Spring Courses 2015

Honors Seminars

HNRS 274.01 - Illegal Things
CRN:  20341
Instructor: Sherry Forbes ([email protected])
Meeting times:  W 1:30-4:15PM
This course will examine the sociopolitical context and economic consequences of "illegal things." The approach of the course will be interdisciplinary: How do culture, power, and politics influence the social construction of morality and what we consider to be permissive grounds for declaring things illegal? What are the economic consequences of these choices, and how do they reinforce or frustrate the intentions of our desired social principles? A range of contemporary topics and issues will be considered, along with various changes in illegal things throughout history. (Did you know that pinball was once illegal in the US? Did you know that China has banned time travel?) May be counted toward the major or minor in economics. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. V5 V7

HNRS 313.01 - The Second World War in Europe
CRN: 20111
Instructor: John Ashbrook ([email protected])
Meeting times:  T 7:00-9:30PM

World War II, arguably the most destructive war in history, attracts great amateur interest. This interest has to some extent mythologized certain aspects of the war, its causes, and its legacy. This seminar will examine the war itself in Europe and its contested understandings with a special focus on the experience of the combatant during the conflict. May be counted as an elective toward the major in history. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. IIIW V1

HNRS 314.01 - Egypt: Life and Afterlife
CRN: 20110
Instructor:  Eric Casey ([email protected])
Meeting times:  TR 3:00-4:15PM

Students will learn about ancient Egyptian culture, literature, language, and art. Texts will include tomb inscriptions, imaginative stories, royal stelae, and poetry about life and the afterlife. The class will explore Egyptian religion, daily life, politics and empire, history and mythology. Egyptian art will be a major source of information about the interconnections of religion and politics. Students will get some exposure to the basics of Middle Egyptian (aka hieroglyphic) and we will consider the curious status of this beautiful language which was understood by so few but featured so prominently in their art and architecture. May be counted toward the major and minor in classics. Not open to students who have already earned credit for HNRS 267. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above and permission of instructor.  V4

HNRS 315.01 - Emergence of the Modern Mind
CRN:  20367
Instructor:  President James Jones ([email protected])
Meeting times:
  M 1:30 – 4:15 PM
Students in this course will engage in an investigation of some of the texts illustrating the evolving construct of modernity in Western civilization. Readings include Descartes, Montesquieu, and John Locke as well as others with analysis of art and music to explore the question of how it is that we know something to be true. Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing and permission of instructor.

First-year Honors Seminars

The 100 level first-year Honors seminar is one of the seven courses required for the Honors Degree. All first-year Honors students MUST ENROLL in a 100 level first-year Honors seminar in order to maintain their standing in the Honors Program and to be eligible to apply for a sophomore year Pannell Scholarship.

HNRS 113.01 - Introduction to Art Criticism
Instructor(s):  Prof Marie-Therese Killiam; TR 9:00 – 10:15AM
This course proposes to teach students how to read painting by using their critical skills and their imagination and by reading various literary commentaries on the selected paintings. Students will be taught several critical perspectives and the background necessary to place the paintings in their socio-historical context. Prerequisites: First-year Honors Inquiry course and permission of instructor. CRN: 20113

HNRS 122.01 - Doing Sweet Briar History
Instructor(s): Prof Kate Chavigny; TR 9:00 – 10:15AM

This course explores the realm of historical explanation using the Sweet Briar archives. Each step in historical construction will be illustrated by short projects: locating sources, determining their contexts, analyzing sources with reference to their use as historical evidence, forming theory in response to evidence, and constructing a narrative. Each student will combine their short projects to create a history on a topic of her choice. May be counted toward the majors in history and liberal studies as the Introduction to History course requirement. This course cannot be taken on a P/CR/NC grading option. Not open to students who have earned credit for HIST 105. Prerequisites: First-year Honors Inquiry course and permission of instructor. IIIW V1; CRN: 20108

HNRS 139.01 - Questions of Sanity
Instructor(s):  Prof Tim Loboschefski; TR 10:30-11:45AM

This course will examine the topic of insanity from various perspectives (psychological, cultural, legal, physiological, and historical) and how the line between sanity and insanity has never been as clear a distinction as we would like to believe. We will supplement our understanding of current psychiatric disorders utilizing a case study approach and examine issues ranging from the treatment/punishment of the mentally ill, to those cases where the development of abnormal behavior might be viewed as the most adaptive option available. Cases will include Norton I, Emperor of the United States, Truddi Chase from "When Rabbit Howls," and Susannah Cahalan's "Brain on Fire." Prerequisite: First-Year Honors Inquiry course and permission of instructor. CRN 20107

HNRS 140.01 - Biology in Fiction
Instructor(s): Prof Linda Fink; T 9:00-11:45AM; R 10:30 – 11:45AM

In this hybrid laboratory/seminar course we will investigate the biological science that has been integrated within contemporary novels of Barbara Kingsolver, Andrea Barrett, and Simon Mawer. By replicating and extending genetic and ecological experiments that are central to the stories, and consulting primary and secondary scientific sources, we will explore the authors' liberties and faithfulness to scientific accuracy. We will also read additional works of fiction with biologists as central characters. How do writers translate science into fiction, and how realistic are the portrayals of scientists? How does understanding or not understanding the science influence a reader's experience? May be counted as a 100-level elective for the major in biology. Prerequisites: First-year Honors Inquiry course and permission of instructor. CRN 20321

Honors Sections

Departments with multiple sections of regularly offered introductory courses may offer one of the sections as an Honors Section.

Honors Variants

Students interested in taking an Honors variant of a regular departmental course should contact the course instructor. To enroll in an Honors variant, students must submit an Honors Variant Contract to the registrar by the add deadline.