The honors seminar is organized around a different set of critical questions every year, but its underlying goals stay the same, and they intersect with each other. In the fall semester of the honors seminar, students will:
- Become more literate in the scholarly debates that engage professional critics today;
- Launch into those debates with curiosity and growing degrees of authority;
- Heighten their curiosity about matters of literary interpretation that have broad relevance to the field;
- Identify an interpretive question that is genuinely interesting, and engage with other critics to answer it;
- Produce a work of literary criticism that is as original as it is convincing, using the best practices of writing and research;
- Locate their scholarship in a longer tradition on the honors exam; and
- Build a lively and supportive intellectual community.
Practically speaking, the primary goal of students in the fall semester is to prepare well for the thesis and exam in the spring.