Interdisciplinary Studies: Interdisciplinary Curriculum

Courses in this program explore topics, problems, or relationships that extend beyond the boundaries of a single discipline.  In doing so, not only are the ideas of two or more disciplines considered and brought to bear, but also their methods and media. In the first year of this program, for instance, the program offered a course entitled Notions of Space, Time, and Dimension—which employed the multiple lenses of mathematics, philosophy, science, and literature to explore the evolution of these foundational concepts.  Another example of an Interdisciplinary course is Hacking: The Collaborative Engineering of Complex Systems–which was co-taught by a Computer teacher and Biology teacher. This course—which defined the goal of hacking as the modification of a system to serve an identified purpose with elegance, efficiency, and versatility—both considered famous instances of hacking (such as Watson and Cricks’s hacking of the structure of DNA without any original research) and employed rigorous hands on components that took many forms (physical computing, 3-D printing, circuitry, manipulating and altering the biology of E.coli, fungal cells or plant systems). One should expect from the Interdisciplinary Program (in which the courses change each year) collaboration between different art-worlds, between art and science, between the historical and literary endeavors—always, though, with an eye towards coming to a fuller understanding of a specific topic. Not surprisingly, classes in this program are often, but not always, co-taught by faculty members from different departments.