IDS220RW-00P: ORDER Seminar

Topic: What Does it Mean to be Human?

January 10, 2017 - April 24, 2017
DaysTimeLocationInstructorGERCreditOPUS #
4:00pm - 5:15pm
Emerson Hall E363
Loudermilk, Kimberly
On Recent Discoveries by Emory Researchers (ORDER) engages graduate and postdoctoral students to teach their research to undergraduates. Recommended for sophomores; open to others. Refer to Course Atlas for specific topics of a given semester, articulated by the teacher-scholar team.


Course Title: What does it mean to be human?

Course Description

In 1637, French philosopher and scientist René Descartes wrote the famous proposition, “I think therefore I am” (Cogito ergo sum). This proposition marks a radical shift from outward exploration to inward scientific and philosophical investigation, which sought to secure a foundation for knowledge in the face of radical doubt. For scholars across the humanities and the sciences, Descartes’s assertion served as a foundation for inquiring into the darkest, unknown recesses of human experience. Why do we exist? Who are we? What does it mean to be a human being? How should we live our lives? What does it mean to live together? In this course, we will explore these questions and others like them through three different disciplines: (1) immunology, (2) neuropsychology, and (3) comparative literature. This course will call on students to think in an interdisciplinary fashion to formulate thoughtful responses in class and beyond class regarding their own narratives in ways that will encourage students to question the nature of evidence and how to gather information that inform their understanding of “a self.” Through designated writing assignments, and in-class group work, we will explore what it means to be human in literature, neuropsychology, and immunology.

This course is associated with an optional one-credit hour sidecar course which will allow IDS 220 students to partner with and mentor high school students at Clarkston High School, as they write an autobiographical document—typically a college essay or personal statement.

The schedule of courses on O.P.U.S. is the official listing of courses, including days and times they meet and the General Education Requirements they satisfy. Students should use course descriptions as general guidelines. Course requirements, grading details, book lists, and syllabi are subject to change.