Fall Courses 2013

Honors courses are more rigorous than standard courses. Honors courses “Help students understand how scholars and artists think about problems, formulate hypotheses, research those problems, and draw conclusions about them.”
(NCHC - http://nchchonors.org/faculty-directors/honors-course-design/)

They often demonstrate pedagogical innovation through new approaches within a discipline or through cross- or inter-disciplinary study. In a level-appropriate way, students typically (but are not unreservedly required to):

  • Engage in open exploration and discovery
  • Acknowledge and confront complexity in creating new knowledge, rather than passively accepting received knowledge
  • Are intellectually adventurous
  • Conduct original research and/or creative endeavors
  • Focus on primary texts and sources
  • Interrogate and challenge fundamental assumptions

Honors Seminars

HNRS 266.01 — French Heroes and their Myths

Instructor: Marie-Therese Killiam
; TR 1:30-2:45 p.m.
A study of French historical figures who have had an impact on people's imagination, on literature and the arts. We will look at paintings, novels, plays, films and music that honor the mythic figures of French history, such as Charlemagne, Joan of Arc, and Napoleon. May be counted toward the major and minor in French if written assignments and examinations are done in French. Prerequisite: Permission of Instructor. IIIO

HNRS 270.01 — Strangely Familiar: The Uncanny in Literature and Film
Instructors: Marcia Robertson and Bradley Reichek; MW 3-4:15 p.m. (TR 7 p.m. film screenings)
Freud defines the “uncanny” as “the class of frightening which leads back to what is known of the old and long familiar.” More than being merely scary, the uncanny is a blend of strangeness and familiarity that causes us to question what is natural and unnatural, what is real and unreal. The course will consider manifestations of the uncanny in films such as The Double Life of Veronique, Rebecca, Blue Velvet, and texts such as Hoffman’s “The Sandman,” Poe’s “Black Cat,” and Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The course will also examine how the novel and cinema can themselves produce uncanny responses. Students will attend weekly screenings of films, give oral presentations, write critical essays, and create short films. The course counts as a 200-level elective for the English and ECR majors.

HNRS 309.01 — Sacraments and Civil Unions: The History of Marriage
Instructor: Lynn Laufenberg

Many people define marriage as a sacramental union between one man and one woman. However, this definition has changed significantly over time. This course charts the varieties of marriage in western history from sibling-marriages of Egyptian pharaohs, to civil unions under Roman law, to Christian sacramental marriage in the Middle Ages. It finally considers the current legal and ethical debates over same-sex marriages. This course may be counted as an elective course toward the minor in gender studies. Counts toward the major/minor in History. V1;V7. Prerequisite: Permission of Instructor.

Honors Section 
BIOL 111 — Intro to Organisms
Instructor: Linda Fink: TR 10:30-11:45 a.m., W 1:30-4:20
An introduction to organismal and population biology. Topics include genetics, evolution and ecology, and the interactions of organisms with their environment. Three hours lecture and one three-hour laboratory. V8 AB
(This course counts toward the Honors Degree; it is equivalent to an Honors variant)

First-year Honors Inquiry Courses

105.01— Memory and Mortality
Instructor: Professor Kevin Honeycutt
Part of what it means to be human is to be aware of your mortality—to know that one day you will die, that your life and time are limited. Sometimes we are faced with our own deaths, but often we are faced with the death of friends and loved ones. What should such an encounter with death motivate in us? How should we think about ourselves as existing in time? Should we be joyous or melancholic? We will engage these questions and others by reading various texts in philosophy and literature.   

HNRS 118.01 Miss Indie’s Plantation
Instructor: Professor Lynn Rainville
Using archival sources and archaeological features, we will examine the 100+ individuals who lived at Sweet Briar between c. 1840-1900, including the antebellum, enslaved families and the postbellum servants and employees of Indiana Fletcher Williams. Research conducted by the students will be added to a Sweet Briar History digital database.

HNRS 104.01 — Molecules
Instructor: Jill Granger
This course introduces students to the molecular world and the impact that molecules have on human systems and behaviors, ecological systems, the industrial world, war, art and emerging technologies. We will discuss a feature molecule each week and consider it from structural and functional perspectives. Students will learn about atoms, bonding, and molecular properties through case studies and will learn valuable research skills in terms of literature review. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

HNRS 106.01 — Blue Ridge History: Conserving the Land, Shaping the Future
Instructor: Kate Chavigny
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps employed millions of black and white men under the age of 25 in a massive effort to control soil erosion, reclaim farmland, protect forests from fire, develop national and state parks, and to provide paid work for young unemployed men.  At least a dozen segregated CCC camps were active in the Blue Ridge and Virginia Piedmont areas near Sweet Briar. This course introduces students to critical thinking and historical argument through an exploration of archival and published textual, visual and “built landscape” sources pertaining to nearby CCC activities.  Includes a hike to a former CCC camp in the Blue Ridge.

HNRS 107.01 — Environmental Dialogues
Instructor: Rob Alexander
Environmental issues have become strongly politicized in our society, often resulting in polarized positions that are more ideological than objective. In this seminar, we will engage a variety of current environmental issues, developing a framework though which we can bring objective analysis and critical thinking skills to our examination of each topic. Students are expected to actively participate in lively and challenging class discussions.

Honors Variants
Students interested in taking an Honors variant of a regular departmental course should contact the course instructor. To enroll in an Honors variant, students must submit an Honors Variant Contract to the registrar by the add deadline.