Courses

Course Descriptions: Core and other regularly offered courses

STS 10
Reading Lab
- Various
STS Reading Lab is a companion course, intended to be taken concurrently with one or more classes in mathematics, the physical and natural sciences, and engineering. Meets once per week in seminar style to discuss readings from a list that is tailored to the syllabus of a technical course. On the syllabus of each Reading Lab, the instructor will list courses that are pre-approved to pair with the Lab. A lab plus its paired class are entered as 1.5 credits in the checklist and have automatic Core status.

Topics vary semester by semester and include:
Models — pairs with mathematical modeling courses
Energy — pairs with many physics and engineering classes and some political science
Equity — pairs with science education classes
Life — pairs with biology classes

STS 50
Topics in STS
-Various
This course rotates through topics across Science, Technology, & Society. Recent and planned courses include:

  • Technoscience and the State - governance, policy and ethics in science
  • Physics in the 20th Century - modernization of physics through Einstein's time, the nuclear age, and the space race
  • Measuring People: The Racialized History of Intelligence - intertwined social histories of genius, criminality, insanity, and IQ
  • Political Implications of the Big Data Age - uses and abuses of data science

ANTH 20
Global Cities
- Stanton
As the world continues to become more urbanized, cities take on increasingly important roles as nodes in global flows of people, capital, and images. Using theory and case studies from anthropology and other disciplines, this course will examine how shared identities are shaped, contested, memorialized, and erased in urban spaces, and how those spaces relate to their "natural" contexts. The course will introduce students to some of the ways that social scientists have thought about issues of urban place-making, social cohesion and conflict, and mobility. We will focus on the tensions between planned and lived urban space, on the intersection of "the global" and "the local" in urban experience, and on ethnography as a set of methods for investigating the embodied and inherently political realities of life in cities.

ANTH 24
Anthropology of the Environment
-Blanchette
Key issues and frameworks of environmental anthropology across the 20th and 21st centuries. Provides students with an introduction to both the discipline of anthropology and changing forms of environmental thought. Introduces students to anthropological concepts including culture, nature, ethnography, adaptation, and human exceptionalism using cross-cultural materials and case studies.

ANTH 32
Introduction to the Anthropology of Science & Technology
- Seaver
This course introduces students to the sociocultural study of science and technology. Popular understandings of science and technology suggest that they work independently from their social and cultural contexts; this course surveys work demonstrating the various ways that this is untrue. Texts will be drawn from across the history of anthropology and from science and technology studies. We will cover major theories about the relationship between science, technology, society and culture such as technological determinism and social construction. We will investigate how facts are made and how sociocultural contexts shape technologies, from Papuan eel traps to music recommender systems. Potential topics include the relationship between magic, technology, science, and religion; how Western science has and has not recognized "other knowledges" from around the world; cyborg feminism; the rituals of laboratory science; genetics and new kinship studies; and the social life of algorithms.

ANTH 126
Food, Nutrition, and Culture
- Blanchette & Machanda
Food is a key dimension of understanding human being, becoming, and diversity — from the ways that cooking shaped early human evolution, to how present-day eating practices naturalize embedded inequalities. This course experiments across fields of anthropology by putting the intellectual frameworks and methodologies of biological and socio-cultural traditions into dialogue around the raising, distribution, and consumption of food. Topics include the relationships between food and human biology, including mismatches between evolution and current consumption practices; natural selection and food's relationship to reproductive success; nutrition, malnutrition, and human growth; toxicity, pesticides, epigenetics, and violent environments; domestication practices from the emergence of agriculture to the ongoing industrialization of plants and animals; sexual divisions of labor with respect to food; co-operation and food sharing in human and non-human groups; the development, circulation, and co-optation of national cuisines (including fast food); the gut microbiome and interspecies relationships; the biology and politics of meat-eating, along with human and bovine lactation; capitalist metabolisms; the engineering of non-human diets such as livestock feed; and burgeoning movements for food sovereignty and justice.

ANTH 130
History of Anthropological Thought
-Various
Anthropology as a discipline is uniquely concerned with its own history, and that history began, by most accounts, with an interest in kinship and classification. This course surveys the history of anthropological thought through these lenses, tracing the disciplinary relationships and changing categories through which anthropologists have made sense of the world since the late 19th century. By engaging writings, theories, and debates from across anthropology's history, we will try to understand how contemporary research interests fit into broader patterns of inquiry. We will treat anthropology as a knowledge-making project, which, since its inception, has been entangled with other knowledge-making projects, both among the people it has studied and in adjacent academic disciplines.

ANTH 136/STS 136
Cultures of Computing
- Seaver
This course offers a mid-level survey of topics in the cultural analysis of computing. Where popular discourse around computing often takes it to be a universalizing force that "impacts" culture and society without being significantly influenced by them, we will take the opposite approach, investigating how computers embody cultural ideals and depend on social contexts. Areas of inquiry will range from the mines that provide the rare earth metals necessary for computers to function, to the culture of Silicon Valley workplaces, to global distributions of labor in chip manufacturing and new forms of "micro-work." In addition to ethnographic research on the contemporary variability of experiences with computers, we will attend to the historical development of computing as a cultural form, from its origins in gendered calculational labor to the mid-century emergence of cybernetics to the connections between counterculture and cyberculture. Through regular written responses, student-led discussions, and experimental exercises, students will learn how to examine the sociocultural aspects of computing in their everyday lives. Topics will also include the cultural life of algorithms and big data, the social analysis of mathematics, post-colonial computing, and social media.

ANTH 148/STS 148
Medical Anthropology
-Various
This course is an introduction to anthropological approaches to illness, health, healing and the body, and their relationships to culture and power. We will ask how social and political forces impact – and are themselves shaped by – illness, disease and bodily experience, addressing such issues of concern to medical anthropologists as crosscultural models of suffering and the body, ritual aspects of healing, the politics of health intervention, social impact of new technologies, and the cultures of the clinic. Throughout, we will be attuned to race, gender, and class, asking how they are meaningful in the ways people live and die, get sick and get well, care for others and are cared for. We ask, how are illness and wellness are shot through with moral concerns?

ANTH 149-38
Biopolitics: Life, Knowledge, Power
- Chudakova
This course introduces the concept of "biopolitics" as a central paradigm of modern political power. Originally developed by Michel Foucault, the term "biopolitics" sought to capture a transformation in the arrangements of the modern state such that life itself, defined as biological existence, became central to projects of governance. Foucault's famous definition of this new arrangement of power — who is made to live, and who is left to die (Foucault 1976:180) — has been expanded in the social sciences to include a range of critical questions. How is biological vitality disciplined and controlled? What sort of life is worth living, individually and collectively? What beings are made to survive at all costs, who can be abandoned to die, and who can be killed with impunity? What sorts of interventions are naturalized to the point of becoming invisible, or taken up as morally virtuous personal projects? What does it mean that we relate to ourselves — and to other living things — as bearers of biological life? In this course, we explore what new configurations of knowledge, power, and value come together to discipline, manage, optimize, and enhance biological existence. Our readings begin with core texts on biopolitics — Foucault, Agamben, Esposito, Deleuze, and Rose — and then branch out to examine how this concept has informed recent trends in anthropology. With an eye to the ways in which biopolitics plays out in our own everyday life, we consider the following themes: biotechnology, bioethics, security and the management of risk, biocapitalism, necropolitics, logics of social abandonment and disposability, political rights, and projects of biological and social enhancement.

ANTH 164
Media, the State, and the Senses
- Bishara
This upper level seminar examines the social practices of media production, circulation, and reception. Media are both the products of and means for social, cultural, and political transformation. In studying media, we will examine their relationship to transformations of space-time perceptions, the shaping of political identities, and the constitution of complex (social, political, economic, institutional, and/or creative) connections among people and groups. How are media mobilized by states to consolidate powers? How do people challenge these authorities' attempts? Media also work on the senses, even as individuals and institutions seek to shape how they do so. In this class, we will attend to the possibilities and limitations offered by different media, due to their material forms, institutional structures, and perceptual forms. Students will have the opportunity to conduct brief media ethnographies.

ANTH 176
Advanced Topics in Medical Anthropology
- Pinto
This course examines advanced concepts in medical anthropology, using ethnographic texts beyond the introductory level to explore new directions in theory. This semester, we will focus on new ethnographic writing in medical anthropology, with a focus on ethnographies addressing subjectivity and bodily life and practice.

ANTH 178
Animals and Posthuman Thought
Blanchette
The social movement for Animal Rights has grown with surprising resiliency over the past 30 years in pockets of the West and beyond, provoking trenchant public debates on both the limits of human knowledge and the ethics of how we live with non-human Others. This advanced seminar does not offer a comprehensive history of Animal Rights on its own terms, nor is it a straightforward political endorsement of the idea. Instead, we marshal Animal Rights as a lens to examine changing forms of posthuman consciousness and concerns about species, anthropocentrism, nature, food, and the idea of the human. The seminar thus gathers together classic anthropological questions – of representation, difference, hierarchy, violence, and the good life – and re-examines them in light of Animal Rights' insistence on a new social contract that cuts across species lines (while troubling the very idea of species). In order to grasp Animal Rights as reflective of emerging eco-political philosophies in this historical moment, we will read across seemingly discordant topics including the concept of "the animal"; the domestication of plants and animals; human exceptionalism and uniqueness; consumptive ethics in terms of food, clothing, and medicine; meanings of life and death; ideas of liberation and democracy; climate change; biopolitics; and industrial capitalism. Course materials will include ethnographies of interspecies relations, philosophies of the animal, exposés, novels, blogs, and films.

ANTH 185-20
How to Pay Attention
- Seaver
This class is an advanced seminar in the anthropology of attention. What is attention? Is it only one thing? What external factors does it depend on, and how does it contribute to broader social and cultural formations? To investigate these questions, we will be reading broadly across disciplinary literatures on attention, ranging from philosophy to psychology to media studies to anthropology. We will support this reading with a series of attentional experiments, in and out of class. Topics include paying attention in and to environments, the senses, ethnographic theory, the attention economy, distraction, focus, situational awareness, machine perception, attention deficit disorder, and information overload.

ANTH 188
Culture, Psychiatry, and the Politics of Madness
-Pinto
This course addresses the intersections of culture, power and mental illness by looking at experiences of suffering and its management, the history of psychiatry, and the relationship of social processes to understandings of disorder. We will take an inherently cross-cultural approach, looking not only at experiences in non-Western as well as Western settings, but also at varied histories and cultures of global biomedicine. We will consider medical categories culturally and historically, looking at the processes by which forms of experience are cast in languages of pathology, and we will also think about medical categories in the contexts of their use. At the same time that we are attentive to structures of care we will look at ways of managing distress beyond the clinic – in the context of religion, ritual, and everyday life. We will discuss spirit affliction and possession, "culture-bound syndromes," and concepts of hysteria, as well as the history of the asylum, debates on global schizophrenia outcome, the relationship of trauma to national politics, and the pharmaceutical industry. Source material includes ethnographic and historical writing, clinical studies, fiction, film, and art. We will engage current anthropological theories that emerge from the study of mental illness, including social suffering, biosocialiality, political subjectivity, and postcolonial disorder.

CH 106
Health, Ethics, and Policy
-Ladin
Ethical analysis has become an increasingly integral part of health policy and public health. A foundation in normative ethics and political philosophy is central to policy and medical decision-making because at the core of many policy and medical debates lie questions of distributive justice. This course will focus on evaluating how values, ethical approaches, and evidence should inform policy making, clinical medicine, and public health practice. How should scarce resources, such as organs for transplantation or hospital beds, be allocated? How much personal responsibility do people have and how accountable should they be for their own health and health behaviors? How should public health effectively balance equity and efficiency? Should medicine or public health be specifically concerned with the health of vulnerable or marginalized populations?

CH 107
Science and the Practice of Medicine
- Glickman-Simon
This course offers students a view of clinical medicine from the perspective of patients, physicians and other players in the health care system. It explores the scientific principles that underlie the practice of clinical medicine and critically examines the scientific evidence supporting the routine decisions physicians make in the care of their patients. The course takes a case based approach, using a number of prevalent conditions - cardiovascular disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS, chronic pain syndromes and others - to illustrate the principles of biomedicine along with its effectiveness, risks and costs. There are no prerequisites, but a solid understanding of biological sciences is helpful.

CLS 26/LAT 26
Prose, Poetry, and Roman Medicine
- Phillips
A close reading of selections from the texts of Cato the Elder, Lucretius, Ovid, and Celsus as a reflection of the development of Roman prose, poetry, and medicine in the Roman Republic and Early Empire.

CLS 91-2
Paradoxes and Dilemmas
-Strobino
Paradoxes and dilemmas are problematic cases, conundrums or puzzles that force us to accept counterintuitive conclusions from apparently acceptable premises or to choose among equally undesirable outcomes without an apparent justification. They are often associated with moments of crisis and revolutionary developments in the history of philosophy and beyond. The course will introduce students to an array of famous cases in the history of Western thought from Antiquity to the present. Themes under discussion will include - but not be limited to - Zeno's paradoxes (the infinite), the liar paradox (truth), the heap (vagueness), the ship of Theseus (identity), Russell's paradox (sets), the Gettier problem (knowledge), moral luck, nuclear deterrence, the lottery paradox, the voting paradox and the prisoner's dilemma. The course indirectly provides an introduction to various fundamental themes in metaphysics, logic, epistemology and moral philosophy and offers analytical tools that can be useful for students in any area of the humanities, social sciences and international relations.

CLS 146
History of Ancient Medicine
-Phillips
A course designed to survey the historical development of ancient Greek and Roman medicine with emphasis on methodology and sources, as well as to assess the influence of ancient medicine on the development of modern clinical medicine. Topics covered include ancient views and practices with regard to anatomy, physiology, surgery, pharmacology, the etiology of disease, and medical deontology.

CLS 192-02 / PHIL 192-04
Ancient and Medieval Philosophy of Science
- Strobino
The course will introduce students to the idea of scientific knowledge in Ancient and Medieval philosophy. The primary focus of the course will be on the text and content of Aristotle's Posterior Analytics and its reception in the Arabic tradition and in the Latin Middle Ages. We will examine traditional questions such as the nature of the principles accepted in each science for the derivation of its specific content, the way in which boundaries between disciplines are drawn, the logic of demonstrative discourse and the theory of definition. We will trace the development of these ideas from Aristotle through the Greek Commentators; al-Fārābī, Avicenna, Averroes in the Arabic tradition; Robert Grosseteste, Roger Bacon, Albert the Great, William of Ockham, and John Buridan in the Latin tradition, with a view to identifying several original ways in which the Aristotelian framework is modified and enriched over time, and solutions to some of its internal tensions are offered. The course will also deal with the problem of the transmission of the Posterior Analytics and the various stages of its translation. Similarities and differences from "alternative" models of knowledge from Antiquity through the late Middle Ages will be kept constantly in view. All readings will be in translation.

CLS 176
Ancient Medicine and Its Transmission
- Phillips
A seminar on the historical development of Western surgery from antiquity to the 20th century. Throughout its development from its origins in antiquity to a modern field of science and technology, surgery has "inspired hope and admiration, fear and censure, but never indifference;" this seminar will trace the historical evolution of Western surgery with regard to theories, practices, and technologies, as well as the changing social, economic, and philosophical environment. Short weekly presentations, two formal presentations (short summary and a seminar lecture) and a paper. High demand course, register at Department. Satisfies the Humanities Distribution Requirement and the Classical Culture Area.

COMP 50-01/PS 188-02
Cyper Security & Cyber WarfareChow & Taliaferro
Interdisciplinary analysis of cybersecurity in the United States and other countries, intended to introduce engineering students to policymaking and intelligence aspects of cybersecurity and liberal arts students to the technical constraints of computer networks and software. Hands-on activities including packet analysis, exploiting a vulnerable system, password cracking, social engineering, reconnaissance, and malware analysis. Examination of state and non-state actors engaged in cyber-espionage, counterintelligence, deterrence, and offensive cyber operations. Guest speakers from private sector, civil liberties groups, and intelligence community.

COMP 150-02
Introduction to Human-Robot Interaction
- Scheutz
This course will provide an overview of the up and coming field of human-robot interaction (HRI) which is located squarely in the intersection of psychology, human factors engineering, computer science, and robotics. HRI has become a major research focus recently with the NSF's National Robotics Initiative and the push countries around the globe to develop robots for various societal tasks, from new flexible and adaptive robots for industrial manufacturing, to socially assistive robots for eldercare. In this course, we will examine this field from an interdisciplinary perspective, reading key papers in HRI that intersect computer science, robotics, cognitive and social psychology (since there is no suitable textbook yet, all reading materials will be made available). Students will give short presentations on HRI studies and designs and work in interdisciplinary groups on a term project which will require them to design and conduct an HRI study.

CLS 192-02 / PHIL 192-04
Ancient and Medieval Philosophy of Science - Strobino
The course will introduce students to the idea of scientific knowledge in Ancient and Medieval philosophy. The primary focus of the course will be on the text and content of Aristotle's Posterior Analytics and its reception in the Arabic tradition and in the Latin Middle Ages. We will examine traditional questions such as the nature of the principles accepted in each science for the derivation of its specific content, the way in which boundaries between disciplines are drawn, the logic of demonstrative discourse and the theory of definition. We will trace the development of these ideas from Aristotle through the Greek Commentators; al-Fārābī, Avicenna, Averroes in the Arabic tradition; Robert Grosseteste, Roger Bacon, Albert the Great, William of Ockham, and John Buridan in the Latin tradition, with a view to identifying several original ways in which the Aristotelian framework is modified and enriched over time, and solutions to some of its internal tensions are offered. The course will also deal with the problem of the transmission of the Posterior Analytics and the various stages of its translation. Similarities and differences from "alternative" models of knowledge from Antiquity through the late Middle Ages will be kept constantly in view. All readings will be in translation.

EC 87/HIST 162
Economics of the British Industrial Revolution, 1750-1850 - Rothenberg
English property rights, the demographic revolution, the agricultural revolution, the Poor Law, labor market integration, standard of living, domestic and international capital flows, foreign trade, Empire trade (India, Ireland, West Indies), and the relative retardation of France and Holland.

ENG 92-02
Topics in Literature & Culture: The Ghost in the Machine
- Keiser
Consciousness is both very familiar and very strange. As you read these words, you probably don't doubt that you're conscious. But what exactly is consciousness? Where does it come from? Is it the result of an immaterial soul buried somewhere deep within the body—a kind of "ghost in the machine," as the philosopher Gilbert Ryle put it—or does the body alone do all the thinking? In this course, we'll consider these questions by reading literature from the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a golden age for thinking about problems of self, soul, matter, will, passion, madness, dreams, and imagination.

We'll read scurrilous love poetry (by the Earl of Rochester and Aphra Behn), early experimental novels (by Eliza Haywood and Laurence Sterne), philosophical satires (by Andrew Marvell and Jonathan Swift), proto-science fiction stories (by Margaret Cavendish and Tobias Smollett), and a set of short tales that try to imagine the inner lives of non-human thinking things like a parrot, a brain in a vat, and even a single atom lodged in the pineal gland of an English haberdasher. We'll consider questions like: How do I know if I've gone insane? Can two minds exist in a single body? Should we punish someone for a crime they don't remember committing? Can we build a conscious machine (and should we try)? Is freewill an illusion? Do animals have feelings? How do mere bits of brain matter give rise to complex thoughts and emotions like love, sadness, and anger? How does a ghostly incorporeal soul move a bodily machine? Above all, we'll ask how literary form figures the mind. That will mean paying attention to the metaphors we use to describe the psyche (is it like blank slate or more like a burning flame?), analyzing literature's remarkable power to make us empathize with fictional characters, and tracing the "stream of consciousness" style (so important to modern fiction) to its origins in eighteenth-century novels and philosophy.

ENG 160/ENV 160/PJS 160 Environmental Justice and World Literature - Roy
Who is most hurt by environmental degradation and abuse and who benefits? This course examines what contemporary world literature has to say about environmental racism, toxic colonialism, ecofeminism, and the social construction of nature, globalization, and urban ecological issues. We will ask: What analyses and insights can we gain? What is the role of art in the struggle for social change? Reading includes authors from diverse racial and national locations—Zambia, South Africa, multicultural U.S., India, Malawi, Nigeria, China, Guatemala; and primary texts include films, essays, poems, short stories, and novels. Authors include Helena María Viramontes, Zakes Mda, Marilou Awiakta, Mo Yan, Rigoberta Menchú, Audre Lorde, and Mulk Raj Anand. The goal of this course is empowerment for social change. How can each of us participate as a change agent in the struggle for environmental justice, locally and globally? How can our understanding of literature contribute? Group work, a field trip, one research paper, and active class discussion will be important parts of the course.

ENVS 09
Food Systems: From Farm to Table
- Blanchette, Kanarek, & Wolfe
Introduction to the structure and functions of past, present, and future food systems. Emphasis is placed on the psychological, biological, social, economic and political systems that impact food production, processing, distribution, and consumption. Examination of real-world issues facing stakeholders in the New England food system.

ENV 135
Environmental Policy
- Stein
Overview of environmental policy focusing initially on the United States experience, then linking to global environmental policy-making. Introduction to the ways in which environmental policies are made in the United States and abroad including major actors, key decisions, and future challenges.

ENV 195
Environment, History, and Justice
- Stein
Have you ever wondered about the layout of streets in Boston? Are you aware of higher rates of asthma in Roxbury, Dorchester, or Chelsea and how those higher rates relate to transportation for the rest of the Boston area? Seen an abandoned mill beside a river or highway? Encountered a cellar-hole, stonewalls or railroad tracks in a forest? A walk can raise many questions about the past, present and perhaps future interactions between peoples and environments. To begin addressing these questions, in this class we will study the interactions between environment, history and justice in this area over the last 10,000 years.

GIS 101/ENV 107/INTR 81
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
- Sumeeta Srinivasan
Broad foundation of Geographic Information Systems theory, capabilities, technology, and applications. Topics include GIS data discovery, data structure and management; principles of cartographic visualization; and basic spatial analysis and modeling. Assignments concentrate on applying concepts covered in lectures and class exercises to term projects in each student's fields of interest.

HIST 12
Science and Technology in World History
- Rankin
A broad survey of the history of science from the ancient world to the 20th century. The course places a particular emphasis on the wider context of global trade, knowledge sharing, and colonialism throughout the development of what many now consider "western" science. Topics and themes include: science in ancient Greece, India, and the Mayan peninsula; Chinese science in the Ming dynasty; Islamic science and its influence on medieval Europe; conceptual and philosophical changes of the "Scientific Revolution"; globalization and colonialism; Darwin and human evolution; race, science, and eugenics; science and warfare. Students will be challenged to consider the processes involved in the development of scientific theories and the ways in which global developments affected (and continue to affect) scientific thought.

HIST 124
Sickness and Health in America
- Drachman
Medical and cultural attitudes toward sickness and health in nineteenth- and twentieth-century America. Attention to the impact of race, class, and gender on medical beliefs and practice. Topics include epidemics in social context, the popular health movement, rise of the modern medical profession, decline of midwifery and rise of obstetrics, women's health and women's rights, Tuskegee syphilis study, eating disorders.

HIST 154
Health and Healing in Medieval and Early Modern Europe
- Rankin
Medicine in Western Europe from approximately 1100-1700. Key intellectual, social, and cultural themes and trends in pre-modern medicine. Major topics include the development of university medicine from its Greek and Arabic roots through the theoretical upheavals of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; medical practice, particularly the diverse types of healers and their relationship with patients; epidemic disease such as plague and syphilis and early public health measures formed in response; the development of hospitals and other medical institutions. Overlapping naturalistic, religious, and magical approaches to disease and healing.

HIST 156
Science, Magic, & Society, 1100-1700
- Marrone
Western European intellectual and cultural history from the twelfth-century Renaissance to the scientific revolution: the development of a rationalist worldview among intellectuals, the persistence of magic among the lower classes, and the phenomenon of the witch craze in the seventeenth century.

HIST 196-99
Science and Religion in Early Modern Europe
- Rankin
Did religion inhibit scientific activities in early modern Europe? Or did it help foment scientific engagement? What effect did Martin Luther's break from the Catholic Church have on the development of science? How was science used in religious imperialism? How important was the condemnation of Galileo? This research seminar focuses on the interplay between science and religion from ca. 1450-1700. We will examine a few specific cases, e.g. the trial of Galileo; the role of Copernicanism in the Catholic Church's calendar reform; the witchcraft accusations against Johannes Kepler's mother; the university reforms put forth by Luther's disciple Philip Melanchthon; the religious fanaticism of Isaac Newton; and the merging of religion and science in the conquest of the New World. In each session we will also discuss sources, historical methodology, and research strategies. Students will then choose a topic of research on which to write an extensive paper.

MATH 10-01
An Introduction to Wealth Inequality
- Boghosian
In 2010, there were 388 billionaires in the world whose combined wealth exceeded that of half the earth's population. Today, that number is 62, and all indications are that it continues to decrease. The enormous concentration of wealth and the unchecked growth of inequality have emerged as crucial social issues of our time. To what extent can mathematics help shed light on this problem? In this interdisciplinary course, which requires only high school mathematics as a pre-requisite, we will learn to think about wealth distribution in a quantitative fashion. We will learn the difference between wealth, money and income, and we will learn how these things are measured by banks, governments and international institutions. We will survey historical thought on this subject from mathematical, economic and philosophical perspectives.

MATH 112
History of Mathematics
- Duchin
This course will cut across the timeline from antiquity to the present, looking at mathematical accomplishments in the context of mathematical cultures. Modern mathematics is bewilderingly specialized, and mathematicians have done a much worse job than our counterparts in other sciences of communicating our most important breakthroughs to the educated public. The history of mathematics provides a wonderful opportunity to open the\black box" and get to know how math works in all of its messy, contested complexities. In this course we'll look at shapes, numbers, and the infinite as they've been conceived across cultures and settings. We'll investigate the cast of characters who have contributed to the story, visiting colonial India, Nazi Germany, an interwar French fraternity, medieval Baghdad, royal courts, prisons, war rooms, and underground religious meetings. In doing so, we'll both explore and get beyond individual biography to understand who mathematicians are (and are not) and what they are up to.

MUS 151
Music, Technology, and Digital Culture -Auner
Study of the interactions between music, technology, and culture in popular, concert, and world music since WWI. Issues of production, distribution, and reception, involving such topics as the impact of radio on composition in the 1920s and 30s, recording the "aura," skeumorphs, early synthesizers and the rise of electronic music, digital sampling, live looping and feedback loops, cassette culture, gender and technology, networked creativity, cyborgs and the posthuman. Open to grad students and advanced undergrads.

PHIL 38
Rational Choice
-Forber
Decision making and strategic interaction are activities we engage in everyday. But do we make the right decisions? Do we adopt the most advantageous strategies? This course will approach these questions by using a set of formal methods for analyzing decisions and strategies: decision theory and game theory. We will cover the basic formal frameworks of prob - ability and game theory and their application to problems in decision making and strategic thinking, tackling a number of troublesome paradoxes that emerge. We will also look at promising applications of game theory to understanding evolution in both biological and cultural domains.

PHIL 116
Philosophy of Science
- Smith
An examination of central philosophical problems concerning scientific method and scientific knowledge, such as: How is theory related to observation, or prediction to explanation? How can we justify scientific method? Induction? Notions of space and time? Do scientific theories and methods impose a structure on the world? Do they tell us about the real world?

PHIL 118/STS 118
Philosophy of Biology
-Forber
We will examine the conceptual foundations of evolution, ecology, and genetics, with special attention to outstanding philosophical problems. The course begins with Darwin, and his original presentation of natural selection in the Origin of Species. We will then look at two very different "big picture" views on evolutionary biology and the importance of natural selection, the first defended by Richard Dawkins and the second by Richard Lewontin. The course continues by discussing specific philosophical and theoretical controversies, such as those over the units of selection, the nature of fitness, biological functions, causation, biological individuals, and what natural selection explains.

PHIL 124
Bioethics
- Urbanek
A survey of major ethical problems of interest to the public and the medical profession, including life-and-death issues (abortion, euthanasia) as well as issues raised by medical research and technology (organ transplants, cloning, genetic engineering, psychosurgery, human experimentation) and the delivery of health services. The implications of ethical theories for the particular problem issues.

PHIL 134
Philosophy of Social Science
- Epstein
Why are the social sciences so difficult? If engineers can build airplanes that stay aloft, why can't economists figure out how to avoid recessions? If biologists can design mice that glow in the dark, and make bacteria crank out drugs to fight cancer, why can't we design political systems that avoid corruption and gridlock? Why are there so many versions of history, and why do theories in psychology go in and out of fashion every few years? Are the social sciences inherently harder than the natural sciences? Are they just younger and less mature? Is the social world more complex than the natural world? Or are the goals of the social sciences, or the subjects they address, somehow different from those of the natural sciences? This course is an introduction to the philosophy of social science. We will consider the nature of explanation in the social sciences, contrasting a variety of approaches taken by historical and contemporary thinkers. We will read theorists who have put forward different approaches for making the social sciences scientific, and critics who argue that social science is essentially a matter for interpretation. Then we will turn to the nature of social facts, and finally to the pros and cons of "methodological individualism," i.e., the idea that society can be modeled in terms of individual people interacting with one another.

PHIL 167
Science Before Newton's Principia
-Smith
This is the first part of a two-course sequence focusing on Newton's Principia, the book that first showed the world how to do science in the modern sense of the term. In Philosophy 168 in the spring semester we will read the Principia itself. The revolution produced by the Principia is undoubtedly the most important single event in the history of science, ending controversies begun by the Copernican model of the planetary system and leading over the next 60 years to what we now call Newtonian mechanics. It produced no less of a revolution in scientific method by illustrating a way of marshaling evidence that stood in sharp contrast to both the narrow empiricist line then prevalent in England and the rationalist line prevalent on the continent. Because of this, the Principia is as important to philosophy of science as it is to history of science. It is the perfect work to focus on in investigating how science at its best succeeds in turning data into decisive evidence. In keeping with this, the question answered over the course of the two semesters is, How did we first come to have high quality evidence in any of the sciences? The Principia is accessible to a wide range of students. It requires no background in physics or calculus. It does, however, require historical knowledge of the scientific context in which it was written. Thus, the goal of the fall semester is to cover the background needed to grasp the force of the evidential arguments in the Principia. We will review the work on planetary orbits by Kepler and those after him; Galileo's efforts toward a science of motion; Descartes' theory of planetary motion; and studies of curvilinear motion by Huygens and Newton that led directly into the Principia.

PS 138-10
Politics of Energy and Oil
- Mazaheri
This course looks at how oil and natural resources have shaped political, economic, and social outcomes in countries around the world. We begin with a historical overview of the world's oil industry and examine how the quest for oil and political power has shaped relations – and fueled conflict – between Western and non-Western countries. Next, we consider the economic and social effects of oil by analyzing the "resource curse" and "rentier state" arguments. In the second half of the course, we focus on how governments design and implement policy related to the energy sector and how this affects companies, consumers, and the public at large. Some of the varied topics to be addressed are India and China's current energy demands and policies; labor conflict in the Appalachian mining region; and the United States' plans for developing alternative energy sources.

PS 160
Force, Strategy, and Arms Control
- Taliaferro
Examination of the political, economic, military, and ethical factors affecting the use and utility of military force in international relations. Study of the political and decision-making process by which nations decide to use military force. Study of the major arms control agreements of the post-World War II period, including negotiations currently under way.

SOC 94-03
Sociology of Science and Risk
- Taylor
This course speaks to the central dilemmas of democratic policy-making in the face of risk. How do democracies weigh and address risks that require careful evaluation of complex and evolving science and technology? We will consider decision-making in many different areas including climate change, financial regulation, biotechnology and health-related risks such as pandemics. In each case, politicians and officials are asked to draw conclusions about scientific evidence that may seem arcane to them, to choose among responses that often carry political costs, and to weigh the value of putting some groups at risk to reduce the risks faced by others. We will examine how science is produced, what is recognized as expertise and efforts at global governance.

SOC 108/CH 108
Epidemics: Plagues, Peoples, and Politics
- Taylor
Origins, epidemiology, and evolution of epidemics, rooted in biology, behavior, social organization, culture, and political economy. Societies' efforts to contain diseases, their effects on world history, and their cultural record in literature and contemporary sources. Cases range from early plagues (syphilis, smallpox, bubonic plague) and the recurrent threats of influenza, malaria, and tuberculosis, to nineteenth-century famines, and "modern" scourges such as the global challenge of AIDS and Ebola.

SOC 149-09
Mental Health and Illness
- Slodden
This class will explore the various social aspects of mental health and illness in American society, beginning with the ways in which mental illness has been conceptualized and treated throughout history. Course topics include the correlates of mental disorder (class, culture, marital status, etc), the experience of living with mental illness, the social response to mental illness, mental health systems, issues of medicalization and the role of the pharmaceutical industry, and the globalization of American Psychiatry.

SOC 149-18
The Politics of Knowledge
- Taylor
A course on how to design a research problem, to gather data and evaluate evidence, using qualitative methods. Citizens as well as sociologists need to become informed consumers of social research not least because it is invoked, increasingly, to support or challenge public policies in American society. However, qualitative or "interpretive" methods yield data that are not always numerical and thus pose several challenges: how are the relevant facts to be collected? How does the researcher marshall evidence that is not quantitative? How can an audience be convinced that the findings are significant and true? We will hear throughout the semester from invited speakers about how they have approached the choice and formulation of research questions and about the intellectual and practical challenges involved in their type of data collection. Students will learn how to select/approach a research site and use a variety of methods in the field including: keeping a field journal, participant observation, interviewing of various kinds, questionnaire design, focus groups and content analysis. They will also have the opportunity to participate in an ongoing research project supported by NIH and use the project data to pursue a research question of their choice. In addition to the topics/methods above, students will learn how to do archival research, how to code data using the most sophisticated qualitative software packages available, and how to generate Freedom of Information requests for different kinds of data in both Britain and the US. They will be exposed to comparative methods as well as the considerable challenges of handling confidential materials. The course is designed for students who wish to develop a research proposal (which could be for a thesis, for an independent study or for practice and interest) and to do some "hands-on" research. It is strongly recommended for anyone who is thinking of conducting primary qualitative research for a senior honors thesis in any of the social sciences.

SOC 185/CH 185
International Health Policy
- Taylor
Responses to health-related dilemmas faced by nations in a global era. How political economy, social structure, international organizations, and cultural practices regarding health, disease and illness affect policy. The focus this spring will be on how nations and regions are coping with health threats that cross borders. What measures have been taken to meet emergent threats to the public health posed, or perceived to be posed, by both 'products' and 'peoples'. Among the latter are communicable diseases such as SARS, avian flu, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and, most recently, Ebola and zika. Some of these diseases are perceived to be carried by "outsiders," thus the seminar is also an investigation of strategies of action towards migrants (including travelers, immigrants, refugees and displaced persons) when disease enters the picture. Threats to health carried by products such as blood and beef raise problems for trade and the governance of global health: how do states and regions combat such threats as they debate the appropriate limits to government intervention? do international organizations and regulations affect the construction of national policy? how is scientific information factored into policy decisions?

UEP 221
Climate Change Policy and Planning
- Rappaport
Examination of the climate change problem from the perspective of scientific evidence, policy responses and media coverage. Sources of greenhouse gas emissions and a wide range of mitigation and adaptation measures are explored and assessed. Overview of climate change solutions being taken or planned by governments, communities, and institutions (both for profit and nonprofit) and for major systems, e.g., transportation, buildings, and energy.

UEP 233
Regional Planning Tools and Techniques
- Hollander
As professionals addressing the most pressing urban, social, and environmental problems in society, planners and policy analysts are often faced with a paradox of scale: "local" is too narrow, "global" is too broad, and "national" is politically challenging. It is at the regional scale that some of the most innovative, exciting, and effective planning and public policy occurs. In this course, we explore the tools and techniques used in the professions of planning and public policy to address a wide range of issues where regionalism works: land use and development, transportation, energy, waste, and natural resources. Drawing on the state-of-the-art from practice, this course will help students to develop the knowledge and skills to be effective in their chosen planning and public policy careers.

UEP 286
Envrionmental Ethics - Krimsky
Explores the values, rights, responsibilities and status of entities underlying alternative constructions of environmental issues. Subjects include: anthropocentric vs. biocentric approaches to natural resource protection, precautionary principle, ethics of cost-benefit analysis, equity and risk management, status of "rights" of non-human species and future generations, ethics of sustainable development and energy use, genetically modified crops, transgenic animals, deep ecology, and economic and non-economic value of wilderness and sacred lands.

UEP 294-10
GMOs: Progress or Peril?
- Krimsky
The course covers the history of genetically modified crops, the impact of GMOs on agriculture, plant biotechnology's use of pesticides and herbicides; the patenting of seeds; debate over labeling GMOs; health and environmental risk assessment; regulatory policies in the US and Europe. Specific cases include: flavr Savr Tomato, ice-minus; bovine growth hormone (BGH); herbicide resistant crops; insect and disease resistant crops, transgenic animals. The course will investigate the locus of current controversies, examine whether there is consensus within science for the areas in public dispute, and explore the roles of politics, economics, and ethics in the GMO controversy.