Honors Program : Classes

Spring 2015 Classes:


HON 3950: The Garden in Western Culture (John Mark Adrian)

This class will explore the role of the garden in western civilization from ancient societies up through the present.  Gardens have been alternately seen as sources of food or medicine; places to pursue pleasure, wisdom, romance, or piety; and sites for thinking, learning, rehabilitation, or displaying one’s power.  Historically, these different goals led to the creation of distinctive garden types:  the classical garden, the medieval garden, the Renaissance garden, the French formal garden, the English landscape garden, the Victorian garden, and the modern garden.  Each of these gardens mirrors the cultural values of the society that produced it, and also serves as an arena in which that society explores things like religion, politics, philosophy, art, and nature.  We will examine these gardens and their rich associations through a variety of textual and visual sources, including contemporary accounts, literature, paintings, film, case studies of particular gardens, and field trips to actual gardens.

M/W/F 2:00-2:50


HON 3951: Religion and Popular Culture (Witold Wolny)

The relationships between religion and popular culture are numerous, diverse, sometimes problematic and sometimes controversial. This course will use a range of disciplinary perspectives to examine the ways in which religious themes, symbols, icons and language are used in expressions of popular culture and also how religion itself is influenced by popular culture. We will survey several kinds of interactions between religion and popular culture from diverse cultural and religious examples and across many media platforms and forms of popular culture.

Tues./Thur. 9:30-10:45


HON 3952: Technology and Society (Daniel Ray)

This class proposes, in part, a closer reading of the current state of technology in the world.  Technology may be morally neutral, but its practitioners are not and its effect on society is pervasive.  Our central question will be: “Is this the best possible cyber-world?”  We’ll take a multidisciplinary and multi-media look at questions like: How have we balanced privacy and security?  How have we leveraged freedom for utility with our technology?  How do virtual worlds shape our physical one?  How does technology affect how we experience the world, how we share those experiences, and how do we determine who owns our shared xperience?  Always we will ask, what was intended, what might have been, what might still be, and what’s the role of every individual moving forward?  Note: you don’t need any prior computer background to take (nay, excel in!) this course.

Tues./Thur. 12:30-1:45