Reading and Assignment Schedule
Links and Additional Material


Short syllabus in printable format (pdf)

Course Information:

HONR 2100--001 TR 11:30-12:45 LI 211
Instructor: Christa Albrecht-Crane, Ph.D.
Office: LA 126f
Office Hours: TR 10-11:30, and by appointment
Office Phone: 863-6286

Course Description (from the UVU catalog):

This course provides Honors students with the opportunity to study an extensive period of human history from an interdisciplinary perspective. It examines Modern and Contemporary thought and culture through selected works written between 1500 C.E. and the present. The focus of the class will include at least one text that adds diversity (for instance, in ethnicity, class, or gender) to the cultural texts of the course. The course draws from disciplines including but not limited to literature, science, history, philosophy, and religion. It emphasizes close study of primary texts, and develops strong critical thinking, writing and rhetorical skills.


 The following books are required (available at the UVU bookstore):

1.  Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2001.

2.  Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. New York: Vintage Books, 1979.

3.  Kafka, Franz. The Trial. Trans. Breon Mitchell. New York: Shocken Books, 1998.

4.  Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. 1949. New York: Penguin Books, 1996.

5.  Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus. 1818. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.

6.  Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say, I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing. New York: W. W. Norton, 2006.

7.  A number of essays and texts that will be available on the class web page, under the "reading and assignment schedule" tab. More information is forthcoming in class.


The following book is recommended (at the UVU bookstore; we're reading the introductory essay that is also available as a pdf file under the "reading and assignment schedule" tab on this web site):

Berman, Marshall. Adventures in Marxism. London: Verso, 1999.


Course Objective in This Section:

This section of Modern Legacies examines the interrelated issues of power, labor, and the emergence of the modern individual. We will read a selection of influential modern texts in literature, philosophy, and cultural studies. The course focuses on how the modern individual has been defined in a particular way through structures of work; that is, we will examine how our conceptions of work are organized in certain hierarchies and routines that shape how we think of ourselves as individuals. We will ask how everyone of us is, in some way, caught up in work and labor; how we see ourselves through a particular definition of work. For instance, can you imagine "successful people" whose success does NOT depend in some way on their line of work and the amount of money they earn? Can we say, and get away with it, "so-and-so is very successful--he has raised two kids to be music-loving pet-owners?" One argument that will emerge in this examination is that individuals are both enlightened AND enslaved by modern society's conceptions of labor. That is, while many of us find fulfillment in our professions, many also experience a range of negative effects (stress, anger, or feelings of isolation). Overall, then, the course emphasizes the complex and paradoxical dynamic of modern life. We will read a number of texts from the early nineteenth century to the present, including Karl Marx (arguably the greatest theorist of issues of work), the novelist Mary Shelley, the famous Czech, Jewish, German-speaking writer Franz Kafka, the infamous American playwright Arthur Miller, and Barbara Ehrenreich, a contemporary US political activist and writer.

In addition, as the UVU catalog description of this course notes, we will also practice critical thinking, writing and rhetorical skills by completing a series of short writing assignments that culminate in an analytical, academic paper due at the end of the semester.


Attendance is mandatory. Small group activities and class discussion will be emphasized. Research shows that what occurs during class is an important part of the learning process so your attendance is necessary. If you miss class, talk to a classmate or two and get their notes, then talk to me if you have specific questions about what we covered.  Excessive absences (more than three) will lower your grade. Missing more than six classes will result in your failure of the class. Attendance will be taken at the start of every class period, and late arrivals and early departures will count against you. 


Our class sessions will be structured almost exclusively around discussions. It will be more enjoyable for all of us (and you’ll do better) if you (1) attend class regularly, (2) do the required reading, and (3) be prepared to discuss what we’ve read.  

In this course you are expected to be an active learner and to take responsibility for your work.  You should contribute meaningfully to our discussions on a daily basis. Your participation will be affected if you miss class.  Consider that a good participation grade reflects consistent active participation throughout the semester. “Heaping up” participation efforts one week in order to make up for low participation at other times will not help your overall score. In order to encourage as much participation from as many students as possible, I will make every effort to insure that as many people as possible get to be heard during our class discussions. 

Please be advised that this component of the course is quite important and that I take it very seriously. I strongly discourage “fluff” contributions and disruptions.   reserve the right to penalize students who, in my judgment, make repeated and obvious efforts to undermine quality discussion and/or to bolster their participation score with irrelevant comments. 


If, at the end of this semester, you have earned a C in this class, it means you did what was minimally expected of you: you came to all classes and did all the work. If you want a B or an A, you must not only come to all the classes and do all the work, but you must do the work with shining effort and attention.

You must complete all class assignments in order to receive a passing grade. Full details about assignments will be discussed in class; the "assignment" tab above provides additional information.

Participation/Attendance         15%
Reading Quizzes                    15%
Short Papers (average)           65%
Final Exam                             5%

Classroom Etiquette:

Cell phones, beepers, pagers, etc. are to be turned off before you come to class. Refrain from using your cell phone for text messaging at all times while you're in class. In addition, please do not use laptop computers at any time during class. Class members should treat each other with respect and a productive attitude.

Students with Disabilities:

If you have any disability impairing your ability to successfully complete this course, please contact the Accessibility Services Department (room BU-145). Academic Accommodations are granted for all students who have qualified documented disabilities.  Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by the Accessibility Services Department.

Academic Honesty:

The Statement from UVU's “Students’ Rights and Responsibilities Code“ reads: “Each student is expected to maintain academic ethics and avoid dishonesty in all its forms, including but not limited to, cheating and plagiarism, and fabrication as defined hereafter.” 

With respect to this particular class plagiarism refers to knowingly copying another person’s work or ideas and calling them one’s own or not giving proper credit or citation. This covers copying sections or entire papers from printed or electronic sources as well as handing in papers written by students for other classes or purchasing academic papers.  Plagiarism and cheating are not only dishonest but they cheat you out of learning. You must submit your own work in this course.

The consequences for academic dishonesty are grave. The penalty for a first offense in an F for the assignment; a second offense means that you fail the course and will be reported to the Department Chair and to Student Advising. If you have any questions about plagiarism, please talk to me.

Contacting Me:

I encourage you to visit my office, whether it is to address a specific concern or simply chat about the course. If you cannot meet during my office hours, I am happy to schedule another time to meet with you but you will need to talk to me ahead of time. 

The best way to contact me outside of office hours is through e-mail. You may call me at my office during office hours.