The Honors Colloquium serves as the foundation of the academic honors experience. Distinguished faculty convey the importance of academic leadership and life-long learning in a small discussion-based seminar on a special topic. Dedicated peer mentors attend each class and introduce opportunities for academic and social engagement. Each course also includes experiential learning opportunities to connect course content to the community through field trips and class speakers. We encourage all First-Year Honors Scholars to register for a Colloquium to experience a challenging academic environment.
Following are the colloquia offered during the fall 2022 semester.
COLQ courses marked with an asterisk (*) are Service Learning courses. Students in these courses must also register for the corresponding Service Learning component.
MW 9:00-10:15a or 11:00-12:15p
TR 9:30-10:45a or 3:30-4:45p
Students and professors in this interdisciplinary seminar will read and discuss a series of important texts in order to develop insights into the values that have informed the construction of and participation in various human communities—political, social, and religious—in various periods of history. The texts chosen for this course are works that have shaped the conversations that frame current discussions of social ethics, political theory, and other human values. Reading lists vary, but have included works by Sappho, Homer, Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Cervantes, Dante, Montaigne, Shakespeare, John Milton, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Karl Marx, W.E.B Du Bois, Virginia Woolf, Albert Camus, James Baldwin, Hannah Arendt, Italo Calvino, John Coetzee, Cormac McCarthy, and Claudia Rankine.
John Howard, Associate Director, Murphy Institute | BIO
Elizabeth Gross, Lecturer | BIO
Earth’s surface is dynamic, with the processes of plate tectonics interacting with a atmospheres and oceans. Climate changes in response to the creation and removal of mountain belts and rifts, volcanic eruptions, orbital forcings, and human activity, result in a feedback system that enhances or diminishes global temperature. As global temperatures rise, polar ice sheets melt, and the meltwater causes sea level rise at a global scale. Yet, the majority of humans live or work along Earth’s coastlines, which respond to sea level rise in a variety of ways. Sea level rise, therefore, poses tremendous financial risk to coastal communities, and is already provoking resettlements and expensive mitigation. This Colloquium offers students the opportunity to consider the response of Louisiana’s coast within a global context, and to compare and contrast the coastal response in this region with tropical and arctic examples. We focus on a review of the Earth-ocean-atmosphere system, data constraining sea level rise, evidence for the regional variations in rates of sea level rise, economic, societal, and strategic implications of land-loss and increasing severity of storms, and discuss geo-engineering projects for Louisiana and other areas worldwide.
Cynthia Ebinger, Marshall-Heape Chair Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences | BIO
This course is a project-based exploration of the philosophical themes of Self-Reliance, reason, and real life scenarios, the class will discuss and explore and create projects demonstrating ways of making basic human aggression into a creative force. Why is cynicism so seductive? What makes us tune out and feel disempowered? Can some dead philosophers and a gradual, attenuated “small bites” approach to project development give us more access to our aggressive energy to create and outwit the sense that it’s all pointless? Readings include texts by Ralph Waldo Emerson, David Hume, and Bertrand Russell, and students will develop projects that explore these ideas in the context of their own experiences.
Amy Chaffee, Assistant Professor, Theatre and Dance | BIO
This course will focus on the role of art and how it relates to questions of beauty, the possibility of objective evaluation of a work of art, and the relationship between art and reality, creativity and reason, art and life, and how societal values affect what might be considered art. More specifically, we will investigate what art is and its role in human life. Some of the questions the class will consider are whether there might be a distinctive quality or function which all works of art possess and which makes them art; whether art has a distinctive kind of meaning and what determines an artwork’s meaning? Can it be expressed in other terms? Why do we care about an artwork’s originality and authenticity? How should, in philosophical terms, art be evaluated? Does art have the potential of influencing ethics and morals? In asking these questions, it is important to test those theories against actual works of art. I’ll frequently bring (reproductions of) artworks to class and I may assign a trip to the Museum.
Isa Murdock-Hinrichs, Professor of Practice, English | BIO
Everyone knows that the French founded New Orleans, but did you know that Spain ruled the city for over 40 years? This began New Orleans’s long, rich relationship with Latin America, the topic of this seminar. As a port city, often described as the northernmost city of the Caribbean, New Orleans has experienced the flow of people and goods from and to Latin America for more than 200 years. We’ll explore New Orleans’ historical and present connections with Latin America, including Sam Zemurray’s infamous banana trade with Central American countries, the numerous Spanish-language newspapers and magazines published in New Orleans, and immigration from Latin America to New Orleans. Students will learn about how these relationships have shaped the history, culture and communities of New Orleans. Proficiency in Spanish is not required to take this class.
Lee Skinner, Dean, Newcomb-Tulane College | BIO
This seminar will examine the ways in which gender and women are presented by the authors of the Hebrew Bible, and in later Jewish or Israeli texts. Among the central questions in the seminar will be: Is there a general prejudice against women in the Jewish tradition? What roles are given to women; can we speak about equality between the genders? Are women portrayed as powerful or powerless, and what are the implications of our answer? How do modern women react to the misogyny of Biblical texts? In what ways do women “fight back”? Among our readings will be excerpts from the Bible and Babylonian Talmud, the diary of Glückel of Hameln, Paula Wengeroff’s autobiography, Sylvia Plath, the poetry of Rachel and Leah Goldberg, and contemporary authors such as Orly Castel-Bloom.
Brian Horowitz, Sizeler Family Professor, Jewish Studies | BIO
This course encourages students to be curious and critical. Students learn to think metacognitively about their own thinking, to observe patterns and problems inherent in human thought, to apply insights from different disciplines, and to make explicit our naturalized cultural assumptions. Methodologically, we complete inquiry-based learning assignments, in which teachers present problems for students to work on before students are taught the key ideas that will help them solve the problems. Ultimately, the process models the way academics often address new questions.
Mary Glavan, Visiting Assistant Professor, English | BIO
The goal of this course is to introduce students to the various ways that the pursuit of knowledge is carried out within and across scholarly disciplines. Grounded in an interdisciplinary exploration of race, knowledge production, and education, students will learn about the purpose and processes of academic research: examine various forms of academic research to appreciate the similarities and differences in questions in methods of scholarship; and study the organization of knowledge and the role of scholarly communities. In doing so, students will analyze research across disciplines relating to race, racial identity construction, and the ideological utility of racial identity construction. This course meets once a week through the entire semester.
Ray Proctor, Assistant Professor, Theatre and Dance | BIO
What makes us like some things more than others? How do we understand the "rules" that often guide creative and intellectual work? What does it mean to say that you love something inanimate or immaterial? Moving from arts to sciences to food and drink, this class looks at how tastes are formed, shaped, and debated in the context of aesthetic concerns.
Victor Holtcamp, Associate Professor, Theatre and Dance | BIO
This colloquium will introduce students to the state of American politics and society during the presidency of Donald Trump. It is not designed to be solely a look at his election in 2016 and his administration; instead, it is a multidisciplinary exploration of the factors that lead to his election and the resulting “state of the union.” Through readings (both scholarly and journalistic) and discussion of current events, we will explore the history of our current state of public opinion, issues regarding polarization, race relations, and gender dynamics, and the prospects for forming a “united” country in the midst of a divisive era.
Brian Brox, Associate Professor, Political Science | BIO
In the age of the microbiome, what does it mean to be an “individual”? Or is the concept of individualism outdated? It is now recognized that symbiotic associations (in all of its guises, i.e. mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism) are way more prevalent than previously thought. In this seminar we will explore what it means to be “human” from a biological perspective and examine the various roles that microbes play in shaping our physical, mental, and psychological selves. In the second half of the semester, we will discuss how our fear/revulsion of pathogens and contagion may have shaped (and may still be shaping) cultural differences, religious beliefs, and ideologies.
Tim McLean, Senior Professor of Practice, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | BIO
The study of art and the study of nature may seem to be different disciplines, but they inform each other in myriad ways. Artists have always looked to nature for inspiration-- but how does art inform our understanding of the natural world? This colloquium delves into the intersection of art and nature through an interdisciplinary lens: What is nature from the perspective of art? What is the role of art in shaping the scientific understanding of nature? What is the role of environmental activism in art and science? These themes will be introduced through foundational and modern naturalist works from poetry to print-making, and activities such as walks in the park (as a naturalist and an artist), keeping a field journal, visits with artists, scientists and environmental advocates, and creating an exhibit of our own art and nature.
Donata Henry, Senior Professor of Practice, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | BIO
Norah Lovell, Program Manager, Academic Enrichment | BIO
#MeToo, the Kavanaugh hearings, and many other incidents have awakened our society to the ubiquity of sexual violence, but we have only begun work to dismantle a culture that eroticizes, normalizes, excuses, and enables gender-based violence. Students will learn about the scope, causes, and consequences of rape culture, and develop evidence-based strategies for peer education, prevention, and intervention. In this course we will emphasize activism, moving beyond just describing the problem to discussions of how we can do something about it. We will take an interdisciplinary approach, and introduce how different disciplines, such as history, literature, film, sociology, and criminology have illuminated this issue and provide a map for further exploration. Course readings will include works from Kate Harding, Roxane Gay, Caroline Heldman, Danielle McGuire, Catherine Jacquet, Ray Douglas and others, and films such as The Hunting Ground and The Rape of Recy Taylor.
Laura Wolford, Associate Director, Newcomb Institute | BIO
This course explores the connections between gender and literary expression with a focus on medieval women writers from late antiquity to the fifteenth century. We will examine the social, cultural, and literary patterns linking the lives of medieval women writers with their works. Medieval women writers tend to express different attitudes and concerns than those associated with medieval European literature and culture, nevertheless, their attitudes and concerns parallel ideologies expressed by modern women writers. The course aims to introduce medieval women writers by juxtaposing their medieval texts with modern texts written by contemporary women that express similar themes in a more contemporary setting. Some of these themes are art and freedom, importance of community building, miracles, prophecies, and body politics. We will discuss the ways these themes have changed from medieval times to the present and the ways in which women continue to face similar struggles. The medieval women writers include: Marie de France, Hildegard of Bingen, and Catherine of Siena; the modern women include the visionary girls in Garabandal and Ana Castillo. Ana Castillo, in particular uses, the stories of medieval women writers and rewrites them for a contemporary US Latina audience.
Borja Gama de Cossío, Professor of Practice, Spanish & Portuguese | BIO
This course will examine the changing dynamics in the current business environment where companies and consumers are overwhelmed by data, hundreds of choices, accelerating technological change in the marketplace and an expanding generation gap. In addition, there is a decline in human interaction and a rising lack of trust locally, regionally, nationally and across the globe. This class will review how emerging new business models might address these issues. Lectures/discussions will be led by Tulane faculty and administrators, local and national business leaders.
Rob Hailey, Executive Director, Leadership Institute | BIO
Peter Ricchiuti, Senior Professor of Practice, Business | BIO
This course will explore the rhetoric of criminal justice reform in America in order to trace a line from the past to the present. Beginning with overviews of the topic, the course will quickly move into the 1980’s and into the present moment. Our readings and approaches will be interdisciplinary, looking at journalistic, sociological, policy, and legal sources to name a few. Students will gain an understanding of the historical trends in social justice reform as well as how different genres and disciplines approach the topic. Students will approach the readings and written work based through a rhetorical and research-driven lens.
Students will similarly approach their service hours by applying what they’ve learned about analysis and research as they complete research requests for students in the Tulane/SoPA and Operation Restoration College in Prison Program at the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women.
Students will enroll in 20 Mandatory service hours, which will fulfill the first tier of the Public Service Graduation Requirement. Students participating in service learning should be enrolled in the service-learning co-requisite section.
This course will cover sensitive topics related to criminal justice, race, and politics. Students are always welcome to come talk to me about any difficulties with these topics. Students should be respectful to and mindful of others at all times.
**This course includes a service-learning component**
Patricia Burns, Professor of Practice, English | BIO
This course introduces students to the business world by critically examining the art of management. The course's objective is to introduce students to basic business concepts, develop a plan for their field of study, and have fun in the process. In the end, students will better understand how to connect an academic plan to a career, work in groups and network, and become socially responsible.
**This course includes a service-learning component**
Ashley Nelson, Senior Professor of Practice, Business | BIO
By examining readings spanning sound studies, linguistics, cultural theory, musicology and film studies, we will explore the new interdisciplinary terrain of studies in vocality. We will hear and think about the voice both as a sound object and as a carrier of meaning. Topics will include the sonorities and semantics of the voices of villains and the voices of children. We will consider ventriloquism, the voiceover, ghostly or possessed voices, and other kinds of vocal embodiment and disembodiment. We will discuss the uncanny sounds of robot voices, such as Siri, Alexa, HAL, and Samantha from the movie Her. As a related concern to robot voices, we will also consider the zoopolitics of the voice—the question of how voices contribute to understandings of the boundary between human and non-human. The musicality of the spoken voice, and the elements of speech within song will constitute another area of inquiry. We will think about pronunciation, accents and shibboleths—words whose pronunciation separate insiders and outsiders. Work by Amanda Weidman, Roland Barthes, Laurie Stras, Michel Chion and many others will spark our discussions, as well as close listening to audio and video clips.
Daniel Sharp, Associate Professor, Music | BIO
Haiti is inexorably tied to New Orleans through historic and contemporary through lines beginning with the only successful rebellion by enslaved people in the Americans that eventually led to independence of Haiti and to this small island nation becoming the first free Black country in the entire world in 1804. As a result of the defeat of the French army in St. Domingue, Napoleon yielded the French territory to the U.S. government in the form of the Louisiana Purchase. Throughout the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, the revolution’s impact was felt throughout the U.S. South and by 1809, 10,000 Haitians arrived in New Orleans, doubling the population. There are parallels between New Orleans and Haiti in the areas of architecture, cuisine, cultural celebrations, and music that emerge to even the casual observer. Meanwhile, immigrant communities of Haitians, particularly on the West Bank of New Orleans have grown due to the contemporary political and natural disasters within the island country. This Colloquium will examine the fascinating history and contemporary landscape of the connective tissue between Haiti and New Orleans through a range of readings, reflections, class discussions, as well as through experiential elements including field trips.
Sarah Montes, Assistant Dean & Executive Director, Academic Advising | BIO
This colloquium explores running as an activity of the embodied imagination. Students will be expected to think deeply about how running and other physical activities engage our imaginations and shape our identities and relationships to the world. Each student will develop deeper ways of asking the question, “why do we run?”—and perhaps come to some answers. We will read and discuss some works of literary fiction and memoir that use running to explore the relationship between the physical activity of running and characters’ identities and imaginations; some non-fiction explorations of the careers of great runners and the relationship between the inner-life and running; and some texts that explore the relationship between running and social and racial identity. We will also discuss running as a practice, including introductions to local routes and races (for those interested) and theories of training.
The service-learning component of the course will partner students with local young runners through Youth Run Nola. In the process of supporting Youth Run Nola’s mission, students will also develop insights into the different ways in which these young runners’ imaginations are shaped by physical activities and consider how the different social situations and community experiences of their running partners shapes their experience of physical activity and of themselves as embodied imaginations. Differences between how the younger runners view physical activity and how the students approach running will ideally help students reflect on their social positions and what running means to them.
**This course includes a service-learning component**
F. Thomas Luongo, Associate Professor, History | BIO