Interdisciplinary Seminars

Emeritus College sponsors 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 emeriti faculty contributing their 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) organized and co-led “The South.” The seminar explored what is distinctive about this American region and why that distinctiveness matters to American culture at large. The seminar met for approximately two months, beginning in September and concluding in December.

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:

  • Fall 2017 Robert Sapolsky’s “Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst”
  • Fall 2016: “20th-Century Paradigm Shifts”
  • Fall 2015: Yuval Harari’s “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” 
  • Spring 2014: “The Nature of Evidence” | “Individual and Community” | “The University in Crisis”