The University Honors Program makes every effort to offer advertised courses. To that end, Honors Seminars with seven (7) or more students are considered viable. Honors Seminars with fewer students will be evaluated for cancellation ten (10) days prior to the start of the semester. Students will be notified and are encouraged to contact their UHP advisor should they need assistance with replacing the canceled course. (Departmental Honors courses cancellation policy is determined by the college/department through which the course is offered.)
This course provides a classroom-support format to assist Honors students with developing a firm foundation for research in advance of their final year of study. Most thesis writing will be done under the direction of the thesis advisor and committee, hence assignments in HCol 3102H are structured to prompt students toward engaging best practices—generically, and in their specific field of study—in preparing to complete thesis work. The course’s ultimate objective is to provide context, structure, third-party scholarly guidance, and a supportive community of peers to promote excellence and expediency in fulfilling the final requirement for graduation with Latin Honors.
For Fall 2022, there will be 4 sections of HCol 3102H. This course meets every other week. Section 1 meets on Thursdays from 1:25-3:20pm; section 2 meets on Thursdays from 1:25-3:20pm;; section 3 meets on Fridays from 11:15am-1:10pm; section 4 meets on Tuesdays from 4:00-5:55pm.
Art has a social role to serve, and the artist has a moral obligation to society. It can engage the social issues and environment of its day, either directly or indirectly. Not every artwork needs to address poverty, famine, war, corruption, and injustice, but an artist should not ignore the pain and suffering of her/his fellow human beings. This course will discuss the subject matters and practices of major contemporary artists all over the world whose creative work frequently intertwines with commentaries on contemporary politics.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00-5:15pm
This seminar will introduce students to critical thinking and behavioral research methods, encouraging them to critically evaluate the evidence for a variety of supernatural, paranormal, and pseudoscientific claims. Students will design and carry out their own experimental tests of these claims. The course includes a guest lecture and demonstration by a local psychic.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:45-11:00am
This course is designed to introduce students to techniques for discovering everyday problems and fashioning potential solutions to those problems. Because the course material deals with ideas and idea generation, it is designed to be helpful to many future careers and callings by unlocking individual creative thinking skills. During the semester we will explore the genesis of ideas and the relationship between deep insight, empathy, consumer problems, ideas, and innovation. Specific topics to be covered during the semester include the role of insights, ethnography, and discovery techniques; individual and group creativity; the creative process and where ideas come from; innovation and the value thereof; and effective communication of ideas.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:45-11:00am
This is a topical, field-trip-based course. This seminar will address some of the solutions to the environmental problems that affect our society by examining the science and by experiencing the solutions that are used on campus or in the neighboring community. Each week we will focus on a solution to a different environmental issue (stormwater, groundwater contamination, disposal or livestock waste, solid waste, public engagement on environmental concerns, and so forth). We will visit the places on or near campus designed as environmental solutions, hear from the experts, and discuss the engineering and human aspects of these solutions. The field-trip destinations are accessible by campus bus, city bus, or train. The class will involve weekly reading and writing assignments. There will also be a semester-long, hands-on project to devise a realistic, potential solution to an environmental issue.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Thursdays from 2:30-4:10pm
Sherlock Holmes, in solving his cases, is relying on a pattern of reasoning known as Inference to the Best Explanation (acronym: IBE). Holmes’s explanation of how some crime was committed tends to be so convincing that it counts as evidence that it was actually committed that way. Although our use of it is seldom as clever as Holmes’s, we rely on IBE all the time in everyday life. So do scientists. In science, however, IBE tends to be less reliable. That a theory explains a range of phenomena does not make that theory true. In other words, we cannot simply take a theory’s explanatory power as evidence for it. Yet, scientists tend to put great emphasis on their theories’ explanatory power if they want to convince others of it. Which raises the question: What exactly is the relation between explanation and evidence in science? In this seminar, we will examine this relation, using examples from everyday life, crime fiction and the history of science (involving such luminaries as Copernicus, Newton, Darwin and Einstein). To improve our understanding of IBE we will contrast it with a probabilistic account of evaluating evidence known as Bayesianism.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:00-11:15am
Exploring museums and special collections on campus, this course will investigate the importance of material objects – maps, rare books, artifacts, instruments, specimens, manuscripts – as these are used to write history, produce public exhibits, and create identities. The materials were collected as part of research agendas, often by faculty, and thus are repositories that relate closely to the history of various sciences. The University of Minnesota provides a rich resource for such exploration of things that, collectively, have been important and continue to shape its history.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Wednesdays from 2:30-5:00pm
This course explores the interaction of human, animals, and microbes and examines how microbes, pathogenic microbes in particular, have influenced human evolution and civilization. The course expects to expose students to the thinking from a historic and interdisciplinary perspective that microbes, especially those causing pandemics and epidemic for centuries, may have played critical roles in influencing human history and shaping modern civilization, although social, cultural, technical, and other factors have been major players.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Thursdays from 3:35-5:30pm
We share the planet with a myriad of living things. The smallest of those are the ones that may impact our lives the most. These creatures are in the news nearly every day: Ebola virus in Western Africa, measles outbreak among visitors to Disneyland, foodborne outbreaks on cruise ships. This course will focus on the importance of infectious disease prevention, control, and treatment to the health and well-being of the global community. Students will explore the many facets of public health response operations and decision-making which are often behind the scenes and not well understood by the general public.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:00-2:15pm.
This is a course designed for undergraduate students who are interested in medicine. Students will get a broad introduction to the field of medicine via core lectures, book reading, movies, and interactive group discussion, group presentation, and writing a review paper on pain medicine.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Mondays from 3:35-6:55pm, ending on October 31, 2022
This seminar offers an introduction into legal thinking: not merely what the laws are, but why we have them and, more importantly, how we come up with them. As a focus, students will ground themselves in torts, a fundamental area of legal education that covers the civil wrongs. Students will have an opportunity to get a feeling for the law school experience as we use the case method, along with some Socratic method and ample discussion. We will focus on the basics of legal analysis, and learn how to apply that to critical thinking. Students successfully completing this seminar will be mentally armed and dangerous.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Tuesdays from 3:35-6:15pm
Whether you want to be organizing large activism campaigns or become an effective advocate for local issues, this course will go over some of the basic frameworks for advocacy and change-making. Basics of climate change will be covered. The course will feature guest speakers from various campaigns and organizations. Students develop their own advocacy campaigns as a way to center theoretical learning. The focus of this class is on climate change but these basic tools and frameworks are useful for any issue.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00-5:15pm
HSem 3071H, People, Pines, and Fire: Shaping the forested landscapes of Minnesota and the Great Lakes
This seminar course explores the deep connections between fire and the emergence of Great Lakes forests, as well as the cultural use of fire as a tool. In this course, we will explore the development of effective fire suppression, the emergence of fortress-ecology/conservation, and the impacts of reduced fire activity on forest resilience. We will also discuss the concept of ‘wilderness’ and traditional ecological knowledge and the relationship with fire management today, particularly within the framework of a changing climate. This course is meant to merge interdisciplinary topics in ecology, climatology, and geography to explore the important connections between humans and their physical environment in the Upper Great Lakes pine landscapes.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Tuesdays from 2:30-5:00pm
This course is a global comparative investigation of the traditional myths, legends, and folktales that have been produced by diverse communities ringing the northern polar regions; we will draw a circle around the top of the world (approximately the 58th or 60th parallel) and see what we find. Thus, we will study many cultures and their literatures and beliefs that are not often combined: the indigenous cultures of North America and beyond; the Russian and Baltic regions; the Scandinavian countries and Finland; Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:45-11:00am
This class will explore the relationship between political revolution and artistic expression. The primary focus will be on the Soviet Union and Mexico, both famous for the dramatic artistic developments that accompanied their radical political transformation. As secondary points of comparison, the class will also study the art arising from other revolutions in other countries, including the United States, France, Cuba, and Algeria.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:30-5:00pm
The urgent pressures for equity and justice, and for a response to the changing climate, are complex, intertwined, "wicked problems." The Mississippi River, a storied part of the American landscape that is literally and figuratively the center of the North American continent, provides a profound space to explore how the river and American society have shaped each other. The seminar uses an Environmental Justice lens to examine the past, present, and potential futures of the river's biological, physical, and socio-cultural systems in a changing climate. The seminar will bring together knowledge from a number of academic disciplines, as well as community and cross-sector professional and agency perspectives.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:00-2:15pm
HSem 3414H, "Was the $84,000 price tag for a cure to hepatitis C corporate greed or a humanitarian triumph?"
In the 2016 Presidential race, Donald Trump said that drug companies were getting away with murder and Hilary Clinton charged that they were making a fortune out of people’s misfortune. The main complaint against drug companies is, of course, that they are price gougers. They abuse their government-enforced monopolies to charge extortionate prices that deny some Americans access to treatment for life-threatening illnesses, bankrupt middle class Americans, and place intolerable strains on state budgets. This seminar will use a cure for hepatitis C (Sovaldi) to evaluate the claim that drug companies charge exorbitant prices and (optimistically?) to try to answer the question of what is a just price for a life-saving drug. Or, in other words, how should we price priceless goods?
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 11:15am-12:30pm
Currently, nanotechnology influences virtually all industrial and public health sectors, including healthcare, agriculture, transport, energy, materials, information, and communication technologies. Despite extensive commercial application, a clear understanding of the adverse effects of Engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) is lacking. Deep uncertainties currently pervade every step of the risk assessment of ENPs, making the procedure incapable of properly serving its purpose. The students registered for this seminar will learn key general features of ENPs, how general public might be exposed to ENPs and their potential health effects so that they can make informed decision regarding safe use of ENPs. With serious information gap regarding ENPs safety, whether ENPs are a blessing or a curse is debatable.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00-5:15pm
This course will provide a comprehensive overview of law and politics of 20th and 21st-century China, in their historical and cultural contexts. It will introduce undergraduate students to distinctive paradigms and discursive patterns of law and politics in China, with the intention of fostering comparative analysis and critical thinking. Initially, the course will focus upon modern Chinese history since 1840, paying particular attention to traditional Chinese views of the role of law in society, as well as to the legal and political aspects of early Sino-Western interaction. The second part of the course will focus on substantive laws, high profile legal cases, and major political events in the People's Republic of China today. The course will conclude by examining current issues in Chinese law from both sides, and by looking into China's argument for the "Beijing Consensus" -- essentially a new type of capitalism, without Western-style rule of law.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Thursdays from 4:00-6:30pm.
Lawyers, nuns, social workers, and school girls have won the Nobel Peace Prize. In achieving this distinction, they hone their leadership skills to a fine art. They face personal danger, inner conflicts, social challenges, and pointed criticism. Succeeding despite their flaws, their ability to inspire courageous, innovative action cuts across age-groups, decades, borders, and nationality. Students in this Honors Seminar will touch and experience that inspiration.
For Fall 2022, this HSem meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00-5:15pm.
This course provides a classroom-support format to assist Honors students with developing a firm foundation for research in advance of their final year of study. Most thesis writing will be done under the direction of the thesis advisor and committee, hence assignments in HCol 3101H are structured to prompt students toward engaging best practices—generically, and in their specific field of study—in preparing to complete thesis work. The course’s ultimate objective is to provide context, structure, third-party scholarly guidance, and a supportive community of peers to promote excellence and expediency in fulfilling the final requirement for graduation with Latin Honors.
4 sections available for spring 2022. Meetings times and locations TBD.
This course provides a structured format and outside supervision to assist Honors students and their faculty advisors in drafting and editing the prose of the Honors thesis. Specifically, students are asked to regularly solicit their thesis advisor for specific kinds of feedback on draft writing samples, meet with the faculty member to go over this feedback, and then write up a plan for incorporating the feedback into subsequent drafts. HCOL3103V assumes that the bulk of the work devoted to developing a thesis topic, consulting secondary sources, collecting data, doing analysis, and producing creative output has already been completed. Hence, assignments in HCOL3103V prompt students and thesis advisors to meet regularly in service of crafting prose appropriate for their discipline and project. The final assignment comprises the submission of the completed thesis draft to the full thesis committee.
1 section available for spring 2022. Meetings times and locations TBD.
This course on Jewish humor, in addition to introducing students to various theoretical frameworks for approaching humor and comedy, will by way of the joke introduce students to a range of classical Jewish texts, including the Torah and Talmud, before moving to an examination of Jewish contributions to the comedy industry and to popular culture from the 19th century until today, especially in the United States.
Meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:30-3:45pm in Nicholson 345
This seminar offers a selective overview of the most influential Non-Anglo-American “film authors” in post WWII art film history. Throughout the course we will learn the definitions of "art film" and "film author," filmmaking as high art practice, major art film movements in the world: Italian New-Realism, French New Wave, New German Cinema, New Taiwanese Cinema, etc. and their influence on the American filmmaking. We will develop a historical appreciation of art film based on cinematic traditions contained within narrative, documentary, and experimental forms, and acquire a critical, technical, and aesthetic vocabulary relating to particular filmmakers. In particular, we will examine and evaluate the importance of genre and the legacy of individual “auteurs” throughout the history of post-war cinema. We will study the individuality of the filmmakers and their contribution to our understandings of politics, society, and human relationship.
This Honors Seminar fulfills an upper-division elective requirement for the Studies in Cinema & Media Culture major.
This Honors Seminar fulfills a 3xxx-level elective requirement for the Art History major/minor. It satisfies the Era III historical distribution requirement (1800-present), and can be applied to one of two geographic distribution requirements: North America/Europe, or South and/or East Asia.
Meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00-5:15pm (location TBD)
This seminar is a ghastly wicked ride through key genres and formats of fantasy literature for adolescents and young adults. Fantasy is explored as a literature of possibilities and empowerment, and in particular as furthering the ongoing transformation of consciousness from local to global humanity. The focus is on eight principal genres and on the role of fantasy in nurturing moral imagination, creative thinking, and the human potential.
Meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:45-11:00am in Nicholson 345
The course will explore different voting systems, including single vote plurality, instant run-off (also known as ranked choice), Borda count systems, approval voting, and the mathematics behind them. While Arrow’s theorem states that no electoral system can be completely fair, we will study the strengths and weaknesses of each system, both in mathematical theory as well as historical events. We will also discuss Gerrymandering, both from geometric and probabilistic points of view and how this relates to recent Supreme Court cases.
Meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:15am-12:30pm in Nicholson 345
Encompassing more than 6.5 million square miles, Russia is an immense and ecologically diverse country. The environment of the frigid and heavily forested heartland of early Russian civilization, as well as that of the “wild field” (the Eurasian steppe) on its border, have posed a series of challenges to Russians and have left an indelible mark on modern Russian culture. In this interdisciplinary seminar, we will study how Russians have conceived of and used nature from the medieval period to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Articulating a particular approach to nature has been integral to several ideological and cultural projects in Russian history, including the formation of a literary tradition, the establishment of a multi-ethnic empire encompassing several biomes, and the development of a vision of Soviet science conquering and reshaping nature—and the world.
Meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 11:15am-12:30pm in 345 Nicholson
Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson referred to insects and other invertebrates as the ‘little things that run the world’. Insects may be small but are diverse and abundant, and occupy almost all habitats on planet earth. This course will provide Honors students with an interest in the environment to learn about the positive influences of insects as pollinators, and ‘recyclers’, and negative impacts of invasive species that lead to environmental pollution. Students will explore the amazing adaptations in insects that enable them to thrive in or escape from harsh climatic conditions such as drought, high humidity or temperature extremes. They will gain an appreciation of how insects help us conduct environmental research by serving as effective indicators of toxicity or climate change. Through interactive lectures, discussions on select readings and videos, engagement in debates on GMOs, pesticide-pollinator conflicts and environmental impacts of raising livestock versus insects as food for humans, and group projects, students will acquire a new awareness of little creatures with great influences on the environment.
Meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:45-11:00am (location TBD)
This course will discuss how cinematic interpretations of American law were and are perceived and accepted in the United States and elsewhere, both inside and outside the legal community. The class will progress by teaching and discussing some fundamentals of American law using legal films to illustrate the doctrinal concepts and rationales in civil procedure, criminal law and criminal procedure, the jury trial, evidence, contracts, torts, constitutional law and the First Amendment, legal ethics, and professional responsibility.
Meets on Thursdays from 4:00-6:30pm in Blegen 115
This seminar will examine recent research findings from the cognitive, brain, and social sciences to arrive at a better understanding of the conditions that foster, or impede, flexible thinking. Representative topics will include: the effects of reinforcing variable rather than habitual behavior; the need for both highly specific and more abstract ways of accessing our knowledge and memory for experiences; the ways in which emotions may enhance or impair flexibility in thought; and the importance of mentally stimulating environments in adaptive cognition and behavior.
Meets on Tuesdays from 5:00-7:30pm (location TBD)
Memoirs—non-fictional life stories—offer an intriguing lens into the past. They vividly portray personal experiences, but they also raise questions about the reliability of the narrator. We will examine memoirs written in the last two decades that explore ethnicity, identity, migration, memory, and belonging, and that use individual experience to illuminate a broader social and political history in the United States.
Meets on Tuesdays from 2:30-5:00pm (location TBD)
Science Court is a mock trial system designed to promote democratic norms by investigating controversial societal issues, based on facts and sound scientific research, in front of a judge and jury of citizens. Students work together in three teams (Science, Legal and Media) to plan, research, execute, and report a SciCourt case. More information is available at scicourt.umn.edu!
Meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00-5:15pm (location TBD)
This seminar will explore in depth the important role that exercise plays in medicine. Seminar participants will learn of the evidence basis for the use of exercise in a wide variety of conditions including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, mental health, and cognition. Related issues such as fitness assessments, nutrition, exercise complications, and sedentary physiology will also be presented.
Meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:25-2:15pm in Nicholson 355
Understanding women's reproductive health requires consideration of the intersections of gender, race, class, culture, geography, economic status and nation within a historical and sociopolitical context. This course will build upon our current understanding of major conditions affecting the reproductive health of women, e.g. pregnancy, parenting, reproductive control, and menopause by raising challenges from a feminist perspective and encouraging expanded models that address the complexity of women's reproductive health in today's society.
Meets on Tuesdays from 9:05-11:50am (location TBD)