Fall 2022 Course Offerings

F/HONR 204: Honors Seminar in the Fine Arts: Why Do the Arts Matter?

Professor Jonathan Auyer (Philosophy Department)

Course Description

This course revolves around a central question, “Why does art matter?” Of course, this question is both too big and too vague. As such, it necessitates several more specific and focused questions:

  • “What have been, what are, what ought to be the roles of the arts in society?”
  • “Why do we bother with the arts?”
  • “Why are the arts important in life?”
  • “How is art shaped by realities and perceptions of race, class, and gender?” and “How does art shape realities and perceptions of race, class, and gender?”

Throughout the course students will engage with different theories and theorists, and encounter artworks and artists from diverse backgrounds and with diverse goals and intentions. At the end of this process the goal is for students to take the experiences, learning, and discussions had over the course of the semester and formulate a defendable answer to the central question.

HONR 207: Honors Seminar In Issues of Diversity, Pluralism, Difference: Nostalgia

Professor Jovana Babović (History Department)

Course Description

Nostalgia, built from the Greek words nostos—homecoming and algia—longing or pain, is a yearning for a home that no longer exists or never existed in the first place. Nostalgia can be a desire for a place as much as it can be a longing for a time. It might evoke a lost homeland, an unfulfilled dream, or a past childhood. The cultural critic Svetlana Boym suggests that “nostalgia is a sentiment of loss and displacement, but it is also a romance with one’s own fantasy.” That is to say that nostalgia is as much about the past as it is about the present because its expression ultimately gives us an insight into the moment when it was imagined.

Seventeenth century Swiss physicians diagnosed the first cases of nostalgia among displaced soldiers and prescribed a treatment of opium, leeches, and a visit to the fresh air in the Alps. This course will begin by considering instances of nostalgia as a curable disease in the early modern and modern periods. By the twentieth century, however, most societies discarded the optimistic belief in the future, making nostalgia a pervasive and distinctly untreatable modern malady. The course will examine several major types of nostalgic expression across global spaces: loss of homeland due to violence, war, and genocide; revisionist views of history; longings for individual and collective youthful pasts. Our aim will be to understand nostalgia as a powerful form of memory that reflects the present as much as it engages with the past.

H/W/HONR 209: Honors Seminar in the Humanities/Western Civilization: Virtual Study Abroad in the Humanities

Professor Wes Kennison (English Department)

Course Description

This course leverages a place-based approach to learning by giving students a simulated experience of what it takes to be a traveling scholar.  This seminar is an introduction to place-based pedagogies in the humanistic transition emphasizing the search for moral, social, and political alternatives and meaning as embodied in the institutions, culture, and literature of Western Civilization.  Building upon the learning outcomes in Geneseo’s traditional Western Humanities sequence, this seminar empowers students to draw nuanced arguments from the critical reading of texts, articulate those arguments using effective and compassionate discussion skills, and road test those ideas by contextualizing them in situ and discovering how they manifest themselves in particular communities in other parts of the world.  Great ideas can be tested in great essays and great public debate.  They also find ways of soaking themselves into art, music, architecture, museums, geography, language, social organization, economies, customs, story-telling, festivals, rituals, cuisines, and the rhythms of daily life.  Study Abroad provides immersion in these contexts.  Virtual Study Abroad seeks to define the benefits of such immersion and use technology to access as much of it as possible.  Students will be cast in the role of the program director of a study abroad experience and design how they might research, contextualize, and present their scholarly claims on the road.

HONR 230: Preparing a Scholarly Profile

Michael Mills, Office of Fellowships and Scholarships

Course Description

This course will help high achieving students to prepare for nationally competitive fellowships and graduate program applications in the senior year and beyond. Topics to be covered will include developing research and creative agendas as an undergraduate; making the most of opportunities for international study, internships, and service; identifying and pursuing career goals; learning about competitive fellowships and graduate programs; writing a personal statement, and preparing for interviews. Sophomores are highly encouraged to enroll in this course.