Students in the Honors Program are required to take at least four honors seminars to complete the program. All seminars fulfill general education courses within specific categories. To complete the general education program, courses in all categories must be met.
FALL 2016 Honors Courses
HONR 224: Arts
Politics and the Arts
This course will examine the intersection of politics and arts from multiple perspectives. One is protest. Artists have often sought to protest, upset, shock, or raise consciousness. When have they been effective? A second concerns the impact of works on art on social mores and values. Rousseau thought the theater was disruptive to morals, and should be banished. What he correct? A third perspective examines whether art reflects social and political development, or whether it can serve as the leading edge. Did abstract expressionism merely reflect the city, or impel it a new understanding? A fourth is the extent to which the public provides support for various forms of arts organizations. What explains the variation in public support? Finally, how do politics impact distribution of public support? When are funds directed to established major programs, or instead to experimental artists? What have been the impacts of efforts to ban purportedly offensive works?
The student objective will meet the SUNY General Education requirements for Art.
HONR 225: Humanities
Dr. John Staples
The goal of this course would be to provide students with an analytical framework within which to examine the role of privacy in their own personal and public lives. Privacy is a value, a legal concept, and a social construct. This course would consist of (1) a comparative study of the history of privacy in the United States and Russia and (2) an exploration of the challenges to privacy in the digital, post-9/11 era. The first part of the course would ask students to think about the reasons why privacy emerged as a contested value in the past. It would focus thematically on contested sites such as: privacy and property; privacy and women; privacy and slavery; privacy and war; privacy and sexuality; privacy and housing; and privacy and religion. The second part of the course would ask students to think about whether and why they should continue to value and contest privacy in their own lives. It would focus particularly on post-9-11 national security arguments against privacy as a right, and on the construction of privacy in new social media.
HONR 226: Social Science
Food Studies: The Making of a Meal (Subject to Change)
Jeanne E. Frerichs
This course offers a cross-cultural perspective on the role of food in human life from prehistory to contemporary times. By looking at the diverse ways that people have obtained, processed, shared and consumed food, we uncover the complex stories behind the food we encounter in daily life. The course content is grouped into four topics: food in (pre)history, food as a part of social identity, the industrial/global food system, and food justice. Themes such as gender, our relationship to the environment, technological change, political power, economies and the symbolic meaning of food cross-cut each of the four topics. In addition, we will discuss social and environmental problems related to food systems and various attempts to address those problems.
Course Objectives: In this course we will critically examine the following inter-related topics through readings, class discussions, short assignments, films, guest speakers, exams and writing assignments.
HONR 227: Natural Science
Aspirin to Viagra: A History of Medicine, Science and Disease
Dr. Ted Lee
The course will provide an introduction into a history of how humans have practiced medicine and how science has impacted the practice of medicine. Students should learn about the key individuals and advances in medicine and understand why medicine was conducted differently in different eras. The study of medicine will focus on pharmaceutical. This course is not designed to include a comprehensive presentation on the history of medicine. Rather the emphasis is to select certain topics to illustrate how the practice of medicine has changed over time and how science has impacted these changes. The course will include discussions on areas of ethics relating to the study of medicine.
Learning Goals for Students
HONR 228: American History
The History of Drugs in the U.S.
Dr. Ellen Litwicki
Ever wondered about the story behind America’s seemingly unending (and unwinnable) “war on drugs”? Is there something in human nature that compels us to alter our consciousness? Take this seminar and find out. We will begin by surveying the historical discovery, development, and usage of drugs in a global context. Next we will examine shifting attitudes toward drug use and the development of U.S. drug policies over the past century. Finally, we will consider contemporary issues such as legalization; the relationship between policy, race, and gender; the efficacy of drug laws; the global impact of U.S. demand for illicit drugs, etc.
Students are expected to participate fully in class discussions and debates, and will complete several short writing assignments. In addition, students will work in groups to research and create a web site that examines a contemporary issue in historical context, and will teach a class session on their topic. Other activities TBD.
David Courtwright, Forces of Habit
Doris Provine, Unequal under Law: Race in the War on Drugs
Sam Quinones, Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic
HONR 229: Western Civilization
Italian Food Culture in Practice (only 15 seats available)
Dr. Chiara De Santi
It is common knowledge that food has been one of the main features of Italian culture and of Italians both in Italy and abroad, while non-Italians have enjoyed it at least since the Grand Tour in the 1600s. A focus on Italian food culture and its characteristics throughout the centuries will help us define concepts such as “Italianness” and “Italian-Americanness” with the goal of also understanding Italian-American culture, especially in the 20th and 21st centuries. Understanding the evolution of Italian cuisine over time in terms of preparation and consumption is at the basis of understanding Italian identities and (regional) cultures both in Italy and abroad. With an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach drawing together cross-cultural, linguistic, social, historical, political, economic, and geographic contexts, this course considers how Italian food culture and gastronomy have developed in Italy and abroad from the Middle Ages to the present, including the impact of Italy’s world-renowned “Slow Food” movement on our current habits of consumption. The course is a mix of readings, lectures and guest lectures, discussions, tasting experiences, field trips, and practical cooking lessons in the Kasling Hall (or Hemingway Hall) kitchen, where the students learn how to prepare some Italian dishes.
Course Blog: https://italianfoodcultureblog.wordpress.com/
HONR 230: World Cultures
Dante's Moral Philosophy
Dr. Raymond Angelo Belliotti
Dante famously described the purpose of his Commediaas practical: to guide human beings out of misery and toward their appropriate earthly and eternal ends. This work takes Dante seriously and underscores the philosophical underpinnings of his mission. In this course, we will examine and evaluate Dante’s moral philosophy and how it can serve as a practical guide to moral betterment. Focusing on Inferno and Purgatorio, we will examine the puzzles and paradoxes of Dante’s moral assumptions, his treatment of the 7 deadly sins, and how 10 of his most powerful moral lessons anticipate modern existentialism. Critical to this mission is the task of examining the philosophical concepts of moral desert and the law of contrapasso, using character case studies within Dante’s work. Finally, we will connect the poem’s moral themes to our own contemporary condition.