Courses in Science and Society at Columbia University

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.

List of Courses: 2015 Spring Undergraduate

Archive for 2015 Spring Undergraduate

WMST 3131: Women and Science | L. Kay

HIST W4437: Poisoned Worlds: Corporate Behavior and Public Health | D. Rosner

W 8:00-10:00 | 3 Points
This course will trace the historical importance of occupational and environmental diseases such as tobacco related cancers, asbestosis and mesothelioma, and lead poisoning. Through the use of documents gathered in lawsuits, searches of medical and public health literature and other documentary sources students will evaluate historical debates about responsibility for arising conditions and chronic diseases. It will focus on the rising awareness of the relationship between low-level environmental exposures to synthetic materials and new conditions such as endocrine disruptions linked to BPA, behavioral problems linked to low level lead poisoning, PCBs in the environment and mesothelioma due to low level exposures to asbestos, among other issues. It will focus on the five decades since Silent Spring and the rise of environmental movement. Central to the course will be investigations of the uses of history in court proceedings and the role of historians as experts in new lawsuits about responsibility for cancers and other chronic conditions affecting men, women, children, workers and communities of color. It will focus on the ways history is used in the court and explore how historical information can be used to advocate for populations. See syllabus


INAFU 8910: Struggles for Sustainability | S. Tjossem

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.


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