ISIR adds Abnormal Psych, Human Conflict

Cole Feldman

The Interdisciplinary Studies and Independent Research Department will offer two new courses next year, Abnormal Psychology and Human Conflict: from Intolerance to Genocide.
Last year, a student enrolled in Projects in Interdisciplinary Studies and Research, taught by history teacher Larry Klein, came up with the idea for a class on human conflict.
“The student wanted to design a curricular piece on why humans do bad things to each other on a societal level,” Klein said.
Counselor and humanities teacher Luba Bek will teach the Abnormal Psychology class next year along with the Assistant to the Head of Upper School Michelle Bracken.
“It’s my baby. I created it,” Bek said.
Students must take Psychology as a prerequisite for the new class.
It will be addressing the study of human behavioral disorders and the methods in which they are treated.
“Abnormal psychology is always one of the most popular topics in Psychology,” Bek said. “We don’t usually spend that much time on it in the normal psychology course because we have to give every topic equal amounts of time, but we are always drawn to people who have some atypical behavior.”
Other changes in the curriculum include expanding Middle Eastern Studies, a semester-long course to a full-year class.
History teacher Dror Yaron has been teaching the elective for the past three years.
“The course largely gives a political history,” Yaron said. “That is the main focus. If it is going to evolve into a true interdisciplinary course, which includes language studies, how economics works in the region, looking much more at the integration of religion and politics, lifestyle, and even culinary habits, then I need a full year.”
Yaron said that his main goal is to cultivate a deep awareness of a region that has such heavy influence in American foreign policy and in our student body.
“I want to, and this might sound overly-ambitious, open up potential career avenues for certain students who start getting a specialty in such a course,” Yaron said. “I also would say that just studying this region is not insular. It’s not just looking at the Middle East, but how it relates to different parts of the world such as Europe.”
All of the Kutler Center classes are available to 11th and 12th graders and will meet four times a cycle.
Klein said that The Art and Science of Fly Fishing, Surrealism and The Creative Process: From Inspiration to Fruition will not be offered next year.