Montana State University

Honors College

Montana State University
P.O. Box 172140
Bozeman, MT 59717-2140

Tel: (406) 994-4110
Fax: (406) 994-6747
E-mail: honors@montana.edu
Location: QUAD F, 7th & Harrison

Dean:

Dr. Ilse-Mari Lee

Honors Seminars for Fall 2014 and Spring 2015

*NOTE:  Please know that the following criteria will be considered for registration for all Honors Seminars:

  1. Seniors will be given priority to register for Honors seminars.
  2. We will consider the student’s progress towards the completion of their Honors Baccalaureate (i.e. number of Honors credits taken, second language fulfillment status, and a cumulative GPA of 3.5 and above).
  3. The seminar is advantageous towards the student’s field/s of study and/or future career plans.

Fall 2014 Honors Seminars

Honors Read

HONR 494-001 (4 Credits)
Prerequisites:  UH 201 & UH 202, or UH 301
Time:  Tuesday/Thursday, 6:10 - 8:00 pm
Place:  Quad F, Room 1
Instructor(s):   Professor Kent Davis, Honors College

Course Description:

This seminar will offer students the opportunity to contribute to the selection of texts for "Hike and Read,"  as well as "Texts and Critics: Imagination and Knowledge", respectively.  Seminar participants will each identify and champion a text for possible inclusion in the Honors curriculum for the upcoming academic year.  Through vigorous research and debate, students will collaboratively create guidelines for selecting the texts.  Seminar goals: the synthesis of new and unexpected texts, real-world exploration of the intersection between pedagogy and pragmatism, and engaging a community of enthusiastic, diverse, upper-division students who are excited about challenging and inspiring their fellow Honors students.

Our Nuclear Age

HONR 494-002 (4 Credits)
Prerequisites:  UH 201 & UH 202, or UH 301
Time:  Monday/Wednesday, 6:10 pm - 8:00 pm
Place:  Quad F, Room 105
Instructor:  Professor Amanda Rutherford, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
                                                               
Course Description:

Whether we like it or not, we live in a nuclear age. We will seek to better understand nuclear energy from scientific, political, and cultural points of view.  We will study nuclear science and landmark events in historical context. How close has our nation been to nuclear war? What happened at Three Mile Island? How are fusion reactors fundamentally different from fission reactors and how close are we to the reality of fusion power? How has the existence of nuclear energy permeated our culture?  We will discuss these questions and many others throughout the course of this interdisciplinary examination of our nuclear age.

The Nocturnal Side of the Human

HONR 494-003 (4 credits)
Prerequisites:   UH 201 & UH 202, or UH 301
Time:   Monday/Thursday, 7:10 – 9:00 pm
Place:  Wilson Hall, Room 2105
Instructors:  Professor Steve Kirchhoff, Department of English and Archie Alexander
                 
Course Description:

This seminar will investigate a diverse range of imaginative works including visual art, film, music, poetry, and literature that reveal the dark, irrational workings of the imagination, thus developing appreciation for the emotional and psychological dimensions of creativity. The uniqueness of the seminar lies in an examination of forms, structures, and styles that are "uncanny" in the sense of being both uncomfortably familiar and strange. We will be guided by but not limited to scholarly exegeses of the movement known as Dark Romanticism that encompasses the fascinating, thrilling, threatening, horrific, and irrational manifestations of human imagination. The selected works, which include Goya, Poe, Dickinson, Max Ernst and Bram Stoker's Dracula, allow us to see that much of our deepest experience as human beings is both emotional and irrational. Students may appreciate that our very knowledge about such experience may only be expressed through the depiction of fantastical images that confound and complement rationality. A final aim is to bring this darkness out from the shadows, that is, to consider the dark imagination as a central and valuable feature of human expression.

Ethics and Etiquette in the Digital Age
 
HONR 494IS-001 or HONR 494CS-001 (4 credits)
Prerequisites:   UH 201 & UH 202, or UH 301
Time:   Monday/Wednesday, 10:00 – 11:50 am
Place:   Quad F, Room 105
Instructors:   Dr. Richard Wolff (Professor and Gilhousen Telecommunications Chair, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering)
                 
Course Description:

How has information technology impacted policy, ethics, etiquette, and our way of life?  This seminar will explore the revolutionary and disruptive advances occasioned by information technology.  From smart phones to Wi-Fi; Face Book to computer games; artificial intelligence and robots to Second Life, information technologies and telecommunications have affected our lives in profound ways. Are books obsolete? Do search engines make it unnecessary to remember things?  Have cyber warfare, hacking and identity theft become permanent threats to our existence? Social networks, instant messaging, online video and music downloads are but a few of the markers of change in daily life.  Academic inquiry and creative activities have also been affected dramatically and questions abound.   What does the future hold and what are the social and economic implications?  Students will engage in a range of activities including online learning systems, blogging, social networking, electronic research methodologies and new media creation techniques.  Numerous guest experts will visit the seminar, providing expertise tailored to student interest.  Each student will carry out a research project in an area of their choice and will be required to provide appropriate documentation in addition to a class presentation.

Disconnected Science: Exploring Climate Change Policy Deadlock

HONR 494CS-002 (4 credits)
Prerequisites:   UH 201 & UH 202, or UH 301
Time:   Wednesday/Friday, 2:10 – 4:00 pm
Place:   Quad F, Room 105
Instructors:   Dr. Scott Powell, Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences and Douglas Fischer, Journalist and Founding Editor of The Daily Climate

Course Description:

On no other topic do science and American public policy intersect with greater explosiveness than climate change. This course will provide an in-depth investigation of the scientific and political debates over climate science, looking at the broader role that science plays in informing public dialogue of important environmental issues facing society. This course will lay a basic foundation in atmospheric and climate science, introduce the scope and scale of greenhouse gas  emissions, climate impacts and potential solutions, then culminate with a tour of potential political responses on local, national and international scale. Students will assess the scope and effectiveness of political responses. The course culminates with a “virtual” tour of the United Nation's climate conference in Lima, Peru, in December, a gathering that draws roughly 20,000 participants and delegates, has been held annually since 1992, and represents the global society's most concerted response to climate change.

The Art and Science of Medicine
                 
UH 402RH-001 or 403RS-001 (4 credits) 
Prerequisites:   UH 201 & UH 202, or UH 301
Time:   Tuesday/Thursday, 3:10 – 5:00 pm
Place:   Quad F, Room 105
Instructor:   Professor Don Demetriades
                 
Course Description:

Designed for students from all academic disciplines, this seminar will focus on just how broadly and profoundly contemporary medicine touches all of our lives.  It will examine the underlying principles of medicine through the lens of literature, science, art and related fields.  The why of suffering and disease, the how of healing, and the role both patient and physician play in individual health will be explored.  Medical professionals will be invited to visit the seminar.


Spring 2015 Honors Seminars

The Ultimate Cause of a Dog: How We Encounter Reality

UH 494-001 (4 Credits)
Prerequisites:  UH 201 & UH 202, or UH 301
Time:  Monday/Wednesday, 10:00 - 11:50 am
Place:  Quad F, Room 105
Instructor(s):   Professor Kent Davis, Honors College and Dr. Chris Organ, Department of Earth Sciences

Course Description:

How do we know who we are? One way to explore that question is to examine how we react: to new situations, to new ideas, to unfamiliar discoveries. To achieve a better understanding of the way we assess situations and make decisions, it is imperative to study those processes from interdisciplinary angles, from the arts and humanities to the hardest of sciences. In that spirit, this course will be team taught by Chris Organ, an evolutionary biologist, and Kent Davis, a fiction author and actor. Students in the course will be exposed to evocative works of art, classic scientific data sets, and compelling texts from a multitude of disciplines in order to identify the dominant way they react to disparate impulses. Through class discussions and research, students will identify and examine their current tendencies toward assigning value or assessing quality. Once students refine these skills, they will be able to use them to their advantage in their remaining coursework, eventually their chosen vocation, and in the rest of their lives. Self-understanding, and the understanding of the motivations and priorities of others, is an integral part of succeeding in almost every field, from political science to evolutionary biology to electrical engineering to art therapy.

Human Nature

HONR 494IH-001 (4 Credits)
Prerequisites:  UH 201 & UH 202, or UH 301
Time:  Wednesday, 3:10 - 6:20 pm
Place: Wilson Hall, Room 1139
Instructor(s):   Professors Robert Rydell, John Miller and Distinguished Guests

Course Description:

What exactly is human nature and why do answers to that question matter so much?  This seminar examines the problem of human nature from multiple perspectives in the sciences, the humanities, the social sciences and the arts with a view towards encouraging students to “dive deeper” (the phrase is from Moby Dick) into issues that have been fundamental to thinking of ourselves—and our future—as human beings.  To what extent do we have free will?  How important is “nurture” to understanding our “nature” and vice versa?  How do ideas about human nature inform thinking about government and society?   Why do ideas about human nature change?   Does human nature itself change? 

The seminar will meet once a week for three hours and will be organized around three thematic clusters: 1) Human Nature:  Our Bodies, Our Minds, Our Selves; 2) Being Human:  Nature and Culture; 3) Human Nature and the Body Politic.  Each cluster will be divided into four seminar meetings between students and visiting faculty with the final week of each cluster being devoted to synthesis.  For each of the seminar meetings with visiting faculty, students will prepare a 1-2 pp. set of questions along with comments about why their questions are significant.  At the end of each cluster, the seminar will meet to summarize and synthesize the arguments that have been presented.  For a final project, students will work in groups of five and will prepare a creative project for presentation that elucidates the themes of the course.

World War One: The Cultural Landscape of War

HONR 494IH-002 (4 Credits)
Prerequisites:  UH 201 & UH 202, or UH 301
Time:                  Tuesday/Thursday 7:10 to 9:00 pm
Place:                 Quad F, Room 105
Instructor(s):     Dr. Ben Leubner, Department of English          

Course Description:

August 2014 will mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One.  This interdisciplinary seminar will focus not only on the history of the war but also on the literature, art, philosophy, and music that sprung up around it.  It will also focus on the lasting impact of the war in the 20th century, on the technology and psychology to which it gave rise, and on its complicated overall relationship to enlightenment idealism and the cultural modernism that supplanted it.  Among the subjects/texts we will study are the general history of the war, the Christmas Truce of 1914, the Versailles Peace Talks, Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, the Battle of the Somme and its monuments, the music of Stravinsky, the paintings of Picasso, the British Trench Poets, the drawings of Otto Dix, and the ethical philosophy of Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein.

The Art and Science of Medicine
                 
HONR 494RH-001 or 494RS-001 (4 credits) 
Prerequisites:   UH 201 & UH 202, or UH 301
Time:   Monday/Wednesday, 2:10 – 4:00 pm
Place:   Quad F, Room 105
Instructor:   Professor Don Demetriades
                 
Course Description:

Designed for students from all academic disciplines, this seminar will focus on just how broadly and profoundly contemporary medicine touches all of our lives.  It will examine the underlying principles of medicine through the lens of literature, science, art and related fields.  The why of suffering and disease, the how of healing, and the role both patient and physician play in individual health will be explored.  Medical professionals will be invited to visit the seminar.


 

More Seminars to be Announced...