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HON 101-01 The Anthropology of Technology
Dr. Collins (Art History) & Dr. Rulison (Physics)
Time: Tuesdays (12:00 - 1:00 PM)

Why do humans use tools?  How did we invent and shape tools, complex inventions, and machines that in turn shaped us?  In what ways did small inventions lead to larger ones?  Do technologies shape or shatter cultures and propel humans onto unexpected and unprecedented paths?

These are the kinds of questions this honors course will explore.  Developed as an interdisciplinary course, the Anthropology of Technology will chronologically chronicle and examine ancient and modern technologies in context.  This course will employ insights from anthropology, economics, religion, and the arts to probe the theories about, and the specific use of, technologies from the wheel to Martian rovers.

HON 101-02 Power Hungry: The Science and Politics of our Search for Energy
Dr. Cramer (Physics) & Dr. Knippenberg (Politics)
Time: Fridays
(1:00 - 2:00 PM)

Everyone needs energy and power but there are many ways of developing and delivering both. Making sense of energy and power delivery is therefore necessarily an involved topic. Greatly complicating matters is the controversial nature of all these processes so that, even if we can get the science straight, policy decisions would still be matters of lively debate. In this seminar, we propose to look at both sides of this topic. While we may not be able to come to unanimous agreement, we can hope to clarify issues and choices in the area.


HON 101-03 Christianity and the Rise of Science
 Dr. Rulison (Physics) & Prof. Tuininga (Religion)
Time: Thursdays (11:30 AM - 12:30 PM)

Galileo’s confrontation of the Church is front and center in most cursory treatments of the relationship between the emerging modern science and religion in the time before and during the Copernican Revolution.  A closer and more objective consideration of this topic reveals a much more nuanced truth, with Galileo’s run in being an isolated “tragic mutual incomprehension” with both sides at fault.  It is a conflict that never should have occurred, since faith and science properly understood can never be at odds.  As Walker Percy notes in Lost in the Cosmos

“Whitehead pointed out, it is no coincidence that science sprang, not from Ionian metaphysics, not from the Brahmin-Buddhist-Taoist East, not from the Egyptian-Mayan astrological South, but from the heart of the Christian West, that although Galileo fell out with the Church, he would hardly have taken so much trouble studying Jupiter and dropping objects from towers if the reality and value and order of things had not first been conferred by belief in the Incarnation.”

Cursory treatments of the Copernican Revolution, and the Scientific Revolution in general, typically cite the antagonistic positions of Christian theology (and the positions of the Catholic and Protestant churches) on the one hand, and the rediscovery and rise in stature of science on the other.  A more careful consideration almost certainly reveals that while there were clearly areas in which the two were in conflict, there were also areas of agreement, or mutual support, or at least peaceful coexistence.

We will investigate the mutual influences of the rise and maturation of Christianity with the rise and development of science to secure a better understanding of this fascinating relationship.

HON 201-01 Wagner’s Ring        
Dr. Orme (Politics) & Prof. Runnels (Music)
Time: Fridays (2:00 - 3:00 PM)

The Ring of the Nibelung

Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen is unlike any other work in the humanities. It has posed a unique challenge to listeners every since its initial performances in the 19th century. Part music, part theater, part myth, part literature, part philosophy, part politics and part psychology, the interpretation of this work demands an integrated and interdisciplinary approach. What makes the Ring great? How did Wagner conceive it? How can it be understood? What does it mean? These are some of the questions to be explored in this seminar.

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