Columbia
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 Undergraduate

Archive for 2017 Fall Undergraduate

UN 3350: Environmental Policy and Sustainable Governance | L. Dale

Sustainable Development
Undergraduate Lecture
MW 2:40-3:55PM

Environmental Policy & Sustainable Governance will focus specifically on the policy elements of sustainability. With an emphasis on the American political system, the course will begin by exploring the way American bureaucracy addresses environmental challenges.

Link to Vergil

UN3330: Ecological and Social Systems for Sustainable Development | R. Defries

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

The course provides an overview of the complex relationships between ecological and social systems. The course focuses on basic principles in understanding these relationships. After the students are introduced to these basic concepts, the course will focus on three current topics central to Sustainable Development for in-depth study. The emphasis is on the multiple perspectives – environmental, social and economic – required to understand and develop solutions to problems in sustainable development. The three topics are: conservation of biodiversity, payments for ecosystem services, and the ecology of food production. We expect these topics to vary from year to year to keep pace with current topics. The following areas will be covered.: -What is an ecosystem? How are social and ecological systems linked through the flow of energy and materials? -What are the characteristics of coupled human-natural systems? How do these systems function? -What are the current topics in sustainable development that require understanding of social and ecological systems? -For each topic (protection of biodiversity, ecosystem services, ecology of food production), what are the environmental, economic, and social perspectives important for sustainable solutions? How can critical thinking be applied to balance these perspectives to derive sustainable solution? -Data analysis and approaches to analyze ecosystems and options for sustainable development.

Prerequisites: SDEV W2300 Challenges of Sustainable Development; EESC W2330 Science for Sustainable Development.

Link to Vergil

GU4513: Buddhism and Neuroscience | B. Faure

Religion
Undergraduate and Graduate Seminar
Th 2:10-4PM

With the Dalai Lama’s marked interest in recent advances in neuroscience, the question of the compatibility between Buddhist psychology and neuroscience has been raised in a number of conferences and studies. This course will examine the state of the question, look at claims made on both sides, and discuss whether or not there is a convergence between Buddhist discourse about the mind and scientific discourse about the brain.

Link to Vergil

GR8948: Scientific Pluralism in Practice | S. Firestein and A. Barwich

History
Undergraduate and Graduate Seminar
W 6:10-8PM

Link to Vergil

UN3796: Global Health in Africa | Sarah Runcie

History
Undergraduate Seminar
W 2:10-4PM

This course will examine changing ideas of health and disease in Africa as a subject of transnational concern, debate, and cause for action in the 20th century. We will study how global health campaigns and institutions translated in specific African contexts and simultaneously how experiences of disease and medicine in African contexts shaped global concerns. This course will take both a chronological and thematic approach, providing students with an overview of changing social, political and economic conditions that have impacted understandings of disease burden and health interventions in Africa over time. Topics of study will include colonial medical campaigns, disease eradication programs, international medical research, and postcolonial health systems. We will use specific regional and national examples, while also connecting these examples to broader developments in African history. At the same time, students in this course will interrogate how ‘Africa’ has functioned as a category within global health. The final weeks of the course will consider contemporary health issues in Africa and ask how historical perspectives can inform our analysis.

Link to Vergil

UN3044: From Colonial to Global Health | J. Abi-Rached

History
Undergraduate Seminar
Tu 12:10-2PM

Two decades or so after decolonization post-World War II, a small but growing group of historians of medicine directed their attention to disease and health care in colonial settings. The undergraduate seminar examines this literature as well as readings from a range of disciplines—history, anthropology, medicine, and public health—to make sense of the ways in which indigenous populations interacted with colonial medical practices and various medical actors (hygienists, military personnel, missionaries, medical doctors, etc.) and how in turn these biocolonial and bioimperial projects were deployed, to what end, and with what consequences. The seminar explores issues related to race, religion, modernity, subjectivity, imperial ambitions, and agency (local and foreign) through the lens of public health policies, epidemics, psychiatry, medical schools, diseases, and hospitals. The seminar finally examines two emerging and intertwined literatures: (i) the colonial genealogy of the “global heath” paradigm, and (ii) the post-colonial histories of diseases, health care infrastructures, behaviors, and practices as they now play out in post-colonial settings.

Link to Vergil

UN1100: Food, Public Heath, and Public Policy | A. Paxton

Food Studies-Public Health
Undergraduate Lecture
MW 1:10-2:25PM

The course will provide an introduction to the science, policy, politics, and economics related to food as a critical element of public health. The course will have a primary focus on the US, but will include a global perspective. Students will learn and apply the fundamentals of public health scientific research methods and theoretical approaches to assessing the food landscape though a public health lens. In addition, the course will cover how nutrition – at first glance a matter of individual choice – is determined by an interconnected system of socio-economic-environmental influences, and is influenced by a multitude of stakeholders engaged in policymaking processes. The course will be structured into four “themes”: 1) Why food is a public health priority, 2) Evidence, causal inference and measurement and its role in understanding and designing public health research on food, 3) The food environment, and 4) Change agents and levers: individuals, policy, and politics in food and public health. The course will use a systems thinking approach and systems thinking tools to examine and understand the interconnectedness of the social, economic, environmental, political and economic influences and consequences that affect food and public health. This course partially fulfills the Science Requirement as a science course for non-science majors.

Link to Vergil

BC3300: Workshop in Sustainable Development | M. Stute

Earth and Environmental Sciences
Undergraduate Workshop
Th 10:10AM-12PM

Students address real-world issues in sustainable development by working in groups for an external client agency. Instruction in communication, collaboration, and management; meetings with and presentations to clients and academic community. Projects vary from year to year. Readings in the course are project-specific and are identified by the student research teams.

Link to Vergil

E6998-9: Cybersecurity -Technology, Policy and Law | S. Bellovin

Computer Science
Undergraduate and Graduate Lecture
Tu 4:10-6PM

This course will bring together professors and select students from three schools to discuss how different disciplines solve cybersecurity issues. Classes will cover the technical underpinnings of the Internet and computer security; the novel legal aspects from technology, crime and national security; and the various policy problems and solutions involved in this new field. Class discussion will range freely between the technologies and implications of cyber security, crime, and conflict.

Prerequisites: Instructor’s permission. Selected topics in computer science. Content varies from year to year. May be repeated for credit.

Link to Vergil

GU4615: The Psychology of Culture and Diversity | V. Purdie-Vaughns

Psychology
Undergraduate and Graduate Seminar
Tu 2:10-4:00

The instructor’s permission is required; some basic knowledge of social psychology is desirable. A comprehensive examination of how culture and diversity shape psychological processes. The class will explore psychological and political underpinnings of culture and diversity, emphasizing social psychological approaches. Topics include culture and self, culture and social cognition, group and identity formation, science of diversity, stereotyping, prejudice, and gender. Applications to real-world phenomena discussed.

Prerequisites: the instructor’s permission; some basic knowledge of social psychology is desirable.

Link to Vergil


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