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 change the world around them. At the same time, the availability of personal data published by smartphones, web browsers, social media and surveillance technologies is exposing society to new risks.

Bass Connections in Information, Society & Culture combines coursework, co-curricular experiences and integrated project teams to explore the history and 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


This project team will deepen the public’s understanding of the policy and market dynamics in the run-up to the financial crisis and explain the divergent responses among federal and state/local policymakers as well as the implications for preventing the next financial crisis. Read more about American Predatory Lending and the Global Financial Crisis (2020-2021) »


This project team will partner with IntraHealth’s digital health team to conduct landscape analysis on social media, contraceptive use and public health. Read more about Big Data for Reproductive Health (2020-2021) »

Data+ is a ten-week summer research experience for undergraduates and master’s students interested in exploring new data-driven approaches to interdisciplinary challenges. Students work in small teams and learn how to marshal,... Read more about Data+ (2020) »


The project team will deploy innovative women-centered technologies for home-based cervical cancer screening in Peru and focus on storytelling to empower women to take control of their health. Read more about Empowering Prevention of Cervical Cancer: Women-inspired Strategies for Health (WISH) (2020-2021) »


This project team will develop and improve the infrastructure, analytical methods and intervention strategies for WearDuke, a campus initiative that aims to promote health awareness and engagement by helping students establish healthy behaviors and enabling student-centered research and learning... Read more about Enabling Precision Health and Medicine (2020-2021) »


This project team will investigate data-driven policymaking for local jail populations by exploring the feasibility and utility of a statewide jail database for North Carolina. Read more about Harnessing Data from North Carolina's Jails to Inform Effective Policies (2020-2021) »

Node graph.

This project team will attempt to build morality into artificial intelligence using crowd-sourced moral judgments and machine learning. Read more about How to Build Ethics into Artificial Intelligence (2020-2021) »


Building on the work of previous teams, this project team will continue development of a low-cost and reusable laparoscope in order to move the prototype toward a viable commercial product. Read more about Increasing Access to Laparoscopic Surgery in Low-income Countries (2020-2021) »


This project team will develop a data-driven study of migration and its relationship to arts and culture. Read more about Migration, Urban Cultures and the Arts (2020-2021) »

Team members.

This project team will advance the state of synthetic biology by identifying a contemporary problem facing the larger community and proposing and building a synthetic biological solution composed of a genetically engineered microbial machine. Read more about Synthetic Biology and Genetic Engineering for Human Health and Society: Duke iGEM (2020-2021) »

Archaeological site.

This project team will explore spatial embodiment in ancient cities through virtual simulations as well as in real experiences during archaeological excavations. Read more about Virtual Reality and Neuroarchaeology (2020-2021) »

Information, Society & Culture Courses

Gateway Courses

ISS 110: Information, Society & Culture

Fall 2020
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 305L: Virtual Museums: Theories and Methods of 21st-century Museums

Fall 2020
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 325-01: Current Technologies in Genomics and Precision Medicine

Fall 2020
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 376: Performance and Technology

Spring 2021
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 »

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

Fall 2020
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 »

MATH 490-01: Mathematics + Disease

Fall 2020
Instructor: James Nolen

This special-topics course will focus on mathematical modeling and analysis related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has spread rapidly around the world. The mathematical content will include selected topics from ordinary differential equations (nonlinear systems) and from probability (Markov chains... Read more about Mathematics + Disease »

SOCIOL 347: Managing Networks

Spring 2021
Instructor: James Moody, Lisa Keister

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 »