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Honors College Courses - Fall 2018

Please check back on a regular basis, as we will be adding new courses through the month of March.
Please use the OASIS Schedule Search to see course availability.

Honors Arts and Humanities – IDH 3100

Course Number: 3100-001
Subtitle: Song, Story and Sculpture: Art and History in Africa
Day & Time: Tuesday / Thursday | 9:30am-10:45am
Professor: Leslie Bessant
Description: In Africa, the arts don't just "teach" history: they make history. From simple children's songs that build community, to master works that inspire leaders to fulfill their duties to the people, the arts play a vital role in the creation and re-creation of African societies and cultures. This course will explore topics such as the roles and impacts of virtuoso jeli, or griots, in Mande-speaking West Africa and vivid three-dimensional court art of Ife, Benin, Kuba, and other kingdoms. We may even sing ourselves, just to see what happens to our community when we share our voices. Readings, weekly essays, group projects; no exams or research papers. 

Course Number: 3100-003
Subtitle: The Whitewashing of Black Music
Day & Time: Monday / Wednesday | 8:00am-9:15am
Professor: Calvin Falwell
Description: Throughout popular music artists have always borrowed from each other.  One group stands alone for cultural colonialism. This course will explore how western genres - country, jazz, blues, hip-hop, rock-and-roll, and techno — so rooted in black traditions, came to be understood as white art forms. We will discuss a broad historical overview of white appropriations of black musical forms and culture, from blackface minstrel pioneer T.D. Rice through the current day.

Course Number: 3100-004
Subtitle: Narrative Cartography
Day & Time: Tuesday / Thursday | 12:30pm-1:45pm
Professor: Ulluminair Salim
Description: "You can kiss your family and friends goodbye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach; because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you." — Frederick Buechner, Author and Theologian

If explorers one-hundred years from now were to discover a map of your life, what would it reveal about your innermost landscape, and where would it take them? What form would it take--a mobile, a tapestry, a paper in a bottle, bobbing at sea?  Likewise, if you were lost, how would you map your way "home," and what does "home" look like for you? Cartography is the study and practice of map-making, and Narrative Cartography invites students to map and traverse symbolic territories of lived experience. Through reading, writing, and creating, students will examine multiple ways to tell stories that matter to them, from the mundane to the profound. This practice-oriented course leverages both written narrative and traditional and contemporary cartographic methods to visit places seldom explored. What is the distinction between real and imaginary? Where are boundaries and fissures, and what do they hold in and keep out? What are ways in which territories are contested? Where does your story end and others' stories begin, and where do communal stories live? Students will enliven these questions through creative art-making practice and challenge traditional notions of space, place, and structure. Moreover, through piecing and framing various aspects of lived experience, students will create a constellation of maps such as messy maps, ordered maps, three-dimensional maps, maps composed of found objects, verbal maps, visual maps, moving maps, static maps, and other multilayered forms of journeying. 

Course Number: 3100-006
Subtitle: The Horror Film and Identity
Day & Time: Friday | 9:30am-12:15pm
Professor: Wesley Johnson
Description: This course is an extended examination of how the horror genre, which investigates cultural anxieties regarding difference, the foreign, and the other, produces and reproduces narratives about gender, ability, sexual, and racial identities. For many, Horror connotes perversion and withdraw. But, we will consider the subversive and normative functions of the horror genre. We will look beyond this and analyze the narratives, their contexts, reception histories, and critical analyses of the texts. Primarily, our course will explore how the horror film, especially across national contexts, illuminates cultural struggles with differences and identity construction. Additionally, students will see how genre reflects national concerns and identities beyond the personal.

Course Number: 3100-007
Subtitle: Why Bother About Identity: Politics of Music, Culture and Belonging
Day & Time: Tuesday/Thursday | 12:30pm-1:45pm
Professor: Angsumula Tamang
Description: Music, in general, is often viewed as a form of passive entertainment. However, studies in music demonstrate that it not only effects our interpretation of the world, but also frames how we articulate our beliefs, assumptions, and judgments about ourselves and others. In addition to exploring music as an important signifier of identity formation, socio-cultural representation, and historical belonging, this course will also examine the role of music as a dynamic political phenomenon that allows interesting opportunities for analyzing negotiations of power played out within the context of race, gender, ethnicity, music industry, nation-state, diaspora, dislocation, resistance, and minority struggles. Readings will incorporate interdisciplinary perspectives ranging from ethnomusicology, film studies, literature, and the social sciences. We will cover readings from Scotland, Ireland, Australia, Brazil, India, Poland, Bulgaria, Afghanistan, U.S.A., Niger, Cambodia, and Myanmar. This course will also require students to critically engage with ideas of representation and music as an ongoing debate that often involves undertaking strategic positions constructed within the play of power and ideology. No prior technical knowledge of music or musical terms is required for this course.

Course Number: 3100-008
Subtitle: It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, but I like it: Music and American Society
Day & Time: Tuesday / Thursday | 2:00pm-3:15pm
Professor: Lina Chaves
Description: From Elvis to Aerosmith to Nirvana, rock music has provided much of the soundtrack for American life. This course will examine the ways rock music has shaped and was shaped by the political, social and cultural currents of American Society during the last half of the twentieth century. Beginning with the roots of rock and roll in Jazz Age and working toward the present day, we will examine the development of rock music and American history simultaneously to uncover the ways music has informed understandings of race, class, gender, and sexuality. This course combines the use of primary sources (music videos, concert footage, etc.) and critical readings from a variety of disciplines (musicology, sociology, history) to fuel our in-class discussions.

Honors Natural Sciences – IDH 3350

Course Number: IDH 3350-001
Subtitle: Climate Change Science
Day & Time: Tuesday / Thursday | 9:30am-10:45am
Professor: Greg Lankenau
Description: Human-caused climate change is poised to become one of the greatest challenges of your lifetime. Yes, you! Developing climate literacy, or an understanding of how climate change happens, what its effects are, and what we can do about it, is a crucial skill for global citizens in the 21st century. This course is devoted to building a scientific understanding of human-caused climate change that reaches across disciplinary boundaries. What does an informed, educated, and engaged global citizen need to know about the science of climate change? That's what this course is about! Course topics include fancy-sounding concepts like climate forcings, the greenhouse effect, energy imbalance, feedback, scientific reasoning, and the effects and evidence of climate change across multiple domains. Throughout, we will emphasize the importance of the consilience of evidence, or independent agreement, from multiple scientific studies and disciplines. This course weaves together atmospheric science, oceanography, ecology, physics/chemistry, paleoclimatology, and computer modeling to explore the interconnected web that is our scientific understanding of climate change. No specific background is required, though a general interest in natural science, and a curious, inquisitive mind, is a plus.

Course Number: IDH 3350-003
Subtitle: Science Fiction, Science Fact
Day & Time: Friday | 9:30am-12:20pm
Professor: Kevin Mackay
Description: This is a seminar style course exploring facts and fiction in the astronomy media. We will explore a selection of science fiction movies and novels along with Art and popular culture which has an astronomy basis and we will critique the ideas presented. Students will explore what is fact, what is feasible and what is pure fiction and will have the opportunity to express their learning via a class project which may have a scientific or artistic emphasis.

Course Number: IDH 3350-005
Subtitle: Florida Weather and Climate
Day & Time: Monday / Wednesday | 11:00am-12:15pm
Professor: Jennifer Collins
Description: Philosopher John Ruskin said, "There's no such thing as bad weather, only different types of good weather." Floridians may disagree. In sunny skies and dry weather, too much sun can lead to drought and wildfires. Some rain is good. Too much? Residents are flooded. Florida is the US thunderstorm and lightning capital, bringing hail, wind, and flooding rain. Some of the worst tornado outbreaks occur in Florida, and despite a ten-year hurricane reprieve, 2016 and 2017 showed us it is "game on." This course taught by Dr. Jennifer Collins, who is the President of the West Central Florida Chapter of the American Meteorological Society and has flown with the Hurricane Hunters through Hurricane Sandy and led a team of USF students on research during Hurricane Irma, will delve into Florida's wild weather and climate, including hurricanes, tornadoes, windstorms, hail, drought and wildfires, dense fog, climate change and sea level rise. Students will be able to obtain Service Learning experience as they present experiments to a community partner (middle school teachers). This course is aimed at anyone with a general interest in weather, as well as those interested in education. Note: Students will be required to conduct weather experiments to train teachers in the community on Saturday, Nov. 3, at an off-campus location from 8:45am-12pm.

Course Number: IDH 3350-007
Subtitle: Geology of National Parks
Day & Time: Tuesday / Thursday | 3:30pm-4:45pm
Professor: Judy McIlrath
Description: Why do we have public lands set aside as National Parks? What geologic processes created the variety of landscapes so unique that our predecessors mandated that those landscapes be preserved? In our growing need for natural resources, should we exploit the resources of the parks? Students will have the opportunity to express their learning by researching a national Park of their choice as a term project which may have both a scientific and creative emphasis. An optional field trip to several National Parks, most likely in Arizona, will be a consideration for the enthusiastic!

Honors Social/Behavioral Sciences – IDH 3400

Course Number: IDH 3400-001
Subtitle: Biopsychosocial Components of Behavior and Health
Day & Time: Monday / Wednesday | 3:30pm-4:45pm
Professor: Melvin James
Description: Only those on the approved list will be given a permit to register for this course (see Mr. Mejias if you have any questions). This course is only for sophomores in the 7-yr med program -- permits have already been given. You must be on the approved list in order to take this course! This course provides scientific inquiry, reasoning skills and content areas for the Psychological and Social Foundations of Behavior for the new MCAT 2015. In this course, human behavior and illness are viewed from a systemic rather than a reductionist perspective. The combination of biological, psychological and social determinants, and their contributions to behavior and health, is examined from critical analysis and evidence-based problem solving approaches.

Course Number: IDH 3400-002
Subtitle: Health, Illness and Society
Day & Time: Tuesday / Thursday | 11:00am-12:15pm
Professor: Nana Tuntiya
Description: How do people define health or illness? These concepts have much importance to us personally, but they also carry social meaning tied to individuals' status and behavior as well as the attitudes toward them from fellow citizens.  Similarly, medicine is more than a science, it is also a social institution that is built on human relationships and fulfills important societal needs. This discussion-based course will explore illness subjectivity, social and cultural determinants of health, doctor-patient interaction, stigmatization of chronic and mental illness, and the development of a new vision of health as an all-encompassing wellness phenomenon. In the end we might find that good health is much more than our own need or interest, it's a profoundly social experience rooted in specific cultural and temporal frameworks.

Course Number: IDH 3400–003
Subtitle: Science, Art, and Justice: A Social Autopsy
Day & Time: Tuesday / Thursday | 9:30am-10:45am
Professor: Ulluminair Salim
Description: "Artists, in a sense, are the antibodies of the cultural bloodstream." –Bill McKibben, Environmentalist.
Where do science and social responsibility intersect, and how can we leverage art to intervene upon wicked social problems? This course provides a unique glimpse into an arena where activists commingle science and art to advance agendas for justice. Through critical readings, field experiences, and engagement with guest activists from diverse academic and professional disciplines, students will examine the ways in which social biases and representational politics influence what and how we see.  This interdisciplinary, issue-based course will survey contemporary social problems, investigating the powerful ways in which science and art intersect in criminal justice, food justice, trans/gender justice, reproductive justice, environmental justice, and immigrant justice.  Through close examination of the art and science of advocacy, students will develop a critical lens through which to see the social world.

Course Number: IDH 3400-004
Subtitle: Cultures of the World
Day & Time: Tuesday / Thursday | 2:00pm-3:15pm
Professor: Linda Tavernier-Almada
Description: Around the globe, traditional cultural beliefs guide much of human behavior. Various aspects of traditional cultural beliefs and norms inform the everyday decisions of average citizens, world leaders, CEOs, and other people of influence. The impact that traditional beliefs have on the behavior of people across the globe is often not understood by most Americans. Typically, aside from the superficial information that they get from their TVs or short tourist trips, most Americans are completely unfamiliar with the fundamental cultural concepts that guide the behaviors of people in other countries. Yet, because we now live in a global society, it is crucial that we understand which cultural traditions and beliefs are motivating the people in the communities and markets that are intertwined around the globe. In this course, students will become cultural pluralists by developing the skill sets needed to identify a broad range of international cultural norms and beliefs.

Course Number: IDH 3400-005
Subtitle: Climate Change Disinformation and Denial
Day & Time: Tuesday / Thursday | 3:30pm-4:45pm
Professor: Greg Lankenau
Description: Climate change is probably the most well-studied phenomenon in human history, yet a sizeable number of people deny that it even exists. Why is there such a big gap between the overwhelming scientific evidence and general public perception? This interdisciplinary course is designed to investigate the widespread public misunderstanding of human-caused climate change.
More specific questions include: 

  • What does the evidence actually say regarding climate change? (A question of the natural and applied sciences.)
  • Despite the overwhelming evidence, who has been spreading false doubt? (A question of politics, economics, and history.)
  • Why do so many of us give credence to this false doubt? (A question of psychology, sociology, and the humanities.)
  • And, perhaps the most important question of all, how do we do something about it? (A question that draws from communication and engages all of our skills, interests, and relationships.)

In exploring these questions, we will consider topics such as argumentation and the nature of science, the mechanics of climate change, psychological and social denial, current and historical disinformation campaigns, and effective communication strategies. Throughout, we will emphasize a collaborative approach to learning, with the recognition that climate change is a global challenge that requires us to communicate well and to work together collectively for solutions. Do you want to peek behind the curtain of falsehoods, delusion, and manipulation? Do you want to learn how to reach people across barriers of politics and outright denial? Then come join us! All majors and backgrounds are welcome.

Course Number: IDH 3400-006
Subtitle: Power, Resistance and Social Change 
Day & Time: Monday / Wednesday | 2:00pm-3:15pm
Professor: David Jenkins 
Description: This course examines revolutionary communication and cultural expression as sites of resistance that contribute to broader systems of social change. Looking at contemporary events like Black Lives Matter and the Arab Spring in comparative perspective with social movements of the past, this course examines how power and resistance operates in society and how revolutionaries express themselves. In varying ways these figures call for new ways of being and construct unique political identities. These "battlegrounds" examined feature multiple narratives that all contend for visibility and control. We will explore relevant debates, historical and contemporary, concerning the political impact of technology as well as the roles of ethnicity, gender, and sexuality in revolutionary politics. There is a focus on social media, humor, art (both "every day" and "fine"), and the human body as sites of resistant communication. The approach to this course is theoretical, practical, local, and transnational. It draws from fields as diverse as sociology, performance studies, rhetoric, critical theory, cultural studies, and post colonialism.

Course Number: IDH 3400-007
Subtitle: Science Fiction & Heterotopias: envisioning & constructing flourishing cities
Day & Time: Thursday | 12:30pm-3:15pm
Professor: Alan Bush
Description: This course will attempt to use the authorship of science fiction to shape the course of the future. If and how we flourish as individuals and communities is interdependent. Our experience of ourselves is strongly influenced by the community in which we live. Our communities are heavily influenced by the sorts of institutions that reproduce them. The sorts of institutions that exist within our communities is heavily influenced by what preceding generations thought possible. What our ancestors through possible was enabled & constrained by the art they experienced, as the distillation of the "desirable-possible". A flourishing community therefore depends upon having vibrant art.  We live in the Urbanocene, a geologic era in which cities contain the majority of all humans, and urban society influences the geologic and biological composition of the globe.  This course will explore this question: what is the "desirable-possible" for our urban Earth? To explore this, the course will use case studies of heterotopias. A heterotopia is an "other place" that stands outside of our experience, without being a utopia (desirable but not possible) or a dystopia (possible but not desirable). The course will use case studies of contemporary & historical cities, and stories from science fiction to prepare for the authorship of short works of science fiction.  The course will be a writing group, reviewing, appreciating, contesting, nurturing, refining and contributing to each other's' work over the course of the semester. 

Course Number: IDH 3400-008
Subtitle: Sociology of Influence
Day & Time: Friday | 9:30am-12:15pm
Professor: Nana Tuntiya
Description: How do we make decisions in everyday life? What makes us buy a certain product, choose somebody as a friend, or select a place to live or work? If we are in charge (as we all like to think) why do we so often end up with a dress that doesn't quite fit, with a subscription for a magazine that's never read, or spend an afternoon with a neighbor we don't have any interest in talking to? Why do we opt to do things other people want rather than things we would like to be doing, and how can we resist that? This course will explore the sociological and social psychological mechanisms of influence and compliance gaining in advertising, politics, and everyday life. Wherever we go, we are surrounded by persuasion messages of all sorts. Politicians compete for our votes, businesses and advertisers for our money, technology developers for our attention. Quite often the influence on our decisions is so subtle we don't even notice that we were manipulated into taking a certain course of action. Although not all influence is negative or strategic, understanding what makes us vulnerable to specific influence strategies and an ability to recognize them in different social settings make us more aware and more independent social actors. 

Course Number: IDH 3400-009
Subtitle: Post-World War II America Through the Camera's Eye
Day & Time: Wednesday | 9am-12:15pm
Professor: Daniel Ruth
Description: This course will examine the relationship between the significant news events of Post-World War II American history as covered by television. The course will explore how news events shaped the evolution of television and how television influenced the framing of current events. Students will study such topics such as the Army-McCarthy Hearings, the emergence of the documentary form of reporting, the Kennedy-Nixon debates, the Kennedy assassination, Vietnam, the Watergate scandal, the Iran hostage crisis, the Clinton impeachment, the Iraq wars, the election of the nation's first black president and the rise of Donald Trump. It is critical that students taking this course enter the classroom with some fundamental prior understanding of the material to be covered. This is not a remedial history class. Rather this course is designed to enhance a student's understanding of historical and current events as well as the medium of television's role in influencing the public's perception of society. Students will also be required to make a weekly presentation assigned by the instructor, as well as prepare an end-of-term project of their own design. Students will also take a 20-question weekly current events quiz.

Course Number: IDH 3400-010
Subtitle: Design Thinking
Day & Time: Tuesday | 2:00-4:45pm
Professor: Fred Steier (and Travis Thompson)
Description: What is it like to design a new "app"? An exhibit at a science center? A sustainable community? A global organization that inspires creative confidence? A university? A new home for refugees? A collaborative communication process for designing any of these? This course will develop and explore key ideas of design thinking, including how it relates to design practice. We will focus on design in a very broad sense, as an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving, whether those problems are seen as social, technical, or rooted in the arts and humanities. To situate design thinking as a form of collaborative problem solving, we will grapple with questions of creativity and innovation rooted in contexts of democratic participation and intercultural understanding by inquiring into how problems get defined as problems. In other words, we will study "messes" as a way to look at questions of problem definition, explored across boundaries. As this course is rooted in learning-by-doing, we will study "messes" in both theory and practice.

We will have several projects that will be the basis of our design thinking, with the projects involving potential community partners. These may range from issues involved in lives of refugees to the design of learning spaces (including our own learning spaces) to community building in both a geographical and human sense. In these projects we will focus on issues of design process, communication in design teams, collaboration, and also human values that underlie good design thinking. In other words, the course will involve innovation, creativity, and serious play! For questions or more information on this serious play, please contact Dr. Frederick Steier or Dr. Travis Thompson.

Honors Seminar in Applied Ethics – IDH 3600

Course Number: IDH 3600-001
Subtitle: Punishment and Freedom
Day & Time: Tuesday / Thursday | 2:00pm-3:15pm
Professor: Bruce Arrigo
Description: In Western societies, freedom assumes a prominent role in charting the development of cultures and civilizations. Freedom is cherished. Conversely, punishment is regarded as an artifact of freedom's excesses. "Correction," then, is the natural, healthy, and inevitable human consequence of making bad choices. The forms of punishment abound. Electronic surveillance, physical confinement, enhanced interrogation practices (i.e., torture), and death by lethal execution represent some of the punitive mechanisms by which people and their behavior are socially controlled. But in advanced, technologically sophisticated, consumer-driven societies, is freedom necessarily that which liberates the human subject? Moreover, are choices that are presumed to be inappropriate, deviant, dangerous, and even criminal, and that result in punishment, correction or disciplining necessarily a function of unchecked, unrestrained freedom? In short, might presumably "bad" choices signify the limits (rather than the excesses) of freedom? And, if so, might punishment (and the culture of "civilized" control) be the least humane and insightful response for those who draw our attention (perhaps unknowingly) to freedom's shortcomings? This course grapples with these questions. the course probes the landscape that inextricably binds punishment and freedom together. This landscape is populated by forms of consumerism, politics, technology, and culture that, for better or worse, define our humanity.

Course Number: IDH 3600-002
Subtitle: Bio-Medical Ethics
Day & Time: Tuesday / Thursday | 8:00am-9:15am
Professor: John Dormois
Description: You must be pre-approved in order to register for this course. This seminar in applied medical ethics will cover a variety of subjects that will be primarily practical rather than purely philosophical. Topics to be explored include: experimentation on human subjects, access to care, health care disparities, abortion, and the right to die. The primary objective will be to develop a method for approaching ethical issues in medicine. Students will be primarily responsible to leading discussions with minimal formal lecturing. (Permit Required)

Course Number: IDH 3600-003
Subtitle: What the H*ll Do I Do Now?
Day & Time: Monday / Wednesday | 9:30am-10:45am
Professor: William Ditewig
Description: Today's world is a jigsaw puzzle of choices. Sometimes we make good choices; sometimes they're lousy. This seminar will take a wide-ranging look at some of these issues and the ethical principles involved in dealing with them. We will discuss and debate issues of politics, current events, technologies, sexuality, and many more. Students will take an active part in selecting issues for discussion. We will examine issues from many different perspectives. Fundamentally, we will try to formulate an approach to moral decision-making that can be used within any field of study or career. 

Course Number: IDH 3600-004
Subtitle: Environmental Ethics in the Anthropocene
Day & Time: Monday / Wednesday | 2:00pm-3:15pm
Professor: Greg McCreery
Description: The Anthropocene, the current geological age in which human activities have significantly altered the environment, presents ethical, political, and economic challenges never before seen by humanity. A core question is how should humans live in relation to nature? However, this question merely brushes the surface of the diversity of environmental issues that humanity faces. The history of the environmental justice movement, grassroots community organizing, population growth, sustainable practices, conservation and preservation, food and water security, pollution, severe weather events, sea level rise, storm surge, energy production, city planning, engineering, anthropocentrism and nonanthropocentrism, the treatment of animals, and the roles played by various religions, globalization, industrialization, and post-industrialization all merge together in this course. Students discuss these and also pursue their own directed research within the interdisciplinary world of environmental ethics in order to develop an understanding of how we have come to this Age of the Anthropocene, and to strategize solutions for the present and future.

Course Number: IDH 3600-005
Subtitle: Ethics at the End of Life
Day & Time: Tuesday / Thursday | 11:00am-12:15pm
Professor: Lindy Davidson
Description: Death is a taboo topic in American culture, in spite of the 100% chance that every human will eventually experience it. This aversion to serious consideration and conversation regarding death, even among physicians, results in a lack of preparation for many people at the end of life. In this course in applied ethics, we will examine the intersection of medical ethics and end-of-life care. We will look at the history of ethics and decision-making by examining notable cases from U.S. history; consider multiple end-of-life contexts including pediatric illness, cultural perspectives, the impact of religion, and institutional influences; and examine the tools used by healthcare professionals to address ethics at the end of life. This interactive course will engage students by using creative arts activities, reading responses, and perspective taking. The course will culminate in a final research project in which students create a helpful tool for patients, families and/or practitioners that relates to end-of-life.

Course Number: IDH 3600-007
Subtitle: Ethics in the Age of Social Responsibility
Day & Time: Monday / Wednesday | 11:00am-12:15pm
Professor: Allen Zimmerman
Description: This course takes a journey through ethics as seen through the lens of the mass media. Today, more than ever, corporations and governments are aware of the people's demand for ethical behavior. As a result, social responsibility has become the buzzword that every large organization is stampeding to embrace in the hope of gaining the support of YOU, the responsible citizen of the new world. To guide our explorations, we'll review examples of advertising and other forms of mass communications that are designed to showcase corporate and government efforts in the realm of social responsibility. Yet, we'll also examine practices in our society that are intentionally hidden for fear of a backlash if the truth were to be revealed. Be prepared for exciting and dynamic classroom discussions around topics as diverse as: (1) the war industry (2) television as a propaganda tool (3) environmental issues and GMOs (4) U.S. healthcare and the modern pharma industry (5) medical marijuana (6) poverty and homelessness (7) women's body image (8) overpopulation, migration and adoption (9) youth culture, substance abuse and cyber-bullying (10) animal rights (11) social change and the growing yoga culture (12) globalization, diversity and inclusion.

Course Number: IDH 3600-008
Subtitle: Civic Literacy and Current Events
Day & Time: Thursday | 2:00pm-4:45pm
Professor: Daniel Ruth
Description: This course will examine the week's current events and explore our civic institutions of local, state and federal government. Students will be expected to come to class well-versed in the days breaking news events and be prepared to discuss these issues in class. There is no textbook. Students will be required to read The Tampa Bay Times, listen to National Public Radio and watch various news programs. There will be a weekly quiz. Students also will be divided into teams and take turns preparing a weekly presentation on some news topic. There will also be an end-of-semester project presentation.

Honors Geographical Perspectives – IDH 4200

Course Number: IDH 4200-001
Subtitle: Japan
Day & Time: Tuesday / Thursday | 3:30pm-4:45pm
Professor: Atsuko Sakai
Description: "Japan is like a "period" at the end of a sentence. Whether it is religion, culture or technology, Japan was often the final destination for any movements flowing East. Traveling through other countries and eventually crossing the ocean, these movements morphed overtime reflecting the geological and geographical context of the places they passed through. It reminds you of the children's game "whisper down the valley."  Our studies will include the overall history, current issues in modern society, nature, and an oral history of WWII. We will also examine the cultural identity through literature and art. The purpose of the course is not only to build geographical knowledge about Japan, but also to draw multiple perspectives by examining the complexity of a country and the relationships with other countries. The challenge was and is balancing between its own originality and the adaptation of outside influences, and ambitions. "Zipangu" once known as the "land of gold" in The Travels of Marco Polo now has many cultural traditions to share from the tea ceremony to architecture as well as an exciting visual pop culture." (This is not a fall travel course.)

Course Number: IDH 4200-002
Subtitle: Africa in Historical Context
Day & Time: Tuesday / Thursday | 8:00am-9:15am
Professor: Leslie Bessant
Description: Six hundred years ago, African empires were rich and powerful, centers of international trade and learning. Today, Africa is plagued by political instability, violence, and poverty. This course aims to explore how this dramatic change came about. Taking the era of the great empires as our baseline (ca. 900 CE - 1660), we will assess the impact of the slave trade and colonial rule on African life. Our investigation will focus on three questions: What did the slave trade and colonial rule destroy? What, if anything, did African societies gain? And what aspects of African life survived? Readings include African oral traditions, songs, and novels.

Course Number: IDH 4200-003
Subtitle: Sub-Saharan Africa: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives
Day & Time: Tuesday / Thursday | 9:30am-10:45am
Professor: Fenda Akiwumi
Description: This course will look at culture, societies and development in Sub-Saharan Africa in historical and contemporary context. It will be a broad interdisciplinary introduction to the study of this part of the African continent. Africa's history, politics, cultures, and societies are rich, diverse, and complex yet generalizations and negative stereotypes about Africa by the media, academics, and policy-makers are common (apocalyptic scenarios of civil war, poverty, famine, diseases such as AIDS and failed states, for example). Using selected case studies we will explore political, economic, and socio-cultural characteristics of both modern and traditional Africa and through critical evaluation of course materials obtain a more balanced portrayal of the continent and its development.

Course Number: IDH 4200-004
Subtitle: Cypress: Birthplace of Aphrodite and Strategic Key to the Middle East
Day & Time: Monday / Wednesday | 11:00am-12:15pm
Professor: William Ditewig
Description: This course is intended to acquaint students with the cultural and strategic importance of this beautiful island country in the Easter Mediterranean Sea. The course investigates the complex history of the island of the gods, through the shipwrecks of St. Paul, the naval intrigues of the Venetians (including the tragedy of Shakespeare's Othello) the crusading adventures of Richard the Lionheart of England, and the importance of Cyprus in contemporary strategic matters in Middle Eastern politics. This course will have something for everyone! 

Course Number: IDH 4200-005
Subtitle: Ukraine: Social and Cultural Landscapes
Day & Time: Tuesday / Thursday | 12:30pm-1:45pm
Professor: Nana Tuntiya
Description: Thrown into the middle of geopolitical controversy surrounding Crimea and its rebellious East, Ukraine remains largely unknown to its Western supporters. The country's rich and complex history, its evolving relationship with a powerful neighboring nation, Russia, shaped the cultural backdrop against which the recent events are unfolding. This course will look into significant experiences that helped form public attitudes, traditions, and social practices throughout the Ukrainian turbulent past. It will also explore the population make up of this largest country in Europe by land mass, and its struggle to overcome the remnants of the soviet regime. The focus of the class is on society and its culture rather than politics, with the aim of understanding the attitudes and the aspirations that are building a way for the future of this Eastern European nation.

Course Number: IDH 4200-006
Subtitle: Histories of Healing in South Asia
Day & Time: Tuesday / Thursday | 11:00am-12:15pm
Professor: Holly Singh
Description: This course focuses on the long and varied historical trajectories of healing in South Asia, from the ancient development and practice of systems such as Ayurveda, Unani, Yoga, and folk systems to manage illness and promote health to the introduction and proliferation of biomedicine. Through the examination of how laypeople have engaged these systems and how governments have patronized, promoted, and politicized healing practice and health promotion during centuries of shifting rule, the course will explore culture, health, and healing. It will address how local and global power relations influence the dynamics of healing over time and across diverse regions of South Asia. The course builds toward, for example, critical analysis of medical tourism to South Asia, the globalization of yoga, and public health crises in contemporary South Asia.

Course Number: IDH 4200-007
Subtitle: Music, Nationalism, Post/colonialism in South and Southeast Asia
Day & Time: Tuesday / Thursday | 2:00pm-3:15pm
Professor: Angsumala Tamang
Description: If global politics in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries marked the effects of European colonialism in South and Southeast Asia, the second half of the twentieth century and twenty-first century are often characterized as belonging to an era of post-colonialism. Post-colonialism, of course implies that the struggle for national liberation from colonial rule has been "successful" and that the formerly colonized "state" and its people are now independent of foreign control. However, does it mean that the centuries of imposed imperial rule and cultural dominance ends with the formation of an independent nation-state? Or, does the colonial legacy continues via processes of nation-building, music-making, gender relations, and culture works that underpin colonial theories within complex juxtaposition of socio-historical associations and traditional hierarchies? Starting with South Asia – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka – we will travel onwards to Southeast Asia via Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The readings will focus on theoretical discussions and critical thinking with the objective of stimulating interdisciplinary understanding of postcolonial realities in terms of music performance, music production, and film studies in relation to the politics of representation – region, religion, language, gender, class and caste. No prior technical knowledge of music or musical terms is required for this course.

Course Number: IDH 4200-008
Subtitle: Contemporary Middle East: Political Challenges in a Global age.
Day & Time: Tuesday / Thursday | 12:30pm-1:45pm 
Professor: Nazek Jawad
Description: Recently, the Middle East is conceived as a region that breeds fundamentalism and an area of long lasting conflicts. Due to the distorted notions and misrepresentations of the Middle East circulated and promoted in corporate media, and in conventional media outlets as well, this course is set into a great mission. This course aims to provide students with an authentic understanding of the diversified multi-layered facets of the Middle East, and to expose them to the breadth of Middle Eastern cultures, and their political and cultural landmarks within historical and contemporary contexts. This course discusses the main social, economic, and political developments in the Middle East from the 19th century onward. Topics to be covered include, but are not limited to: colonial legacies; Islamic Sharia Laws, identity politics, social movements, Arab uprisings, women and politics in the Middle East, terrorism, and development. Besides, this course also highlights the Middle East abundant culture, and introduces students to countless contributions of Middle East countries to human civilizations in wide range of areas, including science, arts, architecture, and music. The aim of this course is to broaden students' intellectual perspective by introducing them to the geography, history, politics, political economy, culture, and arts of the Middle East. Another equally important goal of this course is to impart appreciation of cultures other than their own, by introducing them to the diversified cultures of the Middle East. 

Course Number: IDH 4200-009
Subtitle: Australia
Day & Time: Friday | 9:30am-12:15pm
Professor: Tony Erben
Description: What does it mean for persons living inside the settler nation of Australia to call themselves Australian? What are the historical and cultural roots of Australianness and why does this matter in a globalized world? These questions form the main basis of a unit that considers Australia through a variety of disciplinary lenses, including anthropology, history, cultural studies and sociology. Using key cultural practices such as art, sport, national celebrations, music, film and tourism as focal points, the unit aims to facilitate understanding of the foundational myths of Australia. Australia is far enough away from the rest of the world to hold a certain level of mystery for the uninitiated. The distances, the animals, the geography and history of the largest island continent have over the past 200 years framed its people and guided the development of an innovative creative and oftentimes brash people. While Australia, the country, is relatively young, the continent is ancient. This course will introduce students to all aspects of Australian life, culture, flora and fauna. More importantly, this course will raise student' awareness and appreciation through the perceptive and amusing tales of an American tourist who has re-visited Australia numerous times over the past decade and has learned something new with each visit. His tales shall be the starting point for our collective discovery of this fascinating continent called Australia. The text that will be used is Bill Bryson's "In a Sunburned Country". The professor for the course is expect this course to be brash, uplifting, and creative!

Course Number: IDH 4200-010
Subtitle: Cultural Identity and Social Class
Day & Time: Tuesday / Thursday | 3:30pm-4:45pm
Professor: Linda Tavernier-Almada
Description: The fight for social capital within social class structures can be brutal if the group trying to achieve the desired social status is culturally different from the dominant group. In turn, the exclusion of a group from standard avenues of social mobility can create such devastating consequences for the marginalized group that it creates and foments a counterculture. Using readings from various fields of study and select films from around the world, we will look at the struggles for sociocultural status taking place across the globe. Through an interdisciplinary lens, we will look at groups like the Gypsies of Slovakia, the street children of Brazil, the Untouchables of India, the teenage Muslims in France, the woman of Afghanistan, etc. Our goal will be to advance solutions for some of the real-world problems we discover during the semester.

Course Number: IDH 4200-011
Subtitle: Beyond the Border: Global Migration, Immigration and Human Rights
Day & Time: Monday / Wednesday | 3:30pm-4:45pm
Professor: Camara Silver
Description: The international community is engaged in the debate over immigration and global migrations; this ranges from the influx of Syrian refugees in Europe to the 2017 presidential candidate's rhetoric on immigration. How does the immigration debate fit within the context of human rights? All cultures have a notion of what it means to be human, and all, therefore, contribute in different ways to the practice and evolution of human rights. Thus, this class will examine "human rights" as particular norms or principles in international law that guarantee every human being a right to life and dignity. The foundation of this course will give the students a firm understanding of human rights and the current debates of global migrations and immigration. Therefore, the topics of discussion will include the theory of human rights, forced migration/refugees, geopolitics of immigration/migrations policies and general immigration/immigration policies. This class will use a transdisciplinary approach so that students have a firm understanding of the discussion over immigration and global migrations from all of the social sciences. 

Course Number: IDH 4200-012
Subtitle: The Caribbean
Day & Time: Wednesday | 2:00pm-4:45pm
Professor: Kevin Yelvington
Description: This course provides an introduction to, and overview of, the societies and cultures of the Caribbean, with an emphasis on the historical development of these societies and with a focus on particular aspects of the region's social structures and cultural patterns. Some of the main themes include the depopulation of the aboriginal population and the resettlement of the Caribbean via European colonialism, slavery, indenture, and migration; contemporary ethnic heterogeneity; the economic problems of Third World microstates under conditions of globalization; gender politics; and the development of a modern social and political consciousness. The region's religious diversity, music, food, the arts and popular culture, and the literature of the contemporary Caribbean are considered understood within the complexities of everyday life.

Course Number: IDH 4200-013
Subtitle: Women in the Middle East
Day & Time: Tuesday / Thursday | 2:00pm-3:15pm
Professor: Nazek Jawad
Description: Women have been central to the political history between the Middle East and the West. The region of the Middle East has been perceived and understood by the West through gender relations and gender representations. This course is set to examine the gendered representations of the Middle East and analyze the political implications of such representations. The course offers a systematic reading of how the political and cultural structures of both colonialism and anti-colonialist nationalist movements informed feminine and masculine identities. The inter-dynamics of Islamism, globalization, and neoliberalism in various countries in the region, including, Egypt, Iran, Turkey, and Iraq will be discussed, in addition to the role of women in social movements and recent uprisings.

Course Number: 4200-015
Subtitle: Health and Culture in the Dominican Republic (Service-Learning)
Day & Time: Tuesday / Thursday | 12:30pm-1:45pm
Professor: Lindy Davidson
Description: In this course, students will explore the many factors contributing to health in the Dominican Republic. Throughout the semester, we will consider political, economic, environmental, structural, and cultural perspectives that impact health in the Dominican Republic. At the end of the semester, students will participate in the Honors Service Trip to the Dominican Republic, where we will work with the Kerolle Initiative for Community Health. On the trip, students will serve in mobile medical clinics, stay in homes with community members, and participate in service projects to improve the overall health of the communities in and around Sosúa. In order to receive a permit for this course, please fill out the application through Education Abroad.

Honors Selected Topics (Not an Honors College Core Course) - IDH 2930

Course Number: IDH 2930-036
Subtitle: Backstage Pass to Health Professions
Day & Time: Monday | 4:00pm-4:50pm
Professor: Donna Petersen Alexander
Description:  If you are interested in learning more about interprofessional health teams, please join Dr. Donna Petersen, Dean of the USF School of Public Health in this 1 credit Special Topics course in the fall. As a student in this course, you will rotate among interprofessional teams that consist of a variety of health professionals. Class time will be devoted to discussions about these experiences and assignments.

Course Number: 2930-051
Subtitle: Improvisation
Day/Time: Tuesday | 3:30pm-5:20pm (2 credit course)
Professor: Crystal Haralambou & Reggie Lucien
Description: The often overlooked art of improvisation is a life-changing skill that enhances your ability to collaborate, adapt to unfamiliar situations, and communicate spontaneously and well. Learning to perform without a script not only develops your ability to think on your feet, it awakens your natural creativity. More importantly, it fosters the confidence you need to step out of your comfort zone and take calculated risks that spotlight your work and ideas. This multidisciplinary course focuses on extemporaneous performance techniques that challenge you to build trust, quiet your inner critic, listen carefully and respond genuinely in the moment. Acquiring improvisational skills will help you again and again, whether you're preparing for your dream job interview, presenting a cutting-edge theory or moving up the corporate ladder. Set yourself apart by learning the secrets of creative communication and give yourself an advantage in today's competitive environment. Learn more about the class by watching the video here.

Honors College Internship Course -- IDS 3947
The Honors College offers a special section of IDS 3947 for students who would like to receive transcript credit for an internship, whether domestic or international. Students may register for 0-6 hours of internship credit through an online Canvas course. Contact Dr. Lindy Davidson to receive a permit. Note: This course is for students who are not receiving credit for internships through their majors.

We will be adding more capstone courses very soon. Some of these will include health, film, and design thinking. Stay tuned!

IDH 4950

Course Number: IDH 4950-003
Subtitle: Design Thinking
Day & Time: Tuesday | 2:00pm-4:45pm
Professor: Travis Thompson and Fred Steier
Description: What is it like to design a new "app"? An exhibit at a science center? A sustainable community? A global organization that inspires creative confidence? A university? A new home for refugees? A collaborative communication process for designing any of these? This course will develop and explore key ideas of design thinking, including how it relates to design practice. We will focus on design in a very broad sense, as an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving, whether those problems are seen as social, technical, or rooted in the arts and humanities. To situate design thinking as a form of collaborative problem solving, we will grapple with questions of creativity and innovation rooted in contexts of democratic participation and intercultural understanding by inquiring into how problems get defined as problems. In other words, we will study "messes" as a way to look at questions of problem definition, explored across boundaries. As this course is rooted in learning-by-doing, we will study "messes" in both theory and practice!

We will have several projects that will be the basis of our design thinking, with the projects involving potential community partners. These may range from issues involved in lives of refugees to the design of learning spaces (including our own learning spaces) to community building in both a geographical and human sense. In these projects we will focus on issues of design process, communication in design teams, collaboration, and also human values that underlie good design thinking. In other words, the course will involve innovation, creativity, and serious play! For questions or more information on this serious play, please contact Dr. Frederick Steier or Dr. Travis Thompson.

Course Number: 4950-004
Subtitle: Visual Narratives: Tampa's Stories and Histories
Day & Time: Monday / Wednesday 2:00pm-3:15pm
Professor: Tamara Nemirovsky
Description: An exploration of how to produce a short documentary to re-tell the stories of our community in a meaningful and reflective way. Emphasis is on history of the media, documentary/film language, concept development, narrative structures as well as all the production stages (pre-production, production, post-production) and technical aspect required to produce a documentary.

Course Number: IDH 4950-005
Subtitle: How to Make History
Day & Time: Friday | 9:30am-12:15pm
Professor: Catherine Wilkins
Description: In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote that "We are made by history," emphasizing the importance of historical events and narratives in constructing our understanding of the world and ourselves. Many of us might think of History – the academic discipline - as little more than a sequence of objective facts, a chronological list of important names, dates, and battles. In reality history – as a lived experience – is much more personal and intimate. It is experienced every day, by every individual. Events from the mundane to momentous are experienced and remembered by people, recorded by some, and passed along to future generations, hopefully for their edification. This course will focus on how history might shape our identity as residents of the Tampa Bay area, with an emphasis on the process by which history is made, and the role that we might play – as students, researchers, and practitioners – in making history ourselves. In partnership with the St. Pete Beach Public Library, the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum, and the Pinellas Memory project, this Honors Capstone course will provide students with hands-on experience in: recording oral histories, producing documentary photography, digitizing visual and print artifacts, cataloguing and creating a historical archive, and developing an exhibition/program of their work. Our goal will be to digitize and add to the collection of the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum, and to contribute our work to the Pinellas Memory online archive of historical artifacts. This is a designated service learning course and is perfect for students interested in Communication, History, Library and Information Science, Art, Florida Studies, Humanities, and Digital Media.
Please note: This course will regularly meet off-campus: near-weekly travel to the beautiful beaches of Pinellas County is required. Students must provide their own transportation and ensure that they leave enough time in their schedule for travel.

IDH 4970

Course Number: IDH 4970-002 
Subtitle: Connections: Mental Healthcare, Community Engagement, and Art 
Day & Time: Thursday | 3:00pm-5:45pm
Professor: Catherine Wilkins 
Description: In this collaboration between the USF Honors College and the Tampa Museum of Art, Honors students learn about medical conditions such as dementia, depression, and PTSD and are trained to facilitate interactions with works of art for patient groups dealing with these diagnoses.  The program is based on the Meet Me at MOMA Alzheimer's Project, which strove to make art accessible to people with dementia, and has been highly successful and lauded by healthcare professionals, museum staff, and participants alike.  This class will train students in the Visual Thinking Strategies method of art exploration, which allows participants to give their own personal interpretations of works of art without fear of judgment or failure.  Particularly in people with Alzheimer's, depression, and PTSD, this method has been found to help patients access and express memories, practice or regain their communication skills, externalize emotions, relieve stress and anxiety, and promote positive emotions.  This capstone course will allow students to participate in furthering the research in these areas by providing an immersive experience at the intersection of art, medicine, and mental health.  This class will also instruct students in the practices of observation, deep listening, and critical thinking, build empathy and understanding, and engage students with the community.  Perfect for students interested in Art, Biomedical Sciences, Psychology, Public Health – or who just want to be more involved in their community. Please note: This course will meet at the Tampa Museum of Art – please allow time for traveling back and forth when you are planning your schedule. Transportation is not provided.

Course Number: IDH 4970-003
Subtitle: The Picture of Health
Day & Time: Friday | 9:30am-12:15pm
Professor: Leslie Elsasser
Description: In this course, Honors students will train in the Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) methodology of art exploration as an introduction to the emerging interdisciplinary and interprofessional field of medical humanities. This capstone course offers immersive art-viewing experiences to explore the intersection of the arts and healthcare with aims to foster creativity and scholars who can further research the intersection of art, medicine, and mental health. The program is based on the Meet Me at MOMA Alzheimer's Project, which strove to make art accessible to all viewers, including people with dementia. No experience with art is required. The arts are powerful tools with potential to improve visual literacy, mindful reflection, empathy, enhance perspective, sharpen analytic and diagnostic skills, increase tolerance for ambiguity, and improve teamwork and communication within the medical fields. The Picture of Health encourages student engagement in the arts in recognition of their capacity to foster essential skills related to healthcare including observation, critical thinking, self-reflection and empathy.

Course Number: 4970-005
Subtitle: Changemaking & Wicked Problems: Projects in Social Innovation
Day & Time: Tuesday | 12:30pm-3:15pm
Professor: Alan Bush (& Michael Cross)
Description: Do you have a desire to tackle some of the most intractable problems to our community? Do you thrive on tackling complex problems with others? Are you a changemaker? Would you like to be?  Problems are "wicked" when it is difficult to tease out cause and effect, reasonable people to disagree on what constitutes a just response, and any solution may have unintended consequences. Changemakers are practical visionaries, working to generate solutions to some of society's most intractable problems. Changemakers understand how to reframe wicked problems into solvable opportunities and marshal collaborative teams to support their work.  This course enables students to develop as changemakers through a hands-on exposure to some of the foundational skills to engagement with wicked problems. 

The course involves:

  • Field-Based Action Research: Businesses & organizations in the community posing real-world challenges. Students will engage in on-the-ground research, analyze options and propose strategies to respond.
  • Systems Thinking & Dynamics Modeling: Students will learn to create rigorous representations of complex social and technical systems.  No prerequisites required!
  • Design Thinking: Students will use design thinking techniques to explore creative feasible, viable, desirable responses.

This course is team-taught; both sections will share a meeting space and course materials. Students will form cross-course teams from a variety of disciplines to address opportunities using a transdisciplinary approach. Namely, you will learn, engage, and execute methods from the natural and social sciences to solve problems that encapsulate the physical world, biological systems, social groups, individuals, and human behavior.