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Sidecar Courses

An innovative curricular initiative, conceived of and organized by the IDEAS fellowship, sidecar courses bring together two faculty members who are teaching courses in different departments and on different topics to teach a short interdisciplinary class that focuses on a point of connection. For example, a history professor might be teaching a class on the Middle Ages, and a biology professor might be teaching a class on communicable disease; together, they might teach a sidecar course on the plague. Sidecar courses carry one credit hour, and all students take the course pass/fail.

IDEAS Fellow Involvement

IDEAS fellows participate in these classes in a number of ways:

  • connecting two professors and suggest a sidecar course;
  • participating in course planning;
  • helping to manage the details of the class;
  • serving as teaching assistants;
  • leading class sessions.

Proposals for Fall 2022

We invite applications from Emory College faculty members interested in developing a sidecar course as part of a team that includes a faculty member in another department or discipline and two IDEAS fellows (see description below). If you are interested but you don’t have a partner, please email us at the addresses below.  If you don’t know any IDEAS fellows, please see, as noted below, that we will match you with fellows. Each faculty member in the team receives $1000 (before taxes).  No more than six sidecar courses will be funded in Fall 2022.

Due: April 29, 2022

Submit your proposal

Your proposal must be submitted online using the form and include the following information:

Submit your proposal

  1. Names and contact information for both faculty members.
  2. One-paragraph description of your proposed class, including a course title.
  3. A short statement describing how you will involve your IDEAS fellow TAs in planning and teaching the course.
  4. (Optional) Name of IDEAS fellows to serve as Teaching Assistants. If you already know IDEAS fellows that you would like to work with, please include their names. This proposal needn’t be fully developed at this point, as we would like to see IDEAS fellows involved in the planning process.
  5. Meeting time. Include a time that will work for both faculty members. We strongly suggest that you avoid times between 10 and 2 on Mondays-Thursdays. These times are fully scheduled by regular classes, so enrollments are likely to be low, and it is difficult to find spaces or TAs during these times. If your course will require outside activities in the evenings or on weekends, please specify this in your course description.
  6. If you require the course be Permission Only, explain why this is necessary for your sidecar. Because issuing permission numbers places an undue burden on our staff, we request that courses be open enrollment if at all possible.

Applications will be reviewed by the IDEAS Sidecar committee.

Successful applications will be paired with IDEAS fellows by the IDEAS Sidecar committee if you have not indicated fellows who would like to participate in the course. 

Successful applicants will meet with their full team, including IDEAS fellows, and submit a course description for OPUS and a full course outline.

A sidecar course brings together two professors from different departments who bring different perspectives to a particular topic, question or problem to create a short interdisciplinary course. As an example, a history professor interested in the Middle Ages might partner with a biology professor who focuses on infectious disease for a sidecar course on the plague. Sidecar courses are meant to add something to the curriculum that helps students integrate ideas from different fields and allows them to explore a topic both more deeply and more creatively.

The sidecar course will be listed as Open Enrollment unless instructors request otherwise, allowing any interested students to register. These courses are meant to be small and pedagogically innovative. Students take the course S/U, and each sidecar course carries one credit. Schedules for the class could be flexible, as long as the class meets often enough to justify receiving one credit (a total of 15 hours over the course of the semester). While courses can meet on an unconventional schedule, the registrar asks that they conform to the published schedule whenever possible and avoid “prime time” period, between 10 am – 2 pm; also, please avoid scheduling across two defined slots in the published schedule. Courses that require non-standard schedules should be held on Fridays.  Course content can be innovative and creative; courses could be run as a seminar, or they could be project or community service based, or they could include visiting discussants or lecturers, or whatever your imaginations conjure up.

Questions? Contact Kim Loudermilk or Peter Wakefield

  • Attend an instructor and TA luncheon 
  • Offer sidecar course once during Fall 2022 
  • Submit a brief report upon completion of the course, which addresses positive aspects of the experience, aspects of the program that were less successful and suggestions for improving the program. 

Spring 2022 Sidecar Courses

IDS 290-1

Inquisitions and Intersections: Religion, Gender, and Authoritarianism in the Modern World


María Carrión (Religion), Katherine Rosenblatt (Religion)

Teaching Assistants

Ben Thomas

Meeting Time

T 2:30pm-3:45pm

What does it mean to be a Catholic woman? A Jewish woman? What about a non-binary member of either faith? In recent years, both religions have confronted their intersections with gender and ideology in increasingly direct terms. But those intersections are not a new discovery; they have shaped religious and political experience for millennia. Spain, for example, has borne witness to women's changing experiences within Judaism, Catholicism, and Islam through many different political environments. This one-credit, pass-fail sidecar course will seek to understand how gender and authoritarianism have conditioned women's experiences within religion, with a particular emphasis on Judaism and Catholicism in Spain. We'll spend the semester discussing films, memoirs, academic articles, primary sources, and more as we move through history and between identities. The course will conclude with a capstone, which may involve writing Scholar Blogs posts as individuals, organizing a speaker event as a class, or another such project.

IDS 290-2

Coffee from the Grounds Up


Nikki Graves (Business) and Christine Ristaino (French & Italian)

Teaching Assistants

Nsai Temko

Meeting Time

F 2:30pm-3:45pm

In this course, students will learn how local coffee-related businesses and non-profit organizations seek to integrate sustainable, human-centered business models. We will explore the coffee supply chain, which begins with indigenous growers and winds through roasters, distributors, and finally, consumers. Traditional business models benefit the 'middlemen' of roasters and distributors. Global consumers sip the final product without knowing that the indigenous growers receive profit only in pennies, with which they struggle to feed their families while facing the grim threat of climate change, deforestation, and land appropriation.

In contrast to traditional exploitative models, we will learn about indigenous growers who have gained the means of production and distribution of coffee. We will start with learning about the Tzeltal cooperative, Yomol A'tel, formed by Indigenous families in Chiapas, Mexico. We will then explore the work of Atlanta companies and organizations that strive to implement business models that benefit the growers, as well as the environment.

IDS 290-3

Revolution in the Anthropocene: Sci-Fi, Speculative Fiction, and Environmental Thought


Emily Burchfield (Environmental Science),Lynne Huffer (Women's Studies)

Teaching Assistants

Catherine Wang, Mackenzie White

Meeting Time

F 10am-12:45pm

Class meets on 1/21, 2/11, 3/4, 3/25, and 4/15


This sidecar will engage sci-fi/speculative fiction as an origin site for igniting the political imagination to envision new worlds in response to and within the Anthropocene. It bridges economics, speculative fiction, and sci-fi to challenge our current world(s) and ways of life and frame alternative revolutionary actions and potential. Students will read economic theories and dialogue them with speculative fiction about revolutionary imagination.

IDS 290-4

Rewarding Ecstasies: Desire, Free Will, and Religion


Gillian Hue (NBB), Gary Laderman (Religion)

Teaching Assistants

Jack Rowland, Sean Malhotra

Meeting Time
F 1pm-2:15pm
This Sidecar course will draw from Hue's course ¿Advanced Neuroethics¿ (featuring Free Will and Neurotechnology) and Laderman's course, ¿Religion and Sexuality,¿ and provide students with a focused scholarly exploration of the power of ecstatic experiences. What role do ecstatic experiences play in human life, and how can we best understand them? From the human orgasm and forms of euphoric intimacy; to highly pleasurable if not earth-shaking aftereffects of ingesting certain psychoactive substances; to mystical states that bring individuals into contact with the divine, the drive for ecstatic experience is a ubiquitous feature of human societies. The course will examine these and other issues, with particular interest in the interface between individual and neurochemical experiences of ecstasy, and the larger cultural context that helps make sense of, and finds ways to regulate, these experiences.


IDS 290-5

Body Switching


James More (English), Eric Reinders (Religion)

Teaching Assistants

Alex Dresdner, Val Pacheco

Meeting Time

Th 1pm-1:50pm

 The content of ¿Religion and the Body¿ and ¿Chaucer¿ intersect most directly with the study of Christianity, though monastic traditions in Buddhism and Taoism are also promising points of contact. This IDS sidecar course will feature two of Chaucer¿s most famous pilgrims: the Wife of Bath and the Pardoner. The Wife of Bath is a woman who acts like a man, and her ¿jolly body¿ progresses from the young woman in the Miller¿s Tale to the old, experienced woman who has been married five times. The Pardoner is a eunuch who represents his bodily status in the form of a zombie in his tale of three rioters who seek, and find, Death. There are instances of sex switching and gender bending across the readings in both courses. We will also look at a Buddhist and Taoist narratives related to sex and gender, such as the chapter from the Vimalakirti Sutra wherein an enlightened goddess and a sanctimonious monk switch bodies, and a popular story of the kind called ¿the Chinese female vampire story¿ (except that the female seeks not blood but semen from her victims). Other areas for discussion include questions about salvation and impiety, the use of irony in narratives, and issues of literary genre (especially regarding the fantastic).

Fall 2021 Sidecar Courses

IDS 290-2 Interdisciplinary Sidecar: Coming of Age in Fiction/Film


Kim Loudermilk (ILA) and Didem Uca (German Studies)

Teaching Assistants

Ben Thomas and Jack Wolfram

Meeting Time

F 2:30-3:45pm

The German "Bildungsroman" derives from "Roman," meaning "novel," and "Bildung," meaning "education" or "formation." Indeed, the stories we tell about coming of age both center their maturing characters' formative years and reflect the continuous re-formation, the fluidity, of the cultures from which they come. With this power of definition, however, also comes the danger of totalizing the individualized, culturally dependent experience of growing up. This sidecar course will seek to understand how coming of age and its representations depend on cultural, political, aesthetic, and social factors, particularly in the context of hyphenated, transnational, German, and American identities. We will first study the emergence of the Bildungsroman as a German literary genre through foundational works like Johann Wolfgang Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship. During the rest of the semester, we will explore coming of age as it appears in such literary works as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah, Elif Batuman's The Idiot, Julia Alvarez's How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, and others, as well as through media representations in film and television. The course will conclude with a group podcast project, in which students will produce short episodes on one or more of our texts or media together.

IDS 290-3 Communicating Social Justice: Commitment or Woke Washing?


Nikki Graves (Business School) and Christine Ristaino (French & Italian)

Teaching Assistants

Giang Dang and Nsai Temko

Meeting Time

M 2:30 - 3:45pm

In the past few years, we have seen companies rush to tout their corporate social responsibility regarding social justice issues. But, do carefully crafted social solidarity statements equate to equitable internal diversity, equity, and inclusion practices and human-centered, fair methods of production and trade? This course will allow students from Goizueta and Emory College to explore the differences between legitimate corporate social responsibility initiatives and 'woke-washing.' Distinguishing between woke-washing, which occurs when organizations signal advocacy for a marginalized cause but continue to cause harm to vulnerable communities, from ethical corporate practices, is critical for our students as they navigate employment opportunities and consumer choices.