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Please note: Before registering for any of these seminars, be sure your name is on the appropriate sign-up sheet in the honors center office.

Please sign-up for only one seminar and be certain you intend to take that seminar before placing your name on the sign-up sheet.

Spring Semester 2019

  • HON 110HA — Science & Theatre: Ethics in a Time of Innovation
    • Dr. Shawna Mefferd Kelty
    • M 6 – 8:45pm
    • 3 Credits

    This course focuses on the intersection of theatre and the ethics of science. Returning to Plato’s ethical question of the stage: “how shall I act” with regards to our scientific progress and its impact on humanity and our world. In this course, we will be evaluating the possibilities and challenges of using dramatic literature and theatre production to not only raise questions around issues of AI, evolution, and climate change, but also to examine how such plays can help to disseminate information about these issues, to engage readers in scientific and literary debate, and to promote activism. The course emphasizes practical connection between the study of dramatic literature and science as well as with institutions in our daily lives.

    Some of the questions we will consider include:

    • How do theatre and the sciences intersect?
    • What is the relationship between science and theatre?
    • How does a study of drama reveal the ethical dilemmas of scientific advancements? How does theatre reveal the historical cultural context of both science and the ethical dilemmas individuals and societies must face?
    • What does theatre offer in addressing the ethical issues regarding science?
    • In what ways do the sciences and theatre reflexively reflect and inform one another?
    • Given the advances in science and their potential for good (healing people, saving lives, increasing livelihood, etc.) is there a point of going too far?
    • What obligations do we have with regards to scientific breakthroughs?
    • In what ways can we use art as activism?
    • How can art be utilized to influence science? Is this even possible?

    The seminar will engage with all of these questions as students examine the plays through close readings, discuss social and ethical issues found in the texts and performance conditions, and pursue creative research projects. Assignments in the course include written responses to required readings, class presentations and performances, mini-podcasts, and a research project.

    This seminar will satisfy the humanities component of the Plattsburgh general education program.

    This seminar will meet in Hawkins Hall — 121 Hawkins Seminar Room B.

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