Core Seminars



The Core Seminars (IDS 500) are interdisciplinary in their approach and are usually taught by members of the graduate faculty. Most classes are small, 7-15 students, and are planned for late afternoon and evening hours and summer sessions. Core Seminars are offered on a rotating basis, with one or two scheduled each semester, when possible. It is not necessary to begin the MAIS study with two Core Seminars, but taking one early in the program is advisable; additional seminars may be added later.


Two Core Seminars (IDS 500) or alternative interdisciplinary graduate courses approved by the student’s advisor are required for the degree.

Examples of Core Seminars


This course serves two purposes. The first is to provide the student with a grounding in select mythologies from the ancient and contemporary world; the second purpose of the course is to use the example of mythology to illustrate the function of ideology within cultures, i.e., to illustrate how mythology functions within cultures to reinforce and transmit the ideals and truths important to those cultures.


This interdisciplinary course explores Maine as a place with a unique identity. How does a sense of place shape Maine culture? We will examine images of Maine, from vacationland to impoverished rural backwoods, from quaint fishing villages to declining mill towns, from pristine wilderness to urban sprawl. What is the “real” Maine? Who and what is a Maine Yankee? Where and what is Down East? What does “Made in Maine” suggest? Drawing on poets, essayists, novelists and historians, we will explore and challenge these constructed images. Do such images reveal something essential about the state, or do they merely obscure the “real” Maine?


The course examines the history of science both “internally” – as ideas and experiments – and “externally” – as related to the society that has produces them and upon which they in turn have had impact. Similarly, the course examines the history of American technology both “internally” – as tools and machines – and externally” – as related to the society which has produced them and upon which they in turn have had impact.