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Fall 2018 Courses

Course Descriptions: Fall 2018




Sophomore Level 


HP 2151-01: Modern Japanese Society and Culture: 3cr; TR 11:00-12:15pm, Instructor: Noah Miles 

This course is designed to introduce Japanese society and culture.  The class will take a thematic approach to the study of Japan.  We will integrate history and literature from the Jomon to the Edo periods, covering a diverse range of topics including: language development, the introduction of Buddhism, poetry, classical and modern literature, traditional arts and holidays concluding with the development of popular culture.


HP 2151-02: Indian Short Story: 3 cr; TR 9:35-10:50am, Instructor: Nina McConigley 

In this class, we will focus on the form of the short story by writers of South Asian (Indian) descent. Using the lens of the short story, we will examine how these writers explore gender, class, religious, and other differences in India and beyond. Beginning with folktales and looking at writers from India (including works translated into English), we will examine a rich array of the Indian experience. Moving out from India, we will look at the experiences of the émigré, the Indian writer grappling with immigration and diaspora in countries like England, the United States, Trinidad and Tanzania.  We will also examine the historical contexts and cultural forces that shape Indian identity as it is represented in the form of the short story.


HP 2151-02: NW: Empire Writes Back: 3 cr,, TR 1:20-2:35pm, Instructor: Diane Panozzo 

This course is an introduction to Postcolonial literature and studies with the focus on African writers and writers who have written about the “postcolonial period” in Africa.  This seminar will take an episodic approach that avoids both a linear narrative of the field and the survey tendency with its claim to an “overview.” The course is conceived as a series of loosely-connected excursions into a vast field of inquiry, asking more questions than it answers. What does the term “post colonialism” mean? When exactly does the postcolonial begin? What are the theoretical and political implications of using such an umbrella term to designate the ensemble of writings by those subjects whose identities and histories have been shaped by the colonial encounter?  

Some of the important African writers we will read; Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, J.M. Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, Athol Fugard, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and others.


HP 2152: Classical Islam, MWF 11:00-11:50am, Instructor: Dr. Erin Abraham 

This course provides a survey of Classical Islam, from the rise of the Abbasid caliphate in 750 to the Mongol conquest of Baghdad in 1285.  Often described as the Golden Age of Islam, this was a period of remarkable achievements in science, mathematics, philosophy, literature, and art, as well as law and religion. Using primary and secondary sources, we will explore the rich history of this cosmopolitan age through several themes, including religious and legal developments within Islam; inter-faith relations and diplomacy; social structures, with emphasis on status and gender; and the cultural and intellectual spheres of literature, science, philosophy, medicine, and art.   We will also examine the ways these achievements influenced the wider medieval world and the role that they continue to play in modern society.  


Junior Level


HP 3151-04: What to Think About How to Think; TR 1:20-2:35pm, Instructor: Dr. Susanna Goodin,, Department of Philosophy 

This course will be an exploration of what is involved in the claim that some beliefs are correct, better supported, than other beliefs.  Are there standards by which beliefs can be evaluated?  Are these standards universal?  Does the type of belief itself alter the standard by which the belief is evaluated?  Are some beliefs better than others?  Can a belief be false even when it is "true to me?"  What is the difference (if any) between believing something to be true and knowing it to be true?


HP 3151-01: Taboo: Sacred & Forbidden: 3 cr; MWF 2:10-3:00, Instructor: Dr. Erin Abraham

This course explores new ways of understanding the role of taboos in different historical, social, and cultural contexts. We will begin with an introduction to the concept of taboo in the social sciences as a basis for further investigation of the ways ideas about the sacred and forbidden inform our expectations and cultural understandings.  The majority of the course will focus on examining these ideas in relation to five general categories: food and sacrifice, body modification, sex and sexuality, the mind and body, and death.  In doing so, we will gain a fuller appreciation for the way that these ideas influence our understanding of ourselves, our communities, and the world while challenging some of the assumptions that inform those ideas.


HP 3152-01: Race and Racism; 3 cr; T 1:20-4:00PM; Instructor: Dr. Steve Bialostok 

This course is framed by a simple contradiction. Race is real, yet it is a myth. Racial categories are very real social and cultural phenomena. They are rooted in history and culturally constructed through laws, the media, and various institutions. These categories are reproduced, subverted, and sometimes changed by people through socialization, media consumption, interaction, dialogue, protest, and political participation.  Yet, what makes race real, animates it with so much power, and fosters its tenacious hold on much of the Western world’s collective psyche?  It is the fact that people largely believe that race has something to do with nature, biology, or rational science. Ironically, it is biology and so-called rational science that provides the best evidence that there is no valid basis to organize people by racial categories. 


In this course, we will focus on the disciplines of anthropology and sociology and their role in shaping the cultural politics of race. We will explore both its historical construction and its contemporary manifestation as a crucial aspect of American culture and an integral component of people’s identity. 


Senior Level


HP 4151-01: Religion, Unbelief and the Human Condition; 3 cr; TR 11:00-12:15pm,  Instructor: Tyler Fall 

This course ranges across academic disciplines and examines and questions some of the dominant ideas western civilization has produced about religion, skepticism, unbelief, morality, society, and the ideal human life.  We will read authors from antiquity to the present.  They have divergent perspectives:  some are militant atheists; others are deeply religious.  Some are optimistic about human potential and progress; others are starkly pessimistic.  The course readings are drawn from a variety of literary genres -- philosophical treatises, poetry, memoirs, drama, and fiction -- but they all circle back to one fundamental question:  what should we humans do?" 


HP 4152-01: Nanotechnology : 3 cr,  W 12:00-2:50pm; Instructor: Dr. Chris Rothfuss 

Cancer cures, space elevators, quantum computers and stain resistant ties... nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is the control, manipulation and fabrication of matter at the molecular scale – about 1 to 100 nanometers – to take advantage of unique physical phenomena.   It is estimated that by the year 2015 nanotechnology will account for over $1 trillion in the global marketplace.  The US Government invests $1 billion per year on nanotechnology research and development.  Nanotechnology is seen by many as the next great technological revolution. So what does all that mean?  What will nanotechnology do for me?   How will it influence the world of the future?  What research is being done today? This course will take a broad look at the development of nanotechnology; including the history, the science, the applications, the social and political impacts, and its influence on the future. All majors and disciplines are welcome!


HP 4152-02: Mammalian Genomics: 3 cr, TR 1:20-2:35pm, Instructor: Dr. Brian Cherrington 

This course is designed to provide intensive instruction in the organization and function of the mammalian genome and ethical implications arising from recent genomic advances.  Students will learn how DNA is packaged in the nucleus of cells and how the expression of genes is regulated by transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms. The class will also cover the mechanisms underlying genetic diseases and the growth of personalized medicine.  Given the rapid advances in sequencing technologies and DNA manipulation, the class will delve into the ethical implications of human cloning. To do so, the class will participate in the production of the play “A Number” with Relative Theatrics.  This play addresses the subjects of human cloning and personal identity.  Students will participate in discussions with the cast during rehearsals and audience members after public performances.  


HP 4152-03: Art and Vision, 3 cr, Time: TBA, Instructor: Kara Pratt 

Our visual systems determine how we see our external worlds. How the cells in our eyes and brains transform external visual scenes into perceptions has intrigued and inspired psychologists, neurobiologists, artists, and philosophers since the time of Descartes. In this capstone Honor’s course, students learn how the visual system works, with special focus on how waves of light are transformed into color and luminance, what allows us to see in 3-dimensions, what determines spatial resolution and acuity, and the underlying basis of illusions. We then turn to art and explore the science underlying famous paintings including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Claude Monet’s Poppy Field, and Henry Matisse’s The Woman with a Hat, among many others.  This course consists of a combination of lectures based largely on Dr. Margret Livingston’s book “Vision and Art, the Biology of Seeing” and class discussion.

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The Honors College

Guthrie House

1200 Ivinson St.

Laramie, WY 82070

Phone: 307-766-4110

Fax: 307-766-4298


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