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Honors Seminars Spring 2019

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 Honors Seminars: Spring 2019


Interactive Peek into Design Thinking: If You Can Think It, You Can Make It! 

Professor Anna Wan
TT 11:30am-1pm (H001; #2935)

Design“Design Thinking” is an approach to creative problem solving that takes place at the intersection between intuition and reason, logic and imagination.  In this course, we will learn about the principles of design thinking and put those principles into practice in USM’s own “Eagle Maker Hub.”  In this interactive seminar, we will read, explore, and make, using tools and technology that enable you to create in seemingly limitless ways.  We will use such tools as 3D printers, laser cutter, CNC mill, Arduino, and Raspberry Pi. No previous experience is needed to learn and use these tools. The Honors College will cover the costs for standard materials for projects at Eagle Maker Hub. You have the option to purchase additional materials for your projects, but no additional purchase is necessary. 




The Leviathan Speaks: Oceanography, Whales and Moby-Dick  

Professors Monty Graham and Ellen Weinauer
Wednesdays 3-6:15 (H002; #2936)

Moby DickFor decades, readers of Moby-Dick have been encouraged to think of this strange novel as about anything other than actual whales: it’s about the symbolism of the “white whale,” or about such abstract concepts as “fate,” “evil,” or transcendental nature.  Yet Herman Melville had gone to sea many times, including on a whaling ship, and Moby-Dick emerges from that concrete experience.  In this class, we will read the novel as one that is truly about whales, the ocean, and the industry of whaling itself.  In Moby-Dick, Melville directs his readers to ask questions about these extraordinary creatures and the largely uncharted world they inhabit.  Why are whales big?  Where do they feed, and why?  How do they communicate?  How did whales become so important to the 19th-century economy—and what effects did that have on their survival?  Along with the novel, we will read texts on such topics as oceanography, the biology of whales, the history of whaling, and the marine environment.  As part of the class, students will take a short cruise on one of USM’s own research vessels. 



The “Most Terrible Crime Ever Committed”:  Readings in the Holocaust

Professor Morgan Rempel
TTH 1:15-2:45 TT 1:15-2:45 (H003; #2937

HolocaustWinston Churchill called the Holocaust the “most terrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world.” In an effort to better understand this singular crime, this seminar will take an interdisciplinary approach, bringing together works of history, philosophy, psychology, religious studies, cinema, and first-person testimony.







The Food We Eat: How Science and Culture Shape Our Diets

Professors Hugh Broome and Jennifer Regan
MW 11:30-1 (H004; #2938) 

FoodHow does food become food?  What are the chemical and biological processes and cultural trends (diets, supplements, etc) that help to create food and shape our food choices?  In this course, we will examine some of the ways that food is “transformed” through chemistry, environmental influences, microbial interactions, human physiological factors, and cultural ideas.  We will study the science of food as a means of understanding how such things as nutritional supplements, fad diets, and raw food trends function within the domains of the human body and the kitchen. By the end of the spring semester, students will better understand the foods they eat and the value and/or risks of specific foods in the human diet. 





Creative Thinking to Improve the Mississippi Economy

Professor Chad R. Miller
MW 9:45-11:45; (H005; #2939

Mississippi Mississippi’s economy is falling behind the nation’s recovery.  The unemployment rate remains higher than the national average, a large part of the population is in poverty, the population is declining with many of the state’s most educated leaving the Magnolia State.  This course will make extensive use of periodicals and guest speakers to better understand the social, health, political, and business issues holding the economy back. We will explore the economic development approaches taken to improve the economy such as industrial recruiting, technology-based economic development, small business and entrepreneurship development, and the Creative Economy initiative which attempts to commercialize the state’s arts and cultural to create jobs and wealth.      



The Rhetoric of Ideas: Ideology & Propaganda 

Professor Paul Strait
MW 1:15-2:45 (H006; #2940 

Propaganda"We hear of ‘brainwashing,’ of schemes whereby an ‘ideology’ is imposed upon people.  But should we stop at that?  Should we not also see the situation the other way around?  For was not the ‘brainwasher’ also similarly motivated? Do we simply use words, or do they not also use us? An ‘ideology’ is like a god coming down to earth, where it will inhabit a place pervaded by its presence.  An ‘ideology’ is like a spirit taking up its abode in a body: it makes that body hop around in certain ways, and the same body would have hopped around in different ways had a different ideology happened to inhabit it."  – Kenneth Burke

What sorts of crazy things do people believe, why do they believe them, and how do you talk to people about their crazy beliefs? This course examines the rhetorical nature of ideology and propaganda. After working out a theoretically robust understanding of ideology, we will examine particular macro and micro ideologies that currently circulate through the public sphere. We will also explore ways in which governments, marketers, public relations agencies, artists, and scientists deploy ideological discourse and propaganda in public controversies. In the end, this course will leave you with an advanced understanding of the interplay between rhetoric, ideology, and propaganda from an historical and theoretical perspective, and equip you with the research skills and the critical sensibility necessary to read and respond to instances of ideological communication. You will gain insight both into how people use words, and more importantly, how words use people. 



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