Honors Interdisciplinary Seminars

Summer 2 2019

HONR 3310-01
Global Ethics and Human Rights: Examining Humanity’s Toughest Challenges in the 21st Century

Times: Tue, Thu / 1:30pm-5:00pm
CRN: 61161

Serena Parekh, Department of Philosophy and Religion
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

This course will give students an opportunity examine the ethical dimensions of some of humanity’s most pressing challenges. After discussing theories of human rights and different views on global ethics, students will examine in-depth a number of challenges facing our world today, including: refugees and global displacement; climate change; terrorism and failed states; global poverty and inequality; sex and labor trafficking; genocide and humanitarian intervention; global health challenges, including pandemics, among others. Though philosophical reading, films, journalist accounts and other sources, students will develop a deep sense of the complexities of these issues and learn to apply ethical frameworks to understand them. Class will be structured through presentations, discussions, and a final research paper where students will have the opportunity to conduct independent research on a topic that is of interest to them or connected to their major.

Summer 1 2019

HONR 3310-01
Science of Play

Times: Mon, Wed. / 1:30pm-5:00pm
CRN: 41448

Emily Mann, Human Services Program
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Students will actively engage in the scholarship of play and explore the role and function, benefits and barriers, of play in childhood. Course topics will include the background and significance of play in history, the role of play as a predictor of academic and social functioning, the use of play in character/moral development, and the use of play to prevent, intervene, and treat trauma. Clinical and non-clinical implications of play will be explored, as well as the physiological and social implications of play, using contemporary research on brain science and brain development. Students will alternate between classroom time and field experiences throughout the local Boston community. Field experiences may include walking tours of local playgrounds, site visits to local public schools to engage in recess interventions, and a trip to the Children’s Museum, where play will be investigated and experienced first-hand. Service-based research projects will be developed with community partners to address key questions related to the science of play.

Spring 2019

HONR 3310-01
Enabling the Sharing Economy with Computing Technology and Digital Business Model Innovations

Times: Mon. / 5:00-8:00pm
CRN: 37597

David Kaeli, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
College of Engineering

Co-taught with Yakov Bart, D’Amore-McKim School of Business

The Sharing Economy can be characterized as an economic system of distributed networks and marketplaces that enables more effective and efficient access to underutilized and poorly managed assets and resources. The Sharing Economy is forecast to grow to over $335 billion by 2025. Technological innovations have allowed a variety of innovative business models to flourish, disrupting many mature industries and transforming the future of commerce, healthcare, transportation, lodging, energy, computing, and other services. More generally, growing Sharing Economy practices are transforming societies all over the world.

This interdisciplinary course examines the Sharing Economy through two different lenses. First, we discuss the underlying computing technologies that have emerged to support more convenient and cost-effective access to assets and resources via sharing. Second, we examine the key economic drivers and building blocks of digital business transformations underlying the best practices of the Sharing Economy, and discuss how companies and governments can successfully take advantage of emerging multi-sided platforms and market-driven network externalities. We use both technology- and consumer-based perspectives to highlight potential biases and discrimination arising in the Sharing Economy, and consider various approaches for establishing fair and appropriate regulations and policies to mitigate such issues.

This interdisciplinary honor seminar will be co-taught by faculty from the areas of computer technology and marketing. The class will include industry speakers currently engaged in the Sharing Economy. Associated coursework will include the development of several briefs on selected factors impacting the Sharing Economy, as well as a final team project.

HONR 3310-02
Hopscotch, Soccer, and Broccoli: Implications of Neuroscience for Promoting Children’s Brain Health

Times: Tuesdays, 3:30-6:30pm
CRN: 37712

Lauren Raine, Department of Physical Therapy, Movement, & Rehabilitation Sciences
Bouvé College of Health Sciences

To what extent does brain health depend on lifestyle choices that are made early in life? This course highlights the implications of lifestyle factors on brain health during childhood and adolescence, with particular focus on factors such as physical activity, diet, obesity, and sleep. Various perspectives and methods for measuring lifestyle factors and brain health will be examined through readings, class discussions and exercises, and tours of various Northeastern laboratories. Students will be introduced to emerging methodologies and techniques in the field of neuroscience, including electroencephalogram (EEG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and behavioral outcomes.

Students will develop critical thinking and analytic skills as we use the scientific readings and laboratory observations to evaluate the quality of scientific evidence supporting the importance of particular lifestyle factors in promoting brain health.  Upon completion of the course, students will be able to integrate knowledge emerging from multiple disciplines, including neuroscience, movement sciences, nutrition, and psychology.

HONR 3310-03
Experiments of the Scientific Revolution

Times: Mon, Thur. / 11:45am-1:25pm
CRN: 37604
NU Path: IC

Chris Parsons, Department of History
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Between 1500 and 1700CE, the scientific experiments of historical figures such as Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, and Galileo Galilei changed how Western Europe understood the world around them. In this class, students will recreate these experiments – learn how to use early navigational technologies, build Galilean telescopes, collect and analyze plants as Renaissance naturalists did, study the circulation system, and build a vacuum chamber – to study the intellectual transformations of the period we now call “The Scientific Revolution.” We can easily point to profound transformations in the artistic and creative productions of renaissance and early modern Europe, but it is the birth of a recognizably modern scientific outlook that has had the largest impact on how we live our lives since. Our class is organized around three fundamental transformations in European thought that produced the Scientific Revolution. Where are we? In this section we will investigate transformations in navigational and astronomical science that sent Europeans into the wider world and turned their eyes towards the heavens. What are we? In the next section, we will look at innovations in the medical and biological sciences that literally opened up human bodies to investigation and that sought to classify the new plants and animals that explorers were bringing back. Who are we? In our final section we will trace out how empirical experimentation influenced new understandings of society in the work of figures such as Robert Boyle, John Locke and Montesquieu.

HONR 3310-04
Getting Smart: The Nature/Nurture Debate

Times: Tues. / 5:30-8:30pm
CRN: 37606

David Lewkowicz, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Bouvé College of Health Sciences

How do we acquire the knowledge that we have? Philosophers and scientists have debated the origins of human knowledge for millennia. Some have argued that knowledge is inborn whereas others have argued that it is learned. In modern times, this nature/nurture dichotomy has been challenged on theoretical grounds and by scientific findings from developmental biology, genetics, developmental robotics, and developmental psychology. We will begin by discussing the philosophical roots of the nature/nurture dichotomy and then explore the theoretical challenges to it. We will end by considering the empirical evidence showing that the dichotomy has out-lived its usefulness and will consider an alternative view that acknowledges the dynamic and fully interactive nature of the developmental process and the critical role that early experience plays in shaping who we become and what we come to know.

HONR 3310-05
Making the World a Better Place

Times: Mon, Wed. / 2:50-4:30pm
CRN: 37607

Patricia Illingworth, Department of Philosophy and Religion
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

This course looks at the ethics of philanthropy. It considers giving practices through the lens of moral, social, political and legal lenses. Some of the topics to be discussed are: Does everyone have an obligation to give and how much should they give? We will also ask to whom donors should give and whether there is reason to prefer domestic over international giving. Finally, we will consider whether there is such a thing as “bad philanthropy.”

HONR 3310-06
Cold War Spies

Times: Wed. / 5:00-8:00pm
CRN: 37608

Jeff Burds, Department of History
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

“There are very few reliable histories of espionage, and with good cause. The sources lie, are lost, are nonexistent, are withheld. Journalists (often) lack the patience, scholars (often) lack the clout to gain access, to stay the course, to outlast those who would with both good and malign intent seek to influence the writer’s conclusions.”
–Robin Winks, 1994

Commonly referred to as the world’s “second oldest profession,” espionage is an intrinsic part of the relations between communities, institutions, and states, and an essential basis for policy decisions by world leaders. Drawing from a wide variety of published and unpublished primary and secondary sources, supplemented by modern theoretical and social science perspectives, literature, and films, this course explores the history of espionage during the Cold War era (1943-1991) and its immediate aftermath through a series of case studies. This lecture course will lead students through the history of covert operations over the past 50 years focusing on these sub-themes: the origins of the Cold War in World War II; the postwar battle for German scientists; Containment and Rollback; Operation Gladio; Venona and codebreaking; nuclear spies; defectors; proxy wars; insurgencies and counterinsurgencies; terrorism; technological espionage; cyberespionage; propaganda; the psychology of betrayal; and mind control (MKULTRA).

Each student will make two presentations on themes/readings to be negotiated with Professor Burds. Students may write two short (5-7 page) papers, or one longer paper based on those presentations.

HONR 3310-07
Covering Race and Class in America

Times: Mon. / 4:30-7:30pm
CRN: 37612
NU Path: AD, DD

Jonathan Kaufman, School of Journalism
College of Arts, Media, & Design

Charlottesville. Ferguson. Colin Kaepernick and the NFL. The debate over mass incarceration. The scourge of inequality.
Race and class are fundamental to understanding American history, and grappling with the problems society faces today. Every day the media shapes how we view these issues, how we talk about them, how we vote on them. This class will examine how the media covers race and class—where it has done well, where it has done badly and how it can do better. We will read and watch seminal works on race and class in America and meet with journalists, academics and community activists, exploring the narrative and ethical challenges of telling these stories. You will then report and write your own.

HONR 3310-08
Law, Public Policy, and Human Behavior

Times: Mon, Wed. / 2:50-4:30pm
CRN: 37614
NU Path: SI

Richard Daynard
School of Law

Many public policies and legal decisions rest on the assumption that each individual can best understand what would make himself or herself happy, and that governmental limitations on choice must therefore make people less happy. This seminar will challenge this “rational actor” model, suggesting that it mis-describes human self-understanding and behavior. We will test this in a variety of contexts, including behaviors like eating, smoking and gambling, the behavior of various actors in the legal system including judges, juries, experts, eyewitnesses, and prosecutors, how we approach health, health care, and “informed consent”, and implications for the environment, global warming and the future of our species. Students are expected to participate actively in seminar discussions, and to write a paper testing “rational actor” assumptions in an area of their choosing.

HONR 3310-09
Online Creative Writing Workshop: Borrowings

Times: Online
CRN: 37615

Ellen Noonan, Department of English
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Using language—writing, reading, etc.—is a social activity, one way to connect with others (past, present, future others)—and to document and, sometimes, to trouble, those connections. By thinking about and “practicing” language in this way, by adopting this approach, you will all see and practice how the rhetorical choices writers make are consequential, impacting not only the clarity of the sentences (an annoyingly persistent view of writing that reduces the complexity of writing (situations, circumstances, audiences, identities, genres…) to a simplistic exercise in skill building, i.e., learning the rules of a monolithic grammar), but also, and most importantly, the shaping of what is possible to think about, what is worth thinking about, what is worth writing about. The courses within the NU creative writing program are not, in fact, focused on “skill building” or THE right way to write; rather, they aim to raise your level of awareness, to make you conscious of the complex social nature of writing and reading, their dynamism and power.

In this course, we will be using the “frame” of connections and connectedness (and disconnections and disconnectedness) alongside the concepts of “translating,” “borrowing,” and “adapting” to think about the “tools” that writing uses to construct identities— personal, social, private, public: How do you (how might you) use writing to create a space in the world? How is identity crafted? How is identity understood by others (your readers, your audience)? What tools are at your disposal as a maker? How do you negotiate the myriad choices of purpose and audience and tone and style? These questions have many answers, which I hope to explore with you; there are also many more questions to ask, which will—along with generating lots of “writing”— be our most important class activity.

HONR 3310-10
The Enlightenment: From a Pre-factual World to a Post-factual One

Times: Mon, Wed, Thur. / 10:30am-11:35am
CRN: 37641
NU Path: ER

Holbrook Robinson, Department of Cultures, Societies and Global Studies
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

The Enlightenment was an intellectual revolution that occurred in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in Western Europe that created a radical new intellectual way of looking at the world. The place of religion as the principal way of explaining the natural world gave way to what we now call science. Empirical Induction, deduction and reductionism were developed as methods of inquiry, and Deism– the idea that a creator got the world started and then stepped aside– was promulgated to validate this new way of looking at the natural world. The dream of the Enlightenment was that unfettered human reason would yield the answers to all the questions posed in many intellectual domains, ranging from the purely scientific investigation of physical phenomena to more social phenomena such as economics, morality, and politics. Its scope was enormous and highly ambitious: it claimed that all of man’s problems could be understood and solved by the patient use of human reason stretching over multiple generations. The very notion of human progress was one of its many intellectual children, and it painted a glorious picture of possible outcomes. It was a bold, brash, exhilarating intellectual and in some ways spiritual revolution that marked indelibly all the countries of the West, particularly the United States. In many ways our country can be considered to be one of the principal creations of the Enlightenment: its political system, its belief in technology, and science, and progress, and its optimism about the future are all legacies of the Enlightenment. Almost every topic that takes up room in today’s public discourse is related in one way or the other to this intellectual revolution.

In many ways, however, the Enlightenment has been a failure. The bloody 20th century seemingly refutes many of the Enlightenment’s theories about progress and the primacy of reason in human affairs. Auschwitz and Hiroshima are in some ways products of the Enlightenment. And today, some of the most basic premises of the Enlightenment, namely it’s denunciation of the effects of tribalistic religions and its support of science have been all-to-obviously undermined in the world, and in our own country. Today we read about fake news, the idea of truth is questioned, facts appear to have only relativistic significance, and climate change and evolutionary theories are denied. Moral relativism flourishes. In addition, the ideals of societal integration, such as those that created the European Union, are challenged in ways that the Enlightenment thinkers would have found very familiar, since they had fought against those impulsions, and had hoped, perhaps wistfully, that they had won those battles. But they hadn’t won all these battles. These battles are being fought to this day, and we all find ourselves with first row seats that give onto the combat. We are, indeed, fighting once again almost all those old conflicts.

In this course we will examine the principal ideas that animated the Enlightenment, with emphasis on the thinkers who promulgated them. These ideas were essentially epistemological, in that they all sought to create new knowledge about our world and about the creatures that live in it. The rise of science, the ideas underlying human rights, the power of mathematics, new ideas about morality, and the ideal of progress in all forms will be analyzed. Then, as a counterpoint, we will look at the movement broadly called “postmodernism,” which is a recent series of counter attacks against some of the most cherished Enlightenment ideals; this movement has animated some of the intellectual life of the late twentieth century and our own epoch. The belief that truth and knowledge are hopelessly relative, that language is incapable of having real meaning, that there is no way of ever finding out what is true, and that all knowledge is a human construct and thus hopelessly ambiguous and uncertain are its principal claims. We will discuss what the collision of these two ways of thinking has done to our current lives, and seek to understand the currents that have led us to where we all are today.

HONR 3310-11
The Battle for Global Markets: Who Wins in Trade Wars

Times: Mon. / 4:35-7:30pm
CRN: 37754

Jill Dupree, Department of Economics
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

The U.S. has long played an important role in the global economy, and current developments in U.S. trade policy are generating significant controversy within the U.S. and with global trading partners. In this class, students will develop an understanding of economics of trade. We will use this framework to evaluate the consequences of trade policies through current and historical examples. All sectors of the economy are impacted by trade policy, so bring your favorites and we will explore the winners and losers in trade policy. Guest speakers and field trips will be used to bring the issues to life. The path this course takes will depend on how events unfold on the world stage over the next several months and you will have the opportunity to meaningfully participate.

HONR 3310-12
Visual Intelligence: Changing Perceptions through Contemporary Art

Times: Wed / 1:35-5:05pm
CRN: 37815

Gloria Sutton, Department of Art + Design
College of Arts, Media, & Design

In the current Digital Age, there are more things competing for our attention than ever before in human history. According to author Amy Herman, perpetual, byte-sized interactions are not only a detriment to our concentration, focus, productivity, and personal safety, but they’re also hurting our intelligence. Cultivating one’s own Visual Intelligence is a timely and necessary skill. Aimed a broad undergraduate audience, this visual studies and art history course introduces the analytical skills of Visual Intelligence. Visual Intelligence combines powers of observation (formal description, visual data) with techniques of interpretation to sharpen perception and allow students to develop plausible explanations that are applicable to the boardroom, courtroom, and the cultural field in equal measure. This course teaches students to understand how to read, analyze and comprehend contemporary art. It is designed for those with little to no exposure to visual art precisely because art manifests themes of human nature in all their complexity, and because it often makes us uncomfortable. Students gain fluency through workshops that model discomfort and uncertainty which activate our neurons and help us grow as thinkers. This course will introduce students to a broad range of creative professionals who actively use visual intelligence in their dynamic careers.

HONR 3310-13
Platform Business Models

Times: Mon, Wed / 2:50-4:30pm
CRN: 37954

Kevin Boudreau, Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
D’Amore-McKim School of Business

Many of today’s leading enterprises—as those above–are organized as platforms. This also include just about all of today’s “Unicorn” businesses and successful startups. Examples include Apple, WeChat, Alibaba, Verizon, Netflix, Amazon, Expedia, Uber, Twitch, Etsy, Unity, Paypal, Youtube, Match.com, Dropbox, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, IBM Watson.

It is important to understand these new forms of organization, not just from a business and technological standpoint, but also because they have the potential to shape society—and the way people and businesses and machines interact. Just as the modern company defined much of business, economics, and modern life in the last century, platforms will do the same in this century.

Rather than organizing as traditional value chains, platforms acts as hubs to facilitate interactions among actors surrounding them, including users, suppliers of complementary goods and services, and advertisers. They have potential for massive growth and value creation, if they can be successfully launched and managed for growth and innovation.

Platforms are also at the heart of many of today’s most important technology trends such as digitization, big data, automation, the Internet of things, artificial intelligence, and blockchain. Platforms will only accelerate and grow as these technologies advance and proliferate.

The course will largely be taught using case studies from a wide variety of industries. The main lens we will take is to look through the eyes of the owners and managers of these platforms, to gain an understanding of their economic logic, their strategies, their business models and how they grow and achieve success. In the course of considering these issues, we will gain a unique ability to interpret and understand questions of technology, society, and economy, more generally.

The course is suitable for curious students from all disciplines, including those in Business, Economics, Engineering, Computer Science, Humanities, Social Science, Design, Media, and more. If you are interested in learning more about the course themes and structure, you are invited to explore Professor Boudreau’s website.

Fall 2018

HONR 3310-01
Non-Fiction Writing and Social Justice Issues

Times: Mon. / 5:00pm-8:00pm
CRN: 15590

Michael P. MacDonald, University Honors Program

In order to write the most effective non-fiction around social justice issues, a writer might undertake personal reflection on his/her own life to access that “place” that allows for greater empathy. When we write about issues affecting other people’s lives, it is important to engage in a process of contemplation that will lead to more in-depth understanding, and create a unique and passionate “voice” that “brings the reader in.” This is true, no matter where we come from or what our previous exposure to the issues at hand (it is my belief that one does not have to come from poverty to write effectively about poverty, come from domestic violence to write effectively about domestic violence etc.; however, I believe that one would be well served by accessing his/her own place of vulnerability in order to write empathically about social issues). This seminar will help students engage in critical thought and discussion of a wide range of social issues as well as grassroots movement for change, in order to help writers find their own writing voice.

Central unifying themes of the course will be poverty and its attendant violence, crime and other social issues, as well as poverty’s intersections with racism, gender etc. We will also look at the intersection of social justice and healing efforts in our communities that have been most affected by these issues. We will focus on the implications for writers of non-fiction on these topics. The course will present an “insider’s” view into writing with a greater consciousness of social justice issues (in particular, questions of socio-economic inequality) by starting with some of my work, which includes two memoirs, a screenplay, and essays. Second, the course will move outward to the works of other significant writers of non-fiction, with different approaches to the issues, whether through personalized journalism (also called “new journalism”), straight-journalism, or opinion/advocacy journalism or essay. What makes various approaches work effectively? What works for which audiences? How might the works influence contemporary social problems? Are there policy links to any of these writings?

Finally, the course will frame a discussion of the many ways to write non-fiction about these central themes: as memoir, non-fiction books, journalism, and essay (as well as other forms of dramatic writing, one-person-shows, documentary film or whatever examples of social-issue-writing the class comes across in the general popular culture).

HONR 3310-03
Social Fact From Fiction: Using Novels to Explore Contemporary Social Problems and Public Policy Reforms

Times: Tues. / 5:00pm-8:00pm
CRN: 17426

David Rochefort, Department of Political Science
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Harriet Beecher Stowe and slavery. Upton Sinclair and unhealthy working conditions. John Steinbeck and the Great Depression. Richard Wright and racial inequality. There is a long tradition of concern in American fiction with emerging or neglected social problems. At its best, such work has had far-reaching effects, first in raising public awareness, and second in triggering public policy reforms. The purpose of this honors seminar will be to examine the way that novelists on the contemporary scene are using their writing to explore poverty, homelessness, climate change, mental illness, race relations, domestic abuse, and other important social issues. Reading fiction can be a powerful experience that brings together the historical, social, and personal dimensions of life in our society. By focusing on a series of noteworthy realist novels, this course aims to cover both the factual basis of the texts and the narrative devices, such as plotting, characterization, symbolism, subjective description, and normative judgment, used by authors to cast a spotlight on social problems and their impacts.

HONR 3310-04
Being “Crazy” in America

Times: Mon., Thurs. / 11:45am-1:25pm
CRN: 15847

Maureen Kelleher, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

The social history of mental illness in the United States and the manner in which this health issue is portrayed cements a perspective of “being crazy” that is often linked to tensions between normality and social deviance. This course will track this tension by focusing on three broad themes. First, the course will situate the historical response to mental illness by tracking the emergence of the asylum movement in the United States through to present day mental health interventions. Second this course will explore how the category of mental illness is socially constructed and will address how gender, age and social class among other variables affect perceptions of who is mentally ill, why they are ill, and how we should respond to this “illness.” Finally this course will assess how cultural forms such as contemporary film, fiction and memoirs have helped to shape our perceptions of mental illness and influence our contemporary public policy response. We will be using the lens of sociology to help frame our conversations.

HONR 3310-11
Art of Narrative Nonfiction

Times: Thu. / 5-8pm
CRN: 18037

James Ross
College of Arts, Media, & Design

An in-depth examination of how long-form nonfiction has shaped our views of war, crime, mental health, racism and poverty. Students read groundbreaking books of the 20th and 21st century, including Hiroshima, In Cold Blood, Into the Wild, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Zeitoun and Killers of the Flower Moon, and explore the research and reporting as well as the narrative style of the authors. They also critique films that examine these issues, including the Japanese film “Black Rain,” “When the Levees Broke” and “Salaam Bombay.” Students lead class discussions about the historical, political, cultural and ethical issues that frame these books and films. The final project is a paper that delves into the meaning of narrative nonfiction.

HONR 3310-06
Slam Poetry and Social Justice Workshop

Times: Tues., Fri. / 9:50am-11:30am
CRN: 18020
NU Path: IC, EI

Ellen Noonan, Department of English
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

The title of the course may seem fairly straightforward: Slam Poetry and Social Justice. Those concepts, though, those “performances,” can be complicated (and I am using “complicated” as both verb and adjective here), and that complicating will be the work of our class. We’ll start with questions: What is Slam Poetry? How is it made, performed? What is Social Justice? How is it made, performed? How do we integrate these so that poetry can work towards social justice, so that social justice might have poetry’s energy, immediacy, and grace? These are my opening questions: we will ask many more questions together, while also reading many kinds of texts, and writing, performing, and workshopping our own texts in a collaborative

HONR 3310-07
The Idea of Comedy: from Plato to Broad City

Times: Mon., Thurs. / 11:45am-1:25pm
CRN: 17978
NU Path: IC

Patrick Mullen, Department of English
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

The Idea of Comedy: from Plato to Broad City You had to be there. The idea of comedy and the materials of comedy—the why and the what of what’s funny—are notoriously difficult to define both in the everyday in which people have wildly divergent senses of humor and in the literary traditions of the West, which trace back to philosophical debates between Plato and Aristotle. Furthermore, comic artists and the works that people have read, watched, and laughed at have frequently been out of step with what critics have attempted to canonize in the loftier realms of satiric tradition. In light of these complexities, Bernard Schilling referred to comedy as “one of the permanently unsolved problems of literary study.” Despite these difficulties, comedy has also always been an essentially important social feature of literature and the arts, a mode in which societies define norms and ethics and launch critiques and debates that are untenable in other modes. In our current moment, comedy, particularly in terms of late night commentators, has once again assumed important social and political roles as comedians attempt to respond to and parse various waves of political crisis. This course will survey the history of comic theory in the West from classic Greek philosophy, to debates between Medieval comedies and Renaissance critics, to Enlightenment and modern theories in Nietzsche, Freud, and Bergson. These debates range across disciplinary boundaries and include philosophy, ethics, literary theory, psychology, and biology. We will also read and screen a hilarious series of works from ridiculous plays, to bawdy ballads, to slapstick novels, to vulgar television. We will consider the comic as it invokes everything from the profane to the poignant. We will consider classic writers such as Aristophanes, Jonson, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Swift, Austen, Joyce and Beckett alongside contemporary TV comedies such as Broad City, Derry Girls, and Grace and Frankie. We will pay particular attention to minority comic traditions that address questions of race, gender, and sexuality. Students will be asked to do short presentations, to do short critical research papers, to do creative work (I am envisioning staging short skits and doing digital media work such as a podcast or videos), and write a final seminar essay. Class time will be discussion driven and our attention will be split between critical works and actual examples of comedy so that students will seriously laugh a lot! The course will offer a richer historical sense of literary and cultural tradition, a keener eye for aesthetic style, taste, and tone, and a deepened sense of the social importance of the arts in general.

HONR 3310-08
Contemporary Issues in Health Care

Times: Mon., Thurs. / 11:45am-1:25pm
NU Path: SI, WI, EX

Lorna Hayward, Department of Physical Therapy
Bouvé College of Health Sciences

This course is a service-learning, honors seminar that is project based and involves examination of the complexity of issues related to a community defined health need. We will examine modern health care issues at the individual, local, national, and global levels. US health care issues will be examined historically. From there, students will develop an understanding of health as it affects them as individuals. Health decisions will be examined from multiple perspectives including: historical, political, ethical, financial, technological, and epidemiological.

HONR 3310-09
Border as Medium

Times: Mon., Wed. / 2:50pm-4:30pm
NU Path: EI & SI

Sarah Kanouse, Media Arts
College of Arts, Media and Design

This course uses borders as media for interdisciplinary research and creative work. As borders proliferate, they restructure our lives and modes of thinking in different ways along lines of geographical and political separation. Studying borders does not only require that we focus on issues of security and identity but also on the sociocultural, political and aesthetic dimensions of the movement of people and goods, and on the transformations of spaces, practices and temporalities borders produce. We will explore a variety of border themes ranging from migrant struggles to the ecologies of borderlands, from the violence and militarization of borders to border art; from the function of political concepts such as citizenship and sovereignty to the visible and less visible boundaries that surround us in the cities in which we live.

The Border as Medium has three components: 1) an introduction to key themes in the experience and study of borders from a variety of disciplinary perspectives; 2) a research methods section that covers ethnographic fieldwork, archival research, and discourse analysis, 3) and a practice component where students will apply the skills and theories learned to a border project of their choice. You will have the opportunity to attend fieldtrips and workshops with guest speakers, and your final project may take a variety of forms, from art or media to formal reports to theoretical or ethnographic papers. This course is of interest to Honors students of communication, media and art, journalism, sociology and anthropology, history, geography and political science.

HONR 3310-10
Legalizing Marijuana, the National Debt, and Import Tariffs: Contested Economic Issues

Times: Mon., Wed., Thurs. / 1:35pm-2:40pm
CRN: 18016

Peter Simon, Department of Economics
College of Social Sciences and Humanities

In the large and complex economy of the United States, there is controversy over what goods and services should be produced. Should we legalize drugs or continue to fight the war on drugs? Should there be a limit to our national debt? What is the economic justification for import tariffs? To understand the nature, the causes, and the ethical implications of these, and many other current controversial and contested issues, is the objective of this course. Students will work in pairs to conduct their own econometric study on a contested economic issue of their choice.

HONR 3310-05
Introduction to Brain and Behavioral Computation

Times: Mon., Wed., Thurs., 9:15am-10:20am / Mon., Wed., Thurs., 10:30am-11:35am
CRN: 18155 / 18253
NU Path: FQ, AD

Ennio Mingolla, Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders
Bouvé College of Health Sciences

This course introduces students to important concepts in the computational modeling of how neural systems function to support learning, memory, decision-making, or perception and action. The course takes a three-pronged approach to computational neuroscience that includes: experimental and observational data, quantitative analysis methods, and mathematical and computational modeling. Key concepts include data observed from single neurons and small populations of neurons, techniques to characterize these data, and visualization methods for analysis of neural models. The course also provides an introduction to the software package MATLAB, which is widely used for modeling and data analysis in many neuroscience and cognitive science labs. Besides students studying behavioral neuroscience or psychology, the course may be of interest to those studying computer science or engineering, or to others interested in exploring how the computational foundations of human brain processing inform domains as diverse as design, marketing, economics, or health.

HONR 3310-02
Examining Family Business Dynamics Through Film

Times: Tues., 5:20pm-8:20pm
CRN: 18151

Kimberly Eddleston, Entrepreneurship & Innovation
D’Amore-McKim School of Business

This course examines the challenges and opportunities that family businesses face through film. In this course, students will learn to critically analyze and evaluate family relationships and family business dynamics through various television shows and films. By watching, analyzing and discussing these films, the complexities of family businesses will come to life, offering students a unique glimpse into how family relationships impact the business and in turn, the business affects family relationships. Examples from television shows and films will be used to demonstrate how family business theories and frameworks from family science can be identified through family members’ interactions and behaviors. By utilizing television shows and film, students will also have the opportunity to diagnose the roots of family conflicts and see how a ‘healthy family’ helps to ensure a ‘healthy business.’

Students may write two short papers or one longer paper drawn from the these presentations, due at the end of term.