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: 2018 Fall Graduate

Archive for 2018 Fall Graduate

Culture, Health, and Healing in East Asia | N. Bartlett

Why do certain mental illnesses only appear in specific regions of the world? What processes of translation, adaption, and “indigenization” take place when Western psychiatric diagnostic categories, pharmaceutical regimens, and psychodynamic treatments travel to China, South Korea, and Japan? How do East Asian therapeutic modalities such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and the practice of qigong destabilize biomedical assumptions about the etiology and treatment of mental illness? This course engages these and other questions through anthropological analysis of the experiences of people struggling with mental illness, the mental health practitioners who treat them, and the broader economic, social and political contexts that shape these interactions.

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GU4655: Biodiversity, Natural Resources and Conflict | R. Wynn-Grant

Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology
Undergraduate and Graduate Seminar
M 4:10-6PM

Environmental programs worldwide are fraught with disputes between groups of people over natural resources.  Such conflict can be highly complex, may undermine or deter environmental conservation efforts, and may even foster violence. These conflicts often involve disagreements between different human parties that are divided by culture, social values, and perceptions about the ethics and appropriatemess of how resources should be allocated or used. Combining specific case studies, ecological and social theory, and a complex systems approach, this course will enhance the proficiency of participants to understand, study, and manage natural resource-based conflicts. The course is designed for conservation scientists, environmental policymakers, rural development specialists, political ecologists, and conflict/peace workers.

Vergil course page

GR5040: Decolonizing Vision | G. Hochberg, G. Gopinath

Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies
Graduate Seminar
M 4:10-6PM

This interdisciplinary seminar explores the ways in which racial, imperial, and settler colonial regimes of power instantiate regimes of vision that determine what we see, how we see, and how we are seen. We will consider how the legitimacy and authority to rule and regulate particular populations has been inextricably linked to the concomitant power to visually survey these populations and the landscapes they inhabit. We explore how colonial modernity’s abiding legacy is the institution of a way of seeing, and hence knowing, that obscures the intimacies of imperial, racial, and settler colonial projects as they produce racial, gendered, and sexual subjectivities. Most importantly, we identify “decolonial visual practices” that speak to these submerged, co-mingled histories, and that point to their continuing resonance in the present.
Class meets at NYU on alternate Mondays.

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Course syllabus

GU4522: Emerging City: Environmental History of New York | Z. Crossland, J. Nichols

Anthropology
Undergraduate and Graduate Seminar
Tu 1:10-4PM

Are we living in the ‘Anthropocene’, a time period that is qualitatively different in terms of human destruction of ecosystems and effects on the planet, or are we seeing the cumulative and unevenly distributed effects of much longer-term trajectories? To assess these questions a range of different sedimentological markers have been proposed: the polluting by-products of the Industrial Revolution; the wide ranging deposition of synthetic plastics; and the distinct signature of 20th century nuclear tests. The Anthropocene debate brings together a future oriented political project to raise awareness of the accelerating rate of change to the world’s environments, and geological, archaeological and palaeoenvironmental data that are used to explore the past. To understand the full implications and effects of the debates around human impact on the environment we will track the environmental history of New York City and its environs. This course for advanced undergraduate and graduate students will provide training in palaeoenvironmental and archaeological methods and data literacy, as well as offering a critical assessment of the ways in which this evidence is interpreted and brought into larger scientific and policy debates. Students will be taught to collect, analyze and combine disparate data sets from several disciplines by exploring the palaeoenvironmental history of the New York City urban area, drawing on archaeology, history and the earth and environmental sciences to do so. Sessions at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory & NYC Archaeology.
Prerequisites: Instructor’s permission required.

Vergil course page forthcoming

UN3829: Anthropology of the Anthropocene | P. West

Anthropology
Undergraduate and Graduate Seminar
W 10:10AM-12PM

This course focuses on the political ecology of the Anthropocene. As multiple publics become increasingly aware of the extensive and accelerated rate of current global environmental change, and the presence of anthropogenesis in ever-expanding circumstances, we need to critically analyze the categories of thought and action being developed in order to carefully approach this change. Our concern is thus not so much the Anthropocene as an immutable fact, inevitable event, or definitive period of time (significant though these are), but rather for the political, social, and intellectual consequences of this important idea. Thus we seek to understand the creativity of “The Anthropocene” as a political, rhetorical, and social category. We also aim to examine the networks of capital and power that have given rise to the current state of planetary change, the strategies for ameliorating those changes, and how these are simultaneously implicated in the rhetorical creation of “The Anthropocene”.
Enrollment limited to 15. Priority given to majors in Anthropology.

Vergil course page

GU4160: Biotechnology Law | A. Morrison

Biology
Graduate Lecture
W 6:10-8PM

This course will introduce students to the interrelated fields of patent law, regulatory law, and contract law that are vital to the biotech and biopharmaceutical sectors. The course will present core concepts in a way that permits students to use them throughout their corporate, academic, and government careers.
Prerequisites: at least 4 college-level biology or biotechnology courses.

Link to Vergil

E6998: Social Networks | A. Chaintreau

Computer Science
Undergraduate and Graduate Lecture
Tu 2:10-4PM

Selected topics in computer science.
Prerequisites: Instructor’s permission.

Vergil course page
Piazza course page

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

Vergil course page
Course syllabus

GU4260: Food, Ecology, and Globalization | E. Sterling

Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology
Undergraduate and Graduate Seminar
W 6:10-8PM

Description to come

Vergil course page

GR8906: Craft and Science: Making Objects in the Early Modern World | P. Smith

History
Graduate and Advanced Undergraduate Laboratory Seminar
M 10:10AM-2PM

This course studies the materials, techniques, settings, and meanings of skilled craft and artistic practices in the early modern period (1350-1750), in order to reflect upon a series of issues, including craft knowledge and artisanal epistemology; the intersections between craft and science; and questions of historical methodology and evidence in the reconstruction of historical experience. The course will be run as a “Laboratory Seminar,” with discussions of primary and secondary materials, as well as text- and object-based research and hands-on work in a laboratory. One component of the Making and Knowing Project (housed at the Center for Science and Society), this course contributes to the collaborative production of a transcription, English translation, and critical edition of a late sixteenth-century manuscript in French, BnF Ms. Fr. 640.

In fall 2018, the course will focus on the cultural context, materials, and techniques of 
“making impressions” upon a variety of surfaces, including making reliefs for ornament and for printing, and inscribing metal, including engraving and etching. Several entries in the manuscript use what we think of as “print techniques” for metal decoration or making seals and molds, and other entries discuss printers’ type, and make use of prints for image transfer. Students will begin with skill-building exercises in culinary reconstruction, pigment making, and molding, and then, with advice from a visiting “expert maker,” will choose a research focus from the entries in the manuscript that cover such topics as draftsmanship, engraving techniques, print transfer, and other topics that intersect with printing and printmaking. The course will be taught this year only in fall 2018. It is not necessary to have either prior lab experience or French language skills.
Advanced undergraduate students are eligible for enrollment. Please contact Pamela Smith, ps2270@columbia.edu, if you are interested.

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