Knowledge, Discovery, Exchange
The world is vast and complex, but within it, there are many surprising things waiting to become known. The trick is knowing where to look, how to look and how to interpret what you find. There is a great diversity of sources all around us that can lead to new knowledge. Paintings, maps, or legal documents can serve as sources. They can be artifacts from ancient or contemporary times, newspaper articles, photographs, or digital communications. Sources can be derived from works of literary fiction, scholarly articles or web-based content. People, living in the past or present, are among our most important sources.
In this new program, first-year students have the opportunity to discover sources, and from them, gain new knowledge about the world that we inhabit. Students will ask questions and seek answers, guided by experienced faculty who engage in these practices as their profession. Students produce original projects that express their findings, and learn how to communicate and disseminate the relevance of what they have found with classmates as well as others outside of the classroom.
Students who enroll in this two-course sequence take a four-credit course in fall and then in the spring semesters. These courses satisfy general education requirements or in some cases, courses for a major. Students will end with a portfolio that shows what they discovered, and how, thereby enabling freshmen to contribute to our collective knowledge base. In all courses, students will have the support from the Source Project faculty and staff to present their work at our annual spring conference, Research Days, and publish their work in the Binghamton University Undergraduate Journal. In addition, Source Project students will be well positioned for fellowships, internships, graduate school and fulfilling career prospects as they move through their undergraduate years.
Fill out our interest form if you would like to be considered for the Source Project.
Students can choose from the following course sequences:
1. Human Nature
What does it mean to be human? How can the exploration of this question enable you to understand current events in our dynamic world? Start your academic career by investigating a fundamental question about life. Students in this course will learn to use the tools and perspectives of multiple disciplines, such as anthropology, psychology, philosophy, biology, and religion, and apply them to various facets of human life. We will consider what is fundamentally human about gender, sexuality, health, violence and cooperation. We will evaluate the evidence used to make claims about humanity and look for what is missing from these explanations and where biases exist. In the second term, students will work on research projects that can help further our understanding of the possibilities of human nature. This course can be taken for general education credits or as part of the anthropology major.
Project Leader: Kathleen Sterling is an associate professor of anthropology. Her research is centered in the French Pyrenees where she is currently co-director of the Peyre Blanque, an open-air late Paleolithic site. Her interests include lithic technology, learning and identity, communities of practice, Paleolithic visual imagery, hunting and gathering groups, gender and feminist science, Black feminist theory, landscape archaeology and the sociopolitics of archaeology. The themes of her work are concerned with dispelling myths about human ancestors as violent, primitive and limited. She is also concerned with equal opportunity in anthropology and science in general, particularly in the ways in which this has an impact on knowledge production.
2. Discovering Place: Binghamton as a Laboratory for Environmental Studies
People live in places and imprint meaning and function on the natural environment. This can be a local, or even individual process, but is also inescapably tied to broader political, economic and cultural dynamics. As people move from place to place for any of life's reasons -whether to go to school, flee natural or political disasters or to seek new economic opportunity -- they are faced with learning about and integrating themselves into new places. How do we learn about a new place? How does our understanding of the places in which we live shape our ability to sustain ourselves and our environment? We will develop our own approach to studying the place you find yourself as a college student--Binghamton--how it came to be settled at the confluence of two rivers, its transition to a set of utopian, industrial communities with factory work that attracted European immigrants, to then become the birthplace of modern computing and aviation. We will consider this trajectory in the current post-industrial phase where flooding linked to global climate change, revitalized downtown areas and out-migration are major concerns.
Through field trips, discussions, and practice of various research methods, the first semester will introduce students to the ways that scholars and people who live and work in Binghamton define environmental issues. Students will have the chance to design their own research projects with faculty who study sustainable communities in the second semester to generate ideas about how to integrate social, environmental and economic needs to better the places in which we live. This course can be taken for general education credits or as part of the environmental studies major.
Project Leaders: Dr. Robert Holahan and Dr. Valerie Imbruce
Robert Holahan is an associate professor of environmental studies and political science. His primary area of research investigates environmental policy from a social-ecological perspective that incorporates the biological, ecological and geological characteristics of resource systems with the economics of human decision-making. His current research projects include a property-rights examination of unconventional oil and gas production, and a cross-national study on the vote choices of parliamentarians over environmental policies.
Valerie Imbruce is director of the Undergraduate Research Center and a research associate of Environmental Studies. Her research has focused on the influence of urban demands on food supply networks and agricultural systems, particularly among Asian-American communities in New York City. She has consulted on international agriculture development projects as well as worked with grassroots food system organizations in the United States. She is committed to fostering interdisciplinary research and education since many of the world's problems do not fall into the disciplinary categories of higher education and believes undergraduate research is one way to accomplish this goal.
3. Human Rights
What are Human Rights and where do they come from? How can studying rights violations help to build a better world? Start your academic career at Binghamton University by developing your research skills in human rights and exploring majors with human rights applications. This two-semester sequence will introduce first-year students to foundational histories and concepts alongside research methodologies drawn from social sciences and the humanities in human rights. We will look at the various ways scholars and human rights workers define research questions about human rights past and present and how research can be used to protect and promote human flourishing in difficult times.
Our first semester course, HARP 176: Human Rights Concepts and Methods, will center around case studies that ask us to bring different research methods together to address specific violations. Students will conclude the semester by designing their own research projects within the Human Rights Institute. In the second semester, students will have the opportunity to work individually or in groups with faculty members in the Human Rights Institute who are engaged in a wide range of human rights problem solving. Not only will students participate directly in ongoing research projects, they will also learn about different ways of disseminating and applying their research to reach diverse audiences. The program's courses will also count toward the human rights minor.
This course fulfills the G (Global) and N (Social Sciences) General Education requirements and is open to all freshmen without prerequisite.
Project leader: Alexandra Moore, English professor and co-director of the Human Rights Institute
Alexandra Moore, professor of English and co-director of the Human Rights Institute, will lead the program. Moore publishes widely in representations of torture, enforced disappearance, incarceration, gendered rights violations, child soldiers, humanitarian interventionism and related topics in contemporary literature and film. She also works with torture survivors and those fleeing political persecution.