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The Ideas, Information, and Inquiry (Triple-I) program is designed to teach the power of disciplinary thinking—and the value of crossing disciplinary boundaries. No student arrives at Carolina with a full understanding of all the academic opportunities available on campus. Few understand how multiple disciplines rigorously define and test problems or create and share knowledge. Triple-I courses introduce students to disciplines they may not even be aware of early in their academic careers, with the possibility they could decide to major or minor in such areas.

Triple-I classes are large broadly interdisciplinary courses that introduce students to a wide range of academic subject areas and to four key capacities. They are taught by teams of three faculty members whose disciplinary, research, and/or scholarly approaches differ significantly from one another.

Courses are organized around a broad theme that highlights the different approaches among the team. Instructors explore with students the strengths, weaknesses, distinctions, and similarities among disciplines and approaches. Triple-I courses also help students to develop four key capacities that they will extend through further study: global awareness, principles of evidence, collaboration, and data literacy.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Compare and contrast three distinct ways of addressing a question.
  • Use data and evidence to apply key methods of and concerns associated with data literacy.
  • Situate ideas and experiences in global contexts.
  • Collaborate with others for mutual benefit.

Benefits to teaching a Triple-I course:

  • Collaborate with colleagues from different fields/departments/schools
  • Learn new instructional techniques and strategies
  • Engage with first-year students

Contact Us

NameEmailTriple-I Topics
Cary Levine, Associate Dean and Director for Triple-Iclevine@unc.eduDeveloping new Triple-I • department’s planned Triple-I offerings
Ben Haven, First-Year Curriculum Specialistbhaven@email.unc.eduNew course proposal process • scheduling and registration • fall semester first-year student pre-registration • Triple-I Brochure
Katrina White, Budget AnalystKatrina_White@unc.eduHiring TAs • graduate student fee & tuition awards • course development grant

Getting Started

  1. Form Your Teaching Team
    • Propose a topic and develop your team.
  2. Confirm with your department chairs
    • Departments must agree to offer course at least three times in the next five years beginning when the course is first taught.
  3. Submit Prospectus Form
    • Due September 1 for the following fall and March 1 for the following spring.

Triple-I Prospectus Form

  • Submit the form below to propose a new Triple-I course. Before you fill out this form, please be sure that you have
    • read through Triple-I requirements (see "Policies and Procedures" tab)
    • a draft of the course syllabus
    • endorsements from all involved department/curriculum chairs with an agreement that this course will be offered at least three times in the next five years beginning when the course is first taught
    Please note that Triple-I don't have recitations and will be scheduled with 333 seats in a standard MWF or TTH meeting pattern.
  • You may upload up to three documents (one for each involved department). If you have not received permission from the faculty members responsible for approving new course offerings (e.g., DUS, associate chair, chair) in each involved department, please contact them before you proceed with this proposal. The endorsement should include an agreement to offer the course at least three times in the next five years beginning when the course is first taught (if helpful, copy and paste the following into your browser window for a form template:
    Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: pdf, doc, docx, jpg, gif, png, xls, xlsx, Max. file size: 100 MB, Max. files: 3.

    • The Coordinating Instructor will be the primary point of contact for communication with central offices (e.g., the College, Undergraduate Curricula) regarding class scheduling, registration, etc. The business officer in the coordinating instructor's home department will handle allocation of instructional resources.
    • Provide a short paragraph with a description of yourself, including academic interests and personal information. This information will be used to promote your class, so feel free to brag a bit and be interesting. 100 word limit.
    • This will be the primary point of contact for the College of Arts and Sciences' Business Office
    • Provide a short paragraph with a description of yourself, including academic interests and personal information. This information will be used to promote your class, so feel free to brag a bit and be interesting. 100 word limit.
    • Provide a short paragraph with a description of yourself, including academic interests and personal information. This information will be used to promote your class, so feel free to brag a bit and be interesting. 100 word limit.

    • Provide a description that summarizes the course’s content and goals using terms that will be familiar to high school students. We will use this description in various materials that describe your Triple-I course. 150 word limit.
    • Please attach a digital copy of a syllabus for this course.
      Accepted file types: pdf, doc, docx, jpg, gif, png, xls, xlsx, Max. file size: 100 MB.

      Indicate below how the course will fulfill the Triple-I student learning outcomes.
    • This question is optional. The College's data literacy team will cover this material in the associated single credit data literacy lab. In the meantime, if you think there are elements of the course that already involve data literacy, you are welcome to indicate them below. This information will be valuable to the data literacy team.

    Class Size, Credit Allocation, and Frequency of Offerings

    • Triple-I courses have an enrollment cap of 333 students. Triple-I do not have recitations.
    • Each department/unit is credited with one-third (1/3) of the registered students.
    • Triple-I courses must be offered a minimum of 3 times in a 5 year period beginning when the course is first taught.

    Coordinating Unit

    While filling out the prospectus form, the instructor team identifies the Coordinating Instructor and Coordinating Business Officer in the Coordinating Instructor’s home unit. The home unit for both will be the Coordinating Unit. The Coordinating Unit must be in the College of Arts and Sciences.

    • Each Triple-I will have four teaching assistants (TA). The Coordinating Unit is responsible for identifying the fourth TA in addition to identifying one TA per each of its participating instructors (see “Instructional Support” section below for details).
    • The Coordinating Instructor will be the primary point of contact for communication with central offices regarding class scheduling, registration, course revisions, etc.
    • The Coordinating Business Officer will be the primary coordinator for:
      • allocation of funds for the $5,000 development grant for first-time offerings
      • the four TA appointment letters with the student’s home departments (see “Instructional Support” section below for details)
    • Each semester the class is offered, the Coordinating Unit is welcome to coordinate with business officers and instructors on their Triple-I team and faculty administrators in participating units to establish a new coordinating officer/unit. Please note, this must always be a College unit. If the Coordinating Business Officer/Unit changes, please notify Michelle Blackwell, Ben Haven, and Katrina White.

    Instructional Support

    $5,000 course development fund (one time)

    • Funds should be used to support costs related to course development. Examples include the purchasing of resources and costs related to the instructor’s work together. The Triple-I teaching team will decide best use of funds and will notify Business Manager for Coordinating Instructors Home Department or Curriculum (which must be in the College of Arts & Sciences) of allocation and spending decisions.
    • Unspent funds may be carried over for no more than one additional fiscal year (e.g., if funds are awarded in July of 2021 (FY22), they must be spent by June 30, 2023 (FY23), if funds are awarded in February of 2022 (FY22), they must be spent by June 30, 2023 (FY23).
    • Funds will only be made available once the proposal and syllabus has been submitted and approved. Any fall 2022 teams who have yet to receive their funds shall receive them immediately.
    • No additional development funds will be awarded from the College of Arts & Sciences Dean’s Office. For instance, if a new instructor is added to the section in later years, the Dean’s Office will not provide further course development funds; however, the home department may do so if they customarily provide course development funds for required courses in their curriculum.
    • Please contact Katrina White with questions about this process.

    Graduate Teaching Assistants (TA)

    The College of Arts & Sciences Dean’s Office (DO) will provide funding to support graduate teaching assistants. The $36,000 instructional support budget will allow the Triple-I faculty to hire four TAs for a student-to-TA ratio of 83:1. TAs are generally responsible for grading, the facilitation of in-class activities, and student communications. Triple-I courses do not have recitation sections.

    TA Payment and Support

    • Each Triple-I TA will receive a standard stipend of $9,000.
    • TA stipends will be processed for each student through the Office of Undergraduate Education (UE).
    • The College and the Graduate School will support through state funds the full cost for the assistantship (stipend, in-state tuition, and fees).
    • Tuition fees and remission for out-of-state graduate students will remain the responsibility of the department/school.
    • For professional school TAs, please note that only the on-model in-state tuition will be covered. Any school-based tuition will be the student’s or their home department’s responsibility.
    • The processing of the student’s tuition fees and remission and GradStar will be completed by UE for the department (contact Michelle Blackwell with additional questions).

    Identifying TAs

    • Triple-I instructors should coordinate with their DGS/chairs/associate chairs etc. to identify graduate TAs to support their Triple-I.
    • Each participating academic unit is responsible for identifying one TA per participating instructor from their unit. The Coordinating Unit is also responsible for identifying the fourth TA.
    • Units should identify graduate students in their department/school. If a unit is unable to identify one or more required TAs, the other participating units can provide additional TA/s to make up the difference. If necessary, the fourth TA may be from any academic unit at UNC-Chapel Hill.
    • If help is needed with this process, please contact Cary Levine.

    Steps to Appoint and Schedule TAs

    1. Triple-I Business Officer Team confirms Coordinating Unit with Michelle Blackwell and Katrina White.
    2. Each participating instructor, in collaboration with their home unit, identifies one TA. The Coordinating Unit, in collaboration with the instructor team, identifies the fourth TA. This information is communicated to the Coordinating Unit (i.e., Coordinating Business Officer).
    3. The Coordinating Unit issues the appointment contracts for all the TAs and sends them to each TA and their home units for final sign-off. Upon receipt of approval, the Coordinating Business Officer sends all four TA contracts to Michelle Blackwell, Business Officer for UE.
    4. Michelle Blackwell will hire the TAs, process tuition and fees, and notify departments once these action are completed.
    5. Each TA’s home department will be responsible for processing and communicating to students regarding health insurance.

    TA Requirements

    • TAs must meet minimum eligibility requirements per the Graduate School
    • TAs must attend training sessions specified by the course and/or instructor, if applicable. Appointment will be canceled if TA does not attend training sessions.
    • Weekly work load = 15-20 hours


    • Triple-I courses are scheduled using the Interdisciplinary Studies (IDST) subject code.
    • Triple-I courses are scheduled during standard meeting times and do not have recitations.
    • The Office of Undergraduate Curricula (OUC) works with the Registrar’s Office to schedule Triple-I classes. If any classroom and/or scheduling changes need to be arranged, please contact Ben Haven, not your department’s student service’s manager.
    • Once your course is approved, please fill out this form to schedule the class section.
      • fall deadline = September 15
      • spring deadline = March 15
    • The following three large classrooms are available for Triple-I (dependent on room availability during the scheduled meeting pattern). You can preview them here.
      • Genome Science G100 (426 seats)
      • Hamilton 100 (403 seats)
      • Stone Center 103 (353 seats)

    Student Enrollment

    • Enrollment in a Triple-I is restricted to first-year students (and transfer students with fewer than 24 articulating credits).
    • Triple-I courses must be taken for credit and for a grade.
    • Students may not take more than one Triple-I course (see Data Literacy section below).

    Data Literacy (4th Credit Hour)

    Each Triple-I course will have a fourth credit hour devoted to data literacy. This largely workshop-style class introduces students to the ways in which professional data analysts think about and manage data, as well as the techniques and considerations that are involved in transforming data into information to support a claim, perspective or proposition.

    This class introduces students to some important concepts that can help them make more informed decisions about how to work with data, while familiarizing them with some of the tools professionals use when working with data. Working with datasets compiled by past students in this class, students learn how to prepare data for analysis and explore data through visualizations.

    Click on the course title heading to see information about the course topic, instructors, and a sample syllabus (if available).

    Offered: Spring 2019 (Syllabus)

    • Luc Bovens, Department of Philosophy
    • Douglas MacKay, Department of Public Policy
    • Brian McManus, Department of Economics

    This interdisciplinary course provides an overview of some core conceptual tools used to analyze issues at the intersection of philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE). It introduces students to the tools of economic analysis, including markets, prices, economic efficiency, welfare measures, and market failures. It discusses the philosophical dimensions of economics and public policy, including discussion of the nature of utility or well-being, the ethics of the price system, the value of individual liberty, and the nature of socio-economic justice. It also introduces students to the tools of political or institutional analysis, including game theory and public choice. This collection of tools, which are often employed in isolation, gain considerable power when they are brought together. Students will read widely on PPE tools, and they will explore applications to contemporary social problems. Lectures and recitations will feature a mix of traditional lectures, group work and discussions, simulations, and strategy games.

    Offered: Fall 2019 (Syllabus), Spring 2019

    • Jeannie Loeb, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
    • Jocelyn Chua, Department of Anthropology
    • Tim Marr, Department of American Studies (Spring 2019)
    • Jennifer Larson, Department of English and Comparative Literature (Fall 2019)

    Death and dying are universal human experiences. Yet there is immense cultural variation and historical fluidity to the ways we define, understand and treat death, dying and relations between the living and the dead. This course explores the concepts of death and dying from three different disciplines (examples may include, but are not limited to, Anthropology, English and Comparative Literature, and Psychology and Neuroscience). This course will consider similarities and differences between the three discipline research methodologies and will also introduce students to data literacy and principles of evidence.

    Offered: Spring 2020, Spring 2019

    • David Pier, Department of African, African American, and Diaspora Studies
    • J. Michael Terr, Department of Linguistics
    • Daniel Matute, Department of Biology

    This course, taught by a biologist, a linguist, and an ethnomusicologist, focuses on the idea of “race.” Historically, the idea that humans can be divided into distinct races has been a singularly pernicious one, having been used to justify the persecution, enslavement, and extermination of groups based on their presumed biological inferiority. Today, scientists agree that race is a false and distorting concept for understanding biological diversity among humans: what we describe as races are in fact social constructs, not genetic realities. Nonetheless, the idea of biological race persists in the popular imagination. In this course, students learn why race is not a viable human biological concept, how the idea of race arose historically (and continues to be maintained), and what alternative concepts exist for understanding human diversity and change over time.

    Offered: Spring 2019

    • Priscilla Layne, Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures
    • Courtney Wooods, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering (Public Health)
    • Michele Berger, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies

    This course focuses on the question of how the genre of science fiction (film and literature) has been used to address the world’s environmental concerns and how these concerns affect characters differently depending on their gender, race, and class. Using this lens, the course investigates longstanding global environmental challenges including water resources, overpopulation, consumption, climate change, etc. This course provides students with a complex toolkit to understand environmental issues. We pay special attention to texts with characters or created by artists who are women and/or ethnic minorities. Our focus throughout the course is support comparative, global, intersectional and interdisciplinary thinking.

    Offered: Spring 2020, Spring 2019 (Syllabus)

    • Arne Kalleberg, Department of Sociology
    • Barbara Fredrickson, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
    • Claudio Battaglini, Department of Exercise and Sport Science

    This course will expose students to diverse approaches to studying topics related to happiness and subjective and physical well-being. The three professors will approach this topic from three disciplines: physiology; positive psychology; and sociology. An important aspect of the course is teaching students a variety of life skills, such as teamwork, developing social connections including “belongingness” at UNC, being physically active, and becoming confident that they can obtain the skills to increase their happiness and health.

    Offered: Fall 2019

    • Anna Bardone-Cone, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
    • Cary Levine, Department of Art and Art History
    • Maxine Eichner, School of Law

    What is gender and where does it come from? Is gender something that people are born with? Or are they socialized into gender roles? Is gender in the eye of the beholder? To what extent do artists represent gender issues differently? How might one best critique or challenge gender norms? Are gender differences legal ground for treating men and women differently? Or should the law prohibit treating people differently based on gender? This course will consider these questions and more through the lenses of psychology, art, history, and law. The class will explore gender-related experiences across the lifespan, consider how gender has been represented and challenged in art throughout history, and discuss the differing ways that courts and lawyers have approached cases involving gender. This course will establish a foundation from which students can think critically about gender from multiple perspectives—personal, social, cultural, political, and juridical.

    Offered: Fall 2019

    • Gabriela Valdivia, Department of Geography
    • Gosia Lee, Department of Romance Studies
    • Susan Harbage Page, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies

    This Triple-I course is taught by a visual artist, a Spanish teacher, and a geographer. It examines linguistic, geopolitical, and socio-environmental boundaries to foster an intersectional understanding of identity and belonging in the Americas. Course topics (e.g., migration, justice, and environmental wellbeing) are examined through Spanish language-based films and artwork. Critically engaging with a variety of films, students will expand their speaking, writing, vocabulary and grammar in Spanish language and study in context art and have an opportunity to discuss and learn about global issues, indigenous populations, transnational connections between different countries (immigration, cultural adaptations, labor and exploitation, ethnicity and religion) and diversity (gender issues, class, regional and religious differences). Students are asked to respond to films and art with individual and collaborative assignments that involve performance, creative design, and fabrication. The assignments seek to forge connections between the arts, humanities, and sciences. Students will create e-portfolios to feature their creations and the skills gained to a broader audience.

    Offered: Fall 2020

    • Megan Plenge, Department of Geological Sciences
    • Troy Sadler, School of Education
    • Kate Sheppard, School of Media and Journalism

    Students often come into science courses with preconceptions about how the world works. These preconceptions are often retained even if the course content illustrates that they are incorrect. The role of educators then is not only to teach students new content, but also to help them to dismantle pre-existing misconceptions so that they can create new foundational ideas for understanding science.

    This course will explore how news media’s portrayals of controversies (or perceived controversies) in science affects how students learn in the classroom. Students will be taught science content using passive and active instructional techniques and will analyze the data to explore how each teaching technique addressed their own misconceptions. They will also explore best practices for conveying potentially controversial science information in the news media and analyze how objective science information can become biased prior to media dissemination.

    Offered: Fall 2020 (Syllabus)

    • Melinda Beck, School of Public Health; Department of Nutrition
    • Sarah Dempsey, Department of Communication
    • Lindsey Smith Taillie, School of Public Health; Department of Nutrition

    Have you ever really thought about the meal that you just consumed? If you ate a hamburger, fries and milkshake, or a kale salad, where did that meal come from, and what does it mean to you? If you were living in a different country, what might that meal look like? Who are the laborers who made the meal possible? What are the ethics surrounding the work that went into that meal? How does that meal interact with your body? Is your body designed for this food? How do we make policies about food in the US? Is it any different in other countries? What are the ethical concerns of food policy? All of these questions and more will be discussed in this course.

    Offered: TBD

    • Fabian Heitsch, Department of Physics and Astronomy
    • James Rives, Department of Classics
    • Marc Lange, Department of Philosophy

    Astronomy is one of the oldest global enterprises of humanity. This course will focus on astronomy as it developed in the ancient Mediterranean and in early modern Europe, taking students on a voyage through time — from astronomy’s early beginnings as a means to keep calendars and as the underpinnings of mythology, to its central role during the early modern period in the development of natural sciences as we understand them today. The logical, epistemological, and conceptual foundations of early modern astronomy became the model for all future scientific research. Since astronomy lives at the intersection of mythology and language, philosophy, and natural sciences, students will encounter research methods specific to each of the three subjects. Students will acquire the logical, quantitative, and analytic skills necessary for understanding how different epochs interpreted the generation of knowledge; how their interpretations were influenced by their culture, mythology, and religion; and how science arrives at knowledge even when the empirical evidence is logically compatible with many rival theories.

    Offered: TBD

    • Florence Dore, Department of English and Comparative Literature
    • Jocelyn Neal, Department of Music
    • Fitz Brundage, Department of History

    The Mason and Dixon line marks a physical boundary, but beyond geographic location, what is the US South? Did its swamps spontaneously produce the blues? Did bluegrass music arise magically from the hills? How did Mississippi produce two such distinct figures as William Faulkner and Elvis Presley, and how were their works related to their origin? What does the history of slavery in the US South have to do with the emergence of country music, R & B, Soul, or Flannery O’Connor’s fiction? Should we understand the New York born James Baldwin as a southern author, given his family’s lineage in the South? In this course, we will examine the South in its cultural and historical incarnations to examine how it both generated and was generated by economic, technological, and political factors. Through textual and data driven analysis, we will come to understand how the South can be simultaneously the birthplace of rock and roll and the origin of the “Southern Strategy”—at once the seat of American authenticity and origin of Coca Cola, America’s first global brand.

    Offered: Fall 2021

    • Molly Worthen, Department of History
    • Gabriel Trop, Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures
    • Joaquin Drut, Department of Physics and Astronomy

    This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to some of the most essential and exciting debates about humanity’s relationship to the universe. We explore such topics as the beginning of existence, the nature of time, contact with the supernatural world, and predictions about the end of all things–from the perspective of philosophy, physics, history, and related disciplines.

    Offered: Fall 2022

    • Nadia Yaqub, Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
    • Jennifer Gates-Foster, Department of Classics
    • Banu Gökarıksel, Department of Geography

    What is a border? Have they always existed? How do they come into being and how have conceptualizations of borders changed throughout human history? What agency do people have when borders impinge on their lives? These are some of the questions we will address in Borders and
    Boundaries, particularly through case studies anchored in the Middle East. We will consider ancient theories of borders and the body, the materiality of borders, and the role of borders in cultural formation and identity. We will juxtapose this study of the ancient world with a critical examination of the cultural and political meaning of borders today with particular attention to the role of borders and boundaries in producing difference. Throughout the course our study of specific historical and political cases will be supplemented with analysis of imaginative works (literature, films, and art) that arise directly out of bordering practices and their effects. As we study this material we will be addressing the question “What can imaginative and representative works do to process, mitigate or undermine bordering practices?” This interdisciplinary framework will encourage students to consider borders from different scalar perspectives: at the level of the theoretical construct as well as the lived experiences of specific communities and individuals.

    Offered: Spring 2023

    • Michele Rivkin-Fish, Department of Anthropology
    • Jane Thrailkill, Department of English and Comparative Literature
    • Rebecca Walker, Department of Philosophy

    For many people alive today, the COVID-19 pandemic created a new way of life different to anything they had previously experienced. Yet these new realities – social distancing, quarantine, protective masks, job loss, education disruption, anxiety, loneliness and death, among so many others, have been part of many peoples’ lives in pandemics – and epidemics – across time and global space. The Spanish flu of 1918 is a well-known example, as is the black death of 1346-1353. This course addresses the ties that bind, and ruptures between, experiences of pandemics. In so doing, we bring three specific lenses and sets of methods to bear – those of literature, anthropology, and philosophy. Approaches will hone skill sets including analysis, argumentation, close reading, and comparative thinking. Themes that will be weaved throughout the course are those of care, resources, and knowledge production. Care of patients, families, local and global values; Resources of medical interventions, social connection, political structures, and financial means; Knowledge produced through science, narrative, myth, metaphor, and argument.

    Offered: Spring 2013

    • Erianne Weight, Department of Exercise and Sports Science
    • Anson Dorrance, School of Business/Athletics
    • Jeff Greene, School of Education

    The purpose of this course is to provide students with a practical framework of expertise development and self-regulation to pursue mastery in their personal passions. Through collaborative discussions and interdisciplinary instructor perspectives and course material, students will gain an understanding of the things that are most important to them, what it takes to become extraordinary in these areas while maintaining their psychological well-being, and a personalized plan to maximize their potential. Topics covered include psychology of motivation and positive functioning, deliberate practice, accountability, competitiveness, leadership, resilience, happiness, flow, and performance measurement.

    Offered: Spring 2023

    • Patrick Conway, Department of Economics
    • Geoff Sayre-McCord, Department of Philosophy
    • Kristin Wilson, School of Business

    It is common today to use the price of a product or service as shorthand for its value. There is reason for this substitution, but it can be misleading as well, and too often leads people to ignore crucial questions about value in critical thinking and decision-making. In this course we will explore the distinction between:

    What people happen to want, prefer, or value and
    What people should want, prefer or value.

    Observing peoples’ choices often puts us in a good position to understand why they do things they do and also helps us make sense of how markets work, how prices arise, and how various incentive structures influence our behavior. Thinking about what people should value, in contrast, is the necessary first step in evaluating what people do, making sense of how markets should work and what is involved in their failure, interpreting when a price reflects the true value of a product or service (or not) and designing incentive structures to encourage citizens to make the right choices.
    Lord Darlington, in Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windemere’s Fan” warned against being someone “who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” In this course we will investigate the degree to which price and value are related. One theme we will be pursuing is that a society’s choices, as reflected through the pricing system of markets, often differ from what seems truly good, or just, or right. In light of this contrast, we will examine how and when economic, social and political systems can work to take advantage of, or even forge, a connection between what people choose and what they should value.

    Offered: Fall 2022

    • Gabrielle Berlinger, Department of American Studies
    • Victoria Rovine, Department of Art and Art History
    • Meta DuEwa Jones, Department of English and Comparative Literature

    What is art? And where is it found? Museums are devoted to it, scholars study it, collectors spend millions to own it. And yet, definitions of art reveal more about the people doing the defining than they do about the creative expressions themselves. By asking the question—rather than by answering it—this class will explore why art matters as a category, what roles artists play in their societies, and what changing conceptions of art tell us about people, cultures, and values around the world.

    Offered: Spring 2023

    • Malinda Maynor Lowery, Department of History
    • Christopher Clark, Department of Political Science
    • Brandon Bayne, Department of Religious Studies

    You may have been told by a loved one that there were two things you should never talk about in polite company: religion and politics. Nothing against those close to you, but we think that’s wrong. In fact, our collective inability to talk about religion and politics threatens to further polarize our public discourse and paralyze democratic institutions. This course offers an introduction to both subjects with the explicit goal of helping us all learn how to speak together and speak to the wider public about religion and politics. Along the way, we will consider how to discuss different ethical perspectives and distinctive approaches to current issues including, but not limited to memory, race, elections, public opinion, gender, sexuality, money, and social media. Students will engage the histories, politics, and religious traditions of communities that historically have been disempowered and interrogate structural processes of bias and inequality with the goal of both interrogating these systems and learning how to speak about resistance and transformation. From campus debates to family gatherings, our aim in this course is to equip you to better speak with others about those things you have been told to never bring up.

    Offered: Fall 2022

    • Afroz Taj, Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
    • Marc Callahan, Department of Music
    • Peter Gordon, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

    Many of our social problems appear to stem from feelings of animosity people have towards others: racism, misogyny, antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, white supremacy, etc. At the same time, many of our most profound cultural endeavors are aimed at overcoming the fears, suspicions, and misunderstandings that underpin that animosity. In this class, we examine the cognitive and psychological bases for animosity towards others, and how our political and social structures have fostered such feelings. We then examine cultural efforts to overcome them through performance, literature, visual representations (including film, photography, and other visual arts), and faith. The questions we will address include: How have performers, directors, writers, artists, and faith leaders addressed problems of hate and misrepresentation in their work? How do writers and other artists approach painful moments in history? How can our practices of reading, viewing, or listening counter hate? What role do faith communities play in generating and countering hate?