Baccalaureate Honors (BHP)

BHP 100 Honors Seminar: Great Ideas I 3 Credits

Traces the impact of great ideas on society, politics, economics, science, and the arts. This writing-intensive course substitutes for CMP 120 Expository Writing. Freshmen only.

BHP 150 Honors Seminar: Great Ideas II 3 Credits

A continuation of Great Ideas I, the introductory Freshman Baccalaureate Honors Seminar. Great ideas are studied in their cultural and historical contexts and from an interdisciplinary perspective. Students are guided in writing an effective research paper. This writing-intensive course substitutes for CMP 125 Research Writing. Freshmen only.

BHP 201 Honor Seminar: Age of Shakespeare - A Study in Cultural History 3 Credits

Studies the cultural history of Elizabethan and Jacobean England and of its visual and literary arts. More specifically, the course will investigate the peculiarly English synthesis of the old and new, Medieval and Renaissance, Continental and English in the arts and ideas of the Age of Shakespeare.

BHP 203 Nineteen Eighty-Four in Context: George Orwell’s Enduring Legacy 3 Credits

“Big Brother is watching you.” “Some animals are more equal than others.” Contemporary discussions of politics, journalism, and social issues regularly reflect the influence of George Orwell’s classic novels, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. The term “Orwellian” routinely appears in modern speech and writings. Published in the aftermath of World War II, Orwell’s dystopian projections, along with other provocative writing by this courageous thinker and writer, reflect the turbulent world experienced by Orwell from the waning of British colonialism to the rise of the Cold War. To contextualize the composition and importance of his most influential works, this course will explore a wide range of Orwell’s writings; the historical and cultural contexts that shaped him; and the use of his work and ideas by his contemporaries and by subsequent artists, critics, and social analysts.

Prerequisite(s): BHP 150.

BHP 206 Honors Seminar:Politics/Literacy 3 Credits

Students will analyze literary texts in the context of selected political periods and ideologies, going beyond literary content to understand how language, genre, and structure mirror, otherwise represent, or criticize the political order within which the author writes.

BHP 209 Honor Seminars:Law and Arts 3 Credits

Fosters analysis of controversial art images from a range of genres (e.g., films, paintings, photographs, music, literature, and sculpture) and asks students to consider connections between the art and political/social/legal issues. Topics will include censorship, propaganda, and intellectual property.

BHP 211 Seminar: Theories of Justice and the American Common Law 3 Credits

Examines some of the ‘perennial’ theories of justice, both classical and modern, that have left their mark on the evolution of Western concepts of justice. The practical implications of such theories and the two-way traffic between them and social realities will be explored through their application by the American courts. In addition to studying actual cases, students will participate in the adjudication of theoretical cases, both fictional and taken from contemporary realities.

BHP 212 Children and the Media 3 Credits

This course examines how children and adolescents use and understand media and analyzes the role of media in their social and cognitive development. After studying the socializing presence of the media, students will analyze how exposure to television programs, movies, magazines and the Internet shapes children’s socio-emotional development and their understanding of cultural norms. This course will also explore the effects that media use has on children’s health, aggressiveness, and academic performance.This course counts towards the fulfillment of the Disciplinary Perspectives element of the CLAS general education curriculum.

BHP 213 Honors Seminar: Text and Context 3 Credits

Studies the major themes of a period of cultural change as they are expressed in important social, scientific, literary, and artistic works. Students will immerse themselves in a single major literary work and will interpret it in light of a number of coordinate texts and works from the social sciences, from contemporary comment, and from the arts.

BHP 215 Honors Seminar: Universe & Origin 3 Credits

This course examines both the historical and ongoing scientific research that contributes to our understanding of how life arose on Earth. The evolution of primitive life to the present-day diversity of living organisms will also be explored. Over the course of the class, we will trace the development of theories concerning the evolution of life, with particular emphasis on biologic, geologic, and cosmic time scales.

BHP 222 Honors Seminar: Existentialism in Literature 3 Credits

Introduces students to Existentialism as a 20th-century movement with roots going back to the 19th century and as a philosophy that has special relevance and importance for understanding today’s world. Reading and discussion are based on topics of special concern to Existentialist philosophers: lying and the nature of reality, faith and reason, revaluation of values, and the meaninglessness of life. Readings will comprise a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres. Authors may include Dostoevsky, Unamuno, Camus, Sartre, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Brecht, Kafka, Pirandello, Weil, and Beckett.

BHP 224 Worlds Apart: Global Perspectives on Development and Inequality 3 Credits

This course will examine the causes and patterns of uneven societal development in the world today, including consideration of historical and contemporary factors such as colonialism and globalization. Consequences of increasing inequality for the well-being of populations across the globe will also be discussed.

BHP 227 Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Age of Empire 3 Credits

This course examines the history and literature of British and American imperialism from 1890 to the present, focusing on the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality. The course wil cover themes of national identity, representations of colonized peoples, and imperialism as a cultural project. The history of imperialism as understood through literary and cultural analyses will focus on the functioning of gender, sexuality, and race in the ideologies and strategies of imperialism and anti-imperialism and in the psychological impact of colonial rule. Overall, we will consider how such analyses can inform a(re)defining of the colonial project.

BHP 230 Honors Seminar: Political Culture 3 Credits

Explores social, political, and cultural transformations associated with the radical extension of cybernetic and reproductive technologies in modern society. In particular the course will focus on the impact of new so-called high technologies such as computer-based communications, robotics, and biotechnology on such areas as the structure of the world economy, the organization of work, patterns of consumption, styles of popular culture, the design of private and public space, and the liberal- democratic political process.

BHP 231 Honors Seminar: Natural Adventures 3 Credits

Examines connections among environmental history, biology, and ecology. Human attitudes toward the natural environment are complex and have changed overtime, ranging from terror to exaltation from exploitation to preservation. Focus will be on the impact of changes in human land use and technology on natural ecosystems, exploring feedbacks between the two. Hands-on experiences will supplement readings from the primary literature both in science and history as well as literary explorations of nature.

BHP 232 Honors Seminar: Science and Politics of the Jersey Shoreline 3 Credits

Designed to acquaint the student with the scientific basis for evaluation of coastal problems and the political realities of funding and policy, focusing on the New Jersey Shoreline. Course topics will include consideration of waste disposal in ocean systems, depletion of ocean resources, physical and biological ramifications of human activities on the environment, and the political problems in dealing with mitigation of environmental stresses.

BHP 259 Honors Seminar: The Environment: a Conflict of Interest 3 Credits

Examines critical environmental issues such as global warming; food, water and energy resources; population trends; and global industrialization. Topics for context will include the origin of the elements, the origin of solar systems, and the origin of life as well as the basic principles of the current biotechnical revolution. Scientific understanding will be combined with knowledge about strategies for raising community awareness in order to (re)formulate public policy. In teams, students will be asked to define the problems; research available and prospective solutions; identify the technical, social, political, and economic constraints; and finally propose a workable strategy for making progress toward solutions.

BHP 260 Honors Seminar: Education and the Arts 3 Credits

Through the study of classic and contemporary artistic works as well as influential philosophies and theories of education, this course explores representations of education in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, film, and music and the relationship between theory and practice. Society’s shifting and ambivalent attitudes toward teachers and the educational process will be studied from multiple perspectives, including those of artists who are important educators themselves.

BHP 268 Honors Seminar: Love and Chivalry in the Arthurian Tradition 3 Credits

The legends attached to King Arthur of Britain and the Knights of the Roundtable have fascinated audiences for the past 1500 years. This course will examine the origins, development and meanings of love and chivalry, two essential themes in the Arthurian legends. Through study of the two major love triangles in the tradition---Arthur- Guinevere-Lancelot, and Tristan-Isolde-Mark---and the chivalrous quests of Lancelot, Tristan, Gawain, Parzival, and other Knights of the Roundtable, students will discover how Arthurian ideals regarding love, chivalry, kingship, and heroism were established and why they still resonate in popular culture. This course counts towards the fulfillment of the Disciplinary Perspectives element of the CLAS general education curriculum.

BHP 270 Interdisciplinary Studies 3 Credits

Exploration of interdisciplinary topics and themes in honors courses team-taught by instructors representing different disciplinary specialities.

BHP 271 Special Topics in Interdisciplinary Studies 3 Credits

Exploration of interdisciplinary topics and themes in honors courses team-taught by instructors representing different disciplinary specialities.

BHP 280 Honors Seminar: The World as a Social Construct 3 Credits

Challenges students to view the world as a product of historical and philosophical traditions as reflected in global communication dynamics. Forms of both ancient and modern political governance and their influence on international socio-political alliances will be examined, especially as reflected in cosmopolitanism, urbanization, and migration. Topics include the impact of the revolution in modern means of communication and obstacles to communication among peoples of diverse nations.

BHP 300 Honors Seminar: Cultural Politics 3 Credits

With attention to genres such as literature, music, film, and the visual arts, this course explores the role of artistic expression as it reflects and/or subverts the structural elements and distribution of power in a selected culture and time period.

BHP 302 Mirrors of the Mind: The Interplay of Literature and Psychology 3 Credits

In exploring the longstanding and evolving partnership between literature and psychology, this course addresses the following questions: How does understanding of psychological theory enhance our reading of literature? How does reading of literature affect our judgements and our responses to real-world situations? How can literary texts aid psychologists in refining theories explaining human behavior? Readings include classics, as well selections by recent writers and theorists representing both disciplines. Among the themes typically discussed are struggles in achieving stage-salient goals in life (separation from parents during adolescence and beginning the assumption of adult roles, etc.); complexities in social interactions (familial, romantic, etc.); the development of empathy; perceptions of self and other; loss and grief, morality; and the influence of culture on personality and behavior.

Prerequisite(s): Completion of BHP 150 and minimum GPA 3.3; or POI.

BHP 303 Honors Seminar: Politics & Philosophy of the 60's 3 Credits

Examines three major American political movements of the 1960s--the black movement, the student movement, and the feminist movement--with an emphasis on the interactions among philosophy, politics, and culture. These themes are studied using original sources including theoretical writings by the movements’ main proponents and texts describing particular events and developments in political and social history. Source materials may also include documentary films and recordings which represent the cultural assumptions of the period.

BHP 304 Honors Seminar: Europe Armageddon 3 Credits

Investigates the history and literature of World War I in order to understand how it shaped the civilization of the 20th century and how it affected the lives of those who experienced it.

BHP 307 Honors Seminar: Presence of Mind - Artificial intelligence and Human Creativity 3 Credits

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? In what ways can computers “think”? How is their “thinking” similar to and different from that of humans? Through readings, lectures, discussions, and creative projects, students will investigate evidence of intelligence and creativity in various disciplines including music composition, art, and human and non-human systems. We will examine predictions for AI that date back to the 1930s and ponder likely developments in this area in the 21st century. No prior experience with computers or music is required.

BHP 309 Honors Seminar: Genetic Engineering and the Philosophy of Science 3 Credits

Highlights the different perspectives held by scientists and philosophers regarding current bioethical issues. Topics include classical ethical theory, applied ethics, and basic biology as it relates to topics such as stem cells, cloning, and assisted reproduction. Students will learn how to construct and present rational, objective arguments during class discussions and presentations. At the end of this course, students will have gained a strong perspective both the ethical and biological foundations behind modern “hot- button” topics in genetics.

BHP 310 Honors Seminar: European History 3 Credits

Involves reading major European historical novels of the 19th century. Students will discuss why the vogue for historical fiction began and why the novels of Sir Walter Scott had such a tremendous impact on the genre. Examined will be such questions as the definition of historical fiction, the importance of historical accuracy, the relationship of literature and history, and the influence of historical differences in the development of historical fiction in different countries.

BHP 312 Honors Seminar: Musical Expression 3 Credits

Examines the relationships between political culture (e.g., enlightened reform, revolution, or reaction) and musical discourse in periods selected from Viennese classicism, Biedermeier/romanticism, post-romanticism and expressionism. Major emphasis will be placed upon how composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mahler, and Schoenberg exploited and developed musical forms, and chose and set texts to respond to the imperatives of their political and cultural environments.

BHP 314 Honors Seminar: Symbolism/Impressionism 3 Credits

Examines Symbolist literature and Impressionist music. Students will come to understand some interrelationships between literary and musical creativity in the late 19th and 20th centuries by studying Symbolist literature and Impressionism in music history--two movements that had significant impact on Modernism and that continue to influence contemporary creative work.

BHP 315 Honors Seminar: 20th Century European Ideologies 3 Credits

Covers the origins and development of 20th-century European ideologies in a comparative perspective. Topics include the condition of European political culture at the turn of both centuries (i.e., 1900 and 2000), methods of spreading Nationalism and national culture, the First World War and the emergence of Fascism and Communism, the origins and consequences of the Cold War, the development and fate of the Socialist and Capitalist systems, and the ideology of Conservatism/Liberalism. We will also reflect upon the condition of European political culture in our day.

BHP 318 Honors Seminar: The Bible as Literature and Philosophy 3 Credits

Discusses selections from the three major divisions of The Bible: the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Apocrypha. Stories such as Joseph and his brothers, Exodus, Samson and Delilah, Jonah and the Whale, Susannah and the Elders, the raising of Lazarus, and the trial and execution of Jesus will be read. Students will study many genres, including the short story (The Book of Ruth), poetry (Psalms), history (I and II Samuel), apocalypse (Revelations), letters (I and II Corinthians), and philosophical tales (The Book of Job).

BHP 319 Honors Seminar: Arts of Memory 3 Credits

Collective memory, cultural memory, computer memory, crises of memory: explores different ideas about memory through a variety of disciplinary lenses within the humanities, including film, music, rhetoric, literature, history, and fine art. Topics will include the nature of group and cultural memory, mnemotechnica (the structures and techniques of memory), the representation of memory, memory anomalies and problems, and historical and national memory.

BHP 320 Honors Seminar: Gender and Music 3 Credits

Through listening and reading assignments, introduces students to the role of gender in shaping the creation, performance, and reception of Western music. Topics include canon formation and the reception history of works by male and female composers; the historical conditions in which women became composers, performers, listeners, and patrons; the musical representations of gender difference and sexuality; definitions of feminine and masculine musical style; ideologies of genius; and gender issues in music aesthetics, music historiography, and in the biographies of composers.

BHP 321 Gender and Sexuality in Hip Hop and R & B 3 Credits

This course explores the formation of femininity, masculinity, and sexuality in Hip-Hop and R&B, focusing on the music, images, and politics of the genres. Because Hip-Hop and R&B also exist in dynamic relationship with a variety of other genres, including funk, soul, rock, disco, jazz, and electronic dance music (EDM), some of these other genres will be included in readings and discussions along the way. Related topics include racial identity theory, religion, and a variety of other social constructions as mediated through rhetoric and discourse conventions that shape who we are and how we understand ourselves.

BHP 322 Honors Seminar: Guilty and Innocent 3 Credits

Through the study of social theory and research, legal cases, fiction, non-fiction, film and poetry, this course examines theories of criminal motivation and behavior, determination of blame, and assignment of appropriate punishment. Topics include changes in legal and cultural understandings of individual and social responsibility for criminality; the nature, purpose, and effects of punishment; and the impact of race, class and gender on defining crime and determining guilt or innocence. This course counts towards the fulfillment of the Disciplinary Perspectives element of the CLAS general education curriculum.

BHP 323 Capitalism: On Trial 3 Credits

Capitalism as a socio-economic system is put on trial! Readings for and against capitalism, drawn from a range of influential classic and contemporary texts, are examined and discussed in class. The competing theories are applied to current social, economic, and political issues. The role of government in the economy is also debated.

BHP 325 Literature and Political Realities: Dictatorship to Democracy in Latin America 3 Credits

Explores Latin American politics and government in the 20th century and of the role of artists, primarily writers of fiction and poetry, as a corps of truth-tellers and resisters in the face of government propaganda, censorship, and cultural/political repression. The course will center upon themes and theories that help us explain the current state of Latin American politics and culture, and the dynamics of their mutual influence. We will emphasize the vacillation between authoritarianism and democracy as well as the role of revolutionary change in the region. Analysis of economic, social, cultural, and historical influences on contemporary Latin American politics will be complemented and enriched by a study of representative works from important cultural and artistic movements.

BHP 330 Campaign Persuasion 3 Credits

This course will explore both political campaign communication history and practice, with a particular focus on current campaigns in New Jersey. The interface between communication theory and politics and the way in which messages are framed by the media will be explored. Guest speakers will share their perspectives on selected campaign issues. To move from the classroom and theory to real situations, students will be encouraged to volunteer for a campaign in New Jersey, and assignments will be focused on creating practical examples of political campaign communication materials.

BHP 350 Genocide and Human Rights 3 Credits

Explores one of the main paradoxes of the modern era: the development of human rights standards and, at the same time, the expansion and intensification of genocide, ethnic cleansing, systematic torture, and other crimes against humanity. A central question runs through the course: How are these two polar opposites, human rights and genocide, related? Concentrating on the period from the eighteenth century to the present, and encompassing virtually every area of the globe, we will discuss and debate the meaning of contested key terms, investigate particular historical cases of mass atrocities, and examine critically some of the recent efforts at redress, justice, and memory.

BHP 490 Independent Study: Research and Creative Expression 1-4 Credits

Independent Research and Study allows juniors and seniors in good academic standing to investigate topics of interest under faculty supervision no later than the third week of the semester in which the project is to be conducted. Only one project can be scheduled in a semester, and for no more than four semester hours.

BHP 499 Baccalaureate Honors Thesis 3 Credits

Students completing the Baccalaureate Honors Program undertake a capstone project, which may be research-based and/or creative. Minimum 3 credits in total, which may be completed in fall or spring of senior year or distributed across both semesters. For details, see BHP Web site: