Columbia and Barnard have a constellation of faculty members located in a variety of departments and institutes whose research and interests lie at the intersection of science and the humanities. Among many specializations, include the historical development of scientific knowledge and in the processes—technical, social, political, intellectual, material and cultural—by which knowledge has been acquired, disseminated, and employed.
Undergraduate and Graduate Seminar
In the decades since the publication of Silent Spring and the rise of the environmental movement, public awareness of the impact of industrial products on human health has grown enormously. There is growing concern over BPA, lead, PCBs, asbestos, and synthetic materials that make up the world around us. This course will focus on environmental history, industrial and labor history as well as on how twentieth century consumer culture shapes popular and professional understanding of disease. Throughout the term the class will trace the historical transformation of the origins of disease through primary sources such as documents gathered in lawsuits, and medical and public health literature. Students will be asked to evaluate historical debates about the causes of modern epidemics of cancer, heart disease, lead poisoning, asbestos-related illnesses and other chronic conditions. They will also consider where responsibility for these new concerns lies, particularly as they have emerged in lawsuits. Together, we will explore the rise of modern environmental movement in the last 75 years.
Link to Vergil
|M 2:10-4:00 | 3 Points|
|U.S. agricultural practice has been presented as a paradigm for the rest of the world to emulate, yet is a result of over a century of unique development. Contemporary agriculture has its historical roots in the widely varied farming practices, social and political organizations, and attitudes toward the land of generations of farmers and visionaries. We will explore major forces shaping the practice of U.S. agriculture, particularly geographical and social perspectives and the development and adoption of agricultural science and technology. We will consider how technological changes and political developments (government policies, rationing, subsidies) shape visions of and transmission of agriculture and the agrarian ideal.|