Self and Society

Students must complete any two sections of HONR 2047 and/or HONR 2048. In HONR 2047, students choose from a selection of social science introductory courses that provide a foundation in the language, perspectives, methods, and research approaches of a specific social science discipline. In HONR 2048, students engage with a contemporary social issue, problem, or question in a multi-disciplinary thematic course.

Who Should Take These

Upperclassmen must take any two Self and Society courses over the course of their sophomore, junior, or senior years. They do not need to be taken in any particular order.


Politics and Culture

Professor Harvey Feigenbaum
HONR 2047:10 - 3 Credits
CRN: 87424
W 12:45-3:15 PM
Fulfills: CCAS: GPAC Social Sciences; GWSB: Non-Business Elective/Unrestricted Elective; SEAS: Social Sciences

Course Description: No description provided.

Medicine and Society

Professor Ronald Dworkin
HONR 2047:11 - 3 Credits
CRN: 87541
T 3:30-6:00 PM
Fulfills: CCAS: GPAC Social Sciences; GWSB: Non-Business Elective/Unrestricted Elective; SEAS: Social Sciences

Course Description: "This seminar examines how medicine and society interact in ways that touch on philosophy, economics, sociology, and public policy, but that cannot be understood if studied from any one perspective alone. Medicine’s new prominence in society dictates this approach. In the past, general ideas shaped medicine; today, medicine shapes general ideas. Examples of the latter include medicine's impact on our understanding of freedom and free will, religion, spirituality, adulthood, and happiness. This theme—the interplay between medicine and society—governs the organization of the course, as readings alternate between society's effect on medicine and medicine's effect on society. Topics to be covered in the course include the rise of alternative medicine, the changing nature of the medical and nursing professions, the mind-body dispute, the healthy lifestyle movement, the origins of public health, the medical treatment of everyday unhappiness, the tension between medicine and religion, the impact of neuroscience on the legal system, and the current debate over health care reform.

Note: This is not a “science” course. It is an “ideas” course. Prospective students do not need a science background. "

Conflicts in the Persian Gulf

Professor Hossein Askari
HONR 2047:11 - 2 or 3 Credits
CRN: 87955
W  12:45-3:15 PM
Fulfills: CCAS: Social Sciences; ESIA: Middle East Regional Foundation, Concentrations: Middle East (Group A), Conflict Resolution, Security Policy, International Politics, Comparative Political, Economic, and Social Systems; GWSB: Non-Business Elective/Unrestricted Elective; SEAS: Social Sciences

Course Description: This course is a 7-week seminar and will meet October 18th through December 6th.  There are two options for this seminar: a 2-credit option, and a 3-credit option that includes a research paper (detailed in the syllabus). Students registering for the course for two credits should consult with their school advisors about how the course will fulfill their major requirements. Disputes in the Persian Gulf are invariably attributed to a host of factors that include religious, sectarian, ethnic and tribal feuds, disputes over borders and natural resources, political, economic and social injustice and foreign intervention and meddling. We survey the underlying reasons for these apparently diverse conflicts and discuss how they have evolved largely into a struggle over resources. The quest for ‘revenge and justice’ to settle old scores is only the apparent fuel but its essential motive is to control resources and to remain in power. Our goal is to develop a vision of how the region may pull back from the ongoing path of continuous conflicts, and embark on the path of reconciliation, cooperation and mutual resurgence as free, democratic and prosperous societies.

Bill of Rights and Criminal Justice

Professor Stephen Saltzburg
HONR 2047:80 - 3 Credits
CRN: 85713
MW 12:45-2:00 PM
Fulfills: CCAS: GPAC Social Sciences; GWSB: Non-Business Elective/Unrestricted Elective; SEAS: Social Sciences
Course Equivalents: SOC 2146

Course Description: Examination of the powers of law enforcement and how they relate to the rights conferred upon suspects and defendants by the U.S. Constitution. **Please note this course has a cap of 75 students.**

Internet History & Future Work

Professor David Grier
HONR 2048:11 - 3 Credits
CRN: 87147
W 3:30-6:00 PM
Fulfills: GWSB: Non-Business Elective/Unrestricted Elective; SEAS: Social Sciences

Course Description: An analysis of two major trends of our time: the expansion of action at a distance and the restricting of institutional production. The class explores these ideas through primary texts, guest discussants, Honors Alums, visits to Lafayette Square, crowdsourced projects and the writings of Lillian Moller Gilbreth. The course is a socratic discussion course. Participants should be unafraid of technology, devoted to good writing and followers of the podcast "How We Manage Stuff". 

Race, Media and Politics

Professor Kimberly Gross
HONR 2048:12 - 3 Credits
CRN: 87355
R 12:45-3:15 PM
Fulfills: CCAS: Political Science Group B upper-level course; GWSB: Non-Business Elective/Unrestricted Elective; SEAS: Social Sciences

Course Description: The course reflects on the place of race in American society and politics, giving specific attention to the role of the media in helping to shape our understanding of race and racial matters.  We take a social scientific approach, drawing on work from political science, communication, psychology, history and sociology.  The course is loosely divided into three sections.  First, we examine various aspects of media coverage of race.  What was the media’s role in facilitating the civil rights movement? How do the media cover issues like crime and poverty? How are various groups including African-Americans, Latinos, and Muslim-Americans portrayed in news and entertainment programming? Have the portrayals changed over time, what are the consequences of these portrayals and what explains the patterns of coverage?  Second, we will examine how different researchers explain public opinion on racial policies and how elites and the media influence opinion.  In the final section of the course we will turn to the role of race and the media in the electoral context.  We will take a historical look at racial appeals during campaigns, spend time talking about the election campaigns of President Obama, and finally explore the role of racial appeals in the 2016 campaign.


Professor Michael Barnett
HONR 2048:80 - 3 Credits
CRN: 87146
TR 12:45-2:00 PM
Fulfills: ESIA: International Politics; International Development; Comparative, Political, Economics & Social Systems (CPESS) concentrations; GWSB: Non-Business Elective/Unrestricted Elective; SEAS: Social Sciences
Course Equivalents: PSC 2994

Course Description: This course explore the foundations, logics, dilemmas, and consequences of humanitarianism -- the attempt to relieve the suffering of distant strangers.  It begins with an introduction to the philosophy and practice of humanitarianism, proceeds to examine the attempt to relieve the suffering of victims of humanly made and natural disasters, and ends with a section on the attempt to make war less gruesome and more humane.

Holocaust Memory

Professor Walter Reich
HONR 2048:81
CRN: 87557
T 3:30-6:00 PM
Fulfills: CCAS: Upper-level History European Regional requirement; ESIA: Comparative, Political, Economic, and Social Systems,Conflict Resolution, Contemporary Cultures and Societies, Europe and Eurasia, International Politics, Security Policy concentrations,GWSB: Non-Business Elective/Unrestricted Elective; SEAS: Social Sciences
Course Equivalents: JSTD 2002, IAFF 3190

Course Description: The sources, construction, development, nature, uses and misuses of the memory, or public consciousness, of the Holocaust.  How different publics in different countries, cultures and societies know, or think they know, about the Holocaust from diaries, memoirs, testimonies, fiction, documentaries, television, commercial films, memorials, museums, the Internet, educational programs and the statements of world leaders—some of them historically accurate and some of them highly distorted.  The challenge of representing the Holocaust with fidelity and memorializing its victims with dignity and authenticity.  The impact of Holocaust memory on contemporary responses to other genocides and to crimes against humanity.  The increasing efforts to hijack, misuse, minimize, deny or attack the Holocaust for political, strategic, ideological, anti-Semitic or other purposes.  The effectiveness—or lack of effectiveness--of Holocaust memory in teaching the Holocaust’s contemporary “lessons,” especially “Never again!”  The roles of Holocaust memory, and of Holocaust denial or minimization, in international affairs, including in the Middle East in general and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular.

This course uses a cross-disciplinary approach, drawing on the fields of politics, society, ethics, literature, history, group psychology, social psychology, individual psychology and international affairs.

Race, Medicine and Public Health

Professor Vanessa Northington Gamble
HONR 2048W:80 - 3 Credits
CRN: 84676
MW 12:45-2:00 PM
Fulfills: GWSB: Non-Business Elective/Unrestricted Elective; SEAS: Social Sciences
Course Equivalents: AMST 4702W, HIST 3001W

Course Description: This course focuses on the role of race and racism in the development of American medicine and public health by examining the experiences of African Americans from slavery to today.  It will emphasize the importance of understanding the historical roots of contemporary policy dilemmas such as racial and ethnic inequalities and inequities in health and health care.  The course will challenge students to synthesize materials from several disciplines to gain a broad understanding of the relationship between race, medicine, and public health in the United States.