Humanities and Communication
HCOM 475/1: Food, Ethics, and Capitalism
Food is central to our identity and human experience. It is a vital ingredient in our daily lives in so much as it affects our bodies and emotions, defines our cultures, reflects social inequalities, presents us with ethical dilemmas, connects us in chains of production, distribution, and consumption, inspires artistic celebration, and creates political and social conflict. This course asks students to investigate the relationship between food, ethics, and capitalism and engage each other on topics related to food sovereignty, sustainability and justice.
HCOM 475/90: Culture & Ideology
The course explores how public narratives create and divide communities through a variety of media and cultural practices: K-12 education, museums, statues, television, films, music, visual art, and sport. Ultimately, we assess how stories about the past, present, and future inspire and shape public life.
The Senior Capstone experience in the HCOM major provides students with an opportunity to integrate their learning experience in the major through the close study of an interdisciplinary theme, one per section of HCOM 475. Through a discussion based seminar, students and their faculty mentor read about, study and discuss that section’s theme, becoming essential grounding for students to develop a senior project inspired, informed and connected to that theme.
Senior projects can take the form of an essay/research paper or a creative project. Capstone faculty members provide support and mentoring in the students’ development of the senior project. At the end of the semester, students participate in a Senior Capstone Festival, showcasing the work of their seminar and highlighting their senior projects.
Each section of Capstone has a unique theme. Students develop projects within the themes that highlight the cumulative learning of their undergraduate experience. Past themes have included: Social Identities, Politics and the Way Forward; Diaspora; Power, Privilege, Place; Critical Legal Studies and Critiques of Justice; Exploring The Meaning of Our (Digital) Lives; Social & Economic Justice; The Year 2050; Social Movements: Theory and Practice; Trauma and Healing; and Crisis & Opportunity, Culture & Community.
Each segment of the capstone experience in HCOM—the seminar, the senior project, and participation in the capstone festival—should demonstrate that students meet the following learning outcomes.
- Students identify and describe major issues associated with a specific topic of shared inquiry
- Students differentiate multiple points of view associated with a specific topic of shared inquiry
- Students raise critical questions leading to a deeper engagement in the study of a specific topic of shared inquiry
- Students demonstrate ability to work collaboratively with others in the process of shared inquiry
- Students demonstrate ability to work independently
- Students apply knowledge, skills and abilities to the completion of a concrete project informed by specific topic of shared inquiry
One key element to the HCOM senior capstone experience is a discussion-based seminar organized around a broad shared theme, developed by faculty teaching each section of HCOM 475 offered in a given semester. From a core set of shared readings and other learning experiences, students develop a deeper understanding of their section's theme, drawing on the expertise of their faculty mentor to guide them in the process. Students are expected to take shared responsibility for the success of seminar discussions.
A key part of the HCOM capstone experience is the development of a senior project, inspired and informed by the particular theme of the capstone section in which students are enrolled. Students can choose either:
- Creative Project
Each of these formats has specific expectations and guidelines available in the HCOM Capstone Senior Project Guide which you can download below. This guide contains information about the development of their senior projects, assessment criteria and standards for each project option, what to include in a final portfolio documenting the process and completion of the senior project, and formatting guidelines for a bound version of the portfolio required at the end of the semester.
Note: Always consult your HCOM 475 professor for up to date information about the process used to develop a project, relevant deadlines, and current assessment criteria and standards.
To browse examples of projects from prior semesters, see the Capstone Project Archive.