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: 2017 Fall Graduate

Archive for 2017 Fall Graduate – Page 2

GU4635: Science Fiction Poetics | M. Golston

Undergraduate and Graduate Lecture
MW 6:10-7:25PM

“A book of philosophy should in part be a kind of science fiction. How else can one write but of those things which one doesn’t know, or knows badly? It is precisely there that we imagine having something to say. We write only at the frontiers of our knowledge, at the border which separates our knowledge from our ignorance and transforms the one into the other.” — Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition.

Link to Vergil


GU4800: Global History of Science | M. Elshakry and K. Sivaramakrishnan

Graduate Seminar
F 2:10-4PM

This course will introduce advanced undergraduate and graduate students to problems and methods in the history of science from comparative, international and global perspectives. We consider a variety of conceptual and historical problems in the history of science from these different geopolitcal scales and through a number of case studies. Investigating the ways in which science, technology and medicine (STM) were variously adopted, reconfigured or resisted around the world, we also aim to consider how these examples might, in turn, shape our understanding of the different norms and paradigms in STM studies itself.

We have organized the course around a series of select conceptual and historical topics and themes. We begin with a discussion of how to define “global history” itself, including the genealogy of the term and its value as a heuristic category. We then move on to a series of themes, including: the international politics of infrastructure and of development; curing and caring, the environment and the politics of embodiment in comparative perspective; and finally, debates over international intellectual property rights and transparency and secrecy in STM research.

Link to Vergil

GU4616: Technology, Religion, Future | D. Kittay

Undergraduate and Graduate Seminar
Th 4:10-6PM

This seminar will examine the history of the impact of technology and media on religion and vice versa before bringing into focus the main event: religion today and in the future. We’ll read the classics as well as review current writing, video and other media, bringing thinkers such as Eliade, McLuhan, Mumford and Weber into dialogue with the current writing of Kurzweil, Lanier and Taylor, and look at, among other things: ethics in a Virtual World; the relationship between Burning Man, a potential new religion, and technology; the relevance of God and The Rapture in Kurzweil’s Singularity; and what will become of karma when carbon-based persons merge with silicon-based entities and other advanced technologies.

Link to Vergil

P8773: Social History of American Public Health | D. Rosner

Sociomedical Sciences
Graduate Seminar
Tu 8:30-11:20AM

The role public health practice has played in American history during the 19th and 20th centuries. The social/biological environment and the creation of conditions for 19th- century epidemics of cholera, typhoid, yellow fever and other epidemic diseases. The changing urban and industrial infrastructure and their relationship to late 19th- and 20th-century concerns about tuberculosis, industrial illness and infection. Public health practice and campaigns. Social attitudes towards the industrial worker, the immigrant, and the urban environment. Boundaries between public health and medical practice and their shifting definitions. Changes in urban living and culture through the transformation of the industrial work place.
Link to Vergil

GU4321: Human Nature: DNA, Race & Identity | M. Pollack

Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology
Undergraduate and Graduate Seminar
W 2:10-4PM

The course focuses on human identity, beginning with the individual and progressing to communal and global viewpoints using a framework of perspectives from biology, genetics, medicine, psychiatry, religion and the law.

Link to Vergil

P8773: The Social History of American Public Health | D. Rosner

T 8:30 – 11:20AM

This course introduces students to the historical development of public health in the United States. The course traces the evolution of public health—as both a conceptual framework and a set of institutions and practices—from its beginnings in the sanitary reform movement of the nineteenth century to its status as a broad and expansive field at the end of the twentieth century. The course is organized chronologically and thematically. It provides an overview of the changing sources of morbidity and mortality in the United States over the past two centuries and the policies and practices that have been undertaken to limit disease and improve health across successive eras. Individual sessions of the course focus on critical issues and episodes that shaped this historical development. Some sessions center on significant diseases, such as tuberculosis, coronary heart disease, and AIDS; other sessions examine public health interventions, such as quarantine and health education; and others highlight populations considered to be especially vulnerable to illness, such as immigrants, racial and ethnic minority groups, and infants and children.

G8405: Science, Knowledge, and Technology | D. Vaughan

Graduate Seminar
M 2:10-4PM

How do scientific and technical experts do their work and produce the results that they do? The purpose of this course is to read and critically evaluate the canonical works in the sociology of science, knowledge, and technology and to initiate a research project. The research paper for this course can be tailored to meet the student’s long term research or professional interests. The readings are organized chronologically to introduce major works and their authors, present an overview of the development of the field, the diversity of perspectives, turning points, and controversies.

Link to Vergil

@The Center of Science and Society at Columbia University 2016
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