Course Descriptions

Spring 2016 Honors Courses

Though the following courses are categorized under certain fields of study, Honors classes are interdisciplinary by nature and can usually satisfy more than one type of requirement.

HONORS Core curriculum

PHIL-H215-033/034 "Ethics and the Limits of the Social Contract"
L. Kahn
TR 2:00-3:15 AM and 3:30-4:45 AM
In this class, we will consider various conceptions of the social contract and ask how well they explain the nature of what we owe to others. In the first half of the semester we will focus on the foundational figures in social contract theory, especially Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, and John Rawls. In the second half of the semester we will be concerned primarily with interactions between social contract theory and some of the most significant topics of our time: race, sex, gender, disability, citizenship, and our duties to non-human animals. 

RELS-H242-033 "Christian Ethics Honors"
E. Vacek
MW 4:55-6:10 PM
This course lays out the foundations of Christian moral living.  Grounded in spirituality, it contributes to personal formation.  It helps students to understand what goes into making moral decisions.  It explains what is at the bottom of many controversies currently debated in the world.  Students will develop a more sophisticated understanding of Christian character as well as the practice of moral decision making.

MUGN-H294-001 "Issues in Popular Music"
J. Albert
MWF 10:30-11:15 AM
This course looks at both creative and ethical issues in popular music and the music industry. Ideas of authorship will be explored through investigation of hip-hop/sampling creative practice, cover song recordings, and the “Blurred Lines” case and verdict. The concept of authenticity is addressed through study of music that has developed from ethnic and cultural fusions, as well as discussion of what makes “real” New Orleans music. Areas of responsibility on the part of both the creator and audience will be studied through the concept of “conscious” music and the variety of modes of music consumption and access.

CRJU-H396-001 "Crime and Inequality"
R. Taylor
TR 9:30-10:45 AM

SOCI-H396-033 "Childhood Inequality"
C.A. MacGregor
TR 11:00-12:15 PM
Recent data from the United States Census suggest that approximately 20 percent of American Children live in poverty. One in three people living below the poverty line is a child. In 2014, 6.8 million children lived in extreme poverty, which is defined as living in a household with an annual income below $12,209 for a family of four. In this class we will explore the causes and consequences of growing up poor by focusing on four key areas: family structure, education, health, and immigration. Readings will be drawn from material that considers the national picture but students will have an opportunity to consider childhood inequality in a local context through partnerships with community organizations. 

HONS-H491-033 Honors Thesis
N. Yavneh


CLHU-H295-033 "Feasts and Dining in Antiquity"
K. Rosenbecker
TR 9:30-10:45 AM
Food is so much more than fuel for the body. Journalist and culinary activist Michael Pollan reminds us that cooking and eating are political acts; what we eat and how we eat help to define us in terms of social class, religion, ethnicity, and even gender.  The ancient Greeks and Romans were intimately aware of the power of food as both sustenance and symbol. In this class, we will look at way those cultures appreciated and understood food, wine, and the acts of eating and dining, as preserved in their art and literature. We will also become acquainted with the “food issues” that preoccupied them, and perhaps get in touch with our own.

FREN-H295-033 "French Fashion"
J. Brager
MWF 9:30-10:15 AM
Most surveys of Greek mythology are based on literary sources, since these are the principle repositories of ancient myths.  But Greek art is also a rich source and, as such, deserves to be studied in its own right.  The way a story is shown may develop and change over a period of time so that a depiction from 580 BCE may be radically different from one in 400 BCE.  Sometimes art preserves stories for which there is no literary source, and sometimes it gives details to a story that are different from those in literary versions.  The depiction of myth in the visual arts uses a “language” quite different from literary languages, and it is a language that must be learned from careful observation. This course is an introduction of Greek myth as it appears in surviving ancient visual arts.  We shall begin with a survey of the types of ancient sources that have come down to us.  Then we shall examine in some depth the development in art of two myths as a demonstration of a method for such studies, and consider some of the more important myths.  Finally, students will have the opportunity to research and apply the methods for examining Greek myth in art through individual projects.

LAS-H295-033 "Latin American Music"
L. Tablante
MWF 11:30-12:15 PM

MUGN-H295-033 "The Medieval Imagination"
A. Clark
TR 11:00-12:15 PM
Musical and visual arts interacted in a number of ways in the middle ages:  music was performed in churches and castles, musical performers appear in sculpture and stained glass, and both intersect in manuscripts.  In this seminar we will examine some of these connections, probably focusing on France in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, a time of Gothic cathedrals, political crisis, and schism (among other things).



ENGL-H295-033 "Shakespeare's Worlds"
H. Eklund
MWF 1:30-2:15 PM
In this course we will explore the various "worlds" in which Shakespeare lived and where we encounter him today. In four units we'll try out different frameworks for reading Shakespeare's plays (which the class will choose) and understanding them in context. We'll begin with the world of carnival (appropriate for the season), which Shakespeare dramatized in festive comedies like The Comedy of Errors and Twelfth Night. Next, we'll learn more about Shakespeare's cultural context by exploring some new digital projects that deal with maps, recipes, bears(!), churches, and theatres. Our third unit will take us into Shakespearean adaptations of the present, as we work our way through the 2016 special issue of the New Orleans Review dedicated to Shakespeare. We'll conclude with a unit on early printings of Shakespeare, including the First Folio, a copy of which will be on display at Tulane as our semester closes. Along the way, you'll write papers, present scenes, and devise a final research project.

ENGL-H496-033 "Black Female Sexualities"
T. Melancon
TR 3:30pm-4:45 PM
Black Female Sexualities will explore representations and social constructions of race, gender & sexuality. More specifically, it will critically examine and illuminate how particular narratives regarding black women and black female sexualities manifest and are entrenched in literature, cultural production, and various types of media that range from music videos, reality television, magazines to print culture to social media, web series, and film, among others.



HIST-H295-033 "Autobiography as History"
R. Gerlich, S.J.
MWF 12:30-1:15 PM

HIST-H295-034 "Witches, Prophets, and Doctors: Health and Healing in Africa"
N. Eggers
MW 3:30-4:45 PM
The purpose of this course is to explore the history of health and healing in Africa. In the course, we will examine not only how Africans have historically constructed concepts such as ‘health’, ‘disease’, ‘the body’, and ‘healing’, but also how others –namely, colonizers, developers, and practitioners of bio-medicine -have historically engaged Africans in the construction of those same ideas. In exploring these issues, we will consider how figures as seemingly diverse as witches, prophets, and doctors have been central to struggles for bodily and communal health in African history. 

HIST-H396-035 “Priests, Outcastes, and Warriors"
S. Rupakheti
MW 4:55-6:10 PM


MATH-H200-001 "Intro to Linear Algebra - Honors"
R. Tucci
MWF 8:30-9:20 AM



BIOL-H295-033 “Human Ecological Science"
D. White
TR 9:30-10:45 AM
Global Climate Change; Natural Selection; State of the World; Population Thinking; Ecological Footprints; Coastal Wetland Loss; Local Ecosystems. This exciting course stimulates thought about the human impact on the biosphere through lecture, class discussion, video, critical writing, field experience, and outside class reflective assignments. The course relies on readings from popular books and scholarly works. After the first couple of weeks of introductory discussion, you’ll be presented a brief introduction to two sub-disciplines in the Biological Sciences – Evolution & Ecology. Following this foundation building introduction, more of a ‘discussion’ type of atmosphere on world environmental issues will take place. There are scheduled 3 class field experiences (trips) in the course that are important, mandatory, and fun learning opportunities.  

PHYS-H330-033 “Faith, Science, Religion Honors”
J. Carter, S.J.
MWF 9:30-10:20 AM
This course will critically analyze various ways of knowing faith, science, and theology (critical analysis of faith.) The methods of the physical sciences and the life sciences will be discussed. Topics will include the epic of creation, evolution, and quantum theory.



PHIL-H295-034 "Nature and Teleology"
J. Watts
MWF 11:30-12:15 PM
This course explores important questions related to the search for purposes in the natural world. Among the questions to be considered are: What is nature? What is the distinction between natural and rational activities? Can we recognize purposes behind the activities of non-rational and even non-living things? If so, how can these things act for a specific end without the rational ability to choose freely? Students engage important texts from the history of philosophy including Aristotle, Avicenna, Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, and René Descartes.

PHIL-H295-033 “Philosophy of Biology"
J. MacClellan
MWF 10:30am-11:20 AM
This course will survey core topics in the philosophy of biology, addressing such questions as: Are biological species real, or are they theoretical fictions? What are the moral implications, if any, of Darwinian evolution? Can evolved minds grasp truth? Can teleological explanations in biology be justified in causal terms? Are the life-sciences truly separate, or are they reducible to physics and chemistry? What role does chance play in evolution? What is selected by natural selection?



RELS-H260-001 "Ecological Education and Spirituality"
A. Alcazar
MWF 12:30-1:15 PM

RELS-H295-034 “Cults and Religions”
C. Wessinger
TR 11:00-12:15 PM
The cultural debate about whether “cults” are religions will be used to explore issues and methodologies in the academic study of religions. This research seminar will acquaint students with the primary scholarly categories of religious phenomena, which are relevant to analyzing not only alternative religions, but also mainstream religious traditions. Issues explored in the course include: whether the “brainwashing” theory is scientifically valid; the significance of millennial beliefs in many new religious movements; the role of charisma and types of leadership in new religions; gender roles in alternative religions; unconventional religions and violence; conceptions of the Divine in new movements that are different from mainstream beliefs about God; the processes involved in the maturation of new religious movements; and the ways members of alternative religions address the tensions between their group and the wider society. Students will critically evaluate information on cults or new religious movements through reading and discussion of case studies with the class; writing a mini-review essay (due at mid-term) on an autobiography and a scholarly book on a particular alternative religion; research on a topic relating to a new religious movement for a term paper and class presentation due toward the end of the semester.

RELS-H330-033 “Humor in the Bible"
T. Bednarz
TR 2:00-3:15 PM
In this discussion-and-project-based seminar on humor in the Bible, we will learn the forms, functions and effects of humor in the social and cultural contexts of the ancient Mediterranean world. In particular, we will study humor in Mesopotamian myths and we will explore humor in Jewish, Greek, and Roman narratives, rhetoric and comic materials. We will apply two critical methods to our study of biblical humor: a literary analysis and a contextual analysis situated in ancient Mediterranean honor-shame societies.



HONS-H295-033 "America's Four United Republics: The Rhetoric of Free Enterprise"
S. Yavneh Klos
MW 3:30pm-3:45 PM
The course is divided into three seminar components: (1) A colloquium on the “art of discovering and implementing all the available means of persuasion for any given case,” specifically designed to master the five Aristotelian Rhetorical Canons;  (2)  Utilizing rhetorical theory to identify analyze and reorganize United States founding primary sources, including the Articles of Association, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution of 1787 and its 27 Amendments; (3) In the role of dutiful citizens, students will apply United States fundamental doctrines and persuasive theory to expertly analyze the facts, issues and campaign rhetoric that seeks to persuade voters in the 2016 political contests. 

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Language & Classical Studies

LAT-H101-033 "Beginning Latin II Honors"
C. Rodriguez
MWF 10:30-11:15 PM
Language tells us many things about a culture, not only in what people have to say but in how they say it.  This course continues to examine the world of the ancient Romans through their language. Because Latin is no longer a spoken language, its study becomes an exercise in symbolic logic. The first thing you will do is learn the elements (morphology) of Latin – the inflections of verbs, nouns, and adjectives – and the syntax – how these elements fit together.  The second thing you will do is translate this “symbolic” language into ordinary speech.  Finally, you will apply the morphology and syntax of Latin, and render English sentences and short passages into in this “new, artificial language.”

GREK-H101-033 "Beginning Greek II Honors"
K. Rosenbecker
TR 11:00-12:15 PM


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