Spring 2022

DRAM 150-2H: Making Theater in Communities with Professor Martin Shell

Creative drama is a non-competitive group experience based on theatre games, exercises, and improvisational techniques that enable the teacher and students to explore together their five senses, imaginative powers, self-concept, interpersonal relationships, and view of the world. Students learn theatrical techniques and methods of guiding and nurturing groups in classroom or rehearsal settings as teachers or directors. Classes include group work in storytelling and readings in theory and practice of creative dramatics.

ENGL 241-2H: American Literature 1 with Professor Paul Thifault

This course examines rebellions big and small in the literature of the Atlantic world, from the European “discovery” of the Americas to the early years of a little coastal nation calling itself the United States. Texts include traditional literary genres (poetry, fiction, drama) and less familiar works like travel accounts and oral histories. Coursework includes zero exams, one presentation, two essays, and a flexible final project that students will design.

GEOG 200-2H: World Regional Geography with Professor Fernando Gonzalez

Are you ready for some big questions about power, place and time? In addition to learning the major features of the world's regions you will be challenged to consider the "place of geography" in human affairs, past, present and future. How does location limit or broaden opportunities for empires and nations such as the United States and others before it? What can place and situation, distance, vicinity, etc. in other words the lay of the land and of the seas, tell us about what lies ahead? Is geography destiny or are we living in a "post-geographical" world? Let's find out.

HNRS 192: Analyzing Conspiracy Theories with Professor Mackenzie Dunn

This colloquium would consider conspiracy theories, looking at the narratives and theories as both manifestations and modes of knowledge; and using conspiracy theories to analyze and develop critical thinking and arguments. With the understanding that conspiracy theories are viewed as texts designed to persuade others, we would use communication and rhetorical theory to critique how the discussions have been structured. An emphasis can be placed on critical thinking skills by applying evaluative criteria, in addition to discussing the appeal of conspiracy theories and their weaknesses. This course may also serve to highlight the importance of misinformation and disinformation in a social setting and its impact, paying particular attention to how conspiracy arguments are crafted and how they are spread and circulated through the use of media.

HNRS 192: Discovering New Antibiotics on the SC Campus with Professor Sally Chamberland

In this colloquium we will conduct original research that aims to address the worldwide health threat of the diminishing supply of effective antibiotics. As a member of this colloquium, you will become a Tiny Earthling and join a network of 10,000 students around the world working to solve this crisis by partaking in the Tiny Earth Project. Students will collect soil samples from around the Springfield College campus. From these samples we hope to identify a species of bacteria that is capable of producing antibiotics that can stop the growth of some of our most troublesome pathogens. Once an antibiotic producing bacteria has been isolated, we will work towards identifying the bacteria.

HNRS 192: Exploring the Theory of Health at Every Size with Professor Megan Harvey

Is good health achieved by taking personal responsibility for health behaviors like eating nutritious foods, physical activity, and maintaining a body mass index in the normal range? Health at every size examines the premise and validity of the concept of personal responsibility for health and examines the bias associated with using body mass index as a proxy for health. The ability to take full personal responsibility for health behaviors is a myth. There is certainly a role for personal responsibility but health behaviors are rooted in social and political context. The focus on behavior change deflects attention from the more pernicious problem of systemic injustice, obscuring the reality that lifestyle factors account for less than a quarter of health outcomes. This colloquium will explore the theory of Health at Every Size, a concept rooted in a social justice and systems-oriented frame with an eye towards incorporating this information into our lives and our careers.

HNRS 192: Find your passion, exploring our place with Professor Heather Gilmour 

This 1-credit community-engagement course will help students gain a greater understanding of the needs of the community, while also exploring their own areas of interest. The service-learning for this course will encompass an academic-based experiential education that will address a social issue or community problem. Students enrolled in this colloquium will work with the faculty member to decide upon the focus together. The service-learning will link action to the educational outcomes based on personal, educational, or professional interests.

HNRS 192: Myths of America with Dean Rachel Rubinstein

Myth is the "dramatic representation of culturally important truths in narrative form" -- that is, stories we tell ourselves as a nation to explain who we think we are. What does the narrative of Pocahontas, for instance, reveal and hide about colonization and conquest? Who was the first writer to introduce the idea of the "melting pot"? Where does the idea of the "self-made man" come from? Using literature and popular and visual culture (film, performance, objects, etc) from the 17th century through the present, we will explore the literary and cultural origins, adaptations and revisions of some of American culture's most persistent stories and tropes. Each week we will examine a particular image or narrative that continues to resonate in American popular culture, trace its history and afterlives, and reflect on the cultural anxieties, desires, and dynamics of representation and oppression that are revealed.

HNRS 192: Our Changing Climate with Professor Chelsea Corr-Limoges

Devastating forest fires. Unprecedented heatwaves. Massive flooding. Deadly hurricanes. The impacts of climate change caused by decades of greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are here. And things may get worse without an immediate global effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a sentiment echoed in the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report released in Summer 2021. But what is climate change? How do we know humans are causing recent changes and that these changes aren’t just part of the natural fluctuations in Earth’s climate that have occurred throughout Earth’s history? Why have we not responded to this issue despite being aware of climate change and its consequences for decades? How do we address climate change and what happens if we don’t? In this course, we will examine literature and data from the Climate Science and Policy fields to explore such questions and evaluate the complexities of the coupled climate-human system. 

HNRS 192: Robotics – The Past, Present, and Future with Professor Jeremy Castagno 

Robotics is the intersection of engineering, computer science, and technology that produces machines that substitute or replicate human actions. This class will study the history of robotics and its recent progress driven from advances in artificial intelligence. We will learn about the three fundamental sub-disciplines within robotics: sensing, thinking, and acting. The class will cover recent advances in sensor technologies, deep learning, and briefly discuss mechanical design. Technologies and industries ranging from autonomous vehicles, walking robots, and flying drones will be covered. Weekly readings will be discussed in class and supplemented by short videos and activities.

HNRS 192: Translation as Interpretation with Professor Joseph Brockway

Have you ever encountered more than one English translation of a foreign literary work and wondered why that is? Is one translation better than the other translations? Does a correct translation exist? This colloquium will attempt to answer those questions as well as to introduce students to the theory and craft of literary translation with an emphasis on poetry. Poetry, according to Mexican author and translator Octavio Paz, may be one of the most problematic genres to translate because each word possesses multiple connotations that become multiplied when combined with other words in each line, a “preservation of a plurality of meanings.” Exploring the idea of multiple meanings within a single poem will provide a key to understanding why multiple translations exist. For this colloquium, students will apply theories of translation to the craft by translating multiple poems into English, and all students are welcome—translators need not be proficient in another language; translators of poetry need not be poets. In the words of Octavio Paz, “poetry is expressed in language, but it goes beyond language.”

HNRS 192: Using Critical Race Theory to Explain Implicit Bias, Racial Microaggressions, and Stereotype Threat in Classroom Spaces with Professor Stephanie Logan

Critical to the course will be an in-depth exploration of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and how it explains racial microaggressions and how these commonplace verbal, behavioral, or indignities communicate hostility towards individuals due to their race and other forms of social identity. Additionally, class members will examine implicit bias and stereotype threat. Essential to this exploration is to discover how these unconscious and conscious actions impact the academic, personal/social, and even career aspirations of pre-kindergarten to university-level students, as well as under-represented professionals in educational spaces. Through readings, personal reflection, class discussion, presentations, and the creation of a professional development session, the class participants will demonstrate understanding of this contemporary issue impacting the development and cross-relationships and the climate of educational institutions.

HNRS 192: Why Move? Psychological Benefits of Movement with Professor Chris Hakala

This colloquium will explore the relation between movement and various aspects of psychology. Does movement improve mental health or mental performance? What types of movement seem to be the most beneficial? In this colloquium we will examine various forms of movement and the evidence to support the claims that many make about the benefits.

PHIL 106-H: Ethics with Prof. Meeghan Ziolkowski

This course applies the study of ethical theories, value systems, and models of power and oppression to everyday life, community concerns, workplace practices and global issues for the purpose of promoting social justice and the Humanics philosophy of “leadership in service to humanity.”


Fall 2021 

ENGL 272-H: Native American Literature with Professor Justine Dymond

This course focuses primarily on 20th-century and contemporary Native authors working in a variety of genres and media, including film, video, visual art, and music. We will ground our readings in the concept of Native sovereignty and the work of Native theorists, historians, scientists, and other scholars. The course will culminate in a creative and interpretive multimedia project.

HIST 210-H: African American History with Professor Ian Delahanty

Key to this class is the study of African American history in its regional, national, and global contexts. COVID-permitting, we will also delve into local Black history through field trips to the African-American Heritage Trail in Northampton, the Underground Railroad mural at Union Station in Springfield, and the Pan-African Historical Museum in Springfield. Across the chronological and geographical scope of the class, we will consider what Black history tells us about the meaning of freedom in America. 

HNRS 192:  Women in Leadership Positions and Athletics with Professor Kate Bowen

This class will focus on the history of women leaders and their contributions to athletics. Emphasis will also include the study of Title IX and its effect on athletics and women’s rights. This colloquium will focus on the struggles and successes of women in leadership roles. Through this class seminar, students will participate in authentic discussions concerning the issues of women leaders not only in athletics but in today’s society as well.

HNRS 192: The Real (?) Yoga with Professor Kate Dugan

Yoga is a very popular practice in the U.S. Kids in preschool do it to calm down, moms at the YMCA do it to stay physically fit, and athletes do it to be centered. Historically, yoga is a particularly Hindu practice with a particularly religious history. It is akin to attending Mass for Catholics or holding shabbat for Jews. In this colloquium, we will read Andrea Jain's new book, Peace Love Yoga: The Politics of Global Spirituality, and try to understand how yoga has become an ever-present part of United States cultural life. What role does yoga play in the 21st century? How has cultural appropriation shaped the place of yoga in our lives? What is it about yoga that allows it to be so malleable in our lives?

HNRS 192: Poetry and Hybrid Forms Workshop with Professor Alanna Grady

Can we ever truly understand something that we can't experience with, or from, our own bodies? How can we use language as a tool to achieve an understanding of the things other people go through that we ourselves may not? If language seems to be somehow incomplete, what do we then turn to in order to fill in the gaps it leaves behind? In this class, we will explore how hybrid and experimental forms of writing, particularly poetry, can help us as readers, viewers, and listeners to access a unique “third space” between the physical and metaphorical worlds that we live in to create a place of imagination and possibility where, like the poet Richard Hugo says, “all things belong.” 

HNRS 192: Research Ethics with Professor Chris Hakala

This class will learn about past research projects in behavioral and health sciences that provided new information, yet only could happen through unethical and/or immoral standards. Topics may include the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, Stanford prison experiment, Milgram shock experiment, and also ethical questions with animals like a Rhesus monkey experiment. Modern-day experiments can include cloning Dolly the Sheep and medical trials that test drugs. The goal is to compare the past to the present in order to evaluate the current ethical system in science– not only how we got to where we are but also what further improvements we need. This colloquium may interest students in many disciplines including history, medicine, psychology, research methods, and animal rights.

HNRS 192: World Diseases with Professor Megan Harvey

This Honors Colloquium provides students with the opportunity to read and discuss popular nonfiction texts that describe the impact of and the human response to some of the important diseases of our time, including AIDS, Ebola, and cancer. This Colloquium emphasizes the political and societal forces that affect the interactions between humans and diseases, as well as the scientific advances that have influenced how humans perceive and respond to these diseases. Upon completion of this Colloquium, students will be better prepared to answer that most pressing of disease-related questions: “how worried should we be”?

HNRS 192: Bikes, Bars, and a Revolution with Professor Anne Wheeler

Since the first pride parades were held in Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco in 1970, the Dykes on Bikes have led the way. Historically, this has been a way of honoring the (self-identified) butch dykes who started the Stonewall Riots and sparked the revolution that paved the way for generations of LGBTQ* individuals to live more authentic lives. This course will explore 20th century LGBTQ* history. Beginning with the activists who were working before Stonewall. We'll engage in discussions about the evolution and ramifications of the queer revolution. Along the way, we'll consider the history of policing queer bodies, as well as how the AIDS epidemic shattered and united the community. This course will not only provide an overview of queer history, we will also have the opportunity to think about the evolution of activism and the distinctions between what Jeffrey Bennett has called "passing, protesting, and the art of resistance."

HNRS 283: Seminar in a Discipline/Religion with Professor Kate Dugan
“Religion in Ireland”

This course is an introduction to religions in Ireland. We will study the history and contemporary life of a range of religions in Ireland. This course examines religious conflict and the impact of immigration on religions in Ireland, and it considers the intersections of religion and culture in Ireland.

MUSC 332-H: Music as a Form of Social Protest with Professor Chris Gagne

This course provides a survey of music that is rooted in an expression of sociopolitical protest. Throughout the course, students will explore various styles and subgenres of protest music demonstrated throughout history. Additionally, students will analyze the compositional elements, as well as the relevant cultural context, of all representative works. As a final project, enrolled students will compose their own protest song on a subject of their choosing as a means of assimilating the concepts discussed in class, and also as an exercise in creative self-expression.

SCSM 101-H: Springfield College Seminar with Professor Maysa DeSousa

The Springfield College Seminar is an interdisciplinary, thematic course developed for students entering the College. The course provides an introduction to the Springfield College Core Curriculum, as well as to the intellectual culture and Humanics mission of the College. The course is designed to engage students through practicing the fundamental skills necessary for academic success: critical thinking, effective writing, analytic reading, and oral communication.


View Past Honors Program Courses: 

Honors Colloquia (HNRS 192)       Interdisciplinary Seminars (HNRS 282)

Seminars in a Discipline (HNRS 283)   Guided Study Courses (HNRS 141 and HNRS 499)

Honors Program at Springfield College