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Advanced Electives

FALL 2014

Freshmen are not permitted to enroll in Advanced Electives without permission from the Honors Director

ART 359 American Visions


This is a course designed to provide students with an understanding of the movements and styles that characterize American painting, sculpture, photography, and design from the colonial period through contemporary times.  Robert Hughes’s recent publication on the topic truly organizes movements with historic events to amplify “the big picture” of where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. 

CHM 359  Chemistry and Mankind’s Future


Almost every day it seems, we are told about scientific “breakthroughs” or “hazards” in the media.  From new forms of energy to genetically-modified foods, we are told to either embrace the future or fear it.  It is therefore crucial for educated citizens of the planet to understand the science behind these pronouncements and to critically analyze the societal issues surrounding them.  The goal of this course is for students to formulate the “pros” and “cons” concerning the policy options for society in one area of chemical research important to society’s future. 

Some of the topics covered in this course will be:

Longevity of prints, photos and digital recordings
For how long can society preserve its movies, photos, and paper documents?  Centuries? Millennia? What is the best technology for very long term preservation; digital or image? 

Art fraud detection
Can science detect modern “art fraud” techniques?

Synthetic fuels from biomass and inorganic carbon
Will automobile fuels derived from corn, or biomass, pose a future price rise in food costs?  Will this increased reliance on agriculture lead to air and water pollution? 

Climate integrity and human activities
Climate has always evolved, but are human activities in industry and agriculture making greater climate swings?  Is sea-level rise a serious issue? What is the difference between “climate” and “weather pattern” change?

DNA technology and its role in agriculture
Are hybrid foods safe? Will yeast-type foods be mankind’s best option in DNA-manipulated agriculture?

Material requirements for all-electric vehicles and harnessing solar and wind power
Does the all-electric vehicle pose a threat to the nation’s power grid?  How safe are such autos?  Is solar electricity doomed to high-cost future? Is solar power best harnessed in architecture?  Will the required material inputs (steel, coal, metals, cement, etc.) to wind power – if projected to meet 50$ of national electric needs – be harmful to human health and the environment?

Nuclear power and its near and long-term risks
What is a meltdown at a nuclear power plant?  What are the various nuclear power station design alternatives?  Can nuclear power ever be safe?

ENG 359  The Tragic Vision of William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, and Cormac McCarthy


In the thematic focus and literary structure of many of their works, William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, and Cormac McCarthy make use of the tradition of Greek tragedy to explore American social problems and cultural contradictions. By exploring the tragic notion that human experience is structured in such a way that knowledge is arrived at through suffering, each author explores the relationship between institutional and interpersonal violence in American society. Using some of the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides as a point of reference, this course will explore how Faulkner, Morrison and McCarthy respond to and reevaluate the tradition of Greek tragedy in light of their political concerns with race, class, and gender. The course will focus on tragic figures in their works with the aim of exploring how inter textual references and literary allusions to particular Greek tragedies exemplify their preoccupation with human vulnerability to the internal and external forces of nature as well as the injustices of their societies.     
Prerequisites: ENG 303, 304 or the equivalents

HIS 359  Latin American History and Film


This course explores important social, cultural, economic, and political aspects of Latin American history through film. Students will study movies as historical texts that mediate and construct national, regional, and hemispheric identities, values, and narratives. They will learn to analyze cinematic depictions of the “other” and the process by which North American, Latin American, and European filmmakers and audiences have created, internalized, or contested those images. The course pays special attention to power, wealth, and technology imbalances that render the cinema a problematic but important site of history-making. Potential themes include the European-indigenous encounter, nineteenth-century nation-building, the Mexican Revolution, the Good Neighbor era, the Cold War, military dictatorship, immigration, and the war on drugs. Students also will gain a basic understanding of cinema history and key concepts in film criticism.

MAN 359 Gender and Work


This course addresses important debates in the sociological, psychological, economic organizational and management literatures—as well as in the popular press—about thefundamental nature of men and women’s work-related attitudes, behaviors, and career outcomes. Specific topics to be discussed will be the myth or reality of gender differences in leadership styles, job/occupational preferences, risk-taking and self-assertion, negotiating tactics, professional networks, and pay. The nature of gender differences that are real will be fully explored as will the reasons for common misconceptions about men’s and women’s attitudes and behavior around work.

MUS 359  Tango: The Dance, The Song, The Story


Students will travel back to Argentina, Buenos Aires during the late 19th century where economic progress and immigrant influx created the “Paris of South America.” We will explore the economic growth and the people who shaped Buenos Aires into a grand and elegant metropolis. The tango serves as the artistic starting point for a critical reflection on the Junta era in Argentina.  The history of the tango as a dance, the basic expression of the porteños that later evolved into a true tango culture, the tango song, music, and musicians, the tango craze that swept Europe and the United States serves as the foundation for this course.

*Three Argentine Tango Dance Lessons will be scheduled during the semester.

*A trip to Argentina will be scheduled during the month of January 2015.