Honors Colloquia

The Honors Colloquia, open only to students in Williams Honors College, are interdisciplinary seminars designed to increase understanding of the primary concerns, the intellectual traditions, and the epistemologies of the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. These seminars offer you a special chance to broaden your perspectives by interacting with honors students from widely diverse fields of study. They invite you to sharpen your critical reading, speaking and writing skills so that you may thrive in your professional, civic, and personal lives. Note that all Honors students are required to take the set of three Honors Colloquia as part of the Honors Distribution.

The colloquia are offered each fall and spring semester and frequently during summer sessions. The content of the colloquia change every semester - see this web site to find out what will be available before each registration period. It is your responsibility to schedule the colloquia in a timely manner.

Message from the Dean

Looking Ahead to Fall 2018 Registration – Planning for Colloquia

I want to give you a heads-up about something that you will see for Fall Registration, so that you can begin thinking about it now. For the new entering Honors students in the Fall, there will be some updates to the Honors Requirements. These updates do not impact your own requirements as continuing Honors students – they apply only to the new entering students. 

However, one of the updates creates a new opportunity for you. The new Honors students will take 3-credit Honors Colloquia. We will continue to offer 2-credit Honors Colloquia for continuing students, with the same 200, 300, and 400 level course numbers that you have seen in the past. You may continue to take those to satisfy your existing requirements. You do not need to change anything that you have been doing. 

However, you will have the opportunity to take the new 3-credit Honors Colloquia if you would like to do so. All of those will be 300-level courses, which may assist you in meeting some of your other requirements for graduation. This may be something that you would like to chat with your advisor(s) about in the coming months. We are continuing to build the Fall schedule and will update the list of Fall Colloquia as those updates become available, but wanted to alert you to this possibility as the change was only recently approved. 

As ever, if there is anything that we can assist with, please let us know.  We are here to help. 

All the best,

Signature - Cravens

Sarah M. R. Cravens
Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives
Interim Dean, Williams Honors College
Blake McDowell, Jr. Professor of Law

 

Spring 2018

(13821)  1870:250:001

The United States in the Middle East, 1890-Present Part I of II (Part I is not required to take Part II)

Dr. Harvey Rosenthal   Tu  9:55 am – 11:35 am                              Honors Complex 83

 

By the 1890s America's industrial rise was pushing her towards overseas imperial adventures. This radical change in policy complicated the future role of America's place in the world. Relations with Europe, conquest in the Far East, and the quest for oil affected the United States' behavior in the Middle East. An ever-changing set of policies, driven by World War I and II and the Cold War, led to increasingly difficult responses to Zionism, Arab Nationalism, energy needs, fundamentalist fervor and the need to define the global role of a superpower. Here, in the classroom, seeking the truth, we will try to distill the essence of the American experience in the Middle East.


(10014)  1870:250:002 

The Hero

Heather Pollock – Tu, Th 1:10 pm - 2:00 pm,                                   Honors Complex 82

The human condition is marked with uncertainty and discovery. No character helps us confront this journey better than the hero. From classical myth and world origins, through the timely lens of comic books and film, and finally the age of modern heroism, we will explore the universal nature of the hero, with an eye toward its significance in society and in our individual lives. As Joseph Campbell states: We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and…we will come to the center of our own existence


(12059)  1870:250:003

The Hero

Heather Pollock – Tu, Th 2:15 pm – 3:05 pm,                                  Honors Complex 82

The human condition is marked with uncertainty and discovery. No character helps us confront this journey better than the hero. From classical myth and world origins, through the timely lens of comic books and film, and finally the age of modern heroism, we will explore the universal nature of the hero, with an eye toward its significance in society and in our individual lives. As Joseph Campbell states: We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and…we will come to the center of our own existence


(14134)  1870:250:004

Contemporary Short Story and the Gothic

Jim Kagafas – W, F 11:00 am – 11:50 am                                        Honors Complex 83

 

This colloquia will explore the relevance of 18th Century Gothic in 20th Century literature with an emphasis on the short story.  The class will take the term beyond the familiar mysterious castles, craggy landscapes, decaying mansions, and stealthy ghosts to include more contemporary definitions of Gothic.  As Kathy Pendergast suggests, “the world of Gothic fiction is characterized by a chronic sense of apprehension and the premonition of impending but unidentified disaster.  The Gothic world is the fallen world, the vision of fallen man, living in fear and alienation, haunted by images of his mythic expulsion, by its repercussions, and by an awareness of his unavoidable wretchedness…”  Poe referred to it as “terror of the soul.”


(15270)  1870:250:005

Truth, Lies, and Alternative Facts:  Are you perplexed?                 

Dr. Luis Proenza – W  12:05 pm – 1:45 pm                         Honors Complex 83

What is truth? Are any truths self-evident? Can you ever tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? What is post-truth? Is fake-news news? Why do we lie? Are there alternative facts?

 

The explosion of information technology tools like the Internet, the growth of electronic media, and social media all have brought great benefits to our 21st Century society. Yet, these and other forces also have unleashed problems such as the inability to sort truth from falsehood, facts from fiction, or clarity from obfuscation. This course will explore these issues throughout history and use contemporary examples to show how you can navigate information overload and spot disinformation.


(16113) 1870:250:006

Jazz History: Through the Eyes of a Jazz Artist

Joseph Augustine - M 9:55 am - 11:35 am                                       Honors Complex 92

Jazz was by far, the most significant musical form to emerge during the 20th century. There are qualities that separate the performance from inspired to mundane - a transformation that involves an arrangement of music which then transcends to creative improvisation. These elements will be examined in detail in order to elevate the listeners' ability to comprehend this great art. This premise creates an environment for in-depth discussion regarding the rhythm, harmony and stylistic variations of all facets of jazz music.


(16763)  1870:250:007

Japan Study Abroad – Springbreak  (March 24 – April 1, 2018)

"The Global Lawyer on the International Stage"- Spring Break - Japan Study Abroad -  with President Wilson and Professor Cravens


 
(16821)  1870:250:008

Fairy Tales for Adults

Dr. Thomas Dukes – M, W 11:00 am – 11:50 am                            Honors Complex 82

This course would take as its premise Anglo-Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen's claim that detective stories are "fairy tales for adults."  We would work from a definition of fairy tale as myth, and myth would be defined as "stories we tell about ourselves to explain ourselves to ourselves."  We will consider how myths convey, in part, our deep human need for justice, a "happy ending" (reconciliation), and hope.  We will explore the importance of these desires and why we long to see them expressed narrative.  We will consider the detective story as popular culture that is at once pop culture and, at times, "art," another term we shall have to define.  Throughout, we will think about detective fictions as cultural artifacts, reflective of our changing values (including diversity),  norms, and society.

Texts will include a volume of detective stories and such novels as Devil in the Blue Dress by Walter Mosley, Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers, Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, etc.: these works engage such issues as race, gender equality, diversity, the media (Orient Express is based on the Lindbergh kidnapping case), and other issues relevant to life today.


 

(17156)  1870:250:009

Origins of the Arts & Humanities in the West

Dr. Michael Levin – M, W  1:10 pm – 2:00 pm                                Honors Complex 82              

What is "Western Civilization"?  In other words, why do we in "the West" think the way we do?  In this course we will use a combination of history, art, literature, and philosophy to explore the roots of our society.  We will examine what has changed, and what has not changed, in our thinking about big questions: love, death, politics, and the meaning of life.  This course is a condensed version of History 210, which covers material from ancient history through the Italian Renaissance.  The emphasis of the course will be on class discussion of major texts.

 


 

(17279)  1870:250:010

Religion East and West: The Big Questions (and Answers in Words and Art)

Paula Levin – M, W  12:05 pm – 12:55 pm                                      Honors Complex 82

In this course we will examine the teachings of Eastern and Western religions  -  Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity  - in their attempts to guide us to answers to The Big Questions: what is the meaning of life, how should I live, what happens after life, what is God. We will experience the great world of artistic expression of religious ideas through virtual tours, actual tours, visual media, and music. And we will discuss how religious beliefs (or the absence of them!) affect how we, as humans, experience the world.

 


 

(17337)  1870:250:011

Hunting Witches in Early Modern Europe

Dr. Michael Graham – M  2:15 pm – 3:55 pm                               Honors Complex 92

This workshop-style course will be an investigation into one of the most bizarre and troubling facets of early modern European history.  The witch-hunt directly affected hundreds of thousands of people, and claimed tens of thousands of victims, killed for committing a crime which modern commentators view as imaginary.  While recognizing the barbarity of what took place, we will seek to explain it within its historical context.  What was it which caused people at all levels of society, including the most educated, to live in fear of black magic?  How could such fears have made sense to them?  How did those fears develop, and by what process did they eventually ease?  After an initial period surveying the general outlines of the witch-hunt, we will delve into the actual records of several witchcraft trials, so see how the legal process operated in such cases, and to better understand the ways in which the witch-hunt has been documented.  Finally, we will look at the ways in which people wrote about the witch-hunt, in the early modern popular media of pamphlet and news-sheet, in scholarly works dedicated to the respectable topic of “demonology”, and in dramatic works.  This last phase of the course will allow students to offer their own creative take on the hunt in styles similar to those popular in early modern Europe - i.e. tabloid pamphlet or dramatic presentation.

(10015)  1870:360:001 

TV, Radio, Internet….OH MY!

Carrie Tomko – W, F  11:00 am – 11:50 am                        Honors Complex 92

Communication is key in this fast-paced society with TV, radio, (newspapers), and the internet bringing instantaneous news, information, and entertainment. The mass media brings global topics closer to home from across the world. What are the current events covered in the news? What content is shared? Beyond content, what underlying messages are generated in mass media messages? These, and other rhetorical questions, will be posed as direct questions designed to engage students and ultimately achieve the course objectives.


(10016)  1870:360:002

S.T.E.M. in the News

Carrie Tomko – W, F  1:10 pm – 2:00 pm                                        Honors Complex 92

Students in this colloquium have an opportunity to reflect on innovations, such as:  The latest in available smart phones...The ongoing discussion of global warming...The usage of self-driving cars...The challenges of feeding a growing population through technological advances in agriculture...!!  As new research and technology emerge, resulting innovations enter our ever-changing world.  How are these innovations communicated to the general public??  The mass media is the place where the general population learns of innovations.  Students in this colloquium will engage in the analysis of the media's reporting and then the population's reaction to S.T.E.M.'s impact on society, discerning how emerging research and technology are embraced or refused by society via communication and the media's role in construction of a new reality.


(12366)  1870:360:003

TV, Radio, Internet…….OH MY!

Carrie Tomko – W, F  12:05 pm – 12:55 pm                                    Honors Complex 92

Communication is key in this fast-paced society with TV, radio, (newspapers), and the internet bringing instantaneous news, information, and entertainment. The mass media brings global topics closer to home from across the world. What are the current events covered in the news? What content is shared? Beyond content, what underlying messages are generated in mass media messages? These, and other rhetorical questions, will be posed as direct questions designed to engage students and ultimately achieve the course objectives.


 

(13073)  1870:360:004

Fear

Heather Pollock – Tu, Th  3:20 pm – 4:10 pm                                  Honors Complex 82

  • Gloria Steinem says, Empathy is the most radical of human emotions. Where has it gone in this ironic age of global disconnect? How do we foster compassion if we cannot connect? We investigate its opposite, fear, and render it inert. From universal fears to personal ones, we will explore the nature of fear, seek its purpose, how to navigate it, understand it, and move forward into connection.

(12549)  1870:360:005 

Science, Technology, and Society

Dr. Luis Proenza – W  4:25 pm – 6:05 pm                                         Honors Complex 83

 

We live in an increasingly technologically sophisticated world where the growth of our scientific knowledge and the evolution of technologies are continually shaping the future of our societies and, perhaps, even of our species. This course will examine the multifaceted interactions between science, technology, and society through current issues relevant to us as individuals and to our society, nation and the world. It intends to build awareness of science and technology as human enterprises that can be explored in a social and historical context. The course will develop along three themes: (1) The nature of science and engineering that make their facts more compelling than other purported sources of knowledge or truth; (2) Exploring current controversies at the intersection of science, technology, and society; and (3) Studying how these interactions are changing the way we think of ourselves as human beings and as global citizens.


(12647) 1870:360:006

Developing a Worldview

Michael Dunbar  - T, Th  2:15 pm  – 3:05  pm                                 Honors Complex 92

The United States is a highly globalized country, but we only constitute four percent of the world's population. Throughout the semester, we will be taking a virtual trip around the world to examine and compare different regions and what makes them and their inhabitants unique. We will be paying particular attention to variations in culture, language, religion, ethnicity, politics, agriculture, and industry in an effort of challenge Americentrism and to better understand the larger world around us.

 


 

(15268)  1870:360:007

Science and Technology Policy: Its Economic Drivers and the Role of Universities in the Creation of New Wealt
Dr. Luis Proenza - W 2:15 pm - 3:55 pm.                                         Honors Complex 83

Science and technology have shaped our modern world and the discoveries being made today are likely the best harbingers of the future. What has driven our nation, and other nations, to construct policies that facilitate, fund and regulate the conduct of science and its application? The course will explore science and technology policy with the aim of understanding its breadth, scope and its role in advancing economic growth, promoting national security and enhancing our quality of life. It will also review the major players in the science and technology policy arena and the performers that are required so that policies can lead to new knowledge that drives economic growth opportunities. Finally, the course will examine the special role that universities play in these endeavors by focusing on the many forms of "capital" that universities create (such as human capital, social capital and knowledge capital, to name a few) and on how universities can yet evolve to play even stronger roles in our economy and our society. 


(15269)  1870:360:008

Difficult Dialogues and the Life of Meaning

Dr. Matthew Lee – Tu, Th  12:15 pm – 1:05 pm                              Honors Complex 82

How should we interact with those who have a perspective that is very different from our own?  How can we live a life of deep meaning and purpose?  Answering one of these questions helps us to answer the other.  This course will provide you with skills for engaging in difficult dialogs with others and for enriching the meaning in your life.  With support from UA’s Center for Experiential Learning, we will engage with students enrolled in another course (“Civil Dialogs, Civil Communities: An Unclass in Civil Engagement”) as we put into practice the lessons from social science about transforming conflict and living a life of meaning.


(15308)  1870:360:009

S.T.E.M. in the News

Carrie Tomko – W, F   2:15 pm – 3:05 pm                                       Honors Complex 92

Students in this colloquium have an opportunity to reflect on innovations, such as:  The latest in available smart phones...The ongoing discussion of global warming...The usage of self-driving cars...The challenges of feeding a growing population through technological advances in agriculture...!!  As new research and technology emerge, resulting innovations enter our ever-changing world.  How are these innovations communicated to the general public??  The mass media is the place where the general population learns of innovations.  Students in this colloquium will engage in the analysis of the media's reporting and then the population's reaction to S.T.E.M.'s impact on society, discerning how emerging research and technology are embraced or refused by society via communication and the media's role in construction of a new reality.

 


 

(16114)  1870:360:010

Jazz and Life:  Expressing & Inspiring the Essence of Creativity

Joe Augustine – M  12:05 pm – 1:45 pm                                          Honors Complex 92

Jazz music became the first of popular music forms to gain academic legitimacy. This genre is one of the most interesting forms of popular American music displaying substantial technical innovations. The changes in the social environment due to this exciting art are very positive. The jazz experience by its nature, creates a forum for social interaction and cultural nurturing. This nurturing process will prepare us for a lifetime of musical development and a respect for music - the "universal language". With this in mind, we will discuss in exciting detail the synergy of this cerebral high art and the value of social relationships.


(16764)  1870:360:011

Japan Study Abroad – Springbreak  (March 24 – April 1, 2018)

"The Global Lawyer on the International Stage"- Spring Break - Japan Study Abroad -  with President Wilson and Professor Cravens


 

(17335)  1870:360:012

Digital Storytelling

Dr. Dudley Turner – 2:15 pm – 3:55 pm                                         Honors Complex 83

The use of digital storytelling is growing. To be prepared for any profession, students need to be aware of the concepts of storytelling and how it can be used for more than simply entertainment – such as in marketing, PR, training, sales. This colloquium requires students to use these concepts to tell a story in various media such as blogging, photography, video, podcasts, animation, AR (Augmented Reality), infographics, and others. A service learning component may be included.

(10017)  1870:470:001

Animal Physiology

Dr. Richard Mostardi – Tu, Th  12:05-12:55                                   Honors Complex 83

This Natural Sciences Colloquium has a different main speaker each Tuesday. The speakers are drawn both from campus faculty as well as off-campus scientists. The Thursday sessions are discussion-oriented and are held in smaller sessions.


(12299)  1870:470:002

Paper or Plastic?

Marcia Weidknecht – M, W  1:10 pm – 2:00 pm                             TBA

The choice is not simple.  Which is “better” for the consumer?  Which is “better” for the environment?  From the manufacturing process through the disposal of paper and plastic, the choice is much more complicated than it first appears. This debate and group project course will research the arguments for and against an informed choice.

Both paper and plastic are polymers.  Much more than the “paper or plastic” dilemma, polymers are important in each of our lives.  This course will explore how polymers can be classified, how they are made, how they are used, and how they can be recycled.

 


 

(12940)  1870:470:003

Global Environmental Issues – with an Anthropogenic Discussion Focus

Michael Dunbar – Tu, Th  11:00 am – 11:50 am                              Honors Complex 92

The Earth is home to approximately 7.5 billion human beings. Throughout the semester we’ll be enlisting discussions, debates and a proposal to serve as a means to exploring how humankind’s presence on this planet has impacted its natural resources, climate, biodiversity and offer a prognosis for the future.


(13106)  1870:470:004

Global Environmental Issues – with an Anthropogenic Discussion Focus

Michael Dunbar – Tu, Th  12:05 pm – 12:55 pm                             Honors Complex 92

The Earth is home to approximately 7.5 billion human beings. Throughout the semester we’ll be enlisting discussions, debates and a proposal to serve as a means to exploring how humankind’s presence on this planet has impacted its natural resources, climate, biodiversity and offer a prognosis for the future.

 


(13579)  1870:470:005

Technology, Entertainment, and Design: What is your idea worth spreading?

Dr. Yang Hyun Yun – M, W  2:15 pm – 3:05 pm                           Honors Complex 82

Creativity and original ideas that are expressed well have the ability to transform our society. Using the TED format, the purpose of this course is to foster learning, prepare a presentation, and spark conversations with each other. 


(12946)  1870:470:006

Dissecting Medical Device Failures:  Social, economic and technical issues

Dr. Brian Davis – M, W  5:20 pm – 6:10 pm                                    Honors Complex 92

Failures in a medical setting can have profound implications to patients (on an individual level), as well as society and the economic well-being of cities.  This course will examine failures from multiple perspectives, with a view of learning from mistakes.  Emphasis will be placed on both pre-market as well as post-market medical devices.


 

(16240)  1870:470:007

Open Science for Clean Water

Hunter T. King -  F   12:05 pm -1:45 pm                                          Honors Complex 82

This course will introduce issues concerning water resources around the world, and explore present open-source hardware and citizen-science based efforts to address them.

Students will work on team projects in the classroom and in the field, and informally share their progress.


(16820)  1870:470:008

Super-wicked Problems and the Earth System

Dr. David Steer – W  2:15 pm – 3:55 pm                                          Crouse Hall 111

Interdisciplinary analysis of our relationship with the Earth as it relates to complex issues such as water sustainability and resilience, low impact design, food security, lead in the environment and environmental justice. Students will explore these topics through readings, videos and in-class discussions supplemented with guided computer modeling and project-based analysis of present-day scenarios.

 

Summer 2018

Theatre Anthropology (2 CR)

James Slowiak - [32156] 1870:250-404, MTuW 2:00PM - 3:40PM, HC 082

This seminar will be an interactive, experiential exploration of ritual, play, and performance as universal human impulses.  Performance can be a useful lens and tool for scholarship and research across the humanities and social sciences. In this class we will examine ritual, play and performance as processes for creative expression, critical inquiry, and community engagement. Questions of identity, citizenship, being, and belonging will be discussed. The course will offer a variety of individual and group experiences, readings, and activities to provide the means to understand how and why ritual, play, and performance are essential functions of human existence.

TV, Radio, Internet...Oh My! (2 CR)

Carrie Tomko - [32157] 1870:360-404, TuWTh 10:00AM - 1:30PM, HC 092

Communication is key in this fast-paced society with TV, radio, (newspapers), and the internet bringing instantaneous news, information, and entertainment. The mass media brings global topics closer to home from across the world. What are the current events covered in the news? What content is shared? Beyond content, what underlying messages are generated in mass media messages? These, and other rhetorical questions, will be posed as direct questions designed to engage students and ultimately achieve the course objectives.

Global Environmental Issues (2 CR)

Michael Dunbar - [31693] 1870:470-402, TuTh 9:00AM - 11:30AM, HC 092

The Earth is now home to over 7 billion human beings. During the semester we will be exploring how our presence on the planet has impacted the natural resources, its environment, and offer a prognosis for the future. Our discussions and debates will examine topics such as how our actions and technology have impacted the Earth's climate, biodiversity, natural resources, and technology, to name a few.


The DNA Revolution: Preparing for the Age of Personnel Genomics (2 CR)

Dr. Robert Duff - [33030] 1870:470-403, MW 12:30PM - 3:00PM, HC 092

The ability to cheaply sequence entire DNA genomes is bringing both tremendous opportunities for us to know more about our ancestry and our own genetic conditions but it also brings with it many questions about who should have access to that data how that data should be used. In this course we will explore texts, watch videos, and discuss what we can learn about ourselves through our genomes and how we should prepare ourselves for the present and coming genomic age. 

 

Fall 2018

The Hero (2 CR)

Heather Pollock - [75433] 1870:250-001, TuTh 11:45AM - 12:35PM, HC 082

The human condition is marked with uncertainty and discovery. No character helps us confront this journey better than the hero. From classical myth and world origins, through the timely lens of comic books and film, and finally the age of modern heroism, we will explore the universal nature of the hero, with an eye toward its significance in society and in our individual lives. As Joseph Campbell states: We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and…we will come to the center of our own existence.


A Cultural History of the British Country House (2 CR)

Dr. Melanie McGurr - [74778] 1870:250-002, MW 7:40AM - 8:30AM, HC 082

The British Country House is an integral part of the history of Great Britain. This colloquium will trace the Country House from the Elizabethan Period through the Industrial Revolution to the present. Iconic homes like Chatsworth, Blenheim, and Longleat loom large in British history, but smaller homes, like Bletchley and Chequers, also hold an important place. We will study the cultural history of the houses, including discussions of the influence the Country House had on architecture, art, economics, social class, fashion, and politics. The class will include much general discussion, but will also allow for individual research interests as they relate to the Country House.


Religion East and West: The Big Questions (and Answers in Words and Art) (2 CR)

Paula Levin - [73364] 1870:250-003, MW 11:45AM - 12:35PM, HC 082

In this course we will examine the teachings of Eastern and Western religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity - in their attempts to guide us to answers to The Big Questions: what is the meaning of life, how should I live, what happens after life, what is God. We will experience the great world of artistic expression of religious ideas through virtual tours, actual tours, visual media, and music. And we will discuss how religious beliefs (or the absence of them!) affect how we, as humans, experience the world.


Truth, Lies, and Alternative Facts:  Are you perplexed? (2 CR)

Dr. Luis Proenza - [72157] 1870:250-004, M 10:15AM - 11:55AM, HC 092

The explosion of information technology tools like the Internet, the growth of electronic media, and social media all have brought great benefits to our 21st Century society. Yet, these and other forces also have unleashed problems such as the inability to sort truth from falsehood, facts from fiction, or clarity from obfuscation. This course will explore these issues throughout history and use contemporary examples to show how you can navigate information overload and spot disinformation.


American Drama - The Golden Age of American Theatre (3 CR)

Dr. John Thomas Dukes - [77361] 1870:350-001, MTuW 10:15AM - 11:05AM, HC 082

This course will review the great plays and cultural history of the American theater's golden age in the twentieth century. We will read a dozen plays or so and discuss their aesthetic and intellectual importance. Playwrights we shall read include Eugene O'Neill, Lillian Hellman, Tennessee Williams, August Wilson, and others. course requirements: Three papers, three tests, reading quizzes, and you must attend and review one play or musical. Fun stuff!  


What Makes Us Human? (3 CR)

Dr. Heather Braun - [77362] 1870:350-002, MW 1:15PM - 2:30PM, HC 083

In this Humanities Honors Colloquium, we will use a combination of literary and historical texts to explore the question of what makes us human. Beginning with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), we will consider distinctions among human, creature, and monster as well as definitions of moral beings in Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859). We will also ask larger ethical questions about the role of science and technology in shaping how we think about humanity through such examples as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932) and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go (2005). Finally, we will end the colloquium with an exploration of compassion and empathy at the center of texts that describe the human experience including Elizabeth Strout’s Anything is Possible (2017). 


The Rhetoric of Self (3 CR)

Dr. Lance Svehla - [77363] 1870:350-003, MW 2:45PM - 4:00PM, HC 083

“Know thyself” reads the inscription above the entrance to the Oracle at Delphi. “To thine own self be true” Polonius advises Laertes in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. “We hold these truths to be self-evident” begins the most famous passage from Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence. But what is the self? Is the self the seat of human consciousness or its prison? Does thought emanate from the self or is the self the product of thought? Is the self a medium for connection or the cause of separation and division? This colloquium examines the writings of poets, mystics, theorists, and philosophers who claim the self is an illusion, the product rather than the source of mental processes, and the central cause of human suffering. To conduct this examination we will read works from figures such as Plato, Buddha, Lao Tzu, St. Aquinas, St. John of the Cross, Basho, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Maslow, Suzuki, and Krishnamurti. We will also consider arguments from theorists who, while acknowledging the self as a construction of language, thought, and experience, reject that there is anything larger or greater to human consciousness. Is the self necessary? Is it inevitable? Or can human consciousness outgrow it? If the self is the prison house of consciousness, then liberation from its patterns, limitations, and conditionings might be the key to human tranquility.


Exploring Genre (3 CR)

Dr. Matthew Wyszynski - [77364] 1870:350-004, MW 10:15AM - 11:30AM, HC 083

This seminar will focus on the concept of literary genre, and how the expectations that a genre brings to our choice of reading and influences our reception and interpretation of a text.  We will read a variety of genres from a wide variety of periods (Spanish comedia, detective fiction, blogs, to name a few) to determine how genre helps structure a text, and we will examine how variety and originality is accomplished within generic boundaries. 


Gothic Influence in Contemporary Short Story (2 CR)

Jim Kagafas - [77511] 1870:250-005, MW 8:45AM – 9:35AM, HC 082

This course will explore the relevance of 18th Century Gothic in the 20th Century American short story. The class will take the term beyond the familiar mysterious castles, craggy landscapes, decaying mansions, and ghosts to include more contemporary definitions of gothic. The class will explore gothic terms, read several American short story writers, critically analyze these writers, address American gothic film, pursue individual investigation of gothic themes, and present project at the end of the semester. Approximately 15 stories will be analyzed. Summary/Analysis/Response essays will be required for several of the stories. Class participation is important to the seminar.


We are always happy to add more Honors Colloquia in a given semester for a given subject area once the others have filled, so please keep us in the loop about what type of colloquia you need and your preferred date and time if everything is full, and we will look to provide additional offerings before the semester begins. Click here to email us.

Healthcare: Empowering Awareness and Humanitarianism through Missions (3 CR)

Dr. Laura Richardson - [77373] 1870:340-001, M 1:15PM - 3:45PM, HC 082

The course will immerse students into the local Akron community, requiring the completion of set service hours. The course will be focused on domestic mission but throughout the semester there will be discussions to explore interests in hosting an international health-based mission trip.


Food for Thought: Cooking & Eating in Western Culture (3 CR)

Dr. Hillary Nunn - [77402] 1870:340-002, Tu 10:15AM - 12:45PM, HC 083

Communities and individuals alike define themselves through the food they eat and the social practices that surround its preparation and consumption. This class will examine how interactions involving food – not just in kitchens and dining rooms but in fields and markets – shape perceptions of family, nation, and selfhood. In addition to scholarly readings in food studies, we will examine recipe books, diet crazes, and hospitality manuals from the early modern period to the present day to consider food's role in defining who we are.


What's Your CQ? Cultural Intelligence and Global Skills (3 CR)

Dr. Maria Adamowicz-Hariasz - [77421] 1870:340-003, TuTh 4:15PM - 5:30PM, HC 082

The recent concept of cultural intelligence or cultural quotient (CQ), the capability to relate and work effectively across cultures, is increasingly being used in business, education, government and academia. This class will help you to develop your cross-cultural competencies through a variety of activities such as simulation games, analysis of critical incidents or discussions with international speakers. The goal is to engage you to become and act as a global-minded citizen of the interconnected world, able to transcend geographical, political or cultural borders.

Leadership through LEGOs (3 CR)

Karen Plaster - [77467] 1870:340-004, Th 7:15PM - 9:45PM, HC 082

What does it take to develop and sustain a nonprofit? How do they interact with the community? FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) has developed a robotics competition for students from kindergarten to high school to create robots and use technology to solve real-world problems. This course will provide experiential learning which will focus on leadership, teamwork, communication and ethics in a student centered nonprofit environment. We will investigate how nonprofits work and support local FIRST robotics through mentorship, outreach events, and tournaments. Explore the vast nonprofit arena of STEM through leadership, robotics, and LEGOs.


TV, Radio, Internet...Oh My! (2 CR)

Carrie Tomko - [70038] 1870:360-001, MW 11:45AM - 12:35PM, HC 083

Communication is key in this fast-paced society with TV, radio, (newspapers), and the internet bringing instantaneous news, information, and entertainment. The mass media brings global topics closer to home from across the world. What are the current events covered in the news? What content is shared? Beyond content, what underlying messages are generated in mass media messages? These, and other rhetorical questions, will be posed as direct questions designed to engage students and ultimately achieve the course objectives.


S.T.E.M. in the News (2 CR)

Carrie Tomko - [70039] 1870:360-002, MW 1:15PM - 2:05PM, CAS 137

Students in this colloquium have an opportunity to reflect on innovations, such as:  The latest in available smart phones...The ongoing discussion of global warming...The usage of self-driving cars...The challenges of feeding a growing population through technological advances in agriculture...!!  As new research and technology emerge, resulting innovations enter our ever-changing world.  How are these innovations communicated to the general public??  The mass media is the place where the general population learns of innovations.  Students in this colloquium will engage in the analysis of the media's reporting and then the population's reaction to S.T.E.M.'s impact on society, discerning how emerging research and technology are embraced or refused by society via communication and the media's role in construction of a new reality.


Science, Technology, and Society (2 CR)

Dr. Luis Proenza - [70040] 1870:360-003, M 1:15PM - 2:55PM, HC 092

We live in an increasingly technologically sophisticated world where the growth of our scientific knowledge and the evolution of technologies are continually shaping the future of our societies and, perhaps, even of our species. This course will examine the multifaceted interactions between science, technology, and society through current issues relevant to us as individuals and to our society, nation and the world. It intends to build awareness of science and technology as human enterprises that can be explored in a social and historical context. The course will develop along three themes: (1) The nature of science and engineering that make their facts more compelling than other purported sources of knowledge or truth; (2) Exploring current controversies at the intersection of science, technology, and society; and (3) Studying how these interactions are changing the way we think of ourselves as human beings and as global citizens.


Science and Technology Policy: Its Economic Drivers and the Role of Universities in the Creation of New Wealth (2 CR)

Dr. Luis Proenza - [72804] 1870:360-004, M 4:15PM - 5:55PM, HC 092

Science and technology have shaped our modern world and the discoveries being made today are likely the best harbingers of the future. What has driven our nation, and other nations, to construct policies that facilitate, fund and regulate the conduct of science and its application? The course will explore science and technology policy with the aim of understanding its breadth, scope and its role in advancing economic growth, promoting national security and enhancing our quality of life. It will also review the major players in the science and technology policy arena and the performers that are required so that policies can lead to new knowledge that drives economic growth opportunities. Finally, the course will examine the special role that universities play in these endeavors by focusing on the many forms of "capital" that universities create (such as human capital, social capital and knowledge capital, to name a few) and on how universities can yet evolve to play even stronger roles in our economy and our society. 


Theatre Anthropology: Ritual, Play, Performance, and Self (2 CR)

James Slowiak - [77453] 1870:360-005, MW 11:45AM - 12:35PM, CAS 437

This seminar will be an interactive, experiential exploration of ritual, play, and performance as universal human impulses.  Performance can be a useful lens and tool for scholarship and research across the humanities and social sciences. In this class we will examine ritual, play and performance as processes for creative expression, critical inquiry, and community engagement. Questions of identity, citizenship, being, and belonging will be discussed. The course will offer a variety of individual and group experiences, readings, and activities to provide the means to understand how and why ritual, play, and performance are essential functions of human existence.


Developing a Worldview (2 CR)

Michael Dunbar - [77454] 1870:360-006, TuTh 10:15 - 11:05PM, HC 092

The United States is a highly globalized country, but we only constitute four percent of the world's population. Throughout the semester, we will be taking a virtual trip around the world to examine and compare different regions and what makes them and their inhabitants unique. We will be paying particular attention to variations in culture, language, religion, ethnicity, politics, agriculture, and industry in an effort of challenge Americentrism and to better understand the larger world around us.


We are always happy to add more Honors Colloquia in a given semester for a given subject area once the others have filled, so please keep us in the loop about what type of colloquia you need and your preferred date and time if everything is full, and we will look to provide additional offerings before the semester begins. Click here to email us.

*Check back soon as additional Natural Sciences Colloquia for Fall 2018 will be added.

The Impact of Mathematics on the World Around Us (3 CR)

Dr. Malena Espanol - [77378] 1870:370-001, TuTh 11:45AM - 1:00PM, HC 092

In this class, we will look at applications of mathematics including math in movies, math in medicine, math in music, and math in engineering and sciences. Students will learn on the applications of math through readings, videos, and in-class discussions as well as from presentations given by math faculty and off-campus mathematicians.


Great Lakes (2 CR)

Dr. Ira Sasowsky - [70041] 1870:470-001, W 8:20AM - 10AM, HC 092

Did you know that our Great Lakes are the largest freshwater bodies in the world, and hold over 80% of fresh surface water in North America? These fragile resources are an incredible benefit to the region, and have a rich natural history, as well as a bright future. Using the overarching topic of Great Lakes, we will explore the role of water in our everyday lives doing readings and exercises, and short lectures. We will leave with a renewed understanding of the issues, and as empowered citizens participating in a regional water community. An optional fun field trip to Lake Erie will be held on a Friday or weekend day.


Paper or Plastic? (2 CR)

Dr. Marcia Weidknecht - [77437] 1870:470-002, MW 1:15PM - 2:05PM, Room TBA

The choice is not simple. Which is “better” for the consumer? Which is “better” for the environment? From the manufacturing process through the disposal of paper and plastic, the choice is much more complicated than it first appears. This debate and group project course will research the arguments for and against an informed choice.

Both paper and plastic are polymers. Much more than the “paper or plastic” dilemma, polymers are important in each of our lives. This course will explore how polymers can be classified, how they are made, how they are used, and how they can be recycled.


Global Environmental Issues – with an Anthropogenic Discussion Focus (2 CR)

Michael Dunbar - [77455] 1870:470-003, TuTh 11:45AM - 12:35PM, HC 092

The Earth is home to approximately 7.5 billion human beings. Throughout the semester we’ll be enlisting discussions, debates and a proposal to serve as a means to exploring how humankind’s presence on this planet has impacted its natural resources, climate, biodiversity and offer a prognosis for the future.


Innovations and Technology Commercialization (3 CR)

Dr. Yang Liu - [77523] 1870:370-002, TuTh - 1:15PM - 2:30PM, Room TBA

We will focus on innovations and technology commercialization. Specifically, how new technologies are developed, adopted and commercialized. We will discuss the history of industry driven by innovations. For instance, the emergence of automobile industry in Detroit, the creation of silicon valley. We will talk about different types of innovations, including devices, hardware systems, software and business models. We will analyze how major technological breakthrough drives changes in the technological landscape, such as the emergence of personal computer , internet, social media and smartphones, etc.


We are always happy to add more Honors Colloquia in a given semester for a given subject area once the others have filled, so please keep us in the loop about what type of colloquia you need and your preferred date and time if everything is full, and we will look to provide additional offerings before the semester begins. Click here to email us.

Propose a Colloquium

If you are a faculty member here at UA and would like to teach an Honors Colloquium, we would love to hear your idea. Please note that colloquia should not be broad survey courses, nor should they duplicate courses otherwise offered in the general curriculum. A colloquium should typically be on a specific unique or "boutique" topic of particular interest to the faculty member teaching the course. Keep in mind that there will most likely be students from a broad range of disciplines in any given colloquium group.  

Use this form to submit a colloquium proposal for the Williams Honors College to consider whether and when it might fit into an upcoming schedule.

Are you a Williams Honors College student with an idea for an exciting and unique Honors Colloquium? Click here to email us your idea for consideration. Additionally, we are always happy to add more Honors Colloquia in a given semester for a given subject area once the others have filled, so please keep us in the loop about what type of colloquia you need and your preferred date and time if everything is full, and we will look to provide additional offerings before the semester begins.