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General Honors Seminars

Fall Semester 2016

Please note: before registering for any of these seminars, be sure your name is on the appropriate sign-up sheet in the honors center office.

Please sign-up for only one seminar and be certain you intend to take that seminar before placing your name on the sign-up sheet.


HON 110HA — Myth of Pinocchio

  • Dr. Thomas Morrissey
  • TR 9:30–10:45
  • 3 Credits

Most of us are familiar with Pinocchio from the 1940 Disney animated film version of the story. That could be changing. Recently, Warner Brother’s announced that Ron Howard will direct a live action version of Pinocchio based on the Carlo Collodi classic rather than the Disney film. This project is being spearheaded by Robert Downey, Jr., who will star as Geppetto. During the 2016–17 season, the National Ballet of Canada will also feature the world premiere of Pinocchio by noted British choreographer, Will Thicket. And, most importantly, the Honors Center will reprise the popular course, the Myth of Pinocchio, in the fall 2016 semester. Since the 1999 debut of this course, Professor Morrissey published Pinocchio Goes Postmodern: Perils of a Puppet in the United States with Richard Wunderlich. He has continued to teach on this subject since then, and this iteration of the course should benefit from both his research and teaching on the subject.

Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio is regarded as one of the classic works of Italian literature, recently described as comparable to Dante’s Commedia and Machiavelli’s advice to princes. Many critics have recognized that, although the book is didactic, it is not gentle. Collodi is a sharp social critic who is aware of how dangerous the world is and who knows the pain of poverty. Indeed, the Pinocchio story is nothing less than an archetypal tale of becoming, owning much to its nineteenth century Italian setting, but even more to its author’s understanding of the universal human struggle to become a whole human being.

In this seminar students will explore stories of becoming with particular emphasis on tales of metamorphosis in which the inanimate becomes human or humans confront their humanity by contact with what are normally thought to be inanimate objects. We will also examine the puppet’s exploits in the context of Joseph Campbell’s work on mythical heroism. The central questions to be explored are how do stories of transformation interrogate our concept of humanity, why is the Pinocchio story such a rich example of stories of becoming, and to what extent does Pinocchio follow in the footsteps of heroic figures such as Gilgamesh, Odysseus, and Jesus. Whether and how such stories differ according to the gender of their protagonists will also be an issue. Pinocchio’s status as a hero akin to other mythic heroes makes him a kind of “Everypuppet.” He is “young” and male; as an Italian boy-figure of humble origins he represents two oppressed classes: children and the poor. Other stories of transformation will include female figures whose experiences are different because of time, place and gender. Discussion of parts of P. Lorenzini’s Pinocchio in Africa will demonstrate the bizarre ways in which the puppet is used to express racist and colonial attitudes and policies that contributed to fascist Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia in 1935.

Students will be required to write short essays, make an oral or poster presentation, and write a longer essay.

This seminar will satisfy the Humanities component of the Plattsburgh general education program.

This seminar will meet in the Honors Center — Hawkins Hall 121 Seminar Room B

HON 113HA — Alienation, Liberation & Discovery of Zen

  • Dr. Jurgen Kleist
  • TR 3:30–4:45
  • 3 Credits

Sooner or later nearly all of us embark on a personal inquiry about the meaning of life and our relationship(s) to the rest of the world. Questions about who we are and what it is that is worth doing with our lives arise and often are not easily answered. It sometimes seems as though we are thrown into an increasingly uncontrollable and chaotic world that is indifferent to our presence. Often this ‘problem’ resolves itself into three choices. We may accept the world as it is; we may seek to escape from it; or we may try to change it. Accepting the world as we find it can induce a passivity that leaves us alienated and powerless, but is nonetheless perhaps the most common method of coping with these questions. Escapism can express itself in many forms. The fundamental premise of this seminar is that American public life is more and more polarized around including day-dreaming, alcohol and drugs, violence, internal exile or even suicide. Changing the world requires political will, determination, and stamina…with no guarantee of success.

This seminar will examine these issues through an exploration of the literature of alienation and liberation. How have literary protagonists confronted and resolved situations of extreme distress? Why does the search for meaning often result in feelings of estrangement, of being an outsider, of being different? What circumstances lead literary characters to this crossroad? How do they try to solve this problem? What can literature teach us about liberation from conditions that are alienating? Finally, the seminar will explore literature in which protagonists claim to have found a way of dealing with their discontent. These and many related questions will provide seminar participants with many memorable discussions.

Students will lead discussions through seminar presentations and explorations of authors from Kafka, Hesse, and Huxley to Alan Watts, Robert Pirsig, Herbert Marcuse and others. Students will also be asked to write an essay of significant length (10–15 pgs.) addressing the issues of the seminar.

This seminar will satisfy the Humanities component of the Plattsburgh general education program.

This seminar will meet in the Honors Center — Hawkins Hall 121 Seminar Room B

HON 118HA — Time & the Writer: Boston Edition

  • Dr. Ann Tracy
  • TR  2:00–3:15
  • 3 Credits

Writers of fiction (when it really is fiction) find themselves stretching into the sensibilities of other people, perhaps people of different ages or genders or climates of opinion, sometimes antithetical to the writer’s own point of view. It’s liberating. But suppose that we move into another time period as well, a place unfamiliar in its appearance and assumptions. That ups the ante. This seminar will immerse itself in 1918–1919 Boston and, owning it, turn it into stories with enough of the past for authenticity but not so much that the writer appears to be conducting a museum tour. Background in fiction writing is not required. It can be taught as needed.

The first half of the semester will begin with the general context of the time frame, with lots of oral reports on history, art, music, public figures, the details of domestic life. We’ll watch at least a couple of period pieces from the PBS American Short Story series, and read such widely admired writers as Booth Tarkington (2 Pulitzer Prizes) and Gene Stratton Porter. We’ll look into the flavor of World War One, and the ravages of the infamous Spanish Influenza. And at last we’ll focus on events peculiar to Boston, sampling old issues of The Boston Globe and paying particular attention to the legendary Boston Molasses Flood of January 1919.

The second half of the semester, conducted as a workshop, will produce two pieces of writing. The first, and shorter, will be an interesting, well written non-fiction piece that explores some surprising contrast between then and now. The second, longer and more important, will be a short story of perhaps 25 pages, set in 1918 or 1919. As in other writing workshops, students will read their installments aloud, raise questions, praise good bits, and generally help their fellow travelers bring the past back to life.

This seminar will satisfy the Humanities component of the Plattsburgh general education program.

This seminar will meet in the Honors Center — Hawkins Hall 121 Seminar Room A.

HON 125HA — Sports in America

  • Tom Curle
  • TR 11:00–12:15
  • 3 Credits

From ancient Greece and Rome to the 21st Century sports and athletics have occupied important cultural and social roles that extend far beyond recreation and entertainment. From athletes to fans, from amateur to professional, from schools to corporate sponsors, from individual to team sports, athletics occupy a central place in contemporary society. This seminar will explore the impact of sports on American culture and the impact of the social, economic and political factors on American sports in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Jesse Owens, Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, John Carlos, Mohammad Ali, Michael Jordan and many others have helped to shape and focus America’s culture with respect to race. Babe Didrikson, Billy Jean King, and our 1999 World Cup Champion Women’s Soccer Team have helped lead the fight for women’s rights in the U.S. Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax raised American’s awareness of religious issues. Greg Louganis, Arthur Ashe and Magic Johnson broke new ground in the area of AIDS. These and many other athletes have used the stage of athletic competition to help American culture grow and develop. Gender issues, race relations, AIDS awareness and political movements have all benefited from the struggles that athletes have brought into the open. Athletic competition helped these men and women learn valuable lessons about life which they in turn used to influence the socio-political context. At the same time what happens in sports is influenced by the socio-political context. Athlete activists were motivated by the civil rights movement, feminism, and anti-war sentiments in the culture.

There is, of course, the dark side of sports in American culture. Performance enhancing drugs have become both a legal and cultural issue in sports. The behavior of unruly fans (sometimes including the parents of younger athletes), gambling, and violence all attest to the degree to which sport both exemplifies the best and reflects the worst of American culture.

This seminar will examine the values that athletic competition helps to teach — hard work, sacrifice, and perseverance in the face of adversity, teamwork, confidence, trust and leadership. We will examine how these values are put to work in our society. We will ask questions about how the dark side of athletics sometimes distorts these same values so that they are perverted and become negative cultural influences. The over-riding objective of the seminar will be to broaden our understanding of both the positive and negative influences of athletics on our society, while tracing the historical factors that set the stage for developments in sports.

Students will write short weekly papers in response to reading assignments. They will make presentations to the seminar on assigned topics and they will write a final paper.

This seminar will satisfy the U.S. Civilization component of the Plattsburgh general education program.

This seminar will meet in the Honors Center — Hawkins Hall 121 Seminar Room A.

HON 126HA — The Irish in America

  • Dr. Erin Mitchell
  • MWF 11:00–11:50
  • 3 Credits

Irish-Americans have contributed much to the dynamic, volatile, and tumultuous history of the United States, as students in this seminar will discover through reading historical and fictional texts, and by viewing films. The seminar will explore the ways in which an immigrant group ultimately assimilated into white, middle-class, protestant American society between the 1840’s to the present. Although the Irish have been in America since colonial times, during and after the Great Irish Famine of the 1840’s, masses of rural, Catholic, Irish-speaking survivors emigrated both voluntarily and involuntarily, to American cities. They worked as domestics, barmaids, laborers, factory workers, criminals, writers, nuns, priests, union organizers, race-rioters, police, politicians, entertainers, conscripts, prostitutes, and artists. Their reception was stormy, sometimes admired, more often discriminated against and feared. They slowly became both middle class and “white.” Increasingly, Irish-Americans are able to become returnees and tourists in an (often romanticized) Ireland their ancestors fled, where they amuse, puzzle, employ and support the Irish who live there. Students will, thus, be grappling with ideas about diaspora, colonial and postcolonial regimes, rural flight, urban communities and poverty, the definitions of race, nostalgia, religious insularity and diversity, and tourism.

The required reading for the course includes The Irish in America, edited by Michael Coffey and Terry Gollway and How the Irish Became White, by Noel Ignatiev. We will also view films such as Gangs of New York and In America. Students will engage in group research projects and presentations derived from the Irish in America text, such as the Scotch Irish, fleeing the Great Famine, and life in the tenements. Students will also do a short research paper on their topic.

This seminar will satisfy the U.S. Civilization component of the Plattsburgh general education program.

This seminar will meet in the Honors Center — Hawkins 121 Seminar Room A

HON 133HA — Explorations of ‘Cool’

  • Dr. J.W. Wiley & CDPI Staff
  • W 12:00–3:00
  • 3 Credits

What makes someone cool? At some level most of us have been concerned with this question, but most of us haven’t thought about it deeply or examined the implications of “coolness”. This seminar will provide students with the opportunity to and the framework for investigating this social phenomenon. The main vehicle for this exploration will be a combination of reading and film analysis. The main questions being posed are:

  • What is cool?
  • How is cool related to social class?
  • What are the implications of being labeled cool?
  • Is cool a stratifying, inclusive, or exclusive phenomenon?
  • What are the socio-political dimensions of cool?
  • How is being “cool” related to diversity and social justice?
  • How does gender interact with “coolness”?

The introductory section of the course will establish the framework, theoretical orientation, and methodology of the course. Concepts and constructs essential to the unpacking of coolness will be explored. These include, but are not limited to, social justice, socio-economic class, diversity, and coolness.

Following the introductory sessions, each week thereafter students will engage in film analysis and interpretation. For example, “Casualties of War” a film starring Sean Penn and Michael J. Fox, portrays some intriguing images of cool from the perspectives of soldiers. Using the framework introduced in the initial segment of the course and from the readings, students will investigate the social implications and meaning of the behaviors portrayed in the film.

Each week half the class will write a paper focused on the readings and film analysis and they will make presentations derived from their analysis.

This seminar will satisfy the Social Science component of the Plattsburgh general education program.

This seminar will meet in the Honors Center — Hawkins 121 Seminar Room B

HON 137HA — Does the 2016 Election Matter? Domestic/Economic Policy on the Negotiating Table

  • Dr. Olivia O’Donnell
  • TR  11:00–12:15
  • 3 Credits

This course is designed to explore the following question: Will the 2016 elections make a difference for the average citizen in the United States? Using the 2016 campaign as a backdrop, students will learn to analyze and interpret the campaign process, and its impact on domestic economic policy. The main issues to be considered include unemployment and the prospects of a living wage, student debt, civil liberties in a time of tight security, gun control, access to healthcare, reproductive rights, immigration, and the threat of terrorism in the United States. Does campaign rhetoric bear any resemblance to policy outcomes after the election? What do we know from previous elections and administrations? Democrats and Republicans permitted dangerous deregulations in the past that were responsible for the last significant economic downturn of 2008. Have there been any significant policy changes in the last decade? We still see a great deal of ‘underemployment’ especially among college graduates; do either of the platforms address new ways of dealing with the lack of real jobs in the economy? There seems to be a vast chasm between the concerns and proposed policies of the two parties at this point in time. But, can or will either party pass meaningful legislation that is in the interest of most voters? Both parties have been responsible for crafting legislation that has provided subsidies and tax breaks for companies, while the industry targeted by the legislation was simultaneously laying-off workers. For this reason, the course will look at money in elections and the prospects for campaign finance reform. Recent program cuts at the state, local, and national level are in areas such as education, health, recreation, and welfare. These programs are aimed at helping the average citizen maintain, or even attain a living wage. So the question remains, will the focus of policy change with the 2016 election?

The objectives of this course include:

  • Learning how to read and analyze poll and survey data
  • Learning content analysis of domestic issues
  • Learning to investigate and perform a case study of policy
  • Learning how to read and understand US budget data and decisions
  • Learning how to write a position paper on a domestic issue

The class will begin with a careful look at the 2016 election campaign. Students will evaluate the candidates and their positions on issues. Students will review the Democratic and Republican platforms to see if candidate positions match the party’s agenda. Campaign funding will be assessed. The second part of the course will explore issues that are critical to a healthy and emerging Middle Class, such as health care, the budget, unemployment, jobs creation and a living wage. Issues such as reproductive rights, gun control, law enforcement, immigration and the ISIS threat will be evaluated with respect to the current domestic and economic policy agenda.

Students will engage in a variety of writing assignments, including writing a position paper on a domestic issue.

This seminar will satisfy the Social Science component of the Plattsburgh general education program.

This seminar will meet in the Honors Center — Hawkins 121 Seminar Room B

HON 150HA — Israeli Film: The Politics of Representation

  • Dr. James Armstrong
  • M 4:00–6:00 p.m. & W 4:00–5:15 p.m.
  • 3 Credits

Films are cultural representations that should intentionally and unintentionally depict and explore the cultural assumptions of filmmakers. In this course, students will watch Israeli-made films, as a means for interpreting Israeli culture, society, and politics. At the same time films are works of art, sharing elements with both literature and visual arts. Films have aesthetic value, and our attention to film in this class will attend to the artistic elements and value of the films we watch. Students will be introduced to the main elements of filmmaking and its artistic components, and you will be expected to use this in the interpretation of Israeli film. Class time will be divided between viewing films and interpreting them. Readings on film studies and analysis of film will be combined with literature on Israeli culture and society and the Israeli film industry to provide students with the tools for critique and interpretation and the appreciation of film as an art form. Another significant element of the course is to treat Israeli film from an ethnographic perspective: the film playing the role of the key informant who provides the anthropologist with a “native perspective” of a culture. The main issues to be explored in this course include interethnic relations, religious-secular relations, gender relations, and violence and warfare. The main questions to be explored in this seminar include: What are the values represented in Israeli film? What are the aesthetic and artistic elements of the films we watch? What do filmmakers ignore or misrepresent about a culture? What is Israeli culture like? What biases are there in the representations of Israeli culture? Students should learn about modern day Israeli culture and society and refine their ability to analyze and interpret film.

Students will write critiques of films and make at least two formal presentations of their critiques during the semester. The final project will be to assess what this in depth exploration of Israeli film has taught the student about Israeli culture, society, and politics.

This seminar will satisfy the Art component of the Plattsburgh general education program.

This seminar will meet in the Honors Center — Hawkins 121 Seminar Room B

HON 171HA — Science, Evolution & Human Origin

  • Andrew Black
  • T 6:00–8:45
  • 3 Credits

Since the publication of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species in 1859 the topic of evolution has raised controversy. Should such a controversy exist? In order to critically assess the theory of evolution it is necessary to understand the fundamentals of the scientific method. What is a ‘naturalistic explanation’ and how does it differ from other forms of explanation? What is the difference between a hypothesis and a theory? Why is experimentation and repeatability essential to scientific methodology? The seminar will evaluate creationist and intelligent design criticisms of science and evolution and evaluate the evidence of each.

The seminar will also focus on the concept of natural selection and will assess the evidence for evolution drawn from modern living organisms and the fossil record. What are the strengths and weaknesses of both forms of evidence? How does evidence from such fields as genetics, primatology, paleoanthropology, epidemiology and other fields relate to evolution? What is the difference between hereditary and acquired traits? How do we account for the biological adaptations humans have made to changing environments? And are we still evolving? Does the theory of evolution have predictive power?

This seminar will focus on the following topics: the debate over evolution; the process of natural selection; the implications of the theory for racial arguments; patterns of disease; evolutionary medicine; the evolution of human behavior; and measures of human intelligence, the evolution of sex using comparative primatology and the disappearance of the Neanderthals, among others. Students will be required to write weekly reaction papers and make a presentation and lead a discussion on a question derived from these topics.

This seminar will satisfy the natural science component of the Plattsburgh general education program.

This seminar will meet in the Honors Center — Hawkins 121 Seminar Room B

HON 182HA — Democracy & Education

  • Dr. Jean Ann Hunt
  • TR 9:30–10:45
  • 3 Credits

Over the past few years American politics have been particularly nasty and ineffectual. At times it seemed to some of us that the foundations of our democracy itself are in jeopardy. And perhaps the question of the health of democratic institutions and processes remains in question. For those of us living in an academic community an even deeper question emerges from the recent political context. We may…and should…wonder what is the connection between democracy and education.

“What the best and wisest parent wants for his or her own child, that must the community want for all of its children.” This statement made by John Dewey epitomizes the spirit of a democratic community. This seminar is designed to explore the connection(s) between democracy and education. Throughout the semester the work of the seminar will be guided by two broad questions.

What is democratic education and why is it important?

In pursuing these questions the seminar classroom offers unusual opportunities. As we learn about democracy and education we will also gain experience in democracy by constructing what we might call a democratic classroom. Such a classroom will be collaborative in nature with shared responsibility for contributing to the learning and teaching that will take place. We will in short be exploring democracy as a way of life, not merely as an event such as voting or as an abstract idea. To paraphrase Naomi Wolf, the democratic life is “…difficult, personally exacting and vanishingly fragile.” So the work in this seminar is intense and rigorous, but it will provide each student the opportunity to delve into an exploration of the fundamental purposes of education and what kind of classroom and schools we all want in our communities.

Students will write reflection papers in response to assigned readings. They will also construct a “time-ball” that focuses on significant life events and what was learned through those events. Finally, the seminar will develop a collaborative answer to the two fundamental questions of the seminar.

This seminar will satisfy the Western Civilization component of the Plattsburgh general education requirement.

This seminar will meet in the Honors Center — Hawkins 121 Seminar Room A 

HON 189HA — Human Rights: An Historical Introduction

  • Dr. Vincent Carey
  • TR  2:00–3:15
  • 3 Credits

The concept of human rights is taken for granted today in the liberal western world. Our culture and our political leaders advocate a set of basic human “rights” which are reinforced in our laws and by our judicial systems. The basic principles under which they hold legitimacy have been elaborated in a set of documents from the “Bill of Rights” (1789) to the UN Declaration of Human rights in 1948. The latter document went so far as to declare that its definition of human rights was “Universal.” Global inequalities and conflict provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the UN declaration of 1948 is aspirational rather than real; however, few in our society would question its basic principles. Do we not all agree that humans are born free and that slavery is wrong? Do we not hold that regardless of race, sex, language, and ethnicity that we all have the right to life, liberty and security? Do most of us not agree that cruel and inhumane punishment and torture is wrong? Isn’t freedom of thought sacred to us and arbitrary arrest anathema?

It needs to be noted that our advocacy of these principles is relatively new, as is our revulsion at these abuses. Many of these ideas would have seemed absurd in the past. In fact the concept of Human Rights is a recent invention. The historian Lynn Hunt dates it to the “Declaration of Rights of Man and the Citizen” (1789) and the French Revolution. But then where did its ideas come from? They clearly had a long gestation. The purpose of this course is to explore these ideas from the days of the Roman Imperium to the French Revolution and beyond. While our exploration is clearly historical and has its foundations in Western philosophy, its implication and significance are global. Aren’t human rights and human rights abuses at the center of most conflicts, movements, and protests? Thus, the course informs many of the events we encounter on the global scene.

In this course students will be asked to explore the origins of the concept of human rights in the form of a variety of primary and secondary sources. While the main task of the course will be reading and discussing these documents, students will also have the opportunity to explore a contemporary human rights issue in the form of a research paper. Topics include sexual rights, the rights of children, labor rights, the rights of immigrants, and the right of free expression and can be explored in a national or global setting.

This seminar will satisfy the Western Civilization component of the Plattsburgh general education program.

This seminar will meet in the Honors Center — Hawkins 121 Seminar Room B

HON 300HA — Literature of Witness: Narratives of Trauma and Genocide

  • Dr. Tracie Guzzio
  • MWF 1:00–1:50
  • 3 Credits

“Time and published books confirmed that I was a writer, and witness literature, if it is a genre of circumstance of time and place, was mine. I had to find how to keep my integrity to the Word, the sacred charge of the writer. I realized, as I believe many writers do, that instead of restricting, inhibiting and coarsely despoiling aesthetic liberty, the existential condition of witness was enlarging, inspiring aesthetic liberty, breaching the previous limitations of my sense of form and use of language through necessity: to create form and use it anew.” — Nadine Gordimer, Nobel Laureate, The Guardian, June 14, 2009

This course familiarizes students with this genre, witness literature, which includes texts that serve as a testimony to traumatic historical events, such as the Holocaust, slavery, the Nanking Massacre, and apartheid. Students will discuss, analyze, and write about this literature which expresses the need to remember these events and calls for social and global justice. The works covered in the course represent writers from Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe and include autobiography, testimonio, novels, drama, poetry, and film.

The works under consideration focus on the global responses to oppression and the expression of human rights. Most of this literature arises from traumatic personal experience of historical events, such as the Holocaust or the Armenian Genocide, etc. Survivors and witnesses testify to their experiences in this literature as both an act of remembrance and a political call for social justice. Many of these writers resist the “history” we think we know, and give voice to those people who are no longer able to give testimony. In some cases writers have chosen to present these events through a fictional voice. These choices will be analyzed in the course. Students will be encouraged to think critically about this genre, its role in the context of a globalizing world, and the ethics of speaking for others (and the obligations to “truth” that this entails). Students will reflect on these issues and the very nature of narrating historical events through discussion and assignments.

We will begin by examining the emergence of trauma as a psychological phenomenon and the resulting literary response. We will trace the development of “trauma literature” as it intersects with works that “bear witness” to the genocides of the 20th century—called by some scholars “Philomela’s Tongue.” Though most scholars situate this moment as a post-Holocaust response, we will consider how this framework affects the reading of 19th century American slave narratives as well as literature after the first Holocaust works appear. We will also examine multiple points of view of the same event, and how the same event is represented by different genres.

Students will construct a Critical Reading Journal, make two presentations and write two significant essays for the course.

This seminar will satisfy the Global Issues component of the Plattsburgh general education program.

This seminar will meet in the Honors Center — Hawkins 121 Seminar Room A

HON 301HB — Modeling Dynamic Systems

  • Dr. Kevin O’Neil
  • TR  9:30–10:45
  • 3 Credits

This course introduces you to system dynamics modeling and systems thinking applied to the analysis of global complexities. You will learn to visualize the environmental, social, economic, physical and biological policy arenas in terms of the structures that create dynamics and regulate performance.

Accelerating economic, technological, social and environmental change requires policy makers to adapt. Increasingly, we must learn how to manage complex systems with multiple feedback effects, long time delays, and nonlinear responses to our decisions. Yet learning in such environments is difficult precisely because we never confront many of the consequences of our most important decisions. You can probably think of a host of examples illustrating this point from the AIDS epidemic to global climate change. Effective learning in such environments requires methods to develop systems thinking, to represent and assess such dynamic complexity—and tools that can be used to accelerate learning by policy makers.

System dynamics allows us to create “micro-worlds,” manage flight simulators where space and time can be compressed, slowed, and stopped in order to assess the long-term side effects of decisions. We can also explore new strategies and develop better understandings of systems. In this class we will use role playing games, simulation models, case studies, and policy flight simulators to develop principles of policy design for the complexities we now face.

This course will help you understand the dynamic, simultaneous, and inter-relational nature of intra and extra systems activity through causal loop making and system dynamic simulations. Students will create models that represent complex, non-linear feedback systems of personal or professional interests to them. Some of the simulations we will explore include global concerns such as population growth, epidemics, economic, environmental and social change, among other policy arenas.

The course objectives include the following:

  • Understanding of basic positive and negative feedback mechanisms.
  • Use of feedback thinking in developing causal loop models of dynamic systems.
  • Translation of dynamic causal loop models into system dynamics structures for policy development.
  • Development of dynamic, simultaneous understanding of complex systems in the global context.

Students will keep a weekly journal and participate in a group project formulating, designing and simulating a systems project that is interesting to you and your team. You will also complete other assignments focused on individual modeling and problem solving homework.

Students will need their own laptop computer in order to participate in this class.

This seminar will satisfy the Global Issues component of the Plattsburgh general education program.

This seminar will meet in Au Sable Hall Room 126

HON 402HA — Gender, Sexuality & Politics in Middle East

  • Dr. Simona Sharoni
  • R 3:30–6:15
  • 3 Credits

This seminar will provide students with an overview of the key issues in the study of gender and sexuality in the Middle East. Students will engage in a critical examination of prevailing discourses, ideologies, and social practices of a variety of Middle-Eastern Societies. We will search for trends within these societies, while examining the political consequences of change. Special focus will be placed on social movements informed by feminist and queer perspectives. This seminar will employ engaged pedagogy and discussion based on reading and research. It is cross-listed with GWS390A. Students may petition for World Systems general education credit. Contact Dr. Armstrong.

This seminar will satisfy the World Systems (by petition) component of the Plattsburgh general education program.

This seminar will meet in the Honors Center — Hawkins 121 Seminar Room A

Contact Information

If you would like more information about the honors program at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact

Dr. James Armstrong, Director
Email: james.armstrong@plattsburgh.edu

Sandra Boulerice, Secretary
Email: sboul002@plattsburgh.edu

Office: Hawkins Hall 121-123
Phone: (518) 564-3075
Fax: (518) 564-3071