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 Spring Graduate

Archive for 2018 Spring Graduate

UN3042: Youth in an Interconnected World | L. Neitzel

Committee on Global Thought
Undergraduate and Graduate Seminar
W 10:10AM-12PM

What does it mean to be 20 years old in our rapidly changing, interconnected world? There are more youth (aged 15-25) in the world today than at any other time in history, with the majority living in the developing world. They approach adulthood as the world confronts seismic shifts in the geopolitical order, in the nature and future of work, and in the ways we connect with each other, express identity, engage politically, and create communities of meaning. What unique challenges and opportunities confront young people after decades of neoliberal globalization? What issues are most pressing in developing nations experiencing a “youth bulge” and how do they compare to developed nations with rapidly aging populations? How do young people envision their futures and the future of the world they are inheriting? This course will examine recent scholarship while engaging the young people in the class to define the agenda and questions of the course and to conduct their own research.

“Global 20” complements a new research project of the Committee on Global Thought, “Youth in a Changing World,” which investigates from the perspective of diverse participants and of young people themselves, the most pressing issues confronting young people in the changing world today. The course will serve as an undergraduate “lab” for the project, and among other involvements, students in the course will help conceive, plan, and take part in a NYC-wide “Youth Think-In” sponsored by the CGT during the Spring 2018 semester. Within the course, students will become “regional experts” and examine the primary themes of the class through the prism of specific areas or nations of their choosing. A final class project includes a “design session” that will consider how universities might better train and empower youth to confront the challenges and embrace the opportunities of our interconnected world of the 21st century.

Link to Vergil

GU4811: Encounters with Nature | K. Sivaramakrishnan

History
Undergraduate and Graduate Seminar
Tu 2:10-4PM

This course offers an understanding of the interdisciplinary field of environmental, health and population history and will discuss historical and policy debates with a cross-cutting, comparative relevance: such as the making and subjugation of colonized peoples and natural and disease landscapes under British colonial rule; modernizing states and their interest in development and knowledge and technology building, the movement and migration of populations, and changing place of public health and healing in south Asia. The key aim of the course will be to introduce students to reading and analyzing a range of historical scholarship, and interdisciplinary research on environment, health, medicine and populations in South Asia and to introduce them to an exploration of primary sources for research; and also to probe the challenges posed by archives and sources in these fields. Some of the overarching questions that shape this course are as follows: How have environmental pasts and medical histories been interpreted, debated and what is their contemporary resonance? What have been the encounters (political, intellectual, legal, social and cultural) between the environment, its changing landscapes, and state? How have citizens, indigenous communities, and vernacular healers mediated and shaped these encounters and inserted their claims for sustainability, subsistence or survival? How have these changing landscapes shaped norms about bodies, care, and beliefs? The course focuses on South Asia but also urges students to think and make linkages beyond regional geographies in examining interconnected ideas and practices in histories of the environment, medicine, and health. Topics will therefore include (and students are invited to add to these perspectives and suggest additional discussion themes): colonial and globalized circuits of medical knowledge, with comparative case studies from Africa and East Asia; and the travel and translation of environmental ideas and of medical practices through growing global networks.

Link to Vergil

GU4050: U.S. Water & Energy Policy | P. Gallay

Sustainable Development
Undergraduate and Graduate Seminar
M 6:10-8PM

Water, one of humankind’s first power sources, remains critically important to the task of maintaining a sustainable energy supply, in the United States and elsewhere. Conversely, the need to provide safe drinking water and keep America’s rivers clean cannot be met without access to reliable energy supplies. As the impact of climate disruption and other resource constraints begins to mount, the water/energy nexus is growing increasingly complex and conflict-prone.

By semester’s end, students will better understand the state of America’s energy and water supply systems and current efforts to cope with depletion, climate change and related threats affecting these critical, highly-interdependent systems. As a final project, students will utilize the knowledge gained during the semester to create specific proposals for preserving and enhancing the sustainability of US water and energy resources.

Link to Vergil

UN3410: Urbanization & Sustainability | E. Sclar

Sustainable Development
Undergraduate and Graduate Lecture
M 2:10-4PM

The first decade of the 21st century marked the first time in human history when more of world’s population lived in urban as distinct from rural places. It is impossible to achieve sustainable development in a physical, social or economic manner absent an understanding of the powerful and interdependent relationship between these concepts of sustainability and urbanization. This course explores this vital nexus. Students will gain a more detailed understanding of the ways in which urban life provides opportunities and challenges for addressing climate change, access to water and energy efficiency, among other topics. The intention is to provide students majoring in Sustainable Development with a historic and contemporary understanding of the connections between the process of urbanization that now dominates the world and the range of ways in which that process, directly and indirectly, shapes the challenge of sustainable development.

Registration permission: cshimkus@ei.columbia.edu

Link to Vergil

GU4350: Public Lands in the American West | L. Dale

Sustainable Development
Undergraduate and Graduate Lecture
Tu Th 4:10-5:25PM

Environmental issues in the American West are dramatically different from the rest of the country due in large part to the prevalence of public lands. Most western states have a land base that is at least 35% public, and competing interests vie for limited resources and navigate a complex bureaucracy. This course will focus on the federal agencies authorized to make management decisions across those lands: the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Park Service, and others. We will explore the legal and regulatory framework that guides land use decisions, and study enduring resource access conflicts. Pulling from both academic scholarship and the gray literature in political science, environmental sciences, law, and organizational behavior, this course provides an interdisciplinary overview of governance challenges in the American West.

Link to Vergil

GU4411: Religion, Mind & Science Fiction | B. Faure

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

While not yet fully recognized as a literary or philosophical genre, science fiction, through the “dislocation” it operates, raises (or amplifies) questions that have long been the preserve of religion, metaphysics, or philosophy, and it has brought some of these questions into the realm of popular culture. Science fiction is often perceived as hostile to religion, yet it often blurs the boundaries between science and religion. Recent SF, unlike the traditional “space opera,” revolves around the relations between the human mind and Artificial Intelligence — a challenge that our fast-evolving technoscientific society is confronting with a new sense of urgency. This course examines overlapping issues and questions shared by religion and SF.

Link to Vergil

U6538: Russia’s Energy | N. Udensiva

Regional Institute
Graduate Seminar
W 4:10-6PM

The Ongoing Tale of Russia – EU energy relations: Will the “Energy Marriage” Between Russia and the EU Endure the Latest Political Storm? The EU’s recent move toward a unified energy policy has made Russia anxious. On April 13, 2015, Alexey Miller, the CEO of Gazprom, admitted that the business model Gazprom has been following in Europe for many years is falling apart. So, what is Russia going to do? Gazprom executives are claiming that the company has come up with a new business model toward its European partners. What is this new model? And what is Russia’s new energy strategy? The course will explore these questions.

Link to Vergil

U6150: Comparative Politics & Governance of the Environment | TBD

Regional Institute
Graduate Seminar
Th 2:10-4PM

The course aims at providing students with the fundamental ideas and tools to understand the governance of the environment as a political process. It uses a comparative and international politics perspective to contextualize the definition of environmental problems as political issues, and to explore the institutional and cultural factors shaping environmental governance. It questions the relation between environmental policy-making and major political concepts such as representative government, citizens ‘participation and civil society, constitutionalism and the rule of law, bureaucracy, federalism, and authoritarianism.

Link to Vergil

U6414: Global Health Security & Diplomacy | TBD

Public Affairs
Graduate Seminar
Tu 11AM-12:50PM

The course will review humanity’s ability to prevent, mitigate and respond to risks to health and life as a result of catastrophic events caused by war, civil strife, state failure, accidents, natural events, and terrorism. The risk areas are pandemic infectious disease outbreaks, biological, chemical and nuclear (radiological) accidents or attacks and multiple-hazard events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and famines. We will focus on the welfare of children who, while having equal moral standing with adults, lack the moral and legal agency to act in their best interests. Babies, children, and adolescents do not respond in the same way to public health and medical interventions as adults do. Children suffer disproportionately in epidemics. They are often targeted in war and civil strife. We will draw on the perspectives of medicine, epidemiology, climate science, economics, law, international affairs and security to bring together human and animal health, agriculture, wildlife, finance, security, environmental protection, communication, disaster management, transportation, customs and civil aviation. Climate information is particularly important for understanding risks to food security, disease outbreaks, biosafety and the health hazards of catastrophic weather and climate events.

Link to Vergil

U6190: Extractive Industries & Sustainable Development | L. Sachs

Public Affairs
Graduate Seminar
W 2:10-4PM

The guiding questions behind the course are: How can extractive industry investments be leveraged for sustainable and equitable development, particularly in low-income resource-rich countries? What is the international, national and regional regulatory framework under which such investments are made? Who are the stakeholders, and what are their respective interests, roles, responsibilities, and opportunities? How can the challenges of poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability, and governance be addressed in an integrated, multi-stakeholder framework for extractive industry investments that promotes sustainable development, respects the profitability of private-sector investments, and builds the mutual trust needed for long-term investments? The course covers the inter-related challenges of governance (fair and efficient negotiations, contracts, policy and planning framework, sound resource management, effective institutions), infrastructure (concession arrangements for shared platforms, corridor development), economic diversification (industrial policy, training, local procurement), environmental management (climate change resilience and adaptation, avoidance and management of catastrophic environmental events), and economic development (budgetary processes and tools, community engagement, integrated approaches to poverty alleviation at the local and national levels). Students who are interested in registering for this course should e-mail the instructor for permission.

Link to Vergil


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