Courses

ihpcours

Honors Seminars

HHU/HSS 2206 Mediated Lives: Avatars, Cyborgs, and Virtual Realities (3 US credits)

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The course considers the ethical, social, and aesthetic implications of virtual reality and artificial life in 21st-century technology-dominated culture. It aims to promote students’ awareness of the potential outcomes–epistemological, psychological, ethical, and social–of technological advances that are based on virtual simulations, augmented realities, and intelligent machines. In computer-simulated environments human life is experienced as suspended, mediated between the physical and the digital worlds. Computer developers attempt both to simulate physical bodies in virtual spaces and imitate human behaviors in expert systems and robots. Artificial intelligence systems are used in the processes of learning, deciding, correcting and justifying. Can computers simulate human processes such as intelligence and creativity? Can our brains recognize the dividing line between the physical and the virtual? To what extent do robots have the same rights as human beings? How do the new mediated realities affect subjectivity, identity, aesthetic judgment, and social relations?


HHU 2205 Pygmalion’s Creative Dream: Transformations of the Body from Myth to Modernity (3 US credits)

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An interdisciplinary study of changing representations of the body across a variety of periods, genres and media. It aims to explore moral, philosophical, and aesthetic issues associated with the body, as concept, as embodied experience, and as object of artistic representation. Using as a case study the myth of Pygmalion in its varied expressions in literature, philosophy, music and the visual arts, the course offers an introduction to the body and its transformations from antiquity to the present.


HHU/HSS 2207 Constructions of Desire: Representations of Eroticism in Western Culture (3 US credits)

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This course will explore the construction and representation of erotic desire across Western art and thought, as well as the precarious dialogue between eroticism and cultural orthodoxies. Desire is one of the most central and provoking concepts of Western consciousness; the ways in which desire has been conceived, re-conceived, represented, and transformed reflect cultural shifts which affect the way we think about desire and identity. Using a variety of ‘texts’ from antiquity to modernity (tales, poetry, film, opera), and following an interdisciplinary approach, the course will map the cultural, aesthetic, political and legal environments which have shaped the way we understand desire in contemporary times. The course is structured on a series of interrelated themed sections, aiming to shed light on a network of alternative definitions of desire, subjectivity, and the prohibited. Each themed section will be centered on a specific ‘text’ and its cultural, political, and philosophical connotations across the ages.


HSE 2205 Mathematics and Human Experience (3 US credits)

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An interdisciplinary course that aims to expose students to the ways in which mathematical principles and laws underline, inform, and help explain various facets of human experience. Using as starting points natural phenomena, forms of popular culture and elements of social life, the course will demonstrate the centrality of mathematical laws and the importance of mathematical consciousness. The course helps students understand how natural and cultural phenomena can be quantified. Aspects of nature, art, law, music, philosophy are investigated for patterns and equations that govern everyday life. By guiding students to an appreciation of mathematics not as an abstract science but rather as a vital tool for understanding the meaning of phenomena (natural, cultural, social), students will develop awareness of the mathematical structures at work on various planes of human experience.


HHU/HSS 2204 Digital Citizenship: Netizens and Cyberselves (3 US credits)

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The course considers the ethical, social and political impact of digitized information on individuals and societies by examining the Internet as the cyber agora in which the netizens of a cyber polis exchange goods and ideas. It aims to develop the students’ ethical awareness of their role as citizens of the information society, as well as promote their understanding of the political and social significance of information and communication technologies.


HSS 2225 Innovation in Action: A Design-Thinking Laboratory (3 US credits)

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A hands-on interdisciplinary course that introduces students to a fertile synthesis of Innovation Management theory and Design Thinking, a methodology that draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning to produce innovation in various business and social contexts. Bringing theory and practice together, the course will guide students to tackle a social, business, ecological, or cultural challenge of their choice through application of innovative problem-solving based on the principles of Design Thinking. Design Thinking constitutes an effective approach in generating innovation through early prototyping, formative feedback, and repeated iterations. The course is grounded on established research around Innovation Management and deploys Design Thinking as the methodology for actually generating innovation. Following an experiential mode of delivery, the course functions as a laboratory for innovation by providing a sandbox for applying Design Thinking applications.


HHU/HSS 2208 Poverty as Spectacle from the Odyssey to the Greek Crisis (3 US credits)

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This course will explore the ways in which poverty is not only represented but also constructed in/through various media, ranging from ancient literary texts to social history, political theory, and contemporary film. It seeks to enquire into the preconditions and cultural assumptions that inform representations of poverty, with special emphasis on the 20th and 21st centuries. The socioeconomic context which produces poverty also produces the discourse through which constructions of poverty are generated and propagated. Using a variety of ‘texts’ from antiquity to modernity (poetry, prose romance, social history, photography, short fiction, and film), and following an interdisciplinary approach, the course will map the cultural, aesthetic, political and legal environments which have shaped the way we understand poverty in contemporary times. The course is structured on a series of interrelated and transhistorical themed sections, aiming to shed light on a network of alternative representations of poverty. Each themed section will be centered on a specific ‘text’ and its cultural, political, and philosophical resonance across the ages.


HSE 2215 Human Consciousness: From Brain to Subjectivity (3 US credits)

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In this interdisciplinary course students are exposed to basic human brain anatomy, functions and neuroscience principles contributing to debates regarding the nature of perception and consciousness. An integration of biophysiological, neuroscientific, evolutionary, cognitive, and philosophical perspectives is explored in connection with the phenomenon of consciousness. The nature of mental content, and the neurobiological realization of consciousness are examined from multiple perspectives such as neurobiological, evolutionary, neuropsychological, and quantum mechanics. Students come to understand how our rich subjective experiences arise from objective neural activity and gain an insight into the biopsychological nature of the self, free will, artificial intelligence and the possibility of consciousness in animals.


HSS 2213 From Ballroom to Hip-hop: Reading the Language of Dance (3 US credits) 

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The course explores the relationship between popular dance, culture, and identity. It aims to increase students’ knowledge and understanding of the different ways in which popular dance functions as a social activity. Students will gain embodied knowledge of various forms of popular dance in order to develop their understanding of a range of different cultural experiences of dance, dance-based philosophies, training methods and techniques. To attend this course no prior dance experience is required.


HHU/HSS 2210 Between Reality and Imagination: Constructions of Modern Cityscapes (3 US credits)

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The course offers students the opportunity to study different ways of experiencing and understanding the material (social, political and historic) as well as imaginary dimensions of modern urban spaces. Emphasis upon city imaginaries aims to expose students to various discourses (sociological, aesthetic, literary, etc.) as tools for the study of modern cityscapes. The modern metropolis is experienced and represented both as a symbolic topos and as a purely material site. Urban theory, literature, visual arts and film, construct the modern metropolis in a variety of ways by means of theoretical, literary, artistic and cinematic representations. In employing an interdisciplinary approach, this course invites students to examine the modern city as an ‘object of the imagination’ as well as the product and producer of a concrete social reality.


HHU/HSS 2211 Private Stories, Public Stories: Personal Narratives in Historical Perspectives (3 US credits)

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The course explores the interrelationship of private stories and public experience through study of the characteristics and function of oral story-telling. Focus is placed on the connection between story-telling, personal memory, and social/historical experience. Students are exposed to the techniques and processes of oral history, such as researching the subject; conducting interviews; handling materials ethically and responsibly; preserving personal narratives; and composing and editing research documents and projects. Using an interdisciplinary approach (that combines history with sociology and communication) and a variety of different texts (theoretical, oral, visual), the course aims to sensitize students to the functions and significance of orality as a means of articulating as well as shaping history and experience, both private and public. Major emphasis is placed on experiential learning of the subject, as much of the course will involve on-site instruction and direct contact with the object of study. Students will work under the guidance of the instructor on specified subjects that will vary from semester to semester.


HHU/HSS 2203 In the Mouth of Madness: Depictions of Insanity in Western Culture (3 US credits)

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 This seminar will explore the various ways in which madness has been represented in the creative imagination across the ages in a variety of media (theatre, literature, autobiography, film, pop culture etc.) and at the same time pay close attention to specific cultural subtexts offered by these depictions. The issue of the insane has always been a central theme in the arts and in theory (philosophy, politics, cultural theory), and has undergone numerous transformations, reversals, and deconstructions. Using case studies, predominantly contrasting in nature and/or in scope, the course will not only deal with the attraction many artists felt towards madness either as subject-matter or as experience, but also with the political, philosophical and cultural issues that arise from the various representations of madness. The course will explore the motif of madness as a subversive state of being, the mythology surrounding the mentally unstable, the ways in which authors who were diagnosed as insane transcribed their experience in text-form, as well as the interrelationship between gender and mental health. In addition, the course will pay particular attention to the formation of the mythology of the criminally insane in Hollywood and to contemporary tendencies in the depictions of madness in TV and advertising. Using a variety of materials from Shakespeare’s Hamlet to Björk’s Violently Happy, this course will offer an insight to the ways in which the themes of insanity and the insane have been used and abused across history, and the ways in which these themes are still very relevant to our world-view and culture.


HSS 2220 Strolling Incognito in Athens: the Art of City Walkabouts (3 US credits)

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In this Honors seminar students engage in structured walkabouts in the city of Athens, which enable them to become both readers and writers of the text of the city. Emphasis upon individual experience of the cityscape as a palimpsest aims to expose students to various discourses and urban morphologies (sociological, historical, aesthetic, etc.), as well as to everyday social interactions. Strolling Athens, specifically, is used as a means for the students to form individual responses to various aspects of the city. Much of the course is taught on site, as it will invite students to structured physical and intellectual walkabouts around the city of Athens. By using contemporary Athens as strolling ground, and by employing an interdisciplinary approach, this course will invite students to engage in flanerie in order to examine the several layers of the urban palimpsest.


HSS 2207 Game On: Game Design and Social Interactions (3 US credits)

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An interdisciplinary course that introduces students to principles of gaming which inform a broad spectrum of human behaviors and practices. Uncovering the analogies between games and social interactions and practices, the course provides a conceptual toolkit that can be applied towards navigating our increasingly gamified world. It introduces students to principles of gaming through an interdisciplinary perspective, in order to sensitize them to the ways in which gaming intersects with problem solving, strategic negotiations, self-motivated action, and design thinking. The vibrant insights of gaming allow for a novel reading of contemporary practices encountered in business, politics, technological applications, and psychology, thus enabling a more sophisticated understanding today’s social and cultural landscape.


HSS 2215 Rebels Without a Cause: Cultural Expressions of 20th and 21st- century Youth Subcultures (3 US credits)

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This Honors seminar guides students through an exploration of the social impacts and cultural expressions of radical youth subcultures in the 20th and 21st centuries. Emphasis is placed on the ways in which radical youth subcultures have expressed rejection or resistance to the mainstream, thus challenging or transforming the Western normative structure. From Dada antifascist youth art, to the 1950s teen rebellion and from there to the 1960s-1970s civil rights movement and to contemporary anti-authoritarian and anti-capitalist movements,   20th and 21st-century youth subcultures have been proven active vehicles of social change. Through study of a variety of interdisciplinary materials, from painting and music, to films, political manifestos, and literary texts, students are led to explore the many ways in which 20th- and 21st-century youth subcultures have affected and defined fashion, music, lifestyle, forms of political expression, and social mindsets.


HSS/HHU 2221 Performing Masculinities (3 US credits)

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The course explores the construction of masculinity across different historical settings, and in the contexts of race, nationality, and sexuality. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, the course offers students the opportunity to interrogate assumptions concerning maleness, rethink masculine identities, and develop awareness of masculinity as performance. Readings and material will be drawn from the humanities and social sciences, and popular culture. The course offers an overview of the ways in which maleness is perceived, enacted, imagined and represented in different contexts and through different media. It aspires to help students examine masculinity as a cultural construct and as performance, as well as consider the ways in which the masculine norm shapes social standards and private experience. This is an interdisciplinary course which enables a multi-faceted exploration of masculinity as a complex, layered, and unstable concept.


HHU/HSS 2214 Laughing it Off: Forms and Uses of Modern Political Satire (3 US credits)

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This Honors seminar invites students to engage in a critical exploration of political satire in art, literature and film. Students will be exposed to different types of satirical expression, and will be led to consider satire as a gesture of political resistance. Students also examine satire in connection with issues such as the limits to freedom of expression, censorship, and social responsibility. From the satirical dissection of middle-class life, to the critique of totalitarianism, social alienation and imperialism, satire in art, literature and film has issued a constructive challenge to socio-political pathologies, calling for increased political awareness and civic action. At the same time, however, satire has been accused of propaganda, or of overstepping the boundaries of free expression to attack religious and social sensibilities. This latter dimension of satire is evident throughout modern history, from the Nazi anti-jazz and anti-Semitic propaganda, to some of Charlie Hebdo’s controversial cartoons. In this context and through study of a variety of interdisciplinary materials, students are led to discover the latent socio-political and ethical dimensions of satire.


HHU 2201 Sound Poetry and Sonic Art (3 US credits)

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Sonic art is a term generally adopted to describe the artistic manipulation and organization of sound. It is a broad term, that refers to more traditionally musical spheres, as well as a multitude of creative practices, from computer music and noise music, to music made from environmental sounds (soundscapes), installation art, and sound poetry (that is poetry which employs aspects of sounds as creative resources). The key ideas behind sonic art are central to many of the new forms of artistic creativity that have emerged in music and the broader fields of artistic endeavour. Theoretical and practical familiarity with these ideas will better enable students to make sense of current and future developments in the arts. The main focus of the course will be on developing students’ aesthetic and theoretical understanding of sonic art, while integrating this as closely as possible to their own creative exploration of the medium. The course does not assume prior knowledge of music, nor special musical ability. Emphasis is placed on experiential learning, and for this reason class meetings take place in a computer lab.


HNS 2285 Greening the Campus (4 US credits)

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An introduction to sustainability and the science of selected environmental issues. This will be a field study course focusing on selected environmental aspects of campus life. Through field work, the students will not only gain practical knowledge of sustainability but also strengthen the campus culture in support of environmental issues. The operation of a university has clear environmental impacts and in this way, it is a living laboratory for environmental science work. This course aims to take advantage of this and provide students the opportunity to learn about environmental issues, ways to improve our relation with nature and the environment and promote sustainability through actual field work in their own college community. In this process, students will understand basic concepts of environmental science, will get a sense of the interdisciplinary / integrated nature of sustainability and will develop a hands-on understanding of scientific methods through experiential learning approaches. The course will focus on selected environmental topics / aspects and will be related with ongoing sustainability activities on campus.


HSS 2212 The Future of Capitalism (3 US credits)

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The purpose of the course is to expose students to questions regarding the viability and future course of the free-market economic system, aka capitalism, as well as help them investigate forms of social and cultural consciousness shaped by capitalism. To this end, it will combine economic, historical, sociological, political, and cultural analysis in appraising the system’s contributions to the human project, its strengths and weaknesses, the threats and opportunities it presents, as well as its prospects for survival. It will look into (a) the economics of capitalism, as regards both competitive & non-competitive capitalism; (b) the political & social dimension, as typified in the Left – Right dichotomy, (c) the lessons of history, and the relation of capitalism to democracy as well as the middle class; (d) the ways in which capitalism informs a range of social and cultural activity; (e) the ethics, from Weber’s ‘protestant ethic’ thesis to Nozick’s entitlement theory and the corporate social responsibility approach.


HEL 2202 Documentary Photography (3 US credits)

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The course teaches students to develop a meaningful relationship with lived experience through photography. Documentary photography frames and reproduces events and scenes of life, both public and personal. Emphasis is placed on photography as text (i.e. as a form of narrative that displays its own rules and structural characteristics) through which the individual photographer articulates his relationship with his environment. For this reason, the course encourages students to use photography as a means through which they are able to explore as well as give shape to the world around them. It introduces students to various types of documentary photography, and teaches them basic rules that govern this journalistic and artistic form. Major emphasis is placed on experiential learning of the subject, and for this reason much of the course is taught on site. Working on specified subjects under the guidance of the instructor, students develop awareness of the language of photography and its narrative power. The course presupposes basic knowledge of photography and ownership of a digital camera.


ENH 2286 Fairy Tales Formed and Transformed (3 US credits)

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The course will investigate retellings of classic fairy tales in various art forms and media (i.e., text, image, film, music, theatre). Students will explore the purpose and means through which artists mine the cultural unconscious to produce the transformations of well-known bedtime stories. Informed by the practices of cultural studies, this interdisciplinary course will approach the subject holistically, encouraging students to place the works within their socio-historical context and to analyze the ways in which meaning is produced both in the classic tales and in their transformations. Traditionally viewed as tales deriving from folklore and conveying moral lessons, fairy tales, such as Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and Beauty and the Beast, have entertained and instructed generations of children in the Western world since the 18th century. More recently these classic stories have also been re-imagined, re-invented, and re-told for various purposes and to startling effect by a diverse array of modern and contemporary artists and image makers: poets, cartoonists, movie producers as well as advertisers. Whether new versions of these traditional tales recycle familiar thematic elements (such as the rags-to-riches plot of Cinderella) or reference iconic imagery (such as the girl in red), these retellings produce new versions, serious or satirical, subversive or approving of societal mores. Through this course students will learn to appreciate the diversity of cultural production, assess the uses of tradition in art and in the marketplace, and contribute orally and in writing to the creative and critical debate on the uses of fairy tales in post-modernity.


HHU/HSS 2202 Electr(a)fying Passions: the Transformations of the Electra Myth from Antiquity to Contemporary Culture (3 US credits)

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An interdisciplinary course focusing on the ancient myth of Electra and its transformations from antiquity to contemporary culture, combining textual analysis of ancient and modern texts, study of contemporary performance traditions and of filmic, musical, and popular representations of the myth in 20th century culture. Starting off with a thorough examination of the three surviving ancient tragedies featuring Electra, the course will investigate the early formations and gradual transformations of the character in antiquity. Apart from the textual analysis of the specific tragedies, it will address the tradition of ancient Greek drama as a whole, and present specific case studies of contemporary performances that offer unique visions and interpretations both of the myth and of the genre. The course will move on to study the re-birth of the Electra myth in modern culture in the contexts of psychoanalysis and literature, but also in film, music theatre, and pop culture. Furthermore, students will be given the opportunity to visit selected ancient sites in and around Athens (Ancient Theatre of Dionysus, Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, Mycenae, Ancient Theatre of Argos, Ancient Corinth).


HSS 2285 New Media and their Audiences (3 US credits)

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Using an interdisciplinary approach (sociology, media, cultural studies, politics), this course aims to provide a multi-faceted understanding of the role of new media and transnational communications in the era of globalization. By analyzing the broader societal implications of the new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), it intends to examine them through empirical and theoretical works within the socio-cultural context of our time. The transformation of mainstream conventional media along with the latest forms of interactive new media and their respective technological infrastructure, have (re)shaped identities, relationships, groups, societies and globality. Relying on the students’ personal experience and involvement   with the new ICTs as the first truly “digital generation”, the course intends to: (a)   broaden their theoretical understanding of the implications of these cataclysmic changes, (b) familiarize them with related current debates and criticisms, (c) actively engage them in empirical projects which enhance experiential learning and encourage them to participate in the media they study.


HHU 2209 The City as Myth: Landscape, Narrative and Urban Memory (3 US credits)

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This Honors Course offers students the opportunity to unearth the hidden myths of the city of Athens, and study the interrelationship between ancient mythic narratives and contemporary urban development, that in many cases has completely overpowered the city’s own cultural memory. Following specific myths, the students are able to study and experience first-hand the complex mythic nexus that was responsible for the construction of urban identity in ancient Athens and which still functions as a subterranean “network” of cultural referents. The course is based on seminar work and field trips in and around Athens, offering students a unique opportunity to discover hidden, ancient stories that still define the urban landscape.


HEL 2501 Honors Thesis I (1 US credit)

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Choosing a thesis topic and the relevant advisor require preliminary work. This course will help students to select the Honors Thesis topic, choose a Thesis Advisor and develop the Honors Thesis Proposal. Through a series of assignments students will be guided through the requirements of Thesis preparation and will be provided with the relevant tools for their research project.


HEL 2602 Honors Thesis II (2 US credits)

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Independent study course in which students work directly with their Thesis Advisor to develop and complete the capstone project of their Honors education, the Honors Thesis.