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Fall 2024 Honors Explorations

Successful completion of an Honors Exploration includes attending and actively participating in the entire duration of each session, as well as completing all readings and assignments.

The interest form for Fall 2024 Honors Explorations has closed.

Students who submitted an interest form will be contacted by Sarah Roth in late April and told if they are on an Exploration roster, or if they are on the waitlist.   

  • Central Illinois: Flyover country? I think not! It is prairie country.

    Jessica Chambers, Director, Horticulture Center - Department of Agriculture 

    Thursdays, 3:30 – 5-:30 pm; September 23 - October 21
    Location TBA

    Central Illinois, Flyover country? I think not! Join Jessica Chambers, Director of the ISU Horticulture Center, as we learn why Illinois is called the Prairie State. Visit 3 prairies - two re-established prairies and one remanent (original) prairie - as we learn about prairie habitats.  We will also visit the ISU Herbarium and then learn about some native plants by creating your own herbarium collection.

  • God Save the British Monarchy? Kings and Queens in the Modern World

    Dr. Taylor Soja, Assistant Professor, Department of History

    Tuesdays, 3:30 - 5:30 pm; September 3 - October 1
    Location TBA

    This Honors Exploration will explore the past, present, and possible futures of one of the strangest institutions in the modern world: the British monarchy. What did the roles of kings and queens in Britain used to be, and what are they now? What is the relationship between the monarchy and the British nation, or the British empire, or the British Commonwealth? Why is the monarchy even still around? Does the death of Elizabeth II signal the end of this institution? Why do we care about them so much?

    We will:

    -think critically about history and politics
    -consider what, if anything, queens have done for feminism and what princesses have done for LGBTQ rights
    -unpack the tension between nostalgia and history
    -use the monarchy to understand the “end” of the British empire
    -read fun gossip about famous royal couples like Diana and Charles, Will and Kate, Harry and Meghan
    -consider representations of the monarchy in the media (The Crown, the infamous Oprah interview, and more)

  • History in Video Games

    Dr. Nathan Kapoor, Assistant Professor, Department of History

    Wednesdays, 4 - 6 pm; September 4 - October 2
    Location TBA

    Age of Empires II introduced me to history and continues to challenge and inform how I think about historical narratives. Whether or not people like to admit it, video games are one of the most widely accessed and experienced forms of media in the world. Historical narratives ground many of the most popular franchises out there, such as Fallout, Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, and Red Dead Redemption. We should be aware of how telling history through games shapes our perspectives, politics, and culture.

    In this Honors Exploration, students will interrogate how we have used video games to retell, reimagine, and change how we understand historical moments. For example, we will explore how Fallout III incorporates the Cold War (1945-1991) into the world set in 2277 CE; we will visit American constructions of racial politics in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas; we will analyze how Red Dead Redemption II uses and challenges American settler-colonialism in the early 20th century; and cover many other games.

  • In Pursuit of a Better World: The Promise and Challenge of American Philanthropy

    Jennifer Sedbrook, Director of Development- Mennonite College of Nursing, University Advancement  

    Mondays, 5 - 7 pm; September 16 - October 14
    Location TBA

    Explore what the birth control pill, an LP record and life insurance all have in common (hint- they were all made possible through philanthropy!) and learn about the critical role of philanthropy on our campus, community, and the larger society. Through engaging readings from a variety of provocative thought leaders in philanthropy to local guest speakers to lively class discussions, students will have an opportunity to broaden their understanding of philanthropy both locally and nationally and how it is working (or not working) in making our world a better place.      

  • The Eras of Taylor Swift

    Heidi Bowman, Instructional Assistant Professor, Department of English

    Mondays, 5:30 - 7:30 pm; September 9 - October 7
    Location TBA

    Calling all Swifties! In this Honors Exploration we will look at and analyze the different eras of Taylor Swift's extensive music career. We will explore different literary references and allusions within her lyrics and discuss the impact of social media and cancel culture. We will gain an understanding of her challenges as a woman in the music industry and study how Swift has used her words and music over the years to create change. This Exploration is the brainchild of undergraduate student Gracyn Cordes, who designed a Taylor Swift course for her final project in her Honors English 101 class.