HON 42XX - Junior/Senior level seminar

The HON 42xx seminar is a required course for all Honors tracks: University Honors and every Departmental Honors track.  These are Junior-Senior seminars intended for students who are at least into their third year of study, not only a Junior based on accumulated credits. These courses examine a specific topic through multiple disciplinary lenses, offering a broader and deeper understanding of the subject matter. The topics are chosen and taught by faculty from throughout WSU and change almost every semester. Some current HON 42xx seminars do have the ability to overlap with current WSU general education requirements, such as:
-HON 4200 - Cultural Inquiry (CI)
-HON 4250 - Global Learning (GL) using a historical perspective
-HON 4260 - Global Learning (GL) using a foreign culture perspective
All students wanting to take a HON 42xx seminar will need to request a block lift using this online form. 



WINTER 2024 HON 42xx Seminar Descriptions


Machiavelli & Castiglione (HON 4200, CRN 25436) – Raffaele De Benedictis

Tuesday/Thursday    2:30pm - 3:45pm     CI, PL

This course is an in-depth study of The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli and The Book of the Courtier by Baldassar Castiglione. Students will learn how to understand “realtà effettuale”, the true face of reality concerning human nature in a context of power and personal gain. They will also learn how to achieve Castiglione’s “sprezzatura” (effortless mastery), which is an ideal aim which any individual aspires to achieve, as it proves to be good, advantageous and profitable for all human interactions.


Detroit’s Heyday from 1900 to 1950 (HON 4250, CRN 23626) – Tim Moran

Monday/Wednesday     2:30pm - 3:45pm    GL, HS

The jazz age, flappers and prohibition, the Great Depression, the New Deal, the rise of unionism and the advent of aviation - Detroit was at the leading edge of trends and a place where the nation looked for remarkable things.


Study Abroad: Today’s Paris (HON 4260, CRN 25064) – Christine Knapp

Monday    2:30pm - 5:00pm         FC, GL

This class is focused on surveying contemporary life in Paris, France. Students will study and research cultural elements such as art, language, history, architecture, cuisine, fashion, current events, and public space, and then explore and experience these elements while traveling to Paris March 7-16, 2024. Participating in the travel is a requirement for the course.


Study Abroad: Orientalism and Occidentalism (HON 4260, CRN 25660) – Jennifer Moss and Saeed Khan

Monday/Wednesday    1:00pm – 2:15pm      FC, GL

This course, team-taught by one scholar of the traditional West and one of the traditional East, will explore many facets of the Europe’s creation of the Eastern other.  We will investigate conventional sources such as literature, music, and film, but also look at pop-culture orientalism found in everything from comic books to circus sideshows. The course includes a trip to Istanbul at the end of the semester.


Space and Everyday Life in Chinese Literature and Film (HON 4260, CRN 25926) – Yunshuang Zhang

Tuesday      2:30pm – 5:00pm           FC, GL

This seminar explores spaces and everyday practices within these spaces represented in Chinese literature, film, as well as art. Focus will be on everyday life from early modern China through modern times. All course materials are in English, knowledge of modern Chinese not required.


International Communications (HON 4280, CRN 24131) – Patricia McCormick

Wednesday       6:00pm – 8:30pm       

This course is designed to enable the student to understand various issues pertaining to the use of the Internet and cellular telephony within the broader context of globalization and majority world issues. To better comprehend contemporary matters, the class initially provides a historical introduction to colonialism on the African continent and structures of global governance.


Psychology of Music (HON 4280, CRN 25651) – Eldonna May

Tuesday/Thursday (Online Synchronous)     11:30am – 12:45pm

This course presents an overview of the current and growing research in the psychology of music focusing on the cognition of music and on musical emotions. It presents recent developments in the cognitive science of music, including perception and memory for pitch and rhythm, performing music, the relationship between music and language, musical abilities in infants, emotional responses, and the cognitive neuroscience of music.


Philosophy of Work (HON 4280, CRN 25913) – Layla Saatchi

Monday/Wednesday      1:00pm – 2:15pm

During the COVID-19 pandemic we became acutely aware of how people who are severely undervalued in terms of wages and social status are fundamentally necessary for society to function on a daily basis. We also saw how jobs that have limited flexibility tend to be paid less than jobs with greater flexibility. Starting from observations of work and life that came into sharp relief during the pandemic, we ask “where is the value of work located?” For that matter, what is work and is it necessary for liberty? If so, so much the worse for liberty? Finally, do we have an ethical responsibility to choose work that is beneficial for society or at the very least not harmful?


Being Funny in America (HON 4280, CRN 25922) – Aaron Martin

Friday        11:30am – 2:00pm

This course will analyze various ways people use, or make attempts at, humor—and for what purposes people try to be funny. We’ll rely on a number of theories of comedy to help determine what makes a joke "land" or "fall flat" as well as what comes next: crying tears of laughter or outcries to “cancel.” My aim for the course is to be enjoyable and illuminating, but readings and discussions are not for “trying out” provocative material. And while we won’t shy away from a wide range of timely topics, class is not for retelling tired and offensive tropes about historically marginalized people. Additionally, this course will participate in what’s called a Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) exchange with a similarly themed course offering in the United Arab Emirates. Our COIL component will allow us to foster intercultural connections using virtual tools to add greater meaning and context to our own learning about humor here and abroad.


Crime and Film (HON 4280, CRN 26036) – James Buccellato

Wednesday     2:30pm – 5:00pm

This class emphasizes critical analysis of film as it applies to crime and criminal justice. Students will examine how popular films inform our understanding of criminological theories. Instead of experiencing film as a mere form of entertainment, students will engage critically the social, economic, and political meanings embedded in crime films.