Wide-angle view of McKeldin Library with lens flare.

The Communities

artist paints wall

Art & Activism

Can art effect social change?

How may we use the history of radical and avant-garde art to inform present-day movements of artistic and creative activism?



digital media illustration

Digital Media & Law

What are our constitutional rights and ethical responsibilities as citizens of the digital world?

Explore the historical foundations of free speech and their present-day applications to information gathering and sharing through social media.


global health rendering

Health Justice

Does every individual have a fair shot at living a long and healthy life?

What is the role that information plays in creating and intensifying health disparities? 

hands holding hearts


How do I give?

Learn about philanthropy, innovation, and social change - then make it happen! As a class you'll identify a social cause you're passionate about then donate $7,500 to a real local organization!


illustration of cave drawings


Does information drive human history?

We will use tools from the language sciences to examine what mythological recurrences say about cultures that had to adapt their world views while attempting to preserve them. 


earth from space

Once & Future Planet

How does understanding Earth's past help us plan for the future?

Through primary research, explore how life began and evolved and the ways in which its emergence and diversification has shaped our Earth and vice versa. Learn about our world and other worlds, and how humans affect this planet and its future. 


data illustration

Visualizing Knowledge

Is data beautiful?

"Visualizing Knowledge" pulls back the curtain on a ubiquitous feature of contemporary life—data visualization. We know that we live in an age of information, but what is less obvious is how visualization practices shape that information.


climate illustration

Weather & Climate

What are weather and climate?

Climate change is a phrase that evokes strong emotions. Some of those talking the loudest don’t know what climate is and how it’s different from weather. We will learn the basics of weather and climate.


skyscraper iconsHow do cities work?
Fall 2021


Enterprising Cultures

workers at desk iconsHow does personal identity shape our lives as entrepreneurs, workers, and consumers in a thoroughly business-oriented society?
Fall 2017, 2018, & 2019

Free Speech

media words on posterWhy is the right to free speech so fiercely defended in a democracy and such a threat to totalitarianism?
Fall 2018, 2020

Freedom Fighting

protestors carrying signsHow did ordinary people destroy American slavery?

Fall 2019, 2020

Linguistic Profiling

dialogue icons and globe iconWhat are the implications of speaking with a dialect?

Fall 2018, 2019

Novel Humans

person in shadowWhat are the dark, uncertain borders between the human and the nonhuman, between the natural and the unnatural, between life and death?
Fall 2015, 2016


artists rendering of riotWhen and how can riots be morally justified?

Fall 2018, 2019, 2020

Write Now

typewriter with several words on pageWhy does poetry matter?
Fall 2014 & Spring 2015

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