The Committee on Interdisciplinary Studies offers courses and coordinates specialized interdisciplinary programs. These may include international programs and global/area studies.
By nature of their objectives and content, interdisciplinary studies courses cross the lines of departments and specialized disciplines. For example, some of these courses attempt to provide the common body of knowledge traditionally associated with a liberal education; others attempt to integrate the understanding of different kinds of subject matter; and still others combine methodologies from diverse departments and disciplines.
American Studies/Secondary Teacher Certification in Social Studies
Gettysburg College offers a variety of courses analyzing American life and thought, which provide students with many opportunities for creating individual majors in American studies. Such majors may emphasize behavioral analyses, historical perspectives, literary and artistic dimensions, or coherent combinations of such approaches as they are reflected in courses from several departments. For example, individual majors could be designed in the areas of early-American culture, modern American social stratification, ethnicity, or the religious and economic values of the American people.
Students interested in pursuing secondary teacher certification in social studies may choose to combine coursework in the Education Department with courses taken in other departments on campus. As students choose electives, they will be encouraged to meet two interrelated goals. The first will be that their planned program establishes a clear sense of coherence and that the courses they choose help them build the content knowledge needed to be effective teachers of secondary social studies. The second goal will be for students to develop and articulate a coherent understanding of the nature of the American experience, and to express that understanding through an intentional selection of courses organized around a relevant theme.
Students should seek assistance in planning an American studies individual major from the Committee on Interdisciplinary Studies. Students interested in the American Studies/Secondary Teacher Certification in Social Studies should also contact Prof. Dave Powell (Education Dept.).
Gettysburg College offers courses in many literatures in the original languages (ancient Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, German, English, and Japanese). In addition, a number of courses are offered in foreign literature in translation (Classics, IDS, Japanese). Students who work in more than one language (e.g., English and Spanish) are encouraged to consider creating an individual major in Comparative Literature in consultation with faculty in the appropriate departments. The study of comparative literature enables students to emphasize a particular period, theme, or genre across cultures, instead of the traditional focus on the chronological study of a national literature.
A particular theoretical approach can also be cultivated (such as feminist, reader-response, structuralist, Marxist, and Freudian). Students who wish more information are encouraged to consult with any of the following advisors to the program: Professor Rickert (classics); Anchisi and Perry (Italian); Fee (Old Norse; Middle German); Olinger (Spanish); Wallach (German); Binet and R. Viti (French); and Hogan (Japanese). Many members of the English and Theatre departments are also advisors to the program.
Law, Ethics, and Society
Individual majors in law studies benefit from a wide variety of courses offered at Gettysburg College that deal with the law in some form, from American government and civil rights movement courses through the Political Science Department to Philosophy of Law, which teaches comparatively several different systems of law in the world and their underlying philosophies. Many courses on law-related topics can be found in this catalog under Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Peace and Justice Studies, Psychology, Sociology, and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. There are also courses on antebellum law offered through the History Department and on race, gender, and the law through Africana Studies, and several courses bearing the LAW designator.
With the breadth of courses available, along with a wealth of opportunities in both study abroad and intern/externships, many students have been able to create law-related individual majors. Students pursuing such majors have focused on comparative police psychology; crime and redemption; the criminal mind; law, ethics, and society; migrant workers and the law; the law in literature; and many other topics. So while Gettysburg College does not have a specific prelaw curriculum, the individual major allows students to incorporate the law as a tool for integrative thinking in their chosen discipline(s), looking at law not by itself, but in relation to its historical, philosophical, scientific, sociological, or other context. This interdisciplinary focus gives students the kind of skill set in research, integrative thinking, and expanding beyond academic borders that will help them not only if they choose to go to law school, but in any field or profession they wish to pursue. Students interested in prelaw advising should contact the prelaw advisor, Thomas F. Jurney.