The Honor College offers a wide variety of courses for students--over 300 courses every year. Current and previous course examples are described below.
Alternately, you can explore our current course listing.
Echoes in Blues challenges us to examine our truths (personal knowledge) and dreams and our quest for individuality within the parameters of community. Our main focus will be on "how do I feel?" instead of on "why do I feel this way?" We will work on our individual answers through reading and writing, having discussions, and playing music. In addition to musical recordings and written documents, we will also work with oral narratives (taken from the collection of the instructor): translating an oral narrative into a written narrative will take us to many "crossroads," moments of crucial decisions.
This class is not as much about ingenious constructs of celebrated writers and musicians as it is about how YOU react to their creative voicings--not as much about historical junctures in time as how YOU react to your present.
The blues is part of an African-American oral narrative, which probably began after the Civil War. Its voices chronicle the social, economic, racial, and spiritual attitudes of a culture within the American experience. Over time the blues has served as a source of inspiration not only to musicians such as Bessie Smith, George Gershwin and B.B. King, but also to authors such as Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Sherman Alexie, and Toni Morrison.
Through the diatonic harmonica* the students will learn to shape colors & rhythms of the blues language. This integral component of the seminar will not only confront us with a creative musical process, but also with our individual strengths and weaknesses as well.
The Ethics of Food Course uses readings and documentary films to examine a range of ethical and societal issues associated with the production and consumption of food.
These issues include ethical responsibilities toward animals (including consideration of "factory farming" and vegetarianism), arguments for and against agricultural subsidies, arguments for and against organic or community based agriculture, ethical and social perspectives on genetic engineering, and the pros and cons of pursuing bio-fuels.
Students are expected to choose a particular research topic to explore extensively and then lead a session of the class related to that topic. There is also a service-learning component to this class--namely, each student will be expected to spend roughly 10 hours over the course of the semester helping with the Green Quad community garden here at USC. This not only assists the Green Quad, but also provides students with a hands-on opportunity to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of organic and community-based agricultural initiatives.
Literary annuals are gorgeously bound volumes that were considered status symbols in the nineteenth century because of their high cost and elaborate binding. High quality engravings by famous engravers of the time and writing from numerous authors such as Sir Walter Scott and Elizabeth Barrett Browning populated the pages of the various literary annuals.
Literary annuals played a significant but still largely undocumented role in the popular culture of early and mid-nineteenth center Britain and America. Each student choses one annual to research extensively. Their research culminates in an introduction to the annual, available on the Fritz-Hollings Rare Book website.
This course not only gives undergraduate students the opportunity to formulate and publish original research in a previously undervalued field, but also affords them the opportunity to interact with and care for old, rare books. In their interactions with these rare texts, students discover the “forgotten” works of many canonical authors and encountered several other authors that are nearly absent from the literary canon. SCHC 452N is taught akin to a graduate seminar, with an emphasis on collaboration, research, and discussion.
Thirty years ago, it was rare to see much more than gray-scale graphs and charts in scientific publications; today we are flooded with rich, beautiful, captivating images and animations. C.P. Snow warned us that the two cultures have no common language, but we now live in an even more complex multi- and cross-disciplinary world. This course will discuss the relationship of these images in art and science and how the visual arts can help effectively explore, understand, and mediate the complexity of contemporary science and technology.
The course will start out with a visual overview of what art is and how it functions in our world and will quickly move on to an exploration of the corollaries between the two disciplines in traditional areas such as color, illusion, and perception, and then to more complex and controversial areas such as statistics, quantum physics, nanotechnology, robotics, and transhumanism. Participants will have the opportunity for concentrated research and investigation both verbally and visually using the digital environment as an assistive tool.Class outcomes include an understanding of the role of art in contemporary culture and its role in scientific investigation, the relationship between art and science, and the difference among an image, representation, scientific visualization, and work of art.
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