Honors Course Offerings
SUNY Delhi offers a variety of honors courses available to any student with a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher. These courses offer the opportunity to study challenging questions within various disciplines thoroughly, as well as to work closely with SUNY Delhi faculty members. Listed below are the courses being offered for the Fall 2021 semester, as well as a list of courses previously taught that have been approved by the Honors Program Advisory Committee.
HONR 100: Introduction to Honors (CRN 11342)
Dr. Erin Wagner
This course introduces students to the Honors program and curriculum at SUNY Delhi, creating a community of practice among incoming cohorts. Students will develop skills in leadership and scholarship through a service-learning project and research within their individual fields. Students will also gain a more broad understanding of campus through guest speakers.
Prerequisites: Open only to honors students (3.3 GPA or higher) or by permission of the instructor.
HONR 350: Adapting the Epic: Beowulf (CRN 11206)
Dr. Erin Wagner
In the tale of Beowulf, the hero fights dragons and man-eating monsters. But he’s also a man of his time, crafted by early medieval storytellers. When 20th-century writers adapt his story, who become the monsters? This course will introduce you to the original poem in its historical context, but also examine how modern adaptations have transformed the narrative. Come for the epic battles. Stay for the cultural commentary.
This course fulfills the GE 7 (Humanities) requirement and counts as an LASC elective.
Prerequisites: Open only to honors students (3.3 GPA or higher) or by permission of the instructor.
HONR 385: Global Capital Punishment (CRN 11451)
Dr. Sandra Johnson
This course examines the history, law, politics and policy of capital punishment. The course begins with an introduction to the origins of the death penalty in the United States and its role pre and post Civil War, and its current status. The course will then focus on the many moral and philosophical arguments associated with capital punishment. After exploring the US, students will then have the opportunity to examine and compare the current status of the death penalty in a variety of other countries and regions. The final part of the course focuses on the future of capital punishment in the US and abroad.
Prerequisites: ENGL 100 or the equivalent; Restricted to students who are in the Honors program or eligible or the Honors program with a GPA of 3.3.
Previously Taught Honors Courses
HONR 100: Introduction to Honors
This course introduces students to the Honors program and curriculum at SUNY Delhi, creating a community of practice among incoming cohorts. Students will develop skills in leadership and scholarship through a service-learning project and research within their individual fields
HONR 200: Foundations of Western Thought
This course focuses on the foundations of current Western culture by examining seminal texts in ancient Greek, Roman, and Judeo-Christian traditions. This course is interdisciplinary in nature and is concerned with the literature, history, philosophy, religion, music, architecture, and art of classical Greece and Rome, and medieval and Renaissance Europe. This course fulfills a general education requirement for Western Civilization.
HONR 205: Contemporary Thinkers
This course surveys some of the major ideas, thinkers, events, and movements that have helped to shape our century. In past offerings, the course has featured authors such as Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, Marx, Thomas Cahill, Alicia Ostriker, Susan Sontag, and Vine Deloria. This course fulfills a general education requirement for Western Civilization.
HONR 210: The American Experience
This course consists of a series of readings, lectures, and seminars that focus on some of the unique voices who have helped define what it means to be "American." Students become conversant in the ideas and values of some of America's most famous artists, authors, and thinkers, and will define what is culturally unique about the American experience. This course fulfills a general education requirement for American History.
HONR 215: Leadership Development
This course has as its central focus the development of leadership ability. This course provides a nuanced understanding of leadership through group dynamics theory; assists participants in developing a personal philosophy of leadership and an awareness of the moral and ethical responsibilities of leadership; and provides the opportunity to develop essential leadership skills through study, observation, and application of these skills.
HONR 220: Interdisciplinary Studies
This course provides an interdisciplinary classroom experience which allows students to see how different fields overlap and converge. Students are expected to form connections and synthesize new ideas and applications from areas not normally combined in textbooks. Specific topics vary by semester. This course may be taken more than once for credit.
HONR 225: Cancer Biology
The course will investigate the fundamental molecular and cellular biological principles of cancer cells. Emphasis will be placed on genetic and regulatory pathways involved in cancer formation and development into advanced stage. Primary literature will effectively be used in an interactive setting to supplement learning and discussion by encouraging critical analysis of current cancer research methods. Special attention will also be given to the clinical treatments and prevention of cancer. This course fulfills a general education requirement for Natural Sciences.
HONR 230: American Public History in Culture and Memory
This course examines multiple ways in which the public interacts with history in contemporary American culture, including: monuments, museums, reenactments, politics, national parks, film, television, art and literature, and "living history" sites. Students will analyze how public history is consciously constructed and the ways in which the general public consumes and interacts with history.
HONR 235: Honors Special Topics
This course offers the chance to delve more deeply into a specialized area of study at the direction of a faculty member. Its topic varies by semester. All special topics honors course offerings must be pre-approved by the Honors Program Advisory Committee. Previously offered special topics courses include:
The World's Fair of 1893: The World's Fair of 1893 took place in the city of Chicago, which thirty years previously was little more than a small town and the home of International Harvester. The meteoric rise of a small town to become the host of the 1893 World's Fair, beating out New York City, was an American success story that fit into the U.S. narrative of the late 19th century. Chicago was built through rapid industrialization, immigration and urbanization. After a devastating fire in 1871, Chicago was rapidly rebuilt as an ultra-modern city using technology, new forms of architecture and urban planning. All six themes will be explored through the semester illustrated through the focal lens of the World's Fair.
The course contains biographical narratives of principal figures associated with the fair: planners Daniel Burnbaum and John Root; landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead (known for the creation of Central Park); George Ferris (the Ferris Wheel); William (Buffalo Bill) Cody; Henry Carter Harrison (mayor of Chicago); Frederick Jackson Turner (whose seminal discussion of the role of the frontier in American History was first delivered at the Fair); and others who gained reputation as a result of their contributions to the architecture and uses of “new” technology to create a global triumph out of swamp land. The course examines online the exhibits and their contents created for the Fair, among them the first Women's Pavilion. Students will also explore succeeding World's Fairs such as those in St. Louis and New York.
Sports and Aesthetics: This course will be an examination of sports from an aesthetic perspective. We will read classic interpretations of what makes something beautiful from Plato on up through our own day, also going outside of the western tradition to Japan and African dance. We will pair these philosophical considerations with selections of poems, short stories, and articles representing sports. The course will end with a consideration of Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht's book In Praise of Athletic Beauty.
Human Sexuality: All humans are sexual beings and understand some portion of human sexuality. While most individuals assume they are educated about sexuality, for multiple reasons they are often missing critical pieces of information. This course is a study of sexual values and behaviors in contemporary American society from both a psychobiological and sociological perspective. Focus topics will include: anatomy and physiology of sex; sex within relationships; alternative lifestyles; fertility management; contraception; sexual dysfunction; social roles and attitudes; destructive sexual behavior; sexual violence; healthy communication and relationships. Students will leave the course not only with basic knowledge about the human body and how bodies relate sexually, but with an ability to think deeply about the morals and ethics related to human sexuality. Students will begin or continue the process of forming individual beliefs, standards, and boundaries, enabling them to make healthier physical and emotional choices and decisions.
International Human Rights: International Human Rights examines the theoretical and historical origins of the modern conception of human rights, exposing students to the slippery complexity of “human rights” as a concept and as a powerful moral and political discourse on the international stage. The course will open with an overview of the philosophy of human rights, followed by discussion of the history of human rights and the role of international human rights in foreign policy. The course will explore several current debates in the international human rights realm, including the responsibility to protect, humanitarian intervention, the impact of non-state actors on human rights, and the relationship between human rights and economic development.
Travel and Leisure in American History: This course will examine the role of travel, tourism, and leisure culture in American history. We will discuss the rise of travel, tourism, and leisure culture during the 19th and 20th centuries and their role in shaping American national identity. Students will also examine how travel, tourism, and leisure culture was commercialized and utilized to promote patriotism, nationalism, and modernity. Additional topics to be covered include: the commercialization of travel and leisure; the commodification of recreation and relaxation; vacations and class identity; the role of romanticism and nostalgia; the role of travelogues and travel narratives; the impact of the railroads, automobiles, and air travel; the role of museums, public history, camping and the National Parks, nature, environmentalism, and eco-tourism; and the role of advertising in promoting travel and leisure. Special emphasis will be placed on New York State's identification with travel, tourism and leisure culture.
Disability Studies in Literature and Media: This course focuses on the concept of disability and how it is represented in literature, television, film and media. Topics will include the different theoretical definitions of (dis)ability, analyzing how disability is represented in literary and pop culture texts, and recognizing stereotypes of disability. We will explore common themes of disability in relationship to pity, as a medical challenge to be cured, as an obstacle to be overcome, and as a socially constructed concept. The course will include representations of many different kinds of disabilities including, but not limited to: autism (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time), epilepsy (Epileptic), blindness (“Cathedral”), paralysis (Murderball, Glee), deafness (El Deafo), mental disability (Flowers for Algernon). Each of these texts will be accompanied by a theoretical or scholarly article that will provide a framework for our critical analysis. Students will have the opportunity to analyze a text (e.g., book, tv show, film, video game, etc.) of their choice and craft an argument about the representation of disability in that text for their final researched paper.
Gender and Genre in American Film: This honors course will focus on gender and genre in American movies. We will be analyzing several kinds of mainstream American films—including a children’s animated film (Brave), a romantic comedy (The Proposal), a horror film (I Know What You Did Last Summer), a drama (The Station Agent), a musical (Hairspray), and a fictionalized historical account (Boys Don’t Cry)—in light of how they represent gender and how gender intersects with other identity factors such as class, disability, race, and sexual orientation. Students will also be completing a short 1- to 5-minute film that considers how the course material applies to them personally as part of a capstone project. GE 7- Humanities
HONR 290: Honors Independent Study
This course allows an honors student to develop an individual course of study under the supervision of a faculty member. All proposals for an honors independent study must be submitted, reviewed, and approved by the Honors Program Advisory Committee.
HONR 335: Honors Special Topics
These upper-level courses offers the chance to delve more deeply into a specialized area of study at the direction of a faculty member. Topics vary by semester. Some courses are offered online. All special topics honors course offerings must be pre-approved by the Honors Program Advisory Committee.
HONR 350: Honors Topics in Humanities
These upper-level courses offer the chance to delve more deeply into a specialized area of study at the direction of a faculty member. Topics vary by semester. Some courses are offered online. All special topics honors course offerings must be pre-approved by the Honors Program Advisory Committee. This course has been approved for General Education Humanities Credit (GE-7). Previously offered special topics courses include:
Gender and Genre in American Film: This course examines the ways in which gender is represented and constructed within mainstream American films. We will read and apply current gender studies and film theories as well as close reading techniques to specific movies.
Decoding Disney - Critically Analyzing Disney Films: In this course, students will critically analyze a wide range of Disney films from 1950 to the present. Themes will include gender, race, identity, nostalgia, and subversion. Emphasis will be placed on how these representations have changed over time and the ways in which they are actively negotiated and appropriated by viewers.
Individual and the Crowd in America: This broad survey course uses an eccentric mix of American literary texts, both fiction and nonfiction, as primary sources in an exploration of American notions of individual identity, democracy, and crowd dynamics. The course centers on a complex duality found in American culture and politics - the often combative relationship between notions of the free individual and a democratic government structure that relies on majority rule. Topics will include traditional definitions of individuality and identity, evaluations of democratic forms of government, and ongoing political battles between those valuing community and those valuing individuality.
Please contact the instructor if you have any questions about a particular course.
For general questions, please contact Dr. Shelly Jones, Honors Program Coordinator,