Interdisciplinary Studies

IDS 102       Art and Culture (4)

A study of the ways that the arts represent major cultural changes focusing on non-western cultures. Several art forms (literature, performing, or visual arts) will be studied as they mirror social history. Emphasis falls on the appreciation and understanding of each art and its cultural context, with some comparison of the traditions of other-World and West. Students may also engage in some hands-on experience with these art forms. Specific topics may vary. A reading and writing intensive seminar course; meets the Other World Civilization SUNY General Education Requirement.


IDS 103       Science, Technology, and Human Values (4)

An exploration of the interrelationships between science and technology and their social and cultural contexts. This course is a topics-based investigation that introduces students to a multi-disciplinary examination of a specific topic with the goal of developing an integrated, coherent, and well-rounded understanding of both that topic and the value of interdisciplinary inquiry. Possible topics include health and illness, food, transportation, energy, information, and other subjects. A reading and writing intensive seminar class; meets the Humanities SUNY General Education Requirement.


IDS 201       Perspectives on Knowledge (4)

A critical and comparative analysis of different ways of knowing focusing on the western tradition with some cross-cultural comparisons. Begins by analyzing different ways humans have sought to know the truth, and by comparing and contrasting formal, universal ways of knowing with practical, experience-based, problem-oriented ways of knowing. The resulting understanding of knowledge provides the foundation for students to develop their own perspectives on knowledge. A reading and writing intensive seminar class; meets the Western Civilization SUNY General Education Requirement.


IDS 203       Introduction to Science, Technology, and Society (4)

Explores the humanistic and social dimensions of science and technology by looking at the interactions and interrelationships among science, technology, and society. We will explore: 1) the practice of science and technology to understand how scientific and technological work are conducted as creative and human enterprises; 2) how science and technology are shaped by different social and economic forces; 3) the impact of science and technology on society; 4) ethical issues related to science and technology.


IDS 204       Understanding Human Nature (4)

Examines human nature from a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives including philosophy, religion, psychology, sociology, biology, and literature. It also includes an examination of the implications of the relationships between humans and technology for our understanding of human nature. Meets the General Education Humanities requirement.


IDS 220       Creativity and Culture (4)

An introduction to the concepts and practices of creative activity in contemporary society. The course will explore both ideas and processes of creativity across multiple contexts, domains, and genres (e.g. fine arts, folk and popular arts, craft, design) with a focus on understanding the cultural contexts and processes of creativity. Students will engage in hands-on creative activities in different genres as well as reflect upon the aesthetic and practical dimensions of these experiences in order to appreciate and critically engage the goals, purposes, and processes of creative activities. Meets The Arts SUNY General Education Requirement.


IDS 230       Foundations and Theories of Leadership (4)

An introduction to the intellectual and conceptual foundations for understanding the complexities of leadership in contemporary society. Approaching the topic from an interdisciplinary perspective, students will explore the significance and meaning of leadership in diverse contexts and examine different theories and models of leadership. By critically examining different approaches to leadership, students will clarify and articulate their own approach to leadership.


IDS 240       Foundations of Global Studies (4)

An introduction to the field of Global Studies, focusing on the issues and challenges that characterize our increasingly globalized world. The course will be organized around the parallel developments of different waves of globalization and articulations of its foundational concepts, including indigeneity, migration, colonization and imperialism, nation-states and geopolitical borders, the global economic systems, and ecology and ecosystems. Attention will be paid to intersecting approaches and theories that will equip students to critically explore and analyze global-scale issues and problems from an interdisciplinarity in identifying and analyzing problems and its necessity for devising solutions. Also fulfills the SUNY General Education Other World Civilizations requirement.


IDS 251       Principles of Green Buildings (4)

Explores and integrates multiple perspectives on the principles behind green building design and development of the green building industry. Methods and Analytical frameworks from science and engineering disciplines, as well as social and humanistic perspectives, will inform a deep understanding of the design of green buildings and intents behind a variety of high-performance building standards. Students will reflect on the design and certification of a real green building project to LEED standards and earn a personal accreditation as a LEED Green Associate.


IDS 301       Monsters, Robots, Cyborgs (4)

What is the significance of the troubling figures – the monsters, robots, and cyborgs – that haunt our collective imagination? In this course students will examine the monstrous figures and technological bodies that populate the cultural landscape, interpreting them within their social, historical, cultural, political, and intellectual contexts. Approached in this manner, we will explore how these figures reveal our anxieties about the world—anxieties about the social, political, moral, and technological orders that organize our world—and how we fit (and do not fit) within these structures and systems. Meets the General Education Humanities requirement.


IDS 302       Postmodernism and Popular Culture (4)

Begins with a foundational overview of major theories of Postmodernism from interdisciplinary perspectives (e.g. philosophy, sociology, psychology, history, anthropology, literary studies, political science). Students will then read, discuss and apply knowledge from more specialized scholarship that discusses some popular cultural practices and artifacts. Assignments include readings, discussion, quizzes, formal and informal writing, presentations, and a midterm and/or final exam. Topics may include: film, television, celebrity, technology, social networking, and self-publishing (blogs, wikis, etc.). Fulfills the General Education Humanities requirement.


IDS 303       The Body in Western Thought and Culture (4)

An examination of how the human body is conceptualized and represented in western thought and culture. Whereas the role of mind and intellect holds the privileged position in the western tradition, the human body, in its corporeality, materiality and mortality is the source of vexing problems. Yet it is impossible to understand either human existence or human experience without addressing our existence as embodied beings. This course will explore how the body and its problems are thought, addressed, and represented in western thought and culture. Topics may include the mind/body dualism, society and the body, and intersections of sex, gender, class, and race as they converge over the body.


IDS 304       Technology in American History (4)

A lecture and reading and writing intensive course in American History organized around the theme of technology. History is the understanding of change over time. As such, this course focuses on technology as a central organizing theme to study changes that have happened in America. We will do so by exploring the interrelationships and interactions among technology and the changing political, economic, social, intellectual and cultural contexts in America. As a result, students can become thoughtful analysts of technology in context. Cross-listed with HIS 304.


IDS 306       Science and Technology in World History (4)

An analysis of the histories of science and technology in the context of the broad outlines of world history and the history of western civilization. As such, this course is an exploration of the interrelationships and interactions among technology, different forms of knowledge about nature, and their political, economic, social, intellectual, and cultural contexts. That exploration will lay the foundation for a cross-cultural comparison of science and technology in the West and in other civilizations to analyze the significance of western science and technology’s dominance. Lectures will supplement the text, and will cover themes and issues important to understand the changes that occurred in the histories of science and technology. May not be taken for credit by students who previously took and passed HIS 307. Meets new General Education Western Civilization and Other World Civilizations requirements, or can be used to meet Humanities requirement. Cross-listed with HIS 306.


IDS 311       Humor and Comedy in Society (4)

Beyond being funny, the ways we generate, receive and consume comedy affects the way we view and participate in the world around us. Comedy helps us function in the world, and it shapes the way we perceive things on personal, political and social levels. Laughing at others and ourselves allows us to gain and withhold power, and as such a study of comedy is valuable to understanding aspects of the genre such as aggression, compliance, and transgression. IDS 311 offers a study of comedy from a variety of perspectives (e.g. philosophy, sociology, psychology, history, anthropology, literary studies, political science, and linguistics). Artifacts of study may include film, television, written texts, and radio. Topics of study may include gender and sexuality, ethnicity, political satire, and religious humor. Meets the General Education Humanities requirement. For IDS majors, this course partially fulfills the Cultural Analysis and Interpretation Area of Inquiry.


IDS 320       Perspectives on Problem Solving (4)

A humanistically grounded, ultimately interdisciplinary exploration of the phenomenon and practice of problem solving. Problem solving will first be explored historically and philosophically in order to think creatively about problems and their solutions in terms of change over time in specific contexts, and to analyze the implicit value decisions contained in the creative practice of problem solving. This humanistic foundation sets the stage to explore a number of questions with respect to problem solving. Knowledge from a variety of disciplines will be incorporated into exploring those questions, such as literature, the arts, psychology, sociology, business management, and science and technology studies. The ultimate aim of the course is to enable students to develop a humanistically grounded, integrated perspective so they can make explicit the often implicit creative and value decisions in the phenomenon and practice of problem solving.


IDS 321       Wicked Problems: Interdisciplinary Approaches to 21st-Century Challenges (4)

An inquiry-driven, problem-based course in applied interdisciplinary inquiry and thinking. Students will be presented with a relatively unstructured question or problem and by drawing from their own disciplinary expertise as well as other perspectives, including those grounded in the humanities, will develop a more holistic understanding of the topic. A key emphasis will be the need to frame problems within broader contexts rather than understanding them narrowly as technical problems solvable via technical means. Instead, by situating the topic within broader historical and social contexts, students will confront ethical considerations and evaluation of solutions informed by human values.


IDS 367       American Protest Movements (4)

An interdisciplinary course that examines the phenomenon of protest movements in America historically and social scientifically, especially sociologically. Protest movements have been studied by scholars for decades. We will explore the history of protest, up to and including the growth of contemporary forms of protest movements. We will examine why people protest, and how they protest, paying particular attention to issues surrounding strategy and tactics, the media, civil disobedience, the relationship between protest movements and the authorities, protest and coalition building, and the institutionalization of protest. Finally, we will analyze whether protest actually matters- why do some movements succeed while others fail, and what is the meaning of success and failure, and for whom. In very general terms, by the end of the course, we will be able to determine whether protest in an inherent part of American society and of the identity of America. This course relies primarily on historical and social scientific approaches to understanding protest movements, but in recognition of the complexity of the phenomenon of dissent, will at times also focus on materials from other disciplines, such as social psychology and the arts. The aim of the course is to introduce the student to key issues, while teaching how to cogently and critically analyze contemporary issues surrounding dissent and protest movements. Students who have completed IDS 367 for credit cannot also take SOC 367 or HIS 367.


IDS 375 Gender Issues in World History (4)

An examination of how gender roles have shaped the experiences of diverse men and women in a range of human societies worldwide, and how those roles have affected experiences of cultural interaction among societies in modern and recent history. Using historical monographs and primary sources, students will employ critical reading and writing skills to gain in-depth knowledge of these experiences and of trends in the field of gender history that can guide independent inquiry. Fulfills the SUNY General Education requirement in Western Civilization and Other World Civilizations. Cross-listed with HIS 375.


IDS 380       Critical Perspectives on Digital Society (4)

Exposes students to a range of critical/cultural theories and approaches to the study of new media, including those allied to medium theory, cultural studies, political economy of communication, ideological inquiry, globalization and commercialism. Students will explore multiple theorists/theoretical positions in depth. Cross-listed with COM 380.


IDS 390       Selected Topics in Interdisciplinary Studies (Variable 4)

A selected topic explored in depth from an interdisciplinary perspective. Students may receive credit for taking the course more than once provided the course has a different topic.


IDS 400       Prominent Themes in Western Civilization Since the Renaissance (4)

A reading and writing intensive course that examines the central themes, issues, and ideas in western civilization in the modern and postmodern eras in an interdisciplinary fashion. It incorporates knowledge from a variety of intellectual fields, including physics, biology, social science, philosophy, political science, and literature. In this course, students will read primarily original sources as well as some secondary sources. Meets the General Education Western Civilization requirement.


IDS 401       Contemporary Worldviews (4)

A reading and writing intensive course that studies a dominant characteristic of Western thought in the twentieth century through interdisciplinary readings. Students will read primary sources in history, philosophy, science, literature, the visual arts, or social sciences, and will study and compare the nature of the core idea in each discipline. Possible issues to be examined include the crisis of authority, the ecological consciousness, technology and culture. Meets the General Education Western Civilization requirement.


IDS 410       Research and Critical Methods (4)

Introduction to various modes of analyzing subjects in the humanities and social sciences. Students will gain an understanding of the techniques, methodologies, and vocabularies of research methods and will become familiar with debates regarding those research methods. Students will employ several research methods to assess their preferences for approaches to subject matter, and will design and carry out an interdisciplinary final project. Topics of study include: critical theory, film and visual arts criticism, historiography, literary criticism, and social science research issues.


IDS 435       Art and Technology (4)

A study of the interaction between technological change and artistic expression. Early historical examples will be used to establish fundamental principles of art and technology as sources of cultural value. The course will emphasize twentieth and twenty-first century developments; topics may include imaging, film, code, data, and digital art. Students will produce their own examples of traditional and electronically mediated art.


IDS 492       Interdisciplinary Studies Internship (2-4)

Intended for Interdisciplinary Studies majors to gain practical and/or professional experience in an area related to their individual program of study. Student will work with a qualified specialist in the relevant area and will be responsible for reporting to both that specialist and to a faculty supervisor. Students wishing to enroll must have filed their program of study and completed a minimum of 12 credits in their chosen area of concentration.


IDS 499       Interdisciplinary Studies Project (4)

A capstone seminar in which students design and complete an individual project demonstration their mastery and integration of their individual Area of Concentration and the Interdisciplinary Studies core. Projects may take a range of forms appropriate to the student’s concentration and future goals, e.g. a research essay, marketing study, computer program or curriculum design. Projects must be approved by the student’s project supervisors. Students will participate in a seminar addressing research issues and will present their projects to their faculty supervisors at the end of the course. Prerequisite: IDS 410.