Course Offerings

Honors Program
Thompson Hall, E314
State University of New York at Fredonia
Fredonia, NY 14063
Ph: 716-673-3876


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

Previous Course Offerings

Spring 2015

Expressionism and the Arts


Literature and the Visual Arts

Hacking, Surveillance, and Privacy

Math and Music

Women in Italian Film

Transnational Crime

Fall 2014

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


Mental Health and Society

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

Rhetoric, Memory, and Identity

1968: Radicalism, Revolt and Restoration in the West

Can Islam and Democracy Co-Exist?

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

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.

Honors Course: Crisis and Conflict.fall2013


FALL 2015 Honors Courses

HONR 224: Arts

The Romantic Antihero in Music and Literature

Michael Markham

Monday/Wednesday at 3-4:20pm

Since the enlightenment the recurring figure of the antihero has symbolized the philosophical tension between individual and society. This course will focus on iconic literary anti-heroes that have worked their way into music. From the literary side it will address the changing attitudes toward the outsider hero/villain across the Romantic and Modern eras. It will also present a survey of musical masterpieces from Mozart through to the present. By comparing the literary and musical versions of this character type, students who are not used to talking about classical music will develop a vocabulary for hearing and analyzing the dramatic features of "classical" music. Works treated will include Don Giovanni (Mozart), Byron's Manfred (Schumann, Tchaikovsky), Shakespeare's Coriolanus (Beethoven), Goethe's Faust (Liszt), Mérimée's Carmen (Bizet), Büchner's Wozzeck (Anton Webern), Crabbe's Peter Grimes (Britten).

Learning Objectives:

  • To develop a critical perspective on how literary characters stand as allegories for the philosophical and ideological tensions of the modern world.
  • To familiarize ourselves in a more in-depth and analytical way with some major works of the period.
  • To seek contemporary relevance and resonance in the recurring musical and literatury tropes of the past two centuries.
  • To learn a basic language for processing and discussing classical music by focusing on the musical parameters used to create a sense of character and dramatic action.

HONR 225: Humanities

A Poet’s Guide to the English Language

Natalie Gerber

T/TH 9:30-10:50

E. E. Cummings said he based his entire poetics off the vaudeville joke: "Would you hit a woman with a baby? No, I'd hit her with a brick." Besides being in bad taste, Cummings' comment shows us that poems do something interesting with the language. This course will use poetry as a lens to teach students about the ins and outs of the English language, transforming dreaded subjects such as grammar and syntax into playful explorations of how writers from Caedmon to K*naan have brilliantly used and abused the so-called rules to create memorable works of art. Through a series of creative and critical exercises, students will learn how the structure of the English language underlies the structure of poetry and how poetry, like the other arts, relies for its effects on an element of structural surprise. Readings/viewings will include podcasts such as TEDTalks and Lexicon Valley as well as readings in poetry, poetics, and cognitive science.

Learning Objectives: This course has the following outcomes:

  • Students will hone their awareness of the materiality of language, that is, of language as a plastic medium with its own history and structure.
  • Students will learn the structural components of the English language (phonology, morphology, syntax, grammar, intonation) and appreciate how poets have intuitively utilized these components to artful effect.
  • Students will be introduced to cognitive approaches to the arts and engage in contemporary debates about the importance of the element of surprise to aesthetic experience.
  • Students will be exposed to a range of poetry from Old English to Global Englishes. They will come to appreciate the fluidity of what we call "English" and develop a respect for how language reflects the diversity of its speakers.
  • Students will develop their creative abilities to manipulate language and to produce poems, which may range from traditional formal verse to hiphop and performance poetry.

HONR 226: Social Science

Race and Ethnicity

Najia Aarim

Tues/Thurs 12:30-1:50

What is "race"? What is "ethnicity"? Many disciplines have offered several answers to these questions. This course is intended to explore how scholars across several disciplines have paid special attention to the relationships among economics, politics, social institutions and culture in their efforts to understand the concepts of race and ethnicity, the relation of culture and biology to race, and the ideology of racism. Since the contributions of sociologists and historians will be the focus of our attention, you will learn as much about the disciplines of history and sociology as you will learn about "race" and "ethnicity."

Course Objectives:

  • To provide students with an introduction to the theoretical and conceptual issues in the field of race and ethnic relations.
  • To use the newly acquired analytic framework to examine interethnic and interracial patterns in the United States and other heterogeneous societies.
  • To help students achieve an understanding of the ways in which different societies construct and assign meaning to "difference."
  • To examine the social, political and historical conditions under which racial and ethnic hierarchies and racial conflict emerge.
  • To examine the institutions through which racial boundaries and hierarchies are produced and reproduced in the United States and other societies.
  • To knit together the fragmentary histories of all people in the United States—regardless of their origin (Native America, Europe, Africa, or Asia) and regardless of their status (slave or free, citizen or alien).
  • To achieve an understanding of the global dimension of intercultural interaction and conflict.
  • To encourage students to re-examine their own attitudes and beliefs about race and ethnicity, and their impact on both institutions and individuals

HONR 227: Natural Science

Western New York Natural History: A Sense of Place

Jon Titus

Tuesday 2-5

We will explore the natural history of a few of our local natural areas.  This is a field-based course.  We will observe and investigate natural history, conduct basic ecological projects, and read and discuss a wide variety of writings on nature.  There will be field trips, library and writing assignments.  A variety of guest speakers will present their perspectives. In this course we will examine our local out-of-doors through observations, walks, field study, readings, class discussions, short assignments, guest speakers, and writing assignments.  At the end of the semester students should understand the following:

  • An understanding of the western New York natural environment.
  • A few of the concepts and methods employed in field ecological research.
  • Basic species identification skills.
  • Current land use issues in western New York.
  • Compare, contrast and evaluate viewpoints on topics in natural history including the strengths and limitations of each approach.  Have gained an increased appreciation for ones relationship with the natural world. 
  • Communicate an understanding and analysis of material verbally and in writing.
  • Make connections between information encountered in this class, other classes and life outside.
  • Apply the study of natural history to their own life

HONR 228: American History

Popular Music—The 1960s

Judy Brady

Tuesday 5:00 -7:20pm

This course focuses on the history and the popular music of the 1960s, primarily the events in the United States. We concurrently study cultural movements such as, but not limited to, Civil Rights, the Bay of Pigs, the Kennedy Assassination, the Vietnam War, the Counterculture with music produced by Phil Spector, Motown, the British Invasion and developments on the West Coast. Students gain an understanding of how musical expression connects to social, cultural, political, economic and business, primarily the changes within the music industry. This course moves chronologically starting with two weeks of background for the 1930s and 1940s, then the 1950s, then one year each week through the 1960s.

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will learn and understand the historical events in the United States during this era and how they affected events around the world at the time (and since)
  • Students will learn and understand the musical events that occurred concurrently
  • Students will learn to recognize differences between performers, producers and “sounds” of music throughout the United States during this era
  • Students will gain a better understanding of cultural life both during the 1960s and events that led to the 1960s
  • Students will be able to identify specific musical instruments during performance and the changes that occurred within different musical genres and performers during this era.
  • Students will strengthen their writing skills by providing weekly assignments that fit appropriate academic standards
  • Students will strengthen their oral/interpersonal skills by working in a seminar-style course which invites participation and leadership both within the students themselves and with prompts and information from their instructor

HONR 229: Western Civilization

What is Post-Humanism?

Jan McVicker

Tues/Thurs 2:00-3:20

This course is primarily a theoretical exploration of a “new” concept/field of inquiry (post-1990) that is becoming increasingly pervasive in the humanities and social sciences: posthumanism. Students have long been hearing about the “death” or “crisis” of the humanities and the increasingly irrelevance of this kind of inquiry. Posthumanist scholars, instead, see the “crisis” as the collapse of a tradition that is rightly coming to its “end” because of its inadequacy to address the state of the world and our – human – relation to other species, the planet and each other. By asking students to wrap their heads around this question, “What is Posthumanism?”, they will become acquainted with the key issues, debates and texts for themselves and be able to cast this debate into terms that they can use to reimagine the role of the humanities in changing the world around us, and our – human – place within that world. My goal will be to encourage students to see that “posthumanities” can help them see possibilities, rather than defending a tradition that perpetuates inequality, hierarchy and domination.

Learning objectives: this course will help students develop the ability:

  • to become fluent with a set of key issues and questions that have developed over the past 20 years that are changing what’s at stake in the way we understand the place of “the human” (Baccalaureate Goal “connected”)
  • to read critically, write thoughtfully, and engage with scholarly research to consider the limits of the humanities and the rise of “posthumanities” (Baccalaureate Goal “skilled”)
  • to engage with several primary texts in this new area of inquiry and consider their value for changing how we engage with the world (Baccalaureate Goal “responsible”)
  • to develop scholar-activism projects that allow them to use posthumanistic inquiry as a theoretical framework for addressing social justice issues in our region (Baccalaureate Goal: “creative,” “responsible”)

HONR 230: World Cultures

Cultural Sensitivity and Global Citizenship

Guangyu Tan

Thurs 2:30-4:50

This course is to ensure that Fredonia undergraduate students will be able to succeed in a world marked by interdependence, diversity and rapid change. It provides knowledge and understanding of culture, language, geography and global perspectives. Moreover, it aims at helping students to develop cultural competency and global awareness; understand their roles in a global community and teaches them how their actions can affect citizens throughout the world. This course will make understanding global issues part and parcel of the learning experience.  Through field trips and service learning projects, this course will instill in students a sense of adventure as well as a sense of responsibility to make the world a better place in which to live and work for all cultures.

Learning objectives:

  • Students will learn what culture means and how it affects human behaviors and relationships.
  • Students will learn to be cultural sensitive and responsive in a globalized world.
  • Students will develop cultural competency and global awareness.




SPRING 2016 Honors Courses

Times and Dates subject to change. Course descriptions forthcoming


HONR 224: Arts:

Design methodologies: brainstorming, concept mapping, and prototyping

Jason Dilworth

Monday 10:30–12:50


HONR 225: Humanities

Free Will and Personal Identity

Neil Feit

MW 3-4:20


HONR 226: Social Science

Academics & Lifelong Learning: Tools & Strategies for Connected Learning

Kathleen Gradel

Tuesday 4:00-6:50


HONR 227: Natural Science

Bioethics and the New Embryology

Bruce Tomlinson

MW 3-4:20


HONR 228: American History



HONR 229: Western Civilization

From Brigadoon to Brave: The Representation of Scottish Race, Class, and Gender in Cinema

Rosalind Smith



HONR 230: World Cultures

Conflict, Democracy, & Nation Building in the 20th Century

Steven Fabian




Page modified 5/19/15