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William O. Douglas Honors College

DHC Courses and Seminar Topics

2013-2014 DHC COURSE SCHEDULE (subject to change)
2014-2015 DHC COURSE SCHEDULE (subject to change)

DHC 141 | DHC 150 | DHC 151 | DHC 160 | DHC 161 | DHC 250 | DHC 251 | DHC 260 | DHC 261 | DHC 270 | DHC 301 | DHC 380 | DHC 399 | DHC 401 | DHC 497 | SHP 301 | SHP 401 | SHP 497


Cancer Survivorship: An Exploration of Healing and Empowerment
Dr. Cristina Santamaría Graff, Language, Literacy, and Special Education

This course conceptualizes cancer through a resiliency theory framework in which “survivorship” is predicated on an individual’s ability to navigate multiple domains including social, psychological, and economic while making empowering choices for treatment, prevention, and recovery. Taught by a breast cancer survivor, traditional and non-traditional healthcare options are analyzed through first-hand accounts, literature, and research in the areas of medicine, education, and psychology.

Did Jesus Laugh?
Ms. Karen Turcotte, Philosophy & Religious Studies

In this course we will study the role of humor and the comic fool in both Eastern and Western religion. Through the varied disciplines of philosophy, religious studies, sociology, art, and media we will examine the tension between humor and reverence and the ways in which levity, especially as embodied in the often subversive image of comic fool, has served as a vehicle for religious institutional critique and even personal transformation.

The Pull and Drag of Romance
Mr. Rob Schnelle, English

“The Pull and the Drag of Romance” will survey romantic aspirations and delusions expressed in imaginative fiction, poetry, painting, and popular song of Western historical periods extending from the ancient world to the present. Whereas pop romance glorifies pair bonding, Romance informs a range of human concerns, all at the heart of young adulthood’s civilizing task: education, travel, self-fashioning, vocation, and community. As cultural historians, students will take the measure of Romance, a powerfully enduring meme.

Trauma: Memory, History, and Identity
Dr. Cynthia Coe, Philosophy & Religious Studies

This course studies the significance of trauma in human experience in multiple contexts: in individual consciousness, in familial dynamics, and in national and global histories. Using the disciplinary angles of literature, history, philosophy, and psychology, we will examine the traumatic disruption of memory and identity, and the attempts to recuperate meaning, coherence, and purpose in response to that experience.

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Early Folklore in America
Ms. Melissa Brouwer, English

In this course, students survey early American folklore, including African American folklore, Native American Folklore, and American West folklore. Through the lenses of song, narrative, oral storytelling and film, students will examine the impact folklore has had on societal values and cultural cohesion, and how this form of storytelling can subvert conventional institutional structures.

Culture and Cuisine
Ms. Ruthi Erdman, English

Food affects, and is affected by, everything from economics, politics, technology, and demographics to art and literature, social structures, religion, and family life. This course surveys Western history and culture from the Roman Empire to the 19th century through the lens of what people in various times and places were eating.

Ghosts and Fairies in an Age of Science
Dr. Christine Sutphin, English

This course analyzes the supernatural in British Victorian/Edwardian literature and visual art, concentrating on anxieties and desires experienced by a culture fascinated by both science and the occult. Representations of the supernatural reveal attitudes about the past, religion, nature, and various others (women, working classes, and people of color). The course emphasizes both the tensions and connections between fantasy and science/technology: to some Victorians the “fantastic” was a name for what humans did not yet comprehend.

What is Happiness?
Ms. Natalie Lupton, Information Technology and Administrative Management

This class prepared students to critically evaluate their role in creating and experiencing their own happiness and the happiness of others. Students will explore the history of happiness with a review of philosophical perspectives. Students will use this foundation to investigate what makes individuals happy, including variables such as money, relationships, religion, and technology. Students will then survey the science of happiness and how the scientific community aims to define happiness.

Women Travelers
Dr. Lila Harper, English

Women Travelers examines sociological constraints on women’s exploratory, science-based writings during the 18th and 19th centuries. Students read selections from women naturalists, anthropologists, and sociologists written at a time (1790s-1890s) when women were being “edged out” of professions.

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Beethoven: Cultural Rebel and Touchstone
Ms. Denise Dillenbeck, Music

The 1700s saw the toppling of governmental and theological hierarchy, as revolutions swept Europe and America. A new powerful middle class came into being. Beethoven embodied the spirit of rebellion and individualism in his music, work and life. This class will examine the shift toward modern democracy and the power of the individual through the person of Beethoven, and will follow his impact on the arts in the centuries after his life.

Jazz: History, Theory, and Philosophy
Mr. Curtis Peacock, Music

This course focuses on jazz (America’s only indigenous art form) from the late 1800s to the present. Emphasis is on artists, cultural/societal forces shaping music’s evolution as well as technical analysis of theories of swing rhythm, and the philosophy of time-perception. Included in this course are extensive listening, reading and group discussions as well as required attendance of performances.

Ten Quartets
Mr. Timothy Betts, Music

The string quartet is universally acknowledged as the compositional pinnacle of the small-ensemble chamber music that flourished in the 18th, 19th, and 20th century Western art music tradition. Students will experience ten masterpieces of the genre through private live performances of Central Washington University’s string quartet in residence, the Kairos Quartet. In addition, each composition will be used as a window or departure point to view and explore a broad spectrum of literature and art, as well as cultural, intellectual, and political history. Students will experience and study quartets by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Ravel, Janacek, Shostakovich, Ives, and Phillip Glass. Ancillary topics will include the Enlightenment, Impressionism, Expressionism, New England Transcendentalism, and Stalinism.

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Contemporary European Cinema
Ms. Jennifer Green, Communication

European filmmakers today face many challenges. Some of these challenges are practical: from securing financing and distribution to finding an audience both within and beyond borders. Others are less tangible: squaring Europe’s auteur tradition with an increasingly market-driven industry, and defining national identities in ever more diverse cultural settings. This course introduces students to contemporary films from across Western Europe and considers the societal, cultural and industrial contexts in which they are/were made.

Dramatizing History
Ms. Elise Forier, Theater Arts

Students learn techniques for using historical events as source material for creating scripts for the stage. Students study several different styles of stage play and dramatize historical events. They then turn their hand to researching and drafting an original script that encapsulates and draws inspiration from a period or event in history.

The Importance of Drawing in the History of Science
Dr. David Darda, Biological Sciences
Ms. Margo Selski, Art

How do the goals of aesthetics and science combine in problem solving? Students learn, through sequential skills and aesthetic criteria, how to draw to increase visual observation to think in three dimensions. Three-dimensional thinking can inform scientific learning and discovery in the classroom, laboratory, and field. We focus on major concepts in evolutionary biology, vertebrate morphology, and natural history.

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Chemistry of Materials for Art
Dr. JoAnn Peters, Chemistry

An introduction to fundamental principles and topics in chemistry, including atomic structure and the periodic table, chemical bonds, metals, the nature of light, color, acids and bases, oxidation/reduction, and organic molecules and polymers. These chemistry fundamentals are introduced through and applied to historic and contemporary studio processes and materials including metal refining and etching, ceramics, pigments and painting, frescoes, photography, textiles and dyes. This course includes a laboratory component.

Hazards, Risks and Resilience in the Pacific Northwest
Dr. Anne Egger, Geological Sciences
Dr. Pamela McMullin-Messier, Sociology
Dr. Tim Melbourne, Geological Sciences

Students will explore in depth the scientific basis of a particular natural hazard in the Pacific Northwest
(e.g. earthquakes, sea level rise, drought and fire, volcanic eruptions, etc.) and the degree to which communities and economies are vulnerable to those hazards. Readings will come from the primary literature, national hazard assessment reports, and literature from regional agencies. Research-based activities will involve data collection from local communities, contribution to a growing database that can be shared with stakeholders, and development of a hazard mitigation plan.

Making Sense of the Universe: From Galaxies to Cells
Dr. Dominic Klyve, Mathematics

This course has as its goal nothing else than a basic understanding of the universe. In pursuit of this goal, we will learn basics of the fields of cosmology, stellar astronomy, planetary astronomy, geology, evolution, genetics, cell and molecular biology, chemistry, and quantum physics. At each stage, we use our understanding to reflect back on questions remaining from the previous field covered.

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Dr. Gary Bartlett, Philosophy & Religious Studies
Dr. Ralf Greenwald, Psychology

The course looks at current approaches to consciousness in cognitive psychology, neuroscience and philosophy, and the interactions between these approaches. Questions addressed include: What is consciousness? Is it one phenomenon, or many? How are conscious experiences unified? What is the function of consciousness? Can it be scientifically studied, and how much scientific understanding can we expect? Can we locate neural correlates of consciousness in the brain? Could a machine or robot ever be conscious?

Consumeromics: Genomics in a Consumer Society
Dr. Joseph Lorenz, Anthropology

With the decrease in the cost of generating data, companies providing genetic information concerning ancestry, disease susceptibility, and putative athletic predispositions have proliferated providing “direct-to-consumer” genetic testing to millions of Americans and providing them unprecedented access to their own genetic make-up. Are Americans wise consumers of genetic testing? What can and cannot be determined by looking at the DNA sequences of a person's genome?

Physical Principles of Musical Instruments
Dr. Andrew Piacsek, Physics

This course explores how physical principles of waves and vibration can explain the variety of sounds produced by musical instruments. Students apply these principles, along with computer-based sound analysis techniques, to investigate how the design of an instrument and the performer's technique determine the sound characteristics. Related topics, such as musical scales, the perception of sound, room acoustics, and sound synthesis, are also discussed.

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From Snakeoils to Infomercials: Consumer Health as Consequence and Opportunity
Dr. Rebecca Pearson, Physical Education, School and Public Health
Dr. Naomi Jeffery Petersen, Educational Foundations and Curriculum

This course focuses on how individuals, cultures, and societies operate and evolve. Students are introduced to the context and outcomes of individual and community decision-making surrounding health-relevant products and services. Using disciplined ways of thinking about individuals and groups, students will study, both broadly and deeply, the impact of the information environment and societal discourses on personal, family, and population health.

Human Nature: Biological Origins and Social Consequences
Dr. Lixing Sun, Biology

A comprehensive, interdisciplinary introduction to the newest knowledge and methodology in the biological inquiry of human nature with insights into individual and collective behavior in selected issues related to human social behavior and socioeconomic consequences such as marriage patterns, equality, and cyclicality of financial markets.

Implications of Crime and Punishment in America
Dr. Michael Harrod, Sociology

Students are exposed to the personal, community, economic, and political consequences of crime and punishment. Students study the historical and contemporary foundations of punishment as used in Western societies. The course focuses on the impact of criminal behavior on one’s life-course and on familial relationships, the economic and community implications of incarceration, and the political implications of incarceration on local, state, and national elections.

Politics and Games
Dr. Aaron Montgomery, Mathematics

This course is an introduction to political philosophy through the use of primary texts from Plato to Nozick, lectures on important mathematical results associated with democracy, and explanatory models in game theory that help explain why rational beings choose to cooperate and form governments. This includes examples (primarily from U.S. history) that demonstrate some of these concepts.

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Dr. Aaron Montgomery, Mathematics

Starting with Jared Diamond’s book of the same title, this course examines decisions made by communities that lead to their subsequent failures. We focus on the use of mathematical modeling techniques to simulate the environmental conditions for societies as well as to model the decision making process of the members of societies when faced with policy decisions.

History in the Concrete: How Physical Elements Shaped Events
Ms. Ruthi Erdman, English

This course examines how physical entities such as climate, geographical features, material resources, technology, and pathogens have shaped the course of Western history. Often events that we attribute to abstract factors such as politics or religion can equally be traced to something quite concrete, such as a geographical barrier, a technological development, a climate shift, a crop failure, or a disease.

Society and the Politics of Nature
Dr. Elvin Delgado, Geography

This course provides an interdisciplinary and critical perspective to nature-society relationships. It covers issues about conservation, environmental degradation, political ecology of food production and consumption, energy use and policy, and resource extraction industries. Students will analyze these processes from a geographical perspective by focusing on the way in which resource use and the control over nature are closely tied to power at local, national, and global scales.

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Exploring the US Body Politic
Dr. James Pappas, Advanced Programs

This course will examine the conflict and interaction caused by status changes of Native Americans, African Americans and Women, as well as with the infusion and integration of immigrants into US society. This is a multidisciplinary course and students will explore connections among socio-economic, educational, technological, cultural, as well as ethical and political implications that compose the Body Politic. Students will read, research, analyze and quantify data using experimental methodologies, charts, graphs and data sets.

Nature and Culture in the Modern West
Mr. Robert Schnelle, English

Students will consider "civilized" views of the natural world, examining ways that these perspectives have informed human life from the Enlightenment to the present era. Vehicles of study will include literature (natural history narratives and poems) as well as landscape painting and other visual arts. In addition, musical, historical, religious, philosophical, and scientific developments will provide lenses for understanding cultural and environmental challenges of the twenty-first century.

Slavery and the Rhetoric of Freedom—Past and Present
Dr. Christine Sutphin, English

This course examines constructions of freedom and slavery in a variety of texts (such as slave narrative, fiction, historical writing, fine art, advertising, illustration) as well as representations of conditions analogous to slavery in contemporary U.S. culture. We will analyze how slavery can be defined as "normal" and "necessary" and can coexist with a rhetoric of freedom, as well as how such pro-slavery ideology can be challenged and changed.

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Commerce and Conquest
Ms. Ruthi Erdman, English

This course explores the history of commerce, particularly international and intercontinental commerce, and its impact on the politics, economics, social conditions, and culture of various peoples around the world. Through history, the quest for commodities and wealth has been inextricably linked to the lust for conquest and power, and this connection will be the primary focus of the course. Particular attention will be paid to the Age of Exploration -its motives and its global consequences.

Food and Culture
Dr. Gary Cummisk, Interdisciplinary Studies

Food is integral to our being. It is essential as a fuel. But it is more than that; it is one of the deepest expressions of human cultures. Ironically, the questions associated with food often go unexamined. This course will address a variety of questions: How did foods and food preparation contribute to human evolution? Where did foods originate and how did cuisines develop? What is the relationship between agriculture and civilization? How is food tied to cultural identity and expression of self?
What are the ecological and health costs of food production systems? Is our food production sustainable?

Not Just Rocking the Cradle: How Women Shape Civilization
Ms. Ruthi Erdman, English

This course examines the role of women in shaping the world both collectively as a social force and individually as notable warriors, rulers, athletes, writers, activists, scholars, artists, businesswomen, adventurers, scientists, and inventors. The purpose of the course is to bring to the surface the submerged, often invisible contributions and achievements of women within the context of their status both in world history and in the present time, especially in America.

Religion, Violence, and Peace: Patterns across Time and Tradition
Geraldine O’Mahony, Philosophy and Religious Studies

The complex relationship among religion, violence, and peace are a central problem that bridges the boundaries of academic disciplines, historical periods, and global cultures. In recent years these relationships have taken center stage in a number of academic disciplines including history, anthropology, political science, and of course, religious studies. While some scholars have argued that religion has been “hijacked” by violence, others have asserted that religion is inherently violent. Still others have moved for a more nuanced argument by positing that religion, conflict, and violence are
interwoven across history and cultures. They have stressed that religions sometimes nurture their identities by being in conflict with dominant cultures, and that this conflict is not necessarily always violent, but can produce enormous benefits. But are conflict and violence necessary components of religion? Can religion be a resource for peace? We shall explore these questions and the viewpoints and arguments that inform them.

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Baseball in American Life and Culture
Dr. Liahna Armstrong, English
Dr. Wayne Quirk, Biology

Jacques Barzun, a twentieth-century philosopher, wrote: "Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better know baseball." For over 100 years, baseball has been a definitive element of American experience. More than a game played in a stadium, its impact infuses the world we know -our history, economic culture, politics, literature, music, art, cinema, social interactions, science -and that influence has transcended our borders to have become a truly global phenomenon. This course examines baseball as a central cultural force in American and international life. We consider not only the numerous and diverse dimensions of the sport, but the way it serves as a metaphor for issues of race, class, gender, and post-coloniality.

Behavioral Genetics: Science, Ethics, and Literature
Dr. Kara Gabriel, Psychology

A consideration of the contribution of genetics to behavior and psychological characteristics in animals and humans, the ethics of genetic research and screening, and popular novels, films, and texts that attempt to come to terms with these issues. Students are introduced to the concepts, methodology, and technological advancements of genetic research.

Dr. Mathew Altman, Philosophy

This course examines psychological and cultural responses to death, including how we choose to die and how we bury our dead. It also addresses philosophical issues, including how to define death (using whole-brain or higher-brain criteria), whether death renders life meaningless, and the ethics of physician-assisted suicide. We will also study how religious beliefs affect our attitudes toward life and death.

Ecological Imperialism
Dr. Lila Harper,

Examines the ecology and history of invasive plant species and its impact on Central Washington agriculture while making use of current studies in ecocriticism and the history of colonization.

It's About Time
Dr. Dominic Klyve, Mathematics

This course examines the concept of time from many perspectives. These include ancient cultural conceptions of time (Hebrew, Greek, Hindu); measuring time (determining the length of a year or a second); the major calendars in use today; philosophy (Descartes, Kant, and Euler); literature; physics (relativity and quantum mechanics); psychology (human perception of time); and sociology (modern society’s obsession with time). Time travel in theory and literature is also discussed.

Witness to Violence
Dr. Anne Cubilié, Director, William O. Douglas Honors College

What is violence and what role does it play in shaping our understanding of ourselves in our world?  This course explores the premise that violence—in a multiplicity of forms—is a fundamental element of modern culture.  How then, do people use art to understand the violence that has been perpetrated upon them and to locate themselves in the world?  We will read texts and authors such as Kafka's "In the Penal Colony," Holocaust survivor literature, I, Rigoberta Menchu, and the United Nations Declaration of Universal Human Rights to examine the role that language and testimony play in surviving violence; how do these texts represent violence as a pervasive cultural norm?

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This is an exploration of arts and humanities research from a multi-disciplinary perspective, including the formulation of a research question, organization of a research process, and preparation of DHC thesis or creative project proposal.



Great Scientific Experiments
Dr. Michael Braunstein, Physics

Among the great ideas of humanity are great scientific experiments. With beauty, economy, and elegance, these extraordinary and accessible works have actively engaged the universe in ways that have transformed human thought. As a cornerstone in a liberal education, fluency with great experiments can support a broad understanding of the ideals, ideas, and goals of science. This course is an investigation of great scientific experiments of contrasting character in a range of nature science disciplines.

Issues in Science and Religion
Dr. Bruce Palmquist, Physics

This course is an exploration of the intersection of religion (primarily Christianity) with the history, method, and theories of science such as quantum mechanics, relativity, the Big Bang, the anthropic principle, and evolution. Various philosophical theories of science such as realism, falsificationism, scientific paradigms, and the social construction of knowledge, are also studied, along with their relationship to religion.

Learning Science through History
Dr. Dominic Klyve, Mathematics

This class will examine the history of science through a series of discipline-specific case studies. We will examine eight paths through science history. For each of these, we study the history of the particular field, and then put our studies into perspective by discussing whether a study of the history of the field helps us to understand modern science. Fields covered include the philosophy of science, heat transfer, genetics, “blind alleys”, astronomy, and special relativity.

Science, Technology, and Society
Mr. Albert Miller, History

This course will provide a history of the relationship between science, technology, and society. The course includes science from the early modern period through modern times, and emphasizes the historical and social contextualization of scientific issues and topics from the past and the present. Historical and contemporary themes will include the Scientific Revolution, exploration, the emergence of professional science, the Cold War, popular science, science education, and modern museums of technology.

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Animals: Human and Nonhuman
Dr. Matthew Altman, Philosophy & Religious Studies

This course surveys of the history of human views toward nonhuman animals and the theoretical basis of interspecies obligations, including a study of specific issues such as meat eating, animal experimentation, and the treatment of wildlife.

International Peace and Security: humanitarianism and development
Dr. Anne Cubilié

This course covers theories and policies related to the social, political and economic aspects of humanitarianism, peacekeeping, development, and human rights. International structures for peace and security, and philosophical and legal approaches will be considered.

Dr. Matthew Altman, Philosophy & Religious Studies

In this course, we will investigate how punishment, including the death penalty, is rationally justified. We will come to see that how we punish is the result of complex historical and social forces, and we will evaluate whether the supposedly rational basis for punishment is used in the service of baser and more idiosyncratic motivations.

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Students learn the skills and techniques for the presentation of the results of arts and humanities research. Each student prepares a draft of their DHC thesis or artist's statement for their creative project as part of their coursework.


Completion of honors thesis or creative project. Students must complete a thesis or creative project approved by their faculty advisor and the DHC director and present at SOURCE to receive credit for the course.

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The process of science from a multi-disciplinary perspective, including the historical development of scientific methods and reasoning, effective experimental design, and the interpretation of measurements. Currently taught in spring quarter.

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Skills and techniques for communicating the results of scientific research. Student prepare the final draft of their Science Honors Thesis as part of the coursework. Prerequisite: SHP 301. Currently taught in fall quarter

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Completion of Science honors thesis. Strategies for effective oral presentation of scientific work will also be covered. Students must present results of Science Honors project at SOURCE. Prerequisites: SHP 401. Taught in spring quarter

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