Previous Honors Courses

Learn more about the honors courses previously offered at CNM.

Spring 2024 Course Offerings 

Lit Mag Publishing: Leonardo 

HNRS 1120, Section U01, CRN 85129
Instructor: Jessica Mills (jmills22@cnm.edu)

In this hands-on course, you will learn publishing-related skills, including management and editing, and publish an annual edition of a student literary arts journal: CNM's LeonardoIn the first part of the course, you will survey the present and recent past of regional and national peer institution student literary arts journals to explore such questions as:

  • What makes a really good (or bad) issue?
  • How does a student publication represent a wide diversity of voices and perspectives equitably and as compellingly as possible?
  • What has Leonardo been recently, and what do we want it to be going forward?

With answers to these questions, through journaling assignments and class discussion, you will work collaboratively to produce and promote the 2024 issue. This includes everything from reviewing submissions and communicating with student contributors to designing the issue and helping organize the spring release party. Other editorial roles you can choose to play include managing and designing the Leonardo website where Leo Long Form is published, promoting the journal on social media, and creating a handbook for future student editors. In this class, you don’t just learn about publishing, you do it. 

Fall 2023 Course Offerings

Monsters, Mermaids, and Magic: Why Fantasy Matters

HNRS 1120, Section 101, CRN 76644
Instructor: Dr. Megan B. Abrahamson (amegan@cnm.edu)

Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins. Mermaids, Fairies, and Dragons. Superheroes and dethroned gods. Ancient wizards and dystopian futures.

Fantasy has the most fun of all literary genres, but it also delves into philosophy (how the world works, the nature of the soul and death), and social issues (marginalization and envisioning a more humane society).

This course follows fantastic genres from their origins in creation myths and supernatural epic poetry, through medieval romances and early modern English drama, and there from fairy tales to modern and postmodern fantasy novels, films, art, graphic novels, and games.

As we read from such texts as Gilgamesh, Anderson’s Little Mermaid, Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Neil Gaiman’s DC Comic The Sandman, and the Role-Playing Game Dungeons and Dragons, we will discuss two essential questions:

  • How are Fantasy authors both constrained by and able to transcend the rules of the real world?
  • What can Fantasy tell us about the nature of humanity and our relationship to our world that other genres cannot?   

Summer 2023 Course Offerings

The Historical Roots of the Immigration Crisis

GNHN 1021, Section U01, CRN 93102
Instructor: Sue Taylor, Ph.D. (staylor61@cnm.edu)

The issue of immigration continues to be a critical issue as it has for the prior two decades. Despite less news coverage and stricter border enforcement since the outbreak of COVID-19 migrant caravans, most from Central America but also some from South America and Haiti, continue to cross Mexico, arriving at the U. S. Mexican border where they face confrontations with Mexican migration agents or U. S. border agents.  According to an October 27, 2021 article on Reuters, “The United States has registered record levels of migration this year, as border agents have apprehended or expelled more than 1.7 million migrants over the past 12 months.” The caravans continue despite stricter enforcement of immigration and asylum processes, pressure on Mexico, and agreements with the Northern Triangle countries to stop migrants from entering Mexico. 

The United States has experienced immigration from Mexico since the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo created a border between the two nations, splitting families and communities. However, it’s important to recognize that the majority of people coming north through Mexico in the migrant caravans for the past decades have come primarily from the Northern Triangle nations: Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Much of the rhetoric surrounding immigration, immigrants, and possible solutions ignores the reasons why immigrants from Central America are so determined to leave their home countries that they make long and dangerous trips to a country that seems intent to do whatever it takes to keep them out.

In this class, we will examine the historical roots of the conditions in Central America that have created the immigration crises of the 21st century.  Specifically, we will explore the impact of interventions by the United States in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala during the Cold War, asking what the connections between U. S. intervention and the current crisis are. 

Spring 2023 Course Offerings

Homeless in America

CRN 88824, GNHN 2204, Section 101
Instructor: Vinnie Basso, Ph.D. (vbasso@cnm.edu)

What is the relationship between homelessness and civil society? How do writers and activists challenge social stigma? What are the aesthetics of homelessness in popular culture?

In 2021, over half a million people were homeless in the United States and of the 34 million Americans who live in poverty today, roughly 10 million are at risk of homelessness. From present-day Albuquerque to nineteenth-century New York, our course looks squarely at the issue of homelessness in America and the ways that poverty, mental illness, and addiction generate social precarity.

Through the study of literature, film, and social and political writings, we will assess how social inequalities contribute to homelessness and evaluate the social practices and policies affecting some of our most vulnerable citizens.

Fall 2022 Course Offerings

The Graphic Novel

CRN 76378, GNHN 1021, Section D01 
Instructor: Jessica Mills
(jmills22@cnm.edu)

In this seminar-style course, students will read, discuss, and analyze the graphic novel as literature, beginning with the history and maturation of the medium. Students will read a curated selection of non-fiction and fiction graphic novel texts pertaining to historic, national, cultural, ethnic, and gender/sexuality issues, focusing discussion on the intersections of these issues in history, society and culture. Selected texts include The Manhattan Projects by Jonathan Hickman, Love and Rockets by Gilbert Hernandez, They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, and Octavia E. Butler’s bestselling literary science-fiction masterpiece, Kindred, in graphic novel format. There are no physical books to buy, but a membership to Comixology Unlimited is required, an approximate cost of $20 for the semester.

The essential questions this course aims to answer are: Are graphic novels capable of the same literary complexity as written books?  In graphic novels, how do both the word and the picture combine to reflect society and culture?  

Homeless in America: The Individual and the Collective

CRN 75244, GNHN 22O4, Section D01 
Instructor: Vincent Basso, Ph.D.
(vbasso@cnm.edu)

In 2021, over half a million people were homeless in the United States and of the 34 million Americans who live in poverty today, roughly 10 million are at-risk of homelessness. From present day Albuquerque to nineteenth-century New York, our course looks squarely at the issue of homelessness in America and the ways that poverty, mental illness, and addiction generate social precarity. Through the study of literature, film, and social and political writings, we will assess how social inequalities contribute to homelessness and evaluate the social practices and policies affecting some of our most vulnerable citizens. The essential questions this course aims to answer are: What is the relationship between homelessness and civil society? How do writers and activists challenge poverty and stigma? What are the aesthetics of homelessness in popular culture?

Mindfulness in the Digital Era

CRN 76379, GNHN 2205, Section D01
Instructor: Julie Dunlop
(jdunlop@cnm.edu)

Do you feel stressed? How much has your “screen time” increased during the pandemic? This course offers an opportunity to examine stress (and stress relief) in relationship to the digital era by exploring benefits and drawbacks of technological innovation—especially in relationship to your academic major and career path. Through writing, analysis, research, discussion, and experiential learning, we’ll move toward a deeper understanding of how technology is shaping our lives, as well as the choices we have in relating to our increasingly digitized society. Cross-pollination of ideas from different academic disciplines, cultures, and time periods will support our journey. (This class is 100% online and asynchronous; weekly work is required, with the opportunity to participate at the times that are most convenient for you.)

Spring 2022 Course Offerings

The City

CRN 86354, GNHN 1021, Section 101
Instructor: Jaime Denison (jdenison1@cnm.edu)

Polis is the Ancient Greek word for “city”, but it denotes the organization of government and economy of the city-state. Hence, the word “politics” is derived from polis, yet we tend to think of politics as divorced from our local communities and applied to larger, “imagined” communities, e.g. nation-states or the states of the US. However, the Greek connotation of polis maintains the idea of politics as the search for the communal good that is grounded in the material and ideological practices of the city, thus resisting our disembodied conceptions that get lost in media and popular political discourse. In this seminar, we will explore this concept of the city as a crucial site of the political, where issues such as production, transportation, preservation, public space and architecture signify the values and direction of those composing the community. In Part I, we will explore the Greek concept of the polis as it emerges from two major sources of political thought, Plato and Aristotle. In Part II, we then move on to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels, and Virginia Held, who focus on political thought while maintaining the importance of the material practices and local communities that underlie ideology. In Part III, we will finish by looking at theorists who discuss the political importance of city design and local politics, and we will finish up in the last few weeks discussing the current issues facing New Mexican cities and the communal values that are implicit in these struggles (which will be the basis of your final paper).

The Rhetoric of Protest: Social Activism and the Shaping of U.S. Democracy, Rhetoric, and Discourse

CRN 86700, GNHN 2201, Section 101
Instructor: Dr. Marissa Juárez (mjuarez8@cnm.edu)

Social activism has gained increasing visibility in the public sphere lately, as movements like Occupy, Black Lives Matter, United We Dream, #NoDAPL, MeToo, Never Again, and others have used public protest to call for equity, justice, and reform. In fact, in a recent article in The Guardian, journalist LA Kauffman asserts that “we are in an extraordinary era of protest,” noting that the past two years have seen unprecedented levels of civic action for social causes. As these protests become a point of contention within our social discourse, it’s important to remember that, historically, many groups and individuals have advocated for civil disobedience to effect meaningful social change within U.S. democracy. This course will explore the power of protest in the ongoing fight for equality. Specifically, students will investigate a variety of social movements and protest texts throughout history—beginning with the American Revolution and ending with texts from present-day activist movements—in order to understand the broader contexts of these messages and their lasting effects. Because protest takes place in a multitude of forms and media, the texts we explore in this class will necessarily move beyond the written word and into the realm of speech, performance, and visual artifacts. Likewise, students will compose assignments in multiple media, including rhetorical analysis, student-led discussions and presentations, posters, and manifestos.

Body, Consciousness, and Death: Humanities in Society and Culture

CRN 86481, GNHN 22O5, Section D01
Instructor: Rinita Mazumdar (rmazumdar@cnm.edu)

In this seminar we will explore the concepts of Body, Consciousness, and Death. Students will read articles pertaining to the concept of consciousness as theorized in the works of  Descartes, Darwin, Freud, Jung, Heidegger, Denette, Dreyfus, Derrida, Sankhya, Patanjali, Mandukya Upanishads, and The Tibetan Book of Dead. The purpose of these readings is for the students to be familiar with how important thinkers conceived of the body and its relation to consciousness in different disciplines. In addition, students will read articles from modern medical science and Eastern medicine on the concept of consciousness and death. Through these readings students to be familiar with how the concept of death vary with culture and compare and contrast these ideas with the discoveries in modern sciences. We will conclude the seminar with thoughts on how to apply these concepts in our modern lives by synthesizing thoughts from the thinkers that we have studied.

Memories of Past and Future: Speculative Poetry from Medieval to Modern

CRN 86428, GNHN 2207, Section 101
Instructor: AJ Odasso (aodasso@cnm.edu)
Fine Arts as Global Perspective

Speculative poetry has been defined as a genre of verse focusing on fantastic, mythological, and science fictional themes.  Often labeled “fantastic” or “slipstream,” it is distinguished from other poetic genres and movements by its subject matter; form plays little to no part in its classification.  While many 19th-century Romantic poets used retellings of myths and folklore as an angle for the exploration of alternative viewpoints and social issues in these accepted narratives, poets during the Middle Ages—worldwide—frequently utilized similar approaches and used non-traditional viewpoints (up to and including inanimate objects and sentient birds, as seen in the anonymous Exeter Book Riddles and Farid ud-Din Attar’s Conference of Birds) to explore their subjects.  Although speculative poetry’s emergence as a genre is often cited as having occurred during the 1960s-1970s (with the emergence of such publications as Asimov’ Science Fiction and the founding of the Science Fiction Poetry Association [SFPA] by Suzette Haden Elgin), these themes and approaches in literature have been with us for much longer than we think.  Beginning with the genre’s influences and origins in the verse of the Middle Ages, this writing-intensive course will explore how speculative poetry continues to foster self-expression through fantastic discourse, unexpected viewpoints, and exploration of realms often requiring suspension of disbelief.

Summer 2022 Course Offerings

The Legacy of Fantasy

CRN 94298, GNHN 1021, Section DO1
Instructor: Megan Abrahamson
(amegan@cnm.edu)

Fantasy, a popular genre today for books, films, television, and games, is one of the oldest storytelling genres. Why have we always enjoyed stories where gods, elves, and magic interfere with human lives? This course will chart the historical depth and breadth of fantastic genres, from creation myths and supernatural epic poetry to medieval romances and early modern English drama, and there from fairy tales to modern and postmodern fantasy novels, films, graphic novels, and games. We will explore how fantasy has been used for a variety of purposes beyond just telling a fun story, such as explaining how the world works, understanding the nature of the soul and death, marginalizing people who are different from us, escaping the confines of everyday life, and even learning more about it.

Fall 2021 Course Offerings

The Legacy of Power in the Novel in English

CRN 77731, GNHN 1021, Section 201
Instructor: Chris Prentice (cprentice1@cnm.edu)

In this class, we examine four novels' depictions of power and its extraordinary influence on the lives of individuals as well as the course of world events. In Gulliver's Travels, Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea, and The White Tiger, we meet an incredible cast of characters: talking horses, religious fanatics, scrappy social-climbers, mysterious fortunetellers, imprisoned dreamers, Bangalore entrepreneurs, Byronic heroes, and mad scientists. These novels are separated by hundreds of years and widely diverse cultural contexts. They take us from the political upheavals of the European Enlightenment to nineteenth-century feminism, from the 19C transatlantic slave trade in the Caribbean to today’s dog-eat-dog capitalism in India. For all their differences, these novels share a primary focus on the interplay between lesser and greater powers, between individuals, groups, nations, systems, and even species. As we read these novels, we will build our knowledge of what they contain—history, aesthetics, philosophy, economics, biography, and more—all the while honing our own analyses of power.

The Legacy of Gender Trouble

CRN 76977, GNHN 1021, Section 101
Instructor: Megan Abrahamson (amegan@cnm.edu)

This class explores the nature of femininity, masculinity, and gender-nonconformity from the Ancient world to today. What does it mean when we teach children to “be ladylike” or “act like a man,” and what power do biology, anthropology, and social constraints have on how we present our own gender? How has masculinity been discussed, historically, by women, and how do men write and think about femininity? How have our present-day biases inflected our interpretations of the past? Do we still need Feminism? What is the legacy of gender that we have inherited from history, and how does it differ across cultures?

Disaster and the Nation State: The Individual and the Collective

CRN 76974, GNHN 22O4, Section D01
Instructor: Vincent Basso (vbasso@cnm.edu)

Our course traces the ways that disaster has shaped modern states and societies. Through readings in literary fiction, autobiography, and essay, and applying a variety of critical methods, we examine the ways global writers and activists address disasters that range from endemic poverty to the consequences of unmitigated industrialism, war, disease pandemics, and environmental catastrophe. Questioning why impoverished and marginalized people are often more at risk of being the direct victims of disaster, our course evaluates the risks and rewards disaster poses to the nation state and assesses the ways writers and activists push back against the political and socioeconomic conditions that exacerbate social problems and environmental calamity. From the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 to COVID-19, our course analyzes the ways disasters fundamentally structure the modern world. 

Summer 2021 Course Offerings

The Utopian Legacy

CRN 92772, GNHN 1021, Section D01
Zachary Cannon (zcannon@cnm.edu)

This course follows the 500-year legacy of the idea of utopia as it evolves from political tract to fiction, from the depiction of utopian ideals to dystopian fears. We’ll look at philosophical/political tracts, novels, films and contemporary culture as we analyze the development of utopia from a blueprint of an ideal society to a structure for describing social calamity and handbook for resistance. We’ll start with More’s Utopia and end with Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games series and the deployment of its symbols of resistance in protests as far away as Thailand and Myanmar.

Spring 2021 Course Offerings

Legacies of Foodways: A Global Look at Food and Culture

CRN 83754, GNHN 1021, Section D01
Instructor: Jessica Craig (jcraig15@cnm.edu)

The consumption of food is not merely a human biological need, but also a means of defining ourselves, both in the past and today.  Like all aspects of culture, the sharing of food creates cohesiveness and unity among a given community.  This course will explore the influential role food has played in shaping human governance and power, economy, religious practice, and gender roles. We’ll also examine modern foodways, paying careful attention to issues of identity, food security, and health. We will address the issues of globalization, immigration, and human labor as it’s related to food.  We will explore the social norms of food preparation, food sharing, and food consumption.  We will identify and look to better understand food taboos and other rules that govern cultural ideologies surrounding what we eat and how we eat it. 

Writing the Environment: The Nature of Nature

CRN 84325, GNHN 2201, Section D01
Instructor: Rebecca Aronson (raronson@cnm.edu

 In this class we will explore environmental writing. Reading selections will include reportage, journals, and non-fiction personal essays, as well as poetry and a few films, with particular focus on Native American, African-American, and women writers. We’ll examine how people have observed, interacted with, romanticized, feared, measured, and reported on the natural world, while also thinking about our own stances towards our environment, through analytical and creative work. Come explore the nature of nature! 

Mindfulness in the Digital Era

CRN 84024, GNHN 2205, Section D01
Instructor: Julie Dunlop (jdunlop@cnm.edu)

Do you feel stressed? How much has your “screen time” increased during the pandemic? This course offers an opportunity to examine stress (and stress relief) in relationship to the digital era by exploring benefits and drawbacks of technological innovation—especially in relationship to your academic major and career path. Through writing, analysis, research, discussion, and experiential learning, we’ll move toward a deeper understanding of how technology is shaping our lives, as well as the choices we have in relating to our increasingly digitized society. Cross-pollination of ideas from different academic disciplines, cultures, and time periods will support our journey. (This class is 100% online and asynchronous; weekly work is required, with the opportunity to participate at the times that are most convenient for you.)

Dance as Diplomacy

CRN 83938, GNHN 2207, Section D01
Instructor: Bridgit Lujan (blujan8@cnm.edu)

In this course students will explore how dance serves as a cultural ambassador around the world.  Dance performances, videos, and images of dance influence peoples’ beliefs about a culture and a nation’s politics and values.  In this course students will explore how different styles of dance (ballet, jazz, flamenco, hip-hop) have influenced world views and served to increase harmony across nations through live performance and recorded media.  Students will do readings, observe videos, and participate in discussions.  This is not a movement class however there is an occasional movement component that gives students the opportunity to participate in embodied exploration of simple movements of each dance style to create reflective writings.