Monday/Wednesday Section Course Descriptions

Monday/Wednesday 2:15P-3:30p Sections

Chelsea Swick-Higgins 

HONR 10197-015 CRN 25190

  • 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).
  • Major 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
  • Major 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

Monday/Wednesday 3:45P-5:00p Sections

Bill Morris

HONR 10197-010 CRN 25186

Comedy, humor, and laughter are uniquely human ways of being in the world. While each individual 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 comedy in Western culture from the Old Comedy of ancient Greece to contemporary fiction, film and stand-up among other comedic artifacts. While this theme suggests a light-hearted survey, the course materials allow us to explore the perennial philosophical and social issues the humanities are uniquely equipped to help us understand. This means that we become a small scholarly community sometimes silly, sometimes serious, but always inquisitive and collegial.

Over the course of two terms, students will develop a variety of writing to represent the various ways we've come to understand the course materials. We will 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.

Fall Texts:

  • Aristophanes -   The Clouds
  • Dante -                 Selected Excerpts
  • Boccacio -            Selected Excerpts
  • Shakespeare -    Select Comedies
  • Johnson -             Every Man and His Humor
  • Moliere -              Le Misanthrope

Spring Texts:

  • Voltaire -             Candide
  • Swift -                   Selected Essays
  • Alexie -                 Selected Short Stories

Select Films from silent to contemporary

Select Stand-up clips/specials from Bruce, Carlin, Pryor, Diller, Rivers, Chappelle

Amanda Fincham

HONR 10197-020 CRN 25195

How do conspiracy theories emerge into focus over conventionally agreed truths? What kind of influence (if any) do they have over the ways people interpret information and/or arguments in mainstream news? In this course, we will read, write, and discuss the ways in which conspiracy theories are created, their evolution, and their inherent ability to catch attention – and plant seeds of doubt – into the minds of our collective American culture. Rhetoric, the all-encompassing basics of effective argument and persuasive language, will act as a cornerstone for the analyses and discussions we have together. As such, we will be exploring conspiracy theories through various media, including literature and nonfiction, peer reviewed research articles, news and video clips, podcasts, etc.

In semester one, our readings will guide our class to create our own working definitions and criteria for conspiracy theories, as well as explore how conspiracy theories are represented through primarily fictional texts. In semester two, we will use that knowledge as we sift through some of the most famous conspiracy theories of our time, including (but not limited to) aliens encounters and technology advancement, historical events (such as 9/11 and the end of WWII), celebrity deaths, and a deeper look into some of America’s biggest court cases. Each conspiracy unit will end with short team debates, which are meant to challenge students in collecting there own evidence and crafting their own arguments to either support or refute the validity in those theories.

Tentative Readings for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021

  • 1984                                                                  
  • Everything You Know Is Wrong
  • V for Vendetta                                                 
  • You Are Still Being Lied To
  • Weaponized Lies                                              
  • The Terror Conspiracy Revisited                                                
  • Suspicious Minds                                             
  • Escaping the Rabbit Hole

**We will also be reading and watching many materials that go in depth behind the arguments of many popular conspiracy theories in Spring 2021.

Monday/Wednesday 5:30P-6:45p Sections

Charles Malone

HONR 10197-036 CRN 25211

How do novelists, poets, artists, and filmmakers respond to conflict? Rebellion, revolution, civil war, colonization, occupation, wars, and cultural conflicts shape some of our most compelling stories. How can creativity be an act of resistance? Alternatively, how can it be an act of empathy, a gesture that reaches across divisions? Our texts will take a global look at conflict and focus largely on living writers. Our practice will be rooted in critical reading, thinking, and writing. In addition to student-directed presentations and discussions, there will be opportunities to respond creatively to these themes.

Possible Texts:


  • The Association of Small Bombs, Karan Mahajan
  • The Boat Runner, by Devin Murphy
  • Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
  • A Star Called Henry, by Roddy Doyle
  • Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates


  • Lili: A Novel of Tiananmen, Annie Wang
  • The Joke, by Milan Kundera
  • Island of a Thousand Mirrors, Naomi Munaweera
  • Wind from an Enemy Sky, D’Arcy McNickle
  • The Republic of the Imagination, by Azar Nafisi


HONR 10197-002 CRN 25178

This colloquium will explore the life-changing experience of migration and immigration. What happens at the societal, community, and individual level when people voluntarily uproot themselves or are forced to uproot from familiar surroundings and become the ‘other’? What role do age, gender, wealth, privilege, and individual character play? We will examine these topics through literature, film, documentaries, and non-fiction sources. Deeper understanding and connections will be fostered through dialogue, writing, individual investigation, and presentations. For fruitful discussion, we will work to form a supportive and stimulating class environment.

The fall semester will focus on portrayals of (im)migration in literature and the spring will bring in non-fiction sources to better understand various aspects of the much-discussed immigration debate and global migration phenomenon.

Main Texts for Fall:

  • The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck
  • The Buddha in the Attic, Otsuka
  • American Dirt, Cummins
  • The Penguin Book of Migration Literature, Ahmed

Main Texts for Spring:

  • The Undocumented Americans, Villavicencio
  • This Land is our Land, Mehta

In small groups, students will read one of the following novels:

  • Americanah, Adichi
  • Lucky Boy, Sekaran
  • Exit West, Hamid
  • The Other Americans, Lalami