General honors (GH) classes

Previously Offered general honors (GH) classes

General Honors (GH) courses are the heart of the University Honors Program curriculum and feature small class sizes, dedicated faculty members, interdisciplinary perspectives, active learning and an exciting array of topics. These classes can be accessed by searching under University Honors in the catalog. The following is an example of a General Honors (GH) course that has been offered in the past. This course may or may not be offered again.

GH301: The Aeneid


Homer's Illiad and Odyssey tell the tale of the 1184 BC Fall of Troy from the Greek point of view. But what became of the defeated Trojans? And why, after more than 3,000 years, should we care? This course aims to answer those questions and explain why the asking still matters. Through a close reading of Virgil's Aeneid, we'll learn the fate of the Trojan survivors, and their pivotal role in the history of Western culture.

Composed in the 1st century BC, by the arguably greatest poet of the age, Virgil's Aeneid celebrates and elucidates the spirit of the newly founded Roman Empire. Combining poetry and propaganda, mythology and history, Aeneas' story explores themes of love and war, pioneering and conquest, personal excellence and self-sacrifice, doubt and faith, fate and free will, and much more.

Our focus on this single book will allow us to explore and more fully comprehend in an interdisciplinary fashion the art, education, economics, history, religion, literature, geography, daily life, etc., of both Aeneas' and Virgil's world and times, and the ways in which these continue to influence our lives.

Our primary text will be Robert Fagels' translation of the Aeneid (Penguin, 2008, ISBN 0143105132, paperback list price $16.00). We'll compliment and elucidate Fagels' translation using bountiful on-line and ISU library resources.

We'll also view and critique the few representations of the story of Aeneas in film - he does show up in Troy (briefly), and a few 1950s Italian/American "he-man" movies - with an eye to creating our own video adaptation of this remarkable epic as a class project.

Absolutely no previous knowledge of Classical literature, the Trojan mythological saga, scriptwriting, or filmmaking is required to enroll in this class.

Instructor: Professor marilyn bisch