Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

You are here: Home Thomas Hunter Honors Program Colloquia & Booklists
Academic Calendar

Academic Calendar - Fall 2020

The Macaulay Honors College

The Macaulay Honors College (MHC) is not affiliated with the Thomas Hunter Honors Program. For more information about the MHC, please visit the Macaulay Honors College website.


Honors Colloquia - Fall 2020

Click on a course name to read a description.

Course Name
Course Number/Section
Reading List
"The Good War": Representatins of the Spanish Civil War in Literature, Film, and Art
HONS 2011J/01 To be posted
South Africa & Southern Africa During & After Apartheid
HONS 2012C/01
To be posted
Heroes, Victims, Witnesses: War in Literature, Visual & Performing Arts, and Scholarship
HONS 20136/01
To be posted
Urban Women: New Visions in the Industrial City in Europe and the US
HONS 3011B/01
To be posted
Surveillance and You
HONS 3011S/01 To be posted
Interdisciplinary Independent Study HONS 30199/01 TBD
Advanced Interdisciplinary Study HONS 49151/01 TBD


All course materials can be purchased at Shakespeare & Co. Booksellers, located at 939 Lexington Avenue.

Course Descriptions


"The Good War": Representatins of the Spanish Civil War in Literature, Film, and Art

Professor María Hernández -Ojeda (Romance Languages, Spanish)


HONS 2011J
Tuesdays and Fridays; 12:45-2:00
3 hours, 3 credits


This course will examine, in English, the literary and artistic cultural production inspired by this fascinating historical conflict of international significance.  Students will read texts by major authors, will watch films and documentaries that reflect this event, and discuss symbols and images of the War. For their final project, students will visit the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives to research the invaluable documentation that this institution offers, and choose a topic for their final paper. In this course, students will learn about the historical, political and cultural contexts that surround the readings, films and art studied during the semester.

Course Requirements:
Writing requirement: Students will write one final paper based on their archival research at the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives located at the Tamiment Library. It will be approximately 10-12 pages long, and will be posted in the course website Furthermore, they will write a two-page commentary on Blackboard for each one of the films assigned. I will revise every writing assignment at least once before final submission.

Midterm and Final Exam: The format of the midterm and final exam may include any combination of the following: short-answer identifications, passages for commentary, and long essay questions.

Oral presentation: Students will prepare a presentation individually for the class using PowerPoint.  This oral evaluation should last no more than fifteen minutes and no less than ten. The presentation will focus on their research for the final essay.

Sample works to be studied:

- Novel: Cercas, Javier. Soldiers of Salamis
- Poetry: Neruda, Pablo. Five Decades: Poems: 1925-70.
- Testimonial Narrative: Hemingway, Ernest. The Fifth Column and Four Stories of the Spanish Civil War.
- Interdisciplinary Essay: Labanyi, Jo. "Memory and Modernity in Democratic Spain: The Difficulty of Coming to Terms with the Spanish Civil War."
-Theory: White, Hayden. "The Historical Text as Literary Artifact"
-Film: Pan's Labyrinth/ El laberinto del fauno.
-Documentaries: The Good Fight: The Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War.
- Guernica by Pablo Picasso
-Posters and Photography: Capa, Robert. Death in the Making.
-Music: Miguel Hernandez by Joan Manuel Serrat.


[Back to·top]·

South Africa & Southern Africa During & After Apartheid

Professor Larry Shore (Film and Media Studies)


HONS 2012C
Mondays and Wednesdays; 5:35-8:05 p.m.
3 hours, 3 credits


This course will examine the events and forces that have shaped the history of South Africa and Southern Africa and America's special relationship with South Africa. 

We will compare and contrast the history of white supremacy - and the anti-racist struggles- in the United States and South Africa. Black-white relations have been central to the historical narratives of both countries. A vehicle for doing this will be the documentary film RFK in the Land of Apartheid: A Ripple of Hope which was shown on PBS.

The course will consider the history of the expansion of Dutch and British colonialism and eventual Afrikaner rule in South Africa culminating in the system of Apartheid and the opposition that it spawned. This will lead to an analysis of the dramatic transformation that took place in South Africa from February 1990 to April 1994- ­the negotiated end of Apartheid and the first democratic elections. We will also analyze the 20 years of South African democracy, the current situation, and possible future scenarios in South Africa and the region.

In general, South Africa, and its recent history, provides a useful comparative case study for other countries that have made the transition from authoritarian rule to democracy.  The course will also study developments in other countries in Southern Africa and past and present United States policy towards South Africa, the region and Africa in general.  We will also consider South Africa's post-Apartheid role as a regional and continental power. 

The course will culminate in The Southern Africa Simulation Game. This exciting simulation game has been run every time this course has been taught since the early 1980s. With faculty guidance, students select and research team and individual roles based on the important players in the South African and regional situation. The simulation game is conducted on a weekend at the end of the semester. It has very carefully constructed rules and controls and begins with an interesting scenario projected some time into the near future. More details will be provided in class.

Grading for the class is based primarily on a research paper and preparation for and the participation in the simulation game.

This course satisfies Pluralism and Diversity Requirement, Group A.


[Back to top]


Heroes, Victims, Witnesses: War in Literature, Visual & Performing Arts, and Scholarship

Ekhard Kuhn-Osius (German)


HONS 20136
Mondays and Thursdays; 9:45-11:00
3 hours, 3 credits

The activities of war violate strong peace-time social taboos.  Thus, people have always tried to mediate between the societal valorization of war and the individual fighting experience.  Studying past descriptions of war and heroism will give us a better perspective on some current events.

We will begin with some sociological studies on army cohesion and morale and on methods to overcome soldiers' inhibition against killing.

We will then survey traditional depictions of war ranging from Homer and Virgil to medieval epics such as the Song of Roland or Parzival, and to early modern books, such as Grimmelshausen's Simplicissimus. We will also look at military history and study the depiction of war and warriors in the visual arts.

The view of the modern war experience was shaped for a long time through the literature on World War I, the "Great War". We will read Robert Graves' Good-Bye to All That and Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, supplemented by selections from various right-wing and left-wing authors, such as Ernst Jünger, Walter Flex, John Dos Passos, and Dalton Trumbo. We will spend some time on the memorialization of the Great War, which used the dead for the ideological benefit of the survivors. We will view images of various memorials and see the film version of All Quiet on the Western Front as well as Renoir's Grand Illusion.

The experience of World War II will be treated by studying parts of Joseph Heller's Catch 22, and some stories by German authors. A look at a novel by Tim O'Brien on the Vietnam War and readings from Phil Klay's Redeployment on the Iraq war will illustrate the transition from a soldier to a warrior model of military service in recent years and conclude the semester.

Each student will present one brief report (app. 10 minutes) on a war novel or film of their choice and one on a work of scholarship such as The Social History of the Machine Gun; The Great War and Modern Memory; Women's Fiction and the Great War; War Machine: The Rationalisation of Slaughter in the Modern Age. A list of suggested books and films will be provided.

Class requirements:
Reading and participation in class discussion
Two book reports for in-class presentation
One 10-15 page paper (may be based on one or both book reports)
Final examination (essay questions)


[Back to Top]


Urban Women: New Visions in the Industrial City in Europe and the US

Professor Sarah Chinn (English)
Professor Ida Susser (Antrhopology)


HONS 3011B
Tuesdays and Fridays; 11:10-12:25 p.m.
3 hours, 3 credits

Cities are transformative public spaces where new ideas are sown, exciting movements begin, and people meet one another and embark on new lives. The experience of the city is especially life-changing for women, whose workplaces and urban environments have been shaped by changing ideas about women and the relationship between public and private spheres. 

This course will explore both literary and social scientific representations of women's experiences in major cities in Europe and the United States.  Beginning with the first major wave of urbanization in England and France in the mid-19th century and then moving to New York and Chicago at the end of the 19th and early decades of the 20th century, we will look at women's relationships to labor movements, financial booms and busts, political activism, and the ongoing pressures of domesticity.  We will integrate literary texts that anchor the course with other kinds of materials: manifestos, visual representations of working women, autobiography, sociology, history, and political science, including documents from reform movements.


Participation: Students will participate in an online discussion board, and will be required to contribute at least once every week, as well as participating in class discussion (10%).  They will also work in groups on oral presentations based on research about the historical, political, and cultural contexts of the readings for that unit (15%).


Each week, two students will pose discussion questions to the class, as part of the writing requirement (10%).
Midterm essay of 6-8 pages; students will have the opportunity to write in drafts and revise (25%).
Final essay of 14-16 pages (40%); students will have the opportunity to write in drafts.

Selected Readings:
Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Projects; David Harvey, Paris: The Capital of Modernity; Christine Stansell, City of Women: Sex and Class in New York, 1789-1860; Ellen Ross, Love and Toil: Motherhood in Outcast London, 1870-1918; Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie; Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth; Anzia Yezierska, Salome of the Tenements


Back to top


Surveillance and You

Sylvia Tomasch (English)


HONS 3011S
Mondays and Thursdays; 2:45-4:00 p.m.
Room 412 West 
3 hours, 3 credits


This course will address three questions:

  • What is surveillance historically?
  • What is surveillance now?
  • How is surveillance at work in your own life?

To answer these questions, we'll explore important historical instances of surveillance along with creative texts in a variety of media.  We'll begin in the present, by viewing The Great Hack (dir., Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, 2019), before moving back to earlier, pre-digital periods before working our way to the present again.

 Because of the sweep of inquiry, this course will be led by one instructor but include guest speakers with expertise in a wide range of fields, including Hunter faculty on privacy in human relations and information science, gendered representations in art, data capture, targeted advertising, and medical treatment protocols; security professionals on government intelligence and community policing; and outside scholars on persecutions and inquisitions, past and present.

Readings and viewings will be supplemented by activities such as identifying instances of surveillance at Hunter College and in individual neighborhoods; and tracking varieties of passive surveillance, from Facebook posts, pop-up ads, and Google searches to Metrocard use.  Students will also find out as much as possible about their own "digital doubles."  In addition to weekly posts, there will be two essays and a small-group project to pitch a movie using surveillance as a major theme.

Among the materials we'll be using in this course:

Alfred Hitchcock, dir., Rear Window (1954)
Francis Ford Coppola, dir., The Conversation (1974)
Peter Weir, dir., The Truman Show (1998)
Steven Spielberg, dir., Minority Report (2002)
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, dir., The Lives of Others (2006)
Black Mirror 1.3: "The Entire History of You" (2011); 2.2: "White Bear" (2013)
Gavin Hood, dir., Eye in the Sky (2016)

Jeremy Bentham, Panopticon, or the Inspection House (1787)
George Orwell, 1984 (1949)
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale (1985)
Philip K. Dick, Minority Report and Other Stories (2002)
Dave Eggers, The Circle (2013)


[Back to top]


Interdisciplinary Independent Study

HONS 30199
3 hours, 3 credits
Hours to be arranged

Students wishing to take this course will need two readers, from different disciplines, one of whom generally should be a member of the Council on Honors.  In principle, the Council must approve the subject matter of such a paper before the student can register for the course.  This course may be taken only once.

HONS 30199 cannot replace any of the three required Honors Colloquia.

[Back to top]

Advanced Interdisciplinary Study

HONS 49151
6 hours, 6 credits
Hours to be arranged

Upon completion of 90 credits, certified Honors Program students may be admitted by the Council on Honors to Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies, with the opportunity of engaging in advanced independent study under the Council's supervision. A project for a thesis or other appropriate report of the results of the student's research is presented to the Council, which must approve it the semester previous to registration. Three sponsors, from at least two departments, one of whom must be a member of the Council on Honors, will supervise the work. The final product must be approved by all three sponsors and the Council.

HONS 49151 cannot replace any of the three required Honors Colloquia.

[Back to top]

Document Actions
Thomas Hunter Honors Program website contact:
West Building Room 1421 | Telephone : (212) 772-4127 | webmaster