Honors Program

Course Offerings

Spring 2021 Course Offerings

HONR 105 – COMMUNITY AND IDENTITY (CI) *FOR FIRST YEAR STUDENTS ONLY*
Dr. Kelly Kraemer, B block, Afternoon
Dr. Jonathan Merritt Nash, D block, Morning
Dr. Emily Esch, C block Afternoon
Dr. Laura Taylor, A block, Morning
In this course, students will learn why gender, race or ethnicity, in isolation, is insufficient to conceptualize either individual or social identity. Students will learn to think critically about their own gender, racial and ethnic identities as well as identify the social and cultural factors that shape and contribute to each. The ways in which gender, race and ethnicity intersect will be given prominent attention in this class, as will the ways these features relate with issues of power and justice in the contemporary United States. The course will introduce students to process and value-based, collaborative theory of leadership directed at improving local communities. This course is equivalent to CSD: I. Required for students entering the Honors Program in Fall 2020 and later. Students take this course in the spring of their first year. Offered for A-F grading only.
Course Attributes: CSD: Identity

HONR 220B – INTRODUCTION TO HUMAN COMMUNICATION
Dr. Jeanmarie Cook, A block, Morning
This course provides students with a general overview of communication theory and research, particularly as it relates to their everyday interactions. The course covers theories related to interpersonal, gender, group, organizational, and intercultural contexts.
Course Attributes:  Social Science, Social World, Thematic Encounter1 – Truth

HONR 240A - THEOLOGICAL EXPLORATIONS
Dr. Vincent Smiles, B block, Afternoon
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.
Course Attributes:  Theology Lower Division

HONR 311 – GREAT BOOKS/IDEAS
Dr. Scott Richardson, C block, Afternoon
A year-long discussion-based seminar which concentrates on many of the world's greatest works of literature, political philosophy and intellectual history. Authors include Plato, Aristotle, Biblical writers, Augustine, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Goethe, Marx, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Freud, Woolf, Faulkner, O'Connor, Nadine Gordimer and Toni Morrison. Students selected for this seminar are asked to read a number of novels and plays to prepare themselves for participation. Interview required in the Spring semester of a student's sophomore year.
Course Attributes:  Humanities

HONR 340I – SPIRITUALALITY AND POLITICS ISLAM
Dr. Noreen Herzfeld, C block, Afternoon
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.
Course Attributes: Theology Upper Division

HONR 350V - CHINESE PHILOSOPHY
Dr. Charles Wright, C block, Morning
Through the close reading and discussion of foundational texts in the Chinese tradition of philosophy students will explore another civilization’s perspectives on knowledge, reality, ethics, and political order.  These perspectives will serve as a mirror through which students can gain reflective distance from unexamined Western beliefs and habits of mind.  The class starts with the ethical and political teachings of the Analects of Confucius and the Mencius.  We then turn to the Daoist teachings on knowledge and reality as found in Laozi’s Daodejing and the Zhuangzi.    
Course Attributes: Humanities

HONR 390F – VULNERABLE LIVES
Dr. Tony Cunningham, A block, Afternoon
Who can deny that human lives and character are fragile? A glance at victims of rape, genocide, war, oppression, betrayal, and tragic loss suggests we are vulnerable. Yet various lines of thought have suggested that this needn't be so. Some Eastern religions have promised relief from suffering through enlightenment, and the Judeo-Christian tradition has pointed to faith and divine grace as a balm for suffering and a shield against the same. Roman and Greek schools of thought have aimed at forms of detachment and serenity that might render people invulnerable. Using psychology, memoir, philosophy, fiction and film sources, we'll consider ways in which human lives and character can be compromised and disintegrated. We'll also consider strategies designed to render us less vulnerable or invulnerable.
Course Attributes:  Ethics Common Seminar

Contact Honors Scholars
College of Saint Benedict
Saint John’s University

Dr. Beth Wengler
Director, Honors Scholars
Associate Professor, History
CSB Richarda N7
320-363-5190

Dr. Emily Esch
Associate Director, Honors Scholars
Associate Professor, Philosophy
SJU Quad 362G
320-363-3288