310-316: Interdisciplinary Context

Interdisciplinary Studies Core Courses

IDS 310 Integration: Cultural Contexts

IDS 310 Integration: Cultural Contexts

(Fall 2022)

Integrative Performance
Instructor: Layne Gneiting

This course explores how the practice of integrating knowledge, skills and perspectives from multiple sources can be used to better understand cultural diversity in contemporary U.S. society. Here we probe the cultural stories we tell through art, music, story, and more, including those we write upon our skin (tattoos), our tongues (narratives, language), and our walls. One foundational performance we’ll analyze is Hamilton (the national sensation). Through Hamilton and other performances we will assess the integrative (and segregative) power of artistry to disrupt, heal, divide, and bridge different socio-cultural segments of the United States.

IDS 311 European Jewish Life Today

IDS 311 European Jewish Life Today

(Spring 2020)

European Jewish Life Today
Instructor: Michael Rubinoff

This course surveys European Jewish communities in the 21st century. The emphasis will be on challenges created by changing demographics, political issues in various countries, the State of Israel, aftermath of the Cold War, what the European Union means for Jewish communities, rising anti-Semitism, and multifaceted religious/cultural renewal.

IDS 312 Integrative Perspectives on Change

IDS 312 Integrative Perspectives on Change

(Fall 2022)

Death and Dying: An Interdisciplinary Approach
Instructor: Judy Grace
This course asks you to read and reflect on death and dying from several perspectives: psychological (death work internally): cultural/anthropologically (customs of a group of people); economically (the costs of end-of-life care and burial); religious (how the world religions view death and the afterlife); sociologically (your family and friends).

You will be able to pursue your own interests in addition to doing various assignments such as writing your own obituary.

 

Debt: Philosophy, Society, History
Instructor: Eric Oberle
Debt, once considered a kind of sin, has now become more universal than sin itself. Debt is literally (and metaphorically) everywhere?it defines the globe in its social relations. But is an interconnected world of mutual obligations a more peaceful, productive, or happier world? This interdisciplinary course studies the role of debt creation in the making of society, the reasons why debt has been reviled and praised, as well as the personal effect that debt has on individuals, families and nations who labor against its horizon. We will study the relation between debt and labor in contemporary America, the politics of international and national debt, the illusions and necessities of debt economies, and the wonderful world of predatory lending and its forms of precarity. Course readings consist of philosophical, anthropological, literary, political and journalistic texts from the ancient world to the present, with a focus on the emergence of a social theory centered on getting and spending, lending and borrowing.

 

Predators, Pets, and Pests
Instructor: Jada Ach
This course examines the topic of animals—both wild and domestic, human and nonhuman – from a range of disciplinary and cultural perspectives. Organized around three subtopics – predators, pets, and pests – this section of IDS 316 calls on students to consider the complicated and often intimate ways that human and animal lives intersect with one another. Throughout the semester, students will analyze human-animal relations in a variety of texts, including documentaries, scientific log books, natural histories, memoirs, novels, poetry, photography, regional park interpretive materials, journalistic narratives, and federal animal law. This course will introduce students to emerging theories and methodologies in the environmental humanities, animal studies, environmental justice studies, and desert humanities so that they may gain a more holistic, interdisciplinary view of the other than-human world. In their final “animal narrative” project, students will integrate knowledge and insights from some of these interdisciplinary (sub)fields in order to tell the story of a single animal or species.

 

Supernatural as Natural: Religion in our Evolution
Instructor: Paul Cassell
What is religion? Why is it such an important and universal feature of human culture? In this interdisciplinary class integrating insights from multiple fields, we will examine and evaluate the material culture of prehistoric religion, its interpretation, and current theories of religion and human origins. How has human evolution created the conditions for religious experience and forms of social organization? What role might religion have played in early Homo sapiens development? Class content should help us understand why religion seems to be tied to what is fundamental to our humanity, and gain a perspective for evaluating the “place” of religion in modern human life.

IDS 313 Integrative Perspectives on a Changing World

IDS 313 Integrative Perspectives on a Changing World

(Fall 2022) 

The Cultural and Chemical History of Beer
Instructor: Stephen Davis
This interdisciplinary online course examines beer in a “big history” framework and traces its development from ancient cultures to the multinational mega-corporations and craft homebrewers of today. We will examine the social, cultural, legal, biochemical, physiological, and business dimensions of beer throughout history.

History/Cultural Impacts of Gaming in Global Context 
Instructor: Kimlisa Duchicela
Online gaming transcends traditional barriers like politics. While many argue over borders, language, laws, and access to information, gamers have moved on. Those who play online are routinely interacting with people from all over the globe. They can and do learn a new language as part of the gaming community. They have developed their own culture, heroes, and language to communicate and interact with ease despite other barriers. In fact, there are interesting arguments to be made about what culture really is in the digital age. This class will explore the history of online/digital gaming and the development of multidimensional and nuanced culture that surrounds it. It will start at the very origin of games and end with the global cultural phenomenon and very real business of gaming on an international level.

Sex and Sexualities Across Time and Place
Instructor: Marie Wallace
This course provides a survey of sexual desire, behavior, and the body through different times and cultures. It connects different sexual and gender ideologies and explores how they relate to a variety of topics, including perceptions of the body, marriage, reproduction, prostitution, same sex relations and identity, pornography, disease, and religious, and medical intervention.

 

(Summer 2022) 

Coffee in Global History
Instructor: Stephen Davis
Explores the social and biological dimensions of coffee from ancient times to the present in a variety of cultural contexts, while also engaging with coffee as a phenomenon of global trade. The growing, production, shipping, and drinking of coffee will be examined as questions of “big history” via the natural and social sciences, with special focus on connections between coffee and the arts and religion, as well as the chemical and medical effects of caffeine.

Sex and Sexualities Across Time and Place
Instructor: Marie Wallace
This course provides a survey of sexual desire, behavior, and the body through different times and cultures. It connects different sexual and gender ideologies and explores how they relate to a variety of topics, including perceptions of the body, marriage, reproduction, prostitution, same sex relations and identity, pornography, disease, and religious, and medical intervention.

IDS 314 Integrative Perspectives on Cultural Dynamics

IDS 314 Integrative Perspectives on Cultural Dynamics

(Fall 2020)

Analyzing War-ganizations
Instructor: David Corlett

Using a diplomatic historical approach drawing from primary sources students analyze decision-making processes within a systems theory approach to organizations. Putting themselves in the place of decision makers, students analyze the actions of organizations and their leaders that resulted in past wars. Students also examine current global relations.

IDS 315 Integration: Social Contexts

IDS 315 Integration: Social Contexts

(Fall 2022)

The Cultural and Chemical History of Beer
Instructor: Stephen Davis
This interdisciplinary online course examines beer in a “big history” framework and traces its development from ancient cultures to the multinational mega-corporations and craft homebrewers of today. We will examine the social, cultural, legal, biochemical, physiological, and business dimensions of beer throughout history.

History/Cultural Impacts of Gaming in Global Context 
Instructor: Kimlisa Duchicela
Online gaming transcends traditional barriers like politics. While many argue over borders, language, laws, and access to information, gamers have moved on. Those who play online are routinely interacting with people from all over the globe. They can and do learn a new language as part of the gaming community. They have developed their own culture, heroes, and language to communicate and interact with ease despite other barriers. In fact, there are interesting arguments to be made about what culture really is in the digital age. This class will explore the history of online/digital gaming and the development of multidimensional and nuanced culture that surrounds it. It will start at the very origin of games and end with the global cultural phenomenon and very real business of gaming on an international level.

Sex and Sexualities Across Time and Place
Instructor: Marie Wallace
This course provides a survey of sexual desire, behavior, and the body through different times and cultures. It connects different sexual and gender ideologies and explores how they relate to a variety of topics, including perceptions of the body, marriage, reproduction, prostitution, same sex relations and identity, pornography, disease, and religious, and medical intervention.

(Summer 2022)

The Global Workplace
Instructor: Jessica Hirshorn
This course will examine the global workplace from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. An emphasis will be placed on examining and developing intercultural competencies that are essential in today’s diverse work environment. Whether one is working for a business, health-care provider, educational institution, or not-for-profit agency, intercultural skills are a necessity in today’s world. Through the use of experiential exercises, research and film students will gain valuable cultural, geographic, political, environmental, economic, and religious insights that will help provide them with the competencies needed to be successful in today’s global world. This is offered as part of the summer Dublin Study Abroad program.

The Integrative Nature of Behavioral Dynamics
Instructor: David Corlett
This topic examines the interdisciplinary nature of behavioral dynamics. Human behaviors are a function of complex variables—interaction between internal influences (thoughts, conditioning influences, personality) and environmental influences (social context, cultural norms, others’ expectations). How we perceive ourselves, our environment, and the effectiveness of our behaviors in context are the foundations of behavioral dynamics. The topic draws on theories, strategies, and skills used to more effectively identify behavioral tendencies in ourselves and others, and build more productive relationships. Students will develop greater insight into personal, interpersonal, sociocultural, and environmental perceptions, and develop deeper self-awareness and human relations skills to understand and promote positive behavioral dynamics in organizations. We will delve into disciplines such as psychology, sociology, evolutionary biology, anthropology, organizational leadership, communication, and cultural studies. This is offered as part of the summer Baltic Study Abroad program.

The Political Economy of Work and Organizations
Instructor: Marie Wallace
Work and labor in its present and past form; Work as a cultural and political institution; Technological change and shifting economic sectors and modes of production; Credentialism, professionalism, occupational prestige and social inequalities in the US labor market (race, ethnicity, gender, sexualities, and class); Precarious work (include temporary and contract work as well as the jobs in the “gig” or sharing economy); Care-work, global care chain and emotional labor; Decline in unionism; Alienation and work; Structure and function of complex organizations/bureaucracies related to work; Fordism and Tayorism.

Sports Fans
Instructor: Kelly Nelson
This course takes an integrative approach to understanding sports fans. In particular, this course explores the behaviors, beliefs and practices of sports fans using cultural, psychological, social, and geographic perspectives. Students will expand their understandings of human interactions through the familiar and accessible practice of sports fandom.

IDS 316 Integration: Humanities Contexts

IDS 316 Integration: Humanities Contexts

(Spring 2022)

The Nature of Consciousness
Instructor: Michael Pryzdia

This course explores the nature of consciousness. We will examine the multiple dimensions of this topic by viewing the topic through various disciplinary perspectives with the goal of integrating these perspectives. Our work will encompass three general areas: “soul,” “spirit,” and “thought.” The course will begin with an overview of some of the classic texts included in the contemporary scholarly research done on the topic, and it will end with an examination of a few of the complex global problems facing human beings in the twenty-first century and how those problems can be approached with an integrated “conscious” perspective. We can then examine how such a perspective can take us from a fragmented world to one grounded in wholeness. Our journey will allow us to explore: 1) the nature of the human psyche; 2) yoga and meditation; 3) the extent to which the mythic imagination and scientific narratives are isomorphic; 4) the extent to which thought operates as a system; and 6) how dialogue can be used as a very effective communication tool. Disciplines examined in the class can include (but are not limited to): business, communication and media studies, religious studies, mythology, philosophy (East and West), psychology, sociology, anthropology, archeology, world literature, quantum physics, cognitive biology, and art.

 

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