Honors courses include all disciplines and are taught by various professors from each department.  There are several courses offered each semester.

Spring 2020 Course Schedule


HON 101 Disaster! Flood, Fire, and Famine

Instructor: Youngdahl,Shana

Humans have always faced disasters but Global Climate Change is increasing the frequency of these disasters and our global population means the numbers of those impacted will be greater than ever. In this Honors Writing Seminar, we will look at texts, videos, and news addressing contemporary and historical disasters, along with philosophical and other texts about how humans cope with disaster, to try come to an understanding through our writing about how communities can prepare, prevent and handle the aftermath of the large-scale disasters that will more frequently impact our changing world.


HON 175S World Affairs Camden Conference   

Instructor: Beck,Linda J

Each year a conference is organized in Camden, Maine on a topic related to world affairs. For 2020, the topic is: "The Media Revolution: Changing the World," focusing on how people in countries around the world get information, how governments and entities in the private sector filter and select what will appear in print or on the Internet, and how the quality and accuracy of information delivered to the public and decision-makers have consequences domestically and internationally. Presentations at the Conference feature experts from the worlds of diplomacy, journalism, business, non-profits and academia. In this 2-credit Honors course, students will read and discuss materials related to the conference theme prior to the event, attend the conference, and write a short essay informed by these readings that reflects on their experiences at the event. They are encouraged but not required to attend the conference, which is held February 21-23. Alternatively they may listen to the presentations and Q&A. This is a 7 week, 2-credit course.


HON 180N Marine Bio Ancient Greek Persp

Instructor: Prentiss,Nancy Kotchian

Students study marine biology through elements of the ancient Greek civilization. How did science get started, who were the major players and how did they explain the natural world? To understand how the Greeks developed science as "a way of knowing" (instead of through mythology and magic), we will read from the works of Aristotle, Anaximander and Thales and from science historians. This interdisciplinary course will also look at the influence of the marine environment as depicted in the arts of the ancient times (frescos, pottery, drawings of marine organisms, poetry, etc.). Finally, traditional labs will introduce the form and function of marine organisms (microscope work with sponges, squid dissection, echinoderm anatomy - e.g. "Aristotle's Lantern mouthparts of the sea urchin, etc.). Weekend field trips to Boston and to the Maine coast are included. $30.00 Course Fee


HON 180N Mars Exploration

Instructor: Daly,Julia F

What can we learn about the evolution of Mars, and what can it tell us about the story of Earth? This course will focus on the geologic history of Mars and how it might inform us about Earth's early history. We'll learn about major geologic processes active on both Earth and Mars, and how to interpret the geologic history of Mars from available remote and lander data. As one of our nearest planetary neighbors and subject of long-standing human interest, we will also look at the intersection of science, science history, and popular writing about Mars, space travel, and the potential for life on Mars. $20.00 Course Fee

HON 277 Sideshow to Selfie: Photograph

Instructor: Thompson,Melissa

This course examines the ways in which photography constructs conceptions of the self through visual image. From early photography projects like Charles

Eisenmann's sideshow photography to contemporary movements like The Adipositivity Project, we will examine and practice the ways in which visual images create codes that point towards specifics of identity.


HON 277S History and Contemporary Life

Instructor: Schoeppner,Michael

This course is a student-led inquiry into the historical dimensions of a particular contemporary social, political, cultural, economic, or legal issue. Students identify a particular problem in contemporary society and then collaborate with the instructor to identify historical texts, topic-specific experts in the field, and any relevant community/campus institutions. The students then immerse themselves in the history of the issue. The course culminates in a

guest lecture, round-table, or other campus-wide event, with students organizing and participating in the event.


HON 277S Child and Adolescent Development

Instructor: Jamison,Rhonda

This course is designed to expose students to the complexities of development from conception through adolescence. Emphasis will be placed on relations among physical, cognitive and social development in a variety of contexts and cultures. Prerequisite(s): None.


HON 377 Proto-Science Fiction

Instructor: Krueger,Misty S

This course will examine pre-20th-century British and American literature as proto-science fiction. Students will trace a history of science fiction as a genre and apply their understandings of sci-fi generic traits and aims to a set of classic literary texts. Readings will include Thomas More's Utopia, William Shakespeare's The Tempest, Margaret Cavendish's Blazing New World, Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and short stories by Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne. This course will link sci-fi to generic frameworks already applied to these works, such as utopian fiction, satire, horror, and romance. It will connect sci-fi to disciplines outside of the humanities, such as the social sciences and natural sciences. The course will culminate with the class creating a role-playing game and then play it.


HON 377H Plato: Love, Death & the Soul

Instructor: Cohen,Jonathan

What do love and death have in common? In Plato's philosophy, both raise crucial issues about the soul: What IS a soul? And how does its attachments determine the course and quality of our lives? In this course we will trace the development of Plato's mature philosophy by reading closely three of his most beautiful dialogues: The Symposium consists of a drinking party at which the participants give speeches in praise of love (during the course of which the term "philosophy" gets its original definition as love of wisdom). The Phaedo depicts Socrates in the last hours before his execution considering arguments for the immortality of the soul. And the Phaedrus presents Plato's mature view of love by way of a myth concerning the soul's immortality. In between, we will study the world's first psychological theory, in Book IV of the Republic, as the keystone in the arch of Plato's philosophical development. By the end of the course we will have learned much about Plato's philosophy, explored the relationship between philosophy and literature, and - who knows? - maybe we will even understand a little bit more about love, death and the soul.


Fall 2019 Course Schedule

HON  101 Being Human, Becoming Machine

Instructor: Pane, Steven

From the first cavewoman who picked up a stick to Amazon, prosthetics, and the iWatch, machines and their technologies have been part of the human experience. This course addresses questions arising from this relationship from the ethical to the bodily. What does it mean to be human? How does technology mediate our sense of self and relationship with our communities?


HON 101 Feed the World

Instructor: Messier, John D

Some people get enough, even too much, to eat. Others not enough to stay alive. That's not right. So how can production, distribution and consumption be managed so that there is food for everyone? In the first half of the semester, we will examine economics, government policy, farming practices and technology, resources, nutrition and culture as they relate to availability of sufficient food. In the second half of the semester, you will work in small project teams to develop a real food-related intervention at the local, regional or even global level, and then present your results to university, community, and government representatives.


HON 101 Maine to Mississippi:Stories

Instructor: Decker, Jayne

The course begins with a question. Do we often define people through our perception of place? By examining literary texts, newspapers, media, and the performative works of two environments without shared borders, students will explore how we perceive places and the people that inhabit them. The course includes a final performance project to create stories of Maine and Mississippi and what, perhaps, distinguishes and connects communities beyond place.


HON 101 First Year Seminar in Honors

Instructor: Rawlings, Douglas H

In this course, first year students in the Honors Program explore connections between important ideas throughout history and contemporary life. Students will examine the applicability and implications of historical ideas for today's understanding of history, science, politics, literature, the arts and/or other disciplines. Course counts as an FYS. Prerequisite(s): Acceptance into the Honors Program or permission of instructor. Every semester.

HON 101 Working the Land

Instructor: Beck, Misty

“Working the Land” explores the experiences and perspectives of farmers, farm families, and farm laborers, considering themes of rural struggle and resilience; sustenance and subsistence; isolation and community; and ethical and practical environmental considerations. A rich and varied literature includes memoirs, novels, poems, and essays, which emphasize the strength and fragility of life in agrarian conditions, its harshness and beauty, and the scales of our interrelatedness with the rest of the natural world. To foster understanding of issues facing farmers across generations and among different cultural groups, we read a range of writers such as Bessie Head, Jim Crace, Wendell Berry, Natasha Bowen, Paul Kingsnorth, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Michael Pollan. Students engage in a variety of formal and informal writing, conduct a community-based project, and create a portrait of agriculture presented in a course portfolio.


HON 180N Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology

Instructor: Sloane, Sarah A

$20.00 Course Fee

Behavioral ecology and sociobiology is the study of the behavior of animals (including humans) in nature, from an evolutionary perspective. This course explores both the ecological factors involved in selecting for behaviors as well as the current environmental conditions that trigger them. Topics include mating strategies, habitat choice, optimal foraging, parental care, mating and social systems, and the evolution of cooperation and cooperative systems. We will also step out of the biology box and examine some of the links behavior has to the humanities, most specifically Literary Darwinism and the evolution

of musicality. Students will engage in a variety of interactive lab experiences and develop and carry out independent projects which can be within their own area of interest.


HON 190M The Natural Beauty of Math 

Instructor: Koban, Nicholas A

This course aims to explore the interplay of a number of mathematical topics beyond the typical 100-level math courses, while requiring no more than a basic high school knowledge of mathematics (high school algebra and geometry should suffice). Such topics may include the introduction of finite fields, matrix algebra, and combinatorics while examining how each of these branches plays a significant role in coding theory. Such ideas are behind the scenes in everyday activities like using your credit card without fear of someone learning your credit card number. This may be combined with the interplay between probability, game theory, and economics, and we will investigate the overlap of these threads. On the more theoretical side, an introduction to graph theory, group theory, non-Euclidean geometries, and knot theory will lead to ideas involving topology and the fourth dimension (and higher). All along the way, we will be making connections among all of these threads and examining the natural beauty of mathematics.


HON 277A  Drawing and the Self

Instructor: Jessen, Thomas A

$50.00 Course Fee

To approach the world through the act of drawing is to relate to it in a way that is fundamentally different from the way we typically do. This class will explore drawing as a non-verbal way of thinking. Through the practice of drawing, students will develop their understanding of representation, perception, and meaning. In discussions and written assignments students will hone their abilities to respond to, analyze, and interpret visual works. A large component of creation is looking at the process of production, which demands self-reflection regarding motivation, thought processes, emotion and biases. Assignments

will include drawings for group critique, reflection papers, and responses to local exhibits. Readings will range from philosophical texts regarding perception from a western and eastern mindset, right and left brain characteristics, anthropology of line and John Berger's reflection, "On Visibility."


HON 277H Telling a Story:Page to Screen

Instructor: Siamundele, N. Andre

Film art reflects (on), integrates and develops the concerns and strategies of literary narratives and movements. This course explores the work of key filmmakers of world cinema in conjunction with the discussion of relevant literary texts. It will emphasize differences between media as well as how the two media intersect.


HON 277S Child and Adolescent Development

Instructor: Jamison, Rhonda

This course is designed to expose students to the complexities of development from conception through adolescence. Emphasis will be placed on relations among physical, cognitive and social development in a variety of contexts and cultures. Prerequisite(s): None.



University of Maine at Farmington Honors Program