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Honors Program Courses (HONR) College of Arts and Sciences


Subject Area Course # Course Title Semester Credit Hours Expand
HONR 1101 Western Cultural Tradition I Fall 3
Course Description

All students in the Honors Program are required to take Western Cultural Tradition I-IV (HONR1101-HONR1104) as freshmen and Western Cultural Tradition V-VIII (HONR3301-HONR3302) as sophomores. These are two 3-credit courses each semester (a total of 24 credits), and they substitute for the normal Core requirements in Theology, Philosophy, English and (for non-majors) Social Science. They are open only to students in A&S (about nine percent of the freshmen class) who have been selected by the Director in collaboration with the Office of Undergraduate Admission. All have been contacted by letter during the summer with instructions on registration.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 1102 Western Cultural Tradition II Fall 3
Course Description

See course description under HONR1101.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 1103 Western Cultural Tradition III Spring 3
Course Description

Students in the Honors Program are required to take Western Cultural Tradition I-IV (HONR1101-HONR1104) as freshmen and Western Cultural Tradition V-VIII (HONR3301-HONR3302) as sophomores. These are two 3-credit courses each semester (a total of 24 credits), and they substitute for the normal Core requirements in Theology, Philosophy, English and (for non-majors) Social Science. They are open only to students in A&S (about nine percent of the freshmen class) who have been selected by the Director in collaboration with the Office of Undergraduate Admission. All have been contacted by letter during the summer with instructions on registration.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 1104 Western Cultural Tradition IV Spring 3
Course Description

See course description under HONR1101.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 1131 Being Religious I Fall 3
Course Description

By many social scientific estimates, Americans are becoming less religious-- more and more adults claim that religion is not important in their lives. But even though more and more people would deny being “religious,” few would deny being “spiritual.” And, indeed, the individual and communal needs once served by traditional religion have not gone away. Most people cannot help but wonder at the universe and their place in it; just about everyone wants a life of purpose and spiritual well-being; and communities need shared symbols and common values in order to thrive. In this year-long course we will investigate how being religious in the modern world compares with being religious in the pre-modern world. In the first semester our focus will be on the ways that some of the traditions and counter-traditions of the pre-modern West met the needs of the spirit.


Instructor(s): Christopher Constas

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 1132 Being Religious II Spring 3
Course Description

Our investigation into the phenomena of religion and being religious continues with a focus on the modern rise of secularism and atheism. How can the needs of the spirit be met in a post-religious, post-traditional, disenchanted world? What is religion after the “death of God”? If God does not exist, is everything permitted? What is a church without a state? How is a state like a church? How are natural science and religion related? How can one be “spiritual” without being “religious”?


Instructor(s): Christopher Constas

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 1141 God and Politics I Fall 3
Course Description

Political scientists, like sociologists and economists, study human beings above all as members of communities, that is, in their relations to others. We are curious about the varieties of communities, about the diversity of these relations, and about the tension that always seems to exist between the individual and the community; since the relations of human beings, unlike those of any other social animal, are established to an important extent by laws, we are especially interested in the phenomena of law and the question of its sources and status.


Instructor(s): Alice Behnegar

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 1142 God and Politics II Spring 3
Course Description

In traditional communities, one way or another the gods stand behind the laws-- religion and politics are united-- but in the modern West, in modern liberal democracies, the gods are in principle banished from the public square-- religion and politics are (more or less) separated. In this course, then, we will take religion as our point of entry into politics. Why do religion and politics tend to be entangled? How do they get disentangled? What are the foundations, practices, and challenges, of both kinds of states? What's at stake in the controversies that arise around this issue?


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Alice Behnegar

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 1201 Western Cultural Tradition V Fall 3
Course Description

See course description under HONR1101.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 1202 Western Cultural Tradition VI Fall 3
Course Description

See course description under HONR1101.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 1203 Western Cultural Tradition VII Spring 3
Course Description

See course description under HONR1101.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 1204 Western Cultural Tradition VIII Spring 3
Course Description

See course description under HONR1101.


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 2174 Utopia Dystopia Soviet and Surreal Fall 3
Course Description

Lectures and readings in English, with optional readings in Russian. This course looks at literary responses to the experience of Soviet life: from futuristic nightmare to irony and the grotesque; from resistance to reconciliation.


Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: SLAV2174

Comments:

HONR 2264 Gender (In)Equality in Classical&Christian Perspec Spring 3
Course Description

This theology seminar will examine traditional gender norms in classical, biblical, and Christian literature. Using the lens of feminist theology, this course will explore works in four categories: 1) classical works of Homer, Sophocles, and Virgil; 2) the Hebrew bible and New Testament; 3) major historical figures such as Aquinas, Luther, and Julian of Norwich; and 4) contemporary feminist theologians.


Instructor(s): Lisa Cahill

Prerequisites: HP, Theology majors or Women's Studies minors.

Cross listed with: THEO3264

Comments:

HONR 3301 Twentieth Century and the Tradition I Fall 3
Course Description

This is a continuation of the Western Cultural Tradition course into the twentieth century, and it is required of all Honors Program juniors. The course describes what happened to the tradition in the twentieth century, how it got criticized and rethought, and how it absorbed new forms of knowledge and new points of view. The first semester deals with the period up to World War II and focuses on both the excitement engendered by the cultural movement called Modernism and the darker forces that accompanied it.


Instructor(s): Christopher Constas, John Michalczyk, Kevin Newmark, Marty Cohen, Michael Martin, Susan Mattis, Thomas Epstein and Vanessa Rumble

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 3302 Twentieth Century and the Tradition II Spring 3
Course Description

The second semester of this course deals with the key cultural issues of the latter half of the century, especially those grouped under the heading of Postmodernity. Here the focus will be on the fundamental critique of the tradition posed by post-structuralist cultural theories, feminism, deconstructionism, the communications revolution, changing views of non-Western cultures, and new perspectives centering on race, ethnicity, and gender. The crucial question to be addressed is whether, and on what terms, it is possible to construct a reliable identity and an adequate basis for moral choice and political action.


Instructor(s): Christopher Constas, Kevin Newmark, Martin Cohen, Michael Martin and Susan Mattis

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 4464 Russian Cinema Spring 3
Course Description

An overview of the main trends, films, and directors of Russian and Soviet cinema with particular attention to structure, ideology, and intent as well as to connections between filmic and literary texts. The course examines works by leading directors along with a consideration of Russian contributions to film theory.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Thomas Epstein

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: FILM2277 SLAV2164

Comments: Conducted entirely in English. All films with English subtitles

HONR 4901 Readings and Research Fall/Spring 3
Course Description

TBD


Instructor(s): The Department

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 4921 Advanced Independent Research Fall/Spring 6
Course Description

TBD


Instructor(s): Alice Behnegar

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 4931 Democracy and Art Fall/Spring 3
Course Description

Through a wide range of readings, films, and other media, this course will explore the following questions: What is artistic excellence? Is it compatible with democratic ideals of social equality and justice? Are modern media and cultural diversity good or bad for the arts? What is taste? On what basis do we judge a work (a film, novel, song, painting, video game, poem) good or bad? Are some arts more democratic than others? How does American popular culture compare with the ideologically-based "people's art" of twentieth-century totalitarian regimes? Is there such a thing as a "democratic aesthetic"?


Instructor(s): Martha Bayles

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 4932 Americans, Ugly or Beautiful Spring 3
Course Description

TBD


Instructor(s): Martha Bayles

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 4933 Autobiographical Novel/Memoir Fall 3
Course Description

This seminar will focus upon the genre of autobiography, its origins and evolution and the resulting variations that have emerged from the traditional concept, as established with Augustine's Confessions. Moving from the fundamentals of the genre, as defined in Gusdorf's essay on the pact between author and reader, our pattern will be a comparative study of texts such as Brontë's Wuthering Heights, Svevo's The Conscience of Zeno, Goethe's Sorrows of Young Werther and Akhmatova's Requiem as well as more contemporary texts including Dubus and Munro. In addition to careful analysis of selected texts, we will explore Olney's essays on autobiography.


Instructor(s): Susan Michalczyk

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 4934 Dante: Reflecting on Our Journey Spring 3
Course Description

The primary text will be Dante's Commedia: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso, translated by Hollander. With the understanding that most Honors Program students have had some experience reading Dante's epic poem as freshmen, the seminar will be based upon the text while addressing broader topics such as government, religion, poetry, history and the like. There may be greater exploration of politics, philosophy, psychology, science, social structure within the context of medieval Florence, supported by additional texts, such as the Vita Nuova, De Monarchia (Dante's works) and other works by various poets, religious figures from classical times through medieval including contemporary interpretations.


Instructor(s): Susan Michalczyk

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 4935 Seminar: The Language of Liturgy Fall 3
Course Description

The application of structural techniques to an analysis of liturgical form both in the poetic-religious context of the language of worship and in the more broadly based systems of non-verbal symbolism (music, gesture, vestments, and appointments). Principal focus on Roman, Anglican, and Eastern Orthodox liturgies.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): M.J. Connolly

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: THEO1198 LING4321

Comments:

HONR 4936 Kerouac's Desolation Dharma Fall 3
Course Description

Seminar investigates Buddhist and Catholic dimensions of Kerouac's works including Visions of Gerard, On the Road, Dharma Bums, Subterraneans, Big Sur, Desolation Angels, Some of the Dharma, and Mexico City Blues. Kerouac claimed both Catholicism and Buddhism in his writings as answers to his experience of "desolation" before the "void." Class meets once per week to discuss the religious sources — e.g. Pascal or "The Diamond Sutra" — and writers Kerouac reacted to or influenced — e.g. Gary Snyder, Thomas Merton, or Henri de Lubac.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Michael Martin

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 4937 Reading Moby-Dick Fall 3
Course Description

TBD


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Michael Martin

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 4938 Law, Medicine, and Public Policy Fall 3
Course Description

Law, Medicine and Public Policy examines legal and public policy issues in medicine. It is designed so that students take a position on difficult or emerging issues such as treatment of infants at the margins of viability, physician refusal of requested life-prolonging treatments, experimentation, new forms of reproduction, issues in managed care, etc.

The goal is to have the students recognize inadequacies or difficulties in present practices and to formulate policies for new or developing issues in medicine.

Class discussion is used to achieve this goal.


Instructor(s): John J. Paris, S.J.

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 4939 Austen:Love/Virtue Spring 3
Course Description

TBD


Instructor(s): Alice Behnegar

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 4940 Do the Virtues have Gender? Fall 3
Course Description

The question of virtue lies at the heart of every civilization. So does the question of gender. Historically in the West, some virtues, such as bodily strength, courage in battle, self-control, rational intellect, and leadership, have been seen as masculine and superior to other virtues seen as feminine, such as modesty, industry, frugality, nurturing, and obedience. Is this view natural, rooted in biological sex; or is it conventional, part of a socially constructed system of gender roles? Further, how does the Western debate over these questions compare with the one currently raging in the Islamic world? These questions will be addressed through a wide range of readings, as well as films and other media, from both traditions.


Instructor(s): Martha Bayles

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: POLI1249

Comments: Open to all BC undergraduates who have completed the core requirements in humanities and social sciences.

HONR 4941 The Problem of Law: Perspectives from Old Books, Modern Times, and Great Movies Spring 3
Course Description

Human beings have a complicated relationship with law, above all because while we want the law to do justice, justice is elusive at every level: for the individual, within any given political community, and among communities. It is a problem to establish law and a problem to maintain law; individual lawlessness, political revolution, and war are ever-present possibilities in human life. We will explore the problem of law in these three contexts with the help of works of fiction (literature, film) and works of philosophy and contemporary social science. Some authors will be old friends from the Honors Curriculum (Plato, Shakespeare, Camus) and some will take us into new territory (the modern Middle East), but in every case the concern will be to explore how these works illuminate the world the students are about to join.


Instructor(s): Alice Behnegar

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with: POLI1274

Comments:

HONR 4942 Mirror of the West Spring 3
Course Description

This course combines readings in literatue and philosophy to explore the Other in the modern Western Cultural Tradition. Using Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe as a starting point, we will read a variety of reflections on Crusoe and on the Other: J.M. Coetzee's Foe and Michel Tournier's Friday, a selection of Flannery O'Connor's work and essays by the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas. The second half will take us to Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground, The Double, andThe Possessed; and reflection on Dostoevsky: Camus's the Rebel and Bakhtin's Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics. Students will complete a 20 page paper and do two class presentations.


Instructor(s): Thomas Epstein

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 4944 Modernist Fiction:Kafka, Woolf, Platonov Spring 3
Course Description

This course sets out to investigate the relationship between consciousness, language and life in three major Modernist fiction writers: Franz Kafka, Virginia Woolf and Andrey Platonov. Although the class will concentrate on close readings of texts produced by these authors, we will also discuss several major critical and theoretical reflections on their work.


Instructor(s): Thomas Epstein

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 4945 A Romantic Reprise Fall/Spring 3
Course Description

The purpose of this seminar is to offer the satisfaction of intellectual return by going back to books, paintings, music - above all, ideas - previously explored in the second half of sophomore year where our common subject of investigation is mature Romanticism. Accordingly, we will be looking again at some of the foundational 19th century artistic achievements. We will also be returning to earlier masterworks from the first three terms of the Cultural Tradition sequence to see how the Romantics reinterpreted them, and may explore how this Romantic way of seeing has continued in contemporary times.


Instructor(s): Mark O'Connor

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 4961 Senior Honors Thesis Fall/Spring 3
Course Description

TBD


Instructor(s): Alice Behnegar

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments:

HONR 4962 Senior Honors Thesis II Fall 3
Course Description

TBD


Instructor(s): Alice Behnegar

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments: