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A Sample of Previous Courses

HON 101
Coming of Age in America
This course considers coming of age in the United States through determining the cultural markers of childhood and adulthood by examining history and literature, film other media and cultural artifacts. Students can expect to read extensively and compose several papers as well as complete an interactive, collaborative final project that engages with, or questions, contemporary notions of what it means to transition from childhood to adulthood in America.


HON 177
This course will investigate what the term “adolescence” has meant across time, how it has been defined across academic disciplines, and how it has been and still is depicted in popular culture. Because this course is a writing seminar, the class will focus on reading, research, and writing about adolescence over a series of assignments. The class will include individual essays, as well as a cumulative project at the end of the semester in which the class produces its own journal issue on adolescence. This course is equivalent to ENG100.

HON 177S
Camden Conference on Foreign Affairs
Each year a conference is organized in Camden, Maine on a selected topic related to world affairs. For 2018, it will be on “New World Disorder and America’s Future.” Topics include the rise of nationalism, transformation of the global economy and range of future threats such as climate change, population growth, and cyber security. Presentations at the Conference feature experts from the worlds of diplomacy, journalism, business 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 February 16-18 and write a short essay informed by these readings that reflects on their experiences at the event. This is a 7 week, 2-credit course.


HON 180N
Ghost in your Genes
In this course we’ll examine, from a modern perspective, the question of nature versus nurture. How do your genes, interacting with your environment, shape your personality, IQ, exercise behavior, or your predisposition to mental illness? Using current research in behavioral genetics and psychology, we’ll investigate the real reason you’re unique and why your uniqueness is key to evolution.
$20.00 Course Fee


HON 277
Transformations in Orthodoxy
This course examines the various philosophical, sociopolitical, socioeconomical and sociocultural elements of the Orthodox religion as it has transformed, acquiring a secular or protestant character. In order to better understand this transformation we will situate and focus these elements throughout the sociohistorical process. In this framework we will focus on the emergence of Orthodox religion, the continuity between Greek philosophy and Orthodoxy, the Byzantine period, the sociopolitical/ socioeconomical mindset of Orthodoxy, Orthodox monasticism and current Orthodoxy.


HON 277A
Thinking, Meaning, Drawing
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. Assignments will include drawings for group critique, reflection papers, and responses to local exhibits. Readings will range from the phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty, theories of perception from Eastern philosophical thinkers such as Alan Watts, aesthetics from the writings of John Berger and readings in comparative anthropology.


Cities and Their Music
Examining a particular city during a particular period, this course traces a key idea across diverse fields using music as a departure point. For example, the idea of  'time and space' was radically re-conceived in early 1600s Italy–evident in music through Monteverdi’s antiphonal (multiple) choirs; in science through Galileo’s astronomical telescope; and in architecture through Palladio’s harmonic proportion. More recently, the use of `repetition’ after World War II became obsessive in 1970s New York City–from the new genres of Hip Hop and Disco to television earworms and numbered movie sequels. How do these key ideas emerge in particular times and places? What do we learn about the transmission of ideas in our own time? And what are the advantages and disadvantages of a conceptual historiography? For students interested in music, history, philosophy, and the challenge of engaging interdisciplinary connections.


HON 277H
Telling a Story: Page to Screen
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 477
Nature-Based Education
This course will focus on connecting children with nature through nature-based education. What is nature-based education and why is it important for children? Where and how does one implement this curriculum model? Students will explore the history, foundations, curriculum, teacher’s role, high-quality practices, and benefits of nature-based education for children through concepts, theory, and application. Some classes will be held outside to apply lessons learned. Field trips to a nature-based school and a local farm are included and may extend into common time. Activities will also take us to Bonnie Woods, Abbott Park and the Sandy River. Early childhood majors must have professional standing or candidacy.


HON 101: In the Beginning (First Year Seminar)
How did it all begin? This course will trace the idea of origin, creation, or beginning through various disciplines: literature, religion, philosophy, and science, returning to the question, “How did it all begin?” Our central text for this course will be The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony,Roberto Calasso’s imaginative retelling of the Greek myths. Along the way we will explore both specific origin stories—stories about the beginnings of people, of consciousness, of the universe, of language— and the larger question of why and how origin stories matter.


HON 101: Being Human, Becoming Machine
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: First Year Seminar
This course recounts the great narratives that gave form to the Western literary tradition. It retraces the steps and meditations of eminent thinkers and writers from Homer to Shakespeare, and from Voltaire to Emily Dickinson. It will also critique the notion of the ‘Western Canon’ itself by exploring postmodern, postcolonial, and feminist encounters with Western literature and philosophy.


HON 177: Stand and Deliver: The Art and Practice of Public Speaking
This 1-credit course (meeting every other week for 100 minutes) provides students with the insights, experience, and confidence to plan and deliver compelling public presentations.  In workshop format, students will develop and hone skills in the elements of great public speaking: organization, content, delivery, and visual aids.  Pre-requisites: acceptance into the Honors program or permission of the instructor.


HON 177M: The Natural Beauty of Mathematics
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 177S

History Road Trip

​Instructor: Schoeppner, Michael

This course examines the process by which historical figures and events are commemorated and memorialized. Maine's monuments will serve as our case study. Over four weeks, we will visit 10-12 monuments across the state to analyze the historical figures being memorialized and the era in which the memorials were built. Local experts will be on hand to discuss the various monuments and to recommend archives that might help unpack the process by which history and memory become part of the built environment. In travel days, we will hold our seminar en route to and from the memorial. These "traveling seminars" will be recorded, edited, and posted online as a podcasts Non-travel days will be dedicated to analyzing theoretical texts on commemoration, reading case studies of monuments in other locations, and interviewing historians well versed in the process of commemoration. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor or good standing in the Honors Program.

HON 180N: Ghost in your  Genes
In this course we’ll examine, from a modern perspective, the question of nature versus nurture.  How do your genes, interacting with your environment, shape your personality, IQ, exercise behavior, or your predisposition to mental illness?  Using current research in behavioral genetics and psychology, we’ll investigate the real reason you’re unique and why your uniqueness is key to evolution.


HON 180N: Soil, Soul, and Society
This course is about how growing food and working the soil enhances spiritual, financial, emotional, social, mental and physical dimensions of health for individuals and communities, while promoting global sustainability. You will work on a variety of local farms and participate in two full day experiences on two different farms. You will be exposed to the art and science of operating a small, family farm as you learn to grow, harvest, store and share nutritious food, experiencing what it means to be a part of one Earth community.


HON 180N: The Biography of a Molecule
There are about 30 million natural and synthetic substances known. Many are powerful drugs that catapult countries into violence. Others unite couples for life in loving relationships. Some substances are created by scientists with a particular purpose in mind. We will take a compound and study its chemical behavior and its impact on society, economics, psychology, etc.

HON 277H: Religious Diversity in Classical Antiquity
In this course we survey ancient Jewish, Christian, and non-Jewish, non-Christian (i.e. ‘pagan’ or ‘Gentile’) literature that discusses religious Others. The course is concerned with various forms of interreligious dialogue in the Greco-Roman world: conflict and controversy; prejudice and xenophobia; persecution and martyrdom; discussion and debate; assimilation and acculturation; proselytism and conversion. Contact with religious others also spurs internal debate on normativity, orthodoxy, deviance, and heresy, concepts that are related to broader issues of ethnicity, nationalism, purity and virtue. What makes a ‘Jew,’ a ‘Greek,’ a ‘Roman,’ or a ‘Christian’ in the ancient world? Who gets to decide: insiders or outsiders, ancient agents or modern scholars? This course serves as an introduction to the religious diversity of classical antiquity, while using this period as a lens to better understand the challenges and opportunities of religious diversity in our own complex, interconnected world.


HON 277S: New Directions in Philosophical Psychology
What is mind?  Is it different from the brain?  What is freedom?   What does it mean to assume moral responsibility?  Is it possible for human beings to be seduced by Evil?  What are the conditions that must be met if we are to achieve moral maturity?  These questions have long preoccupied philosophers and theologians, though without resolution.   Perhaps the time has come to turn to the social sciences for help.   In this class, we will explore the contributions that the discipline of psychology might make to understanding mind, freedom, moral responsibility, and other traditional philosophical problems.  Special attention will be devoted to relevant theory and research in the fields of cognitive psychology, social psychology, and lifespan personality development.  By the end of the term, students should be in a position to determine whether the discipline of psychology can indeed reveal the essence of the human mind and illuminate paths to the Good Life.


HON 277H: Pure Lyric: Sappho, Astro, Gaga
A history of the lyric and the concept of lyricality, from its emergence in the literary arts but with attention to music and the visual arts, physics, zoology, psychology, and the cinema. Along the way we will consider various critical attempts to distinguish the lyric from other poetic modes, notably the epic, and try to account for both its ascendancy in American poetry of the 19th and 20th centuries and its diffusion into popular culture. In short, how does the lyric emerge and develop as a genre? What is the relationship between lyricality and poetics more proudly? How does it relate to melody or euphony? What does ‘lyrical’ mean when applied to other genres (prose, film) or in different disciplines.


HON 277S: From Kapital to Capital: Inequality in Capitalism
Does Capitalism cause inequality? Must it? This course will explore economic inequality over time through the writings of Marx and Piketty among others. It is part of the Power Up Co-Lab and a substantial amount of time both in and out of the course will be spent on a community based project focused on crowd funding.


HON 377: Psychobiography
In this class, students will learn how to use psychological theories to understand the personality development of historically significant individuals from the world of art, science, politics, and entertainment. This course will be of interest to students who are equally enthralled by history, political science, the humanities, as well as the building blocks of normal (and abnormal) psychological development. Students will become conversant in the controversies inherent in psychologically-informed biographies and discover the rigorous methodology utilized by the best psychobiographers. Students will study multiple psychological theories (e.g., Freudian, Neo-Freudian, Developmental, and others) and read and evaluate existing psychobiographies.  For a final paper, students will employ the principles of rigorous and respectable psychobiography to an individual of their choice.


HON 377: James Joyce
Study and discussion of work by the Irish novelist James Joyce, including Chamber Music, Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses, with some attention to biographical and critical texts.


HON 377A: Surrealism: Arts of the Unconscious
In popular parlance, we have come to say, “That’s surreal,” to describe something as “weird.” However, behind the term “surreal” lies “Surrealism,” perhaps the most influential artistic and literary movement of the twentieth century. Originating in 1920s France, Surrealism emerged as a critique of European rationality in the aftermath of World War I. This course offers an in-depth investigation into the aesthetic debates and unsettling forms of expression that fueled the Surrealists’ attempts to harness the unconscious mind in order to revolutionize society through art. Works studied include poetry, novels, painting, photography, film, and music, as well as theoretical texts.