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Introduction to Interdisciplinary Research: Inquiry in Health

Fall 2019

In this lab, students will become familiar with the processes of interdisciplinary research while exploring health-related issues.

Students will learn about the basics of epistemology—what it means to know something—and learn to evaluate the quality of the information they receive and process. They will also explore the nature of interdisciplinarity and the skills of collaboration through readings, discussion, and experiential exercises. They will learn about and practice the skills of interdisciplinary and of collaborative inquiry through team work focused on addressing health issues, problems, and challenges. Students will then address a guiding question related to creating a culture of health: What is the healthiest diet? With the guidance of an interdisciplinary faculty team, students will approach that question from a variety of perspectives, including nutritional science and cultural contexts for healthy diets.

Life Without Earth

Fall 2019

In this lab, the students will explore how life and Earth are interconnected and imagine the possibilities for life absent Earth.

What kinds of Earthy reliances and restrictions do we take for granted? How might Earthly life expand beyond the Earth? What notions of life do we assume because of our shared planetary heritage? Students and faculty and occasional guests will explore the literary, philosophical, scientific, social, and cultural dimensions of the entanglement between life and Earth.

Health and Disability

Fall 2020

This lab will prepare students to transform definitions of disability across medical, legal, and other public discourses in order to include disability in the realm of health, to reduce stigma, and increase public understandings about the health disparities faced by disabled bodies.

Traditional definitions have painted disability as a personal tragedy, categorically barred persons with disabilities from health, and contributed to the current health disparities faced by those identified as having a disability. Students will first identify the historical and cultural forces that have shaped current definitions of health to the exclusion of those with non-normative bodies and minds, particularly the medical view of disability as a disease requiring treatment, cure, or eradication and its associated negative health consequences. Then, students will identify and experience contemporary actions–artistic productions, performances, protests, legislative efforts, etc.—that are working to improve the lives of those identified as disabled by reshaping definitions of health.

Health Across the Lifespan

Spring 2021

This course will reflect on the social, ethical, and health-related issues surrounding the process of aging and the application of healthcare to aging patients.

How should we think about getting old and being healthy? How should medical practitioners vary their approach to health and disease for aging patients? Health Across the Lifespan will challenge the narrow definitions of health based on age-limited standards. The purpose of this Lab is to reconceptualize health as an evolving state in which the natural aging process can be understood separately from disease and to understand how mental health, genetics, the media and other factors play a role in defining what constitutes health. Health Across the Lifespan will also address end-of-life challenges, from managing medical costs to discussing what constitutes a good death. Students will investigate different issues related to human health and aging, developing questions while formulating the Lab’s final project, focusing on public and healthcare professionals’ attention on issues related to defining and improving health across the lifespan.

Race, Culture, and Genetics

Fall 2021

This course examines the historical, cultural, and genetic components of race, racial identity, and the meaning of population ancestry.

More information coming soon! View more information about this course