Freshman Honors Colloquium

HONR 10197: Freshman Honors Colloquium I

An exciting and unique aspect of the Honors College experience at Kent State University is the Freshman Honors Colloquium (FHC). Learn about FHC during Honors College Orientation!

  • Please familiarize yourself with the various FHC sections listed below.

  • Be sure to click through all tabs to see all sections.

  • Use Visual Schedule Builder to search for open sections. 

  • Please submit your section preferences on the FHC Preference Form via the link below. 

  • Watch the video below for instructions on how to complete and submit the FHC Preference Form.

 

First-Year Students: Complete Your FHC Preference Form Here

Please note that FHC section information is subject to change. 

  • FHC requests will be processed in the order in which we receive them.

  • The Honors College will attempt to honor your top FHC choices. However, due to required major courses and/or FHC section availability, you may be placed in a section that is not on your list.

  • The Honors College will register you for your FHC section prior to your Destination Kent State (DKS) session.

  • If you do not submit the FHC Preference Form before DKS, you will be assigned to an FHC that works with your major courses.   

  • After registration, you will receive a confirmation message to your Kent State University email.

  • If you are not satisfied with your FHC section, you may email honors@kent.edu between Monday, August 5, and Friday, August 16, to request a switch to a different section. If there is an open seat in your preferred section at that time, the Honors College will accommodate your request. 

  • Once classes begin, you are not permitted to switch your FHC section.   

Fall 2024 HONR 10197 Freshman Honors Colloquium  Sections 1-12
SubjCourse#SectionTitleInstructorBldgRoomTimesMeeting Days
HONR101971FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IBrodsky, Adam H.SFH0021207:45 am - 09:00 am T R
HONR101972FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM ISmith, Jeanne R.SFH0021312:30 pm - 01:45 pm T R
HONR101973FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IVan Ittersum, DerekSFH0031209:15 am - 10:30 am T R
HONR101974FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IRemley, R. D.JHN62/6409:15 am - 10:30 am T R
HONR101975FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM ISanders, Michael T.SFH0021909:15 am - 10:30 am T R
HONR101976FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IRaabe, WesleyORH0014811:00 am - 12:15 pm T R
HONR101977FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IWinter, James P.SFH0021211:00 am - 12:15 pm T R
HONR101978FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM ISanders, Michael T.BOW0022211:00 am - 12:15 pm T R
HONR101979FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM ISwick-Higgins, Chelsea R.SFH0022011:00 am - 12:15 pm T R
HONR1019710FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IVogel, Lauren A.SFH0031212:05 pm - 12:55 pmM W F
HONR1019711FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IWinter, James P.JHN62/6412:30 pm - 01:45 pm T R
HONR1019712FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM ILord, Susan D.SFH0021103:45 pm - 05:00 pm T R 

HONR    10197    1    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Brodsky, Adam H.

How Media Works

Everyone’s influenced by media, so it is important to know how media works to deliver meaning. This colloquium will focus on media of the twentieth century with an emphasis on film, music, and art. We will view, listen to, read about, discuss, analyze, and critique popular media’s design, mechanics, aesthetics, and effects. Expect several types of essays, projects, and presentations as well as student-guided discussions and group activities. The core texts are listed below. This colloquium will also invest time directly experiencing creative works of cinema, art, and music.

Texts for Fall:

  • Understanding Media

  • The Anatomy of Film

 Texts for Spring:

  • How Music Works

  • What Are You Looking At? 

 

HONR    10197   2    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Smith, Jeanne R.

What is expertise? How do we “know” what we know? How is knowledge developed and negotiated, what are the written and unwritten rules of academic discourse, and how can you begin to locate yourself in that conversation as a new student? When you enter your major field of study, you become a beginner, joining a conversation that has been happening for generations and will continue long into the future. The subject of our section of Colloquium is academic discourse itself, specifically its relationship to other discourses outside academia. You will learn about academic discourse by rhetorically analyzing and then by practicing the forms of communication and research used in academic knowledge-building work. In semester one you will examine your own journey to becoming a university student, connecting your goals to academic disciplines. You will study the differences between academic and other discourses on problems that interest you and relate to your goals as a student, locating research articles and book-length scholarly discourse on these issues. In semester two you will develop an original research project proposal on one of the areas you studied in semester one. You will conduct that research and present your findings. You will be provided with opportunities to continue your research agenda and find publication opportunities for your work, including an eventual Honors Thesis topic as well as additional research opportunities during your undergraduate career at the university.  The texts below are sample texts for the Fall semester.

Texts:

  • Opposing Viewpoints in Context and CQ Researcher: database access through University Libraries. 

 

HONR    10197    3    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Van Ittersum, Derek

Many students enrolling at KSU this year have spent more than 10 years in schools of some kind, while others may be learning in an official school context for the first time. How does schooling shape one's approach to learning? What does learning look like in a school vs. outside a school? Critics of schooling talk about the "hidden curriculum," a program of study that happens in the background of every course and trains students to stifle their curiosity, prioritize obedience over creativity, and focus on evaluation rather than enjoyment or meaning, among other things. This hidden curriculum shapes students' learning in profound ways, they argue, and differs tremendously from learning outside of schools. However, there are many different contexts for learning outside of school--not all of them are idealistic self-directed explorations. People learn through apprenticeships, through coaching, and on the job. How do these contexts shape learning and learners? What about remote schooling, homeschooling, or unschooling?

In the Fall semester, we'll investigate schooling, its effects, and then expand our focus to examine frameworks that shape the ways we learn, such as cognitive biases and mental models. Students will connect their own experiences with learning and schooling with larger conversations about these topics through writing, research, and class discussion. In the Spring semester, students will choose an ambitious learning challenge to document and complete over the course of the semester. This challenge will ask students to learn something new (maybe a skill like playing guitar, or improve a skill like writing short stories, or become expert in an area of content like nuclear physics) through methods and processes that they haven't used before. We'll be reading accounts from people who have similarly challenged themselves and writing our own accounts. By the end of the year, students should have a clearer picture of themselves as learners, an actionable understanding of how different approaches to learning suit them and their goals, and a familiarity with a variety of arguments and ideas about schooling and learning.

Texts

  • I Love Learning and I Hate School – Blum
  • Range – Epstein; Ultralearning – Young
 

HONR    10197    4    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Remley, R. D.

What makes someone a good leader? How can we critically reflect on others’ leadership skills toward understanding their effectiveness or weaknesses? How can we use these observations to assess and improve upon our own leadership skills? These are questions that will be addressed through this Colloquium section’s theme: Leadership Characteristics and Characters. Students will engage with principles of leadership found in characters and plot from various works of literature and film. Through critical reading, thinking, discussions, research, analytical writing activities, and other projects, students will come to understand several attributes that affect leadership effectiveness in various contexts; these attributes include cultural and social phenomena as well as personal traits and situational factors. Students, also, will consider their own leadership abilities and how they may be able to improve those skills. The works listed below provide a sampling of those that we will use.

Texts:

  • Leadership: Essential Writings by Our Greatest Thinkers, by Elizabeth Samet

  • The Secret Sharer, Joseph Conrad

  • Antigone, Sophocles

  • Major Barbara, George Bernard Shaw

  • The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit (Film, adapted from novel by Sloan Wilson)

  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

  • Hidden Figures, Margot Lee Shetterly 

 

HONR    10197    5    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Sanders, Michael T.

Drifting and Wandering
The figure of the drifter is a fundamental element of the mythology in most cultures. The search for what lies beyond, and the subsequent journey/quest, provides the basis for the legends that help those cultures to define and appraise themselves. The wanderer comes to delineate world culture in many ways, as a source of archetypes and iconography ranging from the strong and resilient hero whose actions and attitudes speak for themselves to the befuddled everyman in the postmodern search for identity and meaning.  

This colloquium will explore how the myth of the wanderer has changed over time, even as it continues to define, confound, and inspire.  We will look at this phenomenon from many perspectives: from the ancient world, where empires found their roots in the resultant myths, to the modern day, where those who, in pursuit of truth and self awareness, encounter and struggle to overcome obstacles, both physical and metaphysical, that get in their way. Through these readings, we will explore the role of the drifters and the wanderers and the way that they have come to shape who we are and how we see ourselves today. The texts below are possible texts.

Texts:

  • Homer:  Odyssey
  • Virgil:  Aeneid
  • Miller: Circe
  • Gaiman: American Gods
  • Quin: Medea
  • Silko: Ceremony
  • Murakami: South of the Border, West of the Sun
 

HONR    10197    6    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Raabe, Wesley

Course Theme: Sea and Shore
In lifetimes that will be shaped profoundly by rising sea levels, how should we imagine our relationship to the earth’s waters? Living in NE Ohio, Erie our nearest shoreline, we may hope to escape the devastating consequences that face those who live on the shores of oceans and seas. The topic is immediate for some, as insurance rates rise (or are cancelled) in low-lying coastal areas, at high risk for catastrophic flooding. During the coming decades, gradually rising water levels (from melting icecaps) and more intense storms (from warmed waters) are expected to produce cataclysmic effects. They are inevitable no matter how humans in the next generation or two prepare for--or deny--the coming, but difficult to predict, reality. Because ocean changes interact with climate, that we can escape in our land-locked corner of NE Ohio is misplaced, for the backbone of world commerce is the massive container ship, as Baltimore reminded me (March 2024) when I drafted this description. Moreover, we will certainly be in contact, personally, with places experiencing the direct impact of ocean and climate transformations. In this seminar, we shall read literature, histories, and popular sciences that explore the relationship between peoples and waters, with an emphasis on them as topics of symbolic meaning. Our readings are from the modern era, early 19th C. to near present. Or, rather, the same but in reverse or chronologically. Our Question: “How can…” Or, if our sense is more dire, simply: “Can varied tools of culture--historical and fictional narrative, poetry and song, natural sciences, other forms of expression--prepare us psychologically and socially for what will likely be a deeply unsettled era for humanity, for our relationship to sea and shore and to their symbolic meanings. Students will write a reading response, every other week, which will be posted to the class discussion board.  Students will write three formal essays or seminar papers (6 pages each) per semester and produce an end-of-term group project, open as to form, which is subject of a class presentation.  The assigned texts, for purchase at bookstore for fall 2024 semester (to be supplemented with shorter class software posted readings) are below.

Texts:

  • Goodell, The Water Will Come
  • Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea
  • Golding, The Lord of the Flies
  • Druett, Island of the Lost
  • Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs.
 

HONR    10197    7    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Winter, James P.

Norman Mailer, Pulitzer-Prize winning writer of The Naked and the Dead and The Executioner’s Song, describes “faction” as a hybrid of documented fact and novelistic elaboration, a definition that can extend to any literature that combines historical events, people, and places with the narrative exploration and analysis of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. In this course, you will create pieces of faction that focus on a specific historical event, person(s), or place of your choice which will culminate in a final project, again of your choice, written as poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, or an academic research project.  
During our time together, a variety of texts will give you insight as to how other writers create and develop faction in its literary forms. Through our smaller essay and research assignments, you will become familiarized with the academic writing process, namely pre-writing, drafting, editing, and APA citation, as well as various methods of online research. Utilizing argumentative writing and persuasive criticism techniques will broaden your textual analysis and communication skills and we will practice vital parts of academic writing: introductions, thesis statements, body paragraphs that contain controlling ideas, incorporate research, and transitions.

Texts for Fall:

  • Love and Hydrogen by Jim Shepard 
  • The Donner Party by George Keithley
  • The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison

Texts for Spring:

  • Queen of the Mist by Joan Murray
  • I Am Not Jackson Pollock by John Haskell
  • The Ghost Writer by Philip Roth
 

HONR    10197    8    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Sanders, Michael T.

Drifting and Wandering
The figure of the drifter is a fundamental element of the mythology in most cultures. The search for what lies beyond, and the subsequent journey/quest, provides the basis for the legends that help those cultures to define and appraise themselves. The wanderer comes to delineate world culture in many ways, as a source of archetypes and iconography ranging from the strong and resilient hero whose actions and attitudes speak for themselves to the befuddled everyman in the postmodern search for identity and meaning.  

This colloquium will explore how the myth of the wanderer has changed over time, even as it continues to define, confound, and inspire.  We will look at this phenomenon from many perspectives: from the ancient world, where empires found their roots in the resultant myths, to the modern day, where those who, in pursuit of truth and self awareness, encounter and struggle to overcome obstacles, both physical and metaphysical, that get in their way. Through these readings, we will explore the role of the drifters and the wanderers and the way that they have come to shape who we are and how we see ourselves today. The texts below are possible texts.

Texts:

  • Homer:  Odyssey
  • Virgil:  Aeneid
  • Miller: Circe
  • Gaiman: American Gods
  • Quin: Medea
  • Silko: Ceremony
  • Murakami: South of the Border, West of the Sun
 

HONR    10197    9    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Swick-Higgins, Chelsea R.

In our society, we often are deduced to one distinguishing feature of our identity: be it gender, race, class, religious belief, disability, or any other identity. In this section of Honor’s Colloquium, we will be addressing how people cannot be viewed as one single identity but are instead the intersections of many identities.  Using interpretive lenses from literature, rhetoric, linguistics, and gender studies, we will explore how intersectionality is used within literature and contemporary media and how that shapes the world in which we live.

Students can expect to participate in student-driven class discussion, compose critical essays of varying lengths, reflect on class readings and discussions through response essays, and create multimodal compositions.  We will critically engage with theoretical articles, novels, shorter literary works (short stories and poetry), and contemporary media (films, television, and multimodal compositions).

Texts for Fall:

  • Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine
  • Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Bell Hook’s Belonging: A Culture of Place
  • Angela Davis’s Women, Race, and Class

Texts for Spring:

  • Susan Nussbaum’s Good Kings, Bad Kings: A Novel
  • Chinelo Okparanta’s Under the Udala Trees
  • Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
 

HONR    10197    10    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Vogel, Lauren A.

This course will explore complex and sensitive topics surrounding identity, social justice, and diversity through children’s literature and young adult (YA) books. We will read literature that represents windows of ourselves and mirrors into the perspectives of the often-difficult lived experiences of others. Students will produce mini multigenre projects throughout the semester to prepare for their final multigenre research social justice project.
Texts:

  • Kent State by Deborah Wiles
  • Stamped (for kids) by Jason Reynolds and Ibram Kendi
 

HONR    10197    11    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Winter, James P.

Norman Mailer, Pulitzer-Prize winning writer of The Naked and the Dead and The Executioner’s Song, describes “faction” as a hybrid of documented fact and novelistic elaboration, a definition that can extend to any literature that combines historical events, people, and places with the narrative exploration and analysis of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. In this course, you will create pieces of faction that focus on a specific historical event, person(s), or place of your choice which will culminate in a final project, again of your choice, written as poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, or an academic research project.  
During our time together, a variety of texts will give you insight as to how other writers create and develop faction in its literary forms. Through our smaller essay and research assignments, you will become familiarized with the academic writing process, namely pre-writing, drafting, editing, and APA citation, as well as various methods of online research. Utilizing argumentative writing and persuasive criticism techniques will broaden your textual analysis and communication skills and we will practice vital parts of academic writing: introductions, thesis statements, body paragraphs that contain controlling ideas, incorporate research, and transitions.

Texts for Fall:

  • Love and Hydrogen by Jim Shepard
  • The Donner Party by George Keithley
  • The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison

Texts for Spring:

  • Queen of the Mist by Joan Murray
  • I Am Not Jackson Pollock by John Haskell
  • The Ghost Writer by Philip Roth
 

HONR    10197    12    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Lord, Susan D.

The American Library Association reports that a record number of books were challenged and/or banned in 2023.  Organized groups and some state legislators are working to remove books that they deem controversial from public school classrooms and, in some cases, even public libraries.  In this course, we will explore the issue of censorship, focusing mainly on some texts that have appeared on the ALA’s lists in recent years.  Why are these books controversial, and what makes them worth reading and discussing?  Is censorship ever acceptable or desirable?  During fall semester, we will focus mostly on dystopic novels, and during spring semester, we will look at topics such as race in literature.

Texts for Fall:

  • Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
  • Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
  • Geraldine Brooks, Year of Wonders
  • Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale  
  • Celeste Ng, Our Missing Hearts

Texts for Spring (tentative):

  • Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye
  • Alice Walker, The Color Purple
  • Art Spiegelman, Maus  
  • John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
  • Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
Fall 2024 HONR 10197 Freshman Honors Colloquium Sections 13 - 26
SubjCourse#SectionTitleInstructorBldgRoomTimesMeeting Days
HONR1019713FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM ILord, Susan D.SFH0021602:15 pm - 03:30 pm T R
HONR1019714FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IRichards, Dale E.JHN62/6402:15 pm - 03:30 pm T R
HONR1019715FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IWagoner, Elizabeth A.SFH0021409:15 am - 10:30 am T R
HONR1019716FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IWhiteleather, Hagan F.JHN62/6403:45 pm - 05:00 pm T R
HONR1019717FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IRichards, Dale E.BOW0022203:45 pm - 05:00 pm T R
HONR1019718FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IWhiteleather, Hagan F.JHN62/6411:00 am - 12:15 pm T R
HONR1019719FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IClark, Patrick J.SFH0021207:00 pm - 08:15 pm T R
HONR1019720FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IShank, Matthew A.JHN62/6411:00 am - 11:50 amM W F
HONR1019721FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IShank, Matthew A.JHN62/6412:05 pm - 12:55 pmM W F
HONR1019722FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM ISwick-Higgins, Chelsea R.SFH0022012:30 pm - 01:45 pm T R
HONR1019723FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IVogel, Lauren A.JHN62/6401:10 pm - 02:00 pmM W F
HONR1019724FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IMorris, William A.JHN62/6402:15 pm - 03:30 pmM W   
HONR1019725FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IUhrig, KarlJHN62/6403:45 pm - 05:00 pmM W   
HONR1019726FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IRemley, R. D.SFH0021311:00 am - 12:15 pm T R 

HONR    10197    13    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Lord, Susan D.

The American Library Association reports that a record number of books were challenged and/or banned in 2023.  Organized groups and some state legislators are working to remove books that they deem controversial from public school classrooms and, in some cases, even public libraries.  In this course, we will explore the issue of censorship, focusing mainly on some texts that have appeared on the ALA’s lists in recent years.  Why are these books controversial, and what makes them worth reading and discussing?  Is censorship ever acceptable or desirable?  During fall semester, we will focus mostly on dystopic novels, and during spring semester, we will look at topics such as race in literature.  

Texts for Fall:

  • Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
  • Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
  • Geraldine Brooks, Year of Wonders
  • Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale  
  • Celeste Ng, Our Missing Hearts

Texts for Spring (tentative):

  • Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye
  • Alice Walker, The Color Purple
  • Art Spiegelman, Maus  
  • John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
  • Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
 

HONR    10197    14    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Richards, Dale E.

Our identities, our sense of who we are, is formed entirely from memories, stories we tell ourselves and others. In the first semester of this colloquium, we use neuroscientist David Eagleman’s Incognito: The Secret Life of the Brain to examine how memory works and why our most vivid and enduring memories are often unreliable reflections of our actual experiences. We will use this perspective to examine the formation of personal and group identities through the careful reading of two fictional texts.

In the second semester, we employ the concept of emergence to investigate more deeply how personal identity is formed. Emergent phenomena, such as human consciousness, cannot be understood or explained in terms of simple, linear cause-and-effect relationships. From the perspective of emergence, however, we can examine thoughtfully the processes that enable and constrain the formation of each individual’s mind, personality, and sense of self. Students select one of four texts that provide deeper insight into the complexity of human thought and behavior. The concepts and themes that emerge from discussion and individual research will inform our reading of Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore.

Texts for Fall:

  • Eagleman, David. Incognito: The Secret Life of the Brain
  • Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club
  • Morrison, Toni. Beloved

Texts for Spring:

  • Murakami, Haruki. Dance Dance Dance
  • Student choice:    Barrett, Lisa Feldman. How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain
  • Dehaene, Stanislaus. How We Learn: Why Brains Learn Better Than Any Machine. . . for Now
  • Haidt, Jonathan. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.
  • Sapolsky, Robert. Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst 
 

HONR    10197    15    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Wagoner, Elizabeth A.

Come for the glow in the dark cats and neurotic AIs, stay for the discussions of ethics, philosophy, and pop cultural representations of science! This section explores major issues in science fiction, as well as issues raised by popular discussions of science today, through themed units focusing on larger philosophical, ethical, and theoretical ideas. Each unit will contain works from literature, comics/graphic novels, film, and nonfiction science writing. Science-fiction issues covered in this course include:  

  • Science Fiction as a Genre – Contested, Lowbrow, Beloved, and now Quite Difficult Due to the Speed of Innovation  
  • Progressivism – Is humankind advancing toward a more evolved or better state of being through technological innovation?  
  • Space Travel – The Science Required to take us to Mars and Beyond.  
  • The Apocalypse in Science Fiction – AI, Viral, Nuclear, and Climate Disasters  
  • Science vs. Superstition – Pseudoscience, Logic, and the Battle for the Human Mind  

Examining the ways scientific ideas are framed through these texts, we will gain a richer awareness of major issues in science fiction and science today. In addition to weekly writings and discussion, there will be several researched essays, and film analysis.  

Texts for Fall:  

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke   and   2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick.  
  • Binti: The Complete Trilogy, Nnedi Okorafor, and Interstellar, Christopher Nolan.

Texts for Spring:  

  • The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu, Silent Spring – excerpts, Rachel Carson.  
  • Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb, Jonathan Fetter-Vorm, and Dune: Part One by Denis Villeneuve.  
 

HONR    10197    16    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Whiteleather, Hagan F.

Digging Death: Dying, Death, Greif, Spiritualism, & the Afterlife

Over the course of this colloquium, we will explore the realities and cultural constructs that surround death and the rationale behind these socially crafted ceremonies. We will examine how these practices influence our own experience with/understanding of death. A primary focus will be placed on the ways location and environment shape the rituals of death, and how loss has become mediated by the funeral industry. Fear not, this class is not all gloom and doom, much of the year will be devoted to examining death as a motivator and significance creator—in the words of Kafka, “The meaning of life is that it ends.” While the reading list is set, I promote flexibility in discussion topics, and welcome any conversations you find especially stimulating or intriguing. I’m excited to see how our preconceived notions of death and grieving shapes classroom discussions and potentially alters our currently held beliefs and perceptions of an experience to which we will all one day succumb.  

Texts for Fall:  

  • Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty (2014) 
  • Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (2014) 
  • Homie by Danez Smith (2020) 
  • The Body by Stephen King (1982) 
  • “2B0R2B” by Kurt Vonnegut (1962)  
  • Films & Podcast for Fall: Stand by Me (1986) / The Farewell (2019) / S-Town (2017) 

Texts for Spring: 

  • Death: The Deluxe Edition by Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell (2013)  
  • Our Town by Thornton Wilder (1939) 
  • Deciduous Qween by Matty Lane Glasgow (2019) 
  • A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis (1961) 
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1963) 
  • Lost Connections by Johann Hari (2018) 
  • "The Three Questions” by Leo Tolstoy (1885)  
  • “This is Water” by David Foster Wallace (2005) 
  • Films: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (2021)/After Life (1998)/Harold & Maude (1971)/Soul (2020) 
  • TV: Black Mirror: “San Junipero” (2016) / The Good Place (2016-2020) 
  • Musical: Hadestown (2019)
 

HONR    10197    17    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Richards, Dale E.

Our identities, our sense of who we are, is formed entirely from memories, stories we tell ourselves and others. In the first semester of this colloquium, we use neuroscientist David Eagleman’s Incognito: The Secret Life of the Brain to examine how memory works and why our most vivid and enduring memories are often unreliable reflections of our actual experiences. We will use this perspective to examine the formation of personal and group identities through the careful reading of two fictional texts.

In the second semester, we employ the concept of emergence to investigate more deeply how personal identity is formed. Emergent phenomena, such as human consciousness, cannot be understood or explained in terms of simple, linear cause-and-effect relationships. From the perspective of emergence, however, we can examine thoughtfully the processes that enable and constrain the formation of each individual’s mind, personality, and sense of self. Students select one of four texts that provide deeper insight into the complexity of human thought and behavior. The concepts and themes that emerge from discussion and individual research will inform our reading of Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore.

Texts for Fall:

  • Eagleman, David. Incognito: The Secret Life of the Brain
  • Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club
  • Morrison, Toni. Beloved

Texts for Spring:

  • Murakami, Haruki. Dance Dance Dance
  • Student choice:    Barrett, Lisa Feldman. How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain
  • Dehaene, Stanislaus. How We Learn: Why Brains Learn Better Than Any Machine. . . for Now
  • Haidt, Jonathan. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.
  • Sapolsky, Robert. Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst 
 

HONR    10197    18    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Whiteleather, Hagan F.

Digging Death: Dying, Death, Greif, Spiritualism, & the Afterlife

Over the course of this colloquium, we will explore the realities and cultural constructs that surround death and the rationale behind these socially crafted ceremonies. We will examine how these practices influence our own experience with/understanding of death. A primary focus will be placed on the ways location and environment shape the rituals of death, and how loss has become mediated by the funeral industry. Fear not, this class is not all gloom and doom, much of the year will be devoted to examining death as a motivator and significance creator—in the words of Kafka, “The meaning of life is that it ends.” While the reading list is set, I promote flexibility in discussion topics, and welcome any conversations you find especially stimulating or intriguing. I’m excited to see how our preconceived notions of death and grieving shapes classroom discussions and potentially alters our currently held beliefs and perceptions of an experience to which we will all one day succumb.  

Texts for Fall:  

  • Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty (2014)
  • Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (2014)
  • Homie by Danez Smith (2020)
  • The Body by Stephen King (1982)
  • “2B0R2B” by Kurt Vonnegut (1962)  
  • Films & Podcast for Fall: Stand by Me (1986) / The Farewell (2019) / S-Town (2017)

Texts for Spring:

  • Death: The Deluxe Edition by Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell (2013)  
  • Our Town by Thornton Wilder (1939)
  • Deciduous Qween by Matty Lane Glasgow (2019)
  • A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis (1961)
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1963)
  • Lost Connections by Johann Hari (2018)
  • "The Three Questions” by Leo Tolstoy (1885)  
  • “This is Water” by David Foster Wallace (2005)
  • Films: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (2021)/After Life (1998)/Harold & Maude (1971)/Soul (2020)
  • TV: Black Mirror: “San Junipero” (2016) / The Good Place (2016-2020)
  • Musical: Hadestown (2019)
 

HONR    10197    19    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Clark, Patrick J.

LITERATURE, FILM, AND THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TEXT-TO-SCREEN ADAPTATION.

This course will look at the interplay between text and film, the qualities and conditions that go into adapting literature for the big screen audience, the constraints of turning narrative into film, what happens to literature when it is adapted into a screenplay, and the psychology of difference in how we read and view these texts.

Our exploration of literary adaptions will focus what makes a novel ripe for adaptation; limitations and possibilities that confront screenwriters when adapting a text for a target audience; and how directorial ambition and vision (and production budgets and meddling) can affect the final product. Additionally, the class will discuss fandoms' influences in popularizing, producing, and critiquing text-to-film adaptations. The course will also confront how a "canonized" film can affect longtime fans of a text and inspire newcomers to the genre.

All the novels we will read are familiar and popular and represent different literary styles, including psychological thrillers, coming-of-age narratives, modern Westerns, high fantasy, horror, sci-fi, counterculture, and graphic novels, examining the challenges in adapting the different genres.

Texts for Fall:

  • Stephen King, The Body
  • Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides
  • Chuck Pahlaniuk, Fight Club
  • Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men
  • Diana Wynne Jones, Howl's Moving Castle
  • Alan Moore, Watchmen.

The texts necessitate a study of directors Rob Reiner, Sophia Coppola, David Fincher, The Coen Brothers, Hayao Miyazaki, and Zack Snyder.

Texts for Spring:

  • Michael Punke, The Revenant
  • Fannie Flagg, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
  • Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
  • Patrick Süskind, Perfume: the Story of a Murderer
  • Richard Adams, Watership Down
  • Alan Moore, V: for Vendetta.

Directors include Alejandro González Iñárritu, Jon Avnet, Stacie Passon, Tom Tykwer, Martin Rosen, and James McTeigue.

 

HONR    10197    20    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Shank, Matthew A.

The major theme of the course will be literature’s depiction of the various forms of disenfranchisement (gender, political, racial, sexual, religious, economic, class, age, etc.) within modern society, and how those who are disenfranchised attempt to overcome the issues that cause their disenfranchisement. This analysis will lead to other related topics including the Anti-hero, Postmodernism, Dystopian Fiction, Signs of Fascism and Genocide, and Classical Archetypes.  Analysis of disenfranchisement in pop culture (film, TV, music, animation, graphic novels, children’s literature, comedies, social media, etc.) will also be possible subjects. Eventually we will address real life examples of disenfranchisement, from history to present day

The goals of this colloquium are to develop skills as critical readers and as writers. Students will write several five-page essays each semester, as well as a final, longer research paper dealing with disenfranchisement in our world in the spring.  There will be no exams but occasional quizzes and shorter writing assignments (WAs) will be given regularly.  Class discussion will be a crucial part of the course, both individually and in-class group work, and students will also be required to give in-class presentations throughout both semesters. Collaboration between students is encouraged!! Students will also be encouraged to try creative approaches to the assignments, including video productions or other various artistic media. The spring semester will end with a final creative project depicting our course theme. 

Possible titles are listed below.

Texts:

  • The Handmaid’s Tale
  • The Hunger Games Gone Girl
  • Night
  • The Great Gatsby
  • The Fault in our Stars 
  • The Catcher in the Rye 
  • Fences, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest 
  • The Hate U Give, The 2084 Report 
  • The Buddha in the Attic 
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane 
  • Fight Club
  • A Man Called Ove 
  • Slaughterhouse-Five 
  • No Country for Old Men
  • Civil Disobedience 
  • The Body 
  • The Spectacular Now 
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • Catch-22
  • The Awakening
  • I Am Malala
  • Harry Potter 
  • Divergent
  • Grief is the Thing with Feathers
  • Disney
 

HONR    10197    21    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Shank, Matthew A.

The major theme of the course will be literature’s depiction of the various forms of disenfranchisement (gender, political, racial, sexual, religious, economic, class, age, etc.) within modern society, and how those who are disenfranchised attempt to overcome the issues that cause their disenfranchisement. This analysis will lead to other related topics including the Anti-hero, Postmodernism, Dystopian Fiction, Signs of Fascism and Genocide, and Classical Archetypes.  Analysis of disenfranchisement in pop culture (film, TV, music, animation, graphic novels, children’s literature, comedies, social media, etc.) will also be possible subjects. Eventually we will address real life examples of disenfranchisement, from history to present day

The goals of this colloquium are to develop skills as critical readers and as writers. Students will write several five-page essays each semester, as well as a final, longer research paper dealing with disenfranchisement in our world in the spring.  There will be no exams but occasional quizzes and shorter writing assignments (WAs) will be given regularly.  Class discussion will be a crucial part of the course, both individually and in-class group work, and students will also be required to give in-class presentations throughout both semesters. Collaboration between students is encouraged!! Students will also be encouraged to try creative approaches to the assignments, including video productions or other various artistic media. The spring semester will end with a final creative project depicting our course theme.

Possible titles are listed below.

Texts:

  • The Handmaid’s Tale
  • The Hunger Games Gone Girl
  • Night
  • The Great Gatsby
  • The Fault in our Stars
  • The Catcher in the Rye
  • Fences, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • The Hate U Give, The 2084 Report
  • The Buddha in the Attic
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane
  • Fight Club
  • A Man Called Ove
  • Slaughterhouse-Five
  • No Country for Old Men
  • Civil Disobedience
  • The Body
  • The Spectacular Now
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • Catch-22
  • The Awakening
  • I Am Malala
  • Harry Potter
  • Divergent
  • Grief is the Thing with Feathers
  • Disney
 

HONR    10197    22    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Swick-Higgins, Chelsea R.

In our society, we often are deduced to one distinguishing feature of our identity: be it gender, race, class, religious belief, disability, or any other identity. In this section of Honor’s Colloquium, we will be addressing how people cannot be viewed as one single identity but are instead the intersections of many identities.  Using interpretive lenses from literature, rhetoric, linguistics, and gender studies, we will explore how intersectionality is used within literature and contemporary media and how that shapes the world in which we live.

Students can expect to participate in student-driven class discussion, compose critical essays of varying lengths, reflect on class readings and discussions through response essays, and create multimodal compositions.  We will critically engage with theoretical articles, novels, shorter literary works (short stories and poetry), and contemporary media (films, television, and multimodal compositions).

Texts for Fall:

  • Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine
  • Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Bell Hook’s Belonging: A Culture of Place
  • Angela Davis’s Women, Race, and Class

Texts for Spring:

  • Susan Nussbaum’s Good Kings, Bad Kings: A Novel
  • Chinelo Okparanta’s Under the Udala Trees
  • Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
 

HONR    10197    23    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Vogel, Lauren A.

This course will explore complex and sensitive topics surrounding identity, social justice, and diversity through children’s literature and young adult (YA) books. We will read literature that represents windows of ourselves and mirrors into the perspectives of the often-difficult lived experiences of others. Students will produce mini multigenre projects throughout the semester to prepare for their final multigenre research social justice project.
Texts:

  • Kent State by Deborah Wiles
  • Stamped (for kids) by Jason Reynolds and Ibram Kendi
 

HONR    10197    24    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Morris, William A.

Comedy, humor, and laughter are uniquely human ways of being in the world. While everyone has some sense of humor, what is funny is often rooted in the customs and habits shared among those in a given community or culture. Like love, or justice, or virtue, humor is a complex human activity which is difficult to define for lay and academic audiences alike. This course surveys comedies in Western culture from the Old Comedy of ancient Greece to modern novels and short stories of literary merit to film and stand-up among other comedic artifacts.

Over the course of two terms, we become a small scholarly community sometimes silly, sometimes serious, but always inquisitive and collegial. We develop our understanding through student-lead discussion, brief and extended analyses of course readings, short presentations, and essays directed by individual student inquiry. One goal of this course is that students should emerge with a deeper understanding how comedy and humor shape our intellectual pursuits, inform our shared social values, and enrich our individual capacity to be curious comedy connoisseurs. 

Texts for Fall:

  • Aristophanes - The Clouds or The Birds
  • Dante -    Selected Excerpts
  • Boccacio - Selected Excerpts 
  • Shakespeare - Twelfth Night
  • Moliere - Le Misanthrope

Select Scholarship defining comedy 

Texts for Spring:

  • Voltaire - Candide 
  • Swift - Selected Essays 
  • Alexie - Selected Short Stories
  • Films - Silent Era & Contemporary Satires
  • Stand-Up- Carlin, Pryor, Rivers, et. al.

Select Scholarship on film and stand-up

 

HONR    10197    25    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Uhrig, Karl

Discourse and Agency
Who gets to tell someone’s story? How do they construct reality through the way they tell it? What can we learn about our relationships to ourselves, each other, and society by looking closely at human agency and discourse? 

This course is based on 1) the study of human agency, or the ways in which people have the ability to assert control over their circumstances, and 2) discourse analysis, the study of the ways in which humans construct understanding of their place in the world through language. Through the lenses of discourse and agency, we will read short stories, poems, and plays by authors from around the world and analyze them through discussion and writing. In addition, I will have you choose your own texts to analyze (any book, news story, movie, music, podcast, TikTok video, etc. that interests you). 

Learning the concepts that comprise discourse and agency will take us a very short time, after which our discussions will take off and become extraordinarily interesting. These discussions will provide plenty of material for you to use to write the required essays that focus on specific concepts and specific texts. You will present your ideas and engage in the ideas of your classmates. By the end of this course, not only will you have the tools to engage in any text with a critical, analytical eye, but you will also have the tools to better understand what’s going on in society, in the news, in popular culture, and in your own life. 
 
Texts:

  • Persuasion – Austen
  • Boule de Suif – de Maupassant
  • Hamlet – Shakespeare
  • The Poisonwood Bible – Kingsolver
  • Things Fall Apart – Achebe
  • The Kite Runner – Hosseini
  • “Brokeback Mountain” – Proulx
 

HONR    10197    26    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Remley, R. D.
 

What makes someone a good leader? How can we critically reflect on others’ leadership skills toward understanding their effectiveness or weaknesses? How can we use these observations to assess and improve upon our own leadership skills? These are questions that will be addressed through this Colloquium section’s theme: Leadership Characteristics and Characters. Students will engage with principles of leadership found in characters and plot from various works of literature and film. Through critical reading, thinking, discussions, research, analytical writing activities, and other projects, students will come to understand several attributes that affect leadership effectiveness in various contexts; these attributes include cultural and social phenomena as well as personal traits and situational factors. Students, also, will consider their own leadership abilities and how they may be able to improve those skills.

The works listed below provide a sampling of those that we will use.

Texts:

  • Leadership: Essential Writings by Our Greatest Thinkers, by Elizabeth Samet
  • The Secret Sharer, Joseph Conrad
  • Antigone, Sophocles
  • Major Barbara, George Bernard Shaw
  • The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit (Film, adapted from novel by Sloan Wilson)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  • Hidden Figures, Margot Lee Shetterly 
Fall 2024 HONR 10197 Freshman Honors Colloquium Sections 27-36
SubjCourse#SectionTitleInstructorBldgRoomTimesMeeting Days
HONR1019727FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IMorris, WilliamSFH0021205:30 pm - 06:45 pmM W   
HONR1019728FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IUhrig, KarlSFH0021605:30 pm - 06:45 pmM W   
HONR1019729FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IRoman, Christopher M.SFH0021812:30 pm - 01:45 pm T R
HONR1019730FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IHall, Elizabeth A.JHN62/6409:55 am - 10:45 amM W F
HONR1019731FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IHall, Elizabeth A.SFH0021311:00 am - 11:50 amM W F
HONR1019732FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IFrench, DanielleSFH0021607:45 am - 09:00 am T R
HONR1019733FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IWagoner, Elizabeth A.SFH0021411:00 am - 12:15 pm T R 
HONR1019734FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IClark, Patrick JSFH0021803:45 pm - 5:00 pmT R 
HONR1019735FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IFrench, DanielleMOU0030111:00 am - 12:15 pmT R
HONR1019736FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM IRabbitt, GregSFH0021805:30 pm - 06:45 pmM W

HONR    10197    27    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Morris, William

Comedy, humor, and laughter are uniquely human ways of being in the world. While everyone has some sense of humor, what is funny is often rooted in the customs and habits shared among those in a given community or culture. Like love, or justice, or virtue, humor is a complex human activity which is difficult to define for lay and academic audiences alike. This course surveys comedies in Western culture from the Old Comedy of ancient Greece to modern novels and short stories of literary merit to film and stand-up among other comedic artifacts.

Over the course of two terms, we become a small scholarly community sometimes silly, sometimes serious, but always inquisitive and collegial. We develop our understanding through student-lead discussion, brief and extended analyses of course readings, short presentations, and essays directed by individual student inquiry. One goal of this course is that students should emerge with a deeper understanding how comedy and humor shape our intellectual pursuits, inform our shared social values, and enrich our individual capacity to be curious comedy connoisseurs. 

Texts for Fall:

  • Aristophanes - The Clouds or The Birds
  • Dante -    Selected Excerpts
  • Boccacio - Selected Excerpts
  • Shakespeare - Twelfth Night
  • Moliere - Le Misanthrope

Select Scholarship defining comedy 

Texts for Spring:

  • Voltaire - Candide
  • Swift - Selected Essays
  • Alexie - Selected Short Stories
  • Films - Silent Era & Contemporary Satires
  • Stand-Up- Carlin, Pryor, Rivers, et. al.

Select Scholarship on film and stand-up

 

HONR    10197    28    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Uhrig, Karl

Discourse and Agency
Who gets to tell someone’s story? How do they construct reality through the way they tell it? What can we learn about our relationships to ourselves, each other, and society by looking closely at human agency and discourse? 

This course is based on 1) the study of human agency, or the ways in which people have the ability to assert control over their circumstances, and 2) discourse analysis, the study of the ways in which humans construct understanding of their place in the world through language. Through the lenses of discourse and agency, we will read short stories, poems, and plays by authors from around the world and analyze them through discussion and writing. In addition, I will have you choose your own texts to analyze (any book, news story, movie, music, podcast, TikTok video, etc. that interests you). 

Learning the concepts that comprise discourse and agency will take us a very short time, after which our discussions will take off and become extraordinarily interesting. These discussions will provide plenty of material for you to use to write the required essays that focus on specific concepts and specific texts. You will present your ideas and engage in the ideas of your classmates. By the end of this course, not only will you have the tools to engage in any text with a critical, analytical eye, but you will also have the tools to better understand what’s going on in society, in the news, in popular culture, and in your own life. 
 
Texts:

  • Persuasion – Austen
  • Boule de Suif – de Maupassant
  • Hamlet – Shakespeare
  • The Poisonwood Bible – Kingsolver
  • Things Fall Apart – Achebe
  • The Kite Runner – Hosseini
  • “Brokeback Mountain” – Proulx
 

HONR    10197    29    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Roman, Christopher M.

Making Comics 

This course will teach students how to make comics in a variety of genres. Comics are a unique medium that combine word and picture and are used in a number of settings. Students may be acquainted with superhero comics, but comics are used in a number of fields such as schools, hospitals, and labs, along with the more personal: exploring one’s own life in the form of memoir. As well, comics are useful in making arguments, structuring stories, inviting advocacy, and framing historical events. Throughout the year, students will produce a number of kinds of comics. We will focus on telling your own story through memoir comics, experimenting with the superhero genre, research and writing a historical comic, writing a comic to advocate for a cause, and thinking about how to script a comic for the movies. Along the way, students will learn about framing, narrative arcs, panel use and page design, scripts and storyboarding, and a little history of comics studies in the academic field. By the end of the two semesters, students will have produced a portfolio of various comics. You do not need to have a background in drawing; as we will discuss and examine, anyone can make comics.  

Texts for Fall:

  • The Power of Comics, ed. Matthew Smith 

  • Tillie Walden, Spinning

  • Matthew Molden, 99 Ways to Tell A Story

  • Lynda Barry, Making Comics

  • Jeph Loeb, Batman; The Long Halloween  

 

HONR    10197    30    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Hall, Elizabeth A.

The Gods of Urban Fantasy and Imagined Kingdoms

These narratives will take us to real and other-worldly places—at no cost to you. We will also contemplate these ideas:

  • The Loss and Death of Gods: Just about every deity is represented in this collection of works. Some have endured longer in “spirit,” both in this literature and the broader public, but others have not fared so well. Can gods be lost or die? What are the wider implications of such a phenomenon; does it indicate a decay of culture or graver consequences?
  • “Changing of the Guard”/The Gods of “Now”:  If “ancient” or “decaying” gods have lost their power, who has risen to take their place?
  • Genres of Speculative Fiction: We will consider what makes urban fantasy different from science fiction or high fantasy—beyond the setting—and define the sub-genres under the broader “fantasy” category.
  • Authority in Film Adaptation:  We will explore the methods by which authors successfully adapt their own work and what level of “authority” or “rights” they are entitled to.

Texts for Fall:

  • American Gods [the novel] — available for free on Internet Archive (PDF and more formats), Libby (limited ebooks and audiobooks), and Kent State University library (limited printed copies)
  • The Lost God — available for free on Epub Pub
  • Spring Texts
  • Anansi Boys (available as PDF)
  • Good Omens (available on Internet Archive)
  • Selected episodes from the following TV series: Good Omens, American Gods, and Anansi Boys
 

HONR    10197    31    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Hall, Elizabeth A.

The Gods of Urban Fantasy and Imagined Kingdoms

These narratives will take us to real and other-worldly places—at no cost to you. We will also contemplate these ideas:

  • The Loss and Death of Gods: Just about every deity is represented in this collection of works. Some have endured longer in “spirit,” both in this literature and the broader public, but others have not fared so well. Can gods be lost or die? What are the wider implications of such a phenomenon; does it indicate a decay of culture or graver consequences?
  • “Changing of the Guard”/The Gods of “Now”:  If “ancient” or “decaying” gods have lost their power, who has risen to take their place?
  • Genres of Speculative Fiction: We will consider what makes urban fantasy different from science fiction or high fantasy—beyond the setting—and define the sub-genres under the broader “fantasy” category.
  • Authority in Film Adaptation:  We will explore the methods by which authors successfully adapt their own work and what level of “authority” or “rights” they are entitled to.

Texts for Fall:

  • American Gods [the novel] — available for free on Internet Archive (PDF and more formats), Libby (limited ebooks and audiobooks), and Kent State University library (limited printed copies)
  • The Lost God — available for free on Epub Pub
  • Spring Texts
  • Anansi Boys (available as PDF)
  • Good Omens (available on Internet Archive)
  • Selected episodes from the following TV series: Good Omens, American Gods, and Anansi Boys
 

HONR    10197    32    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    French, Danielle

Mainstream culture’s obsessionality with true crime still dominates contemporary entertainment and news media with thousands of podcasts, films, music, and endless literature dedicated to the topic, but this interest has been a mainstay in popular culture for centuries. Though used as a horror trope and easy plot device in both speculative and fantastical fiction, “madness” is often linked with criminality in unsettling ways. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “In 2021, there were an estimated 57.8 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States with AMI [any mental illness],” which “represented 22.8% of all U.S. adults” (para. 5).  Ranging from mild to severe in their impact on the individual and community, “young adults aged 18-25 years had the highest prevalence of AMI (33.7%)” (para. 5).  The AMI for the 18-25 age group has increased 4.3% since 2019, indicating instances of AMI are steadily rising.  The troubling connection of mental illness with criminal or deviant behavior demands consideration and critical inquiry.

In this course, students will delve into historical and contemporary iterations of madness and murder across mediums and genres. As even fiction is often based in reality, students will be examining mental illness depicted in creative nonfiction, fiction, podcasts, music, and film and consider the many ways disorders of the mind are often misdiagnosed, untreated, stigmatized, and criminalized. How does entertainment media romanticize, fetishize, or essentialize madness and link mental illness to deviant or criminal behavior? Students will reflect on historical and contemporary understandings of psychopathology and analyze course texts to produce meaningful discussion and writing on madness, murder, and true crime.

Texts for Fall:

  • Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886)
  • Franz Kafka’s The Trial (1925)
  • Albert Camus’ The Stranger (1942)
  • Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962)
  • Susannah Cahalan’s Brain on Fire (2012).

Texts for Spring will be elected entirely by past and present student votes from a curation of true crime books and media.  Students will spend a week working with archival materials from the Borowitz Collection, housed in the Special Collections and Archives on campus, contribute to season three of our class podcast, Madness and Murder (available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Pandora, and Amazon Music), and consider the ethical implications  of true crime media production and consumption and also consider the impact of dark tourism.

 

HONR    10197    33    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Wagoner, Elizabeth A.

Come for the glow in the dark cats and neurotic AIs, stay for the discussions of ethics, philosophy, and pop cultural representations of science! This section explores major issues in science fiction, as well as issues raised by popular discussions of science today, through themed units focusing on larger philosophical, ethical, and theoretical ideas. Each unit will contain works from literature, comics/graphic novels, film, and nonfiction science writing. Science-fiction issues covered in this course include:  

  • Science Fiction as a Genre – Contested, Lowbrow, Beloved, and now Quite Difficult Due to the Speed of Innovation  
  • Progressivism – Is humankind advancing toward a more evolved or better state of being through technological innovation?  
  • Space Travel – The Science Required to take us to Mars and Beyond.  
  • The Apocalypse in Science Fiction – AI, Viral, Nuclear, and Climate Disasters  
  • Science vs. Superstition – Pseudoscience, Logic, and the Battle for the Human Mind  

Examining the ways scientific ideas are framed through these texts, we will gain a richer awareness of major issues in science fiction and science today. In addition to weekly writings and discussion, there will be several researched essays, and film analysis.  

Texts for Fall:  

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke   and   2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick.  
  • Binti: The Complete Trilogy, Nnedi Okorafor, and Interstellar, Christopher Nolan.

Texts for Spring:  

  • The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu, Silent Spring – excerpts, Rachel Carson.  
  • Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb, Jonathan Fetter-Vorm, and Dune: Part One by Denis Villeneuve.  
 

HONR    10197    34    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    CLARK, PATRICK J.

CRIME FICTION, FILM NOIR, & THE SENSATION OF TEXT-TO-SCREEN ADAPTATIONS

This course is a journey into the smoky, hardboiled, sometimes glamourous world of crime novels and films noir, focusing on the interplay between crime fiction stories and their film adaptations: how literature is adapted for the silver screen, the constraints of doing so, and the differences in how we respond to novels and their film counterparts. This course will include novels and their film counterparts ranging from the 1930s to the present day.

Our exploration of crime noir will focus on defining what "noir" is, what makes a novel ripe for adaptation, limitations that confront screenwriters, and how directorial ambition and production meddling can affect the final product. Additionally, the class will discuss the social influences that popularized and maintain film noir. The course will also examine how film adaptations inspire newcomers to the crime fiction genre.

All the novels we will read are familiar and popular and represent different styles within the crime genre, including psychological thrillers, hardboiled detective novels, whodunnits, modern Western crime fiction, Nordic noir, and light comedy-mysteries, among others.

Texts for Fall:

Fall semester will focus on the Golden Age of Hollywood.  

  • Dashiell Hammett, The Thin Man & The Maltese Falcon
  • James M. Cain, Double Indemnity
  • Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep
  • Dorothy Hughes, In a Lonely Place
  • Patricia Highsmith, Strangers on a Train

The texts warrant a study of directors W. S. Van Dyke, John Huston, Billy Wilder, Howard Hawks, Nicholas Ray, and Alfred Hitchcock.

Texts for Spring:

Spring semester text will look at modern films adaptations.

  • Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley.
  • Patrick Süskind, Perfume: the Story of a Murderer
  • Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men
  • Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
  • Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle. 

Directors include Anthony Minghella, Tom Tykwer, The Coen Brothers, Niels Arden Oplev, David Fincher, and Stacie Passon.

 

HONR    10197    35    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    French, Danielle

Mainstream culture’s obsessionality with true crime still dominates contemporary entertainment and news media with thousands of podcasts, films, music, and endless literature dedicated to the topic, but this interest has been a mainstay in popular culture for centuries. Though used as a horror trope and easy plot device in both speculative and fantastical fiction, “madness” is often linked with criminality in unsettling ways. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “In 2021, there were an estimated 57.8 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States with AMI [any mental illness],” which “represented 22.8% of all U.S. adults” (para. 5).  Ranging from mild to severe in their impact on the individual and community, “young adults aged 18-25 years had the highest prevalence of AMI (33.7%)” (para. 5).  The AMI for the 18-25 age group has increased 4.3% since 2019, indicating instances of AMI are steadily rising.  The troubling connection of mental illness with criminal or deviant behavior demands consideration and critical inquiry.

In this course, students will delve into historical and contemporary iterations of madness and murder across mediums and genres. As even fiction is often based in reality, students will be examining mental illness depicted in creative nonfiction, fiction, podcasts, music, and film and consider the many ways disorders of the mind are often misdiagnosed, untreated, stigmatized, and criminalized. How does entertainment media romanticize, fetishize, or essentialize madness and link mental illness to deviant or criminal behavior? Students will reflect on historical and contemporary understandings of psychopathology and analyze course texts to produce meaningful discussion and writing on madness, murder, and true crime.

Texts for Fall:

  • Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886)
  • Franz Kafka’s The Trial (1925)
  • Albert Camus’ The Stranger (1942)
  • Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962)
  • Susannah Cahalan’s Brain on Fire (2012).

Texts for Spring will be elected entirely by past and present student votes from a curation of true crime books and media.  Students will spend a week working with archival materials from the Borowitz Collection, housed in the Special Collections and Archives on campus, contribute to season three of our class podcast, Madness and Murder (available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Pandora, and Amazon Music), and consider the ethical implications  of true crime media production and consumption and also consider the impact of dark tourism.

 

HONR    10197    36    FRESHMAN HONORS COLLOQUIUM I    Rabbitt, Greg

Social Justice League: Comics, Censorship, and Diversity While comics and comic book adaptations have exploded in popularity in the last twenty years, they have long been an underground medium that has struggled for legitimacy, fighting to be taken seriously as “art” or “literature.” However, comics is a unique medium that blends words and images and composes them using innovative techniques that handle time, space, and the senses in a visual language all its own. As a medium that is both “visual art” and “written literature,” comics are worth examining for this complexity alone.

Furthermore, comics have long been at the forefront of social and political movements. Despite, or perhaps because of, their marginalization, comics have often served as the voice for the disenfranchised. Owing to their complex and unique blend of art and prose, they have often been employed to examine difficult topics such as memory, trauma, racism, gender identity, and sexual orientation. They have also been the target of frequent censorship campaigns, from the 1940s up to today as everyone from concerned parents, to school boards, to Congress itself debate what is and isn’t appropriate to address in a medium that has often been seen to appeal to youth audiences. This course will examine the place of comics in American culture, and particularly how they have been used to represent the struggles of the disenfranchised and marginalized and to give them a voice. Along with that, we will be examining censorship and moral panics in America, how these campaigns impact what is portrayed in art and literature and how those texts are received and perceived. We will learn how to analyze the unique style of comic books, where medium and message become intimately entwined. We will question what even is Art or Literature, what gives a medium “legitimacy,” and what topics or voices are worthy or “appropriate” of depiction and discussion.

Potential Texts

  • Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art and Reinventing Comics, Scott McCloud 
  • Selections from Why Comics?: From Underground to Everywhere, Hillary Chute 
  • Maus, Art Spiegelman 
  • X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills, Chris Claremont 
  • The Sandman: A Game of You, Neil Gaiman 
  • Exit Stage Left, Mark Russell and Mike Freehan 
  • V for Vendetta, Alan Moore 
  • Genderqueer: A Memoir, Maia Kobabe
  • American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang