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HONR 102

Honor Scholar First-Year Seminar

A continuation of HONR 101.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

Spring Semester information

Amity Reading

102A: HONR FYS:Discourses of Disability

What does it mean to be disabled? Why don't we see the term handicapped in public discourse anymore? How long have humans been using protheses to compensate for lost limbs? This course will critically explore the ways in which we deploy terms like impairment, disabled, accessibility, and ableness in modern discussions of disability. The course will serve as both a broad-based theoretical introduction to the field of disability studies and will also provide students with the opportunity to explore historicized discussions of ableness in a range of texts from different time periods and cultures. Readings will be drawn from many genres and disciplines, and will include, among others, a Renaissance play depicting the use of crutches by a protagonist, a sociological study on deafness in the 21st century, a linguistic analysis of the etymology of the word prosthesis, and a biology paper on the production of tears in the human body.


102B: HONR FYS:Fantastic Women: Surreal Stories for the Real World

From sci fi to fairy tale, fantasy to slipstream, how are some contemporary women writers working within seemingly out-of-this-world genres in order to tackle real world issues? And how might these fantastic tales peel back the complexities of current social concerns such as global warming, reproductive rights, and immigration in a more dynamic and revealing manner than realist fiction? As we discuss the assigned readings, we will consider the moments in our own lives that can at times feel uncannily dystopian. This course will combine a study of contemporary literature as well as interdisciplinary research, culminating in a final creative writing project. Students will hone their skills in close reading, discussion, research, and both analytical and creative writing.

Paul Johnson

102C: HONR FYS:Race and the Legacy of Islamic Spain

Medieval Iberia has often been identified as a "tri-religious" culture, in which individuals of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian heritage coexisted peacefully for centuries. For this reason, scholars have famously distinguished Spanish society of the period for its high degree of religious and racial tolerance. On the other hand, studies have suggested that the concept of "race" that we hold today first originated out of the historical legacy of this same society of tolerance. Citing statutes of "blood purity," these studies describe the gradual development of a social, religious, and racial hierarchy that sanctioned discrimination and violence, supported by the infamous authority of the Spanish Inquisition. Early modern Spain thus confronts us with a crucial paradox: How did a society famous for its tolerance go on to sow the seeds of racialized discrimination? This question underscores an opportunity for studying the ways in which both race and religion have been exploited as categories of exclusion, aggression, and violence. If indeed our contemporary concept of race was forged in early modern Spain, then an examination of the period may afford us a better understanding of such pressing issues as inclusiveness, tolerance, privilege, difference, diversity, and multiculturalism that we face today. In this course, medieval and early modern Iberia will serve as a unique critical intersection for interrogating these issues, historically and with regards to the contemporary moment as well.

Ashley Puzzo

102D: HONR FYS:Space and Time

What is space? What is time? Suppose nothing ever changes. Does time pass? Can there be perfectly empty spaces? Is time travel possible? If there are three spatial dimensions, could there be more? If there could be more spatial dimensions, why aren't there more? Why is there only a single time dimension? Are space and time something we make up or are they part of the human-independent world? Does the universe have a center or is space infinite in all directions? Are space and time really independent phenomena or are they different aspects of the same phenomenon? In this course we will explore these questions primarily through philosophical texts and multimedia.