Honors 400-level Seminars

Our HON 400-level seminar courses are designed and delivered by some of UNLV’s most talented professors. With maximum class size of 16 students, these one-of-a-kind courses create a powerful atmosphere for invigorating class discussions, discovery, and deep learning.

Our menu of HON 400-level seminars changes each semester to keep students (and professors) on their toes. Click below for descriptions of our upcoming seminars.

Spring 2017

HON 410-1001: Science in American Culture

Mondays & Wednesdays, 10–11:15 a.m.

Steve Rowland, Ph.D.

Analysis of the relationship between science and American culture from colonial times to the present. Key themes include 1) evolving relationships between science, religion, and art, 2) influence of the maturation of the historical sciences on American culture in the nineteenth century, and 3) role of science in American public policy today.

HON 410-1002: Intersex: A Multidisciplinary Approach

Wednesdays, 2:30–5:15 p.m.

Georgiann Davis, Ph.D.

Intersex is a term with contested meaning, but in general, people have used it to refer to bodies that have a combination of what are typically, albeit problematically, considered male and female sex traits (genital, gonadal, or chromosomal, for example). In this honors seminar we will explore intersex from various perspectives including medicine and bioethics, sociocultural studies, literature and film, and advocacy and the law. As we study intersex from each of these perspectives, we will ask: how is intersex framed, and how does such framing impact the lives of intersex people? We will also consider how these perspectives are in conflict with one another in ways that might harm, rather than help, intersex people.

HON 410-1003: Victorian Legacies: Victorians & Technology

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10–11:15 a.m.

Maria Jerinic, Ph.D.

Sometimes, nineteenth-century British novels are dismissed just too easily: too long, too stuffy, too boring. In this class, we will challenge these claims by examining the impact of Victorian writings and society on contemporary U.S. culture. Readings will probably include Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol, Benjamin Benjamin Disraeli’s Sybil, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. We will also explore recent visions of Victorian society by reading late twentieth-century novels such as A.S. Byatt’s Morpho Eugenia, The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling (or another Steam punk text) and films such as The Young Victoria (2009) and The Prestige (2006). Assignments probably will include two shorter essays and one creative project with a related presentation.

HON 410-1004: US Intelligence

Fridays, 8:30–11:15 a.m.

Cathy Hanks, Ph.D.

This course provides an introduction to United States Intelligence. The emphasis will be on strategic, as opposed to tactical intelligence used by policy makers. We will explore what intelligence is, the organizations that make up the intelligence community, counterintelligence, covert action, and oversight of intelligence activities. Concerns related to intelligence activities in a democratic society, include civil liberties and freedom of the press, and the challenges of the post-9/11 environment will also be addressed.

HON 410-1005: Love and Sex in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Mondays & Wednesdays, 1–2:15 p.m.

Dr. Beth Rosenberg, Ph.D.

This course will introduce you to representations of love and sex in twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature. Sometimes ideal, sometimes profane, sometimes violent, the works we will read are meant to challenge your assumptions and to illustrate how the meanings of love and sex shift and change according to historical, political, and aesthetic contexts. We will read poetry, drama, novels, and short stories--from the modern period to the present--along with the conceptual and theoretical paradigms of Plato, Foucault, and Freud. Equally as important, this course will focus on each student's ability to articulate, both orally and in writing, his or her responses to the texts.

HON 410-1006: 1 + 1 = 3: An Exploration of Couple and Family Systems

Mondays, 2:30–5:15 p.m.

Carissa D’Aniello, Ph.D.

In every relationship, there are three entities, you, me and the relationship. Relationships have traits or qualities that are unique.  For these, and many other reasons, relationships are fascinating and intriguing. Relationships are the context in which human beings live their lives.

Marriage and family therapists (MFTs) specialize in understanding mental health problems within the context of relationships. Relationships are viewed as systems. In this class we will learn the relational or systemic principles that form the basis for how MFTs understand relationships. We will analyze couples and families depicted in popular movies according to systemic principles to help us observe and understand couple and family systems in action! We will also discuss how marriage and family therapists focus on the interactions between people, particularly close family relationships when they conduct therapy.

HON 410-1007: Principles and Practice of Psychotherapy

Mondays & Wednesdays, 11:30–12:45 p.m.

Noelle Lefforge, Ph.D.

"I want to be happy." This is a phrase every psychotherapist has heard many times. Alleviating suffering and improving well-being are the cornerstones of psychotherapy, but how does this happen? This course will explore via readings, discussions, videos, in-class activities, and writings the answers that have been reached by psychological science and practice over the last century. We will identify universal aspects of psychotherapy that promote change and you will attempt to enhance your own ability to exhibit these "common factors." We will also investigate more specific interventions such as psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and dialectic-behavioral therapies that have different conceptualizations of clients’ suffering and corresponding techniques for promoting change. Lastly, we will consider the limitations of psychotherapy to reach its desired outcomes and what is currently being done to advance its endeavors.

HON 410-1008: Motivation and Leadership

Fridays, 8:30–11:15 a.m.

Dr. Daniel McAllister, Ph.D.

As you develop technical and professional skills, remember that because you are competent you will be leading. This class will assist you in your preparation for that reality. Specifically, this class will focus on the concepts, theories and case studies concerning the leadership and motivation of people in modern organizations. The best way to learn about leadership and motivation is to participate in, and observe and analyze that behavior. The class discussions will provide a framework for observation and analysis, and participation in the team assignments will provide additional experience for that observation and analysis. In order to be fully successful in your development of your leadership knowledge and skills, both the framework and the experience are crucial. I will do everything I can to help you increase your knowledge and skills. I need your commitment to prepare and to participate fully in class and team discussions.

HON 410-1009: Media, Privacy and Surveillance

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10–11:15 a.m.

Julian Kilker, Ph.D.

What are the implications of corporations, governments, and individuals using technologies for surveillance and for protecting privacy? This question has become even more complex with Edward Snowden’s recent release of secret NSA documents. In this course we’ll cover topics from varying definitions of privacy to the classic Panopticon to modern digital media systems such as those used in Las Vegas. We’ll examine corporate, government, and citizen uses of surveillance, as well as research representing individual concerns about privacy. Throughout the course, we’ll use readings, resources, and lectures to help us understand multiple perspectives on surveillance and privacy, both pre- and post-9/11, and pre- and post-Snowden.

HON 420-1001: The Aesthetics of Sound

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 1–2:15 p.m.

Jonathan Lee, Ph.D.

This course introduces students to the skills, materials, and relationships of a variety of disciplines in the humanities, including literary and language study, philosophy, cinema studies, and history, with a focus on sound as it has been theorized, utilized, and assessed at various points in history and in various places around the world. Our readings and discussion will be organized around a number of key themes and questions:

  • What did these writers, musicians, and artists consider sound to be? What do we?
  • What did they/we take the difference between sound and noise to be? 
  • What did they/we make of silence?
  • How did they /how can we appreciate, describe or theorize a sound?
  • How did they/how can we differentiate the aesthetics of sounds, images and texts? How is hearing different from looking or reading? 
  • Did they believe/Do we believe that there is an ethics of sound?
  • Did they believe/Do we believe that sounds have histories? That they belong in places?
  • What did they/do we take a "voice" to be? What is "voice" in writing?
  • What did they/do we take sonic beauty to be?
  • How has sound informed other forms of literary and visual representation?
  • How have media technologies altered (or invented) aesthetics of sound? 
  • What is the relationship between sound and language in song and poetry?

HON 420-1002: New Millennial Filmmaking

Tuesdays, 2:30–5:15 p.m.

Kynan Dias, MFA

Though invented over one hundred and twenty years ago, the motion picture remains the 21st century’s dominant medium of domestic and international pop culture. In this course, students will explore the evolution of cinematic techniques shaping the most innovative films of today and will create short video projects incorporating their research. Students will explore the seeming contradiction of the most cutting-edge new millennial films becoming either increasingly fast-paced and sensorially overloaded—or sparer, more deliberate, and hyperrealistic. Domestic topics range from the new business demands driving Hollywood toward film franchises and transmedia properties, through theoretical frameworks influencing both genre films (Chaos Cinema and the Found Footage phenomenon) and art films (Metacinema and the Hyperlink Film). International subjects include such oddities as the Greek Weird Wave and Norwegian Slow TV.

HON 430-1001: Gandhian Welfare Philosophy & Non-Violent Culture

Mondays, 2:30–5:15 p.m.

Dr. Satish Sharma

This course is designed to be an introduction to Gandhian welfare philosophy and nonviolent culture. Gandhian welfare and nonviolent culture conceptions are explored with reference to present human needs, values, orientations, life styles, and cultural practices. The social, moral, and political bases of societies are examined with a view to remove inequality, injustice, and oppression and for coming up with peaceful alternatives to the solution of problems. Self-empowerment, self-development, and just and egalitarian order are the other emphases.

HON 430-1002: Cinematic Depictions of European Sociopolitical Conflicts

Mondays & Wednesdays, 10–11:15 a.m.

Joanna Kepka, Ph.D.

Contemporary Europe is experiencing tremendous political, cultural, and economic changes.  During the last decade, Europe has been described as both one and many as the region experiences movement toward unification and division.  Using film as medium, this seminar examines cultural and political landscapes of post-war European societies. We will explore themes of war and hegemony, religion, territoriality, regionalism, ethno-nationalism, and national and European identity, among others.  Throughout the course, we will make connections between the political realities of modern European societies and their cultural representations on screen.  This class offers an opportunity to acquaint yourself with the most pressing issues in contemporary European societies through the medium of film.

HON 440-1001: Mestizos, Mulattos, and Mixt Bloods: A History of Mixed-Heritage Peoples

Mondays & Wednesdays, 1–2:15 p.m.

AB Wilkinson, Ph.D.

Over the past few decades, there has been greater discussion concerning people of "mixed race" in the United States and this class will continue that discourse from a historical perspective. The number of people who identify as multiethnic has increased in the 21st century, especially after the 2000 and 2010 U.S. Census allowed people to "mark one or more" racial box for the first time in the nation’s history. Also, the rise of U.S. President Barack Obama, who has called himself "a mixed kid from Hawaii," has brought additional attention to mixed-heritage people. However, people of blended ethnoracial descent have existed in the Americas. Since the 16th nd 17th centuries, people of mixed African, European, and/or Native American ancestries played a crucial role in how European colonial authorities first constructed ideas about race in both Latin America and North America. Officials and the general population used terms such as "Mulatto," "Mestizo," "Half Indian," and "Persons of Mixt Blood" to describe those who did not fit neatly into monoracial categories. This course will take a historical approach to investigate these people’s lives as well as the trajectory of mixed-race ideologies over the past few centuries in colonial Latin America, North America, and the U.S. We will rely largely on secondary source readings to inform our weekly discussions, as we grapple with ideas surrounding ethnoracial mixture and how people of mixed heritage have been conceptualized over time. Understanding this history will help us better understand contemporary views about mixed-heritage people in the U.S. today.

HON 440-1002: Crime and Punishment

Thursdays, 2:30–5:15 p.m.

Heather Lusty, Ph.D., and Joe Rhodes, Ph.D.

This course will take a wide look at discourses and narratives of crime and punishment, a relatively modern phenomenon. Texts will include material from sociologists, public discussion, political speeches, social movements, manifestoes and historical narratives exploring the understanding of crime and punishment, the individual and the state, society and the criminal, the physical and the psychological, and the racial, gendered, and cultural aspects of criminality, detention, and rehabilitation in the twentieth century. Writing assignments will include 25 pages (cumulative) of responses (via close reading and critical thinking) to the texts.

HON 440-1003: Rhetorics of Utopia/Dystopia

Tuesdays, 2:30–5:15 p.m.

Joe Rhodes, Ph.D. and Heather Lusty, Ph.D.

This course will begin with first taking a historical approach to utopia (in the context of western civilization, egalitarianism, racial and gender equality, and religious freedom) by using public argument, political speeches, and social movements as discourse. The second half of the course will examine a selection of dystopian fiction, looking at the theoretical application of "perfect" societies and the potential failures/perversions of the utopian experiment. Writing assignments will include 25 pages (cumulative) of responses (via close reading and critical thinking) to the texts.

HON 440-1004: "What’s up Doc?": Health Communication in a Diverse Society

Tuesdays & 11:30–12:45 p.m.

Lisa Menegatos, Ph.D.

This survey course explores the connection between communication and health. We will learn how provider-patient communication impacts health outcomes, how to design effective messages to influence health behaviors, how interpersonal relationships effect health, as well as how our health can impact our relationships. The course places special emphasis on diversity and culture. As such, we will explore ways to tailor health campaigns based on the target audience’s race, ethnicity, culture, gender, and/or sexual orientation. Additionally, we will explore how these aspects of diversity can influence providers’ and patients’ perceptions of and interactions with each other.