HONR Courses

Below is a listing of the Fall 2017 HONR course offerings. Click on the course name to view a description of the course. Please note the HONR 199 courses are for first and second-year students only; HONR 299 and 399 courses are open to all high ability students. A 3.0 GPA or higher is required to register for these courses.

Click here to download a print-friendly PDF of our course offerings.


HONR 199

HONR 19900, Section 022, CRN 14731, The Animal

Dr. Megha Anwer
# of Credit Hours: 3
Days and Times: T/TH 10:30am - 11:45am

Room:  HCRS 1066

Brief Course Description:

This is an interdisciplinary course that approaches animals through the intersections between philosophy, veterinarian science, bioethics, literature, cinema and art. Here we will examine the ways in which human beings have constructed and deployed the idea of "the animal" and defined themselves in opposition to non-human creatures. At the same time, the course will investigate the inseparability of the human-animal worlds. Some of the themes that we will explore in class are: the institutionalization of animals -- in zoos and circuses, as pets; animal labor and animal industries (eg. meat industry); animals as entertainment -- in films (the most recent being Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them), and in "funny animal videos" on social media; animals in folklore and children's literature; the history of animal vivisection. In trying to grapple with animal psychology and animal language, we will, hopefully learn much more about our own ways of inhabiting an inter-species world. The course will also include exciting field trips to the Lafayette Zoo and the Wolf Park.

HONR 19900, Section 017, CRN 14089, Stem Cells

Instructors: Dr. Zahra Tehrani
# of Credit Hours: 3
Days and Times: MWF 2:30pm – 3:20pm
Room:  HCRS 1145

Brief Course Description:

Stem cells have the potential to revolutionize the way medicine is practiced today. Some stem cell therapies have been shown to be safe and effective and are already being used successfully to treat thousands of people worldwide. Other stem cell therapies are considered experimental, therefore treatments must be monitored by the Food and Drug Administration to ensure safety and efficacy. Finally, some stem cell therapies are offered with minimal scientific justification relying on the false hope of desperate patients and hype in the media rather than sound scientific evidence. The goal of this course is to explore the use of stem cells in modern medicine and to take a close look at the science as well as the hype behind some of today’s most famous and infamous stem cell medical applications. How can we tell science from hype, and where do science, policy and ethics intersect?

HONR 19900, Section 023, CRN 15164, The Bicycle

Instructors: Dr. Andrew Hirsh
# of Credit Hours: 3
Days and Times: MWF 4:30pm – 5:20pm
Room:  HCRS 1066

Brief Course Description:

The modern bicycle is ubiquitous. Since the invention of the safety bicycle, it has penetrated nearly every aspect of human endeavor. In this interdisciplinary course,which features faculty from the colleges of Science, Heath and Human Sciences, and Liberal Arts, among others, we will explore its development and how it has impacted society. Among the topics covered are:

  • Bicycle physics – statics, dynamics, the role of materials (aluminum, steel, carbon fiber...), aerodynamics
  • Human power production
  • How bicycles have impacted women
  • Bicycle’s role in the economy – direct impacts of the bicycle industry, personal transportation impacts on the individual’s budget, spinoffs from bicycling venues and cycling events...
  • Bicycles’ influence on culture (art, movies...)
  • Bicycles and cities – a means of alternative transportation, bicyclist behavior, network design, and bike sharing
The course will consist of reading and occasional homework assignments. Students will work in teams to develop an in- depth exploration of a topic of their choosing for a capstone project.

HONR 19900, Section 024, CRN 15170, Paper or Plastic

Dr. Thomas Siegmund
# of Credit Hours: 1
Days and Times: W 2:30pm - 3:20pm

Room:  HCRS 1143

Brief Course Description:

We as humans are always faced with choices, be it apparently simple ones at check-out lane at the local super market, to complex ones of selecting an electric vehicle vs. an internal combustion engine driven one. Starting from an examination of possible answers to he simple question at the check-out lane, this course will investigate and discuss how our human habits and choices affect the environment, development of society and us as individuals. Human choices affect our relationship with the environment on which we depend for food, water, energy and raw materials. Materials have been central to the development of civilization, from the stone-age to the silicon-age. Most historical developments in materials and associated changes to human life were based on the paradigm of find - take – make – use – dispose. In this process, our society spends close to half of its energy. Yet, today with nearly 7 billion individuals inhabiting planet earth, the validity of this paradigm should be questioned. Can humans continue to rely on the premise of disposable materials and energy systems? Or, do we, as a modern society, find new paths to a sustainable future? The course will introduce students to critical thinking and possible paths to solutions to answers to apparently benign daily choices including but not limited to “Paper or Plastic?” -- “Tap or Bottled?” -- “Dryer or Towel?”, and investigate these questions in the face of social, economic, and environmental impact.

HONR 19903, Section 003, CRN 68555, Interdisciplinary Approaches to Writing:

Dr. Peter Moore
# of Credit Hours: 3
Days and Times: T/TH 1:30pm - 2:45pm

Room:  HCRS 1054

Brief Course Description:

There is a scene in the film True Romance in which a kind-hearted call girl steps into the light of an old movie marquee and says to her new fella, “when I see a good movie, I really like to go out and get some pie and talk about it. It’s like a tradition.” Gesturing to the social life of cinema, the line models a practice by which everyday people come together to talk about their world, as reflected in a single act of artistic expression. And what’s more, with the reference to pie, it makes the whole endeavor seem like a treat, a visceral pleasure to say what you think, to hear someone else, to relive an incredible image and interpret its meaning. These are the pleasures we will pursue in this interdisciplinary writing class. We will learn how to develop our loose and exciting ideas into carefully crafted, compelling essays. And we will practice the basic elements of academic writing, from conducting research to carrying out critical revisions, all by writing in response to the films of Quentin Tarantino.

Part of what’s oddly wonderful about the call girl’s line is that it was written by Tarantino, the controversial director who continues to spark countless pie-consuming conversations. He has been heralded as the Picasso of postmodern cinema and criticized as a morally corrupt merchant of schlock and awe. From his too-cool dialogue delivered over hemorrhaging wounds to his badly damaged characters who relish pop culture, Tarantino’s films have been debated and painstakingly analyzed in every medium from the scholarly essay to the spirited blogpost. In this course, we will use Tarantino’s films to write about issues that transcend disciplinary conventions, from race and violence to gender and postmodernity. As a group of nascent film buffs, we will learn how to look deeply, think differently and communicate effectively. And who knows, there may even be a slice of pie to enjoy along the way. This course meets the core requirement for written communication and *may* be used as a substitute for English 106 or 108. Consult your college advisor.

HONR 299

HONR 29900 Section 038, CRN 19438/19439, Food Security

Dr. Liz Brite
Dr. Gebis Eieta
# of Credit Hours: 3
Days and Times: T/TH 10:30 am – 11:20 am (Lecture)
T 12:00pm-1:15pm (Presentation)

Room:  HCRS 1145


This course examines the complex issue of human food security in different global and local contexts. The course will consist of three main components: (1) Breadth of the Knowledge—students will attend a Food Security speakers' series, organized in conjunction with the new master's program in food security offered by Purdue's Department of Agronomy; (2) Global Food Security—students will engage in weekly, 1-hour lectures delivered by Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, Distinguished Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics and Director of the Center for Global Food Security, on global food security issues; (3) Local Food Security—students will participate in weekly, 1-hour discussions and project work that center on issues of local food security, with a specific focus on campus food security. Students will design and implement a research study to assess food security at Purdue, supplemented by site visits, reading discussions, and reflection activities that will help to construct and make meaning from the research endeavor. Site visits may include: Purdue Student Farm, Purdue Community Gardens, Food Finders, Inc., Purdue Dining.

HONR 29900, Section 040, CRN 14733, Well-Being

Instructors: Dr. Jason Ware
# of Credit Hours: 3
Days and Times: T/TH 9:00am – 10:15am
Room:  HCRS 1066

Brief Course Description:

Tokyo, Berlin, Vienna, Copenhagen, and Munich are the five most liveable cities in the world according to Monocle’s 2016 Quality of Life index. They are the highest ranking cities when using metrics to measure crime, emergency services’ response time, transportation networks, cycling culture, food, drink, retail, and the number of independent bookshops. Monocle’s Quality of Life survey is merely one among the many that exist to rank the world’s best cities, but wealth is one theme that emerges from among the varying indices and their respective results. The metrics, indeed the participants responding to the metrics, represent populations of people with high levels of discretionary income. How might the metrics reflect different values if these indices include a different kind of participant, such as the urban poor?

Our goal in this course is to investigate indicators of community well-being related to quality of life with urban poor communities. The underlying premise is that urban poor communities across the globe – living even in Tokyo, Berlin, Vienna, Copenhagen, and Munich – have negligible influence in determining the criteria for measuring a city’s livability. We’ll imagine that material realities of poverty manifest in issues of failing infrastructure and poor living conditions that compromise healthy living, and that social realities manifest in decreased educational attainment and outcomes. All of which suggests that urban poor communities may produce collectively a set of metrics, of indicators, that create a different picture of what it looks like to live within urban environments. We’ll plan to work with urban poor communities within the Greater Lafayette area to create and capture these indicators, the result of which will be a set of inclusive indicators for influencing policy and producing enhanced local future outcomes and community well-being.

HONR 29900 Section 032, CRN 13363, "ISIS: Threat & Response"

Dr. Dwaine Jengelley
Dr. Aaron Hoffman
# of Credit Hours: 3
Days and Times: MWF 2:30 pm – 3:20 pm

Room:  HCRS 1054


This course provides students the opportunity to evaluate key questions surrounding the rise of ISIS, the most notorious purveyor of terror since Al Qaeda. We will examine a range of issues that relate to the threat of ISIS and governments responses to it. We will also examine why groups use violence, how terrorist groups end, and the role of the media in enabling terrorist violence. Students will not only engage with the scholarship on terrorism, but they will also with the guidance of the instructors, conduct original research on terrorism using standard social science techniques such as experiments and statistical analysis. After completing this course, students will have a solid understanding of international terrorism, its changing nature and causes.

HONR 29900, Section 033, CRN 13364, "Homegrown"

Instructors: Dr. Adam Watkins
# of Credit Hours: 3
Days and Times: T/TH 3:00pm - 4:15pm
Room:  HCRN 1145

Brief Course Description:

What does it mean to be from a place? How does our hometown shape our sense of identity? In HONR 299: Homegrown, students will utilize creative writing, fieldwork, and service learning practices to explore the role of place in individual and community identities. That is, students will serve local communities in two ways: by assisting with an afterschool creative writing program for local children and by collaborating with community elders via retiree or elderly care programs. In both contexts, students will encourage and assist in the production of creative writing that addresses the course theme. In response to the creations of these community partners, students will similarly use creative writing to think through the linkages of place, community, and identity.

The first part of the course will offer training on creative writing basics and pedagogy, as well as best practices for serving community children and elders. Students from all majors can participate; those with aspirations in education or creative writing are strongly encouraged to enroll.

HONR 29900 Section 041, CRN 15345, "Media Lab"

Dr. Doug Osman
# of Credit Hours: 3
Days and Times: T/TH 12:00pm-1:15pm

Room:  HCRS 1143


This course provides an intensive approach to digital media production with an emphasis on video and visual messages. Students enrolled in Media Lab will learn how to create content aimed at a target audience, produce the components for that message, then design and complete the post-production for the project. Students will create content that conveys both informational and persuasive messages.

The course begins with a strong foundation in the technical aspects of content creation. Students will learn how to use state-of-the-art video production equipment to create their work. The use of broadcast-quality high definition cameras is included in the course, as is professional execution on non-linear editing systems. Students in this course will work towards designing and launching an Honors College YouTube channel showcasing undergraduate research at Purdue.

HONR 399

HONR 39900 Section 002, CRN 15189, Designing the Future

Dr. Robin Adams
Dr. Rayyon Fouche
Dr.Shannon McMullen
# of Credit Hours: 3
Days and Times: T/TH 1:30 pm – 2:45 pm

Room:  HCRS 1076


Technology is an intriguing object of social and cultural inquiry. Creative producers of technology like engineers and industrial designers are defined by their material production rather than their written output. Therefore, technology’s history is signified more by the reading of artifacts than through the analyses of written documents. This course will focus on the various ways technology has shaped the modern world and the processes by which we can critically examine forms, uses, and meanings of objects, images, and environments in everyday life. By questioning familiar boundaries between traditional definitions of craft, design, art, and skill in technological contexts, we will explore the ways technology drives history and history shapes technology. By studying the ways that society, culture, and identity inform technology’s complex history, we can gain deeper understandings of how material objects influence human existence.

HONR 39900 Section 001, CRN 15184, The Wabash

Dr. Greg Michalski Dr. Lisa Welp
# of Credit Hours: 3
Days and Times: MWF 1:30 pm – 2:20 pm

Room:  HCRS 1054


This course will bring together a multi disciplinary student-faculty research team that has a clear and concise objective: Produce an anthology about the Wabash River for publication in honor of the State of Indiana’s bicentennial. Collaborating with the instructors will be a number of faculty that have expressed a willingness to mentor and advise Honors students in their independent research and writing as it relates to the Wabash as a scientific, environmental and socio-historical topic. The eventual chapters of the anthology will be decided during the first weeks of the course after discussion between the students and their faculty mentors.

Students may propose research and writing for this course to the Scholarly Project Committee for consideration.

HONR 39900, Section 007, CRN 13233, Acceptance & Inclusion

Instructors: Dr. Ximena Arriaga
# of Credit Hours: 3
Days and Times: MWF 3:30pm – 4:20pm
Room:  HCRS 1143

Brief Course Description:

Inclusion, belonging, acceptance, and validation are more than mere ideals. They fundamentally shape our sense of well-being. Importantly, the absence of having these needs satisfied – feeling excluded, marginalized, rejected, or devalued – underlies many psychological, interpersonal, and societal problems. This seminar examines these positive and negative social connections in several contexts. Core topics include:

  • The basic science of being excluded – neuroscience, biomarker, psychological, and/or physical outcomes.
  • Belonging and affiliation needs in interpersonal contexts (friends, couples, families).
  • Exclusion, marginalization, and group identity threat in higher education, community, school, organizational, and political settings.
  • Inclusive policies and practices in higher education, community, school, organizational, and political settings.
  • Civil communication (or lack thereof), persuasion processes, best practices and potential interventions.
  • Technological affordances in connecting people; use and misuse of technology.

Students who successfully complete this course may be invited to continue doing research with Professor Arriaga during the spring 2018 semester.