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 (2021-2022) »

Reproductive Health in Burkina Faso.

Building on the work of previous teams, this project team will apply data science to reproductive health issues through a variety of research projects in partnership with IntraHealth International’s digital health team and the Center for Global Reproductive Health’s Kenya-based research team.  Read more about Big Data for Reproductive Health (2021-2022) »

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+ (2021) »

fMRI Image of Preteen Brain.

This project team will explore a novel neural intervention method – neurofeedback – to investigate ingroup bias and alleviate racist tendency.   Read more about Decoded Neurofeedback Toward Bias and Racism Mitigation (2021-2022) »

Video still from CovIdentify website.

This project team will develop digital biomarkers associated with COVID-19, provide visualizations of these biomarkers for both participants and researchers, and recruit members of underrepresented groups through community outreach.  Read more about Developing Predictive Models for COVID-19 with Wearables Data (2021-2022) »

Bass Connections team with HOPE Ladies in Peru, March 2020

This project team will conduct evaluations of cost-effectiveness, policymaking and community awareness/storytelling for cervical cancer screening and treatment to reduce access barriers among low-income women in Peru. Read more about Empowering Prevention of Cervical Cancer: Women-inspired Strategies for Health (WISH) (2021-2022) »


This project seeks to build understanding of the nature of premodern discourses of ethical consumption through tracking the relationship between consumer culture and ethics in language. Read more about Ethical Consumption Before Capitalism (2021-2022) »

MTA’s Heroic Frontline Workers Begin COVID-19 Vaccinations.

This project team will compare individual, societal and vaccine-specific barriers and motivators and analyze language framing and data presentation influences to discover how vaccine acceptance for COVID-19 and other diseases change over time. Read more about Information, Perceptions and Health Behavior (2021-2022) »

The vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have.

This project team will investigate Southerners’ racial attitudes toward electoral and social movements, protest participation and residential context with a focus on investigating the effects of Black Lives Matter protests today. Read more about Race and New Southern Politics (2021-2022) »

Team members with Dr. Ibingira and Dr. Ssekitoleko at Makerere, courtesy of 2018-2019 project team.

Building on the work of previous teams, this project team aims to increase access to laparoscopic surgery by developing and implementing a low-cost and reusable laparoscope suitable for use in low- and middle-income countries. Read more about Sustainable Implementation of Laparoscopy in Low-income Countries (2021-2022) »

iGEM logo.

The Duke iGEM team will develop a genetically engineered machine motivated by current research in synthetic biology and support the greater research community by providing open-source access to all materials. Read more about Synthetic Biology and Genetic Engineering for Human Health and Society: Duke iGEM (2021-2022) »

Fight Against COVID-19.

This project aims to document the global incidence of violence against the healthcare workforce and its relation to trust in the health sector. Read more about Trust and Violence in Healthcare (2021-2022) »


This project will use the tools of live performance and big data to create an interactive installation to visualize the debts and burdens of injustice. Read more about Visualizing Systemic Housing Inequality (2021-2022) »

Information, Society & Culture Courses

Gateway Courses

ISS 110: Information, Society & Culture

Fall 2021
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

Fall 2021
Instructor: 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 »

BIOLOGY 325-01: Current Technologies in Genomics and Precision Medicine

Fall 2021
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 »

COMPSCI 390: Collaborative Projects in Computer Science

Fall 2021
Instructor: Robert Duvall and Brandon Fain

In this course, students will work in teams to propose and complete a project in computer science that produces a computational artifact, possibly with an external project client or research mentor. Examples include a software system, web or mobile application, algorithm, device or data-driven... Read more about Collaborative Projects in Computer Science »

ISS 356S: Digital Durham

Spring 2022
Instructor: Trudi Abel, Victoria Szabo

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

MATH 238L: Fundamentals of Data Analysis and Decision Science

Fall 2021
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 »

Undergraduate/Graduate Courses

COMPSCI 333-01: Algorithms in the Real World

Fall 2021
Instructor: Brandon Fain

This is a course on the design and implementation of modern algorithms that deal with hard problems and big data. The course stresses application and project-based development of algorithmic techniques. Read more about Algorithms in the Real World »