Ethics Courses

Students must complete 3 credits in ethics from this approved list of University offerings.  (One 3-credit course or a combination of 1-credit courses will meet the requirement.) Students may choose from a variety of courses in several liberal arts disciplines. Students who wish to propose another course for consideration should write to the Director.

Fall 2014 ~ 1-Credit Honors/Ethics Courses

ANTH / HIST / RL ST 197H (1 cr) ~ Religion and Society in Russia ~ ethics course

Instructor: Visiting Paterno Fellow Scholar, Jeanne Kormina, Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg, Russia
The course provides an introduction to the ethnographic study of religion with a focus on the post-Soviet space, and Russia in particular. How does religion influence the way people seek to shape and reshape their own selves and the meaningful world they live in? How can religious language be used for "silent criticism" of social injustice and other social problems? How and why does the state try to regulate religious expression, and what are the consequences of such regulation? The goal of the class is to come to a greater understanding of the diverse ways of defining and practicing religion, and to discuss their consequences for social identities and relations of power. Meeting dates: Tuesdays 4:15-5:45 p.m., October 7, 14, 21, 28; all-day field trip Sunday, October 19

ENGL / WMNST 197H (1 cr) ~ Margaret Atwood and the Contemporary World: Time for Payback ~ ethics course

Instructors: Rosemary Jolly and Jennifer Wagner Lawlor
Margaret Atwood is one of North America’s most celebrated, prolific, and challenging living writers. Best known for her novels, she is author of over forty volumes of fiction, short fiction, poetry, prose, and children’s literature; most recently, she has even developed video games! Atwood is famously unflinching in her frank and sometimes disturbing assessments of humanity's paradoxical nature, which is at once generous and greedy, hospitable and hostile, spiritual and cynical, insightful and ignorant. The role of the artist--and of art in general--is always central to Atwood's thinking and writing. Art can at once show us "sho we are and what we want," for better and for worse, "and what the limits to those wants may be." Meeting dates: Wednesdays 1:25-2:55 p.m., Oct. 22, Oct. 29, Nov. 5; Nov. 12 at 7:30 for the IAH Medal Ceremony, and Meeting with the Author on Thursday, Nov. 13; a final class meeting Weds. Nov. 19.

HIST 297H (1 cr) ~ Theorizing Gender and Islam ~ ethics course

Instructor: Jonathan Brockopp
The class will meet on November 5, 12, and 19, and December 3, 5:00-6:30 p.m., and a meeting with Prof. Sa'diyya Shaik, University of Cape Town, South Africa, and Prof. Nina Hoel, University of KwaZulu, Natal, while participating in an international conference at the Nittany Lion Inn, Penn State, on Gender and Islam on December 1 and 2. The class will focus on understanding lived Islam in transnational settings and the role of gender in shaping everyday life. How is meaning created in the texture of "ordinary life" and how does it inform understandings of social justice and the obligations we have to one another? By focusing on the "ordinary" and the "intimate" aspects of experience, this class will examine the various ways in which everyday life is constituted through the localized and situated politics of gender, race, and sexuality. The goal of this class is to analyze the role of Islam today in shaping the individual and collective social relationships and encounters that characterize everyday life.

ANTH / LER / SOC 297H (1 cr) ~ "Business as Usual": From Your Street to Wall Street ~ ethics course (will be added to schedule of courses soon!)

Instructor: Visiting Paterno Fellow Scholar, Daniela Peluso, University of Kent at Canterbury, England
This course will allow students to gain new perspectives on business formations, corporate cultures, capitalist practices and ideologies. Businesses – be they individuals, families, corporations, nation-states or multi-lateral corporations - have identities that are invariably distinct from one another and which are forged upon and promote particular social relationships. Ethnographic case studies, especially of the stock market and its related businesses, will provide the basis for discussing how these social relationships that enact power are embedded in broader cultural processes as well as ideologies. Acknowledging the multiple dynamic relationships between businesses, people and marketplaces will allow us to evaluate their roles as active and reactive producers, consumers and disseminators of cultural processes within our surrounding environments, extending from the local to the global. During the last class session, students will give presentations on a fieldwork-based interview project.  The instructor is a former Wall Street broker-turned-cultural anthropologist. Class meetings: 6:00-8:00 p.m. on November 18, 20, December 2, 9, and 16.

Spring 2015 ~ 1-Credit Honors/Ethics Courses

Two 1-credit ethics courses will be offered in the spring:

  • International Development, Humanitarian Assistance, and Justice beginning in January
  • Literary Landscapes of North Africa beginning in April

Fall 2014 ~ Other Courses of Interest to Paterno Fellows

CAMS / J ST / RL ST 012U (3 cr) ~ Lands of the Bible, with embedded study abroad trip to Israel

During the Fall 2014 semester, a unique Schreyer Honors College course (CAMS/JST/RLST 012U – Lands of the Bible) will be offered to SHC students and Paterno Fellows only.  This course will include an optional embedded study abroad trip to Israel during the semester break.  (Embedded courses do not fulfill the PFP Study Abroad requirement.)  Lands of the Bible will introduce students to the peoples, places and cultures associated with the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, covering nearly ten millennia of history and archaeology, beginning with the Neolithic period through the early Islamic periods (ca. 9,000 BCE – 750 CE).  It fulfills general education and international cultures requirements, degree requirements for CAMS/JST/RLST, as well as SHC and Paterno Fellows course and credit requirements.  Lands of the Bible will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:15–5:30 PM. This course culminates in a nine-day semester break trip to Israel.  Enrichment funds are available for this study abroad opportunity.  All participants must be SHC students and/or Paterno Fellows. For additional information and/or permission to register for this course, please contact , Associate Professor.

EDTHP / CI ED 440 (3 cr) ~ Introduction to Philosophy of Education ~ ethics course

The major objective of EDTHP 440, Introduction to Philosophy of Education, is to broaden and deepen the students’ understanding of the nature of education.  Such a study involves exploring the aims as well as the means of education.  That is, our study includes both a philosophical examination of some of the distinctive characteristics of “educated persons” as well as the different elements of the learning experiences (including curricula and pedagogies) that encourage the development of such persons. The study of ethics is interwoven with ecology, ecological literacy, agriculture, health, economics, and other important social questions being explored by contemporary social thinkers, including John Dewey and David Orr.

ENGL 202H (3 cr) ~ Writing in the Humanities: Adult Literacy

For more information, see the description on the Paterno Fellows blog.

HIST 444U (3 cr) ~ The United States in Civil War and Reconstruction, 1850-1877

Honors Courses

Schreyer Honors College maintains a searchable list of honors courses, and provides detailed definitions of honors courses and honors options.

Summer 2014

HIST 011 and HIST / ASIA 299 at Nanjing University, China

For more information, see: Applications due by February 1, 2014.

Spring 2014

ENGL 197H (1 cr) ~ Shakespeare: Text and Performance

For more information, see the description on the Paterno Fellows blog.

ENGL 202H (3 cr) ~ Writing in the Humanities: Adult Literacy

For more information, see the description on the Paterno Fellows blog.

ENGL 297H (3 cr) ~ Rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement ~ ethics course

For more information, see the description on the Paterno Fellows blog.

INTST 496H (3 cr) ~ Introduction to Contemporary South America

This three-credit honors course, taught by Dr. Richard Stoller from the Schreyer Honors College, provides an interdisciplinary introduction to contemporary South America with an emphasis on Brazil and Colombia, the countries included in our five-week summer program (July 6-August 10).  Course themes will include economic development and urbanization, democratization and social movements, and the impact of violence on society and culture.  The course will meet in C-9 Atherton Hall on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30-3:45 p.m.  It may be counted as a GS via a request to your adviser. Taking the course does not obligate you to go on the trip, but we hope that most students will go; conversely, taking the course does not guarantee a place on the trip, if we have space constraints.  For more information about the course and trip, you can contact at; to register for the course, you must contact Tatyana Kalinchuk in the SHC office at 865-4257 or  The course will appear in your schedule within a few days.

Fall 2013

ENGL / WMNST 197A (1 cr) ~ Patti Smith: Punk, Poetry, Performance

A 1-credit special topics course, offered in Fall 2013, in conjunction with the Institute for the Arts and Humanities (IAH)

Monday evenings, 8 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., from September 23 through October 21, 2013

**This one-credit course is being offered in conjunction with Penn State’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities, which is awarding Patti Smith the IAH Medal Distinguished Humanities Award on October 15, 2013.


American musician and artist Patti Smith (b. 1946) exploded onto the American and international music scene with the release of her first album, Horses, in December 1975 and has remained a creative, vibrant, politically engaged artist ever since.  Smith’s celebrated role in the avant-garde of punk rock music represents only a portion of her talents. Smith’s credits extend to photography and visual arts, to poetry, to memoir and nonfiction; while her musical accomplishments are marked by Grammy Awards and membership in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, those awards leave out her accomplishments in photography, the visual arts, poetry and prose literatures. Her receipt in 2010 of the National Book Award for her memoir, Just Kids, surprised many – but Smith’s career in writing is as long as her career in music.  The eight-week course begins with the historical and cultural contexts from which Smith emerges as an artist, but emphasizes throughout the vitality of her ongoing career in various artistic fields. In short, the course surveys the complex cultural milieu that “made Patti Smith possible,” and which Smith herself would go on to complicate and alter in her own right.

This course will meet weekly for five 90-minute sessions, one of which will be (in week four) the celebration of Smith at the IAH Award Ceremony in October.

Required for completion of the course: mandatory class attendance, including attendance at the IAH Distinguished Medal Award Ceremony on October 15, 2013; completion of reading/viewing assignments, to be indicated by consistent and thoughtful engagement in class discussion; short writing assignments/response papers. There will be no exams.

CMLIT / HIST 197A (1 cr) ~ Uncanny October

A one-credit special topics course, offered over the course of five weeks in Fall, 2013, in conjunction with the Institute for Arts and Humanities (IAH) series "Uncanny October."

Tuesdays, 4:00 p.m.–5:15 p.m., October 1 through October 29, 2013

Instructors: Dr. Jonathan Eburne (Comparative Literature and English) and Dr. Greg Eghigian (History)

During the month of October, 2013, the Penn State Institute for the Arts and Humanities will host a series of events on the theme of the uncanny, or the familiar made strange.  "Uncanny October" will feature performances, talks, roundtable discussions, films, and an art exhibition, covering themes that touch on the weird, mysterious, malicious, supernatural, dangerous, and just plain creepy. Taking seriously the intellectual possibilities for studying everything from ghosts to flying saucers to demons, this one-credit course will consider what makes something uncanny, how we try to make sense of it, and what our engagement with the uncanny might say about being human. Requirements include attendance at all events and lectures. No prerequisites.

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