Peter J. Littig
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 will begin with the question, "What's worth knowing?" As students work with this question and generate ideas, they will form small research teams devoted to studying a common question. Since research-based inquiry is a complex task, much of the course will be concerned with research methods and principles.
Corollary to the opening question are a number of related questions: What does it mean to know? How is knowledge constructed? What's the difference between knowledge, belief, and opinion? What constitutes evidence and what role does it play in establishing the validity of a given knowledge claim? These questions will become increasingly central as the quarter progresses and students develop their research projects. Students will study various attempts at answering these questions through course readings and discussions.
Student learning goals
Gain a critical understanding of the IAS programís diverse and inter-related (inter)disciplinary fields and methods of inquiry.
Become better critical thinkers and writers, capable of posing and addressing a variety of complex questions, and writing in a variety of modes. As part of this process, become more skilled at critical self-reflection on their own work.
Become better researchers, able to use the resources at UWB and elsewhere in order to identify existing and complementary scholarly work while producing original knowledge through data gathering and interpretation.
Become better speakers, ones who are able to communicate clearly and engagingly about complicated topics, arguments, and issues.
Learn to work well collaboratively, as both learners and teachers.
General method of instruction
Course meetings will involve a variety of small and large group discussions, workshops, and lectures.
No special preparation is required, though students should approach this course with a willingness to read and write frequently and to be challenged intellectually.
Class assignments and grading
Several expository and argumentative writing assignments, a research proposal, and a portfolio.
Grades are based on the quality of written work and in-class participation.