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Honors Program - Fall 2014

Honors 300S – “American Democracy’s Problems and Prospects.” 
4 semester hours
J. Robert Baker

Permission of Honors staff required.
Clearly, 1989 was a watershed year for democracy.  The Tiananmen Square uprising in Beijing, Nelson Mandela’s imminent release from prison in South Africa, and the fall of the Berlin Wall all signified that democratic impulses were beginning to triumph around the world.  The last two decades and a half have seen incredible progress toward democracy in many countries that were formerly governed by authoritarian regimes.  Sadly, however, many Americans have drawn the mistaken conclusion that the United States has won a great victory that was somehow predicated on the perfection of our own political system.  In the euphoria of the celebrations around the world, many Americans have failed to see how that in spite of all our progress toward democratic ideals in the United States, our system has still fallen short of achieving them.  In the midst of post-9/11 fallout, and the Great Recession, it’s even more important to take a critical look at the problems and prospects of our democratic system.
This course takes as its central premise that instead of simply watching these newly emerging democracies struggle to establish the framework for civil society and free governance, Americans should learn from them how to make our own system better because in recent years, political developments in our own country have presented major challenges to American democracy.  Challenges such as radical individualism, citizen participation, trivialized and polarized elections, the privileged position of business, and rising inequality suggest that our position as the “democratic model” for the world is at risk.  The principal course objective is to explore deeply these and other challenges in order to assess the prospects for American democracy. Writing Intensive.


Honors 300A/C – “Nanking Massacre: Film & Fiction”
4 semester hours
Howard Choy

Permission of Honors staff required.
This Honors seminar is designed to help students understand the recent regional tensions in East Asia that have impacted on the global politics, economy and culture. The theme of this course is the Nanking Massacre during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-45) of WWII. An in-depth study of film and fiction about the Nanking Massacre will enhance aesthetic experience by different approaches to appreciate and interpret the cinematic and literary arts. Writing Intensive.

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