Special Academic Events
During the fall and spring, sophomores attend one opera per semester at the Metropolitan Opera or the neighboring City Opera. The opera chosen is tied into the early modern and contemporary course sequences, and studied in-depth in the music sections each semester. Recent operas attended include: Mozart’s Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute, and Cosi fan tutte; Donizetti’s Don Pasquale; Berg’s Wozzeck; Bizet's Carmen; and Wagner's Das Rheingold.
The freshman and sophomore curriculum is also supplemented by a series of interdisciplinary seminars. Attended by all of the faculty and students involved in each semester's historical period, these seminars examine a particular issue from the perspective of a variety of disciplines. Recent topics include:
Ancient: "Wars, Plagues, and Hunger: Communities in Crisis in the Ancient Period"
Medieval: The notion of self in Medieval Europe; The "other" in the Middle Ages
Early Modern: Understandings of science in Early Modernity; "What makes the Early Modern Period 'modern'?"
Contemporary: Obsession and Modernity; Nationalism and civil religion; Artistic representation of horrific historical events
The Last Lecture
Each year the students invite a member of the faculty to give a "last lecture," the lecture that the professor would give if it were the last time he or she ever faced a class. Past lectures have explored the power of color to shape lives, the development of just war theory in the writings of St. Ambrose, the role of food in the construction of modern identity, and the enduring lessons of ancient Rome. The lecture is followed by a reception so that all may continue the conversation.
Honors Program Reading Group
Every semester, the Honors Program invites distinguished members of the Fordham community to lead a “book club” discussion of a selected work. Over the years, the University President, Fr. Joseph McShane, SJ, has chosen readings as diverse as Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward Angel, Gaudium et Spes (the pastoral constitution of the Second Vatican Council), and Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. Dr. Brennan O’Donnell, former Dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill, led discussions on C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce and selections from the works of Flannery O’Connor and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Dr. Michael Latham, current Dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill, has continued the tradition, leading discussions on Graham Greene's The Quiet American and an address given by the Rev. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., the Superior General of the Society of Jesus.
The Alumni Seminar
Each year, an honors alumnus is invited to campus to lead the annual Alumni Seminar. The honors alum leads a group of current honors students in a discussion group concerning a topic within his or her field of specialty. Past seminars have tackled human trafficking and legislative efforts to combat it; and a discussion of “The Writing Life” for those interested in pursuing a career as an author.