An Interdisciplinary Approach

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MICHEL DEGRAFF: OK. So the course is, at its core, very intensive learning, so every single text that we read includes at least two disciplines. So when we talk about, say, linguistics, we look at linguistics from a very historical perspective, but also from a very social perspective. So basically, we look at language in society. We don't just focus on English, per se. And we do the same with writing, with literature, with anthropology. There's always a larger lens that brings in at least two or three disciplines.

So-- and plus we also bring in guest speakers from various disciplines having to do with the international studies, anthropology, history, of course, linguistics, my own field. And also, the students themselves, they come from interdisciplinary backgrounds. So some of them are scientists, but others do women's studies, anthropology, biology. So we all, I think, in the course, we're primed to look at the issues of blacks in the US from a very interdisciplinary perspective.

From the student perspective, if we think of this notion of interdisciplinary, I think many of them come from the science, for example, so they're engineers-- I think we have mostly engineers in the course, and we have also some scientists biology, brain and cognitive science. And in these fields, often, they look at particular problems from very-- relatively narrow perspective. So I think that, for many of them, indeed, it may have been the first course they took that exposed them to a broader range of fields within one course.

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