2017 Course Development Grants

Course Information:

Description:

  • The course centers on ideas associated with Pluralism as applied to scientific practice. Pluralism itself has had a long tradition in the historical and political study but has only rarely been applied to science studies.
  • We examine the historical development of science towards an increasingly monistic practice and consider the philosophical and practical promises as well as challenges of driving science in a more pluralistic direction. This course will discuss the benefits and limits of such a pluralistic idea of science and how it translates into practice.
  • The course is run as a seminar in historical and philosophical studies. We will look at examples from neuroscience, general biology, physics, and other areas from the history of science.

Course Information:

  • Recipient: Rishi Goyal (Assistant Professor of Medicine and Director of the Medicine Literature and Society Major at the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society)
  • Course Type: Seminar offered Spring 2019

Course Description

  • The social realist novel that understood subjectivity as a psychological phenomenon is being challenged by a new cultural form – the neurocognitive novel. The neurocognitive novel explains human behavior and experience in terms of neural process.
  • The brain-centered view of neuroscience emphasizes wiring, neural circuitry, and network flows, all of which overlap with the current interest in all things digital. In this class, I want to explore the relationship between neuroscientific theories of the self and contemporary transformations in the novel. 
  • While novelists respond to new scientific theories and reflect on new ways of understanding human cognition, they also discover truths of cognition that neuroscience can't yet imagine or confirm. We will read novels, neuroscientific theory, and popular works of neuroscience to explore the exchange between scientific and cultural forms of thought.

Course Information:

  • Recipients: Rishi Goyal (Assistant Professor of Medicine and Director of the Medicine Literature and Society Major at the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society) and Robert Pollack (Professor of Biological Sciences). 
  • This course is the result of a Sunday Dinner Series and the syllabus was partially developed by Neci Whye and Ewoma Ogbaudu (both Columbia University undergraduate students), who also served as TAs. 
  • Course Type: Service learning workshop offered in Spring 2018
  • Marginalization in Medicine conference

Course Description:

  • There is a significant correlation between race and health in the United States. People of color and those from underserved populations have higher mortality rates than their white counterparts. Differences in health outcomes have been attributed to biological factors as race has been naturalized. 
  • We will explore the history of the idea of “race” in the context of changing biomedical knowledge formations. We will then focus on the impact that social determinants like poverty, structural violence, racism, and geography have on health. Ultimately, this course will address the social implications of race on health within the classroom and beyond.
  • In addition to the seminar, students will be expected to volunteer at a community organization weekly. This volunteer work will open an avenue for students to go beyond the walls of their classrooms while learning from and positively impacting their community.

Course Information:

  • Recipient: Ana Maria Ochoa (Professor of Music)
  • Course Type: Seminar to be offered in Fall 2018

Course Description: 

  • This course explores the relation between music, sound, and ecologies. We will study the rise of new disciplinary formations such as zoomusicology, artistic interventions in acoustic ecology, and the anthropology of sound.
  • The course will also unpack the challenges of decolonial thought to assumptions about listening and sounds in humans and non-humans.
  • We will explore the relation between music and the anthropocene, human and non-human acoustic modes of expression in Western and non-Western thought.  The class will also study interactions between the environmental sciences, biology, neuroscience, sounds, composers, and musicians.

Course Information: 

  • Recipient: Kathryn Tabb (Assistant Professor of Philosophy)
  • Course Type: Seminar to be offered Spring 2019

Course Description:

  • The science of genetics has impacted how human beings define, heal, and transform themselves. This course will look at philosophical issues that have arisen from biomedical genetics, including fundamental questions about the nature of the gene itself and its role in the history of medicine.
  • We will look at how genes have featured in changing understandings of human nature, focusing on recent public projects like the Human Genome Project and the Precision Medicine Initiative.
  • Finally, we will turn to some of the ethical repercussions of the rise of genetics, such as ownership of genetic data, biomedical engineering, and genetic enhancement.