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Exploratory Core Courses, 2024-2025

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In 2024-25, we are excited to be offering a select number of Exploratory Core courses, a central component of the future A&S College Core curriculum. These courses address big questions and complex problems from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Broad in topic, they are often co-taught by faculty from different departments and are designed to help students discover paths to new interests and more specialized study. In the future, each student in A&S will be required to take at least two of them.  

In our new curriculum, Exploratory Core courses will primarily be offered for second-year students. During our pilot process, however, they are open to all students curious about their thought-provoking topics and interested in helping us develop their format. While some of these courses are still based in existing departments, the majority will be offered under the new CORE 2000 umbrella. They will still carry AXLE credit during the pilot process, and some may count toward major or minor credit, as indicated in the course description.   

Fall 2024  


AI and Society  

This course explores the history and present state of artificial intelligence and robotics. Drawing on different theories of scientific and technological innovation, students will discuss the socioeconomic, political, ethical, cultural, and environmental implications of AI and robotics development. They will assess the benefits and risks of advanced informatic machines, ask tough questions about the ethical responsibilities of researchers, and investigate short- and long-term policies for governance and regulation.   

Gene Editing and Ethics  

In this course, students will not only learn about the history of and science behind gene editing but also take a deep dive into the ethics of this technology. Students will have the opportunity to read the primary literature as well as expert opinions on a variety of public dilemmas raised by gene editing tools. The course will culminate with a final project about the future of the field and its evolving ethical landscape.  

Reproductive Justice: The Politics of Reproduction, Family, and Liberty  

This course examines varying historical, cultural, and legal understandings of human reproduction, paying special attention to questions of race, class, gender, sexuality, and dis/ability. Students will learn about how different media representations shape social constructs of family, motherhood, pregnancy, and parenting. They will also examine the role of legal rights and concepts such as agency and freedom in the reproductive justice framework.  

Technology, Politics, and Economic Growth  

Technological innovations such as transistors, lasers, global positioning systems, and smartphones have produced enormous economic dividends, but primarily for the wealthiest Americans. This course explores the links among scientific innovation, economic prosperity, and social values in the United States. Students will examine why recent explosions of technology have led to highly uneven distributions of prosperity, what this reveals about existing political forces and frameworks, and what it would take to produce more beneficent outcomes.  

Spring 2025  
  • Art and Climate Change
  • Brain-Computer Interfaces
  • Forensic Chemistry and Archeology
  • Interrogating Masterpieces
  • Literature and Law
  • Sacrality and Conflict
  • The World in Real Time