2015 Course Development Grants

Course Information:

  • Recipient: Rachel Adams (Professor of English and Comparative Literature)
  • Course Type: Lecture offered in Spring 2016 and Fall 2018 

Description:

  • Bioethics grapples with some of the most charged issues of our contemporary moment: where life begins and ends, the definition of personhood, the role of technology in creating, shaping, and sustaining human life, the significance of genetic information, the scientific basis of race and gender, allocation of medical resources, relations among doctors, scientists, patients, and families.  
  • This course considers bioethical questions through the lens of consumers, patients, research subjects, family members, and caregivers. Rather than privileging the “case study,” a genre that provides the clinician’s view of the bioethical scenario, we will focus on stories, asking how narrative provides new insight and bring attention to previously unrepresented points of view.  
  • Each week, narratives in film and print are be paired with critical readings that highlight the bioethical issues at stake.

Course Information:

  • Recipient: Andrew Gerber (Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center)
  • Course Type: Seminar offered Spring 2017

Description:

  • This course will trace the history of neuroscience through a study of specific techniques, crucial to the history of the field, e.g., microscopic stains, single-cell recording, genetics, and magnetic resonance imaging.
  • Neuroscience experts and historians will be invited to present on specific topics. The course instructors and students will be invited to think critically about the strengths and weaknesses of each technique, and how this has both led to important advances but also led to potential blind spots within the field of neuroscience.

Course Information:

  • Recipient: Rebecca Kobrin (Russell and Bettina Knapp Associate Professor of American Jewish History)
  • Course Type: Seminar offered in Spring 2016

Description:

  • Even though the Holocaust did not occur in the United States, nor were its victims US citizens, it is the subject of many courses. In contrast, the genocide against Native Americans gets scant attention from any of these forums. This course will compare the ways the United States has dealt with the Holocaust and the genocide against Native Americans.
  • Students will examine the implications of America's failure to come to grips with its own genocide, and what can be learned from the way the country has dealt with the Holocaust to give the Native American Genocide the visibility needed to finally produce healing. 
  • The course will review how historical trauma has manifested itself in both Holocaust survivors and Native American communities. Finally, the class asks what responsibility an institution like Columbia University has to insure that its students are informed about this seminal event in their own history.