Tuesday/Thursday Section Course Descriptions

Tuesday/Thursday 7:45a-9:00a Sections

Mike Sanders

HONR 10197-005 CRN 25181

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.

Possible Texts:

  • Homer:  Odyssey
  • Virgil:  Aeneid
  • Swift: Gulliver’s Travels
  • Moliere: Gargantua and Pantagruel
  • Gaiman: American Gods
  • Kerouac:  Dharma Bums
  • Mitchell: Number 9 Dream
  • Murakami:  Kafka on the Shore
  • Silko: Ceremony

Deb Metzger

HONR 10197-013 CRN 25188

Is humanity doomed? In this colloquium, we will begin the first semester by investigating Climate Change. Some learner-friendly topics will include: sustainability, biodiversity, bio-engineering, carbon footprint, humanitarian crisis, impact of disasters. Students will choose their own topic of interest and complete projects and writing assignments that will culminate in a lengthy research paper. Writing workshops, class discussions, peer reviews, and one-on-one instruction will allow students to learn academic research, argument, and college composition. All material will be provided.

Texts for Fall semester:

  • Carl Sagan’s “A Demon Haunted World” (excerpt)
  • 11th Hour (documentary film)
  • GREEN (documentary short)
  • “Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy” (Professor Jem Bendell)

Welcome to Anthropocene; the current geological age during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. In the second semester of our colloquium, we will investigate and analyze the reasons that the American government is the only industrialized nation without a plan to transition to renewable energy. We will then investigate various climate change messages found in pop culture (music, movies, etc).Why have we failed to hear? Students will choose a topic of interest and complete a project of choice which will accompany the final argumentative essay. All material will be provided.

Texts for Spring semester:

  • Anthropocene (documentary film)
  • “Weigh of Light” (student Climate Fiction)
  • Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) (lyrics by Marvin Gaye)
  • The Rappers Guide to Climate Change (Baba Brickmen)
  • Idiotque (Radiohead)

Karly Lind

HONR 10197-031 CRN 25206

In our culture that values convenience over commitment, speed over mastery, determination over stability, and beauty over everything else, we’ve simultaneously succeeded and failed at cultivating our own vague ideas of happiness and achievement. We’ve witnessed men on the moon, but are now suffering the long-term consequences of living so far from the earth: for better or worse, our sense for pleasure has been challenged, re-evaluated, and ultimately, re-defined through the stories we tell ourselves. We will examine and develop ideas of pleasure and narrative across a spectrum of fiction, creative nonfiction, plays, poetry, and film, understanding that it is fire that returns health to the forest.

Fall texts:

  • Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
  • Seize the Day by Saul Bellow
  • The Decline of Pleasure by Walter Kerr

Spring texts:

  • A Feather On the Breath of God by Sigrid Nunez
  • Good Bones by Maggie Smith
  • The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt

Tuesday/Thursday 9:15a-10:30a Sections

Mike Sanders

HONR 10197-003 CRN 25179

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.

Possible Texts:

  • Homer:  Odyssey
  • Virgil:  Aeneid
  • Swift: Gulliver’s Travels
  • Moliere: Gargantua and Pantagruel
  • Gaiman: American Gods
  • Kerouac:  Dharma Bums
  • Mitchell: Number 9 Dream
  • Murakami:  Kafka on the Shore
  • Silko: Ceremony

Danielle French

HONR 10197-004 CRN 25180

Mainstream culture’s obsessionality with murder is virtually overtaking contemporary entertainment media with hundreds of podcasts, films, songs, and endless literature dedicated to the topic, but this is not a nouveau phenomenon or interest.  Though used as a horror trope and easy plot device in both speculative and fantastical fiction, “madness” is often linked with murder in unsettling ways.  According to 2017 data from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), one in five American adults live with mental illness—these illnesses have enormous range (mild to severe) and impact on the individual and the community (para. 1).   The troubling connection of “madness” with criminality and murder 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 poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction, podcasts, 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 psychopathology and analyze course texts to produce meaningful discussion and writing on madness, murder, and true crime.

Fall Texts:

  • Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886)
  • Albert Camus’ The Stranger (1942)
  • Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962)
  • Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind:  A Memoir of Moods and Madness (1995)

Films include Gaslight (1944), We Have Always Lived in the Castle (2018), and a film elected from a selection by student vote.

Spring texts will be elected by student vote from a selection of curated true crime options.


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.

Tuesday/Thursday 12:30p-1:45p Sections 

Uma Krishnan

HONR 10197-024 CRN 25199

This course will be about reading, understanding, and researching the literature, rhetoric and writing that took place in digital and other media spaces on the subject matter of Earth’s calling, before and after COVID-19, and lessons learnt from that. This will enable us to focus on why and how we should listen to Mother Earth and what is our duty as human beings. We will be looking at many different issues related to this topic on an international, national, state, local and individual level, to see:

  • What was Earth trying to tell us before COVID-19? Did we heed the signs of warning?
  • What type of writing took place on specific topics in the digital spaces on these topics?
  • How was the information developed and shaped?
  • How did it impact people in specific regions and why? 
  • How (and why) did people, in general, react to the destruction that was taking place around them?

Reading and Texts:

You will be reading two texts, one for fall and one for spring. In addition, you will be provided many articles to read from peer reviewed journals, government websites, and other reputable sources. You will be viewing media, newspapers, and other news outlets to see their portrayal of information.

You will also be asked to read blogs, twitter feeds, and social media posts and reactions on different aspects of COVID-19 and other topics related to nature’s destruction.  Based on your interest, you will continue do research on that particular aspect (depending on your major) and write your final papers on it and share the information with your classmates and others who are interested in the topic.

Learning and Knowledge Building:

Through the process of reading, critical thinking, discussing and being exposed Blooms’ taxonomy, you will learn to summarize, research, analyze, argue and synthesize information about subject matters and write about them in your assignments, research papers and multimodal presentations.

The above processes will also give you an opportunity to see how rhetoric and writing are instrumental in providing and shaping information, in formulating views and opinions, and in communicating important and highly urgent messages to smaller or larger audiences/ population in general.

Keeping this in mind, the fall part of the semester will be geared towards learning about the pandemic and what it means to Listening to Earth? And, the spring part of the semester will be geared towards viewing how can humans survive in difficult times – what does the new science reveal to us in terms of The changing world of work and how do we adapt and reorient ourselves after the COVID-19 Phase?

Text for Fall: Listening to the Earth by Christopher Hallowell and Walter Levy

Text for Spring: The Changing World of Work by Marjorie Ford


Liz Wagoner

HONR 10197-028 CRN 25203

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/graphicnovels, 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
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey, Film.
  • Binti: The Complete Trilogy, Nnedi Okorafor
  • Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb, Jonathan Fetter-Vorm

Texts for Spring:

  • The Year of the Flood, Margaret Atwood
  • The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu
  • Arrival, Film.

Hagan Whiteleather

HONR 10197-037 CRN 25212

Digging Death: Dying, Death, Grief, 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 your 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—as Kafka said, “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 am excited to see how all of our preconceived notions of death and the process of 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
  • Advice for Future Corpses and Those Who Love Them by Sallie Tisdale  
  • Being Mortal by Atul Gawande  
  • The Body by Stephen King 
  • “2B0R2B” by Kurt Vonnegut

Films for Fall:  

  • Stand by Me (1986)
  • The Farewell (2019)

Podcast for Fall:

  • S-Town (2017)

Texts for Spring:

  • Our Town by Thornton Wilder
  • A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • Lost Connections by Johann Hari
  • “This is Water” by David Foster Wallace

Films for Spring:

  • After Life (1998)
  • Beetlejuice (1988)
  • Harold & Maude (1971)

Television Episode for Spring:

  • Black Mirror: “San Junipero” (2016)

Tuesday/Thursday 2:15p-3:30p Sections 

Susan Lord

HONR 10197-017 CRN 25192

In this course, we will be looking during fall semester at the issue of class struggle, focusing on several cultures in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  What leads to inequities in wealth, and what, if anything, should be done about such inequities? What role does the concept of workers’ rights play in the struggle between the wealthy and the poor?  How effective are group efforts to solve these problems?

During spring semester, we will shift our focus to examine the role of the individual in social change.  How much influence does one person have over a society?  How does such an exceptional individual respond when faced with opposition, and what qualities make that individual exceptional? This second half of the course will include several dystopic novels. 

Possible fall texts (we will read only three of these):

  • Émile Zola, Germinal or Victor Hugo, Les Misérables or Bruce Watson, Bread and Roses
  • Upton Sinclair, The Jungle
  • John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

Likely spring texts:

  • Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Ayn Rand, Anthem
  • Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale
  • Gaile Parkin, Baking Cakes in Kigali

Dale Richards

HONR 10197-027 CRN 25202

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 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 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.

Fall Semester texts:

  • Eagleman, David. The Brain: The Story of You
  • Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club
  • Morrison, Toni. Beloved

Spring Semester texts:

  • Student choice: Barrett, Lisa Feldman. How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain
  • Haidt, Jonathan. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.
  • Christakis, Nicholas. Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society
  • Sapolsky, Robert. Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst
  • Murakami, Haruki. Kafka on the Shore

Tuesday/Thursday 3:45p-5:00p Sections

Danielle French

HONR 10197-006 CRN 25182

Mainstream culture’s obsessionality with murder is virtually overtaking contemporary entertainment media with hundreds of podcasts, films, songs, and endless literature dedicated to the topic, but this is not a nouveau phenomenon or interest.  Though used as a horror trope and easy plot device in both speculative and fantastical fiction, “madness” is often linked with murder in unsettling ways.  According to 2017 data from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), one in five American adults live with mental illness—these illnesses have enormous range (mild to severe) and impact on the individual and the community (para. 1).   The troubling connection of “madness” with criminality and murder 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 poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction, podcasts, 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 psychopathology and analyze course texts to produce meaningful discussion and writing on madness, murder, and true crime.

Fall Texts:

  • Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886)
  • Albert Camus’ The Stranger (1942)
  • Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962)
  • Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind:  A Memoir of Moods and Madness (1995)

Films include Gaslight (1944), We Have Always Lived in the Castle (2018), and a film elected from a selection by student vote.

Spring texts will be elected by student vote from a selection of curated true crime options.


Karly Lind

HONR 10197-018 CRN 25193

In our culture that values convenience over commitment, speed over mastery, determination over stability, and beauty over everything else, we’ve simultaneously succeeded and failed at cultivating our own vague ideas of happiness and achievement. We’ve witnessed men on the moon, but are now suffering the long-term consequences of living so far from the earth: for better or worse, our sense for pleasure has been challenged, re-evaluated, and ultimately, re-defined through the stories we tell ourselves. We will examine and develop ideas of pleasure and narrative across a spectrum of fiction, creative nonfiction, plays, poetry, and film, understanding that it is fire that returns health to the forest.

Fall texts:

  • Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
  • Seize the Day by Saul Bellow
  • The Decline of Pleasure by Walter Kerr

Spring texts:

  • A Feather On the Breath of God by Sigrid Nunez
  • Good Bones by Maggie Smith
  • The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt

Denise Harrison

HONR 10197-021 CRN 25196

This two-semester course have two goals. First, investigate the constructions of race, gender, class and sexuality in Early Modern England through the staging of Shakespeare’s major and minor plays. Next, we will critique post-modern representations of gender, class and the multicultural and global citizens by placing Shakespeare’s works in the contemporary context. 

  • In the first semester we will study Shakespeare as a playwright, his contemporaries. We will study the theories of “race,” gender and class. Then we will apply them to Shakespeare’s world. 
  • In the second semester we will look critically at plays that interrogate “race,” class, gender, immigration and other contemporary issues 

During both semesters we will attend live performances at the Great Lakes and other re/presentations of Shakespeare works to examine modern takes-on Shakespeare’s 400 plus year old plays

Tuesday/Thursday 5:30p-6:45P Sections

Jessica Jewell

HONR 10197-001 CRN 25177

From the Faraway Nearby: An exploration of the craft of personal storytelling through memoir and poetry. Though most of us are familiar with classic memoir texts, such as The Diary of Anne Frank, this course will introduce contemporary personal storytelling and the various methods writers use to push the boundaries of the genre and challenge the issues of authenticity, authorship, and voice. In addition to deep reading and critical analysis, we will also explore our own stories through reflective and creative writing.

Sample texts:

  • Educated by Tara Westover
  • Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward
  • The Best We Could Do: Thi Bui
  • The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  • Citizen by Claudia Rankine

Spring Semester Texts:

  • Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart
  • Voices from Chynerobyl by Svetlana Alexievich
  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  • American Radiance by Luisa Muradyan
  • The Needle’s Eye by Fanny Howe

Hagan Whiteleather

HONR 10197-016 CRN 25191

Digging Death: Dying, Death, Grief, 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 your 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—as Kafka said, “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 am excited to see how all of our preconceived notions of death and the process of 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
  • Advice for Future Corpses and Those Who Love Them by Sallie Tisdale  
  • Being Mortal by Atul Gawande  
  • The Body by Stephen King 
  • “2B0R2B” by Kurt Vonnegut

Films for Fall:  

  • Stand by Me (1986)
  • The Farewell (2019)

Podcast for Fall:

  • S-Town (2017)

Texts for Spring:

  • Our Town by Thornton Wilder
  • A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • Lost Connections by Johann Hari
  • “This is Water” by David Foster Wallace

Films for Spring:

  • After Life (1998)
  • Beetlejuice (1988)
  • Harold & Maude (1971)

Television Episode for Spring:

  • Black Mirror: “San Junipero” (2016)

Dale Richards

HONR 10197-035 CRN 25210

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 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 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.

Fall Semester texts:

  • Eagleman, David. The Brain: The Story of You
  • Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club
  • Morrison, Toni. Beloved

Spring Semester texts:

  • Student choice: Barrett, Lisa Feldman. How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain
  • Haidt, Jonathan. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.
  • Christakis, Nicholas. Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society
  • Sapolsky, Robert. Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst
  • Murakami, Haruki. Kafka on the Shore