Interdisciplinary Collaborative Teaching Past Collaborations

Past Collaborations

Psychedelic Mirrors

Music/Comparative Literature
MUSIC 351/ENG 220
Professors Eric Smigel and Bill Nericcio

This shared lecture class surveyed psychedelic rock music and countercultural literature with two high-enrollment courses in the general education curriculum. Students analyzed novels, musical recordings, visual art, and films to explore how the social, political, and spiritual values of American and British underground movements impacted the development of contemporary culture. The culminating event was a multimedia happening designed as a reconstruction of a historical “acid test” (with image and film projections, electronic sound, dancing, face painting, and a live performance by a psychedelic rock band), which took place in Montezuma Hall and saw the participation of 1000 students. Engaging an alternative assessment model, students creatively explored the principle of distorted perception and articulated their critical perspective through social media applications.


Bio Design

Microbiology/Graphic Arts
BIO 600/ART 441
Professors Anca Segall, Forest Rohwer, and Arzu Ozkal

Data visualization is both an art and a science, used by scientists and artists to communicate complex information and abstract concepts. During this course collaboration, Design students practiced working with real data provided by Biology students, then analyzed and translated complex information. At the same time, Biology students developed visual literacy skills and practiced communication techniques with Humanities students. Broad research questions included: How to increase the ease of analysis and effectiveness of communication of complicated data sets? How to enrich understanding of scientific concepts? How to convey complex ideas to a broad audience of both scientists and laypeople?


Dance Making Science

Dance-Making/Polymer Science
DANCE 145/PHY 538
Professors Joseph Alter and Arlette Baljon

In this course collaboration, students investigated the topic of polymer science through the study of movement. Students participated in groups, sharing responsibility as well as mutual respect for both disciplines. 
The semester culminated with a presentation of the topic and student performances of dance choreography based on principles of polymer movement. This practice encouraged students to develop imaginative thinking skills to help translate physical phenomena into conceptual models and visa versa.


Television Writing and the Dynamics of the Writer's Room

Organizational Behavior/Theatre, Television, and Film
PA 340/TFM 510
Profs. Mounah Abdel-Samad and Aurorae Khoo

The course collaboration between Organizational Behavior and Television Writing introduced Public Affairs students to the interpersonal dynamics of working on a television show, the script writing process, and the power dynamics of the group. Writing students team-wrote a “spec” script of an existing hit television show with other Television, Film, and New Media (TFM) students. Students from both courses applied theories of behavioral management to a real-life scenario: a semester-long television writers’ room. TFM students developed and presented an original idea for a television pilot, and Public Affairs students built additional writing and analytical skills.


History of Childhood

History/Graphic Design
HIST 402/ART 341
Professors Eve Kornfeld and Patricia Cué Couttolenc

During the Graphic Design and History of Childhood course collaboration, the students were introduced to the content and methods from both disciplines through group discussions, presentations, and collaborative studio activities. The students worked on three collaborative projects that explored issues related to American childhood experiences (including their own). These projects included a short book on images of childhood, a capstone project based on a novel, and a public exhibition piece featuring an installation and a performance. With the intent of blurring the lines between “makers” and “thinkers,” students were encouraged to apply image analysis through semiotics and the use of visual narratives to convey ideas for their final installations and performances.


Business of Design

Entrepreneurship/Graphic Design
MGT 358/ART 541
Professors Congcong Zheng and Min Choi

In the collaborative portion of this class, Business and Design students studied the entrepreneurial mindset, brainstorming and collaborating to come up with various ideas for new businesses. Business students tested group ideas and built the business model, while Design students worked on building a branding system for this idea. Groups worked together throughout the duration of the semester. As a culminating event, a selection of the groups presented their ideas, including the business model and its branding system, to a panel of community judges.


Let's Talk about SDSU

Ethnography and Communication/Dramaturgy
COMM 462/THEA 525
Professors Kurt Lindemann and Shelly Orr

In this course collaboration, students worked in teams to explore ways to gather and analyze ethnographic data, which was subsequently distributed to a wider audience through performances, readings, and performative recordings. Students created live theatrical scenarios that included audio and image files to communicate themes, patterns, issues, and arguments. After the first iteration of the course collaboration, groups were directed to focus their presentations on topics centered on researched student experiences, including LGBTQ+ Communities, Transfer Student Experience, Diversity on Campus, Mini-Dorms and Community Tensions, Mental Health, Stress and Coping on Campus, and Sexual Assault on Campus (#TimesUp and #MeToo).


Dancing with Refugees

Dance & Women's Studies
DANCE 380 & WMNST 310
Professors Chuyun Oh, Ph.D. & Huma Ahmed-Ghosh, Ph.D.

This course focused on women’s experience in refugee communities by combining Dance History (Contemporary Global Contexts) and Women’s Studies (Global Cultures, Women’s Lives). Students in the class integrated elements of feminism, dance, and social activism by using arts and performance as a tool for community engagement. Topics of study included the construction of gender, transnational labor, violence, globalization, war, activism, and migration. After conducting ethnographic fieldwork with a community of refugee women in El Cajon, students created and produced a live dance performance based on their critical interpretation of women’s human rights issues.


Sounding Society

School of Music & Dance/Department of Sociology
MUSIC 561 & HIST 556
Professors Kevin Delgado, Ph.D. and Erika Robb Larkins

This course linked two existing classes, History 556, The History of Brazil with Music 561 Ethnomusicology Area Studies: Brazil. Adopting an interdisciplinary lens, students explored the role of music and the arts in contesting subjugation and marginalization in Brazil. In particular, we examined music spanning Brazilian history, including Afro-Brazilian religious music, carnival/samba, capoeira, foreign-influenced rock, tropicalia, MPB, blocos afro, sertenejo, hip-hop, and favela funk to understand how different artists have engaged in direct critique of power structures and implicitly challenged the status quo though the expression of counter-hegemonic identities.


Urban Theatre

School of Theatre, Television, and Film/School of Public Affairs
THEA 649 & C P 710
Professors Bruce Appleyard, Ph.D & D.J. Hopkins, Ph.D.

This collaborative course explored the relationship between the experience of theatre space and the design of city planning. By combining methodologies of both fields, students in each class were encouraged to engage with, interpret, and transform their own physical environments. Students conducted formal analyses of urban spaces and created site-specific theatre projects, including unannounced “flash mobs” on the SDSU campus. In addition to participating in interdisciplinary class discussions, students were asked to respond to assigned readings by taking photos, mapping activities, and capturing sensory observations as a way to offer critically informed and tangible realizations of abstract theories.


Healing Garden

School of Art + Design and Department of History
ART 404 & HIST415
Professors Eva Struble, M.F.A. & Paula De Vos, Ph.D.

This course brought History and Art together in collaboration to examine pre-contact and colonial Mexican history through the art of painting. Students in each class focused on the history of pharmacological and healing practices among the Nahua, with an emphasis on iconography drawn from source documents. Working with peers in the history program, art students designed and presented critical interpretations of the subject in a series of visual images. A selection of these original and historically informed images was subsequently incorporated into a large-scale mural project as part of the new Healing Garden, located west of the Communications building on the SDSU campus.