Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) and Nondepartmental (NDL)

Academic Catalog 2011–2012

  • 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-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.

Students select one of the following courses depending on their specific interest:

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-248Media and Society in India(1 course) Students who participate in the Semester in India program will uncover social justice issues as they critically analyze media in India and investigate the influence that modern media has on Indian society. They will examine all aspects of media, from the stakeholders in the business to the economic factors, to the audience. Students will identify how these work together to impact politics and economics as well as individual and communal identity, and will critically analyze the impact of media on specific contemporary issues in India such as religious identity, Westernization, globalization, and gender roles. Fall semester.

Gustavus Semester in Sweden Program

Students receive four course credits plus an Interim Experience (IE X) credit. All students take the following semester courses, plus a course designed by each year’s faculty leader.

SCA-221The Sami: The Indigenous People of the North(1 course) Students will acquire a basic understanding of Sami culture, including spiritual matters, stewardship of the natural environment, outlook on politics, and customs. Students will live in Jokkmokk in Swedish Samiland for a major part of this course and will interact with Sami students and participate in Sami activities. In early February, they will attend the traditional Sami Winter Fair, a weeklong event that has been held annually since the early 1600s. NWEST, Spring semester.

SCA-221People and Politics(1 course) A course on Swedish politics and public policies, taught by Lennart Sacrédeus, member of the Swedish parliament and former member of the EU parliament. Students will examine contemporary political issues in Sweden and the positions visà- vis the EU taken by Sweden and the other Nordic counties. The course will have two venues, Mora and Stockholm. While in Mora, students will have classroom instruction and also experience politics and public policy in action on a regional level. The second phase of this course will take place in Stockholm where students will visit the parliament and other governmental and public institutions. SOSCI, Spring semester.

SCA-223The Study of Nature/The Natural Environment(1 course) In this course, taught at different locations and with different instructors and lecturers, students will survey Sweden’s achievements in the natural sciences, receive formal instruction in glacial geology—with field research—and study current environmental laws and policies. Daniel Lundberg, who has a doctorate in chemistry from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Uppsala), will introduce students to the academic study of science in Uppsala, a city with major research universities, and present well-known Swedish scientists and their achievements. Linnaeus, Celsius, Scheele, Nobel, Ångström, Arrhenius, and Klein are among the scientists introduced. Mark Johnson, a former professor of Geology at Gustavus and currently on the faculty at Göteborg University, will discuss research in his professional field, the earth sciences, focusing on glacial geology. Students will also learn about Swedish laws and public policies aimed at preserving the natural environment. NASP, Spring semester.

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