Forthcoming seminars

"It [the seminar] just got me thinking in different ways"

--Taylor Eaves, BS with Honors, 2013


Fall 2014

HONO 1397/3394

MWF 9:00     

Alost Human: “Were”ing Wolves in American Literature

Course Overview:

This course is structured to help students to think critically about the ways “nature” and concepts of the natural are reflected, constructed, and deployed in American literature and culture, particularly in the way that wolves and wolf-like animals are depicted in that literature. We will read some American “animal stories,” watch a couple of films dealing with the same sort of stories and also read critical and theoretical works that challenge ideas about animals in our culture.

Questions to keep in mind:

How are wolves and dogs deployed in literature to either reinforce or subvert ideas of nature and human “nature”? How do authors allow (or not) these animals to have a voice? Is there a difference between “talking animals” and animals speaking? How do these ideas of animals reflect (or not) our cultural attitudes toward human beings?

Proposed book list:

Claremont, Chris. Wolverine. Ill. Frank Miller. New York: Marvel, 2009 (original 1982). Print.

London, Jack. “Call of the Wild.” Saturday Evening Post, June 20-July 18, 1903. Web. 22 Feb, 2011.

Lopez, Barry. Of Wolves and Men. NY: Scribner, 2004.Print.

McCarthy, Cormac. The Crossing. New York: Vintage International, 1995. Print.

Russell, Karen. St. Lucy’s School for Girls Raised by Wolves. New York: Knopf Doubleday, 2007. Print

Wolves: Behavior, Ecology and Conservation. Ed. L. David Mech and Luigi Boitani. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2007. Print.


An American Werewolf in London.



For more information contact:  Dr. Maria O’Connell, GH 211B ; 291-1102; maria.o’


Spring 2015


HONO 1395.01, MW 3:10-4:25

Nature, Society and Conservation

offered by Dr. Andrew Kasner

This course will cover the biology of selected species with unique importance to Texas, its economy, and its citizens.  In addition, it will cover issues related to nature appreciation and ecotourism, conservation of nature, and modern day problems of sustainable use of natural resources.  It is intended for any student, not just those in the sciences, in order to help them gain an understanding of their relationship to nature regardless of their career path.               

TEXTBOOKSLeopold, Aldo.  1949.  A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There

(Special Commemorative Edition, 1989).  Oxford University Press.  ISBN 0-19-505305-2.

Dunn, J.L. and J. Alderfer.  2011.  National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North

America, Sixth Edition (paperback).  National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C.

ISBN 978-1426208287.


You will be required to spend time “birding” on your own and one or more Field Trips will be taken as part of the class.  These are meant to enhance your academic experience and perspective.  At least one local field trip will be taken to view local wildlife and learn about conservation issues in the Southern High Plains.  A “capstone” field trip may also be taken over a weekend later in the semester during which we may go birding and capture and band birds in the field.  Please come prepared and dress appropriately for field trips (close-toed shoes and pants, sunscreen, bug spray, etc.).  Also, many of the places we may visit will have others there seeking to enjoy nature – please respect this with quiet, professional behavior at all times.


Tentative List of Topics*

What is conservation?

“Biophilia” (or a history of man’s love of nature)

Ecological services and the “Tragedy of the Commons”

What is sustainability?

Ecotourism, nature appreciation and economics

North American Model of Wildlife Conservation

Endangered Species Conservation and Management

Bird Biology and Migration for the amateur naturalist

*Readings will be assigned prior to covering the topics above.  Some readings will be from the scientific or popular literature and some will be from the course text. 

Fall 2015