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The Integrated Curricula Program is an interdisciplinary effort to integrate the arts and humanities with science courses to provide critical thinking skills and an understanding of the myriad ways in which science and culture are intertwined.

INTEGRATED CURRICULA COURSES

Faculty: Michelle Robinson, American Studies

Faculty: Marsha Penner, Psychology & Neuroscience
Not only do paperbacks like Gone Girl and television mega-franchises like Law & Order invite their audiences to perform extraordinary feats of detection, they also employ the avatar of the detective to communicate information about the cognitive processes that make mystery-solving possible. Both literary critics and behavioral neuroscientists have developed sophisticated theories about the ways detection–the accumulation and logical assembly of clues and evidence to solve mysteries—takes place. Our course merges neuroscience and literary studies by exploring how the nervous system and brain influence puzzle-solving while we study detection fictions’ representations of this cognitive work. It also compares how scientists perform and write about their experiments with detective fiction authors’ use of narrative structures to create mysteries that captivate readers. In this interdisciplinary course, students learn the fundamentals of behavioral neuroscience, focusing on the ways brains perceive and construct concepts and ideas, and store information and experiences for future use. Simultaneously, they employ this knowledge to interpret and evaluate the mental exertions of fictional detectives, even as they take stock of their own behavioral habits when they engage as active readers of puzzle mysteries. Next, students study the generic features and narrative architecture of detection fictions, and become proficient at reading scientific articles that rely on distinct organizational principles. After interviewing neuroscientists and shadowing them in laboratory settings, students draw on the techniques detective fiction authors use to translate scientists’ puzzle-solving processes into suspenseful narratives designed to engage public audiences. Finally, students integrate neuroscience and detective fiction by building and beta testing an “Escape Room,” a popular entertainment whose literary derivation is the locked-room mystery and whose completion depends on individual and collaborative neuroscientific activity. These “Escape Rooms” will engage local audiences in puzzle-solving and teach non-specialists core concepts about behavioral neuroscience.

Offered:
Spring 2019
Fall 2017

Faculty: Lauri McNeil, Physics & Astronomy
Faculty: Maggie Cao, Art & Art History

In this course we will explore “how we see” in two senses. In the first, literal, sense we will explore the physics of vision and how it allows us to perceive the spatial location and size of objects as well as their color. In the second, metaphorical, sense we will explore visual artifacts and how objects are represented in artistic media. We will, for instance, experiment with image formation using mirrors and lenses and try to understand how painters in the Renaissance used such tools to create their art. We will likewise examine the artistic manipulation of visual perception using such techniques as linear perspective and anamorphosis. Finally we will use technologies such as infrared reflectivity to “make the unseen seen,” extending our visual powers to explore artistic process. This course is taught by a professor of physics and a professor of art history, each of whom brings her own perspective to what it means to see.

Offered:
Spring 2020
Fall 2017

Faculty:  Anna Bardone-Cone, Psychology & Neuroscience
Faculty: Sabine Gruffat, Art & Art History

This course explores the lives and experiences of women by integrating content and methodologies from psychology with perspectives on the depiction of women in the arts, namely digital media (photography, video). Students will study topics such as gender socialization, body image, work/achievement, sex and romance, motherhood, aging, and mental health with attention given to the diversity of women (e.g., race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status). By combining the science and arts disciplines, this course empowers students to examine women’s issues through different lenses (research, visual). This interdisciplinary approach will allow for a more meaningful exploration of women’s lives and experiences, and produce richer and more emotionally salient products and understanding.

Offered: Spring 2018 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Joel Kingsolve, Biology
Faculty:  Jessica Wolfe, English and Comparative Literature

This interdisciplinary, integrated seminar examines central ideas and questions in the field of evolutionary biology from both contemporary and historical perspectives. How did biological theories concerning mutation, adaptation and selection, extinction and the fossil record, genetic inheritance, altruism, and evolutionary design grow out of the diverse traditions of natural philosophy and natural history that reach back to Aristotle, through the seventeenth-century advances and discoveries of Francis Bacon and the Royal Society, and to pioneers in evolutionary biology such as Charles Lyell and Charles Darwin? This course examines classic texts in the history of the biological sciences, with an eye to the development of new instruments, as well as new methods and practices of illustration, modeling, and data collection, alongside current knowledge and practice in the field of evolutionary biology, situating recent discoveries and debates in broader scientific and intellectual contexts in order to reveal how advances in the field have grown from, and continue to be informed by, a long and variegated scientific tradition concerned with the design, structure and purpose, and diversity of living organisms.

As an interdisciplinary seminar that offers two complementary perspectives on key issues in evolutionary biology, this course will foreground the active participation of students in classroom discussions, in collaborative research projects, and in a number of out-of-classroom activities, including visits to natural history collections and museums such as the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the UNC Department of Anthropology’s hominin fossil collections, activities and corresponding assignments based on the early science holdings of UNC’s Rare Books and North Carolina Collections and on laboratory techniques of 3D modeling.

Offered:
Fall 2019 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Montek Singh, Computer Science
Faculty:  Todd Ramón Ochoa, Religious Studies

Course description will be available soon.  Please check our website again.

Offered:
Fall 2019

Faculty: Hilary Lithgow, English & Comparative Literature

Faculty: Luc Bovens, Philosophy

We will read works of short fiction from around the globe that address a range of social and political problems. The course addresses these issues from three angles. We will touch on topics that are prominent in the news today such as opiate addiction, arranged marriage, trafficking, bullying, social exclusion, charitable giving, implicit bias, and basic income. First, we read a short story that addresses the social or political issue. Second, we choose a recent and prominent study in the social sciences that addresses the issue. And third, we investigate how the issue is being reported in the press. Our goal will be to explore the different ways in which literature, social science and journalism construct issues of broad social and political relevance, the opportunities and limits of these constructions and what might be gained by using all three (rather than only one) to understand and respond to these issues. By using literature written by local writers to explore issues of global significance, we develop an appreciation for the perspectives of the people affected. To paraphrase Chinua Achebe (Nigeria), until the lions have their own social and political philosophers, social and political philosophy will always be told through the eyes of the hunters. This problem is precisely what we seek to overcome by drawing on literature from around the world instead of only from certain nations or canons. This is of paramount importance in today’s political climate of “fake news” and post-truth politics. Democratic society hinges on freedom of expression through the arts, freedom of speech through the press and free inquiry through the social sciences. To safeguard our democratic institutions we need to educate our students about the importance of these three pillars and provide them with the tools to access and appreciate them.

Offered:
Fall 2020
Fall 2019 (Syllabus)
Spring 2019
Fall 2017

Faculty: Jordynn Jack, English & Comparative Literature

Faculty: Mai Nguyen, City & Regional Planning

The places we live in matter deeply. Those places are not only shaped by bricks and mortar, though, but by the language used to craft public policy about who uses places and what activities occur within them. Researchers in the humanities and the social sciences tend to study public policy from different perspectives. In this class, we will examine public policy from the perspective of two disciplines: rhetoric and city and regional planning. Rhetoric scholars focus on the language stakeholders use to frame discussions of public policy, while planning researchers use methods such as interviews, case studies, and site visits to understand policy changes and how they affect individuals. By combining these methods, students in this course will develop a deeper understanding of public policy, understand how persuasive language shapes our understanding of those policies, and learn how to craft effective messages to enact change in community places.

Offered:
Fall 2018
Fall 2017

Faculty: Heidi Kim, English & Comparative Literature
Faculty:  Erika Wise, Geography

Climate change has become one of the defining issues of our time. Studied in the sciences for decades, this topic has increasingly been taken up in the arts and humanities, as scholars seek to understand potential impacts on societies and our emotional response to a changing environment. Weather and climate have always impacted human societies in ways both large and small, and writers have reflected upon this in their literature, taking global level changes and turning them into personal narratives of drought and displacement; of hope and fear. In this first-year seminar, we aim to “make the global personal” by using personal narratives found in literature to introduce students to the science of climate change. We will put our readings into action through a semester-long historical climatology project using campus archives and electronic resources to investigate a particular aspect of climate change in North Carolina.

Offered:
Spring 2020
Fall 2018

Faculty: J. Christopher Clemens, Physics & Astronomy
Faculty: Brett Whalen, History

Time and the Medieval Cosmos will introduce first-year students to the basic motions of the solar system as viewed from the Earth and the mechanical and mathematical models used to reproduce them. The students will also learn how the reckoning of time connects to the motions of the celestial bodies, and how to calculate the date of Easter in the Julian Calendar. Historically, difficulties in calculating this date drove innovations in mathematics, engineering, and astronomy, leading eventually to the crisis of the Copernican model. With the help of Galileo’s telescope, this model led to the overthrow of the cosmology of Aristotle that prevailed in the medieval university. Students will critically examine this process and be able to evaluate the provocative thesis of Pierre Duhem that the “scientific revolution”, if it deserves to be called that, dates from the condemnation of problematic doctrines of Aristotle in 1277 by the Bishop of Paris, Etienne Tempier. Generally speaking, the course will immerse students in the world of medieval and early modern education, theology, and natural philosophy, challenging them to understand the historical conditions that shaped views of the cosmos in the European Middle Ages: from the monastic cloister of the eighth century, where figures like the Venerable Bede wrote tracts on the nature of time, to the university of Paris in the thirteenth century, where scholastic masters debated the eternality of the universe, to seventeenth-century cathedrals that acted as observatories, where churchmen plotted out the solar system. Throughout the semester, the class will raise broader questions about the relationship between faith and reason, and the role of institutional authorities in determining the boundaries of “acceptable” knowledge.

Offered:
Fall 2020
Fall 2019 (Syllabus)
Fall 2018

Faculty: Rachel Seidman, History
Faculty: Ross Simpson, Jr., Medicine-Cardiology 

 

Description coming soon.

 

Offered:
Spring 2020

Faculty: Laurie McNeil, Physics &Astronomy
Faculty: Brent Wissick, Music

The Interplay of Music and Physics seminar is for students who are interested in how music is made, how sound is produced in instruments, and how those sounds have been used in music making from ancient times to the present day. Students will study the basics of physics and music: wave motion, resonance, the perception of sound, scales, harmony, and music theory. We will conduct four laboratory exercises (called etudes) in which students will work in small groups to investigate the acoustics of string, woodwind and brass instruments. Keyboards and percussion will also be considered, and students can pursue their areas of special interest in a research paper. The final project for each student will be a public performance of an original musical composition for an ensemble of instruments that the students have constructed themselves out of found objects.

Offered:
Fall 2020
Fall 2019 (Syllabus)
Fall 2018
Fall 2017 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Alaina Thomas, City and Regional Planning
Faculty: Lyneise Williams, Art History

Description coming soon.
Offered:
Spring 2020

Faculty: Lauren Leve, Religious Studies
Faculty: Lisa Pearce, Sociology

This course will tackle a controversial issue—whether religion harms or benefits women. Readings, film, guest speakers and research assignments will expose students to the lives of women in several major faith traditions in regions around the globe, including Judaism in Israel, Hinduism in Nepal, Islam in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States, and Christianity in United States (including Halifax County, North Carolina). Through class discussion, activities such as an organized debate, and regular writing assignments, we will examine how women are (or are not) religious in a variety of contexts and settings and how their participation and/or personalization of religion affects their personal well-being and place in society. In addition to the issue focus, this course is also designed to teach students how to gather and analyze evidence to draw conclusions about human lives. We will introduce principle methods of knowing in the Humanities and Social Sciences, emphasizing differences in how scholars ask questions, approach questions, and draw conclusions. Understanding and using this range of approaches will provide a rich and holistic picture of the role of religion in women’s lives from a variety of important standpoints, and also teach quantitative and qualitative literacy skills. Students will learn the strengths and limitations of different research strategies common in the Social Sciences and Humanities (including ethnographic participant-observation, semi-structured interviews, film analysis, survey data, and both quantitative and qualitative data analysis) to understand the everyday lives of women in different parts of the world and the complex and contests roles of religion therein. Students will also come to see how comparing findings from a variety of approaches can facilitate a fuller understanding of the social world.

Offered:
Spring 2020
Fall 2018
Fall 2017 (Syllabus)

Faculty: Laurie McNeil, Physics &Astronomy
Faculty: Brent Wissick, Music

The Interplay of Music and Physics seminar is for students who are interested in how music is made, how sound is produced in instruments, and how those sounds have been used in music making from ancient times to the present day. Students will study the basics of physics and music: wave motion, resonance, the perception of sound, scales, harmony, and music theory. We will conduct four laboratory exercises (called etudes) in which students will work in small groups to investigate the acoustics of string, woodwind and brass instruments. Keyboards and percussion will also be considered, and students can pursue their areas of special interest in a research paper. The final project for each student will be a public performance of an original musical composition for an ensemble of instruments that the students have constructed themselves out of found objects.

Offered:
Fall 2020
Fall 2019 (Syllabus)
Fall 2018
Fall 2017 (Syllabus)

Faculty: J. Christopher Clemens, Physics & Astronomy
Faculty: Brett Whalen, History

Time and the Medieval Cosmos will introduce first-year students to the basic motions of the solar system as viewed from the Earth and the mechanical and mathematical models used to reproduce them. The students will also learn how the reckoning of time connects to the motions of the celestial bodies, and how to calculate the date of Easter in the Julian Calendar. Historically, difficulties in calculating this date drove innovations in mathematics, engineering, and astronomy, leading eventually to the crisis of the Copernican model. With the help of Galileo’s telescope, this model led to the overthrow of the cosmology of Aristotle that prevailed in the medieval university. Students will critically examine this process and be able to evaluate the provocative thesis of Pierre Duhem that the “scientific revolution”, if it deserves to be called that, dates from the condemnation of problematic doctrines of Aristotle in 1277 by the Bishop of Paris, Etienne Tempier. Generally speaking, the course will immerse students in the world of medieval and early modern education, theology, and natural philosophy, challenging them to understand the historical conditions that shaped views of the cosmos in the European Middle Ages: from the monastic cloister of the eighth century, where figures like the Venerable Bede wrote tracts on the nature of time, to the university of Paris in the thirteenth century, where scholastic masters debated the eternality of the universe, to seventeenth-century cathedrals that acted as observatories, where churchmen plotted out the solar system. Throughout the semester, the class will raise broader questions about the relationship between faith and reason, and the role of institutional authorities in determining the boundaries of “acceptable” knowledge.

Offered:
Fall 2020
Fall 2019 (Syllabus)
Fall 2018

Faculty: Hilary Lithgow, English & Comparative Literature

Faculty: Luc Bovens, Philosophy

We will read works of short fiction from around the globe that address a range of social and political problems. The course addresses these issues from three angles. We will touch on topics that are prominent in the news today such as opiate addiction, arranged marriage, trafficking, bullying, social exclusion, charitable giving, implicit bias, and basic income. First, we read a short story that addresses the social or political issue. Second, we choose a recent and prominent study in the social sciences that addresses the issue. And third, we investigate how the issue is being reported in the press. Our goal will be to explore the different ways in which literature, social science and journalism construct issues of broad social and political relevance, the opportunities and limits of these constructions and what might be gained by using all three (rather than only one) to understand and respond to these issues. By using literature written by local writers to explore issues of global significance, we develop an appreciation for the perspectives of the people affected. To paraphrase Chinua Achebe (Nigeria), until the lions have their own social and political philosophers, social and political philosophy will always be told through the eyes of the hunters. This problem is precisely what we seek to overcome by drawing on literature from around the world instead of only from certain nations or canons. This is of paramount importance in today’s political climate of “fake news” and post-truth politics. Democratic society hinges on freedom of expression through the arts, freedom of speech through the press and free inquiry through the social sciences. To safeguard our democratic institutions we need to educate our students about the importance of these three pillars and provide them with the tools to access and appreciate them.

Offered:
Fall 2020
Fall 2019 (Syllabus)
Spring 2019
Fall 2017

Faculty: Lauri McNeil, Physics & Astronomy
Faculty: Maggie Cao, Art & Art History

In this course we will explore “how we see” in two senses. In the first, literal, sense we will explore the physics of vision and how it allows us to perceive the spatial location and size of objects as well as their color. In the second, metaphorical, sense we will explore visual artifacts and how objects are represented in artistic media. We will, for instance, experiment with image formation using mirrors and lenses and try to understand how painters in the Renaissance used such tools to create their art. We will likewise examine the artistic manipulation of visual perception using such techniques as linear perspective and anamorphosis. Finally we will use technologies such as infrared reflectivity to “make the unseen seen,” extending our visual powers to explore artistic process. This course is taught by a professor of physics and a professor of art history, each of whom brings her own perspective to what it means to see.

Offered:
Spring 2020
Fall 2017

Faculty: Heidi Kim, English & Comparative Literature
Faculty:  Erika Wise, Geography

Climate change has become one of the defining issues of our time. Studied in the sciences for decades, this topic has increasingly been taken up in the arts and humanities, as scholars seek to understand potential impacts on societies and our emotional response to a changing environment. Weather and climate have always impacted human societies in ways both large and small, and writers have reflected upon this in their literature, taking global level changes and turning them into personal narratives of drought and displacement; of hope and fear. In this first-year seminar, we aim to “make the global personal” by using personal narratives found in literature to introduce students to the science of climate change. We will put our readings into action through a semester-long historical climatology project using campus archives and electronic resources to investigate a particular aspect of climate change in North Carolina.

Offered:
Spring 2020
Fall 2018

Faculty: Rachel Seidman, History
Faculty: Ross Simpson, Jr., Medicine-Cardiology 

 

Description coming soon.

 

Offered:
Spring 2020

Faculty: Alaina Thomas, City and Regional Planning
Faculty: Lyneise Williams, Art History

Description coming soon.
Offered:
Spring 2020

Faculty: Lauren Leve, Religious Studies
Faculty: Lisa Pearce, Sociology

This course will tackle a controversial issue—whether religion harms or benefits women. Readings, film, guest speakers and research assignments will expose students to the lives of women in several major faith traditions in regions around the globe, including Judaism in Israel, Hinduism in Nepal, Islam in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States, and Christianity in United States (including Halifax County, North Carolina). Through class discussion, activities such as an organized debate, and regular writing assignments, we will examine how women are (or are not) religious in a variety of contexts and settings and how their participation and/or personalization of religion affects their personal well-being and place in society. In addition to the issue focus, this course is also designed to teach students how to gather and analyze evidence to draw conclusions about human lives. We will introduce principle methods of knowing in the Humanities and Social Sciences, emphasizing differences in how scholars ask questions, approach questions, and draw conclusions. Understanding and using this range of approaches will provide a rich and holistic picture of the role of religion in women’s lives from a variety of important standpoints, and also teach quantitative and qualitative literacy skills. Students will learn the strengths and limitations of different research strategies common in the Social Sciences and Humanities (including ethnographic participant-observation, semi-structured interviews, film analysis, survey data, and both quantitative and qualitative data analysis) to understand the everyday lives of women in different parts of the world and the complex and contests roles of religion therein. Students will also come to see how comparing findings from a variety of approaches can facilitate a fuller understanding of the social world.

Offered:
Spring 2020
Fall 2018
Fall 2017 (Syllabus)