Interdisciplinary Seminars

One of the programs sponsored by Emeritus College is a yearly seminar on topics that span several fields. In each case, the intellectual enterprise is very much a cooperative venture, with participants drawn from across the rich array of disciplines to be found at a research university—philosophy and radiology, German studies and biochemistry, French and immunology, geology and nursing—with each contributing his or her particular expertise to a mutually beneficial learning experience. Each seminar member chooses a particular topic and proposes appropriate readings on it to the group, then takes responsibility for leading the discussion in the seminar meeting devoted to it. You can gain some sense of the breadth of topics listed below.

The overall goal of the seminars is to foster intellectual stimulation and continued growth in the life of the mind in a truly collegial atmosphere. All EUEC members are welcome to participate.

Seminar for Fall 2019: The South

Jim Roark (history) and Marilynne McKay (dermatology) are organizing and co-leading “The South.” The seminar will explore what is distinctive about this American region and why that distinctiveness matters to American culture at large. The seminar began in mid-September and concludes in mid-December. We will meet at the Luce Center on Thursdays from 1:30–3:00 p.m. in room 130 (where we have the colloquium).

Previous Interdisciplinary Seminars

The Emeritus College inaugurated its first three interdisciplinary seminars in the spring of 2014. Each attracted about a half-dozen participants from diverse fields. Each seminar member was asked to propose a set of readings appropriate to the topic from his or her disciplinary perspective, and then take responsibility for presenting those readings in one of the seminar meetings in a manner that would display their relevance to the general topic.

In subsequent years there's been just one seminar in the fall semester, with as many as 16 active participants. Topics have included:

2014 (spring): “The Nature of Evidence,” “Individual and Community,” “The University in Crisis.”

2015 (fall): Yuval Harari’s “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” 

2016 (fall): “20th-Century Paradigm Shifts.”

2017 (fall): Robert Sapolsky’s “Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst