Honors Course Offerings

Honors classes are characterized by their presentation of interesting and challenging coursework in a supportive, seminar-style format where you will actively engage in the learning process through vibrant discussions. In all your Honors classes, you are expected to demonstrate aptitude in critical thinking, communication, ethical reasoning, and creative exploration of ideas. You will work toward developing these skills further through full participation in the reading, writing, and research projects that are the focus of each Honors class.

For information on our classes, use the links below (links for Spring 2017 Honors class descriptions are active as of Thursday, September 22, 2016)

Honors class 
HON 29X class
HON 39X class
Other HON class
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Fall 2016follow this link   
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Seminar in critical reading/writing

HON 190 

Course description

Honors 190 is a reading- and writing-intensive course designed to introduce you to a liberal studies education. An important part of this course is your acquisition of specific skills:

  • close reading
  • analytical writing
  • cogent speaking
  • attentive listening
  • critical thinking

The readings for this class, as well as the tasks required of you, have been carefully chosen and arranged in order for you to attain and enhance these skills.

Your 190 instructors come from a variety of departments and will help you to define and explore these key issues in a manner that reflects their unique training, specialties, and perspectives.

Select Spring 2016 Honors classes

Power of Love and the Love of Power

 HON 291, Spring 2016

Honors Professor Anne Scott
What drives human beings to do what they do? What lies at the root of so much human achievement, whether for good or ill? This class will examine two great driving forces, love and power – their nature, function, interrelationship, motivations, and manifestations – as these forces appear in selected works of literature: short stories, novels, poetry, treatises, and contemporary documents, to list a few. Our examination of these concepts will be both cross-cultural and interdisciplinary, and we will feel free to explore the corollaries and “kissing cousins” of love and power, i.e., the other traits, emotions, forces, and elements that shape our successes or failures, make us beautiful or ugly, or earn us praise or blame.

Stand-Up Comedy and Solo Performance

HON 291, Spring 2016
Instructor Season Ellison

From ancient and early modern philosophers Aristotle, Plato, Henri Bergson, and Soren Kierkegaard; to mid-twentieth century and contemporary American comics Lenny Bruce, Anthony Jeselnik, Sarah Silverman, and Amy Schumer, the role of solo comedy has always carried a significant, and often contested, weight in Western and American cultures. In this course we explore the various functions of stand-up comedy and solo performance within this Western tradition. After laying a foundation for our study of humor, we primarily focus on contemporary American comics who bring to the fore of their work: social and political critique; gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability, and personal identity; the role of obscenity and vulgarity; and more. In addition to close viewing and analysis of various contemporary stand-up performances, listening to and reading historical stand-up routines, and writing a research paper focused on a stand-up comedy topic of your choice, students will also create a stand-up comedy routine or solo performance in a safe and welcoming atmosphere with the Professor’s and peers’ guidance! Bring your life experiences, a great attitude, and your willingness to laugh and learn!

Harry Potter and the Hero's Journey

HON 291, Spring 2016
Instructor Emily Davalos

This course will analyze the hero’s journey through literature and film in Harry Potter. We will explore what makes a hero or a villain and why they impact us the way they do.  Why do our heroes grip us? What is it about them that can rip our hearts out as well as make them soar? What is it about our heroes that opens a door for us to enter their world and travel step by step alongside them without growing weary? Our critical analysis will explore issues of character, love, friendship, truth-telling, heroism, justice, law, war, punishment, identity, meaning, death, and free will.  Universities across the country are offering courses Harry Potter because, as Melinda Finberg explains, they help us “understand why we are so driven to invent stories about battling inhuman powers to learn what it means to be human” (“When Harry Potter is in the Classroom, Cameras Role”).  

Zombie Apocalypse!...and other Dystopias

HON 294, Spring 2016
Professor: Will Cordeiro


This class will examine visions of dystopias—including, yes, the zombie apocalypse!—and their social, political, and ecological implications, primarily through watching and discussing a range of classic and contemporary films, such as Blade Runner, Brazil, Metropolis, and Videodrome. Besides fantasy dystopias set in the future, we will also look at “realistic” dystopias that are set in the past or present resulting from such causes as failed social planning, empire-building, environmental disasters, or plague. Supplementing the films, the class will engage with science fiction literature as well as the historical, ecological, architectural, economic, and philosophical context of dystopias. We will investigate selected utopic movements, too, discussing the different values by which visionaries sought to shape ideal societies, thereby gaining insight into their problems and potentials as well as the way they have shaped our current culture. We will seek to understand how the fears embodied in dystopias—and the hopes that fashioned utopias—inform or reflect our own societies and communities today.  

Plants and People

HON 293, Spring 2016
Professor: Ted Martinez

Plants and people have co-evolved for millions of years. We spread their kind all over the planet; spend our time and resources to raise them for food and fuel. But how much do you really know about these plants we depend so much on? In this class we will examine plants in our everyday lives.

The 1980s

HON 294, Spring 2016     

Professor: Robyn Martin
Why study the 1980s? Was it much different than any other decade? How true, really, were the stereotypical representations of the so-called vapid, hedonistic, amoral years of America's new gilded age, when yuppies reigned and greed was good? Using a variety of pop culture sources (movies, TV, fashion, music including videos, as well as literature and art) as a foundation for analysis and connections, we will examine this decade from historical, socio-political and cultural perspectives. By studying these various representations of pop culture, we will discover why this period in the United States still resonates in our collective thought and action and how events in the 1980s continue to shape our country’s direction today.

...in the Wild West

HON 392, Spring 2015
Season Ellison


Despite commonly presenting itself as objective, the creation of historical narrative is nearly always a subjective process that creates, depends upon, and upholds the values of a given culture at a given time. In 39X we will use historiographical methods to explore “the forces which have shaped the present” myth of the “Wild West,” how the myth is commonly mistaken as historical fact, and that myth’s effect on the actual peoples and communities who populate the land. Using scholarly essays, popular fiction, cowboy and cowgirl poetry, western film, opera, published diaries, newspaper articles, and the special collections Colorado Plateau archive, we will explore the making of the Wild West myth, the creation of history, and the privileged and oppressive forces that the myth both appropriates and conceals.