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Fall 2017 Course Offerings

HONR 220F Intro to Anthropology (SS, IC)

9:35- 10:55 a.m. TR (QUAD 446) – Ellen Block

This course will provide an introduction to the field of anthropology. Anthropology is a holistic and comparative study of human diversity. It will examine cross-cultural examples to shed light on all aspects of human life from language and religion to technology and medicine to the study of our human and non-human ancestors. Anthropologists use a variety of methods of study – ethnographic fieldwork, archaeological methods, surveys, participant observation – to understand different cultures and their beliefs, worldviews and experiences. Anthropology used to be limited to nonindustrial peoples, but is now extended to explore all aspects of human culture and history, and all types of social problems. Throughout this course, we will consider both classic and contemporary examples of anthropological fieldwork and writing, and pay attention to concepts central to contemporary anthropological inquiry including power, gender, race, inequality, and political economy. This course will use a textbook and supplementary articles, and at least two ethnographic books. By the end of the class, students will not only have a grasp of the basic concepts of anthropology, but they will view their own culture(s) through a more critical and knowledgeable lens. Far from being merely an academic discipline for its own sake, the study of anthropology will help students gain insight into how anthropological findings can be applied to social problems in their own communities and around the world.

HONR 240A- 01 Theological Explorations (TH, GN)

11:30-12:50 TR (Main 322) – Vincent Smiles

This course offers an introduction to the discipline of Christian theology, giving special attention to some of its primary sources, especially Sacred Scripture, and to the ultimate questions and major themes on which theology focuses. All sections of this course share as common learning goals that students demonstrate 1) a capacity to think critically and historically about some primary sources, doctrines, and themes that shape Christian theology, 2) an ability to explain differing viewpoints on at least one contemporary theological issue, and 3) an ability to apply at least one aspect of the Benedictine tradition to at least one of the topics addressed in the course. Nevertheless, each section of the course provides its own distinctive way into the world of theology.

HONR 240A- 02 Theological Explorations (TH, GN)

2:40 – 4:00 TR (Main 322) – Vincent Smiles

This course offers an introduction to the discipline of Christian theology, giving special attention to some of its primary sources, especially Sacred Scripture, and to the ultimate questions and major themes on which theology focuses. All sections of this course share as common learning goals that students demonstrate 1) a capacity to think critically and historically about some primary sources, doctrines, and themes that shape Christian theology, 2) an ability to explain differing viewpoints on at least one contemporary theological issue, and 3) an ability to apply at least one aspect of the Benedictine tradition to at least one of the topics addressed in the course. Nevertheless, each section of the course provides its own distinctive way into the world of theology.

HONR 250J -01 Social Philosophy (HM)

12:40 - 1:35 MWF (QUAD 353) - Rene McGraw, OSB

In the United States today, most citizens tend to take for granted that liberty and equal treatment are fundamental parts of social justice. Leaders of the Western World have not always thought this way, though. Thus the first part of the class will be devoted to the study of Plato's Republic, a profoundly influential philosophical work that supposes equality to be unnecessary for a well-ordered society and proposes a conception of freedom with which modern Americans are largely unfamiliar. We are certain to experience conflicting thoughts with regard to Plato's teachings, and this uncertainty will encourage us to explore our reasons for valuing political equality and the conception of freedom that we enjoy. Our exploration will be aided by study of two further classic texts in the Western tradition of political philosophy: John Locke's Second Treatise on Government and Jean Jacques Rousseau's The Social Contract. Following our examination of these philosophical sources for the political ideals of Western civilization, the class will investigate the question of the forms of freedom, and the degrees of equality that are compatible with a capitalist society. We shall read arguments from a variety of perspectives. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels will argue that the regime of private property is inherently oppressive, at least to workers, while Joseph Pichler and Irving Kristol (as well as Locke, of course) will insist that free enterprise and private property are the best guarantors of individual freedom. We will also read the work of social scientists and investigative journalists such as Erik Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Mark Robert Rank, (One Nation, Underprivileged), and Charles Murray (In Our Hands). These readings will provide detailed descriptions of the challenges faced by working Americans as well as of government reforms that might enable citizens to fully enjoy the benefits of freedom.

HONR 260A Probability & Stat Infer (MT)

8:20- 9:15 MWF (HAB 106) – Anne Sinko

Graphs and charts, mean, median and other measures of location. Terminology and rules of elementary probability; normal distribution, random sampling, estimation of mean, standard deviation and proportions, correlation and regression, confidence intervals, tests of hypotheses.

HONR 270A The Social Construct of Whiteness

6:15-9:15 M *A Mod QUAD 339 – Emily Esch

This one credit course focuses on white racial identity. Too often, our discussions of race assume that whiteness is the neutral racial category, static and uninteresting, which other racial identities are defined against. To counter this tendency, in this class we will read about the history of whiteness and see how the concept of whiteness has developed and changed over time. We will also examine our own concepts of whiteness and how those concepts shape the way we perceive the world. Finally, we will discuss the future of whiteness in the US, as it undergoes major demographic changes.

HONR 270C Problem Solving

3:00-3:55 F (Pengel 212) – Jim Crumley

An introduction to solving complex problems in interdisciplinary topics which will be drawn from mathematics, computer science, and physics. Students will work in groups and present their results. Prerequisite: MATH 119 & admission to MAPCORES program or consent of instructor.

HONR 310 Great Books/Ideas (HM)

10:20-11:15 MWF (QUAD 347) – Scott Richardson

A year-long discussion-based seminar for juniors and seniors which concentrates on many of the world's greatest works of literature and intellectual history. Students purchase a hundred books, from ancient to contemporary times, written by such authors as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Goethe, Austen, Marx, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Freud, Woolf, Faulkner, O'Connor, Ishiguro, Murdoch, Byatt, and Pynchon. Students selected for this seminar will read a number of these books during the summer as well as the two semesters and the rest over the course of their lives. Applications will be solicited and invitations made by the instructor.

HONR 340I Spiritual Politics/Islam (TU, IC)

12:45-2:05 TR (Quad 254) – Noreen Herzfeld

Islam shapes much of our current political and social context: 9/11, the Arab spring, ISIS, the war in Syria, our complex relationship with Iran, all have a major impact on the world we live in. Islam is also the fastest growing faith, both globally and here in America. This course will focus on how Muslims have encountered God, how this encounter informs their daily lives, and how the traditions of Islam are influencing and informing (or not) current political and cultural events around the globe.

Studying another faith tradition also provides a lens through which to examine one’s own faith and society, and an appreciation for the commonality of the human condition. Our study of Islam while looking at the particulars of that faith, will also raise a variety of broad questions, including the conflict of faith versus reason, the role and position of women, the rights of religious and cultural minorities, freedom of speech vs. religious respect, and multiculturalism vs. assimilation.

Prerequisite HONR 240A or 240B or THEO 111.

HONR 350S Philosophy of Knowledge (HM, GE)

11:10-12:30 TR (HAB 341) – Emily Esch

What do you think you know and how do you think you know it? In this course we’ll explore the idea that acquiring knowledge is not as straightforward as it appears. We’ll be looking at the foundations of the academic experience and the different methods scholars use to support and maintain their research, including, among others, biologists, philosophers, historians, and economists. Two topics will guide our readings and discussions: one, the relationship between power and social inequity and two, the impossibility of conducting research free of social and ethical values. This course should be of interest to all majors and especially to those interested in thinking critically about implicit assumptions underpinning the professional pursuit of knowledge.

HONR 370 Research Seminar

3:00 – 3:55 M (Pengl 218) – Jim Crumley

Solving complex problems in interdisciplinary topics which will be drawn from mathematics, computer science, and physics. Students will work in groups and present their results. Prerequisites: HONR 270 and admission to MAPCORES program or consent of instructor.

HONR 390A The Medical Profession/Modern World(ES)

6:15-9:15 W (Simons G10) – J. Anderson

The word “professional” today connotes an individual with well-developed skills, specialized knowledge, and expertise, who conforms to the standards of a profession. The original meaning of “professional” as one who “makes a profession of faith” in the face of demanding circumstances has been all but lost in the medical profession. This class will use the burgeoning literature of medicine, written by, for, and about medical professionals, in order to explore the full range of “professional” challenges facing today’s medical professionals. The practice of medicine is rife with ethical dilemmas. By exploring the efforts of medical professionals to counter the institutional forces that constrain them and to find their own solid ground to stand upon, this course aims to cultivate the habit of moral reflection in future medical professionals. Although this course will primarily focus on the experiences of medical doctors, it should also be of interest to those aspiring to other medical and non-medical careers.

HONR 390D War and Memory (ES)

11:10 – 12:30 TR (Quad 459) – Nick Hayes

Our course examines the ethical issues of the conduct and representation of war from the Great War (WWI) to today’s “war on terrorism.” Our theme follows the shift of strategy from targeting military casualties to the predominant emphasis on civilian casualties as evident in the case studies of the Vietnam War, WWI, the Holocaust, the wars of genocide in our time, Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and the “war on terrorism.”