Sample Humanities Projects

The following descriptions are provided to give you ideas for developing your own Honors projects. Some of these descriptions are past Green Sheet projects, initiated and developed by students; others are Honors optional (%) projects developed by professors (i.e., not Green Sheet projects). Both types of projects can help you generate ideas as you design your own Honors experience. 

Art History 350 — “19th Century Painting in Europe”: A student completed a stylistic review of an original piece of 19th century European artwork found in the collection of a major museum close to Madison. The review included an in-depth critique of artistic style, an account of the work’s significance and a historical background that applied to both the artist and the art work.

Comparative Literature 353 — “Drama”: For a course on Baroque drama, a student chose to write her own three act play parodying Baroque themes, characters and conventions.

English 171 — “Literature, Gender, and Sexuality”: A student wrote a 15-page autobiographical paper that integrated critical self-examination with course materials. The paper identified how factors in childhood, adolescence and early adulthood contributed to the formation of the student’s gender and sexual identities.

French 101 — “First Semester French”: A student completed four “events” in the course of the semester that combined French with the student’s interest in international affairs. The events included the following: attending a meal at the French house, viewing the film L’Auberge Espagnol, reviewing French-language news sources on current events in Geneva and researching the United Nations and other diplomatic affairs. The student gave an oral report to the class (in French) on each of these events.

French 227 — “Exploring French: Intermediate-Level Course for Entering Students”: A student researched French composer Claude Debussy. She then gave an oral report to her class, which included the performance of two of his piano works from Estampes: “La soiree dans Grenade” and “Jardin sous la pluie.”

History 120 — “Europe and the Modern World 1815 to the Present”: A student conducted archival research at the Wisconsin Historical Society, focusing in particular on the life histories of several individuals who came to the United States from Germany in the wake of the failed 1848 revolutions in Europe.

Integrated Liberal Studies 206 — “Western Culture: Political, Economic and Social Thought II”: A student wrote a creative short story featuring many of the Western thinkers analyzed in the course. Several thinkers from ILS 205 also appeared. His storyline mimicked the reality TV show “Survivor”: the thinkers found themselves stranded on an island and forced to make decisions on how to survive and construct a mini-society. 

In another honors curriculum for this course, a group of three honors students joined forces to create and perform an interpretive dance featuring one of the philosophers examined in class. The dance focused on the tensions between this philosopher and the society in which he lived, as well as the tensions that could occur between his beliefs and aspects of modern society. These students used readings assigned in the class as well as outside materials and provided their own music. 

Integrated Liberal Studies 209 — “Introduction to Global Cultures”: A student completed a research project on African masks–what ceremonies and dances integrate masks, what symbolism lies behind their various features and use, and what materials are used and why. She also created her own mask for a specific African ceremony using knowledge from her research and incorporating diverse elements, both symbolic and material, into the mask.  

LCA 300 — “Topics in Languages and Cultures of Asia”: A student investigated the architecture of the palaces of Thai kings, particularly the spaces dedicated to women.

Philosophy 341 — “Contemporary Moral Issues”: A student entered the “No Dogs of Philosophers Allowed” (NDOPA) contest, for which he made a short video exploring the year’s contest theme, “The Ethics of Consumption”. His video addressed the roles of and relationships between the consumer, producer and government, and focused on two problems in particular: producers controlling the market demand and consumers’ incompetence. 

Portuguese 361 — “Portuguese Civilization”: A student completed three different tasks: creating a handout and giving an oral presentation to the class on the history of Dutch/Portuguese relations; facilitating two discussion sections in Portuguese; and writing an extra summary of one of the course readings. 

Slavic 321 — “Fourth Year Russian”: A student read four additional stories by Anton Chekhov, met with the professor regularly to discuss the stories and wrote (in Russian) a formal comparison of the stories. 

Spanish 226 — “Intermediate Language Practice with Emphasis on Writing and Grammar”: A student earned Honors credit by tutoring Spanish-speaking children (7th and 8th graders) at Cherokee Middle School through Centro Hispano. The student spent 2.5-5 hours each week at the middle school and concluded the project with a paper, written in Spanish, on her experiences with and opinion of bilingual schools. 

Theatre 150 — “Introduction to Acting”: A student prepared a monologue from a classical work (to complement the required monologue from a modern work), performed it before the class and participated in two auditions.

Gender and Women’s Studies 330 — “Topics in Gender/Class/Race/Ethnicity”: Two students prepared for and moderated a class debate on sex tourism.