Interdisciplinary Studies

The Art of Rhetoric in Life and Work

MET IS 421 (4 credits)

The art of rhetoric is one of the original liberal arts and is a part of the trivium that includes grammar and logic. Rhetoric is as old as human communication and as diverse as the human imagination. In the twenty-first century, rhetoric has new forms and meanings but retains some of the dynamics of the classical age of Greece and Rome. This course is a study of the art of rhetoric in everyday life and work from both theoretical and practical perspectives with an emphasis on writing and interpretation.

The Experience of Forgiveness: Psychological, Sociological and Spiritual Perspectives

MET IS 423 (4 credits)

This seminar explores the psycho/social/spiritual dimensions of the individual's experience of forgiveness. The forgiveness process is investigated through the theoretical work of psychologists such as Carl Jung and Robert Enright and spiritual/political leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Individual narratives by forgivers are considered and analyzed in relation to the frames provided by these researchers and political activists. Through readings, journals and group presentations, students will explore both the beneficial and problematic aspects of forgiving. Students will develop a warranted, personal position on forgiveness and its limitations in personal and social life.

Botany without Borders

MET IS 450 (4 credits)

Online offering. Introduces students to practical problems in botany with a dual emphasis on plant evolution and plants in human affairs. The course crosses borders in time and geography as we examine the broad sweep of plants and their role on Earth over the past 300 million years. Plant form and function, evolution of seed plants, plant ecology, ethnobotany (human uses of plants), endangered plant communities, and prospects for conserving plant biodiversity are highlighted in this interdisciplinary course designed for undergraduates. While its focus is rigorously scientific, the course incorporates topics in the humanities (for example visual arts), and social sciences (anthropology) to illustrate the close relationship between humans and plants. Fur further information, call the Office of Distance Education at 617-358-1960.

Romanticism and Its Off-Shoots: Countering the Enlightenment in Philosophical Literature and the Visual Arts

MET IS 460 (4 credits)

This course explores various currents, paradoxes, and extensions of Romanticism, especially as this movement took shape in Europe and America, with a special focus on philosophical literature and the visual arts. We will begin with some central ideas and themes of German Romantic thinkers, exploring how these ideas and themes are also evoked by British and American writers as well as by European and American painters. We will identify and analyze Romantic themes and styles in early German expressionist films, in British gothic fantasy movies, and in American motion pictures about western frontier heroes. In the concluding part of the course, we will study twentieth-century extension or offshoots of Romanticism, such as existentialism, depth-psychology, and the philosophy of nature. (4 cr.)

Biblical Archaeology: Methods, Theories, Contexts

MET IS 470 (4 credits)

This course is designed to examine important archaeological discoveries relating to the Bible. It will focus on two significant cultural settings: the rise of Judah and Israel 3000 years ago, and questions about the historical Jesus. The course will cover the geography and topography of Palestine and the ancient Near East, and archaeological field methods used in Israel and Palestine. The history of writing and significant manuscript discoveries, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, will also be examined. Throughout the course, students will examine how archaeologists, looters, forgers, journalists, and theologians fight each other for the opportunity to discover, interpret, and sensationalize artifacts for the religious and irreligious alike. As we examine the archaeological artifacts, students will situate them in terms of their interpretation in documentary films, recent book publications, and other modern media.

Physics of Motion: Something in the Way it Moves

MET IS 480 (4 credits)

Mechanics is the study of the motion of objects and the forces acting on objects. It is hoped that the student will share some of the excitement felt by great scientists such as Galileo and Newton when they discovered many of the principles on which the physics of motion are based. The course assumes that the student has a working knowledge of algebra, but the emphasis will be on a conceptual understanding of physics rather than on advanced mathematics. Many demonstrations and animations will be presented in the course, and the student will become familiar with the physics of many everyday situations.