Fall 2023 Honors College Signature Seminar

HNRC 4013H-011: Bad Medicine

Professor:  Trish Starks

Colloquium Type:  Humanties or Social Science

**The deadline to apply to Honors College Seminars (via this application form) is 11:59 p.m., Friday, March 31st.

Hippocrates (460-370 BC) divided the art of medicine into three factors — the disease, the patient and the physician. Patients, literally the ones who "suffer," gave themselves up to the physician’s knowledge, skill and craft. Yet in these early days, there was precious little that the physician could do besides follow the Hippocratic dictum to “first do no harm.” Even in that, they often failed. Bleedings, blisterings, cauterizations and poisonings came part and parcel with the knowledge and skill of the physicians. Healing was often accidental, if it occurred at all. Still, having the ability merely to name the dread disease from which a ruler or loved one suffered, physicians gained power.

Entering the modern era of nation states, liberal politics, enlightenment philosophies and capitalist economies, this power came not just from their guidance in the face of disease and death. Increasingly, European rulers saw the wealth of their nations as measured by having people to serve soberly, healthfully and quiescently in militaries and factories. Medical authorities became tools of the state in this quest for power, and helped bolster an entire bureaucratic structure that used medicine to control people who might threaten white patriarchal authority. Science was employed to define behaviors and peoples as unhealthy even when there was little medical evidence to justify these views. Then, through a web of state-backed and culturally-supported authorities, physicians pushed for these vectors of invented disease – be they hysterics and neurasthenics or imbeciles and morons – to be cured, quelled or eliminated.

Bad Medicine will demonstrate how those who disturbed order or menaced authority were medically defined as deficient, abnormal or aberrant and in need of a "cure." Students will explore how modern Western states used medicine to define and control their subjects, to incarcerate and harm those seen as deficient and to sterilize and kill those considered dangerous.

The class will show students how to be a patient is still to suffer.

HNRC 4013H-012: Good Medicine

Professor(s): Jamie Baum and Erin Howie Hickey

Colloquium Type: Natural Science or Social Science

**The deadline to apply to Honors College Seminars (via this application form) is 11:59 p.m., Friday, March 31st.

“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.” - Hippocrates

In Ancient Greek the word diet (δίαιτα – diaita) meant mode of life and it encompassed the various aspects of lifestyle: food and drink, physical exercises, baths and massage, sun-therapy, sleep and sexual practice, passions of the soul, habits and generally the whole way of leading one’s life. Today, diet (nutrition) and physical activity are two separate fields of study.

In this course, we will return to the Ancient Greek definition and explore the relationship between nutrition and physical activity and their role in whole health and well-being. To do this, we will focus on Hippocrates’ dedication to research and communication and the university’s land grant mission - research, education, and extension.

Throughout the course we will discuss the role of nutrition and physical activity in whole health and wellbeing, how to design research focused on changing nutrition and physical activity behaviors, and the importance of community engagement in achieving positive health outcomes. We will also address the challenges communities face and the barriers they need to overcome to implement dietary and physical activity changes in their daily lives.

The class will include guest speakers from across colleges on campus, community representatives, and interactions with leaders across the nation and globally.

HNRC 4013H (12321): Teeth: Evolution's Bite

Professor:  Peter Ungar

Colloquium Type:  Natural Science or Social Science

**The deadline to apply to Honors College Seminars (via this application form) is 11:59 p.m., Friday, March 31st.

Most of us only think about teeth when something’s wrong with them—when they come in crooked, break or begin to rot. But take a minute to consider teeth as the extraordinary feat of engineering they are.

They concentrate and transmit the forces needed to break food, again and again, up to millions of times over a lifetime. And they do it without themselves being broken in the process—with the very same raw materials used to make the plants and animals being eaten. Chewing is like a perpetual death match in the mouth, with plants and animals developing tough or hard tissues for protection, and teeth evolving ways to sharpen or strengthen themselves to overcome those defenses. The variety of tooth types, especially across the mammals, is extraordinary.

It’s a testament to what evolution can accomplish given time, motive, and opportunity. Lots of animals have “teeth.” Sea urchins, spiders and slugs all have hardened tissues used for food acquisition and processing, but real teeth, like yours and mine, are special. They first appeared half a billion years ago, and Nature has spent the whole time since tinkering with ways to make them better. It’s a story written in stone—the fossil record.

TEETH:  EVOLUTION’S BITE is broken into three parts. The first part introduces key terms and concepts:  tooth form, structure, and development, food and feeding. The second part focuses on the evolution of teeth and, in a broader sense, the animals in whose mouths they evolve. We cover teeth before the mammals, the origins of chewing, and the mammalian fossil record. And the third part presents the teeth of mammals today in all their glory – an amazing example of Darwin’s “endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful.” The course closes with a consideration of our teeth. Smile and look in a mirror. Millions of us suffer fillings, crowns, wisdom tooth extractions, and braces each year. Most other mammals don’t have widespread dental disease and orthodontic disorders. Why are we so different? The answer is rooted in evolutionary history; and this course offers the student the perspective needed to understand this and, in doing so, to better appreciate our place in Nature.

Fall 2023 Honors Colloquia

HIST 3923H: Life in Nazi-Occupied Europe

Professor:  Richard Sonn

Colloquium Type: Humanities or Social Science

Within a year of the invasion of Poland in September 1939, which began World War II, the Germans occupied most of the continent of Europe.  Much of Europe was thus occupied for four years or more.  What was life like under the Nazis? Were most people resisters, collaborators, or simply bystanders?   This course will use diaries and memoirs as well as some secondary sources to explore how the French, Italians, Poles, Jews and Germans themselves experienced daily life under the Nazis.  Students will write one shorter paper based on class readings and a longer final paper that involves primary sources. 

HUMN 3923H: The Universe in a Single Atom

Professor:  Thupten Dorjee

Colloquium Type: Humanities or Social Science

Following decades of intensive workshops between leading academics and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Universe in a Single Atom is the culmination of the mutual understanding and communication between two traditions that have increasingly found common ground in their pursuit of truth through analysis and reason. The course will follow the main presentations on cosmology, metaphysics, epistemology, and consciousness that are explored in the book while providing a thorough background of the covered information in a format suited for undergraduate coursework. Students will not only learn about the major philosophical tenets of Tibetan Buddhism from an acknowledged authority, but they will also have an opportunity to participate in many activities that enhance their abilities for critical thinking and reasoning in the same way that Tibetan scholars have for nearly a millennia. 

JOUR 3923H: Government and the Media

Professor:  Gina Shelton

Colloquium Type: Humanities or  Social Science

This class examines relations between the media and government, with analysis of the power, responsibility and performance of journalists and politicians. Topics include trust in media, use of freedom of information laws, money in politics, international press and influence, and coverage of courts, Congress and the White House. Students meet newsmakers from local, state and national politics and the reporters who cover them. They have the opportunity to record roundtable discussions in the campus television station, UATV, and podcasts in the campus radio station, KXUA, with exploration of breaking news and presentations of research from class projects.

JOUR 3923H: Issues in Advertising & Public Relations

Professor:  Lucy Brown

Colloquium Type: Humanities or Social Science

The primary goal of Issues in Advertising & Public Relations is to increase your awareness of the effects of the advertising and public relations industries and their messages on society. You’ll be encouraged to think about the implications of what you do when you create an advertisement or public relations message or campaign and how that message may affect a diverse audience. Students develop a social marketing plan (SMP) in teams to educate the public about a social problem or for a nonprofit or educational entity. This helps you to learn how advertising and public relations messages can be used to help society.

PLSC 3923H: Authoritarianism

Professor:  Jeff Ryan

Colloquium Type: Humanities or Social Science

**By permission only. Send requests for enrollment to jeffr@uark.edu. 

When Louis XIV uttered his infamous proto-hashtag “L'etat c'est moi,” it seems unlikely he was deliberately trying to capture in a pithy phrase part of the very lifeblood of autocracy as a political species, but he did. That vital essence is absolutism; a Manichaeistic belief that everything is black or white, right or wrong, good or evil, which courses through the veins of all the many variants of authoritarianism. It shows up in the way both aspiring and actual autocrats construct their worldviews; how they define the political realm; who they love and especially, who they hate. It defines how they govern if they are in power and if not, what they will do to capture power. 

In ‘Authoritarianism,’ we’ll explore basic human nature by interrogating the idea of an ‘authoritarian personality’ that primes some to become autocrats and others to blindly obey. We then turn to the state itself, covering the sort of ‘classic’ authoritarian regimes that tend to come to mind when people think of a dictatorship: the suffocating terror of totalitarianism; the primal atavism of a state constructed on ethnonationalism; the systematic savagery designed to atomize society of the bureaucratic-authoritarian state; and more. 

We will also probe the various roles that individuals or groups occupy during authoritarian episodes: the leaders, apparatchiks, followers, torturers, rebels, victims and bystanders. We even explore the co-optation of artistic expression to serve as state-reinforcing propaganda, from music to film to architecture. At the end of the day, the course is designed to provide a ‘full spectrum’ investigation of the multi-faceted phenomenon of political authoritarianism. In ‘Authoritarianism,’ there is no black and white…just different shadows of gray. 

PLSC 3923H: Politics & Conflict in Syria

Professor:  Najib Ghadbian

Colloquium Type: Social Science

Please contact the professor by his email, ghadbian@uark.edu, for more information.

PLSC 3923H: Hitler in Film

Professor:  Thomas Adam

Colloquium Type: Humanities or Social Science

While few Americans take classes in German history and study Nazism and Adolf Hitler, every American has an image of Hitler in mind. That was shaped not by historical scholarship but by Hollywood. Even though this image is historically incorrect, it still needs to be taken seriously. In our class, we will analyze the construction of the image of Hitler in post-1945 movies. For this purpose, we will dissect the image created in movies such as Downfall and tv-show episodes such as the Cradle of Darkness from the TV show Twilight Zone. This class is grounded in postmodern thought and cultural history. The focus is the creation of images of Hitler by German, English, and American moviemakers and not the historical person itself.

PSYC 3923H: In Treatment: The Science and Practice of Psychotherapy

Professor:  Tim Cavell

Colloquium Type: Natural Science or Social Science

This course is an introduction to the science and practice of psychotherapy. The course will operate as a seminar that combines outside readings with focused, in-class discussions about those readings. Students will read two books, Gottlieb’s (2019) Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, and Yalom’s (2011) The Gift of Therapy. The objectives of this course are threefold. The first goal is to provide students with a basic understanding of psychotherapy so they can be more informed consumers of mental health care. A second goal is to help guide students who are interested in a career in the mental health field. The third and final goal is to help students understand how psychotherapy can be used to foster more adaptive coping and prevent burnout. 

WLLC 3923H: Intro to Game Design l

Professor:  David Fredrick

Colloquium Type: Humanities or Social Science

This course provides an introduction to the theory and practice of creating video games. Over the course of the semester we will explore the fundamental role of rules, play, art, and narrative in games, examine and critique representative video games in depth, and contemplate the decisions designers must make using the principles of game design. We will also put these principles into practice by building a series of basic 3D games!   Students will acquire an understanding of the production pipeline used for contemporary video games, including level design, modeling and texturing 3D assets, lighting, scripting the most common forms of interactivity, and creating a user interface; students will then see how these elements come together in a game engine to create the experience we all know. 

Required Readings include Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals, Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman; The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Jesse Schell; Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, Jeff Vandermeer; and Selected PDFs from Introduction to Game Design, Prototyping, and Development, Jeremy Gibson.