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Variety of New Courses Debut This Spring in Many Departments

By Suzanne Trimel

Each semester, Columbia offers dozens of new courses, some based on developing interests by individual professors, others on breakthroughs and significant reinterpretations and developments that lead the academy and society at large to new areas of inquiry. This spring, Columbia's academic departments offer new perspectives in many fields and turn a wider lens on issues global, regional and local.

In its survey, the Record found new courses in most departments, a list far too large to include here. Click here for Columbia's online directory of classes lists courses by subject and department.

A sampling of noteworthy new offerings include expanded earth and energy related studies offered by the Departments of Earth and Environmental Sciences through Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the new Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, the School of International and Public Affairs and the Biosphere 2 Center. These new courses include a survey for undergraduates on how society is managing environmental hazards like ozone depletion and global warming and a new course on alternate energy resources designed to familiarize students with options in the energy field and how to evaluate them. A new workshop at SIPA will introduce students to cutting edge hydro-turbine technology in the New York metropolitan area and another will examine the management and development of water systems. Also at SIPA are a course on the economics of energy and a practicum in international energy and environmental policy with lectures by guest practitioners in the field. The Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, which came into being last fall, is offering two new courses: on biodiversity for undergraduates and on disease ecology and conservation for graduate students taught by the conservation staff of the Wildlife Trust and the Wildlife Conservation Society. A new course on desert ecology will be offered to students at the Biosphere II Center in Arizona.

The attacks of Sept. 11 are being integrated into existing history, political science, international affairs, religion, and other courses, and will be in sharp focus in a course at SIPA by Brigitte Nacos. Planned before Sept. 11, the course on terrorism will now be weighed more heavily toward mass destruction and international counterterrorism. A new course in the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation will focus on the design of military and corporate space, from the Pentagon to the World Trade Center. In the works for next fall is an undergraduate course to be taught by Professor Richard Bulliet in the History Department, on America and the Muslim world.

Five new courses are being offered by the Institute for Research in African-American Studies, including a focus on the experience of blacks in the juvenile justice system and an exploration of the impact of race on the health status of African Americans, including patterns of disease and reproduction and death rates. The African diaspora, Caribbean history and an examination of race and art taught by the playwright and writer Amiri Baraka, a founder of the Black Arts Movement, complete the new course offerings in this field.

The Graduate School of Journalism offers students the opportunity to learn how to report on the Latino communities of New York in a seminar taught by Evelyn Hernandez, editorial director of La Prensa/El Diario, the largest Spanish-language newspaper in the metropolitan area.

The School of the Arts, in a course titled "Negotiating Alterity," will help students unravel the meaning of intercultural exchange and notions of "otherness" and their impact on visual art, performance, writing and drama.

Six new courses are being offered in French language, literature and cultural studies, including a survey of French novels and their screen adaptations (two adaptations of Flaubert's "Madame Bovary" will be viewed and compared, Renoir's 1934 film and Chabrol's 1991 version); studies of realism and fantastic narratives, the relationship between literature and visual arts in France from the Renaissance to the 18th century and the French tradition of intuitive and geometric reasoning.
Other new courses in the Arts and Sciences include a colloquium examining how different societies "de-code" art and culture, an introduction to cognitive psychology for undergraduates, an examination of the practice of the religious pilgrimage in Asia, courses on Beethoven's Late Style, on American country music and an overview of the impact of the Holocaust on American society.

SIPA students may choose from new courses on international humanitarian law, on the use of scapegoating in European politics, on contemporary politics in Iran, on civil society and national identity in Brazil, and on globalization. A guide to foreign news coverage of Russia will be taught by Tom Kent, former international editor of Associated Press. Gary Sick, who served on the National Security Council staff under Presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan, will offer a practical introduction to doing research on the Middle East through the Internet. For students planning careers in government and the non-profit world, a new course is offered in effective political communication, as well as a case-study practicum on providing aid in humanitarian emergencies, and a workshop on conflict resolution.

The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science will offer three new courses in its Electrical Engineering Department on networking systems and digital integrated circuits. Included is an introduction to network engineering for electrical engineers who want to specialize in communication and a course on computer modeling in molecular and cellular biology.

The School of Social Work will introduce a course on neuroscience, which will discuss brain function and physiology, with an emphasis on how biological as well as psychological, social and environmental concerns impact social welfare.

The School of Architecture will also offer new courses on the development of affordable housing, the first course in an expansion of the Urban Planning program's housing specialization, as well as the rebuilding of Berlin after World War II, and the design of gravity-defying lightweight building systems, or tensile structures.

The Business School is offering new courses on media mergers and acquisitions, business and financial markets in East Asia, managerial ethics and equity derivatives, and the Law School is offering a course on Islamic law, among others.

Published: Jan 22, 2002
Last modified: Sep 18, 2002

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