and Design
What makes the task of envisioning and creating a desirable future so difficult is the gap we impose between our thoughts and our actions. We create barriers to change because to shape our future, to take control of it, means to take on activities that require purposeful action. How, then, do we overcome these obstacles? Through this engaging and highly experiential course, students learn about a process called idealized design. The methodology is simple, but the implications are profound. Students will engage in a cycle of activities that begins with the mental creation of an idealized future and ends with its realization. Students will uncover and examine assumptions, explore innovative possibilities, engage in problem dissolution, use design thinking tools, assess implications and unintended consequences, and apply frameworks to “dig deep” for answers on how to influence the future. In this course, students will not be passive observers of the future but purposeful designers of the future they wish to pursue.
HONR258P – The Mathematics of Democracy
What does mathematics have to say about politics? But first, what is mathematics? Although it can be difficult to define, one can roughly describe mathematics as the practice of deductive reasoning used to reveal mathematical truths, that is, truth about mathematical objects (it is not, to be clear, the way one calculates things like tips and taxes). The way this plays out is by starting with a specific set of premises or axioms (e.g. two points determine a line) and carry them through to a logical conclusion. How can this apply to anything in the political realm? An axiomatic approach to politics is already suggested in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" is the first listed axiom, while the second says that we possess "certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." In this course we will focus on questions which benefit from a mathematical approach, such as: what are different voting methods and how can we determine the winner of an election? How can we apportion congressional seats? How can we determine the shape of congressional districts? What threats to democracy does the age of big data bring? Questions like these carry heavy political and legal baggage, but we can sort them out and make sense of a lot of it through a mathematical approach.
HONR259J - Dreams and Journeys: Literature, Pluralism, and Democracy in America
A society's literature provides a fascinating window into the aspirations and priorities of its people. This course uses works of literature as primary documents to gain insight into major themes, trends, and ideas in American history, with a special focus on the conflicting visions of the "American Dream" and ways in which diverse Americans embarked on journeys in pursuit of that dream. Through a thorough analysis of these books and contextualization of the works within their historical setting, we will assess how contemporary Americans understood and reacted to important historical controversies and how key social, cultural, and political issues were interrogated and contested in literature as well as the broader society.
HONR268G - Eyes on the Sky: The Science of Birdwatching
Notes: This course requires students to have binoculars. Birding trips may demand physical exertion, including walking several miles in varying weather conditions on uneven terrain in habitats that can feature hazards such as biting insects.
Ever wanted to do something challenging outdoors AND contribute to science at the same time? In this course you will learn the skill of birdwatching (or “birding”) and will contribute your observations to a world database of sightings that help establish trends in overall bird populations. Birding (and bird feeding) is one of the most popular pastimes in the United States, with tens of billions of dollars spent annually by enthusiasts. Birds also tell us about the health of our natural environment: by noting where birds are, and where they are absent, scientists can learn about harmful changes to our world ecosystem and how to reverse them. We can help out by becoming responsible citizen scientists. This course will feature regular field trips to observe birds in their natural habitats and will occasionally involve scheduling class activities outside of the regular class time. No prior birding experience is needed. Advanced birders are welcome and may become field trip group leaders. Artists, photographers, and tech junkies will all find uses for their skills in this course. Advice on purchasing inexpensive binoculars will be provided along with safety information for field work.
HONR 269E - Exploring Key Issues of Globalization and Resistance
What is Globalization? Is it a new phenomenon, or does it have a longer lineage? What factors should we consider when we think and act globally? Why does globalization mean different things to different people? Why are there winners and losers? Why do some support it while others engage in resistance? And what does resistance against globalization looks like? This course responds to these burning questions as students interrogate the view that globalization relates as much to a way of thinking as it does to a description of the dynamics of political, economic, social and cultural relations and changes. Students will decide what it all means for themselves as they examine the opportunities and challenges that globalization poses to individuals and collectives at the levels of the state, class, gender and race.
HONR 269G - Hungry, Hot and Crowded: Global Challenges in the 21st Century
Devastating hurricanes. Lethal heat waves. Crippling famines. And a global population that continues to swell. What are the causes and consequences of these interlinked challenges? Are we doomed? This seminar will explore three global trends—food security, climate change, and population growth—that are key to shaping society, human welfare, and environmental sustainability in the 21st century. Through interactive exercises and engagement with experts who are shaping innovative solutions to these challenges, you will gain a nuanced understanding of sustainability, an appreciation of the urgency for action, and ideas for how you, yourself, can make a difference.
HONR 269L – Cracking the Secrets of the Universe Using Computers: Re-discovering the Higgs & Searching for Invisible Matter-Part II
Shabnam Jabeen and Sarah Eno
Albert Einstein once said, “I would like to know that moon exists even when I am not looking at it.” This quote was in response to a well-known theory that describes, at the atomic level, almost everything that we observe in everyday life. Part of this theory describes the presence of a sub-atomic particle that exists in the whole universe and is considered to be responsible for giving mass to all the particles that it interacts with. This particle was just an idea until 2012, when we finally discovered it at one of the largest and most complex experiments ever built—the Large Hadron Collider. This course takes you on a journey to relive this discovery. Along the way, you learn fundamental physics and the basic tools needed to contribute to experimental or theoretical frontier research in any computationally intensive field. You will learn kinematics, relativity, the standard model of forces and particles, theories of new particles and forces, particle interactions with matter, Linux, C++ and computational tools useful for frontier physics research. For more information about this course, please visit the following webpage: http://www.physics.umd.edu/courses/Honr268N/
HONR 269T - Understanding U.S. Foreign Policy toward Afghanistan
In this Global Classroom, Honors College students at UMD and students at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul will examine the history of Afghanistan, its political figures, and the empires that attempted to rule the country. Students will also learn about Afghanistan’s turbulent modern history, including the Soviet occupation, the Afghan civil war, and the Taliban era. Students will then analyze the U.S. foreign policy decisions that followed the events of September 11, 2001. This includes key policy decisions such as how the country should be governed, the selection of Afghanistan’s leader, the role and mission of the international community, the adoption of a new Constitution, and the establishment of a new democratic system of government.
HONR 269U- Hidden Figures: Race, Science, and Black Narrative
Mary Helen Washington
John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Katherine Johnson: all key figures in the Space Race of the 1950s and 1960s, but only the first three were immediately recognizable until recently. Hidden Figures (both a 2016 book and film) unveils the black women behind the mathematical calculations and scientific work crucial to space flight, highlighting both their achievements and the discrimination they faced. Indeed, scientific work has a long history of obscuring, hindering, and excluding blacks. This class will study the complex relationship between race and scientific discourse, practices, and institutions by looking at representations of science in 20th and 21st century African American literature. Specifically, we will focus on blacks in science, on the history of blacks as makers of science, as well as on the ways blacks have responded to and countered the aims of scientific racism. The literature we read produces alternative histories of science as black writers illuminate a discourse that has been hidden.
HONR 278D- National Security Dilemmas
A young lawyer at the CIA wakes with a jolt to a call on her cell phone. It’s 2 a.m., and Langley is calling. Something about a newspaper. She rushes out of her apartment and speeds to headquarters. Once at CIA Headquarters, she discovers that a New York Times reporter has learned about an undercover CIA informant in Syria providing crucial intelligence about the leadership of an international terrorist organization. But the asset has a dirty past: Before choosing to cooperate with the CIA, he had killed dozens of Westerners–and four Americans. The Agency is working with a terrorist who has American blood on his hands, and the Times thinks that the public has a right to know. But the story also contains top secret details that could help identify the asset, which if exposed would surely lead to the murder of the asset, thus eliminating a valuable source of intelligence for the U.S. government about the international terrorist organization, and discouraging others in the future from cooperating. National security is on the line. The life of the CIA informant hangs in the balance. The young lawyer is tasked with talking the reporter down. What arguments should she make? What questions should she ask? And what can be done, if anything, to stop the New York Times from publishing. Take this class to find out.
HONR 278G- Exploring How Foreign Policy is Developed
Developing foreign policy is a delicate and complicated matter. How does one walk this tightrope and shape the policies that govern U.S. international relations? This seminar will offer students a window into this process, focusing on the role played by the National Security Council in formulating, coordinating and implementing foreign policy. The seminar will begin by exploring the history of the Council, including the events leading up to its creation and the underlying law that established the Council. As part of this historical review, students will also examine the evolution of the National Security Council and the varying degree of influence it wielded under different administrations. Against this backdrop, students will then conduct a case study of some of the key foreign policy issues over the past 20 years in order to gain a better understanding of the National Security Council’s decision-making process.
HONR278U - From Oakland to Wakanda: Reimagining American Public Education with an Emphasis on STEM Education
This course focuses on public education in our multicultural and multilingual society. We will use the fictional country of Wakanda, the primary setting for the Marvel movie Black Panther, as a context for our investigation of equity, diversity, social justice, and urban education to supporting a reimagining of American public education. Focusing on aspects of STEM education, we will navigate through multidisciplinary lenses and foci on the current US educational system from elementary education to college. We will consider what these same structures might look like in Wakanda as a strategy to consider ways of critiquing the US public school system. For example, based on the central characters in Black Panther (T’Challa, Shuri, Nakia, and Killmonger), we will speculate on what Wakandan schools and learning experiences must be like, and compare them to the experiences of Black and Brown students here in America. We will consider a range of topics including school resources, structures, funding, and disciplinary policies, classroom structures, teaching practices and teaching quality, learning opportunities outside of schools, testing practices and requirements, curriculum and course availability, and access to college preparation resources and scholarships. This course equips students to critically examine the intersection of education, social justice, and society. Our goals are to deepen our collective knowledge of how race and culture impact learning opportunities, and develop an advanced understanding of any possible connections between the American public education system and systemic racism and structural oppression.
HONR279N - Disease, Disaster, and Development
Development — cultural, agricultural, industrial, social, economic, political — will be evaluated as a bringer of disease and as a bringer of disease prevention and treatment. Then, development’s resilience in disaster and the developed world’s response to disasters of various sorts — political, economic, military, environmental, geophysical, meteorological, epidemic, epizootic, epiphytotic — will be assessed, with particular attention paid to the performance of national agencies, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, institutions, charities, professions, and activists.
HONR 279Y - Language and Thought: Insights from Brain Damage, Neuroimaging, and Bilingualism
The goal of human communication is to get a thought from inside a speaker’s head into the head of her listener. While some people might have instinctive ideas about how this happens (Well, I say some words, and the listener recognizes them), the reality is that there’s a long chain of events that has to occur for a conversation between two people to succeed. To appreciate how the mind allows speakers to speak and listeners to understand, we need experiments to probe beneath our common, unscientific intuitions. The purpose of this class is to discuss the elegant ways language scientists address some intriguing questions that have no intuitive answers at all. For example, Does the word ‘blue’ mean the same thing to you as it does to me? Are bilinguals’ two languages ‘on’ at the same time, and do they interfere even if only one is in use? Or is there a ‘switch’ to turn one off when needed? When we understand spoken language, are we using similar kinds of thinking – and the same parts of the brain – as we do when we are remembering facts, solving math problems, or enjoying music? We will solve these (and many other) problems together by zooming in on the mental acrobatics required for language use.
HONR 288A - Power, Representation and Public Policy
The purpose of this course is to expose students to classic and contemporary studies of American politics in order to make them better able to understand the policy process, who is represented in it, how and why. The exposure gained and resulting insights should prove useful to both those students continuing on political science and those who choose other majors, yet have a role to play as U.S. citizens. Often the academic study of American politics is broken up into narrow sub-fields with researchers (and classes) focused almost exclusively on voters and elections or government, with the latter often concentrating on one political institution, e.g. Congress or the Presidency.
By contrast, in this class we will bring materials from these diverse literatures bearing on representation and policymaking together to give students a holistic view of representation and the policy process in the contemporary U.S. Concerns about class, racial and gender disparities are incorporated in the readings. We will read scholarly articles and books; there is no textbook for this course. While the course is primarily focused on national policy-making, some topics covered, e.g. the discussion of “direct democracy” and the town meeting, elected judges and redistricting will connect to state and local politics as well. No prerequisite or background in political science is formally required, but an introductory course in American politics will be helpful.
HONR 289P- How Do Innovators Think?
This course is for students who want to perform better in their career, to innovate in their field, and to improve their career prospects. In today’s highly competitive world, success depends on the ability to innovate. A study by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, found that 95 percent of employers surveyed say they give hiring preference to graduates with skills that will enable them to contribute to innovation in the workplace. Your ability to be creative and innovative is critical in any field. In this class, we’ll ask big questions, such as: Why does innovation matter? What does it take to innovate?; How do innovators think? How can you increase the likelihood of seeing new opportunities and coming up with good ideas? What makes organizations innovative? In addition to exploring these questions, this course focuses on application and reflection. The personal creativity reflection is an applied project that focuses on improving your creative potential through practice, networking, and moving outside your comfort zone. This assignment will involve making innovation a way of life for the semester.
HONR 299G - The American Political Tradition
“You may not be interested in the state, but the state is interested in you,” noted the eminent American historian William Leuchtenburg in encouraging a revival of political history. Indeed, political history provides a comprehensive window into society: it is fundamentally interested in the interaction of social, economic, cultural, demographic, technological, and ideological developments with institutional and structural forces. This course explores American political history from Independence through the present day. It interrogates the roots of American political ideas, the dynamics of partisan competition, the interaction of class, ethnicity, race, and politics, the evolution of policy preferences, the growth of the state, and the transformation of rank-and- file expectations and ambitions, among other important themes. By exploring the writings of major figures (from Jefferson to Lincoln, Roosevelt to Reagan) as well as the preferences of anonymous voters—and everyone in between, this course will help students identify the overarching themes and the important forgotten moments in our nation’s political development. Students will end the semester armed with a mastery of this history, an understanding of the methods of political historians and scholars in related fields, and a contextualization of our contemporary political world.
HONR 299K - Global Governance or World Government?
In today’s globalized world where “problems without passports” such as conflict, disease, financial crises, and climate change present challenges that cannot be solely addressed by single states alone, it is clear that cooperation and concerted efforts are necessary to bring about lasting and permanent solutions. Global Governance can be understood as “systems of rule at all levels of human activity – from the family to the international organization” (Rosenau, 1995). You will investigate important questions around global governance including, how leadership should be instituted? Is the United Nations still the best form of global governance? What type of global governance will help resolve the global crisis of today? Do we need a different form of international cooperation? Is it possible to resolve global problems, such as climate change, without international cooperation? How do the current structures of global governance help create peace? What and who should be responsible for intervening in ongoing conflicts such as Syria? Are there alternatives that would make global peace more likely, and what would these alternatives look like? By examining a wide range of scholarly research and relevant case studies the course will encourage students to look for alternative solutions to some of the big challenges facing the world today.
HONR 299Q- Quantum Mechanics: Entangled and Uncertain
Note: This course will not count for or substitute for any course prefixed by PHYS.
Informal prerequisites: Students should be comfortable with calculus and linear algebra. You will be asked to do the math! All math concepts required will be fully reviewed, but not in enough detail for a student to learn it all from scratch. Students should also be comfortable with basic ideas from probability and statistics.
Quantum mechanics is the most successful predictive model of reality ever devised. It is also probably the most counter-intuitive. As a result, there is a certain air of mystery about it. In this course, we will look behind the curtain and hopefully dispel some of the mystery. We will approach the subject from the point of view of randomness, lotteries, coin flips, and gambling. We will work through the basic ideas of measurement and observation, uncertainty, Schroedinger’s cat, wave-particle duality, entanglement, and non-locality. Class meetings will typically be interactive, and there will be mathematical problems assigned for homework. Students will be encouraged to work in teams, but each student will be responsible for mastering the homework problems, which may be the subject of short quizzes in class. The reason for this was laid out by no less than Richard Feynman — to understand physics, you have to do some calculations. There is just no substitute. Students pursuing any major (including physics) are welcome.
HONR 348J- Contemporary Social Issues
A standoff between armed Americans and law enforcement in Oregon, mass marches about a war that ended in 1865. Senators and Congressmen who won’t speak to one another. Leaders who demonstrate little regard for truth or decent behavior. Media outlets that slant or alter the news. Enormous wealth, degrading poverty. Hatred of government, fear of foreigners, contempt for education. Censorship on college campuses, exhibitionism, mass murder, and over-stuffed jails, poor health care despite the most advanced medical science in the world. What’s going on here? Is this the price of freedom? The end of civil society? We are a nation deeply polarized on almost all pressing issues: from abortion to civil rights; from guns to privacy, from race to gender to ethnicity, from the way we worship (or choose not to) to where we live. Come join the discussion where we explore the hot-button issues plaguing our nation in an attempt to answer this question: Why have we become a nation at war with itself, at loggerheads over what the country stands for and where it is headed?
HONR 348M– Stock Market
Most citizens never learn how stock markets operate or how to invest systematically so as to manage the risks involved. This class introduces students to the world of investing and to rules based trading. In the first five weeks, students read the seminal writings of successful traders and discuss them in the context of the class lectures. The class is "front loaded" because of the need to read and understand about 800 pages. Using the information acquired, each student then creates a set of rules to guide their trading in a competition in which each student manages a virtual $100,000 portfolio. The three students whose portfolios increase the most during the simulation are awarded a certificate and a prize. There is also a certificate given to the "Biggest Loser" who may learn the most by studying his losses. Each student also makes a presentation to the class, presenting a stock that s/he traded during the competition. The written final report for the course contains the student's analysis of his/her portfolio's performance and the creation of a revised set of trading rules to use in the future. No prior experience with investing or the stock market is required. One need only bring a passion for learning about the stock market to enhance his/her financial future.
HONR 378P - Elements of Music Composition for Non-Majors II
William C. Evans
Prerequisite: HONR 218M and permission of instructor.
Did you enjoy HONR 218M? Do you want to work on next album, EP, or symphony? Then HONR 378 is the seminar for you! Working with Logic, Reason, Sibelius and Finale you will explore advanced techniques used by composers. Explore recording studio techniques and collaborate with your fellow composers in a musical laboratory setting.