Course Offerings

Honors Program
Thompson Hall, E314
SUNY Fredonia
Fredonia, NY 14063
Ph: 716-673-3876


Julie Sticek
College of Arts and Science
Ph: 716-673-3174

Previous Course Offerings

Spring 2014

Modernism and Music

Food Studies: The Making of a Meal

Bioethics and the New Embryology

Video Games: Their Evolution and Impact

Vonnegut and Cold War America

Revolutions in Thought and Politcs

The Two Spains and World Cultural Production

Fall 2013

Contemporary Women Poets

Literary London

Science Communication: Infectious Diseases

Thinking Like a Scientists: The Logical Roots of the Scientific Method

Multicultural American Music

The Politics of Sport

Conflicts and Crises in African History

Spring 2013

Street and Graffiti Art, 1970 to Present

Expressionism and the Arts

Gender and Transgender Identities Across Cultures

Cooking and Science

Music and the African American Experience

Italian History and Culture

Middle East Literature

Fall 2012

Modernism in Music [aka: "Who's your Dada?"]

The Comic

Silent Spring(s) Eternal

From Aspirin to Viagra: A History of Medicine, Science and Disease

Rhetoric, Memory, and Identity

Opera and Literature


Spring 2012

Philosophical Theology

Comparative Politics and the Struggle for Democracy

Bioethics and the New Embryology

Altered States of America: Drugs in American History

The Composer's Role in Society

The Politics of Space in Literature

Fall 2011

Commedia: Style & Influence

Perspectives on Positive Psychology

From Aspirin to Viagra: A History of Medicine, Science and Disease

From Experience to Reason

The Historians Craft

Global Roots of American Literature

Spring 2011

Writing the Political

Photographic Explorations

Policing the Body

Nature and History

Community in American Political and Social Thought

Fall 2010


African-American Autobiography

The Greeks-Ancient or Modern?

World History

The Science in Environmental Issues

Environmental Communication

Science in Western Culture: The Origins of Our Concepts and Methods


The Politics of Space in Literature

“I, Claudius” and the Roman Empire

Seminar in the Novels of Charles Dickens

Blues Music

Propaganda in Media and Art

FALL 2009

World History: Poetry Time & Travel

Dante and the End of the Middle Ages

Psychological Aspects of the Holocaust and its Aftermath

The Comic

From Aspirin to Viagra: Stories of Medicine and Science

Preserving the Lithosphere


An Echo of the Infinite

The Entertainment Imperative

FALL 2008

The Methods and Philosophy of Contemporary Science

Prize-Winning Poets

Seminar in the Novels of Charles Dickens

American History

The Comic


Bioethics and the New Embryology

The Progressive Era

Poverty: Social Problems/Social Reality

FALL 2007

Honors Seminar in American History

Legacies of 1968

Science & Religion


Dramatic Comedy: Not All Grins and Giggles

Shakespeare: From Text to Performance

FALL 2006

Science & Religion


Dark Visions in European Literature

Principles of Microeconomics

Multidisciplinary and Multicultural Perspectives in Parenting


Social History through Children’s Literature

American Diversity

The Ancient Arts of Love and War

The Image of Paris in Novels and Films

1968: The Year that Shook the World

American Ethnic and Regional Music

Bioethics and the New Embryology

FALL 2005


Scientific Thought and Methodology

Book, Libraries and American Democracy

Modernism and Music

Honors Course: Crisis and Conflict.fall2013Fall 2014

HONR 224: ARTS (no arts course offered this semester)



The Progressive Era and the Other Side of Progress: Technology, Magic, Money and Religion in Nineteenth-Century America (CRN 34437)

Dr. Shannon McRae

Tuesday/Thursday 11:00 - 12:20

Thompson E120

Between the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, everything changed in America. Referred to as Progressive Era, because technological advancement, industrialization, westward expansion, a massive and mobile labor force of European immigrants and thousands of recently-freed slaves, the rise of industrial capitalism and the generation of enormous wealth,and rising social concern for inequality and injustice, all seemingly signaled America's progression into modernity. But industry, progress, and modernity have an underside. This was also the era of entertainment, spectacle, freakshows, medicine shows, fervent religions and strong belief in the supernatural. 
Through an examination of the literature, history, and popular culture, this course mostly explores the irrational, anti-modern aspects of turn of the century America. We read literary works, examine the stories told by advertising of that era, study popular entertainments including minstrel shows, freak shows, and medicine shows, discuss patent medicines, herbalism, the collision between the forces of Temperance and early cocktail culture. We also discuss religious beliefs--especially the non-mainstream currents that informed the era, and the intersections of religion, magical practice, advertising, and consumer culture. 
Activities include field experiences, short response papers and critical essays, and a self-designed final project.


Metaphysics (CRN 39045)

Dr. Stephan Kershnar, Philosophy

Tuesday/Thursday 11:00 - 12:20

Jewett Hall 212

Metaphysics is the philosophical exploration of the nature and structure of reality. It is a broader investigation than that found in the natural sciences because it investigates non-physical entities. It is also more fundamental because it explores questions that the sciences presuppose. In metaphysics, for example, we will investigate whether physical things are momentary or persist over time. We will also explore whether entities have essential properties, that is, properties without which they would not exist. We will then use our analyses of these fundamental questions to determine what is the essence of a person (for example, is a person a soul, a body, or both), whether people are morally responsible for what they do, whether God exists, and how the answers to these questions relate to one another.



Mental Health and Society (CRN 38436)

Dr. Brian Masciadrelli Social Work

Tuesday/Thursday 2-3:20

Fenton Hall 170

This course explores mental health care in the U.S. and how people with mental illness interact with the larger society. Past and present social policies concerning care for mental illness are examined, as are social perspectives and meanings associated with mental illness and being mentally ill.



From Aspirin to Viagra: A History of Medicine, Science and Disease (CRN 37671)

Dr. Theodore Lee, Biology

Monday/Wednesday/Friday 9:00-9:50

Science Center 122

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 drugs.

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.


Rhetoric, Memory, and Identity (CRN 37239)

Dr. Linda Brigance, Communication

Monday/Wednesday 3:00-4:20

Fenton Hall 158

This course will acquaint students with the basic theories, concepts and processes of critical analysis of the rapidly growing, interdisciplinary field of study called collective memory studies. Through the examination of case studies, students will learn to think critically about how and what cultures remember and forget about the past, and how memory influences individual and collective identity. Museums, film, literature, music, holidays and monuments are among the rhetorical artifacts that will be analyzed for their role in our understandings of the past, present and future.



1968: Radicalism, Revolt and Restoration in the West (CRN 38437)

Dr. Peter McCord, History

Monday/Wednesday 3:00-4:20

Fenton 179

This course examines the history of the most tumultuous year in the Cold War. Highlighted by protest movements, social activism, and anti-government unrest, 1968 was also a year of stunning assassinations and rapid shifts of power and political fortune. For many, 1968 conjures images of radicalism: anti-war activism across the globe and worker strikes in France. However, the elections of Nixon and Charles de Gaulle restored conservatives to power. Meanwhile in Eastern Europe, 1968 was a year of revolt against Communist rule, yet Brezhnev ultimately restored Soviet power in those countries. This course will look at activism from below as well as politics from above under different governing systems. The method of study will include the investigation of American and European primary documents, literary sources, films, and music.


Can Islam and Democracy Co-Exist? (CRN 36518)

Dr. Jacqueline Swansinger, History

Tuesday/Thursday 3:30-4:50

Dods Hall 101

So much information and theory exist about the history and culture of Islam that it is hard for the beginner to approach the subject. This course wades directly into the big question posed by its title: can Islam and democracy live within the same culture? The semester will be spent exploring what we mean by the question as well as the answer, using more specific questions to dig at the roots of the query while using case studies to illustrate the problem.

Some of the questions we could consider: Why do democracies believe that democratic government is a natural fit with our religious values?  What does Islamic liberalism look like? What does Orientalism have to do with our view of Islam? Do today’s values hinder the West from understanding Islamic life and politics? What is a clash of civilizations? The class may want to add one or two questions of their own.

The plan is to use specific examples that highlight the tensions raised by the smaller queries and use readings, films, podcasts and some documents to uncover and develop some answers. A good deal of analysis and discussion will be involved over the semester and at the end we will try to express our conclusions coherently and succinctly.  

HONR 300, sec 1: HONORS COLLOQUIUM (CRN 30668)

Monday 6-6:50

Dr. David Kinkela

Jewett 120


HONR 300, sec 2: HONORS COLLOQUIUM (CRN 35295)

Wednesday 7-7:50

Dr. Bruce Tomlinson






Expressionism and the Arts

Jeremy Sagala, School of Music

“The artist expresses only what he has within himself, not what he sees with his eyes.” Alexej von Jawlencky (1864-1941). This class will examine the aesthetic of German Expressionism ca. 1910-1940.  Through readings, viewings, and class discussion of representative musical works, films, paintings, and poetry, students will gain an understanding of expressionist artists’ intentions and their creations.  The course will trace the inception of Expressionism as a reaction against the overt naturalism of late romanticism, through various developments within its socio-political and historical context, and ultimately to its decline at the hands of the Nazi party.




Dr. Ray Belliotti, Philosophy

This course exposes students to several traditional philosophical questions related to the nature and morality of war; develops students' analytic and evaluative skills; reveals the political and ideological perspectives animating debates about war; and challenges students to reimagine and remake a philosophical theory of war that might fuel public policy. We will concentrate on the following questions: Under what conditions, if any, is engaging in a war morally permissible? Under what conditions, if any, can a war be conducted in a morally permissible fashion? Are general moral theories adequate to assess the morality of war? What historical, philosophical, economic, and sociological reasons impel nations to make war? Our overall aim will be to develop an understanding of war that fuses theory and practice. To attain such goals we will examine thoroughly the historical conditions, political events, economic circumstances, and sociological backgrounds that formed the contexts for the following wars: World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnamese War, the War in Bosnia, India-Pakistani Wars, the Israel- Arab Wars, the Iran-Iraq War, and the Iraqi-USA War.



Literature and the Visual Arts

Dr. Birger Vanwesenbeeck, English

This course will focus on the long-standing and often contentious relationship between literature and the visual arts from ancient Greece up to the present. Starting with Simonides' chiasmic definition of painting as mute poetry and of poetry as speaking pictures, we will investigate a number of key-aspects of this long tradition including the Renaissance notion of a paragone or "contest" between the arts; the appeal of the literary trope of ekphrasis ("painting with words") to ancient poets; and, more recently, the unprecedented demands placed upon contemporary writers to justify their art in the face of a predominantly visual culture. Readings and viewings will include literary texts and artworks as well as art theory and literary criticism.



Hacking, Surveillance, and Privacy

Robert Olson, Computer and Information Sciences

This course will examine the many of the societal issues and concerns related to the pervasive integration of computer technology into our everyday lives. Students will be taught basic principles of IT and networking which will be quickly expanded on through the presentation of open-source, freely available computer security tools. Through tightly controlled demonstrations, students will learn why hackers frequently say that computer security is a fiction. Once students have a foundation in the mechanisms used by hackers to circumvent security, discussions will shift to a focus on the societal questions surrounding computer security such as the relationship between computer security and free speech, state-sponsored computer crime, technological surveillance, cyber war, and privacy.



Math and Music

Dr. Julia Wilson, Mathematical Sciences

Math and music have been linked in many ways throughout history. In fact, music was considered a mathematical subject by classical and Medieval scholars. This course will be a survey of this wide range of topics, with special emphasis on the history and mathematics of scales, historical and modern theories of consonance, mathematics in instrument design, mathematics in composition, and the philosophical and cognitive connections between math and music.






Women in Italian Film

Dr. Chiara De Santi, Modern Languages

This course focuses on the analysis of women and gender roles in Italian film from the mid-1940s to the present time to underline how the protagonists and the roles they played changed over time in Italy and Europe, based on historical, social, and cultural changes, which are analyzed and discussed together with the films.

While male Italian directors – Rossellini, De Sica, De Santis, Visconti, Fellini just to list a few – have always occupied the most prominent place in the Italian cinema, starting in the 1970s with Wertmüller and Cavani, female directors began to play an important role in Italian cinema, from Comencini to Archibugi, from Torre to Nicchiarelli, to list a few. With films directed by both men and women, the course discusses analogies and differences in the films to evaluate their approaches in the depictions of women over time in a Western society and how they changed based on the different historical eras. The course emphasis is specifically devoted to historical, social, and cultural aspects, through the analytical lens of gender, cultural, and film studies.


Transnational Crime

Dr. Daniela Peterka-Benton, Criminal Justice

Transnational crime has emerged in recent years as an important security issue on the international agenda, presenting considerable challenges to policymakers, researchers and agents combating these crimes. Governmental and academic actors have focused their discussions on the answer to the question "what is transnational crime?" with the belief that a more accurate and objective definition of the phenomenon would have a more effective impact. So, like many other categories of social sciences, defining "transnational crime" has become a constant challenge. Over the past two decades, as the world economy has globalized, so has its illicit counterpart. The global impact of transnational crime has risen to unprecedented levels. Criminal groups have appropriated new technologies, adapted horizontal network structures that are difficult to trace and stop, and diversified their activities. The result has been an unparalleled scale of international crime.

This course will provide students with a comprehensive overview on emerging global crime threats. Students will learn about the difficulties criminologist face researching crime internationally and will be introduced to various types of transnational crimes including drug trafficking, stolen property, counterfeiting, human trafficking, fraud and cyber-crime, commercial vices, extortion and racketeering, money laundering and corruption.



Dr. Alex Caviedes


HONR 300, sec 2: HONORS COLLOQUIUM (Juniors and Seniors Only)

David Kinkela

Page modified 9/18/14