UW Honors Announcements

August 10, 2020

Still Some Room in Some Amazing Honors Courses – Spread the Word

Hello Honors Students!

The Honors Program has a few spots available in the following courses. These courses are all “Areas of Knowledge” and “W” designated and offer an exciting opportunity for students across campus to engage in interdisciplinary learning.  All classes are now open for registration for students across campus!  You do not need to be an Honors student to register.  Visit our autumn courses webpage for more details.

HONORS 210 C: Calderwood Seminar in Public Writing: Mestizx Consciousness and the ‘Racial’ Shadow (VLPA, DIV)

SLN 16128 (View UW registration info »)

Juliana Villegas (Honors Program; English)
Email: villegas@uw.edu

Credits: 5

In this seminar we will become familiar with the genre of Mestiza/o/x literature and engage in informed conversation about this body of literature in the United States. We will look globally at critical mixed race and border identities and consider epistemological questions, power, and privilege. Relatedly, a key goal of this seminar is to practice public writing through a variety of creative expressions and through collaborative work with peers for community building and activism (praxis).

We will write to articulate understanding of texts and engage in the complexities of identity and its construction (individual, family, community, nation, etc.). Students will write weekly and be authors and editors in a collaborative active learning environment with sensitivity to different learning and communication styles.  Students will also have the opportunity to learn about digital storytelling and create a multimedia digital story of their own.

 Readings and viewings may include:

  • Borderlands/La Frontera: the new Mestiza and Light in the Dark/La Luz Obscura (Gloria Anzaldúa)
  • The Lies that Bind: Rethinking Identity (Kwame Appiah)
  • Massacre of the Dreamers: Essays on Xicanisma and The Mixquiahuala Letters (Ana Castillo)
  • Signs Preceding the End of the World (Yuri Herrera)
  • “What is Your Race: the Census and Our Flawed Efforts to Classify America. Podcast, 2019 (Pruitt, Kenneth)
  • The Schematic State: Race, Transnationalism, and the Politics of the Census (Debra Thompson)
  • “American Mixed Race: the United States 2000 Census and Related Issues” (Mixing It Up: Multiracial Subjects-Naomi Zack)
  • Vida (TV Series, Season 1, episodes 1 & 2)

Juliana Villegas is associate director of the Interdisciplinary Honors Program and affiliate assistant professor in the department of English.  Her research and writing continue to focus on critical mixed race and border studies.  A creative writer at heart, she integrates academic research and writing with creative expression. Dr. Villegas regularly teaches abroad and also facilitates writing and digital storytelling workshops, most recently at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. Juliana  is an alum of Hedgebrook’s International Writers’ Retreat, Women Authoring Change, a Fulbright International Education Scholar, and holds her Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington (The Racial Shadow in American Literature).

 HONORS 396 A/HONORS 397 B: The History, Sociology, and Science of Weapons of Mass Destruction: How Nuclear Weapons Became an Existential Peril (I&S / NW)

SLN 23140 (View UW registration info »)

Richard Freeman (Physics)
Email: rrfree@uw.edu

Credits: 3

Note: This course is available for either NW or I&S credit. If you would like to earn NW credit, enroll in HONORS 396 A (23140). If you would like to earn I&S credit, enroll in HONORS 397 B (23758).

There are now generations of young (and youngish) people who have no memory of the once all-consuming societal terror of an Armageddon from a nuclear weapons exchange with the then Soviet Union. Yet the threat to our existence remains as real today as at its peak in the late twentieth century. Nuclear weapons, if used on the Korean Peninsula, the Indian subcontinent, or in the Western Pacific, in addition to creating nearly unimaginable death and human misery for millions, have a very real prospect of drawing the US into an all out attack/response scenario with Russia and/or China, escalating the disaster to quite literally billions of people.

This course will actually teach the basic physics of nuclear weapon design, (algebra level math), study the effects of nuclear weapons (drawn from US archives of our 30 year testing of nuclear weapons), view many of the legendary films of the 1970-80s (e.g. Fail Safe, Dr. Stangelove), debate the only events in which nuclear weapons were used in anger (Hiroshima/Nagasaki ), understand the promises and failings of nuclear energy, and through research and class discussion, show that the Cold War was all about nuclear weapons, and how the cold war begat our present day terrorism.

Grades will be assigned on class presentations, assigned essays, and a term paper.

HONORS 398 A: Calderwood Seminar in Public Writing: Shift Happens: Moving the Humanistic Conversation in the Classics from the Classroom to the Public Arena (VLPA)

SLN 16147 (View UW registration info »)

James Clauss (Classics)
Email: jjc@uw.edu

Credits: 3

Ancient Greek and Roman writers and thinkers observed first-hand the near impossibility of speaking to power. Their observations, demonstrating that nothing has changed except for technology, could help moderns see that, unless we learn from the past, we will continue to repeat mistakes but those which have even greater potential for death and destruction given technological advances. During the seminar, students will examine ancient texts—literary, historical and philosophical—with the goal of communicating the lessons learned in various forms of public writing with the following objectives:

  • To develop an ability to write with greater clarity, concision, engagement and effectiveness and to acquire editorial skills that will help you achieve this goal.
    • To reflect on what constitutes effective public writing and how such writing influences our perspectives.
    • To gain a greater insight into what the humanities, in particular Classical antiquity, have to contribute to contemporary discussions of the difficulty of preserving our humanity in the face of political and technological power structures.


HONORS 398 B: The Brain and the Healing Power of Poetry (VLPA)

SLN 23760 (View UW registration info »)

Arthur Ginsberg (Neurosurgeon, emeritus)
Office: Classics, Box 353110
Email: arthurginsberg@msn.com

Credits: 2, c/nc

This course will be conducted in a workshop setting. We will explore brain anatomy, physiology and MR imaging to understand creativity in the creation of poems about personal, socio-political and ecological grief. Students will create and assemble a book of their work including graphic cover art, that will be published by the end of the semester. A public reading by all students will constitute the final examination.