Interdisciplinary Studies

IDSC 099 Summer Humanities Program In this course, we will explore how key historic figures understood the connection between knowledge, power, and identity and the ways in which they sought to help their contemporaries perceive and cope with uncertainty, deception, and controversial truths. Throughout this course students choosing history as their primary field will pursue individual curated research projects that will culminate in a research essay and a public presentation based on this research. 6 credits; S/CR/NC; Summer; William L North
IDSC 100 Civil Discourse in a Troubled Age As we listen to people discussing critical issues facing individuals, communities, countries and the planet, what do we see happening? Is communication occurring? Do the sides hear each other and seek to understand another point of view, even if in disagreement? Is the goal truth or the best policy or victory for a side? What skills, approaches, and conditions lead to genuine discussion and productive argument? How can we cultivate these as individuals and communities? This Argument and Inquiry seminar addresses these questions in both theory and practice by allowing students the opportunity to read, view, discuss, and analyze theoretical discussions and case studies drawn from the past and present on a range of controversial topics. 6 credits; AI, WR1; Fall; William L North, Sindy L Fleming
IDSC 100 Data Visualization As Activism Data visualization and activism have a common goal: to make the invisible more visible. This seminar will focus on the strengths and limitations of graphs and other charts to illuminate and convince. We will examine landmark visualizations that have changed history, starting with W.E.B. Du Bois's famous "data portraits", which debuted at the 1900 Paris World's Fair to tell a complex story of agency, sophistication, and oppression of African Americans in post-emancipation America. As we discuss the role of data viz in activism, we will learn to create our own visual arguments. No previous experience with statistics or graphing software is necessary. 6 credits; AI, WR1, QRE; Fall; Lin S Winton
IDSC 100 Games and Gaming Cultures In this seminar, we will use games (both by studying them and by playing them) as a lens through which we can explore all manner of fascinating questions. How do the games we play shape our culture and our communities?  What makes a game fun, engaging, addictive, boring, brutal, or banal? How can games encourage certain kinds of behavior, even after we've stopped playing them?  Could we make Carleton itself a bit better--or at least more fun--if we gamified certain aspects of life here? To aid our exploration, we’ll draw on readings from multiple genres and employ a variety of research methods to analyze games from social, textual, and design perspectives. This course will also include weekly lab sessions on Wednesday evenings (6:15-8:30PM).  Students will be required to attend at least eight out of ten lab sessions. 6 credits; AI, WR1; Fall; George Cusack
IDSC 100 Measured Thinking: Reasoning with Numbers about World Events, Health, Science and Social Issues This interdisciplinary course addresses one of the signal features of contemporary academic, professional, public, and personal life: a reliance on information and arguments involving numbers. We will examine how numbers are used and misused in verbal, statistical, and graphical form in discussions of world events, health, science, and social issues. 6 credits; AI, WR1, QRE; Fall; Neil S Lutsky
IDSC 103 Student Conversations about Diversity and Community In this course students participate in peer-led conversations about diversity and community at Carleton. Students complete readings and engage in experiential exercises that invite them to reflect on their own social identities and their attitudes toward race, gender, class, and sexuality. By taking risks and engaging in honest conversations and self-reflection, students work together to understand differences and to explore how to build communities that are welcoming and open to diversity. Students keep a weekly journal and write two reflective essays that are graded by faculty members. 2 credits; S/CR/NC; NE, IDS; Winter
IDSC 110 Thinking with Numbers: Using Math and Data in Context This course will enhance students' quantitative skills and provide opportunities to apply those skills to authentic problems. Topics covered will vary depending on students in the class; possible topics include unit conversions, significant figures and estimation, exponents, logarithms, algebra, geometry, probability, and statistics. We will explore how these skills are relevant in contexts ranging from making personal finance decisions to understanding medical research reports. Prerequisite: Interdisciplinary Studies 099, Undergraduate Bridge Experience. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; NE; Fall; Lin S Winton
IDSC 141 Computer Science Program: Computing with Context: Alan Turing, Gender, and Computing This course will address a cluster of topics related to a broad gender-based context for computing. The starting point is Alan Turing himself: a hero for his code-breaking work during the war, Turing was also a gay man chemically castrated by the British government who (likely) died by suicide after enduring that treatment. The course will spiral outward from Turing to include a broader set of topics related to gender and sexuality in computing, ranging from Turing's era to the present. Specific topics will vary based on the interests of available experts in aspects of gender and computing. Prerequisite: Computer Science 201 and 202. (Mathematics 236 will be accepted in lieu of Computer Science 202). 2 credits; NE; Not offered 2021-22
IDSC 150 Plague, War and Crisis: Reading Hobbes Reading Thucydides, Books 1-2: Plague and Democracy We will meet once a week to read and discuss Books 1 and 2 of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War in Thomas Hobbes’s famed translation of 1628 (subsequent books will be discussed in courses offered in the Winter and Spring terms). We will attend to the literary art and to the political and social contexts of the original Greek, as well as to Hobbes’s recontextualization of it to the England of the 1620s. This bifocal approach may provoke insights into our current predicament.  2 credits; NE, IS; Not offered 2021-22
IDSC 151 Plague, War, Crisis: Reading Hobbes Reading Thucydides: Books 3-5 Revolt and Revolution We will meet once a week to read and discuss Books 3-5 of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War in Thomas Hobbes’s famed translation of 1628 (subsequent books will be discussed in the course offered in the Spring term). We will attend to the literary art and to the political and social contexts of the original Greek, as well as to Hobbes’s recontextualization of it to the England of the 1620s. This bifocal approach may provoke insights into our current predicament.  2 credits; NE, IS; Not offered 2021-22
IDSC 152 Plague, War, Crisis: Reading Hobbes Reading Thucydides: Books 6-8 Catastrophe and Coup We will meet once a week to read and discuss Books 6-8 of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War in Thomas Hobbes’s famed translation of 1628. We will attend to the literary art and to the political and social contexts of the original Greek, as well as to Hobbes’s recontextualization of it to the England of the 1620s. This bifocal approach may provoke insights into our current predicament.  2 credits; NE, IS; Not offered 2021-22
IDSC 198 FOCUS Colloquium This colloquium is designed to give students participating in the Focusing on Cultivating Scientists program an opportunity to learn and use skills in scientific study, reasoning, and modeling. The topics of this project-based colloquium will vary each term, and allow students to develop competencies in areas relevant to multiple science disciplines. 2 credits; S/CR/NC; NE; Fall, Winter, Spring; Deborah S Gross
IDSC 202 MMUF Research Seminar This seminar develops the skills needed to engage in and communicate advanced research. Each participant will work and present regularly on their ongoing research projects, and participate actively in an ongoing series of workshops and conferences. The seminar will also discuss in depth the nature of academia as institution and culture, and the role of diversity in the production of knowledge and teaching in American higher education. Open only to students with MMUF fellow status. Prerequisite: Participation in the Mellon Program/MMUF or MGSEF Program. 2 credits; S/CR/NC; NE; Fall, Winter, Spring; Cherlon L Ussery
IDSC 203 Talking about Diversity This course prepares students to facilitate peer-led conversations about diversity in the Critical Conversations Program. Students learn about categories and theories related to social identity, power, and inequality, and explore how identities including race, gender, class, and sexual orientation affect individual experience and communal structures. Students engage in experiential exercises that invite them to reflect on their own social identities and their reactions to difference, diversity, and conflict. Students are required to keep a weekly journal and to participate in class leadership. Participants in this class may apply to facilitate sections of IDSC 103, a 2-credit student-led course in winter term. 6 credits; S/CR/NC; NE, IDS; Fall; Alfred P Montero
IDSC 235 Perspectives in Public Health This course will explore the many dimensions of public health within the United States and provide an introduction to community based work and research. Public health is by nature interdisciplinary and the course will address local public health issues through the lenses of social, biological, and physical determinants of health. In addition to readings and discussions, the course will incorporate the expertise of visiting public health practitioners and include site visits to local public health agencies. Students will work collaboratively with a community partner on a public health-related civic engagement project selected during Fall term and continued during Winter Break. This is the first course of a two course winter break program. Prerequisite: Interdisciplinary Studies 236 required winter term. 3 credits; IDS, NE; Not offered 2021-22
IDSC 236 Public Health in Practice This course is the second part of a two-term sequence beginning with Perspectives in Public Health. Over the winter break, students will spend two weeks exploring a variety of public health organizations both locally (Minneapolis/St. Paul) and nationally. During the winter term, students will complete their final public health-related civic engagement project in collaboration with a community partner, set their individual project back into the wider context of public health, and prepare to present their experience to a broader audience. Prerequisite: Interdisciplinary Studies 235. 6 credits; IDS, ARP; Not offered 2021-22
IDSC 238 Vaccines: Science, Skeptics, and Stakeholders Vaccines are often touted as one of humankind’s greatest biomedical achievements. They have undoubtedly prevented hundreds of millions of deaths from infectious diseases since their discovery. Yet, there remain many obstacles that prevent their wider development and dissemination. Among these are the technological challenges associated with vaccine development, the well funded anti-vaccination movements that often thrive on and spread misinformation, and economic hurdles that affect the production and equitable distribution of vaccines. Through an interdisciplinary lens that incorporates material from biology, psychology, and economics, this course will allow students to reach an integrated understanding of vaccines.   6 credits; NE; Spring; Ken B Abrams, Michael T Hemesath, Debby R Walser-Kuntz
IDSC 250 Color! If you had to explain to a blind person the nature of color, how would you describe it? Is it a property of objects, oscillations of an electric field, a feature of how the eye generates electrochemical signals to send to the brain, or perhaps a property of the experiences themselves? This team-taught course takes  a multidisciplinary approach to color, drawing from physics, psychology, and philosophy. We will explore topics such as the nature of light, visual anatomy, the process by which light is converted to a neural code, color mixing, linguistic differences in color processing, and how color leads us to confront the tension that sometimes exists between appearance and reality. Prerequisite: Any introductory PHIL or PSYC course higher than 110 or any term of introductory PHYS course higher than 130 (PHYS 131 and 151 or 152 or a 10 week introductory course). 6 credits; NE; Not offered 2021-22
IDSC 251 Windows on the Good Life Human beings are always and everywhere challenged by the question: What should I do to spend my mortal time well? One way to approach this ultimate challenge is to explore some of the great cultural products of our civilization--works that are a delight to read for their wisdom and artfulness. This series of two-credit courses will explore a philosophical dialogue of Plato in the fall, a work from the Bible in the winter, and a pair of plays by Shakespeare in the spring. The course can be repeated for credit throughout the year and in subsequent years. 2 credits; S/CR/NC; HI; Fall, Winter, Spring; Laurence D Cooper, Alan Rubenstein
IDSC 257 Sense of Place: Art and Ecology in Tallgrass Prairie This project is a collaboration between two courses—Grassland Ecology and Field Drawing—that will foster an interdisciplinary dialogue on the Tallgrass Prairie Ecosystem. Students will work together to develop a project that explores how ecological study and artistic expression can deepen their understanding of this landscape. The course will involve field trips in the Carleton Arboretum, guest speakers, directed readings and culminate in a gallery exhibition. Prerequisite: Previous or concurrent registration in Studio Art 113 or Biology 374. 2 credits; S/CR/NC; NE; Spring; Eleanor M Jensen, Daniel Hernández
IDSC 280 Learning from Internships Carleton does not grant credit for internships, but valuable off-campus learning experiences can be integrated into the academic program. Although the specific nature of internship experiences will vary, internships are opportunities to apply and extend one's academic skills and interests into work in non-academic settings. This course will involve carefully monitored work experiences in which a student has intentional learning goals. Achieving these goals will be measured through reflective writing assignments, as well as written work in connection with assigned readings. Prerequisite: An internship and learning contract approved by the Career Center Director of Internships. The internship must be a minimum of 6 weeks and 180 hours and approved in advance by the instructor and the Career Center Internship Program Director. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; NE; Fall, Winter, Spring; Alfred P Montero
IDSC 285 Community-based Learning & Scholarship: Ethics, Practice This class will explore central concepts in community-based learning and scholarship, as well as examine discourses about the public purpose of higher education and the civic imagination. While studying recurrent ethical questions involved in community-college collaborations, such as how to honor diverse forms of knowledge, build reciprocity and share power, students will collaboratively design an academic civic engagement project. The class will critically reflect on their own civic learning, capacity, and action. Students will envision how they want to live in community with others, as citizens and stewards. 3 credits; S/CR/NC; SI; Fall; Emily Oliver
IDSC 289 Science Fellows Research Colloquium This colloquium develops the skills needed to engage in and communicate scientific and mathematical research. Topics will vary each term, but will include searching and reading the primary literature and communicating results orally and via posters. The colloquium will also explore the landscape of academic scientific research and how to negotiate the expectations of being a research group member. Prerequisite: Instructor Permission. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; NE; Fall, Spring; Amy Csizmar Dalal
IDSC 298 FOCUS Sophomore Colloquium This colloquium is designed for sophomore students participating in the Focusing on Cultivating Scientists program. It will provide an opportunity to participate in STEM-based projects on campus and in the community. The topics of this project-based colloquium will vary each term. Prerequisite: Interdisciplinary Studies 198 as first year student. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; NE; Fall, Winter, Spring; Fernan Jaramillo