Bidisciplinary Courses

Course offerings reflect the 2023-2024. One unit of credit equals four semester hours.

Bidisciplinary courses may also be taken for elective credit and, in some cases, as designated by the department, for major or minor credit.

Biological and chemical relationships between living and non-living components of the natural world and the significance to humans as members of natural ecosystems are studied through the themes of water and energy. Alterations of environmental systems due to water use and energy production have profound global consequences including: global climate change, air and water pollution, acid rain, unsafe drinking water and water shortages. This course will explore these environmental changes and explore options available for creating a sustainable future. Relevant political, legal and ethical issues will also be addressed. Includes laboratory.

An introductory course that will discuss the chemical and biological basis of forensic science. Course will include instruction on assays routinely performed by forensic scientists, theories behind these assays and discussion of the quality of forensic evidence. Not applicable for the majors or minors offered by the departments of Biology or Chemistry and Biochemistry. Includes laboratory.

Key concepts in biology and physics are used to understand life in its possible forms within the context of the Universe. Major topics include the study of how life began and evolved on Earth, the conditions necessary for life, where those conditions may be found in the Universe and how to locate them. Includes laboratory.

This course will examine different political and economic systems, social and cultural institutions, their impact on citizens and the role citizens play in policy decisions through civic engagement. Understanding literature as both a reflection and shaper of culture, this course will employ literary texts as a critical lens to examine the above topics as well as the intricacies of the political process and the impact of political discourse on local, national and world affairs. Simultaneously, students will explore the complexities of the literary texts themselves to understand the power of narrative within the human experience.

This course is a bidisciplinary survey of central philosophical and psychological concerns in the new field of neuroethics. Personal, ethical, legal and social implications of contemporary neuroscience are explored. Two categories of ethical work are addressed in this course. The “neuroscience of ethics” addresses the neuroscientific understanding of brain processes that may underlie moral judgments and behavior. The “ethics of neuroscience” addresses the potential impacts of advances in neuroscience on social, moral and philosophical ideas and institutions as well as the ethical principles that should guide brain research, treatment of brain disorders and cognitive enhancement. Special emphasis will be placed on the ways in which neuroscience might impact our sense of self and personal responsibility and our understanding of the structure of moral judgments. Students will learn the basics of neuroanatomy and neuroscientific methodologies as well as philosophical and psychological discourse concerned with issues of free will, autonomy, responsibility, privacy and identity.

The European Union has a major impact on international business and politics, the workings of the European governments that it comprises, and the lives of millions of Europeans. Through immersion in the life, culture and politics of European cities, students will gain an in-depth understanding of the development of the institutions, policies and policy-making process of the European Union and their impact on cities. The course examines European cities with a concentration on the history, politics, governing and urbanization of the European Union. Contemporary issues of European cities and the policy initiatives that attempt to deal with them will be highlighted. Special attention will be paid to the processes of globalization and the impact these processes are having on European cities and EU public policy initiatives.

Development of understanding of the techniques and elements of theater and music and their application to live performances in the Chicago area. Includes analysis of print dramatic literary texts and performance and engagement with musical compositions. Lectures, writing assignments, in-class exercises and concert and play attendance provide a basis for the appreciation of theater and music as forms of artistic expression. Students should expect some expenses for attending productions.

This course is offered in conjunction with The Washington Center. Students will examine issues and implications of the next administration, more specifically, factors that shape the relationship between the President and his/her administration, the executive branch and Congress and that set priorities and influence policymaking. Students will investigate the ethical relationship between the media and federal politics, the question of the ethical responsibilities of a free press, the changing role of the individual voter in a media-saturated culture and the challenges (foreign and domestic) facing newly elected federal officials. Students will visit several sites around Washington, D.C., including embassies, think tanks, media organizations, the Newseum and Capitol Hill. These field trips, as well as lectures and discussions led by politicians, journalists and professors from around the country, allow for an in-depth look at the relationship among ethics, politics and the media. Permission of the instructors required.

A faculty led travel course. As a multicultural Francophone experience, the focus of the course is the cultural history of Martinican society, from its origins as a French slave colony to its current socio-economic and identity struggles within the French nation. Through experiential learning, students will explore such topics as the use of Creole and French in Martinique, colonial history, the intersection between the Caribbean sugar industry and the Atlantic slave trade, folklore, music and popular traditions, environmental issues and the socioeconomic and cultural relationship between Martinique and Metropolitan France. Taught in English. January Term only.

A universal feature of human civilizations has been to distinguish between persons in terms of gender. This course will examine these gender distinctions through two different lenses: psychology and political philosophy. Psychology approaches the study of gender as it is manifested in our thoughts and in our behavior. Political philosophy critically examines and challenges the principles at work behind gender differences, principles such as biology, socialization or male power structures. Both psychology and political philosophy study the implications of these gender differences for how we live, how we think, how we moralize, and how we do politics. Ultimately, two controversial questions will ground the curriculum of this course: What is gender? And, what is the future of gender? Responding to these questions requires an interdisciplinary approach which explores both the reality of gender in society and human psychological processes and which openly theorizes about other possibilities.

The course will focus on diverse Native American traditions, U.S. law/policy affecting First Amendment “freedom of religion” rights for Native Americans, and related perspectives on justice and ethics. The purpose of the course is to introduce students to a shared worldview of traditional Native Americans, specific, distinctive religious practices of several tribes/nations, especially in relation to the concept of sacred land, and how the U.S. government has responded to their freedom to practice. The course examines court cases to determine the scope of freedom and justice for Native Americans.

Feminist poetry challenges, via its content and literary forms, hegemonic power and oppression. In its content, feminist poetry interrogates our gendered social and political order from the perspective of those on the margins. The subject matter expresses the value of women’s experiences, reinscribes their political, social and personal identities, and represents a collective voice of contestation and opposition against patriarchal oppression. In its form, feminist poetry affirms the ability of women poets to create within the boundaries of classical forms and also as initiators of new and innovative poetic forms. This course will examine the content and form of a variety of feminist poems from the perspective of language and literary technique, as well as feminist theories. The course will be structured to prompt the exploration of concepts central to feminism and politics. These will include such concepts as: woman, patriarchy, sex, maternity, lesbianism, private and public, equality, and power. Particular poems will be used to introduce and further the discussion of each concept. Class activities will center on an exploration of the concept at hand as well as an analysis of the poem or poems.

This bidisciplinary course examines social, political, environmental, and economic issues represented in documentary film. With a focus on social justice, this course will introduce students to various thoughts on corporate social responsibility and conscious capitalism from theorists and practitioners working within the business/management and organizational communication disciplines. Specifically, a variety of ethical decision-making models regarding organizations, individual morals, and societal values will be explored. Students will also learn various theories and methods of media analysis. These models and theories will form the basis for viewing, analyzing, and discussing both the quality of films and the issues presented by films’ directors. In addition to becoming thoughtful citizens, leaders, or managers, students enrolled in this course will become critical consumers of visual media.

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