Honors 2103 – Fall/2017
3 Credits

This course meets Humanities Exploration Gen Ed (HF) requirement and Intellectual Traditions Honors requirement.

Instructor – Dr. Brian Kubarycz
Email –
Phone – 801-581-7383
Office Location and Hours – HON CTR, MW 12PM – 1PM

Section 5: MHC 1206A, TTh 10:45AM – 12:05PM
Section 6: HON CTR 150, MW 1:25PM – 2:45PM

Course Overview

This class studies the modern period in which we live, as influenced by the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, and/or other movements and periods. Readings are drawn from canonical writings in science, literature, history, and philosophy, among other genres. The course typically focuses on issues such as the development of modern science and technology, the tension between science and religion, the modern state and totalitarianism, the impact of evolutionary theory and developments in psychology on conceptions of the person, and so forth, subject to the individual instructor’s discretion. Readings will include Galileo, Descartes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, but will vary somewhat from one section to another.

Course Objectives

In this course, students will be prepared to: 1) read critically and discriminatingly 2) think creatively 3) write clearly and purposively 4) speak articulately 5) deliberate collaboratively

Learning Outcomes

• Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World through: study in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, histories, languages, and the arts

• Intellectual and Practical Skills, including: 1) inquiry and analysis, 2) critical and creative thinking, 3) written and oral communication, 4) teamwork and problem solving

• Personal and Social Responsibility, including: 1) civic knowledge and engagement—local and global, 2) intercultural knowledge and competence, 3) ethical reasoning and action, 4) foundations and skills for lifelong learning

Required Texts

All readings will be provided via the WordPress website in the form of PDF files which are fully compliant with the Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act. I will distribute them via the WordPress website. Feel free to print these documents or read them on a personal electronic device.

Teaching and Learning Methods:

The purpose of this Honors class is to make you a critical and sensitive reader, to break down your prejudices and open your mind and imagination – yes, because it will help you in the future; but, even more importantly, because it is worth doing now, simply for its own sake. I don’t believe in eternal verities, and so we won’t read so-called Great Books as unimpeachable vessels of timeless wisdom, we’ll nevertheless still read a broad array of deeply fascinating and highly influential landmark texts. I hope you will enjoy them.

University courses demand that both teachers and students share the responsibility of working toward insight and understanding. This course will be no exception. I will explain assigned readings as clearly as possible. You, in turn, must complete the assignments, so that my explanations can find a ground in actual written words, as well your thoughtful comments and questions. Also, you must also participate verbally in class discussions. I will depend upon you to provide much of the course content, by asking clear questions and making helpful comments. I do not intend to convey mere information you can simply memorize and repeat on a quiz. Insights into texts and objects will come into being as we intelligently and sensitively discuss them. You will remember these insights not because they are definitive, but rather because you participated in their creation and witnessed the moment of their emergence, all of which is intimately connected with the full theory of Bildungs, or linguistic development and intellectual growth. To truly learn and successfully complete this class, you must participate actively and alertly in class discussions. Simply sitting quietly, smiling and allowing others to do all the talking is not sufficient to earn an A.


1) Review of Jim Svendsen Lecture (Sept. 8, CTIHB 109, 12PM – 1PM): 20%
2) Personal Class Preparation and Participation (Spoken and Written): 20%
3) Group Midterm Project: 20%
4) Final Paper: 40%

Grading Rubric:

Thesis: Does your argument take up a clear position and is that position controversial? Does it address current events or positions? Does it show a creative or critical strategy for solving familiar problems, or does it effectively point out problems many people don’t recognize? In a word, is your argument worth making?

Claims and Warrants: Were your claims clear and distinct from one another, and did they actually develop your thesis? Did your claims reflect a clear understanding of the theoretical text you used to support your ideas?
Did your warrants demonstrate a clear use of logical inference to support your claims?

Evidence: Did you draw resourcefully and creatively from a variety of materials – read, observed, overheard, speculated or hypothesized – to support your claims? Or did you just repeat the same assertion again and again? Did the evidence you enlisted actually corroborate your claims, or is the relationship between your claims and evidence ambiguous or wholly arbitrary?

Organization: Did you use the expository form sensibly and flexibly as a means to help you generate and arrange your ideas for clarity of communication? Or, did you allow the expository form to become a straight jacket which hindered your thought and cramped your style, or did you jettison formality altogether and produce a loose and baggy argument?

Expression: Did you write in simple and clear sentences which conveyed your point accurately and persuasively, or did your language instead put up a barrier between yourself and your reader? Was your voice mature, relaxed and natural, or was it excessively formal and pompous or excessively flippant and vulgar? Was your use of vocabulary and phrasing precise or sloppy?

Grade Definitions:

A Outstanding achievement. Student performance demonstrates full command of the course materials and evinces a high level of originality and/or creativity that far surpasses course expectations. A- Excellent achievement. Student performance demonstrates thorough knowledge of the course materials and exceeds course expectations by completing all requirements in a superior manner. 

B+ Very good work. Student performance demonstrates above-average comprehension of the course materials and exceeds course expectations on all tasks as defined in the course syllabus.

B Good work. Student performance meets designated course expectations and demonstrates understanding of the course materials at an acceptable level.

B- Marginal work. Student performance demonstrates incomplete understanding of course materials.

C Unsatisfactory work. Student performance demonstrates incomplete and inadequate understanding of course materials. 

D Unacceptable work. 

F Failing.


Classes Begin: Monday, August 21
Labor Day: Monday, September 4
Fall Break: Sunday – Sunday, October 8 – 15
Thanksgiving Break: Thursday – Sunday, November 23 – 26
Classes End: Thursday, December 7

Tentative Reading Schedule (subject to revision according to contingencies):

Week of August 21
Italo Calvino – “The Distance of The Moon”

Week of August 28
Marcel Mauss – “A General Theory of Magic”
Henry Petroski – “Success Through Failure”

Week of September 4
Daniel Boorstin – “The Invisible World”
Mario Biaggioli – “Discoveries and Etiquette”
Galileo Galilei – “The Starry Messenger,” “Letter to The Grand Duchess Christina”

Week of September 11
Rene Descartes – “Optics,” “Discourse on Method”
Peter Dear – “A Mechanical Microcosmos”

Week of September 18
Baruch Spinoza – “Theological-Political Treatise,” “Ethics”
Steven Shapin & Simon Schaffer – “Leviathan and The Air-Pump”
John Locke – “Essay Concerning Human Understanding,” “Thoughts on Education”

Week of September 25
Gianbattista Vico – “On The Study Methods of Our Times”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau – “Emile; or, On Education”
Denis Diderot – “Letter on The Blind,” “Supplement to The Voyage,” “D’Alembert’s Dream”

Week of October 2
Timon Screech – “The Meaning of Perspective in Edo Popular Culture”
Matsuo Basho – “Narrow Road To The Deep North”

Week of October 16
Jonathan Simon – “Theater of Anatomy”
Mary Woolstonecraft – “Vindication of The Rights of Women”

Week of October 23
Immanuel Kant – “What is Enlightenment?” “Critique of The Power of Judgment”

Week of October 30
Elinor S. Shaffer – “Romantic Philosophy and The Organization of The Disciplines”
Wilhelm von Humboldt – “Theory of Bildung”
F.W.J. Schelling – “The Scientific and Moral Function of Universities”

Week of November 6
Timothy Lenoir – “Vital Materialism”
Robert J. Richards – “The Romantic Conception of Life”

Week of November 13
G.W.F Hegel – “The Phenomenology of Spirit”
Carl von Clausewitz – “On War”

Week of November 20
Timothy Lenoir & Cheri Ross – “The Naturalized History Museum”
Benedict Anderson – “The Origins of National Consciousness”
Simon Schaffer “Scientific Discoveries and The End of Natural Philosophy”

Week of November 27
Ralph Waldo Emerson – “Divinity School Address,” “The American Scholar”
Frederick Douglass – “Narrative”


• Changes to Syllabus: I retain the right to make changes to the course syllabus, course schedule, assignments, due dates and other course requirements. Students will be notified promptly of any changes.

• Attendance and Punctuality: As this is college and not high school, I do not intend to monitor student behavior. Nevertheless, if you will be absent or late to class, please notify me – in advance, if at all possible.

• Food and Drink: I have no issue with students eating or drinking in class. Just don’t create a disturbance.

• Cell Phones and Computers: Students are welcome to use computers in class, but only for course-related purposes. Texting, messaging, and (unapproved) web surfing are strictly prohibited and will result in dismissal from the

• Submitting Assignments: Turn in all written work, in either doc or PDF format, before the stipulated cutoff time. No late work will be accepted without prior approval.

• Prohibition on Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct: “Plagiarism” means the intentional unacknowledged use or incorporation of any other person’s work in, or as a basis for, one’s own work offered for academic consideration or credit for public presentation. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, representing as one’s own without attribution, any individual’s words, phrasing, ideas, sequence of ideas, information or anyother mode or content of expression (Student Code, p. 3 at

• Plagiarism, using others’ work without proper citation, is a serious offense. Plagiarism cases will be reported to the relevant authorities and may result in severe consequences; including, but not limited to, taking a grade reduction, receiving a failing grade for the course, suspension or dismissal from the program. You need to refer to any source even if it is an internet source. In accordance with University policy (as articulated in the Student Code), academic misconduct—including creating, fabrication of information and plagiarism—is not acceptable. A student found engaging in this behavior may receive a failing grade. If at any time you are unsure whether your actions constitute academic misconduct, please see me in order to clarify the matter. See the following link for more information:

• Accomodation Policy: Some of the writings, lectures, films, or presentations in university courses such as this may at times include material that some students will find offensive or at odds with their personal beliefs. In light of this, the university has established an Academic Accommodation Policy. The Policy is grounded in University community held values of academic freedom and integrity as well as respect for diversity and individually held beliefs. The Policy creates a structure for responding to accommodation requests grounded in these values. Please review the syllabus carefully to see if the course is one that you are committed to taking. If you have a question or concern, please discuss it with me at your earliest convenience. For specific information regarding the university’s Academic Accommodations Policy, please see this website:
Wellness Statement: Personal concerns such as stress, anxiety, relationship difficulties, depression, cross-cultural differences, etc., can interfere with a student’s ability to succeed and thrive at the University of Utah. For helpful resources contact the Center for Student Wellness –; 801-581-7776.

• Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Statement: The University of Utah seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services and activities for people with disabilities. If you will need accommodations in the class, reasonable prior notice needs to be given to the Center for Disability Services, 162 Olpin Union Building, 581-5020 (V/TDD). CDS will work with you and the instructor to make arrangements for accommodations. All information in this course can be made available in alternative format with prior notification to the
Center for Disability Services.

• Sexual Assault and Harassment: Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender (which includes sexual orientation and gender identity/expression) is a Civil Rights offense subject to the same kinds of accountability and the same kinds of support applied to offenses against other protected categories such as race, national origin, color, religion, age, status as a person with a disability, veteran’s status or genetic information. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you are encouraged to report it to the Title IX Coordinator in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, 135 Park Building, 801‐581-8365, or the Office of the Dean of Students, 270 Union Building, 801-581-7066. For support and confidential consultation, contact the Center for Student Wellness, 426 SSB, 801‐581-7776.
To report to the police, contact the Department of Public Safety, 801-585-2677 (COPS).

• Veterans Center: If you are a student veteran, I want you to know that the U of Utah has a Veterans Support Center on campus. They are located in Room 161 in the Olpin Union Building. Hours: M-F 8-5pm. Please visit their website for more information about what support they offer, a list of ongoing events and links to outside resources: Please also let me know if you need any additional support in
this class for any reason.

• LGBT Resource Center: If you are a member of the LGBTQ community, I want you to know that my classroom is a safe zone*. Additionally, please know that the U of Utah has an LGBT Resource Center on campus. They are located in Room 409 in the Oplin Union Building. Hours: M-F 8-5pm. You can visit their website to find more information about the support they can offer, a list of events through the center and links to additional resources: Please also let me know if there is any additional support you need in this

• Learners of English as an Additional/Second Language: If you are an English language learner, please be aware of several resources on campus that will support you with your language development and writing. These resources include: the Department of Linguistics ESL Program (; the Writing Center (; the Writing Program (; the English Language Institute ( Please let me know if there is any additional
support you would like to discuss for this class.


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