campus wide alert




Fall 2016

HON 1200 “It’s a Small World, After All…” (First Year Seminar)
Dr. Carmony Hartwig (Biology)
TR 12:00-1:15pm (CRN 10088)

In this course we will delve into the hidden “small” world of microbes – microscopic organisms and viruses, agents easily capable of providing benefits such as antibiotics and wine, or causing horrific diseases that have wiped out entire civilizations. To this end we will explore the societal and cultural aspects of human history that have been shaped directly by microbes. Specifically, we will discuss how humans have perpetuated disease and expound the ways that microbial diseases have altered cultures, behaviors, and stigmas. We will then shift our focus to the current and historical ways microbes serve as an integral part of our medicinal and scientific technologies, as well as our food, culture and industry. Finally, we will explore the projected future of microbial – human interactions and discuss fictional and scientifically based accounts of “the coming plague”.


HON 1200 Are We Still Talking About This?  (First Year Seminar)
Dr. Norris Feeney (Politics)
TR 12:00-1:15pm (CRN 10086)

The materials selected in the course represent a starting point for gaining “foundational knowledge” every college student should acquire before they graduate. We will enter into dialogue with important historical figures and contemporary thinkers, with the conversation structured around puzzles mankind constantly revisits across the millennia. In our course we seek our own answers to these timeless questions by assessing ideas communicated in a variety of ways: written word, speeches, visual art, and music. In this effort we explore how creators from various civilizations across history have sought to connect with their audience, offering ideas successive generations have built upon to develop an understanding of ourselves, our purpose, our communities, and our world. Liberal arts education, once and maybe still the mark of a truly free individual, requires this connection between the self and the people, places, and ideas that make us human. The goals of this course include: the development of useful skills for education, encouraging a natural curiosity and inquisitiveness needed to become a life-long learner, and practicing activities which help us grow into our full potential as contributing members of a vibrant human community.

HON 2501 The Power of Music to “Soothe a Savage Breast”
Dr. Renee McCachren (Music)
TR 9:30-10:45am (CRN 10277)
Fine Arts/Creative

“Music has charms to soothe a savage breast,” from the opening lines of William Congreve’s drama The Mourning Bride, barely scratches the surface of debates that have surrounded music for millennia.  Since the dawn of civilization scholars, politicians, and religious leaders have described the power of music to raise loved ones from the dead, influence infamous murderers with messages of death and destruction, inspire the massacre high school teens, lure sailors to their death on treacherous rocks, cure melancholy, or arouse religious devotion.  For over a thousand years, music was included in the traditional liberal arts education because of its presumed mathematical connections to the cosmos, resulting in its power over social conventions, political stability, and the human soul.  These topics will be explored through the writings of ancient Greek philosophers, early Christian leaders, mythology, the Bible, and commentators on Islam and the Chinese Cultural Revolution; through correlations with music literature; and through written assignments and creative projects.

HON 2901 Adventure Writing
Dr. Forrest Anderson (English)
MW 2:00-3:15pm (CRN 10280)

Together, we will explore the narrative of adventure through travel, writing, and reading. Armed with laptops, cameras, and video cameras we will travel far beyond the classroom on three excursions: a day-hike along the Appalachian Trial, a whitewater rafting trip on the Nantahala River, and a bone-fishing/kayaking excursion to Key West, Florida over Fall Break. We’ll have the opportunity to explore, interview, photograph, and video our adventures. Upon return to the classroom, we’ll hone our skills as writers through the creation, revision, and production of adventure narratives that incorporate our interviews, photos, and videos. Along the way we’ll be reading examples of short form adventure writing, most notably from Outside Magazine, as well as excerpts from early examples of the genre—for example, the journals of Lewis and Clark—and long-form writing from the Modern Library Exploration series edited by Jon Krakauer.

HON 3501 Animals: The Creatures Around (And Inside) Us
Dr. Janice Fuller (English)
TR 1:30-2:45pm (CRN 10283)

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”  —Mahatma Ghandi

In this course we will wrestle with the question, “Is there a ‘right’ way to treat animals?”    On our way toward developing provisional and individual answers to this question, we will try to understand the ways that humans in a variety of disciplines have defined the relationship between humans and animals.  Temple Grandin’s Animals in Translation will be one of our important sources in this matter. We’ll then see how even when we think we have clear definitions about the human-animal relationship, we can still end up in a muddled state about zoos, treatment of pets, animal testing, eating choices, and other practical dealings with animals.  These are the ethical quandries that anthrozoologist Hal Herzog will ask us to explore in Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals. Jonathan Safran Foer in Eating Animals will challenge us, sometimes anger and confuse us, and, ultimately, ask us to be mindful about how food gets to our tables. We will also explore how definitions of the human-animal relationship manifest themselves in the way animals and humans are represented in films, children’s books, cartoons, and other artistic texts.  Most importantly, we will observe animals firsthand by visiting some of the sites where they live, including the North Carolina Zoo, the Duke Lemur Center, local animal shelters, and local farms. Pre-requisite:  Sophomore standing (30 + semester hours passed). 


HON 3501 Philosophy and the Integration of Knowledge
Dr. Seth Holtzman (Philosophy)
MF 2:00-3:15pm (CRN 10561)

Why is it that modern math and music have moved in similar direction?  Why are some of the same theories influential in both art and science?  How have modern dance and architecture incorporated similar ideas?  What philosophical concepts and principles are woven through our culture?  This course explores the intellectual interconnections among disciplines and thus among different bodies of knowledge.  Our culture’s thought often seems a hodge-podge of unconnected beliefs, areas of thought, and theories—but in this course we shall see that there is unity and integrity in culture and that it is produced and governed by general intellectual commitments.  The course therefore tells one long intellectual story.   Pre-requisite:  Sophomore standing (30 + semester hours passed). 


Spring 2017

HON 2501 Da Vinci Code or Da Church?
Dr. Barry Sang (Religion and Philosophy)

MW 2:00-3:15pm (CRN 20546)


In his popular book, The Da Vinci Code, author Dan Brown makes several historical claims about the first few centuries of early Christianity, many of which have been wonderfully controversial. Those claims will be our springboard into an examination of Christianity's diversity in approximately 100-400 C.E. Using two books by Bart Ehrman, we will read those gospels and other books that were popular among a significant number of Christians in Christianity's early centuries--books that were, of course, rejected by the powerful leaders of the Early Church as theologically unacceptable. With this historically-grounded information in hand, we will evaluate Brown's claims.  Our ultimate goal is that, upon completion of this course, we all will have a deeper understanding of the rich diversity of belief within the Early Church, and also a sense of the battles between heresy and orthodoxy.  We will also consider the issues attending the relationship between fiction and history.

HON 2501 Cash, Money, Billionaires
Dr. Buster Smith (Sociology)
MWF 1:00-1:50am (CRN 20166)
Social & Behavioral Sciences/Historical & Social

Money is a very powerful force in modern society.  It drives how we perceive others, what we can and cannot do, and the way we see the world.  In this class we will examine money from a variety of different perspectives.  We will look at money from a cultural sociological perspective while reading Georg Simmel’s Philosophy of Money.  We will explore the choices we make when faced with financial decisions by studying an economic approach to game theory.  We will learn about the ultra-wealthy in modern society, including who they are, what they do, and how they got that way.  We will examine the interaction of money and religion through research on the Prosperity Gospel.


HON 2501 Life on Our Own Terms:  Neurodiversity and the Endless Adaptability of the Human Brain

Dr. Beth Homan (Theatre Arts) and Dr. Erin Wood (Psychology)
M 2:00-5:00pm (CRN 20164)
Humanities OR Natural Science/Interpretive OR Scientific

“It is the fate—the genetic and neural fate—of every human being to be a unique individual--to find his own path--to live his own life--to die his own death.” - Oliver Sacks

This course will examine current trends in scientific and popular culture that seek to define and describe people in light of what we know about the “normal” functioning of the human brain. Using the work of renowned neurologist and “poet laureate of medicine” Oliver Sacks as our frame, we will investigate the role of neurodiversity in peoples’ subjective experiences of the world.  We will begin with a foundational review of basic brain function (like sensation and perception), move into a brief exploration of current trends in neuroscience to include a discussion of the role of neurodiversity in the human rights movement. We will then examine a series of case studies from Sacks’ books, The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, An Anthropologist on Mars, Musicophilia, and others.  We will also compare/contrast the reality of these case studies with their artistic representations in films and plays like Awakenings, Temple Grandin, Memento, A Kind of Alaska, Wings, and Next to Normal.


HON 2901 The Conversation Between Science and Culture in Britain, 1660 to 2000
Dr. Gordon Grant (English) and Dr. Joe Poston (Biology)
TR 1:30-2:45pm (CRN 20168)
Humanities OR Natural Science/Interpretive OR Scientific

This course focuses on the advances made by British scientists, and their effects on British society and culture, as seen in the works of artists, philosophers, critics, and other cultural commentators.  Through readings, discussions, and even an experiment or two, students will explore the rise of science as both a new form of knowledge about nature (and how it works), and as a new mode of understanding the nature of humanity.  We will look closely at great scientific achievements as well as both positive and negative reactions to this “brave new world.”  The class will include a trip to London (and one or two other locales in southern England) during Spring Break. 


HON 4300 Honors Thesis
Dr. Buster Smith (Sociology)
TBA (CRN 20179)

This section of HON 4300 Honors Thesis is a writing thesis seminar designed to help juniors in the Honors Program who intend to graduate with honors within the next academic year begin writing their thesis.  Successful completion of this seminar can count towards the hours needed to graduate with honors (in particular, the 2 hours will count as part of the 6 semester hours honors students may take as part of their senior experience).  Early in the semester you will decide, at least tentatively, on the “significant problem or issue” that you would like to study, and by the end of the semester, you will have done enough “systematic study” of that problem or issue to be able to write a thesis proposal to take to a potential thesis advisor/chair and committee.