Current Integrated Studies
Ancient Greece and the Near East: History, Politics, and Literature (IS 145)
When does history begin? This integrated study answers that question by tracing the invention of many technologies and institutions taken for granted today, such as writing, cities, and democracy, to the ancient Near East and Greece. Students will be introduced to the history, politics, and culture of the peoples of the ancient Near East and Greece, from the establishment of the first cities in Mesopotamia to the conquests of Alexander the Great. Through an exploration of this period, students will gain valuable insights into the complexities of contemporary societies and develop a nuanced perspective on the world we inhabit today. Satisfies the H, S, L, and W1 requirements. Twelve credit hours.
Faculty: Joseph Reisert, James Taylor, Tizoc Chavez.
Students who take the three linked courses in IS 145 will receive all-college distribution credit in four areas: Historical Studies (H), Social Sciences (S), the first-year writing (W1), and the international diversity (I) requirements.
GO 145B — The Ancient Mind: Literature and Philosophy of the Ancient World
A writing-intensive introduction to the literature and philosophy of ancient Greece and the Near East, exploring such themes as the human longing for immortality, the nature and duties of friendship, and human obligations to the divine, to the family, and to the political community. Readings include the Epic of Gilgamesh, excerpts from Homer, plays by Aeschylus and Sophocles, and dialogues of Plato along with selected secondary materials. Satisfies the I and W1 requirements. Four credit hours. Reisert.
GO 145A — Leadership in the Ancient World
What constitutes “good” leadership? What makes for a successful leader? This course explores these questions through an in-depth study of leadership in the ancient world. It explores the political, social, and cultural contexts that shaped leadership styles and strategies in that era. Through analyzing the leadership theories, practices, and ideologies of figures such as Cyrus the Great, Themistocles, Pericles, and Alexander the Great, students will gain a historical and theoretical foundation for the study of political leadership in contemporary times. Satisfies the S requirement. Four credit hours. Chavez.
CL158 — History of Ancient Greece and the Near East
This course offers an overview of ancient Greek history and culture from the Mycenaean society of the Bronze Age to the formation of the Hellenistic kingdoms, and situates this historical survey within the broader context of the histories and cultures of the Near East. We will begin with the foundation of the first cities in the fourth millennium BCE and end with the fall of Ptolemaic Egypt to the Roman Empire. Over the course of the semester, we will read texts ranging from the poems of the priestess Enheduanna to the dialogues of the philosopher Plato. Particular attention will be paid to political, social, and cultural history. Satisfies the H requirement. Four credit hours. Taylor.
360 degrees of AI (IS 152)
Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly shaping the world around us, driving what some observers label the “Fifth Industrial Revolution.” What does it mean to be a productive and responsible participant in this new AI-driven world? This cluster grapples with these issues. It is an introduction to working with AI from a wide range of approaches, with the goal of developing students as informed AI tool builders. Students will receive hands-on training in AI that will prepare them to perform academic research with Colby faculty, as well as equip them to understand the contested perspectives and challenges around AI’s social impacts. They will also explore the science of consciousness in biological systems and extensions of this work into potential artificial sentient entities. Lastly, artificial sentient entities as independent agents and questions of whether they should have standing will be considered, along with current attempts to formulate effective policy governing this issue. Satisfies the N and W1 requirements.
Faculty: Amanda Stent, Thom Klepach, Klara Kugelmeyer.
Students who take the three linked courses in IS 152 will receive all-college distribution credit in two areas: Natural Sciences (N) and the first-year writing requirement (W1).
ST 120D — AI and Society
CS 154 Computational Thinking: Natural Language Processing
An introduction to computational thinking: how we can describe and solve problems using a computer. Using the Python language, students will learn how to write algorithms, manipulate information, and design programs. They will learn about abstraction, how to divide and organize a process into appropriate components, how to describe processes in a computer language, and how to analyze and understand the behavior of their programs. The projects will focus on manipulating textual data using natural language processing. This course enables CS- and AI-related student learning outcomes. Stent. Four credit hours.