Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) and Nondepartmental (NDL)

Academic Catalog: 2012–2013

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 and Eastern European Studies; and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. Please refer to the separate listing for each in this bulletin.

144, 244, 344 Special Topics (1 course, 1 course 1 course) 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-190 Introduction to Africa (1 course) The course introduces students to the multifaceted dimensions of the African continent and its peoples from an interdisciplinary perspective. It serves as a good background for upper level courses in the African Studies program. The course focuses among other things on pre-colonial and colonial history, modern African states, and Africa’s role in contemporary world affairs. It also discusses human geography, emphasizing the diversity and convergence of African cultural patterns, as well as traditional cultural forms and institutions such as kinship. Finally, the course discusses the oral and written literature and art of African peoples. Students discuss, do presentations, write research papers, and take exams. This course is required for the minor in African Studies. NWEST. Fall semester.

IDS-213 Indigenous 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-201 Reading Workshop (.25 course) In this course students will read and discuss two or more books, including a contemporary work of fiction or non-fiction announced in advance and a book chosen by the student. Students will publish reviews of the books they read to a book-related social network, will reflect on their own reading histories and practices, and will explore the place of books and literacy in contemporary culture.

NDL-243 Forensics (0 to 1 course) Forensics involves preparation for and participation in intercollegiate forensics tournaments. Students participate in public speaking, interpretation of literature, and/or limited preparation events. Participation requires a serious commitment of research, analysis, composition, and performance. Fall and Spring semesters.

IDS-260 Myth and Reality in African Cinema (1 course) This course examines how Africa is represented through cinema. Though the theme may vary from one year to another, generally it discusses issues such as nation building, gender relations, social and political conflict, and acculturation, among others. Students discuss, take exams, write essays, and do oral presentations. NWEST. Spring semester, odd years.

NDL-301 Information 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-399 Pre-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-245 Religion, 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-246 Globalization 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-247 Identity, 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-243 Environment, 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-248 Media 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.

Semester in Malaysia: Living Diversity

IDS-250 Bahasa Malaysia I (1 course) This course is specially designed to be a simple introduction to the learning of Bahasa Malaysia by foreign students. Course meets for four contact hours each week for fourteen weeks and covers the four language skills – listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The first two skills are integrated in the oral language component. At the end of the course, students should be able to speak, read, and write simple Bahasa Malaysia in daily situations. Spring semester.

IDS-251 Malaysia Studies (1 course) This course is an introduction to the history and culture of Malaysia. Course topics include historical and economic developments; the independence process; ethnic relations and national unity; the role of religion in Malaysia politics and culture; major trends in contemporary Malaysia; and Malaysia in the modern world system. Students will be introduced to and utilize ethnography as a social science research methodology to gather data on a research topic of their choice. SOSCI, Spring semester.

IDS-252 Religions of Malaysia (1 course) This course will introduce students to the diverse religious views of Malaysia. Course topics include forms of belief, religious ideas, practices, scriptures, rites and rituals, death and the afterlife, and theologies and doctrines. Students will be exposed to the religions of Malaysia in both their functional and theoretical aspect. The historical development of particular religious communities, the relations among them, and the analysis of religion in the Malaysian historical and cultural context will also be discussed. Course will include site visits to temples, mosques, and churches, as well as meetings with clergy and practitioners of various religious communities. NWEST, Spring semester.

IDS-253 Tropical Ecology (1 course) This course provides students with hands-on experience in the Malaysian Peninsula tropical environment, particularly in biological diversity, ecology and conservation. Through lectures and field work, students will gain an understanding of the various concepts of ecology, function and interaction between the abiotic and abiotic components of an ecosystem. This will provide a broad understanding about ecological diversity together with structure and function of various tropical ecosystems in Malaysia, including tropical rain forests, mangrove swamps, coral reefs, wetlands, and agroecosystems. NASP, Spring semester.

Gustavus Semester in Sweden Program

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

SCA-221 The 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-222 People 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 vis-à-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-223 The 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-211 Introduction to Peace Studies
  • S/A-111 Cultural Anthropology
  • GWS-118 Controversies in Feminism