Current and Future Colloquia Courses

Colloquia at BHSU
Each semester, the BHSU Honors Program offers its students the unique opportunity to take a custom-made colloquium. This "fringe" seminar is taught by an esteemed professor at the university and introduces students to concepts and ideas not normally covered in an undergraduate class. Faculty create one-of-a-kind curriculum to challenge and engage students in a course that provokes thought through free exchange of new ideas, academic scholarship and research, and experiential learning opportunities. The colloquia are selected by student vote every two years.  


Upcoming Colloquia:


  • Fall 2014: REVOLUTION IN THE HEAVENS: GALILEO, SCIENCE, AND RELIGION:  (Professor Kathleen Parrow) 

This honors colloquium will use Galileo’s story as a case study of how to challenge “accepted” thought and how outside factors can influence and drive scientific developments.  This course will put Galileo and his achievements in perspective by introducing the students to modern astronomy (with the help of at least one BHSU astronomer); to the geocentric, pre-Copernican understanding of the universe; and to Galileo’s own work (through his writings and other readings).  Understanding the social and cultural influences (with the assistance of a sociologist) will aid students’ grasp of the socio-historical context of what Galileo did when he challenged the church by “putting the sun in the center of the universe”.  By raising issues about the relationship of science and religion in a historical time and place, students will learn to think more objectively about these issues in general.  Possible areas for student projects include astronomy, history, mathematics, political and social sciences, and religion, and projects could generate honors thesis ideas and submissions to the BHSU Research Symposium and NCUR.

  • Spring 2015: THROUGH THE WHEDONVERSE:  UNDERSTANDING POSTMODERN POPULAR CULTURE: (Professor Courtney Huse Wika)

This cultural studies and philosophy course proposes an examination of postmodern society through the texts of Joss Whedon:  Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, Angel, Dollhouse, Firefly, Serenity, The Avengers, and his prose and graphic novel work.  Using gender, monster, and postmodern theory, we will explore issues of authenticity, identity, and the posthuman.  We will explore who we are in this moment:  we are the society of the image and hyper-real, where illusion can be more powerful and desirable than reality.  We are the society of fragmented, splintered identities and a seemingly blind dedication to hyperspace. We are products of the culture industry.  We are the postmodern.  


  • Fall 2015: MAGICAL REALISM IN LITERATURE AND ART: (Professors Nikki Dragone and Desy Schoenewies)

As both a literary and art genre, magic realism blurs the lines between reality and fantasy in a way that blends the occurrence of ordinary phenomenon and events into mundane every day existence so completely that no one feels the need to stop and explain what happened.  The lyrical and fantastical nature of magic realism not only provides a commentary on the character of human existence, it also presents a critique of society.  By the end of the semester, students will not only have studied magic realist art and literature, but they also will have written and presented a conference style paper on a magic realist topic of their choice and created one painting using trompe l’oeil techniques under the instructor’s direction.


  • Spring 2016: MOLECULES THAT CHANGED HISTORY: (Professor Katrina Jensen)

This course will examine a selection of specific molecules that have had a significant impact on human history.  The course will focus on the impact of each molecule on historical events, economics, and politics as well as the chemistry of each molecule as it relates to its source, properties, and use.  Examples of topics include the pill, penicillin and the discovery of antibiotics, vitamin C and the prevention of scurvy, eugenol (found in nutmeg) and the spice trade, and the development of polymers and plastics.  No prior understanding of chemistry is required.