Honors Maymester Course Offering

December 5, 2017



   The Honors Program has announced to students its Maymester course offering for the Spring of 2018. A Maymester course is a for-credit class which takes place in the month of May, running from May 14 through June 1. Beginning the Monday immediately following final exams of the spring semester, students have the opportunity to earn credits upon successful completion of the class over the course of just three weeks. This year, Dr. Joel Mann will be offering “Bodies of Knowledge.” 

      CLAS 335: Bodies of Knowledge explores ancient medical thought on modern medical theory and practice from a classical perspective. This course is specially offered for honors students, and fulfills one four-credit course requirement toward graduation from the Honors Program. Additionally, CLAS 335 will meet two requirements toward St. Norbert College’s Liberal Arts Core: Advanced and Beyond Borders; therefore, this course is known colloquially among students and advisers as a “triple dip,” meaning that just one class will simultaneously fulfill three of their overall graduation requirements. Students can find this course by accessing it in the Knightline Timetable under Summer 2018 in the Classical Studies category. Registration will be also be available during the spring semester. For prerequisite acceptance to the course, students must be members of the Honors Program of junior or senior status. Students who desire to graduate with an honors distinction but are having difficulty fitting honors courses like this into their schedule before graduation should consider researching Honors Tutorial offerings, which also vary by semester. The faculty and staff of the Honors Program are proud to be able to offer special sections of courses developed and designated on a semesterly basis specifically for honors students to help them meet their requirements. 


      CLAS 335 (CRN 4033): A Brief History of Body Parts (Adv. Core: BB)
The course traces the impact of ancient philosophical and medical thought on modern science and medicine. Students will consider how ancient Greek and Roman concepts of cause, explanation, health, disease, and anatomy (literally a "cutting up" of the body into parts) developed over time into the "rationalistic" understanding of health and healing on which the therapeutic approach of modern medicine depends. 


      The Honors Program makes a conscious effort to offer classes that fit students’ needs in terms of course requirements and interests. As such, this class was selected by popular vote of the students via an email survey of those interested in taking a Maymester course. Other options proposed were equally intriguing. Alternative potential topics included: “Existentialist Thought,” a study of the development of European existentialism in the 19th and 20th centuries focused on the meaning of human life and the nature of human values; “Mozart, Metallica and Metaphysics,” an introduction to fundamental problems and puzzles in the philosophy of music; and “Labyrinths of Time,” an examination of different ideations and representations of time throughout history and through the framework of different cultures via a study of literature, art, and film.

      Dr. Joel Mann, a professor of Philosophy and Classical Studies, is no stranger to the Honors Program, having taught many honors sections and previously serving as Interim Director. Aside from honors courses, Dr. Mann also teaches courses including: PHIL 120: Philosophy of Human Nature, CLAS 207/PHIL 207: Greek Philosophy, and PHIL 310: Existentialism. Dr. Mann has expressed much enthusiasm to the offering of the Honors Maymester course: “This summer, we'll try something new: offering an Honors course in the Maymester. I'm offering PHIL/CLAS 335 Bodies of Knowledge. The class (originally called ‘A Brief History of Body Parts’) was originally conceived as a history of medicine and anatomy course--an attempt to introduce students to integrated work across traditional disciplinary boundaries. For this reason, and because there are so many Honors students with "medical" interests, the course has always seemed a natural Honors offering. I've recently reconceived the course somewhat to include some exposure to the philosophy of science and medicine, as well. This summer's version will be even more unique: Dr. David Hunnicutt in Biology and I are considering a joint research project to identify the pathogens responsible for some of the great plagues in history. To that end, Honors students in PHIL/CLAS 335 this summer will do original historical and philosophical research on ancient accounts of the so-called Antonine Plague in an attempt to scope out the secondary literature and basic facts surrounding this ancient Roman epidemic. Who knows? Maybe someday we'll turn this into a study abroad course to Italy, where we'll excavate skeletons for paleomicrobiological testing! Maybe we'll all end up on the National Geographic or History Channels! Whatever else happens, we're going to have a blast this summer!”

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