Course Profile: HON 205 Brazilian Music and Dance

Some of the most unique and beloved courses offered by the Honors Program are HON 205 classes, or Interdisciplinary Arts. These courses explore the interconnection of art and its cultural contexts, delving into the complex and fascinating roles art plays in our lives. One of the sections offered explores Brazilian Music and Dance, taught by Professor Cathy Elias. This class studies Samba, the archetypical Brazilian song form, and Carnaval dances that have become a form of cultural heritage and self-image for Brazilians. Professor Elias was kind enough to sit down and talk with me about this course, giving incredible insight into the power of music and dance.

With an impressive background in music and cultural studies, Professor Cathy Elias has always been enthralled with the power of music. Her class explores how music holds a mirror to society, offers new approaches to explore complex issues, and is a force that connects us all. Professor Elias also highlights how important it is to step into the unknown and challenge ourselves to explore outside our comfort zone. She emphasizes how it is crucial to enter unfamiliar contexts, be eager to listen and learn, and be open to changing one’s opinions or worldviews. 

Through a variety of pedagogical approaches, this class fully embraces the idea of interdisciplinary studies. A typical week consists of lots of music, interspersed with visits from a mix of incredible guest speakers. A couple of these visits entail lessons on Brazilian dance and instrumentation, which Professor Elias was kind enough to provide pictures and videos of (check them out below)! Again, this class is about pushing yourself and fully embracing new experiences, an idea Professor Elias encourages at every step.

For those interested in taking a leap and exploring the beauty of Brazilian music and dance, Professor Elias typically teaches this section of HON 104 every winter quarter. Learning to step into the unknown and appreciate differences is an incredible skill and one that is applicable in almost every aspect of life. Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy the music along the way!

To read a more in-depth exploration of this wonderful class, check out the upcoming edition of Honorable Mentions for Spring 2022!

Apply to be an Honorable Mentions Editor!

Calling all writers and designers! The Honors Program is seeking creative students to serve as editors for our quarterly newsletter, Honorable Mentions.

The DePaul University Honors Program is committed to producing a quality quarterly newsletter created by and for its students. The Honorable Mentions newsletter provides a forum for announcements and information about Honors activities and students, serves as a voice for student and faculty views on important (and unimportant!) issues, and provides opportunities for displaying the creative works of Honors students. The Honorable Mentions newsletter is also designed to generate interest in Honors events and keep students and faculty up-to-date and involved in the Honors Program. The editor position is a year-long commitment.

Currently, The Honors Program is seeking to fill the following two editor positions:

  • Content Editor
  • Layout and Design Editor

 Honorable Mentions Editors have the following responsibilities:

  • Plan for the content and layout of each newsletter
  • Write articles and solicit work from Honors students
  • Produce one newsletter per quarter (Fall, Winter, Spring)
  • Attend Honors events
  • Meet deadlines
  • Assist with newsletter distribution

Only students who have achieved Honors Partnership by earning 10 Honors Points are eligible to apply for an Honorable Mentions Editor position. 

Editors receive a quarterly stipend of $200.00 in Fall, Winter, and Spring. 

If contributing to the Honorable Mentions newsletter as an editor is something that interests you, please complete and submit the attached application. In addition to your application, please provide a short statement of your qualifications and vision for the newsletter and 2-3 samples of your writing and/or 3-4 graphic design samples.

Applications and materials are due, via email or in-person, by Monday, May 23rd at 5:00 pm to the Honors Program Office, Arts & Letters Hall, Suite 210Click here for the application. Decisions will be made before the end of the spring quarter. If you have any questions about the editor position, please email Mary Kate Turek at

A Song for Cesar: Virtual Screening and Panel Discussion

On May 4, DePaul is hosting a free virtual screening of a wonderful new documentary called A Song for Cesar, and on May 5 (Cinco de Mayo), there will be a follow-up virtual panel discussion to discuss both the film and the relation between the arts and social justice.  

In addition to the two movie directors, the panelists will include civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, Davíd Carrasco (Neil L. Rudenstine Professor of Latin America at Harvard University), John Phillip Santos (Distinguished Senior Lecturer at UT San Antonio and the first Mexican-American Rhodes Scholar), Manuela Gomez (award-winning and socially-engaged philosophy professor), and Ryan Christopher Jones (NYT photojournalist and anthropologist).  

Click here to register.

IA@SOUTH AFRICA: Race, Ethnicity, & Housing

Identities Abroad is offering a course titled American and South African Apartheid that will be taught in fall 2022 followed by travel to South Africa (Johannesburg and Cape Town) during the December intersession. The deadline to apply is May 1. 

Identity Abroad courses promote study abroad opportunities to first-generation, and African American and Latinx students and include a $1,500 stipend/scholarship for those who are eligible. 

The course focuses on factors governing the residential patterns of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States and South Africa, and the impact of these residential patterns on life chances and opportunities in American and South African societies.  Where one lives determines access to quality educational opportunities, health care, and employment.  It also affects proximity to crime, environmental hazards, and the development of mainstream cultural competencies.  Residential patterns are often explained as resulting from individual choice, however, racial discrimination and violence, and biases in government housing policies and mortgage lending practices have had an enduring effect and have affected access to societal resources on an equal basis.  Although laws governing residential patterns have changed, the legacies of past policies and practices remain, and continually replicate socio-economic and political disparities between whites and racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S. and South Africa.

Join Dr. Valerie C. Johnson for a virtual information session on Tuesday, April 26:

DART Careers in Community Organizing 

Direct Action and Research Training (DART) is holding an online info session on Wednesday, April 13 at 6 pm EDT / 5 pm CDT to discuss careers in community organizing. All DePaul students and alumni welcome, particularly those graduating by December 2022. Sign up at

DART trains professional organizers and community organizations how to work for social, economic and racial justice, including:
* Holding police departments accountable
* Shutting down the school-to-prison pipeline
* Reining in predatory lenders
* Expanding access to primary health and dental care
* Prioritizing funding for affordable housing and job training
* Fighting for immigrants’ rights

Associate Community Organizer positions start August 8, 2022 and January 16, 2023 in cities below.
Starting salary $42,500-$44,000 + benefits.
Florida: Bradenton, Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Lakeland, Miami, Pensacola, Sarasota, St. Petersburg
Kansas: Kansas City
South Carolina: Columbia, Greenville
Virginia: Charlottesville, Richmond

Lead Community Organizer positions start summer 2022 in cities below. Starting salary $50,000-$70,000 + benefits.
Florida: Melbourne, Fort Myers 
Kansas: Wichita
Nebraska: Lincoln

DART organizations are diverse coalitions including many low- and moderate-income, minority and immigrant communities. They strongly encourage people from these backgrounds, as well as fluent Spanish speakers and DACA recipients, to apply. To apply or learn more about DART, visit and find us on instagram and facebook @theDARTcenter. Still have questions? Contact or 202.841.0353.

Lessons from the Wall – Review of A Conversation with J.D. Bindenagel

This week, the Honors Program, alongside the Grace School for Applied Diplomacy, was fortunate to host J.D. Bindenagel for a conversation about his lifetime of diplomacy, centering on his experiences of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Ambassador Bindenagel was appointed by President Bill Clinton as U.S. Ambassador and Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues in 1999, later serving as Special U.S. Negotiator for “Conflict Diamonds.” He is an expert on U.S. – German relations, having served in West, East, and united Germany, including as deputy chief of mission and Chargé d’Affaires in the U.S. Embassy. He served as Vice President of Community, Government, and International Affairs at DePaul and as the founding Henry Kissinger Professor for security and governance at Bonn University, where he currently teaches strategic foresight. He has published widely on international security issues in the 21st century, and we are grateful to welcome Dr. Bindenagel (back) to DePaul for such a fascinating event!

As the event began, the room was filled with students and faculty both in person and over Zoom, with many friendly faces from our Honors community. Dr. Bindenagel sat at the front next to Professor Eugene Beiriger, with the event uniquely framed as a conversation rather than a lecture. This conversational style lent itself to an engaging back and forth, with the two experts building off each other in exploring the complex history of Germany and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The talk highlighted key events exploring the “German question,” hailed as central to understanding the 21st century. Germany has acted as a faultline for decades, existing as a transitional space between the East and the West. And it is this exact sort of threshold that diplomats seek out, places of connection, conflict, and transformation. The Berlin Wall served as a symbol of this borderline status in the most concrete way, arguably meant to keep in the East even more than it kept the West out.

Dr. Bindenagel shared several fascinating stories of his work as a diplomat, giving us the scoop on what it is like to be at the center of the action during such a pivotal moment. He discussed the many conversations, news reports, and diplomatic acts that built to a turning point no one fully saw coming until it was there. Stories of friendly conversations leading to late-night diplomatic meetings, with ambassadors rushing to create and communicate a clear picture as press outlets blasted incomplete messages of the unfolding transformation. From his experiences, Bindenagel emphasized the importance of self-determination, democracy, sovereignty, and, most critically, acts of courage to bring about changes like the fall of the Wall.

While the focus of this event was the role of diplomacy in historical events like the fall of the Berlin Wall, much of the conversation was salient to the events of today. Dr. Bindenagel emphasized that, while history may exist in the past, it is certainly not past us. So many current events, most obviously the crisis in Ukraine, are influenced by our history. Dr. Bindenagel graciously passed the torch to us, the students entering a new world of international engagement. Quoting Thomas Bagger, Bindenagel reminded us that, “The end of history was an American idea, a German reality, and a millennial [or gen Z] problem.” Most notably, and reassuringly, he emphasized that we do not have to go forward blindly. We have a history behind us full of lessons, and it is up to us to learn what we can and take it with us in creating lasting change.

The event ended with a hint for more diplomatic events featuring Dr. Bindenagel to come, so keep an eye out for those and more great events here at the Honors Blog! And again, many, many thanks to Dr. Bindenagel for his time and generosity!

Lunar New Year Celebration

To ring in the new year of the Tiger 2022, DePaul Chinese Studies Program, along with two student organizations, is hosting two events, one at 12:30-3:00 PM on February 8 in LPC Student Center and one at 12:30-3:00 PM on February 9 at the 11th floor in DePaul Center (loop). All are welcome to join either or both of the events. Unlike past lunar new year events, pre-packaged grab-n-go new year food will be served. At both events, you can participate in various festive activities: photo booth, papercutting, Chinese calligraphy, making/getting your own red envelope, learning about your zodiac sign, writing a new year greeting message on our message wall, and a free new year gift if you were born in a year of the Tiger (e.g., 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, etc.) Lunar new year masks will be provided.

No RSVP is needed for both events. Walk-in guests are welcome. There will be a special live ceremony at 12:30-1:00 pm on February 8 in the atrium area of LPC Student Center featuring Provost Ghanem’s lunar new year greetings and student group performances.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy year of the Tiger!