Bass Connections Open

Interdisciplinary Themes

Bass Connections projects, courses and summer programs are aligned with the following themes:

For faculty whose research falls outside the scope of the existing themes, Bass Connections Open provides a new way to participate. Faculty may now affiliate team-based, interdisciplinary courses with Bass Connections and propose year-long project teams that do not align with one of the five themes but that otherwise align with the Bass Connections model of interdisciplinary, collaborative inquiry around societal challenges.

Bass Connections Open is not a permanent feature of the program, but rather an experimental channel that we anticipate opening approximately every five years as a means of identifying percolating areas of interest not addressed by the current themes.

The deadline for proposing 2019-2020 projects through Bass Connections Open during the Fall 2018 proposal cycle was November 5, 2018.

Bass Connections Open Project Teams

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The United States possesses singular places where citizens and others can visit to absorb elements of the nation’s depth of pain, triumph, awe, reverence, disappointments and dreams. “Sacred spaces” refers to understanding America by literally standing in places and taking in layers of meaning that... Read more about America's Sacred Spaces (2018-2019) »

“Duke University Commencement, 1931,” University Archives Photograph Collection, Box 50, Duke University Archives

Building Duke is a new initiative that will explore the conception, design and construction of the Duke campus as well as its changes and expansions. The principal aims are to offer an historical narrative of the physical environment that the Duke community inhabits and to explore the desires and... Read more about Building Duke: The Architectural History of Duke Campus from 1924 to the Present (2018-2019) »


Distinct approaches to ethics scholarship, ethics education and the regulation of ethics have evolved independently in a number of institutions designed to harness competition for social benefits, such as in markets, law, democratic politics, sports and scientific research. They all identify a... Read more about Cheating, Gaming and Rule Fixing: Challenges for Ethics across the Adversarial Professions (2018-2019) »

fountain pen and paper

Despite successful treatment of childhood cancer, the emotional effects are lasting. Studies have shown that adult survivors of pediatric cancer are more likely to experience physical and psychological late effects of their illness. Parents and caregivers also report significant emotional distress... Read more about Expressive Writing for Resilience in Adult Pediatric Oncology Survivors and Their Caregivers (2018-2019) »

Health worker holding prescription pills

In the U.S., about half of the 3.2 billion prescriptions dispensed annually are not taken as instructed, leading to 125,000 preventable deaths and wasted medical expenditure amounting to $290 billion a year. Medication nonadherence is a significant issue worldwide and across all socioeconomic... Read more about Patients' Journey to Medication Adherence (2018-2019) »

Unwanted physical contact

Sexual misconduct is disturbingly common in society. While it is not a new phenomenon, in recent months the issue of sexual harassment has become a part of daily conversations. The #metoo movement has given many women the courage to come forward and report sexual harassment and assault.... Read more about Prevention of Sexual Misconduct on University Campuses (2018-2019) »

Image courtesy of Project Vox

Philosophy is a surprisingly static enterprise: the canonical figures in early modern philosophy, from Descartes and Locke to Hume and Kant, have remained essentially fixed in teaching and research for the past 50 years. The all-male canon reflects the fact that women were often excluded from early... Read more about Project Vox (2018-2019) »

Garden planted in bathtub.

In a time when neighborhoods are rapidly changing, gardens have become a place where history, contention, expression, resistance and negotiation meet. At the same time, the presence of an immigrant workforce—landscaping companies largely staffed by migrant Latinos—means that the country’s divided... Read more about Sowers and Reapers: Gardening in an Era of Change (2018-2019) »

Old world map

The creation of capitalist markets has been, and continues to be, a transformative process, involving the displacement of peoples from their homelands as well as the disruption of traditional norms, cultures and institutions – creating opportunities for some while discarding others to the margins.... Read more about The Moral Economy of Markets: Constituting and Resisting Relations of Power (2018-2019) »

Bass Connections Open Courses

Gateway Courses

EGR 101L: Engineering Design and Communication

Fall 2018
Instructor: Ann Saterbak, Sophia Santillan

Students work in a team to learn and apply the engineering design process to solve an open-ended, client-based problem drawn from a community partner. Read more about Engineering Design and Communication »

Other Undergraduate Courses

SOCIOL 347: Managing Networks

Spring 2019
Instructor: Brian Southwell

Networks are pervasive in the social, economic, political and natural worlds. Network data and methods – and concurrently our ability to conceptualize and analyze networks – have expanded dramatically in recent years, and Duke is a central location in which this research is being conducted. This... Read more about Managing Networks »

Undergraduate/Graduate Courses

PUBPOL 590-02: Well-being Economics

Spring 2019
Instructor: Dirk Philipsen

How do we build an economy that prioritizes human welfare over economic growth? How do we serve ecological, economic and social goals within corresponding constraints? How do we understand and evaluate progress? Read more about Well-being Economics »

PUBPOL 590S-01: The Challenge for Business and Society: From Risk to Reward

Fall 2018
Instructor: Stanley Litow

This class will focus on the role of business in addressing some of the most critical societal problems such as: labor practices, environmental performance, community engagement, supply chain practices and diversity and inclusion. Read more about The Challenge for Business and Society: From Risk to Reward »