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.
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.
HSem 2043V, Finding the "Corporate Soul:" Corporate Advocacy, Social Responsibility, and Community Engagement
This seminar seeks to answer questions such as: What contribution does organizational advocacy make to public dialogue? How does corporate advocacy represent the goals and needs of the organization and society? What are the social implications of organizational advocacy? Our goal is to understand organizational advocacy beyond a single issue, campaign, or corporation. To achieve our goal, we will examine a variety of communication theories and international, national, and Minnesota-based campaigns.
This Honors Seminar counts as a Journalism "Context Course."
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.
Our online lives are marked by different kinds of gender performance: social media selfies, texting, gaming, and YouTube vlogging, are among the digital genres in which we embody personas that have a gendered component. This course examines the relationship between digital technology and gender embodiment, to trace how concepts of gender evolve across platforms. Drawing examples from Egypt, Iran, the United States, India, and Europe, we see how digital platforms and networks build provide spaces for performance in different cultural contexts.
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.
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.
Quantum mechanics is everywhere. The goal of this seminar is to introduce students with a wide variety of backgrounds to this exciting but perplexing field. To ensure that it will be truly accessible to a broad range of students, the seminar will only presuppose some basic high school algebra and geometry. Given the topic, however, it will inevitably be quite challenging conceptually. The focus will be on entanglement, one of the most baffling features of quantum mechanics. Met with derision at first from none other than Albert Einstein, attempts to harness entanglement for the purposes of quantum computing and quantum cryptography are funded today with billions of dollars. If the investors’ high hopes are fulfilled—a big if admittedly—the scientific developments that started picking up steam in the Enlightenment may well culminate in an Age of Entanglement.
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.
This seminar will focus on the future of climate change, its emerging and far-reaching impacts on social and ecological systems, and the development of innovative strategies to address this challenge. The multidimensional problem of climate change will be examined through a variety of lenses, including the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, and the perspectives of indigenous peoples, environmental justice, and future generations. With an emphasis on the human dimensions of climate change, the purpose of this course is to prepare students to anticipate and design alternative climate change futures and create effective decisions and policies to achieve them.
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.
This course will examine the intersections of mass incarceration and health. We will explore individual and community-level health impacts of incarceration, with a focus on the relationship between mass incarceration and health disparities, particularly in communities of color. This course will consider specific populations at particularly high risk, including detained youth, pregnant incarcerated women, and the elderly. Students will have an opportunity to tour local correctional facilities and hear directly from experts in the field, including formerly incarcerated people.
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.
This upper level Honors Seminar explores the roots and rationales presented when constructing and upholding ideas of race. This class examines processes of racial formation in science, law, history, immigration policy, education, leisure, marriage, and medicine. The course is invested in getting at the heart of how Americans came to understand identify, and codify the import of race since the 1900s.
In this seminar, we will explore the relationship between trust, technologies, and human communication by a) reviewing research from sociology, rhetoric, psychology, and other fields to understand the nature of trust; b) exploring the history of communication technology, from the oral cultures to the first forms of writing to the printing press to the Internet; c) investigating trust, technology, and communication in specific contexts, with a focus on social media and the Internet and key features such as the confirmation bias and the changing nature of expertise. These context will include medical/health communication; social actions; online communities; political and scientific reporting.
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.
**This course will be taught in an online-only format. Additional details to come.**
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Throughout history, communities have grappled with the same questions: how do we govern the community? What stories do we tell about ourselves that give meaning to our lives? How do we persuade each other? How do we express our values and identity? Are there roles proper to men and women? Does life have meaning after life ends? Ancient Greek society was a particularly intense location for considering those questions. These are questions fundamental to the liberal arts and fundamental to being a contributing citizen of a democracy in a globalized world. This class examines and critiques the ancient Greek answers in order to gain perspective on how to answer those questions for our own lives and our community.
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.
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.
Housing directly affects our physical and mental health, children's educational attainment, our economic opportunities, our transportation patterns and dependencies, and the environment. However, not all people are able to achieve the same levels of well-being because of disparities due to race, ethnicity, and class. This seminar explores issues of power and privilege that contribute to those disparities.
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.
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.
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.
HSem 2709H, Climate Change: Indisputable Science, Unprecedented Consequences, and Transformative Responses
Climate change presents an almost unimaginable crisis to our existence. Its profoundness is coupled with an urgency to find solutions that contribute to collective and transformative actions. There is scientific consensus that the existence of human beings (and many other species) on the planet is in danger because of fossil fuel emissions. Human activity has led to increasing greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide) and a warming planet. A warming planet has negative consequences in terms of environmental degradation, extreme weather events, and social disruption—all of which have health and economic consequences. While the basic problem is acknowledged by scientists in diverse fields, many of the proposed responses to the current and projected climate-related changes are contrary to powerful political, cultural, industrial, and economic interests. This course will take a multidisciplinary perspective to encourage students to learn and critically evaluate information about three major content areas: (1) the science of climate change; (2) the existing, and projected, consequences of climate change to the environment and to human health; and (3) mitigation and adaptation responses for industries, governments, communities, and individuals.
Reproductive and sexual health is an increasingly important topic in community settings. Pharmacists can play a vital role in promoting safe and healthy practices that will improve the health of their communities and are an important source of reproductive and sexual health information and advice. This course is designed to expand and enhance community-based reproductive and sexual health knowledge and skills while preparing students to be informed and active participants in ethics driven debates surrounding reproductive and sexual health.
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.
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!
This course will take students on a tour of the deadliest and most controversial research scandals in recent medical history. We will explore questions such as: What cultural and institutional forces allowed the scandals to occur? What were the best ethical arguments in favor of allowing the research to proceed? How were the scandals exposed? What was the role of investigative reporters, regulatory authorities, and whistleblowers? Should we have confidence that research abuse is not occurring today?