Course Offerings | Integrative Studies

Division of Humanities

Eric Mount (chair), Richard Axtell, Richard Bradshaw, William Weston, Steven Winrich



The program in integrative studies seeks to transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries by offering courses in which at least two disciplinary perspectives and methodologies are brought to bear on the chosen subject matter. It also seeks to understand the strengths and limitations of these methodologies. The subject matter may range from conceptual problems to aspects of human experience, phenomena of nature, historical events, cultural expressions, social institutions, or public issues.

Only elective courses are offered; no major or minor is now offered in the program.



Integrative Studies Courses

Special Topics Offered 1998-2001

INS 45 18th Century Europe: The Enlightenment
A chronological survey of Europe in the 18th century with special emphasis on the history of ideas as expressed in a selection of literary and philosophical texts. Authors studied include: Voltaire, Hume, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Goethe and Diderot. (Offered in Strasbourg.)

INS 45 Archaeology at Sinking Spring
A multidimensional investigation of Centre College’s "Sinking Spring." Utilizing both historical research and field archaeology experience, the course explores the natural and human history of an important campus site, with the goal of developing an ecologically sensitive landscape restoration plan. As a case study in environmental resource management, insights from geology, hydrology, botany, and aesthetics are also considered.

INS 45 The Articulation of Mexican Identity
An exploration of the arts and intellectual life provides a beginning point for a discussion of Mexican identity. Students read novels by writers like Carlos Fuentes and Elena Poniatowska; learn about the murals of Rivera, Orozco, and others; study the rich history of musical composition in the Yucatan; and generally tune into the intellectual exchange of leading Mexican essayists, fiction writers, and scholars from a variety of disciplines. (Offered in Mexico.)

INS 45 Aspects of Travel
An examination of many different approaches to the study of travel, especially in Europe and Great Britain. Specifically, the course describes the effects of culture, including literature, history, religion, and scientific development, on an individual's travel experience, especially when becoming acclimated in a foreign country. (Offered in London.)

INS 45 The Black Experience and Jazz Evolution
An analysis of the one-hundred year development of the parallel worlds of jazz and the black experience in America from the 1860’s to the 1960’s with emphasis on leading movement figures in each world.

INS 45 British Studies
A study of British life and culture drawing upon the perspectives of a number of academic disciplines: history, economics, sociology, literature, biology, and theatre. Students research as aspect of British culture and present their findings through class presentations and a formal research paper. (Offered in London.)

INS 45 Business, Society, and Ethics
An examination of the nature of the modern corporation and the moral problems that arise as it deals with the several constituencies that are affected by its actions and influence. Considerable use is made of case studies. Among the issues treated are the values that inform various corporate cultures, competing views of social justice, environmental protection, affirmative action, working conditions, privacy and employee rights, relocation decisions, employee responsibilities, and consumer protection.

INS 45 Christian Approaches to Scholarship
This course examines the new debates in such fields as biology, psychology, philosophy, and sociology over the difference that Christian approaches could make, compared to purely materialistic or naturalistic views. Students then can consider how their own major discipline might consider Christian approaches to its subject.

INS 45 Civil Society and Sustainable Economic Development in Nicaragua
A study of alternative theories of social and economic development in the current Nicaraguan context. Briefings with officials of the Nicaraguan government, the World Bank, and United States AID; interviews with religious activists; and visits to rural and urban civil society groups engaged in creative community development alternatives (organic agriculture, community health care and education, micro-enterprise loan cooperatives, labor organizing) provide concrete case studies for understanding the interrelationship between social, political, economic, religious, and ethical aspects of a country’s development process. (Offered in Nicaragua.)

INS 45 Communities of Communities: National, European, and Global
An exploration of the barriers to community and the possibilities for it in a global environment characterized by multiculturalism, ethnic, religious, and natural conflict, and an increasingly integrated global market. The approaches and contributions of ecology, economics, government and other social sciences are used in dialogue with social ethics. European integration and fragmentation, trade and economic development, national and international attention to poverty and human development, different regimes of toleration, various levels of civil society, the pursuit of ecological justice, and the protection of human rights are critical issues that are considered. Special attention is given to France and the European communities. (Offered in Strasbourg.)

INS 45 Don Quixote
Analysis and interpretation of Cervantes’ masterpiece together with the analysis and interpretation of the musical Man of la Mancha (text and film), the Russian film version, and the British television production (The Adventures of Don Quixote). Lectures on and discussion of musical and artistic interpretations of Don Quixote and Don Quixote.

INS 45 Ethics, Healthcare and Society
A consideration of a range of ethical questions surrounding health care, medical practice, and biomedical research. Among the issues usually considered are images of the health care professional, informed consent, confidentiality, gene therapy, care of the dying and the chronically ill, withholding treatment, experimentation, allocation of resources for health care, and access to health care.

INS 45 The European City: The Mystique of Place
A study of the character of the European city, focusing on Strasbourg's pivotal role as a crossroads of Europe and comparing it to other European cities. Using literature, architecture, art, historical accounts, travelogues, sociology, and anthropology, the course emphasizes the unique attributes of several cities and seeks to capture various aspects of the mystique of place. (Offered in Strasbourg.)

INS 45 The Evolution of French Identity
A study of the creation of French identity and the various transformations and mutations it has undergone since the Revolution of 1789. These are analyzed from a number of different perspectives given the varied factors that contributed to its formation and the myriad expressions it has produced. (Offered in Strasbourg.)

INS 45 Frontiers of Ethnology: Fact, film, and Fiction
The comparative study and analysis of cultures based on the methodologies of the social sciences. The course demonstrates how a multitude of sources and methodologies exist for gathering cross-cultural data, specifically concentrating on audiovisual and literary materials. Guidelines for assessing these materials are presented. The dynamics between "facts" and fiction, and between scientific and artistic license are discussed. (Offered in Ecuador.)

INS 45 Gandhi
The life of Mohandas Gandhi is critically examined from a political, economic, and religious perspective. Gandhi’s efforts to integrate the political, religious, and economic dimensions of his life and his criticism of the compartmentalized perspectives and methodological assumptions of social science disciplines are studied.

INS 45 Greek Culture Ancient & Modern
An exploration of the distinct features of ancient Greek culture, seeking to learn how Greek men, women, and children lived their lives on a day-to-day basis. Topics include: citizenship, slavery, politics in a polis, religious festivals, burial rites, animal sacrifice, agriculture, sexuality, fashion, cultural identity (Greeks vs. non-Greeks), Panhellenic competition, education, technology, calendars, astronomy, and philosophy. These facets of ancient Greece are juxtaposed with modern Greece, especially in the 20th century. Sources include literary, historical, dramatic, and philosophical literature, complemented by a study of art, architecture, and archaeology. (Offered in Greece.)

INS 45 The Holocaust
This course examines the event of the Holocaust by exploring its history and background, its impact on the Jewish community in Europe and worldwide, the responses to the event, and its consequences. The course deals with a variety of disciplinary frameworks, including history, theology, literary studies, and political science.

INS 45 Human Geography and Ecology of Ecuador
A study of the integrated ecosystems of Ecuador, concentrating on both human geography and ecological diversity. Drawing on the history of science, anthropology, biology, literature, geography, and ecology, the course focuses on Ecuador as a concentrated laboratory for the study of ecological relationships in South America, and their global implications. (Offered in Ecuador.)

INS 45 Ideology and Justice: A Comparative Approach
This course integrates economic analysis, political theory, and ethics in an attempt to reveal the value judgements and ideological commitments that underlie the current debates over public policy and the visions of the good society. Four perspectives are analyzed: classical liberal, radical, conservative, and modern liberal.

INS 45 Introduction to Film Study
An introduction to the study of cinematic art, emphasizing the ways in which the visual, dramatic, narrative, and musical arts contribute to the creation of a film.

INS 45 Mexican Foodways
What Mexicans eat is studied from the disciplinary perspectives of economics, sociology, and political science. How food is collected, cultivated, traded, processed, prepared and consumed is examined with a focus on labor, supply and demand, and commercial exchange. The course examines gender relations, social structure, and other matters of particular interest to sociologists as well as such political considerations a who controls the production and distribution of food and who makes food and farm policy. The need for an integrated approach to the study of food is stressed. (Offered in Mexico.)

INS 45 The Millennium
This course examines the theme through the perspectives of literature, the humanities, social sciences, fine and performing arts and communications. Students are guided to develop an individual research topic by drawing on one or more of the perspectives presented in the lecture series which underpin the course. Students present their research at the end of the course. (Offered in Great Britain.)

INS 45 Politics in African Fiction
A study of politics through the literary, historical, and political analysis of African novels. The course explores how politics in Africa is explained, critiqued, and satirized through these works. Attention is given to how various literary techniques (e.g., symbolism, flashback, and metaphor) are used as a strategy of protest and resistance to certain political regimes or practices.

INS 45 Poverty in Perspective
An examination of the problem of poverty from the disciplinary perspectives of geography, economics, and history. As a case study, the course focuses on the persistence of poverty in the Central African Republic (CAR), where students spend three weeks observing poverty and wealth, interviewing people about their efforts to overcome poverty, and discussing student proposals to combat poverty. (Offered in Central African Republic.)

INS 45 Questions of Travel
A consideration of travel from sociological, historical, and literary perspectives. The class concerns itself with why people travel, what they do when they travel, and what they think. (Offered in London.)

INS 45 Religion, Revolution, and Modernity
This course analyzes the social phenomenon of religious resurgence in a modern era typically characterized as rational, scientific, and materialistic. Included is a discussion of the social role of the sacred in a secular age, as well as a debate on the intersection between religious and political institutions in both traditional and modern nation-states. Focus is on specific, recent cases of religious resurgence in cross-cultural, international, and comparative perspective.

INS 45 Sacred Sites of Circum-Iberia
A classroom and on-site simulated pilgrimage of Circum-Iberia (Spain, France, Portugal, and Morocco), exploring a variety of topics related to the sacred sites of the area, including identification of cross-cultural and universal themes.

INS 45 South African Society
A study of the development of South African Society. The course examines the interaction of African, European, and Asian peoples from colonial times to the present, concentrating on the apartheid era and the transition to democracy. Particular emphasis is given to racial and ethnic stratification, the roles of religious groups, and the changing interpretations that South Africans have made of their history. Half the course is conducted in South Africa.

INS 45 Technology and Society
This course takes a critical look at technology in our society and considers its impact upon modern American culture. This interdisciplinary study incorporates aspects of sociology, anthropology, philosophy, and cultural critique in its consideration of technological advance. Students in this course are expected to utilize a variety of resources available via the internet. Prerequisite: students should be comfortable with basic computer skills.

INS 45 What It Means To Be Japanese
Philosophical, historical, sociological, and anthropological methodologies are employed in an effort to define what it means to be Japanese. The course begins with contemporary readings and moves backwards chronologically. (Conducted in Japan.)

INS 45 Women in Latin America
The lives of Latin American women are explored from the perspectives of science (biology and psychology), social science (anthropology, theology, history), and the arts (literature, film, art). Issues such as work, family, law, cultural identity, violence, and spirituality are covered, with special emphasis on Mexican women's experience. (Conducted in Mexico.)

INS 45 Women: The 51 Percent Minority
A multidisciplinary introduction to women’s studies, exploring the diversity and commonality of women’s contemporary and historical experiences. Includes a study of the methods and approaches of biology, the law, psychology, literature, and anthropology, ascertaining how each has involved women as practitioners of the disciplines, and the subject of the study. Readings cover such issues as family, work, sexuality, and violence against women.

INS 45 World Hunger and Ecology
An analysis of the world hunger and ecological crises and of competing diagnoses of root causes. The course 1) examines alternative economic theories and related theories of development on issues of poverty and ecology, 2) compares underlying theological and ideological presuppositions that shape perception of causes and ethical judgements about effective solutions and 3) develops theological resources for practical, responsible, and compassionate actions in the midst of widespread hunger and ecological degradation.