If you are having any difficulty using this website, please contact the Help Desk at Help@nullHofstra.edu or 516-463-7777 or Student Access Services at SAS@nullhofstra.edu or 516-463-7075. Please identify the webpage address or URL and the specific problems you have encountered and we will address the issue.

Skip to Main Content
Hofstra University Honors College

HUHC Seminars

Each semester HUHC offers exciting educational opportunities in varying disciplines. HUHC seminars are small, discussion based courses, taught by professors from around the university, who are invited to come teach their dream course. Like Culture & Expression, these seminars often tend toward either greater multidisciplinary or greater particularity in the definition of the topic (see listings and descriptions of recent and future seminars below.) With class sizes limited to no more than 20 students, they are special opportunities to learn by sharing the enthusiasm of professors who are working on well-defined topics in their areas of expertise. In some instances seminar credit may count toward a major or minor with departmental approval.

View Seminars From Previous Semesters


Professor Christa Farmer, Geology
MF 11:15-12:40PM
CRN: 24632
BROWR 0202

Our planet operates in interlocking systems, each of which contains feedback cycles that influence each other. Students in this course will investigate the solid, fluid, and living systems of planet Earth, and how they interact with each other to keep the planet in a stable condition. We will also investigate how humans are perturbing the systems through sparking a loss of biodiversity, tipping the scales of climate change, and augmenting the Nitrogen cycle, among many other impacts. Course goals include learning how to quantify measurements of these various systems, through solving problem sets; refining communication skills, through written and oral debates; and utilizing library resources to find cutting-edge scientific knowledge of the Earth's systems.

(The chair of the geology and sustainability department has indicated this course may, with permission, be counted as a geology or sustainability elective toward the completion of the requirements for majors or minors.  The chair of the geography and global studies department has indicated this course may be counted as a topical elective toward the major or minor in geography.)

Professor David Powell, Romance Language and Literature
TR 2:20-3:45PM
CRN:  25092

Beyond the compact structure of the short story – we will study only short stories – , the fantastic genre relies on the vacillation between truth and illusion, believability and unreality, and perhaps most importantly between reasoned explanation and tolerance for the unexplainable. Various terms exist for the fantastic technique – or what in Spanish is called "magical realism," included in what in "Object Oriented Ontology" (OOO) philosophy is called "speculative realism" – offering a variety of perspectives from which to study both technique and reader reception.

We start with classic reading techniques (identifying the moments of what Freud called the uncanny; describing how the uncanny functions; locating the attempts to undo the uncanny with reasoned explanation; examining the final moment in the story, when reasoned explanations are not enough, of the unsatisfying but tantalizing conclusion). Students will articulate clearly what is purposely made unclear in the fantastic story. As we move from story to story, working sometimes in groups, we will classify the types and techniques of uncanny (linguistic; structural; psychological; pseudo-scientific).

Finally, we will apply OOO philosophies to the uncanny. OOO is a Heidegger-influenced school of thought that rejects the privileging of human existence over the existence of nonhuman objects. It is an enticingly useful lens through which to view the fantastic in literature. This segment of the course will cover the final 3 weeks. After reading a couple studies in philosophy plus one applying OOO to fantastic literature, students will make group presentations about separate parts of the last short story. The discussion – a graded component of the course – should produce commentary that will heighten students' appreciation of the uncanny elements of the story, culminating in the final paper.

Professors Kira Adaricheva and Simona Doboli
MW 4:30-5:55PM and T 4:30-5:20PM
CRN: 23641
RSVLT 0201
In this course we will study and implement popular algorithms with applications in finances, logistics and data analysis. Most of these algorithms are very wide in their applications and could be adapted to new situations. We will study the background mathematics to understand how they work and why they terminate, also how effective they are in terms of the time needed for the computation. The course has a laboratory part devoted to learning and programming these algorithms in Python. Some background in mathematics and programming is recommended but not required.

* HUHC 021's are non-Liberal Arts Courses.

Professor Bernard Firestone, Political Science
MWF 9:05-10:00AM
CRN: 23762
BROWR 0102

Over the past seventy years, the Middle East has attracted a major portion of America's foreign policy attention. Although the region is characterized by a high level of political, religious, and ethnic diversity, many Americans tend to view the Middle East as an undifferentiated whole --  "the most troublesome and dangerous region of the world." But as much as American policy-makers have invested enormous time and resources in the Middle East, our strategic goals have appeared frequently muddled and our policies not only ineffective but even counter-productive. This course will examine American foreign policy toward the region and attempt to explain what motivates that policy. We will explore a number of subjects, including the Arab-Israel conflict, Iran, terrorism, Syria, and the Arab Spring and attempt to provide historical context for American policy. Students will be organized into small groups and asked to come up with new ideas about how the United States can best meet the challenges posed to our interests by events in the Middle East. In addition to a midterm and final, students will participate in a small group presentation and submit a short essay based on that presentation. 

(The chair of the political science department has indicated this course may be counted as a political science elective toward the completion of the requirements for majors or minors.  The chair of the global studies department has indicated this course may be counted as a regional elective toward the major or minor in global studies.)

Professor John Pulis, Anthropology
TR 2:20-3:45PM
CRN: 20386
DAVSN 0102
This course will introduce students to the diversity of non- western societies and cultures through ethnographic or documentary film tradition in anthropology.  Visual media, motion, still, and most recently digital imagery, has been a primary research tool in the methodological took kit of American anthropology since the discipline was first established by Franz Boas in the late 19th-century. Boas used photography to document his field work among the Kwakiutl in British Columbia, legitimizing the medium as a tool, setting in motion what became a rich ethnographic documentary tradition.  We will explore this tradition, from its beginning with Boas and his ongoing confrontation with Hollywood, to contemporary ethnographers documenting the affect of climate change, globalization, and the Internet on indigenous societies.  We begin with a classic, "Nanook of the North," a silent film documenting the life  of an Inuit hunter-gather in the Arctic, and move globally to the Amazon (Jivaro), Australia (Aborigines), Asia (Genghis Blues),  Oceania (Once Were Warriors), South Africa (Kung), and North America (Navajo), and a host of indigenous films and filmmakers (Smoke Signals, Fast Runner, Ten Canoes). 
(The chair of the anthropology department has indicated this course may be counted as an Anthropology elective toward the completion of the requirements for majors or minors.)

Professor Timothy Daniels, Anthropology           
MW 2:55-4:20PM
CRN: 21105
DAVSN 0102

In this course, students will explore how diverse religious traditions conceive of and work toward building a just society.  Domestic and international conditions in our contemporary world demand that we take a nuanced look at the way religions motivate believers to make change.  We will discuss a variety of topics, including the civil rights movement, peace and anti-violence campaigns, and religious responses to class, ethnic, racial, and gender inequities.  In order to gain critical insight, we will engage with scriptural sources from Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and other religious traditions, as well as the writings of contemporary religious activists and thinkers. As a class, we will also seek opportunities to dialogue with local religious advocacy groups.

(The chair of the anthropology department has indicated this course may be counted as an anthropology elective toward the completion of the requirements for majors or minors.  The chair of the religion department has indicated this course may be counted as a religion elective toward the completion of the requirements for majors or minors.)

Professor Katrina Sims, History
TR 2:20-3:45PM
CRN: 23788
MEML 0010B

This course will explore women's health care from midwifery to reproductive freedom. Throughout the semester, students will interact with various community groups including Planned Parenthood and the Hispanic Counseling Center to gain interview skills, determine contemporary health care needs of women on Long Island, and serve the community through volunteerism. 

(The chair of the history department has indicated this course may be counted as history elective toward the completion of history requirements for majors or minors.  The chair of the global studies department has indicated this course may be counted as a non-regional elective toward the major or minor in global studies.)

Professor Nicole Franklin, RTVF
MW 4:30-5:55PM                                                                                                 
CRN: 23793
RSVLT 0111

In the genre of scripted television or streaming series, it is the responsibility of visual storytellers to capture scenes, episodes and the evolution of a series concept with conscious intent.  In order to master this technique when developing stories for the screen, it is the director and their production team who must work diligently on their artistry while mastering a signature style. The Director's Handbook provides a platform for innovative learning techniques to uncover what is required for successful storytelling on the stage and screen:  Diving into the subtext in order to infuse life and character objectives into compelling narrative.  This seminar brings the human connection, whether watching a story based in fantasy or unfamiliar territory, to the surface. In addition to the writer of the work, it's the director who brings the clear and persuasive vision no matter the complexities of the plot. With this seminar, students have the chance to develop one more storytelling skill to help them succeed.

Professor Adam Sills, English                                    
TR 2:20-3:45PM
CRN: 23063
MASON 0020

Judgment day, zombie apocalypse, nuclear and cyber war, global pandemic, alien invasion, environmental collapse, meteor collision, machine uprising: all of these represent the various ways in which humanity has, over the course of history, imagined "the end" of its existence. Whether by our own agency, by the hand of some unseen, uncontrollable force, or some combination of the two, we have always contemplated the end of things, often in a religious or spiritual context but, just as often, as a routine part of our collective desire to be entertained by such shocking and horrific events. That desire is manifest in many current film and television offerings, from 2012 to World War Z to the Matrix and Terminator trilogies, from the reality show Doomsday Preppers to The Walking Dead to Falling Skies. There is even the recent emergence of the so-called apocalyptic comedy, such as This Is the End, Seeking a Friend of the End of the World, and Zombieland.  What exactly compels us to watch such apocalyptic fare? Why are we drawn to narratives depicting the end of humanity and the world as we know it? And why do we find such narratives to be "entertaining" in any sense? This semester, we will seek to answer some of these questions, and perhaps generate a few of our own, by reading and discussing literary works that speak to our enduring preoccupation with the apocalypse and its aftermath, including Daniel Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year, Cormac McCarthy's The Road, Mary Shelley's The Last Man, H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, Alan Moore's Watchmen, Colson Whitehead's Zone One, and Lucretius' On the Nature of Things. In addition, we will read a variety of apocalyptic and prophetic literature from the Bible, including the Book of Revelation.

(The chair of the English department has indicated this course may be counted as an English elective toward the completion of English requirements for majors or minors.)

Professor Ling Huang, Chemistry
TR 9:35-11:00AM
CRN: 24642
BRESL 0208

Designer drugs, such as "Spice", "Bath Salts" and "Molly", have spread rapidly around the world in the past decade. They are synthetic analogs or mimics of controlled substances made to evade law enforcement, often used for recreational purposes. Many of these designer drugs came from research labs where medicinal compounds are being explored. Most of these designer drugs also have natural origins and initial applications in folk medicine. Recently the national opioid pandemic and the subsequent controlling of traditional opioids fueled the emergence of many designer opioids.

In this course, students will learn the history of designer drugs, the chemistry behind the synthesis of these drugs, the analytical methods used for the detection and quantification (some done at Hofstra), toxicological effects, and the chemical challenges facing law enforcement and legislations. No previous background in chemistry is needed as layman terms and Lego-block analogy will be used to describe the chemical reactions. In the seminar, relevant laws, war on drugs, dark web, social media's roles will be discussed. Majority of the reading materials will NOT be on chemistry, rather on the overall phenomenon of designer drugs. Honor students are encouraged to think about the complex societal impacts designer drug causes and propose viable solutions.