IC Honors Seminar Spotlight: Spiritual Journeys

Philosophy and Religion professor Rachel Wagner is teaching a seminar this semester on Spiritual Journeys! Professor Wagner has included some of the books you’ll be reading as well, so learn more below.

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 12.12.26 PMDescribe your seminar in one sentence. This course is an introduction to inter-religious engagement, using the medium of autobiographical travel narratives, novels, and films as a way into the discussion.

Describe your classroom style in one sentence. “I utilize a mode of discussion blended with impromptu lecture, made active by student participation and fired by open-ended questioning.”

What is one thing you hope students will take away from your seminar? “I hope students will leave this seminar deeply appreciative of the varieties of religious expression, more curious about religious difference, and confident in engaging in open-ended deep discussions about religious values and beliefs with others, whether they share the convictions of their conversation partners or not.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 12.07.44 PMWhat is one piece of advice you would give to students? “This question is too hard to answer without knowing the students personally! Advice (at its best) is a product of conversation, wherein one person with more experience in a thing can guide those with less experience. So honestly, depending on the conversation, it’s just as possible that students could give *me* advice!”

Want to know more?

“Students interested in the course should know that there is a lot of reading, but that it is all very interesting and story-based. There are also a few films, and we are likely going to be beta-testing a card game on inter-religious engagement that was constructed by game and religion researchers at RIT. Students may also be interested to know that this course is not “just” for believers. Indeed, atheists, agnostics, and generally curious folks are more than welcome. One of the books we read is about how atheism figures into the conversation about inter-religious interaction. No past experience in religious studies is required.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 12.11.56 PMCheck out the full list of seminars here and the whole list of spotlights here.

IC Honors Seminar Spotlight: Opera Immersion, Le Nozze di Fiagro

Timothy Johnson and Erik Angerhofer are collaborating on this year’s opera immersion seminar, which concludes with a trip to the Met in NYC to see Le Nozze di Fiagro. Learn more below!



Describe your seminar in one sentence. Using Le nozze di Figaro (“The Marriage of Figaro”) as a vehicle for exploration, this seminar will provide students with an opportunity to interact and engage with the many forms and facets of art synthesized in opera—culminating with a live performance at the legendary Metropolitan Opera.

Describe your classroom style in one sentence. We use an interactive teaching style emphasizing direct student engagement.

What is one thing you hope students will take away from your seminar? By engaging students’ senses through direct contact with music, drama, scenery, lighting, costumes, makeup, and many other aspects of opera production, we hope students will consider further exploration of opera.

What is one piece of advice you would give to students? At some point in history, opera singers were the “rock stars” of their time. Why is that, and how can it still be relevant today?

Read more:



Check out the full list of seminars here and the whole list of spotlights here.

IC Honors Seminar Spotlight: Creativity & Madness

Professor Mary Beth O’Connor is bringing back her popular seminar this semester. Check out more about it below!

iStock_000017748904Small90_610_300_s_c1_center_centerDescribe your seminar in one sentence. “Creativity & Madness is an investigation into the relationship—or lack thereof—between various kinds of “mental illness” and creativity.”

Describe your classroom style in one sentence. “Discussion-based with an emphasis on students identifying and exploring interests of their own in this field: a particular artist, musician, writer, scientist who has been associated with “madness” or an issue in the field such as whether there is a relationship between bipolar disorder and creativity, whether people can create when they’re depressed, how “madness” has been portrayed in literature and film, what the role of the unconscious in creativity is, etc.”

What is one thing you hope students will take away from your seminar? “I hope that students will take away the skill to undertake research in an area of their own choosing and come to understand the complexities involved in the issues in the field of creativity and madness studies.”

What is one piece of advice you would give to students? “Question your assumptions.”

More to know: “Each of us also takes on a creativity project, and we share these projects at the end of the semester. I encourage students (and myself) to try something new, something they feel they’re not good at, etc. and see what happens: painting, writing poems, songwriting, sculpture, making pottery, drawing, filmmaking, even game-creation!”

Check out the full list of seminars here and the whole list of spotlights here.

IC Honors Photos & Videos: First-Year Trip to the Nature Center!

Last weekend, the Honors program took its annual trip with first-year students to the Cayuga Nature Center, and we got some great shots and videos of the skits that each seminar performed! Check out the photo slideshow from Professor David Flanagan and the skits from Exploratory first-year Megan Holman!

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Look Away, Look Homeward Skit: Reading and Performing Fiction of the American South skit

Wonder Women and Lethal Girls: Feminism in Fantasy and Science Fiction skit

Why Are We Here? Skit 1

Why Are We Here? Skit 2

Globalization, The Environment & You skit

Power and Justice in Classical Athens skit (2 parts)

And, of course, the Why Are We Here class presenting a pumpkin to Tom Pfaff himself!

IC Honors Student Spotlight: Sari Stifelman

Meet senior Sari Stifelman, a Theatre Studies major with a minor in Deaf Studies from Plainview, NY. Learn more about Sari below!


Favorite part about IC: “The people. Throughout my time at IC, I have been able to collaborate with my peers and meet people from all walks of life. Additionally, the faculty have been such pillars of support and inspiration.”

Favorite Honors seminar you’ve taken and why: “It’s definitely a tie. First, I would have to say Staging History with Claire Gleitman. It was the first honors seminar that I have been able to combine my honors minor with my Theatre Studies major. It provided me to look at plays through a different lens than my major classes. However, I am also so in love with the honors seminar I took in London with Bill Sheasgreen, the director of the ICLC called City as Text. We spent every Monday going on walks throughout the city, using the city of London as out textbook.”

Coolest opportunity you’ve had through IC and/or the Honors program: “LONDON. I had the opportunity to study abroad in London for the Fall of 2013. It was by far the greatest experience of my entire life. I learned so much about myself and made memories that I truly will never forget. My gosh that is so cheesy, but so true.”

We’re always looking for interesting students to highlight in our Student Spotlight series.
Do you know a really cool Honors student? Nominate them to be a Student Spotlight here!
Do you know a really cool alum of the Honors program? Nominate them to be an Alumni Spotlight here!