HNUH - University Honors
HNUH100 Gateway Seminar (1 Credit)
First-semester orientation and exploration seminar required of all UH students.
HNUH218A Pursuits of Happiness: Ordinary Lives in the American Revolution (3 Credits)
Dedicated to telling the stories of ordinary people in the American Revolution, to recovering the voices and experiences of all the founders of this country whose lives and contributions have been obscured by our tendency to worship a dozen or so well-to-do and well-educated men in suits as if they alone conceived and executed the American Revolution and the founding of the United States. So we'll be talking this semester about the marginalized, the downtrodden, the rank and file, the rabble - all the people who never make it onto monuments or money. The point of this is to allow us all to recognize the fundamental fact that fighting a Revolution is a collective act that requires a genuine mass movement. Declaring independence on a piece of parchment on a summer's day in Philadelphia in 1776 doesn't mean anything unless tens of thousands of people are willing to support that cause and fight to make it a reality. To revolt, then, is not an individual act - it's for crowds, for mobs, and for whole communities to do together. Declaring independence is a fundamentally cooperative act.
HNUH218B Frederick Douglass's America (3 Credits)
What does it mean to be free in the United States? The concept of freedom was embedded in the nation's political culture in the Declaration of Independence, and it has remained a cherished and contested ideal. We can interrogate this concept through the life and times of Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), who dreamed eloquently of freedom, thought carefully about its limits, and worked ardently to build a firmer freedom for a broader population. With Douglass as our guide, we will examine the survival of slavery in a nation built on freedom, images of the expanding United States as a land of opportunity, and the complex meanings and tremendous costs of freedom struggles during the nineteenth century. This history will push you to think critically about the contested concepts that shape our lives, and to consider the values and the perils of a society that positions freedom as its highest ideal.
HNUH218U Finding Feminist Freedom (3 Credits)
"I'm the one that'll make you pay." So goes one verse of what has become a Latin American feminist hymn, "Cancion sin miedo" ("Fearless Song," by Vivir Quintana). Transnationally, feminists today--particularly in the Global South--are on fire: militant, unafraid, angry, and, above all, driven by a desire to build a world where the promise of freedom for all is finally fulfilled. But what is freedom? Is freedom an abstract concept or a lived experience? Is it individual or collective? What is the meaning of 'feminist freedom'? These questions will be gauged by discussing, analyzing, and interpreting texts in feminist theory; decolonial and transnational feminist approaches; and feminist film, documentary, performance, and protest. At the end of the course, you will have learned that there is not one feminism, but many, become familiar with feminist theory and practice, and be equipped to live your own version of a feminist life.
HNUH218V Black Bodies and Green Spaces: From 1619 to Today (3 Credits)
From the antebellum plantation slave, who used uncultivated land as a place of deliverance, healing and route to freedom, to the Central Park bird watcher, whose green space presence was perceived as a threat to White physical safety, black bodies have a vexed relationship to green space. This course critically examines how systemic racism has shaped the experience, connection, and relationship to nature among Black Americans. Students will conduct in-depth analysis, critical thinking, and discussion on topics ranging from slavery and nature; The Great Migration; and Jim Crow, segregation, and parks; to green space inequity and "Moving While Black" (Treyvon to Ahmaud). While some environments (built, natural, virtual) within the United States have represented the essence of anti-Black racism and indignity, this course will further explore how many Black Americans still regarded nature as a space of freedom, humanity, and spirituality.
HNUH218W Freedom and Captivity: Prisons, Punishment, and Citizenship (3 Credits)
What does freedom mean if you're incarcerated? How is freedom, citizenship, and social membership mediated through the power of the state? What are the implications of punishment on how freedom is constructed, understood, and experienced? The United States purports to be a beacon of freedom while simultaneously incarcerating more people than any other country in the world. Throughout the course, we will discuss the writings of scholars, theorists, historians, and--most importantly--incarcerated people to interrogate the concept of "freedom" from the vantage point of the prison. Students will use these insights to analyze the complex tensions and relationships between social ideals and practice.
HNUH218X Uprising, Riot, Revolt: Violence in Story and Theory (3 Credits)
How does violence connect to revolution? Is violence the result of lone wolf actors, oppressive social structures, or just blind fate? Is it a side-effect of revolution or its driving force? Is violence a way to fight injustice, or is it a problem of evil? Why is one person's uprising another person's riot? In this seminar, we will explore literature, politics, and religion to debate the meaning and causes of violence. By examining the writings of a prison psychiatrist, historians, activists, theorists, and theologians alongside classic and contemporary literary works, we will disrupt common understandings of violence. In conducting interviews with community members, engaging in classroom debate, and sharing ideas in a project-poster session, we will investigate violence in the UMD community and wider DC area, and propose ways toward revolutionary change.
HNUH218Z Soundtrack to Revolution: Black Protest Music from Slave Ship to Soundcloud (3 Credits)
Invites students to hear a tradition of black protest music that reverberates from the slave ship to Soundcloud and beyond. Together we will ponder how black people have created, performed, broadcast, and mobilized music for protest, self-making, community-building, cultural critique, agitation, venting, healing, and joy. To hear what protest music sounds like, we will listen to Paul Robeson, Mahalia Jackson, Billie Holiday, Abbey Lincoln and Max Roach, Nina Simone, Fela Kuti, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Public Enemy, NWA, Lil' Kim, Lauryn Hill, Beyonce, and others. Must protest music set overt political statements to melody? How have black people mobilized music and art to shape their political conditions? What can music accomplish that artforms like literature and visual art cannot? How have various social justice and liberation movements deployed music? How has new media technology transformed protest? How does revolution sound to you?
HNUH219P Transform Maryland: Theories into Practice (3 Credits)
In this intensive, 10-person seminar, students undertake a real-world consulting engagement for their client, the University of Maryland, to improve one of its operational processes. Working as a consulting team, students apply analysis, user-centered design, behavioral and social science methods in order to identify opportunities for innovation and recommend solutions. The one-semester engagement is broken into four phases--Frame, Explore, Analyze, and Recommend--through which students assess the potential for changing operations, addressing political differences, and the potential for technology to augment the streamlined process. The practicum focuses on transforming critical university administrative and business functions and culminates in a presentation to key members of the University of Maryland leadership team. The specific project changes from semester to semester.
HNUH219T Transform Maryland: Consulting Practicum (3 Credits)
In this experiential learning opportunity, a team of students undertakes a real-world practicum to develop consulting skills and improve an operational process at the University of Maryland. A new project is selected each semester and the course culminates in a presentation to key members of the UMD leadership team. Through concepts drawn from multiple disciplines, students learn and apply an analytical, systems approach to problem solving. Working with oversight from experts in the industry, students partner with university officials to understand and map a business process that affects students, identify opportunities for process innovation, and apply user-centered design to develop a persuasive narrative to recommend solutions and leverage the potential for technology to streamline the process. This practicum prepares students to consult for real-world change, while practicing competencies they will use in their professional internship experience the following semester (HNUH219P).
HNUH228A Peace in our time? Conflict and Conflict Resolution in International Politics (3 Credits)
Is the world getting more peaceful? There are currently civil wars raging in much of the world and millions of people have fled these wars as refugees or internally displaced persons. Terrorist attacks kill thousands, and can occur in any corner of the planet. At the same time many actors use strategies such as peacekeeping, mediation, promotion of human rights and post-conflict justice to resolve conflicts and build peace. In this course, we will examine conflict, peace, and conflict resolution in contemporary international politics. We will interrogate concepts such as peace, conflict, and violence, the different forms that these phenomena can take, and how we can measure their occurrence. We will discuss theoretical explanations for why individuals and groups have disputes and why these actors choose to use violence (or not) in these disputes and examine these arguments in specific cases. We will analyze conflict resolution strategies such as mediation, peacekeeping, and human rights promotion both theoretically and empirically. This discussion will allow students to develop an argument for whether the world is getting more peaceful, why it is or is not, and what this could mean about the future of violence and peace.
HNUH228B Redesigning Life: Prospects and Consequences (3 Credits)
What is at stake for our world as humans seek to redesign biological organisms? Biotechnology advances are enabling us to read, edit and write genomes, including our own. This revolution has been fueled by the quest to understand and cure disease. Yet, these innovations have far-reaching consequences beyond medicine and will reshape our world in ways we can only imagine - or fear. The course will challenge students to confront the risks and rewards for them, their family, their community, and their future, as biotechnology moves out of specialized laboratories and into homes. A demystifying, low-tech approach will introduce them to contemporary genome redesign, clarifying the current limitations and future goals of the field. Students will debate whether redesigning plants and animals will enhance or inhibit momentum in human genome engineering, and formulate their own arguments about who should be able to use these tools and where, who decides, and how much society is willing to risk.
HNUH228U A Life Worth Living: The Legacy of Eugenics in Genetics (3 Credits)
Should parents be able to choose their child's eye color? Or alter their child's genome to eliminate a hereditary disability? While these might seem like different concerns, both are eugenic questions. In this class students will learn about the legacy of eugenics and its role in the development of genetics by analyzing science fiction works through the lens of disability studies. We'll explore the past to identify who has historically been considered "fit" and look to the future to consider what kinds of embodiments, and life experiences, society seems willing to let disappear.
HNUH228V At What Cost? An Examination of the Societal and Ethical Impact of Modern Biological Research (3 Credits)
The results of modern biological research are pervasive - from cutting edge medical treatments, to debates about mandatory vaccination, to genetic engineering breakthroughs. This course will examine the social, ethical, and biological costs of research. The focus will be on the larger issues that surround the biology - questions of ethical research, the perception of science versus reality, the intersection of science and society, and even we may need to reconsider the meanings of "self" and "human". Students will reflect on the lessons learned to propose how research can proceed in a way that balances the demands of discovery with social justice and the ethical use of animals and the environment.
HNUH228W Planetary Protection vs. Planetary Imperialism (3 Credits)
International space agencies, such as NASA, ESA, and CNSA, continue to push the boundaries of deep space exploration, buoyed by public excitement, scientific ambition, and political motivation. However, the invasion of alien environments warrants an ethical consideration. What are the risks of forward contamination? What are the potential consequences of reverse contamination? How do we avoid a "space race" incentivized by imperialism? What happens next if we do discover life on another planetary body? This course equips students to grapple with such questions in light of the current state of planetary science, world affairs, and the near-term prospects for the commercialization of spaceflight.
HNUH228X How to Wage War Without Firing A Single Shot: A History of Soft Power and the Cold War (3 Credits)
If you close your eyes and think about war, the first images that pop into your mind are probably soldiers, battles, and military technology--NOT jeans, kitchens, and hockey! And yet, during the Cold War, it was precisely realms like fashion, sports, and music that, for many people of the time, came to define the conflict between the United States and the USSR. This course will explore soft power, or countries' ability to get what they want through attraction rather than traditional force, in the context of the Cold War.
HNUH228Y Interrogating Issues of Piracy/Pirates amidst the Shadowy Landscapes of War & Peace (3 Credits)
Who are pirates and what constitutes piracy in a given era? To what extent do changing notions of piracy reflect major societal transformations at the national, regional and global levels, as well as reveal the contested and often overlapping boundaries of war and peace? How can we use pirates/piracy as a "tool" to engender an historical, economic, political, social, and cultural understanding of global forces and change? Do the legends and myths surrounding infamous pirates represent the realities and relationships of early and new forms of piracy? Could piracy be conceived as a form of counterculture? To what extent do piracy, rivalry, state building, war-making, peace-making all belong on the same continuum? This course examines pirates/piracy as an integral part of major global processes. We will investigate when and why piracy emerged and flourished, and how lawbreakers and lawmakers relate to one another on the murky terrains of power, then explore alternative ways to (re)configure who is a pirate and what constitutes piracy, especially within the dynamics of today's neo-liberal globalization.
HNUH228Z The Problem of Prejudice: Overcoming Impediments to Global Peace and Justice (3 Credits)
What is prejudice? How are our prejudices formed? What similarities and differences are there between various forms of prejudice across race, gender, nationality, politics, religion, among others? What is the relationship between prejudice and conflict? What is the role of prejudice in thinking about issues of peace and justice? How can we better understand the role that prejudice and discrimination have in a globalizing world? What can we learn from a scientific basis of knowledge about the causes of prejudice? This course will survey interdisciplinary scholarly research and popular cultural conversations about the root causes of prejudice and discrimination. You are expected to examine empirical evidence toward formulating your own views about the impact that all forms of prejudice impose on the human condition and the role it has played in your own life. Based on research evidence, the course encourages the search for solutions to the blight of prejudice.
HNUH229P Climate in Crisis: Strategy and Advocacy (3 Credits)
This theory and practice track examines theoretical frameworks for understanding climate change and concrete cases that shed light on the complexity of managing it. In this, the practical component of the Climate in Crisis track, we explore several domestic energy and climate policy case studies, examining the competing roles played by various interest groups that influence legislative and regulatory outcomes, with a focus on differing organizational advocacy strategies. Once we have mastered organizational advocacy strategies, students bring those tools to bear on the most recent US Federal policy mandates and legislation. In 229T, students will complement this work with a deep dive into the nature of public goods and climate change policy, among other crucial considerations.
HNUH229T Climate in Crisis: Socio-Environmental Sustainability (3 Credits)
What does it mean to achieve sustainability and how does use of a socio-environmental lens help move the world in that direction? In this, the theory component of the Climate in Crisis track, students will develop an understanding of socio-environmental systems, what they have in common with other complex adaptive systems and the approaches used to study them. With a focus on why a socio-environmental systems approach can help illuminate the environmental, socio-cultural, economic, and intersectional dimensions of sustainability, we will explore what different disciplines bring to this complex topic and use qualitative and quantitative approaches to grapple with problems of sustainability. How do we work with stakeholders to identify the vulnerable, the equitable paths forward, and the trade-offs? Who are the winners and losers of policy decisions? In HNUH229P, students will complement the work of this course with hands-on engagement at the level of Federal policy and legislation.
HNUH238B Systemic Racism in Public Opinion and Policy Attitudes (3 Credits)
If we believe that racism is bad, why do we still support racist policies? No matter how hard we work to end it, the challenge of racism seems here to stay. Though attitudes toward racial segregation in schools have changed, schools are more racially isolated than ever. There is a disconnect in American public life between support for the idea of equality and resistance to policies aimed at addressing racism, and a deep divide over how to eliminate inequality. This course focuses on public opinion and how these attitudes inform public policy. Can we address systemic inequality through public engagement and by changing the national narrative with the support of evidence? Does change come from shifting views or shifting policies? Students will explore these issues through a case study on racial equity in the Honors College. By developing skills in evidence-based op-ed writing and survey-based experiments, students will add their voices to these pressing public debates of our time.
HNUH238U Unequal Opportunity? Race and the Future of American Education (3 Credits)
America's schools are dynamic microcosms of society at large. They simultaneously reflect, reproduce, and shape what happens outside of the classroom, including the many ways that racism affects us all. The educational mechanisms that operate for the benefit of some and to the detriment of others are often hard to see, often because they are hidden in plain sight. For example, national tests are standardized. When racialized differences in test scores appear, they are called "achievement gaps" and the disparity is attributed to essential differences or cultural deficiency rather than inequitable access and opportunity. In this course students will learn methods to critically examine such commonplace notions as the achievement gap and to document their effects on society. They will also develop strategies for self-reflection that enable them to confront inequity in their own educational experience and work to create change.
HNUH238V Still Separate and Unequal? The Enduring Role of Segregation in American Life (3 Credits)
Racial segregation remains an enduring feature of American life today though many believe segregation is a relic of the past. Using an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates history, sociology, political science, and public policy, this course highlights the complex ways in which legacies of segregation continue to shape life in the US. We will identify how federal, state, and local governments endorsed systemic racism through policies that defined the racial geography and resources of racial groups in the US. Students will engage with policy experts to consider the promise and limits of policies that promote integration within communities and the connection between race, spatial location, and current political divisions.
HNUH238W Monsters and Racism: Black Horror and Speculative Fiction (3 Credits)
The previous decade has been considered a renaissance for Black Horror. From Get Out to Lovecraft Country, the genre has enjoyed unprecedented mainstream media buzz and accolades. This course looks at contemporary Black horror and speculative fiction as cultural texts which put into question our notions of human(e) and inhuman(e) through critiques of white supremacy and accompanying oppressions. Students will learn a host of critical skills through close reading and analysis of literature and film by Black creators such as Jordan Peele, Misha Green, Toni Morrison, Jewelle Gomez, and Octavia Butler. With the ability to interpret cultural texts using literary criticism, film analysis, history, cultural studies, ethnic studies, feminist theory, and the social sciences, students will connect these texts to continuing historical and contemporary issues of racial and cultural oppression such as medical discrimination, policing and criminalization, misogynoir, and racialized capitalism.Cross-listed with: WGSS298W.
HNUH238X Learning as Deliberation: The Struggle for the Future of Higher Education (3 Credits)
It has been nearly a millennium since European university students first gathered in halls to listen to lectures. With some technological additions (lights, whiteboards, Powerpoints), introductory courses at U.S. universities look pretty much the same. For the past few decades, financial consultants, educators, and students have questioned whether this model of learning makes sense in the 21st century. In 2020, a pandemic gave this question a new urgency. Nothing about the old way of doing things seems inevitable anymore; everything seems up for debate. Should we get rid of lecture halls? What about dorms? The SATs? Tuition? This seminar invites students to deliberate about the current policies and politics of public higher education in the United States. We will study how ancient ideas about merit, democracy, and equity (or lack thereof) have shaped decisions about what higher education should offer and to whom. We will look to alternative traditions of learning with roots in indigenous worldviews, abolitionist organizing, and feminist collaboration, and study how these traditions have challenged and complemented public higher education. As we explore theories and practices of the past and present, students will learn to articulate and advocate for their own priorities as 21st-century citizens of UMD.
HNUH238Z Learning as Deliberation: The Struggle for the Future of Public Education (3 Credits)
This seminar invites students to deliberate about the historical roots of the policies and politics of public education in the United States. We will study how ideas about merit, democracy, and equity (or lack thereof) have shaped decisions about what public education should offer and to whom. We will look to alternative traditions of learning and study how these traditions have challenged and complemented public education. As we explore theories and practices of the past and present, students will learn to articulate and advocate for their own priorities in public higher education as 21st-century citizens of UMD. This course uses project based pedagogy. Students will create a proposal for teaching a facet of American History (Pedagogical Design Project) and engage in peer critique (presentation QA) to hone their critical skills.
HNUH239P Geopolitics of Finance: A Simulation of the Roller Coasters of Capitalism (3 Credits)
Explores the intersection of money, markets, politics, and power; and the periodic financial crises that leave a lasting, sometimes devastating impact on the global landscape. Students will examine the detritus of 200 years of crises in the United States, from 19th-century booms and busts, to early 20th-century crashes. They will take the roller coaster ride of the 2008 financial crisis, reliving events that left the world reshaped. Students will be primed to examine the ripple effects of financial crises and the role they have played in changing the global socio-economic landscape over the last two centuries. This course is self-contained but paired with HNUH239T in the Geopolitics of Finance track, which explores how globalization has brought about fundamental changes to our daily lives by making the world more interdependent.
Credit Only Granted for: HONR299F or HNUH239P.
HNUH248A Identity, Places, & Spaces (3 Credits)
Students in this interdisciplinary course will explore multi-layered issues related to privilege and oppression through their own life experiences via exposure to theory, research, film, memoirs, and current events. Students will evaluate and critique common assumptions about the meaning and experiences of privilege and oppression using Intersectionality theory as a guiding framework. The human experience related to various social identities (i.e., race, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, social class, religion, age, and ability) will be addressed.
HNUH248B Setting the Table: The Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Agriculture (3 Credits)
What will the farm of the future look like? Our current food system is plagued with paradoxes. An estimated 41.2 million Americans are classified as food insecure, but we produce 4,000 calories per person per day. Between 2008 and 2012, 1.6 million acres of long-term grasslands were converted to crop production, yet more than 350,000 acres of farmland were lost to development annually. This course will investigate what determines the food we eat and how we can make changes today that will improve both food access and the environment for future generations. Students will learn agribusiness, as well as alternative food movements and regenerative agriculture. They will meet experts from the USDA and Maryland producers. By growing their own vegetables, tracking food consumption, and exploring family history linked to farming, students will leave the course as conscious consumers empowered to navigate food system reform.
HNUH248U The Loneliness Crisis: Origins and Solutions (3 Credits)
In 2017, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy deemed loneliness an "epidemic." Despite the rise of social media that is meant to foster connection, over 23% of adults report being lonely and social networks have been shrinking for decades. Like a viral epidemic, widespread loneliness has grave consequences. Loneliness shortens lifespans at a rate akin to smoking 15 cigarettes a day and predicts mortality risk better than poor diet or lack of exercise. This course will explore how loneliness became a crisis--exploring potential drivers of loneliness like social media, systemic racism, homophobia, and the rise of romantic love--and what we can do about it. It will end with students developing interventions to diminish loneliness and practicing skills to connect with one another.
HNUH248V How Can We Study Environmental Problems? (3 Credits)
How do we study environmental problems? The course provides an overview of the ways social scientists collect information about environmental issues and environmental change, most of which are driven by society and the social world. The course focuses on learning how to collect data that are reliable and applicable to research questions. Through the lens of specific case studies of environmental efforts currently underway, students will learn how to construct a testable hypothesis, design a small-scale research project, and write up the findings of this work to understand environmental issues. They will develop a critical eye to the structure of social science research: identifying the object of inquiry, noting what is being tested; how it is operationalized; and evaluating the quality of the research conducted. The course requires no background or prerequisites.
Credit Only Granted for: HONR249D or HNUH248V.
HNUH248X My Hometown, Our Wilderness: Ecology of Identity (3 Credits)
What has been the setting of your life? Suburbs? Cities? A farm? We may be used to thinking of environments as equal access across society, since everyone is free to visit our National Parks or spend a day at the beach. But there are striking ways in which identity affects our habitat. Race, class, gender, sexual preference, and other markers have strong influences on where we spend our time, what we eat, and how we work and relax. Suburbs, cities, wilds, and farms are not just physical places, they exhibit histories of social inclusion and exclusion. For example, the money and free time of affluent Americans serves as a portal to leisure spaces that would be inaccessible to working-class Americans who lack the ability to take time off, drive or fly long distances, and pay for it all. We'll profile identity ecology through the poetry of African American urban naturalists, essays of wilderness-loving men like Edward Abbey, the comedy of white environmental outrage, and the racialized class tensions in resorts like Aspen, CO. This survey will support your in-depth personal exploration of identity ecology in a collaborative video media project.
HNUH248Y How Do You "Man Up?": Men, Masculinity, and Mental Health (3 Credits)
In August 2018, the American Psychological Association released guidelines regarding the best practices for researchers and mental health professionals when working with boys and men. Many reacted with the question, "are we treating masculinity as a mental health issue?" This course aims to answer that question by taking a historical perspective on how American society has viewed masculinity from the beginning of psychology as a field of study until present day. An intersectional approach will be taken to better understand how race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, and socioeconomic status impact men and masculinity. We will address the questions: How does one prove their manhood? How much of masculinity is biological versus socialized? What experiences are unique to men? And how do psychologists and mental health professionals understand and address mental health concerns among men?
HNUH249P National Security: US Foreign Policy (3 Credits)
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. launched a major effort to dismantle the Taliban and create a sustainable democracy in Afghanistan. In 2021, the Taliban took control of the country. Was the U.S. effort doomed to fail? To answer this question, UH students will partner with peers at the American University of Afghanistan through a virtual global classroom to examine the lessons learned from the U.S. and international presence in Afghanistan over the past 20 years. Through reading assignments and virtual meetings with former senior U.S. and Afghan officials, students will examine the reasons behind the downfall of the country and analyze whether the outcome could have been changed. Students are not expected to have any prior knowledge about the conflict in Afghanistan. This course is self-contained but paired with HNUH249T in the National Security track, which explores debates around efforts to protect the nation from terrorism while preserving our values.
Credit Only Granted for: HNUH249P or HONR269T.
HNUH258A Harvesting Big Data to Examine Agriculture and Climate Change (3 Credits)
Can agricultural production keep up with climate change? Data analytics and data science are driving the force behind the digital revolution, which has changed the way we are able to analyze and interpret the world. The explosion of data offers both opportunities and challenges that require new tools and methods of analysis. This course applies sophisticated digital tools to an age-old concern: the impact of environmental change and extreme weather on agricultural productivity. In this hands-on introduction to data analysis and visualization with real-world data, students acquire the tools to understand the impacts of environmental change and more.
HNUH258B The Ecology of Childhood Poverty (3 Credits)
How does poverty shape the relationship between humans and their environment? It may seem obvious that being poor in childhood has enduring effects on development. What is less obvious is how experiencing poverty in childhood shapes relationships between children and their surroundings, including family interactions, peer relationships, adult dynamics, and the health of the community. Less clear still is the extent to which positive interactions with caretakers and social supports can protect children from potential harm as they grow up. This course focuses on the complexity of poverty as a social force and community concern. Students will investigate the nature of poverty through an interdisciplinary lens that includes social theory, developmental psychology, and empirical studies. After analyzing various approaches to the study of child poverty, students will be in a position to use research on parenting and poverty to evaluate public policy and social programs in their own backyard.
HNUH258U The Basis of Behavior: Evolution and the Origin of Actions (3 Credits)
Why do some monkeys spend time grooming each other in large groups, while others lose their minds with rage if another monkey comes too close? Complex organisms exhibit behaviors that both fascinate and confound, and the way an animal behaves dictates how it interacts with its environment, with profound consequences. Individual behaviors can have dramatic effects on individual fitness, an individual's groupmates, and even the evolution of species. This leads to a fundamental question in behavioral evolution: why do animals do the things they do? The answer lies in the interaction between individual experiences and eons of natural selection. In this seminar, students investigate what organisms were, what they have become, and why. With a focus on the transitions in behavior that caused single cells to evolve over time into complex societies, students will apply evolutionary principles to individual development and explore how and why individuals choose certain behaviors over others.
HNUH258X Carnal Knowledge: Health, Data, and Power from Enlightenment to WebMD (3 Credits)
"Carnal knowledge" may sound provocative but, in a literal sense, it describes information derived from and about the human body. Consider a ship captain observing the tattoos of sailors to understand their origins, a surgeon examining a cadaver for signs of saintliness, or a natural philosopher ingesting an herb to determine its toxicity. These are instances of carnal knowledge. Historically, such intimate acts turned the body into a site of data collection and a powerful source of information. Both by choice and by force, the instrumentalization of the human body was used to solve scientific problems as well as to justify hierarchies of race and sex. Through a deep engagement with this material, students will connect topics such as the transatlantic slave trade to cell lines as they uncover the embodied relationship between information and power that still shapes our world today.
HNUH258Y The Power of the Writing Voice (3 Credits)
Words have power to ignite political storms, protest movements, and revolutions. Throughout history, writers have used their voices to create stories that have transformed the world. This course will examine powerful voices in history that have inspired social, political, economic, environmental and cultural change. Students will critically examine the power of these voices through the written word, lectures, and various other media. By critically listening to revolutionary speeches and "Soul" music, and by critically reading literature and essays, students will sharpen their own writing voices. As students explore the complex, dynamic relationships between the written word and cultural change, they will gain insight into the nature of power and influence.
HNUH259P Drawn to D.C.: Sketching the City (3 Credits)
Did you draw as a child? Are you a doodler? These pastimes are more than a distraction and amusement. Sketching is a way of thinking about your environment and understanding how you inhabit space. This course invites students to experience Washington, D.C. like an architect: with their eyes and their hands. We will study the work of architects and urban designers; visit landmarks in and around D.C. and the campus; and sketch indoors and outdoors. With D.C. as our laboratory, we will draw to understand the components that make the city a city, and explore tactile meanings of buildings and public spaces. Techniques presented in the course will range from the technical to the artistic, from field measuring and freehand sketching to creating 2D and 3D architectural drawings and presenting them. No drawing experience required! This course is self-contained but paired with HNUH259T in the Drawn to D.C. track, which explores the spaces we create and inhabit, and how they inhabit us.
Restriction: Must have matriculated in University Honors starting in Fall 2020 or later.
HNUH268A Arbitrating our Bodily Rights: What it Means to Consent (3 Credits)
Both American law and conventional morality support the view that human beings have bodily rights - ones we can waive by giving another person our consent to do what would otherwise be a rights violation. Yet, debate about the sovereignty of an individual's body and the potential rights of others--including the state--over our bodies lies at the core of some of the most contentious issues facing us as a society. This class will investigate the thorny debates that pertain to consent in sexual relations, medicine and research, and bodily markets. What types threats, offers, or cognitive incapacities undermine true consent? How do we evaluate the moral or legal significance of bodily rights when they come into tension with the government's interest? After evaluating arguments, exploring distinctions, and using philosophical tools to arrive at reasoned conclusions about consent, students will learn to apply these conceptual tools to cases from fiction and current events.
HNUH268B Global Heritage (3 Credits)
What traction does the past have in society today? This course explores globally how the past gains traction in society today and becomes remade in the present. That inquiry will be guided by the idea of heritage, as it mobilizes the past within a broad spectrum of social, political, economic, and environmental issues. We will examine western relationships to the past as intimately tied to property and the drive to plunder, collect, and catalogue. Increasingly, conceptions of heritage include landscapes, as well as intangibles such as music, dance, and folklore. This broad definition honors the diversity of present-day relations to the past, even as it strains heritage management models that are organized around definitions and regulations, and bear the weight of historical injustice. Close examination of heritage at work within global crisis and struggle prompts questions on who owns the past, and who owns up to it. What do we owe the past, and will we be good ancestors to the future?
HNUH268H Contested Bodies: Religion, Race, and Narrative (3 Credits)
What does your body express about who you are and what you believe? How do you perceive your body, and what role do public expectations, social values, and cultural norms play in that perception? With Muslim women as our primary case study, this course asks students to engage with the lived experience of bodies perceived as passive, vulnerable, or even violent in the Western context, and to evaluate their construction of agency. Through engagement with politics, religion, race, and transnational feminism, we will explore how bodies are expressed, contested, subjugated, and violated within various configurations of power and governance. We will encounter personal narratives--and create our own--to understand how bodies also resist the persistent forces that seek to shape their image.
HNUH268X Sex for Sale: Prostitution in Transnational Perspective (3 Credits)
Can sex be sold? Is prostitution work or violence, and who gets to decide if it is legal or illegal? The sex industry has provoked considerable debate in academia, policy circles, and aid organizations globally. This interdisciplinary seminar will engage with these debates through an exploration of histories of prostitution across time and space, and in a variety of theoretical and material contexts. Our main focus will be on the nineteenth- and twentieth-century U.S., Europe, and the Middle East, but we will also explore cases from Asia, Latin America, and Africa. We will use this transnational lens to interrogate social and cultural assumptions about bodies, agency, and social institutions. We will also consider a variety of social movements from anti-prostitution to SlutWalks, and regulatory policies from criminalization to legalization, and how they intersect with race. This course invites students to move beyond the surface and form their own approach to these body politics.
HNUH268Y The Politics of Disability: Life Narratives & Identity (3 Credits)
The politics of disability are fraught and contentious. This course takes up the experience of disability by asking how and why differently-abled bodies are excluded, marginalized, or threatened. Students will examine these questions through the psychosocial and cultural history of disability, as well as through life narratives and real-world exploration. Beginning with the history of disability, students will gain an understanding of how current disability identity and culture has develop in the US. Students will experience and also produce personal life narratives related to bodily politics and gain insights that help them navigate the politics and participate in the change-making advocacy of disability.
Credit Only Granted for: HONR218V or HNUH268Y.
HNUH268Z Body Boundaries: The science behind asexuality, coloniality, and immortality (3 Credits)
Animal bodies have clear boundaries across space and time - or do they? Although the most familiar animals have clearly delimited bodies and persist only for a certain amount of time, evolution has produced many remarkable animals that defy simple definitions of bodies. Some animals shatter their bodies into pieces to reproduce, generating a collection of identical clones. Others remain physically attached to their siblings or offspring - coordinating activities across attached individuals and functioning as a meta-organism. Still others continually renew their bodies and attain immortality. In this seminar, we will explore the naturally-occurring phenomena that challenge our concept of body. As we analyze the complex ways that bodies relate to one another in the world and broaden the definition of body, students will engage in authentic scientific practices with transferable skills.
Credit Only Granted for: HONR258A or HNUH268Z.
HNUH278A The Research Behind Headlines on Words, Thought, and Behavior (3 Credits)
How does the human mind use language? Type "Language Science News" into your Google search bar. Among the more than 3 billion hits, headlines like "What is love? It depends what language you speak" and "Science's English dominance hinders diversity" invite you to think about the impact of words on thought and behavior. These are stories about how humans acquire and use language, but they ultimately address big questions about how we experience knowledge itself. In a world of unprecedented access to science journalism, did you ever read a headline about human behavior and wonder: How do we know? This class takes up the elegant ways cognitive scientists design experiments to answer crucial questions about language and thought, brain and behavior, that have no intuitive answers. Students will dive deep into the media coverage of their favorite claims about what we know, debate the psychological science behind these claims, and develop transferable critical-thinking skills in the process.Cross-listed with: HESP214.
HNUH278B Democratic Habits (3 Credits)
How do ordinary citizens power democracy? At the age of 18, every American citizen is endowed with the right to vote, but what if democracy demands more than voting? With democratic processes seemingly in peril all around us, what can and should ordinary citizens do to safeguard democracy? Looking beyond the basic right to vote, this class will instead explore the complex ecosystem of citizenship practices necessary for collective self-governance. Turning to both philosophy and history, the course material addresses the power and peril of such civic habits as mutual aid, economic participation, tolerance, attention, organizing, protest, and more. We consider what resources these habits require, what virtues they inspire, and what happens when they conflict with each other. Students in this course will acquire the tools to develop and act on their own answer to the pressing question of what it will take to save democracy.
HNUH278U Indigenous Knowledge, Supernatural Remedy, and Collective Action: Lessons from Agrarian Societies (3 Credits)
How were human communities sustained before the rise of capitalism, individualism, and secularism? Where can we look to imagine a world in which modern science, polity, and ethics are not the defining system of civil social? Through an exploration of stories from late medieval Europe, China, Southeast Asia, and other regional communities, with a particular focus on the East, this course aims at de-orientalizing the narratives of the Western world by recovering the collective practices of the global past and present. Interrogating the idea that human history has been a linear process of industrialization and secularization, this course encourages students to reflect on the limits and problems of modernization, and learn from cultures whose practices were displaced or silenced by colonial knowledge production. Students will be empowered to consider, and even envision, alternative versions of modernity and the future of our world.
HNUH278V Climate Change, Infectious Disease, and Civil Society (3 Credits)
Viruses that are lethal to human life have been on earth for centuries. Why are they surging now? And how can we respond to the recent breakneck spread of Coronavirus? This class begins its journey with Homo sapiens, our ancestor that dispersed out of Africa and carried infectious diseases across the planet. Human expansion into new ecosystems also provided opportunities for us to acquire new pathogens. While all of human history is marked by diseases caused by human migration, the Industrial Revolution greatly accelerated human mobility while planting the seeds of the human impact on climate change. Today, the increasingly rapid movement of people and goods, combined with a warming planet and the large-scale disruption of major ecosystems has witnessed an unprecedented spread of infectious diseases. Students will explore how these trends impact our lives and collectively challenge themselves to do what must be done to save our planet and ourselves.
HNUH278X A Way with Words: Order and Knowledge in Enlightenment Europe (3 Credits)
"Without language, things cannot well be expressed or published to the World," wrote Edward Phillips in The New World of English Words (1658). In this course, we will interrogate the power of words to communicate and classify, to impose meaning and order in the historical moment that brought about many of our modern institutions and ways of thinking: the European Enlightenment. From the binomial taxonomies with which Linnaeus ordered "chaos and confusion" to the racist taxonomies deployed to reinforce inequities, we will survey how language facilitated the consolidation of European power at home and abroad. We will further develop the visual literacy to decode how images convey knowledge. Looking back to the period that gave shape to many modern languages, institutions, and divisions of knowledge, we will be poised to face today's crises.
HNUH278Y Science in an Age of Truthiness (3 Credits)
Scientific research has the power to advance understanding, create new technologies, and improve our lives. And yet scientific language - which is essential for these achievements - can be appear opaque and untrustworthy to non-scientists. Indeed, the fact that scientific understanding develops over time can even make the knowledge seem capricious. As a result, science is both unfairly maligned and unrealistically praised, sometimes even in the same breath. Through both the philosophy of science and historical scientific literature, we will survey how scientists have done and expressed science. Students will be empowered to critically evaluate current conceptions of science as these are revealed in the debates around climate change and COVID-19.
Credit Only Granted for: HONR299I or HNUH278Y.
HNUH278Z War of Words: Disinformation and Manipulation (3 Credits)
Examines a global phenomenon that has taken on massive proportions in the world: the spread of disinformation. We will explore types of false information, from misinformation to propaganda, that are designed to manipulate public opinion. We will survey the historical origins of these tactics, from conspiracy theory to racist propaganda, and how they have been used by governments, interest groups and businesses. Through a hands-on exploration of deep fakes and the alteration of text and image, this course will give students the practical skills they need to verify information and fact check. Students will leave the course conversant in the basics of digital safety for content producers.
HNUH288A Welcome to the Party: Race, Nightlife, and Identity in America (3 Credits)
How does play shape our humanity and national identity? We often define people by the work that they do, whereas we tend to think of leisure and after work playfulness as a release from that identity. This course takes up a particular form of play--nightlife--to reckon with how it shapes what it means to be human and how it impacts nationhood, particularly around matters of race and oppression. Spanning from slavery to the present, this course examines how nightlife has been used to deny black people's humanity and been a vital site of playfulness, manifest as joy, resistance, self-making, and aesthetic innovation. Using performance studies to make sense of the world, our explorations will range from cakewalk dance competitions on plantations to queer night clubs. Once students better understand how nightlife is vital to the making and the unmaking of black people's humanity, they will grapple with play as a meaning-maker in their own lives and in our democracy.
HNUH288B Race, Reproduction and Rights (3 Credits)
Can humanity thrive without ensuring reproductive freedom? The 2022 US Supreme Court decision that the right to an abortion is unconstitutional has generated impassioned debate about women's rights and access to reproductive health care in the US and globally. This debate opens space to think beyond "pro-choice or pro-life" polarization and create conditions that promote equity, respect for rights, and a healthy society. These conditions would need to address injustices such as the racism, gender inequalities, marginalization, and colonization that produce disparities in reproductive health care and jeopardize the well-being of individuals, families, communities, and countries. Who controls the bodies of marginalized women and men? What is the meaning of reproductive rights for people who have little power? This course challenges students to bring together multiple disciplines, become critical data consumers, and develop innovative ways to use this knowledge to influence policy.
HNUH288X The Human Interface, from Anatomy to Avatar (3 Credits)
Anthropomorphized pets post on Instagram, FitBits transmit biodata, bots influence elections... In the digital world designed by and for human beings, all sorts of actors imitate people, while people are objectified through surveillance and data mining. Despite a frequent distinction between the internet and 'IRL,' physical bodies are wrapped up in every aspect of existence online: from the factory workers who build our technology to the postures and gestures those devices require us to adopt. Exploring this range of bodily phenomena, this course considers what constitutes a "human body" online and how digitality and connectivity inform our understanding of personhood. From RPGs and dance challenges to AI and visceral responses to internet content, students will analyze the complex relationships between the technological and the embodied, the social and the political, the past and the future.
HNUH288Y What You Are and Why it Matters (3 Credits)
Who you are is interesting and important, but not the subject of this course. What you are is closer to our topic but not yet specific enough; after all, you are many things: a student, a citizen, a driver, a Terp, and so on. This course asks deeper and more elusive questions: what kind of being are you? What is your fundamental nature--the nature you share with others and that simultaneously grounds your individuality? We will work to answer these questions and investigate the limits of our nature, from the possibilities of time travel and teletransportation to the realities of dissociative identity disorder and conjoined twins. The insights we glean will help us grapple with the nature of human existence--from what happens when you die, to our responsibilities toward others, to nothing less than the meaning of life.
HNUH288Z Non-Human Animals in Human Society (3 Credits)
As humans, we share our lives with other animals in diverse and conflicting ways. Non-human animals can be consumed as food, used for scientific research, and treasured as companions. They are commercialized, worshipped, and stereotyped. Our complex relationships with other animals emerge from and fuel debates about what makes "us" different from "them." In this course, we will ask (and attempt to answer) questions such as: What roles do we open to (or force on) non-human animals in American culture and why? Who makes these decisions and what is their effect on animal life? We will explore the evolution of modern human-animal relationships to contextualize major social and scientific debates that have arisen in the last century, including what it means to be human in this context, and why they matter.
HNUH300 Vantage Point Seminar (2 Credits)
Goal-setting and project-design seminar required of all UH students and taken in the second semester of the sophomore year or the first semester of the junior year.
HNUH318T Political Engagement and Advocacy (3 Credits)
An examination of questions and issues in the practice of political engagement and advocacy. Guest lecturers drawn from political, civic engagement, and advocacy arenas will visit class and participate in discussions.
Restriction: Must be in the Federal Fellows Program; and permission of instructor. Cross-listed with: FGSM310.
HNUH328T Public Health Policy (3 Credits)
An exploration of the major questions and issues facing the U.S. health care system as well as the formulation and implementation of health policy.
Restriction: Must be in the Federal Fellows Program; and permission of instructor. Cross-listed with: FGSM320.
HNUH338T Homeland and National Security Policy (3 Credits)
An examination of the concept of U.S. homeland and national security, threats, and major vulnerabilities in the context of recent history.
Restriction: Must be in the Federal Fellows Program; and permission of instructor. Cross-listed with: FGSM330.
HNUH348T Energy and Environmental Policy (3 Credits)
An examination of issues of energy and environmental sustainability through an investigation of policy-making in energy, climate change, and sustainable development.
Restriction: Must be in the Federal Fellows Program; and permission of instructor. Cross-listed with: FGSM340.
HNUH358T Critical Regions and International Relations (3 Credits)
An examination of international relations and foreign policy challenges in critical regions.
Restriction: Must be in the Global Fellows Program; and permission of instructor. Cross-listed with: FGSM350.
HNUH368T U.S. Diplomacy and Policymaking (3 Credits)
An examination of questions and issues in the practice of contemporary diplomacy and policy-making. Guest lecturers drawn from Washington policy-making and foreign service communities will visit class and participate in discussion.
Restriction: Must be in the Global Fellows Program; and permission of instructor. Cross-listed with: FGSM360.
Credit Only Granted for: HNIUH368T or FGSM360.
HNUH378T Science Diplomacy: Foreign Policy & Science, Technology, and Innovation (3 Credits)
An exploration of the critical roles scientific knowledge and technological innovation play in the formation and implementation of foreign policy issues, including energy and climate change, public health, space and innovation, and economic development.
Restriction: Must be in the Global Fellows Program; and permission of instructor. Cross-listed with: FGSM370.
HNUH388T Responses to Global Challenges (3 Credits)
An examination of global issues and responses primarily from the perspective of the practitioner. The focus will be on social, humanitarian, and human rights issues in different global contexts.
Restriction: Must be in the Global Fellows Program; and permission of instructor. Cross-listed with: FGSM380.
HNUH398P Federal and Global Experiential Learning (3-9 Credits)
This is the experiential course component of the Federal Fellows Program and Global Fellows Program.
Restriction: Permission of instructor.
Repeatable to: 9 credits if content differs. Cross-listed with: FGSM398.
HNUH398T Global Health Challenges and Water Security (3 Credits)
An examination of questions and issues of global health and water security. Expert practitioners will also visit class and participate in discussions.
Restriction: Must be in the Global Fellows Program; and permission of instructor. Cross-listed with: FGSM390.