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Want to learn more about upcoming changes to the Honors Program? We've put together a webpage to answer all your questions!

Visit honors.tulane.edu/honors-changes to learn more about all of the exciting new opportunities for Tulane students.

Courses Fall 2020





To enroll in the Honors Program, first-year students in the fall semester must take COLQ 1010, COLQ 1020, or if you are pursuing a program in the Freeman School of Business, one of the Honors sections of TIDB 1010 or 1020. Any of these courses will satisfy the First-Year Seminar requirement. In addition, the COLQ 1010 course will fulfill the Textual and Historical Perspectives requirement.

COLQ 1010, Honors Great Books Colloquium: “How Should One Live?”

Students and professors in this interdisciplinary seminar will read and discuss a series of important texts in order to develop insights into the values that have informed the construction of and participation in various human communities—political, social, and religious—in various periods of history. The texts chosen for this course are works that have shaped the conversations that frame current discussions of social ethics, political theory, and other human values. Reading lists vary, but have included works by Sappho, Homer, Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Cervantes, Dante, Montaigne, Shakespeare, John Milton, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Karl Marx, W.E.B Du Bois, Virginia Woolf, Albert Camus, James Baldwin, Hannah Arendt, Italo Calvino, John Coetzee, Cormac McCarthy, and Claudia Rankine.

COLQ 1010-01, John Howard, Associate Director, Murphy Institute TR 9:15-10:25

COLQ 1010-02, Elizabeth Gross, Lecturer, Honors Program TR 10:45-11:55

COLQ 1010-03, Molly Travis, Associate Professor, English MW 1:00-2:10

COLQ 1010-04, Mark Vail, Professor, Political Science TR 12:00-1:30

COLQ 1010-05, John Howard, Associate Director, Murphy Institute TR 3:40-4:50


COLQ 1020, Faculty-Led Interdisciplinary Seminars

COLQ 1020-01 M 10:45-11:55, It’s All the Rage: Movements, Media, and the Politics of Being Mad

Ebony Perro, Professor of Practice, English

Labeled the “age of rage” by activist-writer Soraya Chemaly, director Adam Bhala Lough, and a host of media outlets, the current cultural moment serves as a pronouncement of the outrage of citizens across of the globe. This rage marked by political turmoil, viral injustices, and concurrent movements (e.g., Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and March for Our Lives) not only illuminates building frustrations of marginalized groups but also creates a pathway for revising narratives surrounding anger. This class explores raced and gendered notions of rage in media, popular culture, and academic discourse while allowing students to see the ways that anger can be an impetus for (political) action. Students will be introduced to scholarship in Gender Studies, African American Studies, Affect Studies, and Cultural Studies that shape contemporary conversations about anger. The course inspires students to answer the questions: How can the ongoing movements (and the media coverage) aid us in understanding anger? How do race, class, gender, and other markers of identity impact the ways this emotion is perceived?


COLQ 1020-03 T 9:05-10:15, Art in Nature/Nature in Art

Donata Henry, Senior Professor of Practice, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Norah Lovell, Program Manager, Honors Program

The study of art and the study of nature may seem to be different disciplines, but they inform each other in myriad ways. Artists have always looked to nature for inspiration-- but how does art inform our understanding of the natural world? This colloquium delves into the intersection of art and nature through an interdisciplinary lens: What is nature from the perspective of art? What is the role of art in shaping the scientific understanding of nature? What is the role of environmental activism in art and science? These themes will be introduced through foundational and modern naturalist works from poetry to print-making, and activities such as walks in the park (as a naturalist and an artist), keeping a field journal, visits with artists, scientists and environmental advocates, and creating an exhibit of our own art and nature.


COLQ 1020-04 R 12:20-1:30, Impossible Mothers

Brian Horowitz, Professor, Jewish Studies

This seminar will examine the ways in which gender and women are presented by the authors of the Hebrew Bible, and in later Jewish or Israeli texts. Among the central questions in the seminar will be: Is there a general prejudice against women in the Jewish tradition? What roles are given to women; can we speak about equality between the genders? Are women portrayed as powerful or powerless, and what are the implications of our answer? How do modern women react to the misogyny of Biblical texts? In what ways do women “fight back”? Among our readings will be excerpts from the Bible and Babylonian Talmud, the diary of Glückel of Hameln, Paula Wengeroff’s autobiography, Sylvia Plath, the poetry of Rachel and Leah Goldberg, and contemporary authors such as Orly Castel-Bloom.


COLQ 1020-05 T 10:45-11:55, Causes and Consequences of Sea Level Rise

Cynthia Ebinger, Professor, Earth and Environmental Science

Earth’s surface is dynamic, with the processes of plate tectonics interacting with a atmospheres and oceans. Climate changes in response to the creation and removal of mountain belts and rifts, volcanic eruptions, orbital forcings, and human activity, result in a feedback system that enhances or diminishes global temperature. As global temperatures rise, polar ice sheets melt, and the meltwater causes sea level rise at a global scale. Yet, the majority of humans live or work along Earth’s coastlines, which respond to sea level rise in a variety of ways. Sea level rise, therefore, poses tremendous financial risk to coastal communities, and is already provoking resettlements and expensive mitigation. This Colloquium offers students the opportunity to consider the response of Louisiana’s coast within a global context, and to compare and contrast the coastal response in this region with tropical and arctic examples. We focus on a review of the Earth-ocean-atmosphere system, data constraining sea level rise, evidence for the regional variations in rates of sea level rise, economic, societal, and strategic implications of land-loss and increasing severity of storms, and discuss geo-engineering projects for Louisiana and other areas worldwide.


COLQ 1020-06 R 10:45-11:55, Latin Americans in American Films                  

Antonio Gómez, Associate Professor, Spanish and Portuguese

For over a hundred years, cinema has played a key role in shaping social imaginaries and in creating types and stereotypes. Different national cinemas have their own lists of typical characters that speak eloquently of the economic, political, and cultural structures of their societies. Mainstream American cinema arguably exceeds the constraints of a national cinema, and has become the conscience of the global subject, but it still formulates ideas and builds subjectivities that are deeply ingrained in the American imagination. One of those is “Latin America,” and especially, “Latin Americans.” In this course, we will explore, analyze, and question the constructions devised by mainstream Hollywood films around Latin America and its characters. From studio recreations of South American cities in classic films (Gilda, Charles Vidor, 1946) or the US-Mexico border (Touch of Evil, Orson Welles, 1958) to solemn reflections on colonial history (The Mission, Roland Joffé, 1986) to enchanted versions of Mexican traditions (Coco, Disney-Pixar, 2017), American cinema has consistently imagined Latin America. Discussing a dozen of films and some key critical readings, students will identify, describe, and critique this process and reflect on its connections to current debates in the US. Questions that will guide our reflection include, among others: What is at stake in representing Latin America for an American audience? What role does exoticism play in this representation? What are the tools and strategies used in the construction of these images? Are they to be judged as an expression of the political unconscious of the US? What was and is the responsibility of Latin American filmmakers working in Hollywood in this process?


COLQ 1020-07 T 12:20-1:30, Fake News: Information, Knowledge, and Truth

Justin Wolfe, Associate Professor, History

While propaganda and fake news have an ancient lineage, they have taken on a political intensity in years, coinciding with these crucial trends: 1) the viral spread of information via social media; 2) technological advances that permit increasingly realistic fakes in both video and audio; and 3) an increasing tribalization of epistemology, where the relatively fixed ground of “rationality and “fact” have become contested terrain. What is happening and why? What, if anything, can we do about it? Answering these questions cannot be done without a deeper dive into how we know what we know and how we come to have the critical tools to change our own minds. This colloquium explores all of these questions and asks students, by the end of the semester, to articulate their own claims to knowledge and belief.


COLQ 1020-08 R 12:20-1:30, Art and Culture: Aesthetics and Criticism                 

Isa Murdock-Hinrichs, Professor of Practice, English

This course will focus on the role of art and how it relates to questions of beauty, the possibility of objective evaluation of a work of art, and the relationship between art and reality, creativity and reason, art and life, and how societal values affect what might be considered art. More specifically, we will investigate what art is and its role in human life. Some of the questions the class will consider are whether there might be a distinctive quality or function which all works of art possess and which makes them art; whether art has a distinctive kind of meaning and what determines an artwork’s meaning? Can it be expressed in other terms? Why do we care about an artwork’s originality and authenticity? How should, in philosophical terms, art be evaluated? Does art have the potential of influencing ethics and morals? In asking these questions, it is important to test those theories against actual works of art. I’ll frequently bring (reproductions of) artworks to class and I may assign a trip to the Museum.


COLQ 1020-09 T 2:10-3:20, Dismantling Rape Culture

Sally Kenney, Professor, Political Science and Executive Director, Newcomb Institute

Laura Wolford, Assistant Director, Newcomb Institute

#MeToo, the Kavanaugh hearings, and many other incidents have awakened our society to the ubiquity of sexual violence, but we have only begun work to dismantle a culture that eroticizes, normalizes, excuses, and enables gender-based violence. Students will learn about the scope, causes, and consequences of rape culture, and develop evidence-based strategies for peer education, prevention, and intervention. In this course we will emphasize activism, moving beyond just describing the problem to discussions of how we can do something about it. We will take an interdisciplinary approach, and introduce how different disciplines, such as history, literature, film, sociology, and criminology have illuminated this issue and provide a map for further exploration. Course readings will include works from Kate Harding, Roxane Gay, Caroline Heldman, Danielle McGuire, Catherine Jacquet, Ray Douglas and others, and films such as The Hunting Ground and The Rape of Recy Taylor.


COLQ 1020-10 R 2:10-3:20, What is Nature, What is Natural, and What Are We Supposed to Do With It?                                                                                        

Elizabeth Gross, Colloquium Coordinator, Honors Program

In this course we will discuss a variety of texts, ancient to contemporary, that inform our understanding of the natural world and how we relate to it. We will read a mix of philosophy, literature, and environmental studies including Heraclitus, Aristotle, Rousseau, Darwin, Thoreau, Mary Shelley, David Harvey, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Sarah K. Broom, examining how our understanding of nature changes over time and across different cultures. To what extent do we see "natural" as a moral value? Can studying nature help us understand ourselves? Do we find “nature” in  solitude  or  with  others? What are our human responsibilities to the natural world? How do our beliefs about nature inform our action/inaction in an age of environmental catastrophe?

COLQ 1020-11 T 3:45-4:55, Methods of Inquiry: How We Learn About the Past

Scott Grayson, Professor, Chemistry

Susann Lusnia, Associate Professor, Classical Studies

John Verano, Professor, Anthropology

In our contemporary world, information is seemingly everywhere. However, when we turn our lens on the past, the information available is often fragmentary and difficult to understand. In this course we’ll examine the tools and methods used in lab sciences, social sciences, and humanities to investigate our human past. Radiocarbon dating, the analysis of pigments and dyes, and extraction of DNA provide useful data points. Bio-archaeology, the study of human skeletons and mummies, plants, or other biological remains, adds another dimension to our understanding of human life and activities. The study of cultural remains –architecture, art, coins, inscriptions, and other textual sources –allows us to explore aspects of social, political, and intellectual developments. Combing these approaches, this course will teach students different research methods, provide them with models of interdisciplinary collaboration, and encourage them to critique the way that information about antiquity is presented.


COLQ 1020-12 R 3:35-4:45, Theorizing Voices                                                        

Daniel Sharp, Associate Professor, Music

By examining readings spanning sound studies, linguistics, cultural theory, musicology and film studies, we will explore the new interdisciplinary terrain of studies in vocality. We will hear and think about the voice both as a sound object and as a carrier of meaning. Topics will include the sonorities and semantics of the voices of villains and the voices of children. We will consider ventriloquism, the voiceover, ghostly or possessed voices, and other kinds of vocal embodiment and disembodiment. We will discuss the uncanny sounds of robot voices, such as Siri, Alexa, HAL, and Samantha from the movie Her. As a related concern to robot voices, we will also consider the zoopolitics of the voice—the question of how voices contribute to understandings of the boundary between human and non-human. The musicality of the spoken voice, and the elements of speech within song will constitute another area of inquiry. We will think about pronunciation, accents and shibboleths—words whose pronunciation separate insiders and outsiders. Work by Amanda Weidman, Roland Barthes, Laurie Stras, Michel Chion and many others will spark our discussions, as well as close listening to audio and video clips.


COLQ 1020-14 F 9:40-10:50, Creativity                                                               

Jenny Mercein, Assistant Professor, Theatre and Dance

Ryder Thornton, Professor of Practice, Theatre and Dance                               

This seminar focuses on the creative process as a psychological tool that serves both artists and non-artists. Engagement with the work of artists in exhibition and performance will heighten students’ appreciation and comprehension of creativity. Texts will cover theories of creativity and its relation to positive psychology. Beginning with Csikszentmihaly’s concept of “flow,” we will examine intrinsic motivation and the defining characteristics of the creative state. How does creativity happen? What distinguishes it from novelty? Why does it bring us joy? We will consider Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences and how creativity is connected to learning aptitudes. We will also investigate the psychological concept of happiness and its potential relationship with the creative process. The seminar will consist of lectures, exercises and first hand experience with artists and non-artists discussing their creative process. Field trips include attending concerts, theatre, museums, and dance performances. For the final project, students will interview a creative individual who best exemplifies the concepts introduced in the course.


COLQ 1020-15 M 3:15-4:25, Why Do We Run? Running and the Ascetic Imagination

Tom Luongo, Associate Professor, History

A seminar for students who like to run and like to think about running and about life. The practice of distance running encourages thinking about who we are as embodied selves. Running can appeal to an ascetic impulse, a desire to tame the body and the body’s desires, and to surmount them or replace them with other desires—as witness runners’ language of achieving “flow” or conquering the “wall”. In this course we will read books about running and about asceticism to explore the ways in which running engages the ascetic imagination. And we will run: we will meet periodically to run distances of two or more miles, depending on the abilities and goals of the students. We will also talk about running as a practice, including introduction to local routes, the local running community, etc. This colloquium is open to runners of any level of experience or ability. Readings will include some classic works of running literature, for example, Christopher McDougal, Born to Run; John L. Parker, Once a Runner; and Hiraki Murakami, What Do I Talk About When I Talk About Running. We will read these alongside some classic texts of the ascetic tradition, including St. Augustine’s Confessions.


COLQ 1020-16 W 3:10-4:20, The Face of the Other

Alexandra Reuber, Professor of Practice, French and Italian

Taking many different shapes and forms, the concept of the Other inherently points towards difference and, as a result, often highlights a sense of non-belonging. As such, it expresses opposition to what is known, familiar, and accepted. Moreover, the existence of the Other questions everything through an often-silent enunciation of a series of questions: Who am I? Who are you? And, who am I in relation to you? Throughout the semester, this course addresses, discusses, and attempts to find answers to these questions via the study of a variety of inter-cultural texts and films articulating the phenomenon of selfhood and otherness from a philosophical, psychological, sexual, geographical, socio-economical, and racial point of view.


COLQ 1020-17 M 3:10-4:20, Welcome to the Freak Show: Extraordinary Bodies and the Politics of Staring

Krystal Cleary, Professor of Practice, Communication

Conjoined twins. Bearded ladies. People big and small. Freak shows exhibited human “freaks” for entertainment and profit at circuses, dime museums, and boardwalks all across America. Despite the freak show’s mid-20th century wane in popularity, the history of the extraordinary body as a site of public spectacle continues to shape contemporary media representations of race, gender, and disability. From reality television to self-proclaimed “fame monster” Lady Gaga, contemporary “freaks” continue to at once attract and repel viewers. At the crossroads of history, intersectional feminist studies, disability studies, and media studies, this interdisciplinary seminar invites students to study the American freak show and explore its legacy in our modern-day cultural landscape. We will consider how and why people with extraordinary bodies have been regarded as public spectacles; carefully analyze the intersection of disability, gender, and race; and reflect upon how we are implicated in the politics of staring. To do so, students will engage with academic scholarship, memoir, pop culture texts, and creative assignments. Moreover, seminar sessions will integrate skill-building activities that prepare students to be academically successful and active participants in Tulane’s vibrant intellectual community (note taking, annotation, media literacy, civil debate, public speaking, etc.).


COLQ 1020-18 M 3:15-4:25, Genetics and Social Issues

Robert Dotson, Senior Professor of Practice, Cell and Molecular Biology

Liv Newman, Associate Director, Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching

This interdisciplinary course will examine a variety of social domains such as race, gender, and sexual orientation through the lens sociology and biology, specifically genetics. The utilization of science to justify oppression and of science to undo oppression is widespread. Ideas about race and athleticism, race and intelligence, and whether gender identity and sexual orientation are the result of nature or nurture will be considered during this course. Resources will be varied, including sociology and genetics research literature and theory texts, cultural products such as films and a novel, and experiential trips in and around New Orleans.


COLQ 1020-19 W 3:10-4:20, Cynicism is SO 20th Century

Amy Chaffee, Assistant Professor, Theatre and Dance

This course is a project-based exploration of the philosophical themes of Self-Reliance, reason, and real life scenarios, the class will discuss and explore and create projects demonstrating ways of making basic human aggression into a creative force. Why is cynicism so seductive? What makes us tune out and feel disempowered? Can some dead philosophers and a gradual, attenuated “small bites” approach to project development give us more access to our aggressive energy to create and outwit the sense that it’s all pointless? Readings include texts by Ralph Waldo Emerson, David Hume, and Bertrand Russell, and students will develop projects that explore these ideas in the context of their own experiences.


COLQ 1020-20 T 12:20-1:30, Modernism

Brittany Kennedy, Senior Professor of Practice, Spanish and Portuguese

This course will explore, specifically, the modernist movement that dominated modes of thinking throughout European and U.S. culture from the late nineteenth century at least through World War II (and some would say, to this day). We will trace the roots and influences of modernism as we seek to define and understand how such ideas came to stretch across nationalities, genres, and forms of artistic production. While this course is not a survey course, and therefore will not attempt to be comprehensive, we will explore the fundamental tenants of modernism in such a manner that allows such an understanding to be applied to a broader context—looking at novels, films, poems, painted art, architecture, fashion, culinary arts, and (for a brief moment) even fonts. How did artists and philosophers identify and react to what they saw as a crisis of modernity?  How do such perceptions of a crisis affect our thinking today, especially in a world of global terrorism and the Internet?  Is modernism dead, and how is such a question relevant?


COLQ 1020-21 R 12:30-1:40, Sex, Gender, and the Brain

Katelyn Black, Professor of Practice, Neuroscience

How do we define sex? How do we define gender? How might these definitions guide public policy? Using an inclusive approach, we will learn the basics of sexual development and differentiation, including prenatal, adolescent, and beyond. We will also explore current psychological and neuroscience research regarding gender/sex differences in humans and animals. Using Ted Talks, podcasts, case studies written by Tulane students, and accessible pop science books, we will approach questions including, “Could this research be used to support sexism?” and “Can we use this research to demonstrate that intrinsic neuroanatomical differences can lead to the same behavioral output?”


COLQ 1020-22 R 2:05-3:15, Donald Trump’s America                                               

Brian Brox, Associate Professor, Political Science

This colloquium will introduce students to the state of American politics and society during the presidency of Donald Trump. It is not designed to be solely a look at his election in 2016 and his administration; instead, it is a multidisciplinary exploration of the factors that lead to his election and the resulting “state of the union.” Through readings  (both scholarly and journalistic) and discussion of current events, we will explore the history of our current state of public opinion, issues regarding polarization, race relations, and gender dynamics, and the prospects for forming a “united” country in the midst of a divisive era.


COLQ 1020-23 R 9:10-10:20, The Rhetoric of Criminal Justice Reform

Patricia Burns, Professor of Practice, English

This course will explore the rhetoric of criminal justice reform in America in order to trace a line from the past to the present. Beginning with readings related to lynching, the course will quickly move into the 1970’s and into the present moment. We will read works by Ida B. Wells and other post Civil War writers; speeches and laws related to the Nixon, Clinton, and George W. Bush criminal justice initiatives; and moments and initiatives from the Obama and Trump eras, looking not only at federal policy and rhetoric but also protest movements, religious perspectives, and state and local initiatives with a focus on Louisiana and New Orleans. Our readings and approaches will be interdisciplinary, looking at literary, journalistic, sociological, policy, and legal sources to name a few. Students will gain an understanding of the historical trends in social justice form as well as how different genres and disciplines approach the topic. Students would approach the readings and write papers the based on rhetorical analysis, policy, and academic research. Note: This course has a public service requirement, so students should also enroll in COLQ 1890.


COLQ 1020-24, T 9:10-10:20, Are We Ourselves and Do We Really Know?

Tim McLean, Senior Professor of Practice, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

In the age of the microbiome, what does it mean to be an “individual”? Or is the concept of individualism outdated? It is now recognized that symbiotic associations (in all of its guises, i.e. mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism) are way more prevalent than previously thought. In this seminar we will explore what it means to be “human” from a biological perspective and examine the various roles that microbes play in shaping our physical, mental, and psychological selves. In the second half of the semester, we will discuss how our fear/revulsion of pathogens and contagion may have shaped (and may still be shaping) cultural differences, religious beliefs, and ideologies.



The following are Honors courses for students planning to major in Business.


TIDB 1010 introduces students to the business world by critically examining the art of management. The course focuses on the question: why do people work together and how? The objective of TIDB 1010 is to introduce students to basic business concepts and to develop a plan for their field of study.

TIDB 1010 – 03, T 10:50 – 12:00

TIDB 1010 – 07, H 10:50 – 12:00

TIDB 1010 – 10, H 5:20 – 6:30

TIDB 1010 – 15, H 10:55 – 12:05


In Henry VI, Shakespeare wrote, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all lawyers,”; however, all the lawyers have avoided being killed since that line was written. Why? From the largest corporate mergers to simple adoptions, and from public policy to enactment of criminal laws, the need for lawyers is increasing because the law is a central part of our daily lives and the bedrock of a free society. Although the press might occasionally indicate otherwise, lawyers are members of a profession and they get respect, but is being a lawyer really like the popular portrayals on television shows such as Law and Order or in a John Grisham novel? This class will help you explore how one becomes a lawyer and what it is like to be a lawyer. The Honors section is as follows:

TIDB 1020 – 03, T 12:25 – 1:35




COLQ 2010: The Quest for Answers: Research Workshop

Throughout this course, students will have an opportunity to examine an interest in depth, develop a foundation of knowledge in that area, and build confidence in that area of interest. Students will also explore the relationship between a person and the work in which the person engages. They will explore this relationship of identity and work in their own lives, in the lives of alumni who have pursued research and creative work as undergraduates, and in the lives of faculty. Students will also examine ways to effectively communicate and present their research and potential research questions to various audiences (within and outside of the academic community); and demonstrate the importance of research for policy and practice. While the workshop can provide space to explore preliminary ideas for the honors thesis, it is also a space for open exploration.

COLQ 2010-01 T 3:35- 4:45

COLQ 2010-02 R 3:45-4:55

COLQ 2010-03 R 3:40-4:50