Second Year: Urban Discourses

Students in the city

Explore New Perspectives

Learn how to tackle questions in the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities by investigating how researchers approach problems in their fields.

The three connected courses of the sophomore year take the urban, and specifically the city of Portland, as an appropriately dynamic subject for research shaped by the three “domains” of academic knowledge: the social sciences, the humanities, and the natural sciences. Students progress through an integrated set of research projects that develop not only their understanding of the systems by which cities operate but also their own critical capacities as urban residents and knowledge producers. Class size limited to 30.

HON 201: Urban Social Science

This course examines urban structures and processes through the application of social science methodologies such as: spatial analysis, ethnography, interviews, surveys, and archival research, among others. We will explore and put into practice these skills by conducting original research in the Portland area.

HON 202: Urban Humanities

This course examines the city as text, using humanities methodologies that produce close analysis of cultural artifacts and texts placed in cultural and historical contexts. Disciplinary approaches may include History, Languages and Literature, Film Studies, Gender Studies, Art History, Cultural Studies, and others.

HON 203: Urban Ecology

Utilizing Portland as a living laboratory, this course introduces methodologies in the natural sciences.  We explore foundations of experimental design while also sharpening observational skills and awareness of physical and ecological patterns and processes in the city.  Different focus areas depend on seasonal activity and include a range of topics such as stream ecology, plant science and ornithology.