Summer 2022 Honors Courses

Honors 398 topic courses
3 credit hours

Space, Place, & Identity
CRN 39703 | 3 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. | M/W | May 23 - July 13 | Online Synchronous | April Sopkin

We will explore how space, place, and identity contribute to our perceptions of our world and our personal mythos, and how these considerations have evolved during the pandemic. The course is split into three units, touching on work about one’s hometown or region, travel or exploration, and the changed geography of our lives during COVID-19—how, for instance, “place” has lately been more of an interior state. Our reading list will include, for example, selections from the 2020 anthology A Measure of Belonging: Twenty-One Writers of Color on the New American South, Zadie Smith’s Intimations, and Jason Diamond’s The Sprawl: Reconsidering the Weird American Suburbs, among other publications. This is a discussion-based course with related writing assignments, informal presentations, and small-group workshops. The materials for this course are low-cost, available via PDF, link, or otherwise.

Leading Through Change
CRN 40251 | Online Asynchronous | May 23 - July 13 | Sombo Muzata

This course will explore personal and organizational leadership concepts to prepare students for their leadership journey. Students will learn why leadership matters and explore the application of different leadership models. Students will explore leadership challenges through various contexts and apply what they learn by completing a semester-long project to develop a possible solution to a leadership challenge.

The Crossroads of Sound: Popular Music in America
CRN 40371 | Online-Synchronous | 6 p.m. - 8:40 p.m. | TR | June 14 - August 4 | David Oglethorpe

This course surveys the cultural and historical impacts of popular music in the United States. In the class, we will explore the moments that led to some of the most popular and iconic music of the last few centuries, listen to and watch numerous musical pieces, and discuss songs which hold special meanings to each of us. The course will also closely examine the themes and historical trajectories of some of the most popular genres of music, including rock, hip-hop, country, and pop. Students can expect an approachable environment which will be heavily discussion-based and include various podcasts, shows, and films.

Honors Variant Courses
3 Credit Hours

ENGL/GSWS 391: HONR: Appalachian Women Writers
CRN 40382 | 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 a.m. | MTWRF | Online Synchronous | Paul Robertson | 6/13 - 7/13

This course will explore the work of women authors with origins in the Southern Appalachian region of the U.S and for whom the region and its inhabitants are a primary focus of their writing. We will examine the ways in which these writers construct Appalachia as an intellectual and cultural concept, especially in regards to identity-formation and the intersecting influences of class, gender, race, sexuality, and sense of place. We will read fiction by Harriette Simpson Arnow, Wilma Dykeman, Lee Smith, Dorothy Allison, and Jayne Anne Phillips (among others). These literary works are interspersed with three “documentary” texts depicting both the overall region and the popular culture-mediated images of “Appalachian,” “hillbilly,” or “mountaineer” women: the anthropological narrative The Spirit of the Mountains (1905) and the films Harlan County U.S.A. (1976) and The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia (2009). In the dialog between these genres, the course goal is an understanding of the myriad ways that these respective depictions impact the formation(s) of Appalachia as a geopolitical construct and as a postulated demographic label—particularly as theses identities influence both self-presentation and external perception of ethno-regional womanhood.

ENGL385: HONR: Fiction Into Film
CRN 39535 | 10:30 a.m. - 12:45 a.m. | MTWR | Hybrid - Flexible | Alex Jones | 5/23 - 6/23

This course examines how textual narratives are adapted into film, specifically how both textual and visual mediums influence each other. Throughout the semester, we will read several literary works and their silver screen counterparts (foreign and domestic); some in which the film received more acclaim than its novel equivalent (and vice versa). During each section of this course, we will also discuss how similar sequences function in both mediums. At the same time, we will engage with a range of critical theory focused on the relationship between literature, film, and visual art. This course will be taught as an online/offline hybrid on the days and times Listed. Due to the nature of this course to facilitate real time discussion of course materials, video and audio feeds will be required for students who choose to attend class online, and 100% online participation in this course will be accepted.

CRN 40387 | 6 p.m. - 8:40 p.m. | TR | Hybrid - Flexible | Nicholas Brown | 5/24 - 7/14

This course will be a survey of African American literature from the eighteenth century through the twentieth century, Harlem Renaissance. A central concept of this course is how African American literature exists and simultaneously functions as a cultural product. Through a historical context, we will discuss the conditions by which African American literature developed from its roots in orality to its incorporation and re-imagining of traditional forms of writing. Engaging with works from 1789 and ending with the early 1930s requires a balance of both the concepts of literary and cultural studies, so when necessary points from either field may be addressed. Discussions are intended to assist with our comprehension of readings. However, greater attention is given to writing assignments that are geared towards enhancing written analysis and fostering writing skills. The majority of our readings may come from an anthology with a few complementary digital readings. Authors may include, Equiano, Jupiter Hammon, Phillis Wheatley, W.E.B DuBois, Alain Locke, and Zora Neale Hurston. In addition, we will engage with some contemporary works from scholars such as Hortense Spillers and bell hooks. The inclusion of contemporary readings will aid in exploring how the writings of the past continuously encourage a dialogue on African American culture today. A final project allows each individual the opportunity to showcase their interest by exploring and addressing a given or chosen theme.

This is an eight-week, Hybrid-flexible synchronous (RONA) course, so along with the online component, there will also be a few, optional in-person sessions. The optional in-person sessions will be structured in a way that ensures not only safety but also comfort. Students are allowed to fully complete the course online. Please note that the teaching mode is subject to change based on VCU’s update(s) to the Return to Campus plan.

HIST 387: HONR: Modern China: 1800 - Present
CRN 40412 | Online Asynchronous | John Herman | 5/23 - 8/12

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to post-1949 China and to show that the communist revolution of 1949 was not the end of China’s revolutionary struggle to achieve modernity, but the beginning. Following three decades of aborted attempts to modernize the country, in 1978 China embarked on a fundamentally different modernizing trajectory, known as ‘Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.’ Although China today remains committed to ‘Socialism with Chinese Characteristics,’ the emergence of Xi Jinping in 2012 and the policies he has promoted since coming to power has led some scholars to argue that China is currently undergoing another revolutionary change – a ‘Third Revolution.’ This course will examine these three ‘revolutionary eras’ of post-1949 China.

CRN 40042 | Online - Synchronous | MTWR | 10:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. | 5/23 - 6/23 | Francesca Lyn

An interdisciplinary and intersectional introduction to the perspectives and core concerns pertaining to gender, sexuality and women's studies.

CRN 39818 | Online - Synchronous | MTWR | 10:30AM - 12:45 PM | 5/23 - 6/23 | Brooke Taylor

This course will introduce students to areas of generative struggle and critique within feminist theory. Will examine these conflicts not as moments of danger, but as constituting a key genealogy of feminism. Will be structured around important debates that constitute this genealogy of feminist theory, including: early woman of color critiques of the notion of “universal sisterhood,” debates over the “proper object” of feminist inquiry, post-structuralist approaches to theorizing the subject, queer theory’s shift toward a “subject-less critique” and transnational feminist praxis.

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