Connected: Everything and Everyone

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IDS 190, Freshman Seminar 

Spring 2017 

Tuesday & Thursday, 14:30-15:45, Emerson Hall, Room 401 


ORDER (On Recent Discoveries by Emory Researchers) 

IDEAS (Interdisciplinary Exploration and Scholarship) 

Emory University 



  • Daniel Garcia Ulloa, dgarci8 [at] emory [dot] eduComputer Science, N414 Maths & Science Building.   

  • Katy Renfro, kjrenfr [at] emory [dot] edu, Psychology: Neuroscience and Animal Behavior, 321 Psychology and Interdisciplinary Studies Building. 

  • Stephanie Miedemastephanie.miedema [at] emory [dot]edu, Sociology, 112b Tarbutton Hall.  

  • Sam Peters, sam.peters [at] emory [dot] eduEnvironmental Health Sciences/Environmental Sciences2040 N, Claudia Nance Rollins Building. 

  • Christopher Brown, c.d.brown[at] emory[dot] eduHistory, 211 Bowden Hall.   


Instructors will hold office hours during their specific modulesInstructors will provide details at the beginning of each module. If students cannot make these hours, they should email the instructors. We will respond to emails within 24 hours on a weekday. 


Course description  


Sex, sports, farming, violence, crowdsourcing. In this course we will work together to draw connections between these seemingly disparate topics. Making these connections will help us to better understand the process of conducting research, because research is all about identifying and testing connections. We can analyze the connections between people and their cities; between strangers online; between life adversity and health. In this Interdisciplinary Exploration and Scholarship (IDEAS) course, students will learn (a) how to test hypothesized links between issues; and (b) how our ideas, and ultimately we, are all connected. Through this course, students will gain exposure to how scholars in history, sociology, neuroscience, computer science, and public health build research strategies, test hypotheses, and make conclusions relevant to their fields and the greater public. The course also provides students with hands-on research experience. Students will identify a question of interest to them and explore different ways to test their hypotheses. By the end of the course, students will conduct research, analyze data, and make conclusions about the connections they seek to understand.  


Module descriptions 


Module 1: Algorithms of Truth: In this module, we look into the basic notions of truth, cognitive biases, and fallacies. We will learn how to gather evidence to support or discredit a statement, and learn about the reliability of the sources. In particular, we will learn a very common and useful classification method to determine what is true and what is not true based on the available evidence. 


Module 2: Pleasure and the Pill. In this module, we will learn about the relationship between women’s hormones, brains, and behaviors. We will explore these connections through studying the birth control pill. We will learn how the Pill came to be and the mechanisms by which it works. We will then use this information to generate questions about the Pill’s potential connection to women’s behaviors, and learn methods with which we can test these connections.   


Module 3: Identity + Harm = What Kind of Health? This module explores the connections between gender, sexuality, violence and health. We unpack what these terms even mean in today’s world. We use empirical evidence from the social sciences to assess how and why identity markers affect health. We ask how harm – interpersonal violence, stigma, discrimination - alters the pathways between gender/sexual identity and health.  


Module 4: Conflict of Climate Science: In this module, students will gain knowledge of the science and policy behind climate change, specifically regarding agriculture. Students will appreciate the complexity of these issues through class discussions, a visit to an urban farm in Atlanta, and a role-playing debate portraying the various actors in climate science and policy.   


Module 5: Sport and the Olympic City. This module connects two Olympic cities - Atlanta, GA, and Manaus, Brazil. We will consider the uses and misuses of history, memory, and identity as cities and their people prepare to host modern sporting mega-events like the Olympic Games and the men’s soccer World Cup. This module will build off a class field trip to an Atlanta Braves baseball game at Turner Field (formerly the Centennial Olympic Stadium) as we discuss connections between sport, politics, and the city in an increasingly urban world. 



No pre-requirements are necessary for this course  



All course reading will be made available through Blackboard and the library reserve system.  

Writing Component

Students will develop as writers throughout this course with both short and long-form assignments, and regular class check-ins about writing across the academic disciplines.


Assignments and Grading  


Homework (25%): This grade will be divided among the individual assignments within each module. Homework submitted per module accounts for 5% of the overall course grade. Instructors will provide details about their module and its assignments (as a module-specific mini-syllabus) at the start of their respective modules. 


Group project assignments (25%): One of the primary aims of this class is to give you the opportunity to understand what is involved in designing, conducting, and presenting a comprehensive research project. Students will be divided into small groups. Throughout the course of the semester, you will engage in group assignments that will focus on an aspect of the research process. Each course instructor will act as a group mentor for one group. The group assignments will serve as a guide while you work towards conducting your group research project and completing the final project. Each group assignment will be worth 5% of your grade and will be graded by your group mentor. Assignments include:   


  1. Articulation of your research question  

  1. Annotated bibliography and hypothesis  

  1. Proposed methods  

  1. Update on research progress and the editing process 

  1. Research results and implications    


End of course presentation (25%): research paper and a group presentation will constitute the final exam for the course. Your research paper will include two pieces of individual writing: an introduction and a discussion, as well as two pieces of group writing: a method section and a results section. You and your group members will also prepare an oral presentation. Your presentation should include:  


  • Project aims  

  • Methods and results  

  • Interpretation of results  

  • Conclusions  


All members of the group should be prepared to respond to questions about the project and the presented material. Beyond the individual paper and group presentation, each group member will also be asked to submit a written evaluation of the contributions of each group member, including a self-evaluation 


Attendance and Participation (25%): You are expected to be on time and attend all class sessions. The quality of our class sessions will depend on your treatment of course materials (i.e., readings, writing assignments, etc.) so please come to class prepared for and committed to participating in the discussion. Please note that while your presence in class will not guarantee a positive assessment in this area, not being present will certainly count against you, since class discussion cannot be re-created anywhere else.  


In addition to in-class contributions, this class also requires that students participate outside of class via an online participation log. Your contribution to the class participation log will be an opportunity for you to share your reflections on class that day and contribute any ideas that you were unable to verbally share in class. 


You are allowed 2 unexcused absences this semester. All students with 3 or more unexcused absences will have points deducted from their participation grade for each absence, beginning with the 3rd one. We will determine what counts as an officially excused absence on a case-by-case basis. If you know in advance that you will be absent on any given day for any reason, it is your responsibility to let the instructors know ahead of class time in order for the absence to be considered excused. 


Grade Distribution  

























Course Policies  

Late Policy: Each day that your work is late will result in the deduction of one third of a letter grade (ex: B to B-). Assignments must be turned in at the beginning of class to be considered on time. All work must be turned in as a hard copy unless otherwise noted. Please plan ahead. If you have a conflict with a scheduled date on the syllabus, please contact us before the assignment due date to discuss alternative arrangements 


Accommodations: Students who require accommodations for physical and/or learning disabilities or other special needs should present appropriate documentation to the instructors before the second lecture. Please also plan to meet with an instructor individually to discuss any accommodations. All information will be kept strictly confidential. In order to receive accommodations, you must be registered with the Office of Disability Services (404-727-6016). 


Academic Honesty: All students, including the instructors, are bound by the Emory Honor Code. We are required to report Honor Code violations. Please visit this link to access the honor code: If you are ever uncertain whether something would be an Honor Code violation, do not hesitate to contact an instructor for clarification. 


Stress Relievers: Each instructor will take some time to introduce and teach a stress reducing technique for the students. From meditation to organization, we will take a few minutes in each module to learn how to cope with the challenges of college.  

Peer Tutoring Writing Support: Tutors in the Emory Writing Center and the ESL Program are available to support Emory College students as they work on any type of writing assignment, at any stage of the composing process. Tutors can assist with a range of projects, from traditional papers and presentations to websites and other multimedia projects. Writing Center and ESL tutors work with students on concerns including idea development, structure, use of sources, grammar, and word choice. They do not proofread for students. Instead, they discuss strategies and resources students can use as they write, revise, and edit their own work. Students who are currently enrolled in an ESL-supported section of English 101, English 123, or English 221 or who plan to take one of those courses next semester should see ESL tutors, as they are specifically trained to support students in ESL Program courses. To learn more about ESL tutoring or to make an appointment, go to other students in the college should see Writing Center tutors who are trained to work with this broader population. Learn more and make an appointment at Please review tutoring policies before your visit. 






Jan 10 

Jan 12 

Introductions: Connections, Questions, Overview of the Course 

No Pre-reading 


Jan 17 

Axioms, hypothesis, conjectures... 

Hofstadter, Douglas. Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. Chapter 1. The MU Puzzle 


Jan 19 

Gathering evidence 

Students will learn about the different answers that can be obtained through crowdsourcing questions, and the difficulties that this represents. Pre-reading TBD 



Recommender System 


**Group Work: Research Questions** 

Assignment to be completed before class: Rate several movies. 

Introductory text on Recommender Systems 


Jan 26 

Models: Naïve Bayes 


Reputation Models 

Introductory texts on Bayes' theorem. 

Han, Jiawei, Jian Pei, and MichelineKamber.Data mining: concepts and techniques. Elsevier, 2011. 

Bayesian Classifiers 



Sentiment Analysis of Social Networks. 

Conclusion and examples 

Recent news on sentiment analysis. 


Feb 2 

Conception of The Pill  

Sanger, M. (1919). A parent’s problem or a woman’s?Birth Control Review, 3, 6-7.  


Timeline (Genesis – 1950) from PBS site on The Pill ( 



Biology of The Pill 

Interview with Dr. Carl Djerassi  


Seaman, B. (2000).The Pill and I: 40 years on, the relationship remains wary.The New York Times.  


Timeline (1951-1990) and “How the Pill Works” from PBS site ( 




Hormones, the brain, and behavior 



**Group Work: Literature Search & Annotated Bibliography** 

Renfro, K. J., & Hoffmann, H. (2013). The relationship between oral contraceptive use and sensitivity to olfactory stimuli.Hormones and behavior,63(3), 491-496.  


Skim the pharmacopeia from an oral contraceptive currently on the market. 


Feb 14 


Tour of Facility for Education and Research in Neuroscience (FERN) 

“The Brain from Top to Bottom” from McGill (   


“An Ode to the Brain” music video from Symphony of Science.  


Two videos wherein Dr. Nancy Kanwisher discusses how fMRI works with AlanAlda(“How does fMRI brain scanning work?” and “The limits of fMRI brain scanning”).  



Feb 16 

Public perception of The Pill 

No class reading. Student presentations on representations of research in the media.  



Introduction to gender, sexuality and health 

Krieger, N. (2003). Genders, sexes, and health: what are the connections—and why does itmatter?.International journal of epidemiology,32(4), 652-657. 



Feb 23 

Gender as a social determinant of health 



Read,Jenn’anand Bridget K. Gorman. (2010). Gender and health inequality.Annual Review of Sociology36:371–86 


Courtenay, Will H. (2000). Constructions of Masculinity and Their Influence on Men's Well-Being: A Theory of Gender andHealth.Social Science and Medicine, 50(10): 1385-1401. 


Feb 28 

*Media minute #1 due* 


**Group Work: Research Methods** 



Mar 2 


(Mar 6-10 Spring Break) 

Sexuality and health 






Meyer, I. 1995. Minority Stress and Mental Health in Gay Men. Journal of Health and Social Behavior 36(1): 38 – 56.  


Walsh, S. and Mitchell C. 2006. ‘I’m too young to die’: HIV, masculinity, danger and desire in urban South Africa. Gender & Development, 14(1): 57 – 68.  



Mar 14 

Violence as a mediator of health 

*Media minute #2 due* 





Mar 16 

Introduction to Climate Change Science and Food Security 

-Climate Communication animations 

-CDC climate and health into to food security  


Mar 21 

Climate Change in Soil/Agriculture 

-Nature article: Climate-Smart Soils (includes science and policy implications) 

-A poster from my research this summer 




Mar 23 

Topic-Specific Material TBD 


**Group Work: Academic Writing and Editing Techniques** 




Mar 28 

Climate Change Policy/ Actors 

Montreal, and Paris Climate Conference excerpts, highlighting agriculture 

-Popular media reactions to same climate conferences 

-Climate change section from Merchants of Doubt (book or movie) 



Role playing debate on agricultural emissions regulations 

-No required reading, will make a variety of resources from viewpoints of each role available 


Apr 4 

The History and Historiography of Sport 

Reading 1: PeterAlegi& Brenda Elsey, ‘Historicizing the Politics and Pleasure of Sport’,Radical History Review(125, 2016), pp.1-12.; 

Reading 2: RamachandraGuha,A Corner of a Foreign Field,pp.xi-37.  

Optional: Olympic Games posters, 1896-2012.  



Atlanta, the U.S., and the Olympics 


**Group Work: Results** 

Reading: D.Whitelegg, ‘Going for Gold: Atlanta’s Bid for Fame’,International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 24, 4 (2000), pp.801-17. 

Optional: Atlanta Organizing Committee,Atlanta 1996(1990). 



Manaus, Brazil, and the Olympics  


Reading: Candace Slater, ‘Visions of the Amazon’,Latin American Research Review(50, 3, 2015), pp.3-25.;  

Optional: RogerKittleson,The Country of Football, pp.1-11; 212-225.  

Sources: Manaus, Brazil, posters 2014-2016. 


Apr 13 

History and Memory of Sporting Mega-Events 

Analyze the history of host city selection, Olympic Games: 


Apr 18 

Presentations and Debate 

Prepare to argue your vision for the future of the Olympics. 


Apr 20 


Bring questions, comments. 


Please note: Assignments and readings are subject to change at the instructor’s discretion. Students will be notified of any changes to the syllabus prior to assignment and reading due dates.  

Final ExamWednesday 3 May, 3-530pm.