Introduction to advanced work in interdisciplinary studies centered on broadly based questions and problems. Stresses the skills necessary to engage in upper-division research and learning in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Program.
This course is an introduction to the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences program. It will help you become a more critical consumer of knowledge, and a better producer of knowledge. This class stresses close, attentive, and critical reading.
If there is one thing that I would like you to get out of this class, it is the ability to identify the question or questions that research responds to. In other words, to move past the idea that research is about a "topic," and toward the more advanced understanding that research is about answering a question.
So this class is, in a lot of ways, at right-angles to a traditional course. It "covers" no set subject area. (If it makes you more comfortable to name a theme for this class, the theme is *truth*.) We are interested in uncovering rather than covering, circling back for another look rather than moving on, rereading, rewriting, rethinking.
Student learning goals
To understand the concept of interdisciplinary knowledge production and the ways in which it underwrites all aspects of the IAS Program.
To become a better critical thinker and writer--one who is capable of posing, answering and reposing a variety of critical questions.
To become a better researcher--one who is able to use the resources at UWB and elsewhere both efficiently and effectively.
To become a better speaker--one who is able to communicate clearly and engagingly about complicated topics, arguments and issues.
To learn how to work well collaboratively, as both a learner and a researcher.
General method of instruction
We will read widely (see the Fall 2009 syllabus linked below), and you will do a variety of writing assignments.
Enthusiasm for interdisciplinary study.
Class assignments and grading
There are weekly writing assignments, some short, some long. See the last syllabus to get a sense of what the assignments are like.
The last time I taught the course, it worked like this:
Three essays: 55% Completing short assignments: 15% Portfolio assessments, 15% Participation: 15%.