Course Offerings

Previous Course Offerings

Spring 2016

Design Methodologies

Free Will and Personal Identity

Tools & Strategies for Connected Learning

Bioethics and the New Embryology

The American Revolution

From Brigadoon to Brave

Conflict, Democracy, & Nation Building in the 20th Century

Fall 2015

The Romantic Antihero in Music and Literature

A Poet's Guide to the English Language

Race and Ethnicity

Western New York Natural History: A Sense of Place

Popular Music in the 1960s

What is Post-Humanism?

Cultural Sensitivity and Global Citizenship

Spring 2015

Expressionism and the Arts


Literature and the Visual Arts

Hacking, Surveillance, and Privacy

Math and Music

Women in Italian Film

Transnational Crime

Fall 2014

The Progressive Era and the Other Side of Progress: Technology, Magic, Money and Religion in Nineteenth-Century America


Mental Health and Society

From Aspirin to Viagra: A History of Medicine, Science and Disease

Rhetoric, Memory, and Identity

1968: Radicalism, Revolt and Restoration in the West

Can Islam and Democracy Co-Exist?

Spring 2014

Modernism and Music

Food Studies: The Making of a Meal

Bioethics and the New Embryology

Video Games: Their Evolution and Impact

Vonnegut and Cold War America

Revolutions in Thought and Politcs

The Two Spains and World Cultural Production

Fall 2013

Contemporary Women Poets

Literary London

Science Communication: Infectious Diseases

Thinking Like a Scientists: The Logical Roots of the Scientific Method

Multicultural American Music

The Politics of Sport

Conflicts and Crises in African History

Spring 2013

Street and Graffiti Art, 1970 to Present

Expressionism and the Arts

Gender and Transgender Identities Across Cultures

Cooking and Science

Music and the African American Experience

Italian History and Culture

Middle East Literature

Fall 2012

Modernism in Music [aka: "Who's your Dada?"]

The Comic

Silent Spring(s) Eternal

From Aspirin to Viagra: A History of Medicine, Science and Disease

Rhetoric, Memory, and Identity

Opera and Literature


Spring 2012

Philosophical Theology

Comparative Politics and the Struggle for Democracy

Bioethics and the New Embryology

Altered States of America: Drugs in American History

The Composer's Role in Society

The Politics of Space in Literature

Fall 2011

Commedia: Style & Influence

Perspectives on Positive Psychology

From Aspirin to Viagra: A History of Medicine, Science and Disease

From Experience to Reason

The Historians Craft

Global Roots of American Literature

Spring 2011

Writing the Political

Photographic Explorations

Policing the Body

Nature and History

Community in American Political and Social Thought

Fall 2010


African-American Autobiography

The Greeks-Ancient or Modern?

World History

The Science in Environmental Issues

Environmental Communication

Science in Western Culture: The Origins of Our Concepts and Methods


The Politics of Space in Literature

“I, Claudius” and the Roman Empire

Seminar in the Novels of Charles Dickens

Blues Music

Propaganda in Media and Art

FALL 2009

World History: Poetry Time & Travel

Dante and the End of the Middle Ages

Psychological Aspects of the Holocaust and its Aftermath

The Comic

From Aspirin to Viagra: Stories of Medicine and Science

Preserving the Lithosphere


An Echo of the Infinite

The Entertainment Imperative

FALL 2008

The Methods and Philosophy of Contemporary Science

Prize-Winning Poets

Seminar in the Novels of Charles Dickens

American History

The Comic


Bioethics and the New Embryology

The Progressive Era

Poverty: Social Problems/Social Reality

FALL 2007

Honors Seminar in American History

Legacies of 1968

Science & Religion


Dramatic Comedy: Not All Grins and Giggles

Shakespeare: From Text to Performance

FALL 2006

Science & Religion


Dark Visions in European Literature

Principles of Microeconomics

Multidisciplinary and Multicultural Perspectives in Parenting


Social History through Children’s Literature

American Diversity

The Ancient Arts of Love and War

The Image of Paris in Novels and Films

1968: The Year that Shook the World

American Ethnic and Regional Music

Bioethics and the New Embryology

FALL 2005


Scientific Thought and Methodology

Book, Libraries and American Democracy

Modernism and Music

Students in the Honors Program are required to take at least four honors seminars to complete the program. All seminars fulfill general education courses within specific categories. To complete the general education program, courses in all categories must be met.

Honors Course: Crisis and Conflict.fall2013


FALL 2016 Honors Courses

HONR 224: Arts

Politics and the Arts

Jonathan Chausovsky

This course will examine the intersection of politics and arts from multiple perspectives. One is protest. Artists have often sought to protest, upset, shock, or raise consciousness. When have they been effective? A second concerns the impact of works on art on social mores and values. Rousseau thought the theater was disruptive to morals, and should be banished. What he correct? A third perspective examines whether art reflects social and political development, or whether it can serve as the leading edge. Did abstract expressionism merely reflect the city, or impel it a new understanding? A fourth is the extent to which the public provides support for various forms of arts organizations. What explains the variation in public support? Finally, how do politics impact distribution of public support? When are funds directed to established major programs, or instead to experimental artists? What have been the impacts of efforts to ban purportedly offensive works?

The student objective will meet the SUNY General Education requirements for Art.

  • understanding of at least one principal form of artistic expression and the creative process inherent therein.)
  1. Students will examine several artistic movements from the perspective of the political context from which the movement emerged, and reacted to. The element of the creative process will thus be the political environment that gives rise to artistic movements.
  2. Students will be able to evaluate impact of these movements on political debates.
  3. Students will identify the relation of a political context to particular artistic movements in the past.
  4. Students will learn how to evaluate variations on public support for artists and artistic movements.


HONR 225: Humanities


Dr. John Staples

The goal of this course would be to provide students with an analytical framework within which to examine the role of privacy in their own personal and public lives. Privacy is a value, a legal concept, and a social construct. This course would consist of (1) a comparative study of the history of privacy in the United States and Russia and (2) an exploration of the challenges to privacy in the digital, post-9/11 era. The first part of the course would ask students to think about the reasons why privacy emerged as a contested value in the past. It would focus thematically on contested sites such as: privacy and property; privacy and women; privacy and slavery; privacy and war; privacy and sexuality; privacy and housing; and privacy and religion. The second part of the course would ask students to think about whether and why they should continue to value and contest privacy in their own lives. It would focus particularly on post-9-11 national security arguments against privacy as a right, and on the construction of privacy in new social media.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Students will gain an understanding of how attitudes and laws regarding privacy have changed over time.
  2. Students will gain an understanding of how attitudes and laws regarding privacy have differed in different national and cultural contexts.
  3. Students will gain an understanding of how privacy, construed by some as an objective human value, has been contested as a challenge to competing values.
  4. Students will gain an understanding of how historical methodology can be applied to the analysis of contemporary issues.
  5. Students will develop their written and oral communication skills through writing assignments, classroom discussions, and formal oral presentations.


HONR 226: Social Science


Food Studies: The Making of a Meal (Subject to Change)

Jeanne E. Frerichs

This course offers a cross-cultural perspective on the role of food in human life from prehistory to contemporary times. By looking at the diverse ways that people have obtained, processed, shared and consumed food, we uncover the complex stories behind the food we encounter in daily life. The course content is grouped into four topics: food in (pre)history, food as a part of social identity, the industrial/global food system, and food justice. Themes such as gender, our relationship to the environment, technological change, political power, economies and the symbolic meaning of food cross-cut each of the four topics. In addition, we will discuss social and environmental problems related to food systems and various attempts to address those problems.

Course Objectives: In this course we will critically examine the following inter-related topics through readings, class discussions, short assignments, films, guest speakers, exams and writing assignments.

  • Understand the basic concepts and methods employed in Anthropology
  • Make connections between information encountered in this course, other courses, and life outside the university
  • Develop their ability to comprehend the complexity and diversity of human societies and cultures through the study of food
  • View global history through the lens of food
  • Make visible the people, places and processes associated with food
  • Apply the study of food to our own life on the individual & community level and as participants in a globalized world
  • Develop critical thinking skills in order to promote enhanced problem solving and decision making


HONR 227: Natural Science

Aspirin to Viagra: A History of Medicine, Science and Disease

Dr. Ted Lee

The course will provide an introduction into a history of how humans have practiced medicine and how science has impacted the practice of medicine. Students should learn about the key individuals and advances in medicine and understand why medicine was conducted differently in different eras. The study of medicine will focus on pharmaceutical. This course is not designed to include a comprehensive presentation on the history of medicine. Rather the emphasis is to select certain topics to illustrate how the practice of medicine has changed over time and how science has impacted these changes. The course will include discussions on areas of ethics relating to the study of medicine.

Learning Goals for Students

  • What was the scientific basis for the practice of medicine in different eras?
  • What were the key scientific advances that impacted the practice of medicine in different?
  • How have scientific advances impacted the practice of medicine in the past century?
  • How are current scientific advances going to change medicine in the future?


HONR 228: American History

The History of Drugs in the U.S.

Dr. Ellen Litwicki

Ever wondered about the story behind America’s seemingly unending (and unwinnable) “war on drugs”? Is there something in human nature that compels us to alter our consciousness? Take this seminar and find out. We will begin by surveying the historical discovery, development, and usage of drugs in a global context. Next we will examine shifting attitudes toward drug use and the development of U.S. drug policies over the past century. Finally, we will consider contemporary issues such as legalization; the relationship between policy, race, and gender; the efficacy of drug laws; the global impact of U.S. demand for illicit drugs, etc.

Students are expected to participate fully in class discussions and debates, and will complete several short writing assignments. In addition, students will work in groups to research and create a web site that examines a contemporary issue in historical context, and will teach a class session on their topic. Other activities TBD.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will understand the history of drug usage, attitudes toward drugs, and U.S. government policy.
  • Students will be able to place contemporary issues regarding drugs in historical and global context.
  • Students will learn and apply historical research methods.
  • Students will learn how to create a web site using WordPress.

Required Readings:

David Courtwright, Forces of Habit

Doris Provine, Unequal under Law: Race in the War on Drugs

Sam Quinones, Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic


HONR 229: Western Civilization

Italian Food Culture in Practice (only 15 seats available)

Dr. Chiara De Santi

It is common knowledge that food has been one of the main features of Italian culture and of Italians both in Italy and abroad, while non-Italians have enjoyed it at least since the Grand Tour in the 1600s. A focus on Italian food culture and its characteristics throughout the centuries will help us define concepts such as “Italianness” and “Italian-Americanness” with the goal of also understanding Italian-American culture, especially in the 20th and 21st centuries. Understanding the evolution of Italian cuisine over time in terms of preparation and consumption is at the basis of understanding Italian identities and (regional) cultures both in Italy and abroad. With an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach drawing together cross-cultural, linguistic, social, historical, political, economic, and geographic contexts, this course considers how Italian food culture and gastronomy have developed in Italy and abroad from the Middle Ages to the present, including the impact of Italy’s world-renowned “Slow Food” movement on our current habits of consumption. The course is a mix of readings, lectures and guest lectures, discussions, tasting experiences, field trips, and practical cooking lessons in the Kasling Hall (or Hemingway Hall) kitchen, where the students learn how to prepare some Italian dishes.

Course Blog:

Students Learning Outcomes: At the end of the course, students will have:

  1. knowledge of distinctive features of Italian culture through gastronomy using interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches from various perspectives (cross-cultural, linguistic, literary, artistic, cinematic, historic, geographic, political, economic, and certainly gastronomic);
  2. knowledge of the distinctive features of Italian-American culture by means of comparison to its Italian origins.


HONR 230: World Cultures

Dante's Moral Philosophy

Dr. Raymond Angelo Belliotti

Dante famously described the purpose of his Commediaas practical: to guide human beings out of misery and toward their appropriate earthly and eternal ends. This work takes Dante seriously and underscores the philosophical underpinnings of his mission. In this course, we will examine and evaluate Dante’s moral philosophy and how it can serve as a practical guide to moral betterment. Focusing on Inferno and Purgatorio, we will examine the puzzles and paradoxes of Dante’s moral assumptions, his treatment of the 7 deadly sins, and how 10 of his most powerful moral lessons anticipate modern existentialism. Critical to this mission is the task of examining the philosophical concepts of moral desert and the law of contrapasso, using character case studies within Dante’s work. Finally, we will connect the poem’s moral themes to our own contemporary condition.

Dr. David Kinkela or Julie Sticek
College of Arts and Science
Ph: 716-673-3174

Honors Program

Thompson Hall, E314
State University of New York at Fredonia
Fredonia, NY 14063