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Fall 2023 Honors Seminars: Welcome


***This Libguide is still being updated with course descriptions and details. However, all class section/topic/time information is correct for the FA23 semester***

This libguide provides a list of the upper-level honors seminars running in the Fall 2023 Semester. To learn more about each seminar, either click on the "details" link, or scroll down to the bottom of this page. Please note that any syllabi linked here may be subject to change. 


How to use this guide:

  • This guide lists all of the honors seminar-eligible courses running in Fall 2023 with section details.
  • A description or information on each section is listed as provided by instructors. Scroll down the page to view these descriptions, or (if applicable) click on the link next to the course for a course flyer or sample syllabus.
  • Additional information, including whether a course is eligible for core curriculum or world ready elective credit, will be provided next to the course name. Please note that any course with an asterisk (*) or similar character will require an exception form to officially receive the appropriate core or world ready credit. See below for more information on how to file an exception. 
  • This guide provides a list of just Honors Seminars, and not all dedicated honors classes. For a list of ALL honors and honors ready courses running next semester, check here on the Class Schedule app.


HONR.3200 Seminars

HONR.3200 courses default as free electives. HONR.3200 may potentially satisfy an Arts & Humanities (AH) or Social Science (SS) requirement depending on the nature of the course, but students will need to file an extension.

Students interested in petitioning for an HONR.3200 course to count as either an AH or SS core requirement should contact Megan Hadley by emailing to initiate the petition process.


Course Section Topic Instructor Campus Time
HONR.3200 301 Call to Adventure* Julian Zabalbeascoa South T/R 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
HONR.3200 302 Experiencing Philanthropy^ Deborah Finch North T/R 3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. (Thursday Virtual)

*May be petitioned to count as an Arts & Humanities

^May be petitioned to count as a Social Science


Course Descriptions - HONR.3200 (FA23)

Call to Adventure

The call to adventure marks the beginning of the monomyth, or the hero’s journey, one of the more recognizable narrative arcs, a story structure found across multiple cultures and epochs. But what is it about this particular narrative trope – an individual leaving behind a familiar world to set off into the unknown – that so resonates? Why do writers and filmmakers continue to people their work with these well-known archetypes? And what is it that readers and audiences seek when they turn to them? Are there political reasons for the monomyth’s resurgence in popular culture? Who is served by the propagation of this storyline of self-realization and self-actualization and which peoples are relegated to minor, supporting roles?

Through literary theory and critical analysis to literature, film, poetry, music, and art we will seek to answer these questions and many more while examining various representations of the call to adventure, all the while further developing our ability to speak in public settings and our critical reading and thinking skills, with an emphasis placed on analysis and academic writing.


Experiencing Philanthropy

Philanthropy plays many roles in our communities, from alleviating crisis situations to encouraging strategic, systemic change. Nonprofit organizations are the intermediaries connecting donors to community needs. Working with grants from a donor to the Honors College and the Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF) students have the opportunity to practice philanthropy by serving as a young adult grant-making board to award $10,000 to local nonprofits in Lowell.

Students will learn about nonprofit organizations, different styles of philanthropy, and effective nonprofit management; how to think about and evaluate impact as a philanthropist; how to run a community project; how to read nonprofit financials and assess nonprofit organizational health and potential; sources of philanthropic news, and thinking, and trends in philanthropy and nonprofit management.

Students will design their own process for requesting grant proposals and evaluating applications. The process of selecting grant recipients will bring students very close to the local community.

Philanthropy plays many roles in our communities, from alleviating crisis situations to encouraging strategic, systemic change. Nonprofit organizations are the intermediaries connecting donors to community needs. Students practice philanthropy as a grant-making board to award $10,000 to local nonprofits in greater Lowell. This is a hands-on service learning course where YOU have a chance to make a difference in the lives of others!


HONR.3300 Seminars - Arts & Humanities Perspective

HONR.3300 courses automatically satisfy an AH core curriculum requirement. 

Course Section Topic Instructor Campus Time
HONR.3300 301 13 Ways to Slay a Vampire Bridget Marshall South T/R 9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
HONR.3300 302 Our Planet, Ourselves: Writing About Climate Change Marlowe Miller South T/R 3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
HONR.3300 304

World Cinema*

Tom Hersey South M 3:30 p.m. - 6:20 p.m.
HONR.3300 307 Illuminating the Middle Ages Lauren Fogle South M/W 2:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

May be petitioned to count as a World Ready elective

Course Descriptions - HONR.3300 (FA23)

13 Ways to Slay a Vampire

This honors seminar takes an interdisciplinary approach to the figure of the vampire. In addition to literary and film studies, disciplines from across the humanities, fine arts, and social sciences will guide us in new ways to understand the vampire. We’ll read some of the classics (Polidori’s The Vampyre, LeFanu’s Carmilla, Stoker’s Dracula) and some lesser-known tales, and talk about the vampire’s move to other media (theatre, film, television, video games, and beyond). Students will have the opportunity to explore a personal area of interest with a final project.


Our Planet, Our Selves: Writing About Climate Change

How does one write about the rapidly changing world that we inhabit? How does writing help us to engage with all the complex thoughts and feelings that this change provokes in us? 

This seminar will introduce writing as a tool for understanding what it means to be a witness to our transforming planet. Grounding ourselves with mindful and experiential practices, we will experiment with the reflective essay genre, a genre that allows writers to center feelings and engage abstract ideas. As we explore climate emotions and the power of individual action for individual and planetary well-being, we will collectively hold the door open for critical engagement with the extractive and exploitative systems that have led to climate change. We will read widely, examining the narrative and reflective choices that other writers make in essays about nature, environment, and climate change. Students will compose three essays and a creative project.


World Cinema
Approaches to the study of film are numerous, and seemingly limitless in their possible areas of focus and concern. This is of course understandable, as people have been thinking about the nature of film since the earliest days of the medium. One of the greatest contributing factors to this multiplicity of approaches has been this discipline's great inheritance from the other arts, and the accompanying insights, practices, and theories that these "others" have themselves generated for centuries. This fact has implications for our understanding of film's specific ontological, epistemological, ethical, and aesthetic nature, especially as these areas of concern would seem to unite many current approaches to the medium, however else these schools of thought may otherwise differ.

As such, a world cinema course such as this one calls for a great deal of discernment on our part, in both our film selection and our thematic approach. With this in mind, and as a group throughout, we shall follow a pedagogical approach which is twofold this semester. First, we shall explore select films from around the world in search of aesthetic, epistemological, ethical, and ontological points of both connection and concern. And second, in and through this exploratory approach, we shall advance several novel ways of reimagining our various conceptions of ‘perception’ and ‘world cinema.’

Illuminating the Middle Ages

Using visuals, this class will explore medieval history through the illuminated manuscripts and art of the period 500-1550 CE. We will discuss medieval religion, politics, war, economics, and delve into deeper issues like sexuality, gender roles, and social traditions and rituals.

HONR.3400 Honors Seminars - Social Science Perspectives

HONR.3400 courses automatically satisfy a Social Science core curriculum requirement. 

Course Section Topic Instructor Campus Time
HONR.3400 305 Gender, Work, & Peace Camelia Bouzerdan South M 3:30 p.m. - 6:20 p.m.

Course Descriptions - HONR.3400 (FA23)

Gender, Work, and Peace 

"Gender, Work and Peace" will explore the relationship between human rights, gender and nonviolence in the 21st century. We will examine how current and future reality can be shaped by related policies, specifically those on the micro and macro level concerned with gender. Today we live in a period of global transition comparable to the period that followed the Industrial Revolution. It presents us with enormous challenges and opportunities regarding factors we will address in class: economic globalization, government restructuring, work-family balancing, environmental safety at work, gender inequalities and the connection between human rights and dignity at work.

HONR.3400 Honors Seminar - STEM Perspective

Course Section Topic Campus Time
HONR.3500 301 Energy in the Developing World North T/R 12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.

Course Description - HONR.3500 (FA23)

Energy in the Developing World

Investigating the science of energy requires a thorough approach covering a broad range of topics such as fossil fuels, biomass, nuclear energy and renewable energies such as solar, wind, and hydro-power. This seminar course will address the fundamentals of energy with discussions involving the forms of energy, energy conversion and scalability of energy production with a global perspective. Invited speakers will include individuals with field specific expertise and international experience in each type energy to detail the technological challenges of efficiently harvesting energy resources and establishing distribution and storage networks at home and abroad.

There are no prerequisites for this course. However, students should come prepared to pursue and evaluate topics in the science of genery through the skills of inquiry, research, critical thinking and problem solving. 

Read more details about Energy and the Developing World here.