The Wheel sat down with Elizabeth Neyman, ’15C, to talk about the Interdisciplinary Studies major.
So, what exactly is the IDS major?
The IDS major stands for Interdisciplinary Studies. For me, the IDS major is a way to link up my focus on my extracurriculars with my academics.
What made you choose to be an IDS major?
I started off with Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Psych and realized that my focus had been more on my extracurriculars with SAPA (Sexual Assault Peer Advocates). It made sense for me to get the most out of my Emory career by writing a thesis about consent culture. All IDS majors have to create some type of senior project or honors thesis.
Are there specific IDS classes?
Yes. As far as I know, you have to take at least two 200-level IDS courses and one 300-level IDS course. You’re also required to take the senior seminar and complete senior or honors research. I declared my junior year, so it might be a little different for other people. IDS is also unique in that you don’t just have to do the requirements in your area of study; you have to get together with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, and they’ll discuss with you what does and doesn’t count for your major.
What are you looking to do, career-wise, with your IDS major?
I want to get experience working across sectors and ideally go into some sort of education where I can model consent culture with students from K-12.
So, you’re writing your thesis on consent culture. What is consent culture?
The working title of my thesis is “Beyond Critique of Rape Culture: Modeling Consent Culture Through Community Building.” Consent culture to me is anything that is opposed to rape culture. I’m comparing community builders who refer to residents rather than contractors as experts in their own experience. In the same way, SAPA advocates refer to survivors as the experts in their own experience and model consent culture.
What’s been your favorite IDS class?
IDS 385: The Art of Living with Dalia Judovitz. She’s one of the first professors I’ve had that really brought ancient philosophical texts like Marcus Aurelius to a point of relevance to all the students in the class.
What’s the best thing about being an IDS major?
I get to figure out my own major and interact with really diverse faculty members. I feel more in charge of my major.
Have you faced any challenges as an IDS major?
I think I was reluctant to declare the IDS major bc it’s stereotyped as a cop out. I think the hardest part is declaring an IDS major that’s meaningful to you.
What’s your favorite thing you’ve done as an IDS major?
Doing the community building and social change program with Ashley Ferreira.
I worked with high school students and ensured them that they were experts in their own community. That resulted in the students creating a community website and organizing a soccer tournament with over 400 participants.
Do you have any advice for incoming students considering the IDS major?
Take a class. Meet up with Dr. Wakefield about your academic interests and ask him to refer you to a professor who aligns with your interests. Take your time, take diverse classes. It doesn’t have to be a linear process.