Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) and Nondepartmental (NDL)

Academic Catalog 2010–2011

  • Karen Larson

Interdisciplinary study at Gustavus is designed to nurture a holistic approach to the study of topics of concern to more than one of our traditional academic disciplines. This may involve interdisciplinary programs and/or interdisciplinary courses. The Gustavus Adolphus College mission statement speaks to a curriculum designed with an interdisciplinary perspective, and which balances tradition with pedagogical innovation. Interdisciplinary courses draw linkages beyond their disciplines, and often involve experiential learning, international study, service-learning, and undergraduate research.

Interdisciplinary majors and/or minors are offered in Environmental Studies; Japanese Studies; Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies; Peace Studies; Russian Studies; and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. Please refer to the separate listing for each in this bulletin.

144, 244, 344Special Topics(1 course each) These courses, offered occasionally by guest faculty, provide an opportunity to investigate, in depth, a selected interdisciplinary topic that is not the primary subject of any of the regular catalog courses.

IDS-213Indigenous Peoples Globally(1 course) An interdisciplinary approach to the study of a range of indigenous cultures throughout the world (i.e. Aborigines, Native Americans, Sami, etc.). Both historical and contemporary perspectives on these small but highly significant cultures will be studied. There will be a dual focus on both their autonomy and their contact and interrelationships with each other and immigrating cultures. Their place in human history and their prospects for survival will be examined. NWEST, Spring semester.

NDL-301Information Fluency(.5 course) This course will give students interested in going to graduate or professional school—or who simply want to know more about research—an immersion in the structure of the literature of their chosen field and exposure to research tools and collections. Students will develop an extensive literature of their chosen field. They also will keep a research log and develop and extensive literature review for a research question of their choice. Shorter projects will require students to analyze aspects of their discipline’s traditions, to compare them to traditions in other fields, and to explore the social and ethical dimensions of research. Spring semester.

IDS-399Pre-Law Junior/Senior Seminar(.125 course) This seminar reviews critical thinking concepts and reading strategies involved in legal reasoning. Students will apply these abilities to the question types posed in the Law School Admissions Test. The course meets weekly for two hours for the first half of each semester.

Social Justice, Peace, and Development: A Semester in India

IDS-243Environment, Ecology, and Livelihood(1 course) This course for the Semester in India program will expose students to typically Indian ecosystems and the strategies Indian ecologists have adopted to preserve these systems. While in India for the semester, students will identify major environmental issues through a combination of lectures, research, and field visits, and they will analyze structural conditions and international philosophies which lead to the reasons behind the issues. Students will meet with leaders, both academic and in the field, to learn first-hand about the realities of environmental problems and efforts to remedy them, such as reforestation, watershed management, herbal medicine study and preservation, and the phenomenon of the Sacred Grove. Fall semester.

IDS-245Religion, Culture and Society in India(1 course) Students who participate in the Semester in India program will study Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam primarily, although other significant religions in India will be presented as well. In order to understand the issues of community development which form the heart of this study abroad program, students will become familiar with the religious beliefs, symbols, and festivals as well as visit important religious centers, such as Hyderabad, Sarnath, and Varanasi. Students will also work closely throughout the program with some of the nine million Christians in India and will be expected to be able to articulate clearly how the religions and cultures of India impact the issues of development at the community level. NWEST, Fall semester.

IDS-246Globalization and the Ethics of Development(1 course) This course investigates issues associated with globalization, as well as the themes, models, and practices of ethical development. Specifically, students will study the national and international politics of development in the context of macroeconomic questions associated with markets and globalization. There will also be a discussion of culture in development. The course will investigate the impact of globalization on organized and unorganized labor sectors, including emerging trends and challenges facing women in the labor market, Dalits, Adivasis, fishworkers, agricultural laborers, handloom weavers, child laborers, etc. The course concludes with an investigation of the politics of health issues and the issues, challenges, and alternatives to globalization. SOSCI, Fall semester.

IDS-247Identity, Resistance, and Liberation(1 course) This course investigates issues associated with cultural, national, and ethnic identity as related to social movements and campaigns. Students will study the literature of resistance and liberation, which typically include an investigation of questions related to oppression, change agents, and the methods of resistance. Core questions in the area of identity, resistance, and liberation typically deal with issues of violence and nonviolence, the social actor in both public and private spheres, the ëself’ as both a personal and social concept. Literature will express viewpoints from a number of perspectives, including modern, post-modern, feminist, Marxist, and liberal perspectives. Fall semester.

The Gustavus Term in Germany Program

GER-102Immersion German I and II(1 course) As part of the Term in Germany program, this course is an intensive introduction to German. During the first month students will cover the basic structures of German and develop reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills, both in the classroom and in the field. Additional practice will come through immersion in the target culture during the four-month semester abroad. The course will cover the material of both semesters of the beginning sequence at Gustavus, because of its intensive nature and immersion context. Fall semester, even years.

NDL-218Lutheran Theology(1 course) As part of the Term in Germany program, this course looks at Luther’s life and works as a series of responses to his historical context. It then looks at contemporary Lutheran theologians who, referencing Luther’s work, are also responding to their own contemporary contexts. The course will take seriously the present economic, political, cultural, and ethnic context of the birthplace of Lutheranism, and will seek to construct a theology that responds to that context. The course requires that students work on understanding what theology’s task might be in the present realities of eastern Germany and begin to build a theology that would “work” there. The course includes fieldwork such as visiting local congregations, interviewing pastors and church officials, etc. THEOL, Fall semester, even years.

NDL-219Introduction to German History(1 course) As part of the Term in Germany program, this course has three main objectives. The first is a well-informed historical context for the student stay in Germany. In the other courses of the term and in conversations with Germans, references will be made to prominent people, great events, significant art and architecture, and milestones in music, drama, and literature. A good understanding of the sweep of German history and culture will obviously help to put everything into a meaningful perspective. The class will strive to see the development of German society and culture and, eventually, the German state over time. A second objective is an informed understanding of Germany and of Germans today, which is helped by an appreciation of German history. Finally, this course also aims to encourage a historical mindedness whenever a specialized aspect of German history and culture is explored. HIPHI, Fall semester, even years.

NDL-220Art and Culture in Luther’s Germany(1 course) As part of the Term in Germany program, this course explores central developments in the history of German music, art, literature, and theatre in the geographic region where Luther lived and worked. The course is a mixture of lectures, attendance at concerts, visits to museums, discussion with artists and other experiential activities. Students use the weekly cultural excursions to construct a cultural portfolio to include: a prescribed number of performances, and texts they encounter, including a final essay designed to engage one of the art forms in depth. ARTS, Fall semester, even years.

Gustavus Semester in Sweden Program—See Scandinavian Studies and Swedish Department listing.

The following interdisciplinary courses are listed elsewhere in the Academic Bulletin:

  • PCS-211Introduction to Peace Studies
  • S/A-111Cultural Anthropology
  • GWS-118 Controversies In Feminism