Information, Society & Culture

Interdisciplinary Themes

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

Led by the Rhodes Information Initiative at Duke

Access to unprecedented amounts of information is creating new opportunities for Duke students and faculty, working together in multidisciplinary teams, to actively engage with and to change the world around them. At the same time, the unprecedented availability of personal information published by smartphones, web browsers and social media is exposing society to new risks.

Bass Connections in Information, Society & Culture combines coursework, co-curricular experiences and integrated project teams to explore the evolution of society and culture through the lens of information, using the latest computational methods to understand society’s most pressing problems in new and creative ways.

Data+ is a ten-week summer research experience for undergraduates and graduate student mentors interested in exploring new data-driven approaches to interdisciplinary challenges.

Information, Society & Culture Project Teams

Desmond Tutu at Duke Chapel, courtesy of Duke University Archives.

This project will examine sermons by people “minoritized” across spectrums of gender, nationality and sexual orientation in order to advance the conversation about sermons’ potential to move local, national and international narratives toward inclusion and justice. Read more about #MyVoiceMyBody: Minoritized Bodies in the Pulpit at Duke Chapel (2019-2020) »

Rally to demand accountability from the financial institutions and legal action against bankers.

This project will explore mortgage market data and collect oral histories to deepen the public’s understanding of the policy and market dynamics in the run-up to the global financial crisis.  Read more about American Predatory Lending and the Global Financial Crisis (2019-2020) »

Artificial Intelligence 2018 San Francisco by O’Reilly Conferences.

This project will seek to open the closed world of applied machine learning to students and the public through the development of a performance-driven workshop. Read more about Artificial Intelligence Bias in an Age of a Technical Elite (2019-2020) »

Alexander von Humboldt and the university.

This project will explore the career and history of Alexander von Humboldt, a scientist most noted for bringing together different scientific and historical perspectives on Earth, including developing the first description of human-induced climate change and providing core launch points to other... Read more about AvH250: Imagining Interdisciplinary Research for the 21st Century from a 19th Century Perspective (2019-2020) »

Big Data logo.

This project aims to improve access to family planning by providing stakeholders with data and user-friendly digital tools to inform their advocacy and policymaking efforts. Read more about Big Data for Reproductive Health (2019-2020) »

Video still from Automated Fact-Checking App, by Duke University.

This project seeks to leverage the power of data and computing to help make fact-checking and dissemination of fact-checks to the public more effective, scalable and sustainable. Read more about Data and Technology for Fact-checking (2019-2020) »

Seagram Lake outflow.

This project will advance education and public literacy in aquatic science by leveraging data-enabled approaches to detecting and understanding lake stressors and their effects on aquatic ecosystems. Read more about Data-driven Approaches to Illuminate the Responses of Lakes to Multiple Stressors (2019-2020) »

Duke Building Use Report.

This project will create a report that illustrates the energy used within Duke business units over time with the aim of helping leaders understand their energy use and take simple steps to reduce consumption. Read more about Duke Building Energy Use Report (2019-2020) »


This project will develop the infrastructure for a new health awareness campus initiative in which Duke undergraduates will self-monitor their health-related behaviors through the use of digital wearable technologies. Read more about Enabling Precision Health and Medicine (2019-2020) »


This project will conduct a digital investigation of the pre-Roman archaeological landscape of Vulci, Cerveteri and Tarquinia in Central Italy. Read more about Smart Archaeology (2019-2020) »

Sax Magic by Alan Levine.

This project will digitally archive the dimensional and material property differences between vintage and reproduction mouthpieces to document the differences in playability and tonal character. Read more about The Art and Craft of Saxophone Mouthpiece Design (2019-2020) »

Information, Society & Culture Courses

Gateway Courses

ISS 110: Information, Society & Culture

Fall 2019
Instructor: Astrid Giugni

This course will delve into information, society and culture across disciplines. It will explore all aspects of information theory and practice, including computational and mathematical, and investigate how information in the context of the social sciences and humanities is transforming research. Read more about Information, Society & Culture »

Other Undergraduate Courses

ARTHIST 231: History of Art Markets

Spring 2020
Instructor: Fiene Leunissen and Hans Van Miegroet

This course is an analytical survey of the emergence of art markets, interactions between market behavior(s) and visual/media culture(s). Read more about History of Art Markets »

ARTHIST 305L: Virtual Museums: Theories and Methods of 21st-century Museums

Fall 2019
Instructor: Maurizio Forte

This course focuses on how the“Internet of Things,” augmented reality technologies and new data analyses of artifacts will transform the missions, roles and goals of museums and collections. Read more about Virtual Museums: Theories and Methods of 21st-century Museums »

BIOLOGY 325: Current Technologies in Genomics and Precision Medicine

Fall 2019
Instructor: Greg Wray, Susanne Haga

This course aims to provide a comprehensive overview of genome science technologies, clinical applications and policy and ethical issues related to the conduct of genome sciences research and clinical implementation. Read more about Current Technologies in Genomics and Precision Medicine »

ISS 240L: Fundamentals of Web-based Multimedia Communications

Fall 2019
Instructor: Richard Lucic, Mark Olson or Victoria Szabo

This course explores multimedia information systems, including presentation media, hypermedia, graphics, animation, sound, video and integrated authoring techniques as well as the underlying technologies that make them possible. Read more about Fundamentals of Web-based Multimedia Communications »

ISS 356S: Digital Durham

Spring 2020
Instructor: Trudi Abel, Victoria Szabo

This course engages students in representing Durham’s past and present through digital media. Read more about Digital Durham »

ISS 376: Performance and Technology

Spring 2020
Instructor: Martin Brooke, Thomas DeFrantz

This course provides a workshop exploration of technologies embedded in performance: robots, media and computer interface. Read more about Performance and Technology »

ISS 495S: Research Capstone

Spring 2020
Instructor: Victoria Szabo

ISS certificate students plan, research and create new technology projects designed to facilitate interdisciplinary collaborative research, synthesizing their coursework in the program. Read more about Research Capstone »

MATH 238L-002: Fundamentals of Data Analysis and Decision Science

Fall 2019
Instructor: Stacy Tantum

This course provides a mathematically rigorous and broad foundation for key concepts in probability and statistics, as well as the application of probability and statistics to the mathematical modeling of non-deterministic systems. Read more about Fundamentals of Data Analysis and Decision Science »