Future Honors Colloquia

Fall 2018 Colloquia

The Prison State
Dr. Courtney Broscious
The United States has, by far, the highest incarceration rate in the world.  Since the 1970s, we have experienced an exponential increase in incarceration rates due to a variety of political and social factors. This course is designed to explore the many facets of our “prison state” in the United States. Students will learn about the criminal justice process and the multiple stages of the process that influence incarceration rates, learn about political and social factors that led to the implementation of tough on crime policies, learn about racial disparities in our justice system, and learn about the reach of our criminal justice system into civil matters. We will also explore what the federal and state governments are doing to attempt to reform the criminal justice system and consider the impact of these reforms on the prison state.

Anthropomorphism
Dr. Lisa Fraustino
Why do writers, artists, and even scientists so often use anthropomorphism to interpret the behaviors of animals, plants, and nonliving things?  What are the repercussions of this tendency to understand the world in terms of human social and cultural identities? Through multidisciplinary lenses including literary, historical, philosophical, anthropological, scientific, and others, this course will examine the meaning and significance of anthropomorphism.  Students will pursue individual paths of inquiry and engage in both critical and creative projects. 

Spring 2019 Colloquia

Comedy and Culture
Dr. Miriam Chirico
“Humor can be dissected, as the frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind.” E.B. White
This guided colloquium will ask you to be scientific about the study of comedy. By analyzing comedy we understand our own culture more clearly. Comedy also unifies as well as divides; it is a means for establishing communal identity and for subverting long-held beliefs or traditions. Dissecting humor, despite what E.B. White says, allows us to perceive how comic texts encode whom and what our society values. Students will prepare research projects that will involve group and individual problem-solving and inquiry.

The U.S. in the Middle East
Dr. Caitlin Carenen
The U.S. war in Afghanistan is now the longest war in U.S. history. In fact, most college students barely know a time when the United States was not involved in a war in the Middle East. Why is the United States so involved in this part of the world? This course will explore the history and significance of the relationship between the United States and the Middle East for the last century in an attempt to answer this question, and others. As the semester progresses, students will gain a sophisticated understanding of the complex nature of this relationship, will explore Middle Eastern as well as American perspectives, and will engage in a real-world policy project that attempts to apply problem-solving solutions to contemporary problems.