IC Honors Seminar Spotlight: Eating Sustainably

For our final seminar spotlight, professor John Hopple in the Environmental Science and Studies department is offering a seminar on sustainable food! If you’re interested in learning more about how to be more sustainable or natural in your food choices, or just curious about what kind of natural foods are out there, check this seminar out!

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Describe your seminar in one sentence. “Eating Sustainably is a discussion-based seminar about our food and its relationship to sustainability and the environment in which we prepare one whole-food plant-based meal each class session (and then eat it).”

Describe your classroom style in one sentence. “Each class session we will cook a whole-food plant based dish then follow this with a discussion of a food-related topic while we eat the dish we prepared: so cook then discuss/eat.”

What is one thing you hope students will take away from your seminar? As conscious eaters we can make decisions regarding our food that ultimately better both ourselves and the planet.”

What is one piece of advice you would give to students? “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants. (From Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food.)”

Some extra info: “Students need to provide their own transportation for the two field trips we will take: one to Plowbreak Farm near Mecklenberg and the other to Greenstar Coop on the corner of Buffalo and Elmira Rd. We will be reading Sherry Colb’s book Mind if I Order the Cheeseburger? and Other Questions People Ask Vegans.

Check out the entire list of seminars here and all the seminar spotlights here.

IC Honors Seminar Spotlight: Tracking and the Art of Seeing

Jason Hamilton, Chair of Environmental Sciences & Studies, is offering his popular 1-credit tracking seminar! Get comfortable with learning tracks in the natural lands. Learn more below.

Describe your seminar in one sentence. Learn the ancient art and science of tracking and you will never see the world in the same way again!

Describe your classroom style in one sentence. I set up opportunities for students to interact directly with the earth. Leave me out  of it!

What is one thing you hope students will take away from your seminar? Tracking and nature awareness are your birth right. You ARE a tracker!

What is one piece of advice you would give to students? Relax and have fun. It will come.

Check out the entire list of seminars here and all the seminar spotlights here.

IC Honors Seminar Spotlight: U.S. and Genocide

Politics chair Naeem Inayatullah is teaching a seminar this semester on the exploration of genocide. Have you ever been confused about what genocide is – or if the U.S. has committed it? Examine and engage further in this seminar.File photo of an unmanned US drone.


Describe your seminar in one sentence.
An exploration of the impossible to see hidden within plain sight.

Describe your classroom style in one sentence.I support emergent anarchies, disjunctive seriousness, spontaneous laughter, the discovery of sinews that connect intuition and articulation, and a blunt refusal of jargon.”

What is one thing you hope students will take away from your seminar? That it will take them five to ten years to grasp what we experienced together.”

What is one piece of advice you would give to students? Beware of advice givers and even more those willing to teach.

Interested in what you might be reading? Here are some books Professor Inayatullah is looking at choosing from:

Ward Churchill, A Little Matter of Genocide

Joy Gordon, Invisible War: The United States and the Iraq Sanctions

Adam Jones, Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction

Adam Jones, Genocide, War Crimes, and the West 

Elizabeth Dauphinee, Politics of Exile

Tzvetan Todorov, The Conquest of America

Svetlana Alexivich, Zinky Boys

Check out the entire list of seminars here and all the seminar spotlights here.

IC Honors Seminar Spotlight: Humans & Alcohol: Biological Foundations and Societal Consequences

Assistant Professor of Biology Brooks Miner is offering a course next semester on how alcohol affects humans. Ever wondered why you feel good when you drink (or horrible the next morning)? How about what the historical origins of alcohol are? If you’re interested in learning more, read below:

Describe your seminar in one sentence. “Exploration of how alcohol affects our bodies and our brains, and the role that alcohol consumption, and reactions to it, have played in American society since the founding of the nation.”

Describe your classroom style in one sentence.Facilitate engaged discussions among students by prompting with compelling questions that do not have clear answers; my role is to get the discussion going and then stay out of the way.

What is one thing you hope students will take away from your seminar? Recognition that understanding the way alcohol affects our bodies and our society can lead to being a more informed, insightful, and compassionate citizen.”

 What is one piece of advice you would give to students? Like many of our nation’s most important public health issues, alcohol consumption defies dichotomous yes/no, good/bad, and conservative/liberal categorizations. Yet we rarely discuss alcohol in an informed manner. If you live in America, then alcohol has affected your life, whether you realize it or not. An awareness of this reality and its nuances will likely change you as a person.

Want to know more?I have no ideological or political agenda with this course; I am not pro-alcohol or anti-alcohol, nor do I approve or disapprove of underage drinking. I welcome all perspectives on this topic and am confident that students will come away from the course with different views than they came in with. Primary texts will be Amitava Dasgupta’s The Science of Drinking: How Alcohol Affects Your Body and Mind and Susan Cheever’s Drinking in America: Our Secret History. Write to me if you have questions about the course; I’d be delighted to hear from you: bminer@ithaca.edu.”

Check out the entire list of seminars here and all the seminar spotlights here.

IC Honors Seminar Spotlight: Great Debates in Fiction and Film

Writing professors Tyrell Stewart-Harris and Tom Girshin are teaming up for their seminar on debating! Are you interested in analyzing arguments? Asking big questions? Exploring debate through cinema and literature? Learn more below.

Describe your seminar in one sentence. This class is the finest class, about great debates, of them all.

Describe your classroom style in one sentence.Different teachers teach in different ways, but the best teachers teach in the best ways (we are the best).

What is one thing you hope students will take away from your seminar? The importance of great debates.”

 What is one piece of advice you would give to students? “Buy the books and read them.

Check out the entire list of seminars here and all the seminar spotlights here.

IC Honors Seminar Spotlight: Witchcraft in a Cross-Cultural Perspective

Associate Professor of History Vivian Bruce Conger is offering her popular seminar on witches and their different depictions – from the “Burning Times” of early modern Europe to the Salem Witch Trials to fairy tales to Disney movies and more! Learn more below:

Describe your seminar in one sentence. We think we know well what a witch was, but different early modern cultures perceived the threat of witchcraft in a variety of ways, and we will explore the historical context of what those differences were, why there were differences, and the consequences of those differences.”

Describe your classroom style in one sentence.Given I believe students learn best by actively engaging with the material, this class will be an in-depth discussion and debate of the assigned readings (scholarly books and articles as well as fiction); depending on the size of the class, these discussions could entail the whole class or they could take place in smaller groups—I try to mix it up so it doesn’t get boring for any of us.”

What is one thing you hope students will take away from your seminar? I want my students to understand the cultural complexity of witchcraft, that it wasn’t the same every where and that even within a particular community, not everyone agreed about witchcraft.  It is those differences and disagreements that make the study of witchcraft interesting and revealing.”

 What is one piece of advice you would give to students? Have confidence in your ability to read and understand complex books and articles, and more importantly, have confidence in your ability to discuss, debate, and defend your points.  This is how we learn and this is how we become accomplished scholars.”

Want to know more?I start the semester by asking students to bring in current images of witches, either in songs, plays, poems, movies, or photos, and we discuss and analyze those images since that is what we will be doing in a historical context for the rest of the semester.  For their final project, I bring them full circle by asking them to critically evaluate a historical representation of witches or witchcraft of their choice. To explore change over time, I strongly encourage them to use the current cultural images we started the semester with.”

Check out the entire list of seminars here and all the seminar spotlights here.

IC Honors Seminar Spotlight: Slow Read: The Mahabharata

51tlmoj2W7L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgPhilosophy & Religion professor Angela Rudert is delving deep into India’s epic masterpiece: The Mahabharata. It is 7 times longer than the Illiad and the Odyssey combined, and some call it the history of India, offering rich details and lessons of philosophy, leadership and more. You’ll get to interact with the Mahabharata in a modern way as well – such as immensely popular Indian TV serial, comic books, and films. Learn more from Professor Rudert below:

Describe your seminar in one sentence. Over the course of the semester, we will slowly read the Mahabharata, one of two major epic poems of the Hindu tradition, and in our classroom we will engage in retelling many of the lively stories from this most entertaining and sublime literary masterpiece.”

Describe your classroom style in one sentence.I love teaching through storytelling, and in conversation with students, which is consistent with the way this great epic has been transmitted for over 2000 years.”

What is one thing you hope students will take away from your seminar? I hope students take away an appreciation for the depth and complexity of this classical Hindu text and that they learn a great deal about Hindu religious traditions in the process.”

What is one piece of advice you would give to students? Come with an open mind and a willingness to engage ideas coming from an ancient text with problems our world faces today.”

If you’re thinking about taking this course, you can check out the version you’ll be reading here.

Check out the entire list of seminars here and all the seminar spotlights here.