Fall 2017

Honors Seminars


UHON 3530 (47277) – Topics in Thought, Values, and Beliefs (3 credit hours)
Advocacy Speech
TR 9:25–10:40

Professor Jeannie Hacker-Cerulean

Advocate for positive change in our community! Create your own advocacy speech and use it as a tool to message the culture. You will study speeches that effectively persuade their target audiences and identify the thoughts, values, and beliefs they express. You will also research a local organization (on campus or in Chattanooga) and determine what their advocacy needs might be. Your advocacy campaign will reach beyond the classroom as you interact, message, and invite decision makers to help make positive change a reality. 

You will work with your creative team to achieve results. (All work is graded on an individual basis). Through the use of argument tools and advocacy tools your skill set will get a work out. The virtual environment of wikis will improve your digital communication skills while your F2F (face to face) presence will be enhanced through your practice of revealing your character, expressing your passions, and developing your timing. Your final speech will become part of your digital resume and be shared with the organizations receiving your advocacy efforts.

UHON 3540 (49003) – Topics in Visual and Performing Arts (3 credit hours)
World Architecture
TR 1:40–2:55

Dr. Gavin Townsend

A chronological survey of global architecture designed to enhance understanding of the built environment. Students will be exposed to the formal elements, design principles, vocabulary, and technical factors involved in architecture. However, emphasis will be placed on putting buildings into historical and cultural context. Students will come to know the major architects and styles of architecture, from prehistory to the present. While most of the course will be centered on the western tradition, we will also investigate those of the Islamic world, India, the Far East and Pre-Columbian America. Students should leave the course with enhanced skills of perception and communication, a thirst for travel, and a desire to learn more about themselves through their interaction with architecture.

UHON 3550 (47279) – Topics in Behavioral and Social Sciences (3 credit hours)
UHON 3590 () – Topics in Non-Western Cultures (3 credit hours)
(course may be registered under either number, not both; credit awarded for only one)
Scholars and Journalists at Risk: Free Speech and the Problem of Global Human Rights
W 5:00–7:30

Dr. Jessica Auchter

This course will focus on considering the problem of human rights and free speech in the world today. It will begin with philosophical and practical questions governing free speech in democracies and the suppression of speech in authoritarian regimes. We will explore questions such as what limitations should be placed on speech, examining the case of the illegality of Holocaust denial in Germany as one example. We will then discuss persecution of journalists and academics as a way to study the dynamics of human rights and speech. We will do so in two ways: first, a series of case studies where we will examine the causes of and explanations for crackdowns on journalists and academics as a way of studying the degeneration of democratic norms and institutions in these countries. (Some potential cases we might discuss include Turkey, Rwanda, Egypt, Thailand, Eritrea, China, and Iran, though this may change based on evolving global events and specific student interest). The second way we will approach these topics is through in depth study and advocacy work. Students will work directly on research and advocacy for scholars at risk (academics who have been threatened, fired, or arrested based on their support for human rights or protest of their own governments). We will work together to generate reports on the status of particular individuals and contribute to advocacy on their behalf. The class requires a commitment to participation in research work associated with active and ongoing human rights violations in these countries, analytical written work, and an openness to engage difficult subjects and conversations.

UHON 3560 (47280) – Topics in the Natural Sciences (Non-Lab) (3 credit hours)
Biology, Medicine, and Public Health
MW 3:25–4:40

Dr. Clifton Cleaveland

Epidemics have decimated populations, influenced history, and precipitated widespread prejudice and fear. Bubonic plague repeatedly swept through Europe following its initial outbreak in the 14th century. Small pox, measles, and influenza--microbial passengers in the first European explorations of the New World--wiped out native populations throughout the Americas. Tuberculosis, cholera, and typhoid accompanied the populations that crowded into cities in the wake of the industrial revolution. Vaccines and public health measures blunted many epidemics. New diseases--HIV, Ebola, and Zika--are reminders of evolving, deadly threats. Beyond infectious diseases epidemics of violence, opiate abuse, and environmental toxins pose continuing threats to American and worldwide societies. Biology provides the basic science underlying each epidemic. Medicine represents the application of this knowledge to safeguarding the health of individuals. Public health represents the extension of this knowledge to protecting the health of populations. Every epidemic begins with a person. The seminar will highlight individual responsibility and tactics for preventing epidemics of all causes.

UHON 3570 (48067) – Topics in Mathematics
The Origins of Mathematics
MWF 1:00–1:50

Dr. Matt Matthews

Students will learn the origins of much of the mathematics they already know: geometry, algebra, and calculus, to name a few. Brief excursions into related parts of our world – physics, music, and more – will illuminate the varied paths which led to our current understanding. A series of projects will permit students to engage in the mathematical process itself, and thereby appreciate major milestones leading to modern mathematics.

UHON 3580 (49005) – Topics in Statistics
Data Analysis Using Excel
TR 10:50–12:05

Dr. Mohammad Ahmadi

  • In the 2017 presidential election, most polls (sample information) had Hilary Clinton ahead of Donald Trump.  What happened?
  • Women in Japan have the longest life expectancy in the world at 87 years, followed by Spain, Switzerland and Singapore.  How do we know? 
  • Worldwide, tobacco use causes nearly 6 million deaths per year, and current trends show that tobacco use will cause more than 8 million deaths annually by 2030.  Why?

All of the above have one thing in common:  DATA.

Why do people gather data?  What are data?  Do they have any use?  What is Data Analytics?

In this decade, “Data Analytics” and “Big Data” have expanded more than at any other time.  The science of data analysis or statistics has evolved into “Data Analytics,” which has become an essential tool for research.  No matter what the field of study, analysis of data is there.

In this course, we will study the evolution of data analytics, types of data, how to gather data, how to organize and analyze data, and draw conclusions.  All the analyses will be done in Excel, and a very small amount of manual computations will be involved.  The emphasis will be on understanding the analyses and Excel results.  Students will learn the basic tools of conducting research and drawing conclusions based on the sample information. 

UHON 3590(47282) – Topics in Non-Western Cultures
Ethiopia: A Culture of Famine and Beauty
MW 2:00–3:15

Professor Russell Helms

In December 1984, “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” by the super group Band Aid, climbed to the top of the pop charts. The group had been formed to raise money for relief efforts in Ethiopia, which was suffering from the worst famine of the century. It is estimated that as many as half a million people died between 1983 and 1986, primarily from starvation and disease, but also as a result of relocation programs directed on the unwilling masses by a Marxist military regime. Beyond a Western lens, this class will focus on the grandness and tragedy of the great famine through the eyes of the Ethiopian people, primarily using literature by and for Ethiopians. Although one could rightly say that Ethiopia reflects a culture of famine, the rich and stark routines of daily life there yield not only tremendous hardship but also great beauty.



Spring 2017

Honors Seminars


UHON 3510 (26707) – Topics in Historical Understanding (3 credit hours)
The History of the Holocaust: Making Documentary Film   
 M 2–4:30

Dr. John Swanson

This is a course about the Holocaust: the discriminatory and murderous actions mainly against European Jewry during the Second World War. In addition the course is about the discipline of history and how scholars struggle to create cause-and-effect narratives, while taking into consideration contingency and context. Students will learn about the series of events and the ideologies associated with twentieth-century European history and the Holocaust, as well as the scholarly disagreements about how to explain what happened between 1939 and 1945 and why it happened. Apart from studying the Holocaust and the many scholarly arguments that to try to explain it, students will learn to create a narrative concerning a Holocaust topic on film. Students taking this course will also be required to travel with the class to Germany and Poland during Spring Break 2017. Cost to students will be $1500. For more information about the course, please watch this video: https://vimeo.com/ 128163494.


UHON 3520 (27902) – Topics in Literature (3 credit hours)
Comic Book Culture
TR 3:05–4:20

Dr. Thomas Balazs

Up, Up, and Away! Since the 1937 debut of Superman in Action Comics, “sequential art” has evolved from a trivial outlet for preadolescent fantasy to a (more) mature art form—maybe even a modern mythology—incorporating psychological realism, self-conscious social engagement, and postmodern experimentation. At the same time, comic-book characters, themes and techniques have broken free of their panels to take their place not only in the realms of television and movies, but also of painting, poetry, fiction and music. In many ways, we now live in a comic-book culture.

In this course we will study the history and rhetoric of comic books, the tensions between art and commerce inherent in the medium, and the perennial, if shifting, controversies about how comics reflect and influence the larger culture, especially children.

Readings will include social critiques such as the infamous Seduction of the Innocents, scholarly essays from the emerging field of “comic studies,” and, of course, a whole lot of comic books and comic-book-influenced art forms. Students will have opportunities to explore the subject both critically and creatively. 


UHON 3540 (26708) – Topics in Visual and Performing Art (3 credit hours)
Migration, Memory, Moving Image, and Mass Culture
TR 12:15-1:30 (lecture); M 2-4:30 (screening)

Dr. Victoria Steinberg

Migrants are on the move, but to what? How do they know what they are moving towards? Here lies the intersection of cinema, mass culture and memory. And what of the role of the receiving culture -- a pertinent question for indigenous and migrant alike?

Movies have always been about crossing boundaries of space and time. With film as our medium of study, we will explore migrant narratives, the influence of mass culture and journalism as well as policy, politics, history and stories.

The toil: close readings of films, relevant scholarly articles, 3-5 short papers (3-5 pages). Class-time: choreographed intellectual free-for-all with a low threshold for nonsense.


UHON 3540 (27962) – Topics in Visual and Performing Art (3 credit hours)
Mis-enscene of Play
MWF 9:00 – 9:50
Professor Evans Jarnefeldt

What if Hamlet took place in a laundromat? A peripatetic exploration of early modern and contemporary plays will use non-traditional theatrical spaces to disrupt convention and expose the plays' essential vitality.  This class will travel to New York City over spring break as a group in order to investigate other theater companies who use similar methods to expand the possibilities of performance.


UHON 3550 (26709) – Topics in Behavioral and Social Science (3 credit hours)
What Will the Fed Do? An Introduction to Macro Financial Economics
W 2:00–4:30
Dr. Bento Lobo

Do you see yourself as a policy wonk and dream of fixing all that is wrong around you? Looking to change the world?

Think of this course as an introduction to macro financial economics. The course offers a broad overview of the institutions, instruments and markets that make up the field of finance and business through the lens of the nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve.

By using the Fed as the central organizing theme, we will explore:

  • causes and effects of financial panics
  • how to look for clues as to where we are in the business cycle
  • data that is used by policy makers and professional forecasters
  • how financial economists make forecasts
  • the theory and practice of regulation
  • how policy makers communicate with economic agents

We will read and discuss issues from the Wall Street Journal and learn to speak the language of Finance. Finally, we will simulate a Fed policy meeting where you will have a seat at the table. Actual Federal Reserve economists will critique your performance.


UHON 3565 (26710) – Topics in Natural Science (Lab) (4 credit hours)
The History of Evolutionary Thought
TR 9:25–10:40 (lecture); T 1:40–4:30 (lab)
Dr. Timothy Gaudin

What do Charles Darwin’s Theories of Evolution and Natural Selection really mean, and where did they come from historically? How old is the earth, and the life that abounds here, and how do we know? How does our own story fit into the history of life? What is Science, and what is its relationship to other ways of knowing? What is Creationism, and why does it annoy scientists so much? These are the central questions this course will explore, through an analysis of historical and scientific texts. The course includes a required lab, where we will conduct hands-on exercises collecting and identifying local fossils, examining the history of life and humanity using fossils, learning about radioactivity and radiometric dating, and examining the nature of science. Course will also include a four-day Spring Break field trip to Chicago, where we will learn about global biodiversity first hand at such world-renowned institutions as the Field Museum of Natural History (including a behind the scenes tour), the Shedd Aquarium and Brookfield Zoo. While there, we will also learn something about Chicago’s rich history and vibrant culture (from Skyscrapers to Millenium Park to Second City), guided by a local historian.


UHON 3590 (26712) – Topics in Non-Western Culture (3 credit hours)
Zen in Film and Anime
TR 1:40–2:55 
Dr. Talia Welsh and Professor Bo Baker

This course will explore how Japanese, Korean, and Chinese film and philosophy provide a venue to explore Eastern philosophies of self, other, family, duty, and reality by extending beyond written texts to visual and auditory rhetoric. Stylistic and poetic aspects of cinema, such as narrative structure, composition, editing, and genre will help students discuss ideas that resist typical Western language-centric reasoning.


Fall 2016
Brock Scholars Seminars


UHON 3520 (47276) – Topics in Literature (3 credit hours)
UHON 3530 (47277) – Topics in Thought, Values, and Beliefs (3 credit hours)
(course may be registered under either number, not both; credit awarded for only one)
The Idea of Love in Italian and English Renaissance Literature
TR 10:50–12:05

Dr. Bryan Hampton

This interdisciplinary course will explore the thorny relationship between lover and beloved in medieval and Renaissance literature, principally through the work of two figures, one Italian and the other English: Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) and John Donne (1572-1631). Students will consider how Michelangelo and Donne depict the struggle and negotiate the differences between rival forms of love—youthful infatuation and dangerous obsession, promiscuous conquest and abiding love, and earthly desire and divine devotion—as they inherit and transform the tradition from its medieval roots.


UHON 3540 (47278) – Topics in Visual and Performing Arts (3 credit hours)
Post-War British Masculinities
MW 5:30–7:30 

Dr. James Arnett

What makes Colin Firth so foppishly charming? How did David Bowie manage to turn all of us on? How do we read the body of David Beckham? From teddy boys to dreads, from angry young men to punks, the wide range of post-WWII British masculinities and masculine styles and personas will be investigated and discussed in this class. We will be reading a dense mixture of films, plays, television shows, novels, albums and images in order to get to the bottom of what forces shape, influence, alter and proscribe cultural expressions of British masculinity. The class will be shaped by threads and methodologies from feminism, queer theory, psychoanalysis, and Marxism. Should you stay or should you go? Put on those red shoes and dance the blues, or just paint it black; it’ll be a long day’s night, but never mind those bollocks – everything’s gonna be alright! 

UHON 3550 (47279) – Topics in Behavioral and Social Sciences (3 credit hours)
UHON 3590 (47282) – Topics in Non-Western Cultures (3 credit hours)
(course may be registered under either number, not both; credit awarded for only one)
Global Humanitarianism
TR 1:40-2:55

Dr. Jessica Auchter

Work with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and global forms of volunteerism are key career choices for many students contemplating their futures, and questions of global social justice motivate individuals’ economic, social, cultural, and political choices. This seminar will explore how institutions, governments, and individuals identify humanitarian issues. If an individual is concerned about global justice, and the plight of those suffering from poverty, hunger, displacement, and violence, what can be done at the individual level, and what can and is being done by various organizations? What are the obstacles to various forms of global aid? How can we evaluate their effectiveness? How do we make decisions surrounding the best type of humanitarian intervention? Our readings will explore the role and politics of charitable, philanthropic, and religious organizations, and international peacekeeping and aid efforts. We will examine decisions surrounding significant military humanitarian interventions and quieter interventions that often receive less media attention. The course ultimately surveys how humanitarian work has become a strong political force in today’s world.

UHON 3560 (47280) – Topics in the Natural Sciences (Non-Lab):
Biology, Medicine, and Public Health
MW 3:25–4:40

Dr. Clifton Cleaveland

The secular practice of medicine, freed of magic and superstition, began in Ancient Greece and proceeded for centuries with little scientific basis. Much later, discoveries in anatomy and biology provided vital insights into the mechanisms of disease in individuals. The study of epidemics in the 19th century extended medicine's concerns to entire populations. This seminar will link biology with individual and population health and illness. Topics to be studied will include infectious diseases from plague to Zika virus, violence, malignant diseases, environmental, nurtional and occupational health, and psychiatric disorders. This seminar should be especially useful for students planning careers in medicine, nursing, public health, physical therapy, and pharmacology. Any student curious about mechanisms and prevention of illness should find the course helpful.

UHON 3570 (48067) – Topics in Mathematics
Logic, Graph Theory, and Social Networks
MWF 12:00–12:50

Dr. Lucas van der Merwe

A study of graph theory that attempts to explain some of the complexities of physical and social 
networks. In this setting, a graph is simply a collection of points called vertices, together with
some or all of the connections between these vertices, called edges. An edge between two vertices
indicates some well­defined relationship between these vertices; for example, in the Facebook
graph, vertices represent people, and an edge between two vertices indicates that they are friends.
We will study graph parameters such as, connectivity, edge density, degree sequence, and others.
We will also look at different types of graphs including trees, cycles, complete graphs, and
subgraphs. To better facilitate understanding of these ideas, introductory concepts of logic and set
theory are presented early in this course.

Spring 2016

UHON 3510 – Topics in Historical Understanding:
La Dolce Vita: A Socio-Cultural History of Food in Italy and the United States

TR 10:50–12:05
Dr. Salvatore Musumeci

This course will examine the relationship between food and culture in Italy and the United States. Topics include: the commutation of different foods and culinary traditions in antiquity as instances of cultural and economic exchange; medieval and early modern beliefs about intellectual, spiritual, and physical aptitudes associated with diet and consumption rituals; and regional cuisine as a mark of cultural identity. We will also discuss Italian and Italian-American cuisine as the reflection of related, yet very different, cultures. 


UHON 3540 – Topics in Visual and Performing Arts:
Collaborative Creation: Theatre Offstage

MWF 11:00-11:50
Professor Gaye Jeffers

A seminar offering an alternative approach to creating theatre that focuses on fact-finding interviews and community-based research as a means of examining global concerns and political issues. The creation of an original performance piece, relying on the participants as the central impetus of ideas, will utilize methods that encourage storytelling in collaboration, while exploring process,form and theory. Previous experience in theatre is not required.


UHON 3550 – Topics in Behavioral and Social Sciences:
Terrorism and the Media

MW 2:00–3:15
Dr. Michael McClusky

This interdisciplinary course investigates the interplay between terrorism around the world and communication about terrorism. Modern terrorism can be seen as a form of strategic communication in which media, especially news media, amplify messages about terrorism to a world-wide audience, influencing audience perceptions about the world. The course will focus on how news and entertainment media portray terrorism and terrorists, and the effects of terrorism and media portrayal of terrorism on the public and public policy.


UHON 3565 – Topics in Natural Sciences (Lab):
The History of Evolutionary Thought

TR 9:25–10:40 (lecture); T 1:40–4:30 (lab)
Dr. Timothy Gaudin

A study of the historical and scientific origin of the Theory of Evolution and Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection, along with their important conceptual precursors, including the significance of fossils, the reality of Extinction, and the discovery of “Deep Time,” through an analysis of historical and scientific texts, among them Darwin’s The Origin of Species. Additional topics to be considered will include Human Evolution and the modern Creationism/Evolution controversy.  Course includes a required laboratory, which will provide hands-on exercises related to the course content, along with several required field trips.


UHON 3590 – Topics in Non-Western Cultures:
African Women Writers and Feminist Discourse

TR 3:05–4:20
Dr. Immaculate Kizza

What exactly is African Feminism? How is it similar and different from mainstream Feminism? Why do African women distance themselves from mainstream Feminism? What is its agenda and how is that agenda advocated? What is its effect and influence on African cultural traditions and women's lives? Is it a viable, relevant, sustainable ideology in the 21st.C and beyond? In this seminar, we will explore those issues and many more, first by immersing ourselves in the pertinent theoretical scholarship, and second by actively participating in the discourse on African women writers' texts presumed to be pivotal to this ideology.