Calhoun Honors College

HON Classes

The following table lists Honors seminars scheduled to be taught in Spring 2014.


Fall 2014 Honors Seminars

Course and Professor General Education Course Section 
"Holocaust Literature: Auschwitz and Treblinka"”Holocaust Literature: Auschwitz and Treblinka"
HON 1900 Section 1, 3:30-4:45 TTH. CRN # 80155.
The death camps Auschwitz and Treblinka epitomize the Holocaust. While much of the killing and murder took place outside of the camps, these two names have become the reference for the most atrocious and horrific crimes in human history. While many survivors of Auschwitz and Treblinka were compelled to tell their stories, the question remains how can the horrors and the crimes committed during the Shoah be described or represented. What does it mean to remember? And how can the impossible be understood? Is not any attempt to bear witness bound to fail from the onset? Yet, Auschwitz and Treblinka have been inscribed in today’s universal memory; and one could argue that Holocaust literature has been successful in helping us to understand that which is incomprehensible. In this freshmen seminar we will analyze and compare various literary texts in order to gain an understanding why Auschwitz and Treblinka have become synonymous for the Holocaust. Readings include but are not limited to Primo Levi, Shlomo Venezia, Chil Rajchman, and Miklos Nyiszli, with theoretical essays by Hannah Arendt and Giorgio Agamben.

Professor Johannes Schmidt
Literature HON 1900 1
"Positively Human""Positively Human"
HON 1920 section 1, 2:30-3:45 MW. CRN # 80221.
This course is about human nature. We will examine how our growing knowledge of the brain helps us better understand humans, our behaviors, and our choices. Part of our class will discuss human evolution and how viewing humans as adaptive animals can help us better understand human nature. Students will read, reflect on, and discuss different reading materials and other course assignments. There are no tests in this course. Instead, the class will be organized around discussions and course assignments. Reading materials will include 1 to 2 books as well as scientific articles. All students are expected to keep up with all course assignments and to contribute to the class discussions. The students will take turns leading the class discussions. Students will complete regular reflection papers (2 to 3 times a semester) about the readings and course activities. There will be a final assignment that replaces a cumulative final exam where students will create a final summary of the course material and how they can apply that information as they move forward in their life.

Professor June Pilcher
Social Science HON 1920 1
"Who Gets What and Why?"”Who Gets What and Why?"
HON 1920 Section 2, 3:30-4:45 TTH. CRN # 88911.
This class will introduce students to the sociological perspective by exploring the ways in which inequality is established, maintained, and reproduced, as well as the consequences of inequality for individuals and society. Focusing primarily on the American context, we will review classical and contemporary explanations for inequality and explore the mechanisms that create and sustain this diverse, yet related, set of inequalities (e.g. gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation) in a variety of realms (e.g. education, paid labor, health, families, and crime). The course will focus on the ways in which inequality is embedded in social structure and will emphasize the concept of privilege, the unearned and often invisible advantages that accrue to those in structurally dominant social positions simply by virtue of their membership in these social categories. Through critical thinking and engaged learning, students will: (1) recognize how inequality has been socially constructed, (2) identify mechanisms that shape and reproduce various forms of inequality, and (3) understand how privilege and inequality are experienced and affect the lives of men and women in American society—including themselves. (Open only to the National Scholars).

Professor Sarah Winslow
Social Science HON 1920 2
"The Middle East in Crisis""The Middle East in Crisis"
HON 1930 section 1, 3:30-4:45 TTH. CRN # 84690.
This is a new course and onetime offer for Calhoun Honors freshmen. It will focus dramatic ongoing multiple crisis in the Middle East – Israeli-Palestinian conflict and negotiations, civil war and in Syria, the issue of Iran’s development of nuclear technology, turmoil in Egypt and unrest in Turkey. The United States has vital strategic interests in this oil rich but troubled part of the world. 1989 ended the Cold War and confrontation and competition with the Soviet Union. However American positions in the Middle East remain challenged not only by Islamic radicalism but also changes in the balance of power in the region. The Arab Spring is “frozen” along with our hopes to see democratization take roots. There are problems in relations with traditional allies like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, and even Israel. Are we able to handle these historic changes? Will current set of crisis in the Middle East weaken U.S. global position? May it even endanger our democracy through increased terrorist threats? Let us find out the answers. Combination of lectures and seminar format will ensure active participation of students and will help hone your research, writing and presentation skills along with critical analysis, creative thinking, and tolerance for different approaches and views.

Professor Vladimir Matic
Cross Cultural Awareness HON 1930 1
"Enlightenment through Scientific Skepticism""Enlightenment through Scientific Skepticism"
HON 1940 section 1, 3:30-4:45 MW. CRN # 80227.
This course focuses on the interplay of science, pseudoscience, and society. Unusual phenomena will be investigated using methods of intellectual inquiry. Case studies of scientific claims ranging from psychic abilities to the economics of recycling will be explored in this discussion-oriented course.

Professor Jeff Appling
Science and Technology in Society (STS) HON 1940 1
"Stress in Health and Disease""Stress in Health and Disease"
HON 2020 section 1, 9:30-10:45 TTH. CRN # 80014.
This course is a broad, interdisciplinary overview of the concept of psychological stress and its impact on human health and disease. Students will learn about the history of the concept of stress, including the philosophical and physiological basis of the interaction between mind and body. Students will learn about different types of stress, various ways to measure stress, and will learn stress management techniques. Through the use of seminar and lecture-based discussions and problem-based learning, students will develop research, analytical and problem solving skills, as well as interdisciplinary content related to the role of stress in health and disease.

Professor Jim McCubbin
Social Science HON 2020 1
"The World of Ideas""The World of Ideas"
HON 2020 section 2, 6:15-9:00 pm T. CRN # 88910.
The way we view the world—and the ways in which we try to solve the problems that face us—have been shaped by a series of intellectual approaches that have developed across many centuries. This course will examine four key areas of human endeavor—politics, economics, science, and the arts—across the past 400 years. We will avoid a survey approach, and instead focus on one key thinker or artist in each area in each of the past four centuries—such as Hobbes, Rousseau, Nietzsche, Smith, Marx, Newton, Darwin, Einstein, and more. (Open only to Dixon Global Policy Scholars).

Professor Bill Lasser
Social Science HON 2020 2
"Music and Politics: Blues, Jazz, and Early Rock ‘n’ Roll""Music and Politics: Blues, Jazz, and Early Rock ‘n’ Roll"
HON 2030 section 1, 11:00-12:15 TTH. CRN # 88920.
This course will examine the development of early American blues, jazz, and rock ‘n’ roll. This development will be viewed against the backdrop of post-Civil War America. The music will be placed into a deeper context through discussions, readings, concerts, and listening assignments regarding topics such as Reconstruction, Jim Crow, Civil Rights, and international conflicts. Artists such as Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Buddy Holly will be discussed.

Professor Eric Lapin
Non-Literature Arts and Humanities HON 2030 1
"Religion, Cults, Secret Societies and Conspiracy Theories: How Some Have Addressed Life’s Most Challenging Questions""Religion, Cults, Secret Societies and Conspiracy Theories: How Some Have Addressed Life’s Most Challenging Questions"
HON 2030, section 2, 9:05-9:55 MWF. CRN # 89588.
This course will investigate the relationship between institutionalized religious traditions (perceived, or otherwise), new religious movements and secret societies. Since the dawn of time, humans have attempted to find answers about their existence and connections to situations beyond their immediate understanding. When faced with mysteries, the natural response is, and has always been to, seek the meaning and explanation to complex issues facing us. Historically, these solutions have at times been creative, often imaginative, and sometimes strange-to-dangerous. If you are curious, join us as we study such groups as Mystery Religions, The Manson Family, The Masons, and, some of the enduring questions of our time.

Professor Peter Cohen
Non-Literature Arts and Humanities HON 2030 2
"Clemson Experimental Forest""Clemson Experimental Forest"
HON 2060, section 1, 2:00-3:00 T lecture; 3:00-6:00 T lab. CRN # 80230.
On the 3:00-6:00 T (field)—must be willing to carpool with other students in class and arrive at designated lab sites on time if vans are not available. Clemson University is fortunate to have a 17,500 acre green space on its doorstep. You will learn about the following: the history of the Clemson area, the effect of technology changes on the local population, how Clemson University has restored the Clemson Experimental Forest, inhabitants of the Forest (both plants and animals). You will visit waterfalls, historic cemeteries, beaver ponds, old cotton field terraces, wetlands, house sites from the 1700’s, and more. Finally, you will also be able to discuss a wide variety of ideas regarding the future of the Forest.

Professor Vic Shelburne
Science and Technology in Society (STS) HON 2060 1
"Sustainable Energy""Sustainable Energy"
HON 2060, section 2, 2:00-3:15 TTH. CRN # 80231.
As a participant in this course, you will evaluate demand-side (e.g. more efficient buildings and automobiles) and supply-side (e.g. solar and wind) strategies for more sustainable use of energy. Using this information and your unique background, you will work in small groups on a project to design one approach for more sustainable energy. The course will emphasize the collaborative, multidisciplinary approach required for sustainable energy. The course will require fact-based analysis of the energy and economic impacts of alternatives. More and more, education cannot be about simply consuming knowledge (which you could easily Google). I expect you to ask questions, work with others to find answers, do real projects for real people, and add to the world's body of knowledge. My minimum goal for this course is that you will develop your technical and creative ability to innovate for a sustainable energy future. Some of you will develop and implement sustainable energy innovations as a direct result of this course. For as many of you as possible, I hope this course will be a life-changing experience.

Professor Leidy Klotz
Science and Technology in Society (STS) HON 2060 2
"Puzzles, Problems, and Paradoxes""Puzzles, Problems, and Paradoxes" HON 2060 section 3, 11:00-12:15 TTH. CRN # 80232.
Prepare for some surprises and challenges to your intuition! Statistics, probability, logic, and graph theory are fields that can help us understand and analyze a wide range of commonly encountered situations: mapping shortest routes using a GPS system, searching and interpreting DNA sequences, analyzing common voting systems and their fairness, decoding the gridlock in Congress, dating archaeological finds, among others. Such real-world scenarios will be interwoven with puzzles and mindbenders. The focus of this course is on evolving a rational, systematic approach to dealing with complex problems and on understanding why our intuition can often be misleading. This approach enables us to move from a possibly vague, convoluted or paradoxical statement of a problem to a rational method or algorithm for its solution. Build confidence in your ability to analyze problems while learning about contemporary issues in society and gain familiarity with useful problem-solving strategies, heuristics, and alternative representations. In addition, we will meet in a newly equipped multimedia classroom, which is conducive to active exploration by students.

Professor Marilyn Reba
Science and Technology in Society (STS) HON 2060 3
“Midterm Elections""Midterm Elections" HON 2200 section 1, 2:00-3:15 TTH. CRN # 80233.
This November, every seat in the U.S. House of Representatives will be up for grabs, along with 36 seats in the U.S. Senate. The balance of power in Washington for the next two years hangs in the balance, with both parties trying to maintain or gain the majority in the House and Senate. While voter turnout in midterm elections is historically much lower than during presidential election years, the 2014 elections will have a large impact on the types of policies that will be addressed in the final two years of the Obama administration. The public’s discontent with Congress in general, coupled with a sluggish economic recovery, an unpopular health care law, and declining support for President Obama will make the 2014 midterm elections particularly heated. In this course, we will tackle a variety of questions relating to congressional elections in general, and specifically the 2014 midterm elections. Among them: Who runs for Congress and why? What role does money play in elections? Why are there so many negative ads and what effect do they have? How do the 2014 elections compare to other landmark elections? Why do voters cast a ballot for one candidate over another? How do media outlets influence elections? How are social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) changing the landscape of U.S. elections?

Professor Jeff Fine
Social Science HON 2200 1
"The Modern Israeli State: Politics, Society, Culture""The Modern Israeli State: Politics, Society, Culture" HON 2200 section 2, 9:05-9:55 MWF. CRN # 85132. The goal of the course will be to examine the philosophical, theological and political questions to which the establishment of the Israeli political and constitutional order and the building of a modern Jewish state in the Middle East has given rise. The course will address such questions as: What do we learn from the Israeli example about the relationship between religious tradition, historical progress, cultural development and political nation-building? How did Zionism transform itself from a small political movement into an existing modern state? How has Israel’s identity taken shape in the half-century since its foundation? How does Israel’s unique connections and relations to other nations of the world affect its character as an independent, democratic state? What influence has Israel’s security situation had on its political, constitutional and legal practices as a functioning liberal democracy? Is Israel a new starting point in world history?
Professor Colin Pearce
Social Science HON 2200 2

"The Comedic Jane Austen""The Comedic Jane Austen"
HON 2210 section 1, 11:00-12:15 TTH. CRN # 80238.
One can barely turn around without stumbling across evidence of continued fascination with the novels of Jane Austen. From film adaptations to fan fiction to video blogs, Austen’s stories – or some version of them – abound. We might ask amidst all this ubiquitous adaptation whether we need to keep reading Jane Austen at all. This course will assert an emphatic YES! by reading Austen’s novels closely in order to discuss their comedy. Along the way we will position the novels within the tradition of comedy that both precedes and follows them, considering how Austen’s work draws from classical notions of comedy and precedes the understanding of comedy that is crystallized in, for example, the contemporary romantic comedy – while, arguably, complicating both. Reading will likely include all six of Austen’s completed novels, selected criticism on comedy, and selections from contemporary text, screen, and other adaptations; assignments will include two critical essays, one presentation on a contemporary adaptation, and engagement with the reading through various social media.

Professor Erin Goss

Literature HON 2210 1
"Science and Literature in Modernism""Science and Literature in Modernism" HON 2220 section 2, 2:00-3:15 TTH. CRN # 86902. This course explores modernist writing as co-developed in science and literature between 1880 and 1930. We will focus on processes common to scientific and literary writing, such as speculating, predicting, experimenting, observing and interpreting, describing, building an argument, drawing conclusions, and lending authority to one’s findings. We will ask questions about the difference between experimental and experiential evidence, subjectivity and objectivity, the particular and the universal, and we will highlight the role that hypotheses, experiments, case studies, metaphors, concepts, and protocol sentences play in fictional writings as against scientific ones. Literary authors to be discussed include Emile Zola, Arthur Schnitzler, Alfred Döblin, Robert Musil, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Andre Breton, and Gertrude Stein. Scientific authors are Charles Darwin, Claude Bernard, Sigmund Freud, Ernst Mach, Rudolf Carnap, and William James. Readings will be supplemented by theoretical excerpts from scientists and philosophers of science like C. P. Snow, Thomas Kuhn, and Paul Feyerabend.
Professor Gabi Stoicea
Non-Literature Arts and Humanities HON 2220 1