Course Descriptions

  • HNRS 1100 01 Honors Philosophical Inquiry MWF 12:15 1:15 Speak, Dan

    Seen in one way, this course will be a topical introduction to philosophy by way of seminar discussion of a few core philosophical questions— for example, about the existence God, about the limits of our knowledge, and about the freedom of our wills. In this sense, it might be tempting to think of this course (merely) as a kind of general survey of what philosophers think about. If you are somewhat more attentive, however, you will be able to see (though maybe only looking back) that the questions on which we will focus can help you hone in on one of the most fundamental questions of your life; namely, just what kind of thing are YOU? We will be counting on help from Plato, Aquinas, Descartes, and a number of contemporary philosophers to make some initial attempts to answer this question.

    HNRS 1100 02 Honors Philosophical Inquiry TR 8:00 9:30am Rudnick, Kenneth

    The purpose of this course is to explore, examine, and analyze what we mean by the nature of human nature. What is human nature? Do we possess a human nature? Of what is the human composed? Our exploration of these significant questions must take into account a wide and diverse range of intellectual thought and human experience. Such an ambitious task requires a spectrum of reading from the Socratics to more contemporary evolutionary biology. Such an extensive span of human thought reveals that many of the same questions concerning the nature of the person, science, knowledge, freedom, happiness, truth, God, gods, and immortality, seem to recur throughout every age. Of equal importance, the course is designed to provide the necessary background for you to determine, by critical reflection and analysis, your knowledge, understanding, and personal assessment of human nature.

    “Hence, the science of nature is the theoretical part of philosophy, and the science of intelligence its practical part.” — Hegel

    HNRS 1200 01 Honors Theological Inquiry MW 1:45 3:25 Hussain, Amir

    “This course takes a comparative approach to theological inquiry, examining fundamental religious questions in relation to two or three religious traditions (one of them being Christianity). The course emphasizes comparative analysis of primary religious sources and focuses on how diverse religious approaches to questions of ultimate concern might be mutually illuminative. The course also includes interactive encounters with practitioners of the religions under consideration.”

    The above paragraph is description of the course as found in the LMU University Bulletin. The realities of religious diversity cannot be ignored. Increasingly, people live, work, and pray alongside persons of many faith traditions. It is therefore essential to learn how to negotiate this reality: theologically, ethically, and spiritually. This course will introduce honours students to the study of comparative theology. The first part of the course will be an introduction to comparative theology through the Christian tradition. The second part of the course will focus on the Muslim tradition, but will also include examples from the Jewish tradition.

    HNRS 1200 02 Honors Theological Inquiry TR 9:55 11:35 Harris, Kim

    This course introduces students to the meaning and significance of spiritual practice in its distinctively Christian expressions and expressions associated with other traditions. The focus of the course is on “lived religion” – the embodied, eclectic, and often improvisational character of spiritual experience, both collective and individual. It also seeks to understand the critical role of practice in shaping spiritual meaning and identity. In this course, we turn to the relationship between theological ideas and spiritual practices. How have particular people lived in the light of the theological ideas of their religious tradition? How have the spiritual practices of particular persons and groups affected the theological ideas of their religious tradition? Throughout the course, we attend to plurality, social justice, and change.

    HNRS 1200 03 Honors Theological Inquiry TR 9:55 11:35 Harris, Kim

    This course introduces students to the meaning and significance of spiritual beliefs and practices in its distinctively Christian expressions and—to a more limited extent—to expressions associated with other religious traditions. The course adopts a comparative and interdisciplinary approach, teaching across different cultural contexts (e.g., Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, North, Central, and South America), religious traditions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam), and disciplines (e.g., Religious Studies, Theology, History, Philosophy, and Women’s and Gender Studies). Students will learn about the richness and complexity of the religious traditions as well as the diverse voices that constitute these traditions. The focus of the course is on “lived religion”—the embodied, eclectic and often improvisational character of spiritual experience, both collective and individual. This approach includes considering the central ideas about spiritual meaning and identity (probing the many anthropological facets that make up a human being, e.g., gender, sexuality, class, race, ethnicity, etc.) that shape religious traditions. Students will attend to and learn to interpret ways in which identity and meaning can be construed, whether in explicitly religious terms or, more implicitly, arising from human experience. Through a study of significant Christian and non-Christian spiritual texts, both ancient and modern, students will consider such theological questions as the meaning of “spirituality” and the relationship between religious experience and the development of theological thought and human identity. The course will discuss such ultimate questions as: Who am I and what is my place in the whole scheme of things? What is of ultimate value? What makes for a meaningful life? How can I best make sense of love, suffering, loss, and death?

    HNRS 2000-01, HNRS Colloq: Research & Exhibition, T 6:00 - 7:00 Almstedt, Hawley

    This course, required for all students of the University Honors Program, is an orientation to the practice of research and creative activity from a scholarly point of view. It introduces developing scholars and creative people to the methods, habits, assumptions, and culture of pursuing knowledge. This includes 1) the formulation by the student of a problem worthy of in-depth study, 2) the articulation of how that problem can be addressed, and 3) the public exhibition of the student's work. In short, the course introduces students to formal, mentored academic research and creative work.

    HNRS 2100 01 Honors Hist Analysis & Perspec MW 9:55 11:35 McDonald, Kevin
    HNRS 2100 02 Honors Hist Analysis & Perspec MW 11:50 1:30 McDonald, Kevin

    The events and processes initiated by the voyage of Columbus in 1492 transformed his contemporary world and fundamentally shaped the world we live in today. This course explores the development of American colonies from an Atlantic world perspective, examining the circulation of people, goods, ideas, and even plants and germs, between the Old World of Europe and Africa, and the New World of the Americas, created as a consequence of the Columbian encounter. It focuses on the lived experiences of the men and women who inhabited the Atlantic world from the mid-fifteenth through mid-nineteenth centuries. The Atlantic Ocean itself functioned as frontier, a zone of interaction, and as a powerful connector between profoundly differing cultures. The consequences of the process of cultural conflict and exchange will be a main focus of this course, and the results for Europeans, Africans, and Native Americans were uneven and often tragic. Students will explore varying methods and motivations of colonization, including the search for commodities, and comparative successes and failures. Major themes of the course will include the development of new societies and cultures; comparative colonial systems; imperial competition; Atlantic revolutions; slavery and abolition; and resistance, adaptation, and survival.

    HNRS 2200 01 Hnrs Nature of Sci, Tech, Math TR 11:50 1:30 Zink, Trevor

    A deep dive into environmental management, from the perspectives of science, business, daily life, and ethics. We will explore topics including environmental impact assessment (such as life cycle assessment); sustainable production and consumption (including whether those are, indeed, possible); primary drivers of environmental damage and strategies to mitigate them; Indigenous Knowledges on sustainable ways of living, being, and thinking; ethics of population and affluence; personal sustainability in terms of diet, transportation, and consumption; macro issues such as the future of capitalism, growth, degrowth, and socioeconomic alternatives. We will explore not only how various approaches to environmental management work, but also what they can and cannot tell us.

    Note: MGMT majors can use this course as one of your MGMT electives. You'll just need to let me know that you intend to do this and we will do the appropriate paperwork.

    HNRS 3000 01 HNRS Colloq: The Edge of What We Know F 2:00 4:00 Zink, Trevor and Dilts, Andrew

    This course seeks to introduce you to the boundaries of knowledge and art within the fields of selected LMU professors…and how they crossed them. The course builds upon the prior Honors Colloquia (HNRS 1000 and 2000) and leads directly to the Honors Thesis (HNRS 5000). This colloquia is built around a series of curated public talks from LMU faculty. Each professor will talk about how and why an area captured their curiosity and interest, building on themes of purpose from Intro to Honors. As you did in Research & Exhibition, the speakers will then proceed to talk about how they identified the “edge” of that area and determined a way to move it forward. In so doing, they contributed to their field and took this “edge” further out for future scholars and creatives—something which we hope that you, too, will accomplish with your Honors Thesis. Your engagement with these professors will be captured in a class-produced podcast season with one episode devoted to each speaker.

    HNRS 3200 01, Honors Literary Analysis, TR 1:45 3:25 Neel, Alex
    HNRS 3200 02, Honors Literary Analysis, TR 3:40 5:20 Neel, Alex

    This course introduces students to different ways of interpreting short stories and novels, including works by Jamaica Kincaid, Margaret Atwood, and Emily Saint John Mandel. We’ll explore the formal and technical aspects of fiction: we’ll discuss point of view, setting, character, plot, tone, and talk about how these aspects of literature affect the meaning and power of particular narratives. In other words, you will learn how to read literature closely and will acquire the technical and critical vocabulary necessary to say what is happening in various genres. Here are some questions we will return to over the course of the semester: How do authors use the resources of literature to engage with the social and political issues of their times? What kind of perspective does literature offer? 

    HNRS 4200 01, Honors Ethics and Justice: Beyond Good and Evil, TR 9:55 11:35 Treanor, Brian
    HNRS 4200 02, Honors Ethics and Justice: Beyond Good and Evil, TR 11:50 1:30 Treanor, Brian

    This iteration of the Honors ‘Beyond Good and Evil’ does not fit neatly into standard academic categories—“philosophy,” “literature,” “history,” and so on. It also defies easy categorization in terms of its topic. We will be thinking about ethics, but without an extended focus on prominent ethical theories like utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics. We will be discussing the literature of nature, but not in terms of theory or literary criticism. We will conduct much of our work around a seminar table; but I hope to keep our thinking close to the actual experience of particular places and to our embodied experience of the world—the sweet tang of wild blackberries, pungent scent of pine forests, the sticky-salt humidity of sea air, the greyscale play of moonlight on desert topography, the psithurism of quaking aspens in the autumn. Perhaps, then, the best way to think of our class is as a humanities-based reflection on the experience of nature and of wildness. Together, we are going to think about nature, human and otherwise, and about wildness; and we are going to think about the presence or absence of both in our own lived experience and in the experience of our contemporaries. Note that this will be a reading and writing intensive class that will require students to work independently, write both clearly and creatively, and engage in seminar discussions. It will not be a paint-by-numbers, check-things-off-the-list, regurgitate-on-the-exam type of class.