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Liberal Arts Honors

LAH 101 • Idea Of Reactng To The Past

29700 • Mayhew, Linda
Meets MW 11:00AM-12:00PM RLP 0.122
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This course will draw upon the popular “Reacting to the Past” pedagogy and use historical role playing to allow students to develop public speaking and debate skills.  Using the game The Needs of Others: Human Rights, International Organizations and Intervention in Rwanda, 1994

We will consider the role of states, NGOs, and the UN play in the event of extreme human suffering, in this case, genocide, by asking the following questions:

What responsibility do we have for our fellow human beings? What obligations result from our membership in a common biological or moral community? What right do we have to intervene in people’s lives to prevent them from hurting others? What, in the end, can and should (or must) we do about injustice and oppression? Are we, in fact, our brother’s (or sister’s) keeper?

Students will be assigned historically based roles with vicgory objective and debate points.  The grade will be based on presentations and debates (50%), attendance and participation (25%), and one 5 page research paper (25%).

This course will meet twice a week until October 30th.

LAH 102H • The Idea Of The Liberal Arts

29705 • Musick, Marc
Meets M 4:00PM-5:00PM GAR 0.102
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Restricted to students in the Freshman Honors Program in the College of Liberal Arts. An overview of the liberal arts disciplines.

Offered on the pass/fail basis only.

LAH 104H • Professional/Career Devel

29710 • Vega, Robert
Meets T 3:30PM-5:00PM MEZ 1.306
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This course is designed to help you identify your strengths and talents as a liberal arts honors student, learn to conduct an effective internship search, explore post-graduation options, create and manage a professional online brand and hone your professional skills. By the end of the course, you will have a targeted resume and cover letter, a professional LinkedIn profile, and the necessary tools to network, build your personal brand, and interview successfully.

 Course Goals:

  • Provide an open space where students can ask career questions, share experiences and learn in a group setting.
  • Identify your top strengths using the StrengthsQuest Assessment, transferrable skills and areas of expertise.
  • Explore your post-graduation options, whether that includes going directly into your career or preparing for graduate or law school.
    • Gain knowledge of career industries and narrow down your target career options.
    • Learn about graduate and professional school application processes and what you can do to prepare.
  • Create a targeted resume and cover letter ready to submit to internship opportunities.
  • Craft your liberal arts story to leverage your degree and experiences in the interview and in the workplace.
  • Review your online content and learn how to better promote your personal brand across social media platforms; Create and/or update your LinkedIn profile.
  • Create an “elevator pitch” to present your ideas in a clear and concise manner.
  • Learn how to effectively conduct an internship search and how to interview and network.
  • Learn business etiquette principals to help you succeed in a workplace or other professional environment.

Lectures will be combined with discussions, in-class exercises, small group activities, and independent activities and assignments. You are expected to complete a series of assignments in a timely manner, and to participate actively in class discussions.

LAH 340L • Legal Internships

29730 • Levy, Mark
Meets T 5:00PM-6:30PM CBA 4.338
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America’s laws, lawyers, and courts have charted and changed the course of American history. In our classroom discussions and readings, we will explore the role of lawyers and how the practice of law has shaped American society. As a component of Liberal Arts Frontiers, students in the Legal Internships clinic will also intern in law offices or legal settings and meet weekly in class to discuss and learn from each student-intern’s experience. The hands-on experience students gain in their public service internships will help shape our classroom discussions, from topics including legal ethics and professional development to legislative oversight and settlement negotiations. Students will learn about the practice of law and how lawyers serve the public interest while gaining practical experience and first-hand knowledge of different legal fields.

The cornerstone of the Legal Internships clinic will be your participation as a student-intern in a legal, public policy, judicial, or legislative office. While help will be provided to select your internship before the semester begins, the final choice of where you work will be yours. The role you choose should be discussed and decided upon with your host supervisor and the course instructor. Examples of suitable host agencies include the Office of the Attorney General, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, judicial chambers, or a legislator’s office. Private legal offices are not eligible to host interns.

Students should make their best effort to have their host agency selected and approved before the semester begins.


LAH 350 • Best Pictures

29734 • Kornhaber, Donna
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CAL 200
(also listed as T C 358)
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The inaugural course offering in the College of Liberal Arts new “Crucible Course” initiative. Crucible Courses are an opportunity for the College of Liberal Arts’ most creative professors to develop new ways to teach our best students.  The approaches can be cross-discipline and synthetic, or focused and molecular. Students can expect each course to be focused on experiential learning.

Students can expect:

  • To study film in the “present tense” as a living medium, an art form very much still in the making and engaged in an ongoing process of re-invention
  • The opportunity to learn from acclaimed visitors, including Academy Film Scholars and film professionals
  • Access to the Austin Film Festival for all class participants (all expenses paid)
  • The chance to record their film festival experience via The Best Pictures Project website
  • An opportunity to continue research as one of three Best Pictures Fellows during the spring 2020 semester (access to The Sundance Film Festival and the SXSW Film Festival – all expenses paid)

About the Professor: Dr. Kornhaber is the recipient of numerous UT teaching awards and she has been named as an Academy Film Scholar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  She holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University, in addition to an M.F.A. and B. F. A. from New York University and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Texas at Austin.  Dr. Kornhaber is also the author of several acclaimed books on the study of film including: Charlie Chaplin, DirectorWes Anderson: A Collector’s Cinema; and Nightmares in the Dream Sanctuary: War and the Animated Film.

Course Credit: 3 credit hour TC 358 Plan II Junior Seminar.  Note: although Junior Seminars are typically restricted to third-year students, enrollment in Best Pictures is open to Plan II students in ALL cohorts (pending successful application).

Application: Details of the process were emailed to all Plan II students on Monday, April 1.  The deadline to submit an application is 5:00pm on Friday, April 12, 2019.  Late applications will not be considered.   All students who apply will be notified of their application status by April 19, 2019. 

Detailed Best Pictures Description: 
Best Pictures is designed to be not only a class but also a larger film studies experience.  In the century since its inception, the cinema has given rise to a canonical body of films that are studied in classrooms the world over.  The typical film studies class selects its material almost entirely out of this storied past, perhaps incorporating one or two films from recent years.  In Best Pictures, however, students will study film in the present tense.  Instead of reaching back into history, Best Pictures will take as its core material the most acclaimed films of the previous year only: the Academy Award nominees for Best Picture, the winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes, the Grand Jury Prize Winner at Sundance, the Golden Bear awardee at the Berlinale, and other similarly feted pictures.  More than a classroom experience, Best Pictures will thrust students into the midst of the film world of today, with visits from professional filmmakers and accomplished film scholars speaking about their own personal “best pictures” of the previous year, full-access passes to the myriad events of the Austin Film Festival, and, for three Best Pictures Fellows, trips in the spring term to the Sundance Film Festival as well as the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin (all expenses paid).  The goal of the course and the larger experience offered to the Fellows is to introduce students to the study of film as a living medium, an art form very much still in the making and engaged in an ongoing process of re-invention.  In the best films of today, we can see the echoes and influences of key works from cinema’s past—indeed, connecting today’s award-winning films to the cinema classics that form their unspoken genealogy will be a central part of the classroom experience.  At the same time, the course aims to recognize and celebrate the new voices emerging in today’s cinematic landscape and to highlight the work of women and minority filmmakers whose voices have been underrepresented throughout most of film history.  The students who enroll in Best Pictures will gain the same in-depth understanding of the language and methodologies of film studies as the students in any traditional film studies course, but they will do so in the context of experiencing the excitement and creative energy of the ever-changing film industry today.



LAH 350 • British Hist/Lit/Polit

29785 • Louis, William
Meets F 3:00PM-6:30PM HRC 3.212
Wr (also listed as HIS 366N, T C 325)
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This seminar is designed as a reading course in history, literature, and politics, and as a

class in professional writing. In addition to the required reading listed below, each student

draws up an individual reading list (from a prepared larger list) in consultation with the


The scope of the seminar includes not only the literature, history, and politics of England,

Wales, Scotland, and Ireland but also the interaction of British and other societies throughout the

world. One point of emphasis will be the history of the British Empire and Commonwealth in its

Asian and African as well as early American dimensions.

Another point will be a focus on historical and literary biography—and autobiography—

for example, not only Disraeli, Virginia Woolf, T. E. Lawrence, and George Orwell but also


The main requirements of the course are met by students reading a book or its equivalent

each week and by submitting a weekly critique of the reading. Each of the weekly essays is

circulated to all other members of the class who make annotations on style as well as substance.

The class thus becomes as much a course in professional writing as one in which individual

academic interests are pursued.

The class also meets on a voluntary basis with the British Studies faculty seminar 3:00-

4:30 pm. on Fridays HRC 3.204-6.

The seminar upholds the principles of the Modern History Faculty at Oxford—to

enhance (1) intellectual curiosity; (2) conceptual clarity; (3) accuracy and attention to detail; (4)

lucid and succinct style; (5) capacity for hard work.

Grades are determined by attendance and participation in discussion (25%) and the

quality of the weekly critiques (75%). The course carries Writing and Global Cultures flags.

Reading List—The following books are required – (plus other books to be decided upon

in consultation with the instructor):

Lytton Strachey, Eminent Victorians 

Andrew O’Shaughnessy, Men Who Lost America 

Hermione Lee, Virginia Woolf 

LAH 350 • David Foster Wallace

29795 • Houser, Heather
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CAL 419
IIWr (also listed as E 349S)
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E 349S  l  14-David Foster Wallace-HONORS


Instructor:  Houser, H

Unique #:  35110

Semester:  Fall 2019

Cross-lists:  LAH 350.29


Prerequisite:  Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.


Description: This course covers the truncated career of David Foster Wallace (1962-2008), one of the most obsessed-over and lauded authors of his generation. We will read selected essays and short stories by Wallace and all of his novel, Infinite Jest (1996). The following questions will motivate the course: 1. What is Wallace's place in US literary history? Has that shifted in the #MeToo moment? 2. What is his project for a new fiction? 3. What are his polemics about 20th-century US culture and media? Can particular novels and reading practices intervene in these domains? 4. How can fiction enter into and change our lives?


We will avail ourselves of the Harry Ransom Center's rich Wallace archive which includes his manuscripts, letters, and personal library. The course culminates in a final project of the student's own design. Students are encouraged to use HRC resources in developing their project questions but are not required to do so.


Texts: Infinite Jest, and selections from A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Consider the Lobster,Oblivion, Girl with Curious Hair, andThe Pale King. Selected essays of literary scholarship on Wallace.


Requirements & Grading: 15% participation (including discussion leading), 10% blog posts, 30% 2 short essays, 5% project proposal, 30% final project, 10% project presentation.

LAH 350 • Experimental Life

29733 • Lau, Travis
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM CAL 200
IIWr (also listed as E 350R)
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E 350R  l  Experimental Life


Instructor:  Lau, T

Unique #:  35105

Semester:  Fall 2019

Cross-lists:  n/a


Prerequisite:  Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.


Description: What makes us, or any other organism, “alive”? From the Paracelsian homunculus to human clones, this course explores the shifting debates surrounding the creation of artificial life and the definition of life itself.  Beginning with the eighteenth-century vitalist debates surrounding what animated human and animal bodies, we will trace the ongoing influence of Darwinian thinking beginning with Erasmus Darwin's theories of biological life through Charles Darwin's theories of evolution and eugenic discourses around blood and race.  This course will make a case for how such theories of life continue to underpin experimental technologies like CRISPR, which promises to better life through gene editing.  We will consider the aesthetic, ethical, and moral implications of real and imagined technologies that aim to extend, manipulate, or even simulate life.  We will also examine narratives about figures who seek to harness these technologies—is it hubris or innovation to claim the ability to create life?  How did art and literature respond to and (re)imagine the making of different forms of life?


Texts: Course readings will include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Erasmus Darwin's "The Temple of Nature," Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species; H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau; Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go; and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.


Requirements & Grading:  Participation/Attendance: 15%; Discussion posts: 25%; Short papers: 25%; Final research project: 35%.

LAH 350 • Germany In The 20th Cen-Honors

29735 • Crew, David
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM GAR 0.132
EGCWr (also listed as HIS 337N, REE 335)
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Description: Hitler and the Nazis have given twentieth-century Germany a world-historical significance it would otherwise have lacked. Even from our vantage point, the Nazi regime is still one of the most dramatic and destructive episodes in western European, indeed, in world history. Nazism is synonymous with terror, concentration camps and mass murder. Hitler's war claimed the lives of tens of millions and left Europe in complete ruins. The danger resides in the temptation to view all of German history from the end of the nineteenth-century onwards as merely the pre-history of Nazism, thereby failing to deal with each period on its own terms. And what do we do with the more than half a century of German history since 1945? With the defeat of  Nazi Germany in 1945, the course of German history appears to have experienced a radical break. New political and social systems were imposed upon the two sides of the divided Germany by the victors. The hostilities of the Cold War appeared to ensure a permanent division of Germany, which in 1961 assumed a compelling symbolic form, the Berlin Wall. But in 1989, the dramatic changes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe revolutionized East Germany as well. The Berlin Wall came down, East and West Germany were once again joined together in one nation. What exactly this newest version of the German nation will look like in ten or twenty years is still unclear. 
In the first half of the course, we will begin by discussing the origins and effects of  World War One(1914-1918), then move on to the German Revolution(1918-1919) and the Weimar Republic(l9l8-l933), the Nazi regime (1933-1945) and the Holocaust. The questions we will focus on here are: Was Germany’s first experiment with democracy between 1918 and 1933 doomed to failure? What factors contributed to the rise of Nazism and how did the Nazi regime affect Germany and Europe? Were all vestiges of Nazism destroyed in 1945? In the second half of the semester we will discuss the history of  Germany in the Cold War(1945-1989). We will end by talking about the consequences of the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989 to the present). Here, the main questions will be: Did, West and East Germany follow fundamentally new paths? What clues can be found in the histories of the Federal Republic in West Germany and the German Democratic Republic in East Germany since 1949 that may indicate the possibilities for change in the future? How has the unification of East and West Germany affected Germany's role in Europe and the world?

Required Reading:
Mary Fulbrook,The Divided Nation

Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front

Richard Bessel(ed.) Life in the Third Reich

Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz

Peter Schneider, The Wall Jumper

We will be working extensively with materials on this site:


(1)Two longer essay assignments (each 6-8 pages typewritten, each worth 30% of your final grade) which ask you to think critically about some of the major issues in twentieth century German history.
(2)In addition to these two longer essay assignments, you will be asked to write one shorter essay (4-5 pages typewritten—worth 20% of the final grade) on any one of the books by  Remarque, Bessel, Levi, or Schneider.

LAH 350 • Immigration Literature

29805 • Cox, James
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM PAR 310
CDWr (also listed as E 376M)
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E 376M  l  10-Immigration Literature-HONORS


Instructor: Cox, J

Unique #: 35225

Semester: Fall 2019

Cross-lists: LAH 350.31


Prerequisite: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.


Description: We will devote ourselves in this course to the study of late twentieth and early twenty-first century novels about immigration, primarily but not exclusively to the United States, from a diverse range of home countries.  We will think about these novels within the contexts of U.S. literary history, immigration debates in the U.S. in the 1990s and 2000s, 9/11, and the Clinton, Bush, and Obama presidencies, for example.  Key questions will include how class, education, gender, race, and religion shape the experience of immigration as well as the form of immigration narratives.


Tentative Reading List:Julia Alvarez, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents (1991, Algonquin); Oscar Cásares, Where We Come From  (2019, Knopf); Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex(2002, Picador); Mohsin Hamid,Exit West (2017, Penguin); Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake(2003, Mariner); Joseph O’Neill, Netherland (2008, Vintage); Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You (2014, Penguin).


Requirements & Grading: Class participation, attendance, and presentation: 20%; Short essays (3-4 pages): 40%; Research paper (10-12 pages): 40%.

LAH 350 • Inequality In US Educ Sys

29790 • Pikus, Monique
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM RLP 2.606
Wr (also listed as SOC 345D)
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Course Description

For centuries many have seen the United States as the land of opportunity. Free public education is often viewed as one of the key pillars of opportunity in the U.S. Yet, the quality of public education varies greatly depending on the neighborhood and characteristics of the student. In this class, we will examine how inequality has developed and is maintained within the American public education system. We will learn and critique existing theories of educational inequality such as meritocracy, stereotype threat, and oppositional culture. Next, we will explore the effect of students’ traits on how they interact with and experience school in the U.S. Race/ ethnicity, gender, social class, and special educational needs are just a sample of the attributes that we will investigate. In addition, we will pay particular attention to the role of school funding and residential segregation in maintaining disparities in educational quality. We will conclude by exploring current efforts to combat inequality within the public education system through school choice, accountability campaigns, community-based school reform, and other efforts.

Course Objectives

It is my hope that students will set their own goals for the course. Nevertheless, by the end of the course, all students should be able to:

  • Analyze existing theories of educational inequality. 
  • Understand the different relationships between inequality, education, and students’ characteristics. 
  • Recognize the mechanisms through which inequality is perpetuated within the U.S. public education system. 
  • Outline and critique existing reform efforts to reduce educational disparities within the U.S. public education system.                                                                                        
  • Be able to communicate orally and in writing the complexity and difficulty in developing reforms designed to eliminate inequality among all students within the American public education system.

Course Requirements

Class Participation (20%). I believe that learning is an interactive sport. Therefore class participation is critical to the success of the course for the class will consist mainly of guided discussion with brief lectures as needed. Students are expected to attend every class on time prepared to discuss the materials assigned for that date. Students are allowed two unexcused absences without penalty. However, students’ class participation grade will decrease with each additional absence. If a student has more than 10 unexcused absences, they will automatically fail the course. Students are also expected to participate fully in any class activities that occur. Finally, peer review (50% of participation grade) is an important part of the class. Students are expected to provide written feedback and a rating in Canvas on fellow classmates’ school reform proposal presentations. In addition, students will be divided into small peer review teams and provide written feedback on each other’s first position paper.  

Position Papers (25%). Writing is an essential way to assist students in engaging in the reading materials on a deeper level. Students are required to write four 700-800 word essays in Canvas summarizing and responding to the major argument(s) of the readings. Students are required to revise one of their position papers based on the feedback provided by their peer review team and the instructor. The total number of position papers submitted will be four original and one revised paper.

School Reform Proposal and Presentation (Total: 55%). It is not only important to understand the disparities within the current public education system, but we must also try to develop solutions to these problems. Therefore each student is required to write their own school reform proposal based on independent research of one of the many school reform efforts discussed in class (or one approved by the instructor).

Abstract and Annotated Bibliography (10%). Students are required to submit a 500 word abstract of their school reform proposal in which they briefly outline the theories to be examined, the proposed school reform, and how it will alleviate inequality for at least one traditionally disadvantaged group. The abstract will include an annotated bibliography (50 word summary each) of at least 5 outside sources.

Revised Abstract and Annotated Bibliography (5%). Students will submit a revised abstract based on the instructor’s feedback.

Presentation (10%). Students will give an 8-10 minute class PowerPoint presentation of their school reform proposals. Presentation slides should be posted to Canvas by 5pm the day before the class presentation. Presentations will be evaluated based on classmates’ written feedback and rating (50% of grade) on a form provided online and the instructor’s evaluation (50% of grade).

Final Proposal (30%). Students are expected to complete an 8-10 page double spaced school reform proposal. The proposal should develop the theories outlined in the abstract, describe the school reform effort they support, provide evidence of the effectiveness of their proposed reform, and explain how their plan will alleviate inequality for at least one traditionally disadvantaged group. The proposal should also incorporate the presentation feedback provided by fellow classmates and the instructor.


LAH 350 • Jewish Identities: Americas

29745 • Lindstrom, Naomi
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM RLP 0.108
CDGC (also listed as J S 363)
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This course is designed to acquaint students with the work of Jewish creative intellectuals from the United States, Latin America, and Canada, examined in a comparative perspective. Most of the examples that we will study are literary texts and films, though there will be some material on the visual arts and song lyrics. The course starts with a historical overview of Jewish immigration to all three regions and moves on to sample texts by Jewish authors from the first half and middle years of the twentieth century before moving on to its main topic, the abundant and constantly-evolving Jewish cultural production of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

            Each student will write a research paper 2000 words in length on some aspect of U.S., Canadian, or Latin American Jewish cultural production. The students’ papers should not be on the same works listed in the course syllabus and discussed in class, though they may be by the same authors or film directors.

             Readings and films:

 The readings for this course will either be posted in Canvas or else available for free download from the Internet. The scenes from films will be shown by the instructor.


The readings are short stories, poems, and excerpts from novels, and will include:

Abraham Cahan, “A Providential Match”

Alberto Gerchunoff, sketches from The Jewish Gauchos

  1. Klein, selections from his poetry

Clarice Lispector, “Where Were You Last Night?”

Philip Roth, “The Conversion of the Jews”

Saul Bellow, “The Bellarosa Connection”

Cynthia Ozick, “The Pagan Rabbi”

Samuel Rawet, “The Prophet”

Leonard Cohen, song lyrics

Moacyr Scliar, excerpts from The Centaur in the Garden

Alicia Steimberg, excerpts from Musicians and Watchmakers

Margo Glantz, excerpts from The Family Tree

Nathan Englander, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank”

Jonathan Safran Foer, excerpts from Here I Am

In addition, we will view scenes from films with Jewish themes by U.S., Latin American, and

Canadian directors. Depending on availability, these will include clips from

one early film, The Jazz Singer (dir. Alan Crosland), as well as a couple of

recent ones, such as A Serious Man (dir. Joel Coen and Ethan Coen) and

The Year My Parents Went on Vacation (dir. Cao Hamburger)

Grading Criteria:  proposal for term paper, 14% (250 words)

                            first examination, 20%

                            final version of term paper, 40% (2000 words)

                            quizzes 6%

                            second examination 20%



LAH 350 • Johnson Years

29780 • Lawrence, Mark
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM LBJ 10.150
(also listed as HMN 350)
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Nearly fifty years after it ended, the presidency of Lyndon Johnson continues to inspire enormous interest and controversy. What sort of person was LBJ? What motives underpinned his greatest achievements and biggest errors in both the domestic and international arenas? How can we reconcile the triumphs of civil rights and other transformational Great Society initiatives with the disaster of the Vietnam War? What is LBJ’s legacy? What importance does the Johnson presidency hold in the long flow of history, and why does he remain a contentious figure? These are among the major questions at the heart of this seminar. In addressing them, we will read and discuss scholarship and primary sources on President Johnson and his times. We will also meet with various participants in – or close observers of – the Johnson administration. 

Students will be evaluated largely on their preparation for, and participation in, seminar meetings.  They will also be graded on the basis of three papers of varying lengths.  The largest one – the course’s central writing requirement – will be a research paper of approximately 15 pages based on materials housed in the LBJ Library archive.  This assignment challenges students to evaluate primary-source materials and arrive at their own conclusions about key aspects of the Johnson presidency. We will devote considerable time early in the term to identifying promising topics and learning how to use the library’s reading room. Over the remainder of the semester, students will be expected to conduct research and produce a polished paper. 

Required texts

Maurice Isserman and Michael Kazin, America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s (5th ed., 2015)

Mark Atwood Lawrence, The Vietnam War: A Concise International History (2008)

Bruce J. Schulman, Lyndon B. Johnson and American Liberalism (2nd ed., 2007)

Photocopied material on the course Canvas site


LAH 350 • Lang Truths Myths Mysteries

29760 • Russi, Cinzia
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM RLP 2.606
show description

"All languages share a set of common core structures, a ‘universal grammar’ built on innate

brain mechanisms that foster and shape language learning”, “Does language structure affect

speakers’ world view and thought?”, “Can animals talk?”, “Some languages are just not good

enough”, “Italian is beautiful, German is ugly”, “Spanish is easier than Chinese”, “Women talk

too much” are but some examples of enduring intellectual controversies and popular beliefs

(‘myths’) about language that continue to fuel fervent discussion among language scholars.

Inexplicable real-life events related to language have also been reported – such as the British

woman who woke up one day and started to speak with a French accent, or the Croatian girl who

awoke from a coma and could no longer speak or understand her native language but was fluent

in German – which have may been viewed with skepticism or even stirred stark criticism and

have certainly sparked burning curiosity in the general public. Also, language has often been

attributed magical powers and put to magical uses (curses, charms, divinations).

After identifying long-lasting controversial issues and common viewpoints about language and

puzzling real-life language-related phenomena, students will critically appraise them through a

reasoned, rigorous confrontation of facts and fallacies with the objective of competently

articulating defensible conclusions on their own. By means of a discerning evaluation of

complex issues, enlightened by facts and principled theory, rather than relying on received

wisdom and anecdotes, students will provide informed answers to questions as the following:

• Is language independent of, or related to, other aspects of our mental lives?

• When did language emerge and how?

• What can song and other animal vocal behaviors tell us about the evolution of speech?

• Can languages be good or bad, beautiful or ugly? Or primitive?

• Are there easy and difficult languages?

• How can brain damage affect language?

• Who are language savants and what can we learn from them about the language and the

nature of the human mind?

• Does language have supernatural powers or does it simply have the power we attribute to it?

LAH 350 • Milton

29752 • Rumrich, John
Meets MW 4:00PM-5:30PM CAL 419
E (also listed as E 363)
show description

E 363  l  Milton-HONORS


Instructor:  Rumrich, J

Unique #:  35139

Semester:  Fall 2019

Cross-lists:  LAH 350.30


Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.


Description:  Although this course mainly concerns Milton’s poetry, our orientation will be historical and biographical.  We will trace young Milton’s path to deep involvement in the religious controversies of the early 1640s, controversies that rapidly evolved into a tense political crisis followed by Civil War, Regicide, and the regime of Oliver Cromwell, for which Milton became chief spokesman.


Milton’s decision to participate in the rough and tumble of religious and political controversies came at the cost of continued commitment to his youthful sense of poetic vocation. We will consider Milton’s early poetry, especially Nativity Ode,Comus, and Lycidas,in light of his expressed rationale for that decision.  The remainder of the course will set Milton’s Restoration masterpieces—Paradise Lost,Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes—in the context of his Civil War and interregnum writings (1640-1660). We will consider his ideas concerning the origin and limits of executive power, marriage as a societal institution subject to state regulation, the relation of Church and State, and the epistemological basis of individual autonomy and liberty in what Thomas Jefferson would later call “the pursuit of happiness.”  The very nature of the human subject was in contest in Milton’s era, and the stakes of this contest appear strikingly in his most celebrated prose work, Areopagitica, which makes a comprehensive case against censorship and champions freedom of inquiry.


Assignments for the course will include student presentations on Milton’s political, philosophical, and poetic commitments both as an active instrument of power and as a passive sufferer.  Students will be asked to relate the particulars of Milton’s life and art to ongoing debates over the proper limits of governmental authority, the definition of marriage, freedom of information, and the correspondence of social policy to our understanding of human nature.


Texts:  The Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton(Random House, 2007).


Requirements & Grading (tentative): Students will be asked to pursue a research project that identifies an inquiry in Milton studies, make a presentation to the class on that inquiry, and submit a long essay working out their findings (15 pp.); presentation (25%), participation (35%), final paper (40%).

LAH 350 • Photography/Amer Culture

29754 • Abzug, Robert
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM HRC 2.202F
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We will investigate the importance of photography in the United States in relationship to changing currents in America society and culture. We will explore the history of the medium, from 19th century daguerreotypes and wet plate to digital imaging; the relationship between photography and American history, especially in relation to popular culture, social depiction, and war. We will be especially interested in photographic works that attempt to represent the nature of America and American life.

            A one semester seminar cannot hope to cover all the essential topics concerning American photography, let alone photography in general. That is why the papers you will be writing are essential not only to your own work but to the seminar. Each of you will have c. 20 minutes to introduce the photographer about whom you are writing in the last sessions of the class. These reports will not only be helpful in gleaning suggestions from other members of the class, but will add to the breadth of knowledge begun with the earlier class sessions and readings.

            In addition to considering how others have photographed American life, students will have the opportunity to make their own photographs. Any camera or cell phone with the capacity to take photographic images will do for equipment. The idea is to study photography as practiced by others and experience the challenge of photographic depiction by applying what you have learned and by creating an 8-10 image photographic exhibit on a theme, one that includes an “artist’s statement” about your methods and approach to the subject(s) you have chosen. Artists quite often begin their careers being inspired by the style of already productive creators. Therefore, for your own work, I would like you to explicitly apply aspects of a famous photographer to your own work (famous meaning anyone studied in class and others you might suggest).

            Finally, the medium of photography, whether as journalism, fine art, advertising, or other forms, has often involved the depiction of violence, nudity, forms of sexuality, historical distortion, racial, class, and gender stereotype and denigration—pictorial forms of attitudes that some or all of us will find offensive and some or all will find liberating. We are here to study photography as an important element of American culture, and it is in that spirit that we will be discussing even some of the most controversial of its uses.


Books Required for Purchase

James Agee and Walker Evans, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography

Robert Frank, The Americans

Mary Warner Marien, 100 Ideas that Changed Photography

Susan Sontag, On Photography

LAH 350 • Rejection Immunity

29755 • Roberts, Daron
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM RLP 2.606
(also listed as T C 325)
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Course Description

The graduate school application process, startup pitch competitions and Tinder all have one thing in common. Can you guess what it is? Simply put, they all feature the risk of rejection.

When was the last time that you took a big risk in life? Did you get the outcome you wished for or did you meet rejection?

In this course, we will explore the neuroscience and psychology behind how the brain calculates risk in various aspects of our lives. Moreover, we will unpack the phenomenon of “rejection” and craft research-based “response systems” to help guide our future interactions with receiving a “no”.

Each week, a guest speaker will provide a unique perspective based on his/her experience with rejection. Guests will include: a Shark Tank participant, actress, startup team, car salesman and Mormon. These firsthand narratives will inform our research into how humans can build positive rejection therapy models.

The area of rejection is of particular interest to Professor Roberts. He was wait-listed at Harvard Law School for four consecutive years and received nearly 200 rejection letters in his quest to secure a football coaching internship. This course builds on research that Roberts has conducted at The University of Texas along with Dr. Veronica Jung.

Required Readings

Blount, Jeb. Objections: The Ultimate Guide for Mastering the Art and Science of Getting Past No. Wiley, 2018.

Jiang, Jia. Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible. Thorpe, 2016.

Palmer, Amanda, and Brown Brené. The Art of Asking: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Let People Help. Grand Central Publishing, 2015.

Savage, Elayne. Don't Take It Personally: The Art of Dealing with Rejection. Open Road Distribution, 2016.


Students will write three (3) speaker response papers (25%), participate in class discussions (25%), and craft small-scale rejection research projects (50%).

LAH 350 • Who Cares Abt Antiquity-Cspw

29765 • Patterson, James
Meets W 2:00PM-5:00PM CBA 4.346
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Calderwood Seminars in Public Writing: Who Cares about Antiquity?

We who study antiquity get asked “What is that good for?” all the time. In this Calderwood Seminar we will see that the skills you have learned are broadly applicable in our daily lives and by no means limited to the classroom. Through a variety of writing activities, from blog posts to movie reviews and editorials, you will learn how to engage popular audiences in conversations relevant to our material. As political discourse increasingly appeals to antiquity for one argument or another, there is dire need for specialists like you who can discuss the material responsibly. What is the study of antiquity good for? As we will see, most everything. You will also learn how to apply your skillsets in non-academic settings, from job applications to social media. Classes will focus on collaborative editing, critical feedback, and revision to hone your writing. This seminar is designed for all students interested in the ancient world who want to become better writers. 


Tentative Selection of Course Readings:

Beard, M. 2014. Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations.  Liveright.

Zuckerberg, D. 2018. Not All Dead White Men: Classics and Misogyny in the Digital Age.

Harvard University Press.

Smil, V. 2010. Why America Is Not a New Rome. MIT Press. 


LAH 358Q • Supervised Research

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Supervised Research. Individual instruction. Prerequisite: A
University grade point average of at least 3.50 and consent of the
liberal arts honors program adviser. Only one LAH 358Q may be applied towards college honors. Course may be repeated.

LAH 679TA • Honors Thesis

(also listed as LAH 679TB)
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Restricted to Plan I majors in the College of Liberal Arts. Supervised research, reading, and writing of a substantial paper on an interdepartmental subject.

LAH 679TB • Honors Thesis

IIWr (also listed as LAH 679TA)
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Restricted to Plan I majors in the College of Liberal Arts. Supervised research, reading, and writing of a substantial paper on an interdepartmental subject.