Honors Courses: You will complete at least 25% of your coursework at the honors level each semester.
History and Literature Major: This special, interdisciplinary major is only open to honors students.
Significant Off -Campus Experience: You may fulfill this requirement through a semester of study abroad or an internship.
Senior Honors Project: Depending on your major, you will complete an honors thesis, independent research, or other special project.
External Fellowships and Scholarships: Are you interested in earning a prestigious fellowship or scholarship for summer study, a post-graduate project, or funding for graduate school? Learn more on the Undergraduate Academic Advising Center website.
Seminar for Freshmen: All CAS freshmen are required to take this seminar. Special honors sections allow you to start building community and cohesion with your honors peers right away. Options have included:
SF H1132A – American Enlightenment
Associate Professor Graham Kelder of the Government Department
Enlightenment Ideas in America
This course will examine the enduring impact of Enlightenment ideas on American politics and American political philosophy.
This course will specifically examine 1) the impact of the Enlightenment on the political philosophy of natural rights; 2) the effect of Enlightenment ideas on the Founding Fathers; 3) the actual, enlightened, and often surprising views of the Founders on religion and the importance of freedom of religion in America; and 4) the secular framework of government established by the Constitution. We will read several primary documents written by the Founders about freedom of religion such as the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom and Washington's "Letters on Religion."
Humanism & Humanistic Politics in the Modern Era
We will then move on to explore 1) the demographics of the religiously unaffiliated in America and their impact on American politics; 2) the problem of belief without evidence, religious extremism, and the connection of radical religion to terrorism and violence; 3) the philosophy of humanism and the phenomenon of humanist communities and chaplaincies being created on college campuses; 4) the philosophy of naturalism and the philosophical uses of the epic of evolution and what has been called "The New Story of the Cosmos;" and 5) the philosophy of Humanistic Religious Naturalism, which is a synthesis of humanism and naturalism. The political impacts of all of the above will also be discussed.
What's your philosophy of life? Can a skeptic benefit from secular alternatives to traditional religious practices?
Students will work to develop a coherent "philosophy of life." The course will also examine whether skeptics can reap the benefits of religious or spiritual practices by engaging in secular alternatives to traditional religious/spiritual practices.
SF H1134A – The Meaning of Life
Associate Professor Evgenia Cherkasova of the Philosophy Department
What do we live for? Which beliefs, values, and experiences sustain meaningful, fulfilling existence? Are we authors of our destinies or powerless pawns in an unfathomable cosmic game? Does death render all our efforts superfluous? This award-winning course offers a cross-cultural, interdisciplinary exploration of these questions through philosophical and religious texts, art, fiction, autobiography, and psychological studies.
The course opens with the Old Testament’s book of Ecclesiastes, followed by three units: 1) A Life Worth Living: Humanity’s Ideals focuses on the ancient and modern visions of human flourishing; 2) Threats to Meaning: Humanity’s Discontents, discusses the disillusionment leading to the loss of meaning; and 3) Recovery of Meaning: Crises and Hopes, explores the post-crisis possibilities of self-discovery and growth. Please visit http://meaningoflife.cherkasova.org/.
SF H116A – Enlightened
Associate Professor Barbara Abrams of the World Languages & Cultural Studies Department
Historically, social critics, artists, poets and philosophers are often on the margins of society working from the position of observer. Although their methods and vocabulary seem to push opposing agendas, one thing that modern day philosophers, artists, economists, historians, political scientists and literary scholars all have in common is a focus on the period 1750-1830 as the pivotal turning point in the development of a "modern" mindset. Enlightened Insanity probes the background of our modern concept of marginality beginning with the French Enlightenment philosophes and continues to today’s commentaries on the modern French thought. Freshman Seminar is a beginner level course and will be conducted in English. Parallel readings in French will be made available to those who wish to read and/or compare the original texts. This class will count towards majors French or French Studies and Philosophy. It also counts as ECR credit.
H191A – A Film Adaptation
Assistant Professor Monika Raesch of the Communication & Journalism Department
"Why did they change the ending of the book? The novel is so much better!" We will explore the concept and industry of film adaptation. Students will read novels and watch respective film adaptations to explore how the written word is adapted to the screen; both fiction and non-fiction works will be considered. Also, field trips to past film locations in Boston will be taken to explore why specific settings were chosen for respective situations. Additionally, students will create their own written adaptations of source materials, putting into practice the concepts studied in class.
Students are welcome to contact the professor over the summer to discuss in which order novels will have to be read, if they want to get a head start on some of the reading. This is a reading-intensive course. Students need to procure copies of books that include page numbers for proper citation purposes. While digital copies can be used, only those that include page numbers are acceptable.