Interdisciplinary Studies

Students may choose to major in an established interdisciplinary program supported by faculty committees or design an independent interdisciplinary major. Established programs are African American studies, American cultural studies, Asian studies, biological chemistry, classical and medieval studies, environmental studies, neuroscience, and women and gender studies. Students should consult the chairs of these programs for information about requirements and theses.

Students undertaking independent interdisciplinary majors should consult the section of the Catalog on the Academic Program (see page 21). Independent interdisciplinary majors are supported by the Committee on Curriculum and Calendar and students should consult the committee chair for information about requirements and theses.

Courses

INDS 130. Food in Ancient Greece and Rome.

Participants in this course study food in ancient Greece and Rome: the history of the food supply for agrarian and urban populations; malnutrition, its probable impact on ancient economies, and its uneven impact on populations; famine; the symbolism of the heroic banquet—a division of the sacrificial animal among ranked members of society, and between men and gods; cuisine and delicacies of the rich; forbidden food; the respective roles of men and women in food production, and their unequal access to food supply; dietary transgression; and sacred food. Cross-listed in classical and medieval studies, history, and women and gender studies. Not open to students who have received credit for Classical and Medieval Studies s28. (European.) (Premodern.) D. O'Higgins.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

INDS 210. Technology in U.S. History.

Surveys the development, distribution, and use of technology in the United States from colonial roadways to microelectronics, using primary and secondary source material. Subjects treated include sexual and racial divisions of labor, theories of invention and innovation, and the ecological consequences of technological change. Cross-listed in American cultural studies, history, and women and gender studies. Not open to students who have received credit for History/Women and Gender Studies 210. Not open to students who have received credit for HI/WS 210. Enrollment limited to 40. (United States.) R. Herzig.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

INDS 211. Environmental Perspectives on U.S. History.

This course explores the relationship between the North American environment and the development and expansion of the United States. Because Americans' efforts (both intentional and not) to define and shape the environment were rooted in their own struggles for power, environmental history offers an important perspective on the nation's social history. Specific topics include Europeans', Africans', and Indians' competing efforts to shape the colonial environment; the impact and changing understanding of disease; the relationship between industrial environments and political power; and the development of environmental movements. Cross-listed in American cultural studies, environmental studies, and history. Not open to students who have received credit for Environmental Studies/History 211. Not open to students who have received credit for ES/HI 211. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 40. (United States.) J. Hall.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

INDS 212. Writing/Righting Chinese Women.

This course is a survey of major writings by Chinese women, from Ban Zhao (40–120 C.E.), whose nujie is considered the early canon of female moral virtues, to the most recent novels by women writers who pride themselves in their audacity to write about their bodies. The course emphasizes ways women writers across time have countered various masculine constructions of silenced femininity and developed their own literary sensibility, especially in the context of China's modern development. Literary works explore topics that resonate with women's experience such as family, marriage, gender identity, sexuality, revolution, nation, and modernity. Conducted in English. Cross-listed in Asian studies, Chinese, and women and gender studies. Open to first-year students. H. Su.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

INDS 219. Environmental Archeology.

Over the past two hundred years archeologists, scientists, and humanists in many disciplines have worked together to understand the interactions of past human populations with the physical world, including plants, animals, landscapes, and climates. This course outlines the methods and theories used by archeologists, geologists, biologists, physicists, chemists, and historians in reconstructing past economies and ecologies in diverse areas of the globe. The course also discusses how archeology contributes to our understanding of contemporary environmental issues such as rapid climate change, shrinking biodiversity, and sustainable use of resources. Cross-listed in anthropology, environmental studies, and history. Recommended background: Anthropology 103. Open to first-year students. (Premodern.) Normally offered every year. B. Bourque.
Concentrations

INDS 228. Caring for Creation: Physics, Religion, and the Environment.

This course considers scientific and religious accounts of the origin of the universe, examines the relations between these accounts, and explores the way they shape our deepest attitudes toward the natural world. Topics of discussion include the biblical Creation stories, contemporary scientific cosmology, the interplay between these scientific and religious ideas, and the roles they both can play in forming a response to environmental problems. Cross-listed in environmental studies, physics, and religious studies. Enrollment limited to 40. [S] J. Smedley, T. Tracy.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

INDS 235. The Politics of Pleasure and Desire: Women's Independent and Third Cinema and Video from the African Diaspora.

This course examines independent and Third Cinema, and some written texts by women of African descent using contemporary theories of female pleasure and desire. By viewing and reading these cultural productions drawn from "high" and "low" culture in the light of a variety of film theories (e.g., feminist, womanist/black feminist, postcolonial, diasporic) as well as race-critical, feminist, and cultural theories, students explore the "textual" strategies that construct black female representations, and Afra-diasporic authors/directors and audiences as subjects and as agents of political change. Recommended background: any of the following: African American Studies 100 or 140A, African American Studies/Theater 225, African American Studies/Women and Gender Studies 201, Theater 102 or 110. Cross-listed in African American studies, rhetoric, and women and gender studies. Open to first-year students. S. Houchins.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

INDS 250. Interdisciplinary Studies: Methods and Modes of Inquiry.

Interdisciplinarity involves more than a meeting of disciplines. Practitioners stretch methodological norms and reach across disciplinary boundaries. Through examination of a single topic, this course introduces students to interdisciplinary methods of analysis. Students examine what practitioners actually do and work to become practitioners themselves. Prerequisite(s): African American Studies 100 or 140A or Women and Gender Studies 100, and one other course in African American studies, American cultural studies, or women and gender studies. Cross-listed in African American studies, American cultural studies, and women and gender studies. Enrollment limited to 40. Normally offered every year. Staff.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

INDS 256. Rites of Spring.

Le Sacre du printemps or The Rite of Spring, began as a ballet, with music by Igor Stravinsky, choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky, and sets and costumes by Nicholas Roerich. Premiered in 1913 to riots in Paris, The Rite of Spring has lived on to become one of the most important pieces of music in the Western canon and the zenith of stature and daring for choreographers. This course examines where it came from and how it has evolved over time through dance works, music, and cultural context. Cross-listed in dance, music, and Russian. [W2] C. Dilley.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

INDS 257. African American Women's History and Social Transformation.

This course examines the political, social, and cultural traditions African American women have created from slavery to the current moment. The course considers the influence of African American women on the major social movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries including abolition, woman's suffrage, the club movement, women's liberation, the black arts movement, the civil rights movement, and Black Power. Through novels, plays, autobiography, music, and nonfiction produced by and about African American women, students explore a range of intellecutal and cultural traditions. Recommended background: one course in women and gender studies and/or one course in African American studies. Cross-listed in African American studies, politics, and women and gender studies. Not open to students who have received credit for African American Studies/Women and Gender Studies 257. Not open to students who have received credit for AA/WS 257. Enrollment limited to 30. M. Plastas.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

INDS 267. Blood, Genes, and American Culture.

Places recent popular and scientific discussions of human heredity and genetics in broader social, political, and historical context, focusing on shifting definitions of personhood. Topics include the ownership and exchange of human bodies and body parts, the development of assisted reproductive technologies, and the emergence of new forms of biological citizenship. Recommended background: course work in biology and/or women and gender studies. Cross-listed in Americal cultural studies, history and women and gender studies. Not open to students who have received credit for History/Women and Gender Studies 267. Not open to students who have received credit for HI/WS 267. Enrollment limited to 40. (United States.) R. Herzig.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

INDS 315. African American Philosophers.

This course focuses on how African American philosophers confront and address philosophical problems. Students consider the relationship between the black experience and traditional themes in Western philosophy. Attention is also given to the motivations and context sustaining African American philosophers. Recommended background: African American Studies 100 or 140A or African American Studies/American Cultural Studies 119. Cross-listed in African American studies, American cultural studies, and philosophy. Not open to students who have received credit for Interdisciplinary Studies 165. Enrollment limited to 15. Staff.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

INDS 321. Afroambiente: Writing a Black Environment.

This course studies the response of black writers and intellectuals of the Spanish-speaking world to issues related to the natural environment. In three countries, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, and Equatorial Guinea, modernity has brought serious challenges to notions of economic progress, human rights, and national sovereignty, as well as individual and communal identity. Course materials include written texts from local newspapers and magazines, as well as other sources of information such as Internet sites that discuss issues related to the environment and the arts. Prerequisite(s): one 200-level Spanish literature course. Cross-listed in African American studies, environmental studies, and Spanish. Not open to students who have received credit for Interdisciplinary Studies 320. B. Fra-Molinero.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

INDS 325. Black Feminist Literary Theory and Practice.

This seminar examines literary theories that address the representation and construction of race, gender, and sexuality, particularly, but not exclusively, theories formulated and articulated by Afra-diasporic women such as Spillers, Ogunyemi, Henderson, Valerie Smith, McDowell, Busia, Lubiano, and Davies. Students not only analyze theoretical essays but also use the theories as lenses through which to explore literary productions of women writers of Africa and the African diaspora in Europe and in the Americas, including Philip, Dangarembga, Morrison, Herron, Gayle Jones, Head, Condé, Brodber, Brand, Merle Collins, and Harriet Wilson. Prerequisite(s): one of the following: African American Studies 100 or 140, 235, African American Studies/English 121X, 212, 253, African American Studies/Women and Gender Studies 201, English 294, 295, or English/Women and Gender Studies 121G. Cross-listed in African American studies, English, and women and gender studies. Enrollment limited to 15. (Critical thinking.) S. Houchins.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

INDS 333. Goddesses and Goddess Worship in India.

"Jai Ma!"—"Victory to the Mother!"—is a cry that resounds throughout India. From the feminine deities familiar across India to local goddess cults, devotion to the divine feminine plays a central role in Hindu religious traditions. Both benevolent and terror-inspiring, protective and destructive, goddesses display multiple characteristics and fulfill multiple roles in the Hindu religious universe. This course examines textual sources, anthropological case studies, and visual resources in an in-depth exploration of Hindu goddess traditions that also considers how gender functions in religious imagination and how this relates to social structures. Recommended background: Asian Studies/Religious Studies 249 or Anthropology 264. Cross-listed in Asian studies, religious studies, and women and gender studies. Enrollment limited to 15. S. Schomburg.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

INDS 342. Performance, Narrative, and the Body.

This course examines the politics of the body through the inter/transdisciplinary frames of the narrative and performance, including the specific ways performance and narrative theories of the body and cultural practices operate in everyday life and social formations. Students examine how the "body" is performed and how narrative is constructed in a variety of different contexts such as race, gender, disease, sexuality, and culture. The course places narrative and performance at the center (rather than the margins) of inquiry, asking how far and how deeply performativity reaches into our lives and how performances construct our identities, differences, and our bodies: who we are and who we can become. Recommended background: course work in African American studies, American cultural studies, anthropology, politics, sociology, or women and gender studies. Cross-listed in African American studies, anthropology, and women and gender studies. Enrollment limited to 15. M. Beasley.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

INDS 457. Interdisciplinary Senior Thesis.

Independent study and writing of a major research paper in the area of the student's interdisciplinary major, supervised by an appropriate faculty member. Students register for Interdisciplinary Senior Thesis 457 in the fall semester. Interdisciplinary majors writing an honors thesis register for both Interdisciplinary Thesis 457 and 458. Normally offered every year. Staff.

INDS 457, 458. Interdisciplinary Senior Thesis.

Independent study and writing of a major research paper in the area of the student's interdisciplinary major, supervised by an appropriate faculty member. Students register for Interdisciplinary Senior Thesis 457 in the fall semester. Interdisciplinary majors writing an honors thesis register for both Interdisciplinary Thesis 457 and 458. Normally offered every year. Staff.

INDS 458. Interdisciplinary Senior Thesis.

Independent study and writing of a major research paper in the area of the student's interdisciplinary major, supervised by an appropriate faculty member. Students register for Interdisciplinary Senior Thesis 458 in the winter semester. Interdisciplinary majors writing an honors thesis register for both Interdisciplinary Thesis 457 and 458. Normally offered every year. Staff.
Short Term Courses

INDS s17. Wake Up!.

The course weds academic inquiry with a rigorous experiential journey to self-awareness, nature, and social engagement. It pursues four interrelated avenues of inquiry: small seminar examination of texts to provide historical, cultural, and philosophical context (German literature, New England transcendentalism, native peoples, Zen and engaged Buddhism, deep ecology); outdoor experiential activities; a week-long meditation retreat; and a week in the wilderness. Papers in response to readings, journalling, and a student-designed project are required. Two weeks are spent off campus. Cross-listed in environmental studies, German, and religious studies. Conducted in English. Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor permission is required. D. Sweet.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

INDS s19. Food, Culture, and Performance.

This interdisciplinary seminar examines the idea of cultural engagement through food. Students explore the meanings of food and eating across cultures, with particular attention to how people define themselves socially, symbolically, and politically through food consumption practices. Drawing from cultural, critical, and performance theories, students engage in the dialectics of cultural exchange and the fluidity of identity; they interrogate conceptions of desire and consumption. The course develops research and writing skills, introduces visual and performance theories of culture, and fosters an understanding of the importance of food and its relationship to identity construction, histories, and cultural literacy. Cross-listed in African American studies, American cultural studies, anthropology, and women and gender studies. Enrollment limited to 20. Normally offered every year. M. Beasley.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

INDS s34. The Soundscape.

Can deeper listening make us better citizens of the natural environment? This course explores what composer R. Murray Schafer calls the soundscape "unfolding around us ceaselessly. We are simultaneously its audience, its performers, and its composers." Students discuss key writings about sound, and practice deep listening outdoors, extended through performance and composition—whether in music, words, or visual media. The course includes an introduction to field recording and digital editing techniques, to the spring songs of amphibians and birds, and to some key recordings in the history of soundscape composition. A listening notebook, including responses to readings, and a final project are required. Cross-listed in English, environmental studies, and music. Enrollment limited to 12. J. Skinner.
ConcentrationsInterdisciplinary Programs

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)