The University of Southern Mississippi’s Department of Interdisciplinary Studies is accepting proposals for 2017 – 2018 for Interdisciplinary Investigations, a project series aiming to get students and community members involved in different types of research and presentations.
The Interdisciplinary Studies Department allows students to pool aspects of different major programs together to create a unique program.
USM currently has the only interdisciplinary program in the state, which includes more than 230 majors, two degree programs and 10 faculty.
“The Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies allows students to design programs of study that integrate the insights from more than one discipline and can be tailored to their own career and academic goals,” said Interdisciplinary Studies Chair Marek Steedman.
Interdisciplinary majors can expect a wide range of job opportunities after they graduate. USM Interdisciplinary graduate Tori Bowie received gold, silver and bronze medals in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
“Our graduates pursue a wide variety of paths after graduation,” Steedman said. “Recent graduates have gone on to law school, pursued graduate work in economic development and become economic planners, and work in higher education student affairs.”
The university hosts Interdisciplinary Investigations to help students better understand broad topics.
“The goal is to support faculty collaboration across departments and colleges in creative and research activities as well as engage the public and campus community in the research and creative work conducted by USM faculty,” Steedman said.
The Interdisciplinary Studies department allows students to determine their own majors through unifying two disciplines.
“With the help of an interdisciplinary studies faculty adviser, students will select courses from two or more disciplines and focus their program on the basis of a unifying issue, theme or topic as an area of concentration,” The University of Southern Mississippi’s Interdisciplinary Studies Department stated on its website.
Steedman did not comment on proposals currently being considered. The department will offer $5,000 to fund the chosen project.
Last year’s theme was called “Reverberations,” which focused on sound and how it is used in every facet of life. Different topics included rock ‘n’ roll, oceanic acoustics and sound recording.
This year’s theme is “Fleshed Out: The Body Politic,” which features lectures on how technology shapes the body, differently-abled bodies and how bodies perform. These lectures span different departments and are held at various locations around campus.
“This year’s series includes roundtable discussions, dance performances and other events, all looking at how we use and construct the body in different social circumstances,” Steedman said. “It allows the faculty involved to examine issues of body image, commercialization of the body, race and gender, among others.”
According to the Interdisciplinary Investigations website, the next event will be held on Feb. 9 and is titled, “How Do We Brand the Body?”
“This event examines the history of branding, broadly conceptualized – is it what we wear? What we don’t wear? What we do to our physical bodies?” the website states. “This includes an analysis of the ways in which American women activists in the late twentieth century have ‘branded’ their bodies not only to their advantage but also to their disadvantage as well.”
This event will be held in the Gonzales Auditorium in the Liberal Arts building at 5:30 p.m.