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 Undergraduate

Archive for 2018 Spring Undergraduate – Page 2

UN2000: Introduction to Environmental Law | P. Weinberg

Sustainable Development
Undergraduate Lecture
MW 10:10-11:25AM

The course provides an overview of environmental law for students without a legal background. It examines U.S. statutes and regulations regarding air, water, hazardous and toxic materials, land use, climate change, endangered species, and the like, as well as international environmental issues. After completing the course students should be equipped to understand how the environmental laws operate, the role of the courts, international treaties and government agencies in implementing environmental protection, and techniques used in addressing these issues.

Link to Vergil

UN3310: Ethics of Sustainable Development | A. Gondek

Sustainable Development
Undergraduate Lecture
Tu Th 1:10-225PM

Aiming to improve human conditions within many diverse environments, sustainable development seeks to create, increase and perpetuate benefit and to cease, rectify and reverse harm. Sustainable development is consequently inextricable from the fabric of ethics, woven with determinations of benefit and harm to the existence and well-being of both humans and nonhumans. Underlying such determinations are those of self- and other-regarding motivation and behavior; and underlying these are still others, of sensitivity and rationality in decision-making, whether individual, social or public. Sustainable development is interlaced with and contingent upon all these determinations, at once prescriptive and judgmental, which can be called the ethics of sustainable development. This course is divided into four main sections, of which two are intended to show the ethical fallacies of unsustainable development, and two, the ethical pathways of sustainable development. The first section focuses upon ethically problematic basic assumptions, including human (species) hegemony, happy (hedonic) materialism, and selective (data) denial. The second focuses upon ethically problematic ensuing rationalizations, including those pertaining to damages, victims, consequences and situations of climatic, chemical, biological and ecological harm. The third section responds to these rationalizations with ethically vital considerations of earth justice, environmental justice, culturally-based ethics, and sector-based ethics (water, food, place and climate ethics). Finally, the fourth section responds to the initial, longstanding problematic assumptions with a newly emergent ethical paradigm, comprising biotic wholeness, environmental integrity, and the deliberative zero-goal. Tying all sections together is the central theme: to be sustainable, development must be ethical. Reflecting the collaborative quality of the field of sustainable development, the course extends to readings whose authors have all pursued their work at intersections of science and ethics, environment and ethics, policy and ethics, business and ethics, and sustainable development and ethics.

Link to Vergil

UN3355: Climate Change & Law | M. Gerrard

Sustainable Development
Undergraduate Lecture
M 4:30-5:30PM
Tu Th 9:10-10:30AM

The purpose of this course is to provide students with a broad introduction to the field of climate law in the United States and at the international level. The course begins with an overview of the causes and effects of global climate change and the methods available to control and adapt to it. We then examine the negotiation, implementation and current status of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Copenhagen Accord. The focus then turns to the past and proposed actions of the U.S. Congress, the executive branch and the courts, as well as regional, state and municipal efforts. The Clean Air Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act will receive special attention. We evaluate the various legal tools that are available to address climate change, including cap-and-trade schemes; carbon taxation; command-and-control regulation; litigation; securities disclosures; and voluntary action. The roles of energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, carbon capture and sequestration, and forestry and agriculture each receive close attention. Implications for international human rights, international trade, environmental justice, and international and intergenerational equity are discussed. The course concludes with examination of the special challenges posed by China; proposals for adaptation and geoengineering; and business opportunities and the role of lawyers.

Registration permission: cshimkus@ei.columbia.edu.

Link to Vergil

UN2300: Challenges of Sustainable Development | L. Dale, J. Wong

Sustainable Development
Undergraduate Lecture
Tu Th 10:10-11:25AM

This course provides an introduction to the field of sustainable development, drawing primarily from social science and policy studies. It offers a critical examination of the concept of sustainable development, showing how factors like economics, population, culture, politics, and inequality complicate its goals. Students will learn how different social science disciplines (political science, demography, economics, geography, history, law, and sociology) approach challenges of sustainable development across a variety of topics (fisheries, climate change, air pollution, consumption, energy, conservation, and water management). The course provides students with some of the fundamental concepts, vocabulary, and analytical tools to pursue and think critically about sustainable development.

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

GU4440: Topics in Neurobiology & Behavior | S. Rosis

Psychology
Undergraduate and Graduate Seminar
Th 12:10-2PM

Examines current topics in neurobiology and behavior.

Prerequisites: the instructor’s permission.

Link to Vergil

BC1138: Social Psychology | C. Leach

Psychology
Undergraduate Lecture
MW 10:10-11:25AM

Lecture course covering contemporary theory and research on social thought and behavior. Issues such as person perception, attitudes, attraction, aggression, stereotyping, group dynamics, and social exchange will be explored. The application of theory and research to addressing social problems will be discussed.

Prerequisites: BC1001 or permission of the instructor.

Link to Vergil

GU4685: Social Cognitive Neuroscience | K. Ochsner

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

An introduction to the emerging interdisciplinary field of social cognitive neuroscience, which examines topics traditionally of interest to social psychologists (including control and automaticity, emotion regulation, person perception, social cooperation) using methods traditionally employed by cognitive neuroscientists (functional neuroimaging, neuropsychological assessment).

Prerequisites: for graduate students, course equivalents of at least two of the following courses: PSYC W1001, W1010, W2630, W3410, W3480, and W3485; and/or the instructor’s permission.

Link to Vergil

BC3152: Psychological Aspects of Human Sexuality | W. McKenna

Psychology
Undergraduate Seminar
M 11AM-12:50PM

This seminar is a critical examination of research and theory in human sexuality. The first part of the course is an overview of influential social science research on sexuality during the 20th century. The second part is a detailed investigation of contemporary research and writing on selected issues in human sexual behavior, including sexual socialization, gender and sexuality, and contemporary approaches to understanding psychosexual disorders.

Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing, BC1001 and two other psychology courses and permission of the instructor. Enrollment limited to 20 students.

Link to Vergil

UN2650: Introduction to Cultural Psychology | V. Purdie-Vaughns

Psychology
Undergraduate Lecture
MW 8:40-9:55AM

Description to come.

Link to Vergil


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