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STEP Courses: 2015-2016

(eligible for certificate credit)

WWS 548 Weapons of Mass Destruction and International Security (Fall 2015)

Christopher F. Chyba

This course examines the roles of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons in international security historically, at present, and in possible futures. The technical basis for these weapons will be presented at a level suitable for the non-scientist, and the challenges of state and non-state acquisition or development will be assessed. Topics to be examined include deterrence, defense, preemption, arms control, nonproliferation, and plausible terrorist capabilities.

WWS 581C Topics in Economics: Energy Economics (Fall 2015)

Amy B. Craft

This course examines the economics behind many issues related to energy use, including the investment and use of renewable and non-renewable resources, energy conservation, deregulation of energy markets, transportation, and energy independence. Current policy options will be discussed.

CEE 471/Geo 471/URB 471 Introduction to Water Pollution Technology (Fall 2015)

Peter R. Jaffe

An introduction to the science of water quality management and pollution control in natural systems; fundamentals of biological and chemical transformations in natural waters; identification of sources of pollution; water and wastewater treatment methods; fundamentals of water quality modeling.
Prerequisites and Restrictions:
Student should have some background in chemistry and an interest in water pollution problems


SOC 557 Technology Studies (half term) (Fall 2015)

Janet A. Vertesi

This half-semester graduate course introduces you to basic concepts, theoretical frameworks, and empirical studies in the sociology of technology. The course draws largely on science and technology studies, a hybrid field with tools optimized for the study of science and technology in social context; it also draws related materials from recent literature in the sociology of work, technology and organizations, media studies, anthropology, and communication.

ENV 201B/STC 201B Fundamentals of Environmental Studies: Population, Land Use, Biodiversity, and Energy (Fall 2015)

Kelly Caylor and David Wilcove

An expanding human population and the desire of all people for a more prosperous life have placed tremendous demands on the environment. We will explore how human activities have affected land use, agriculture, fisheries, biodiversity, and the use of energy. Our focus is both global and local, highlighting not only fundamental changes in the biosphere, but also the ways in which individual decisions lead to major environmental changes. We explore the fundamental principles underlying contemporary environmental issues, and we use case studies to illustrate the scientific, political, economic, and social dimensions of environmental problems.

ENV 407 Africans Feeding Africans (Fall 2015)

Timothy D. Searchinger

This course will explore the economic, environmental, and social challenges of meeting growing food needs in sub-Saharan Africa. The region today has the lowest crop yields, the highest percentage of hungry people, and the highest population growth rates, and relies heavily on firewood for energy. The region also has vast areas of environmentally valuable forests and savannas. It has technical opportunities to produce crops better but faces challenges from high rainfall variability and climate change. The course will balance instruction, guest lectures and presentations by student teams, which will also produce a final paper.

WWS 354 Modern Genetics and Public Policy (Fall 2015)

Shirley M. Tilghman

Examines modern genetics' implications for public policy focusing on health, law, consumer products, and criminal justice. Topics include: eugenics; gene patenting; gene therapy; FDA consumer regulations of genetic testing; genetic discrimination; forensic use of DNA; and stem cell therapy. Explores social, political, and philosophical problems that modern genetics pose in areas such in the changing conceptions of the self; genetic enhancement vs. therapy; genetic nature of race; new theories of gene action in epigenetics; and genetic privacy.

CEE490 / ENE490 Mathematical Modeling of Energy And Environmental Systems (Fall 2015)

Mitchell J. Small

Mathematical Modeling of Energy and Environmental Systems. Development and application of mathematical models for energy systems, their performance, and their environmental and economic impacts. Scenario modeling for energy transitions. Methods for sensitivity and uncertainty analysis and uncertainty management and reduction for energy and environmental projections.

ENV 304/ECO 328/EEB 304/ WWS 455 Disease Ecology,Economics, and Policy (Fall 2015)

Bryan T. Grenfell and C. Jessica E. Metcalf

The dynamics of the emergence and spread of disease arise from a complex interplay between disease ecology, economics, and human behavior. Lectures will provide an introduction to complementarities between economic and epidemiological approaches to understanding the emergence, spread, and control of infectious diseases. The course will cover topics such as drug-resistance in bacterial and parasitic infections, individual incentives to vaccinate, the role of information in the transmission of infectious diseases, and the evolution of social norms in healthcare practices.

WWS306/ ECO 329/ ENV 319 Environmental Economics (Fall 2015)

Smita B. Brunnermeier

Course introduces use of economics in understanding both the sources of and the remedies to environmental and resource allocation problems. It emphasizes the reoccurrence of economic phenomena like public goods, externalities, market failure and imperfect information. Students learn about the design and evaluation of environmental policy instruments, the political economy of environmental policy, and the valuation of environmental and natural resource services. The concepts are illustrated in a variety of applications from domestic pollution of air, water and land to international issues such as global warming and sustainable development.

LAS 505/ENG 506/ARC 540/HUM 505/ URB 505 Conflict Shorelines I? Amazonia: A Botanical Archaeology of Genocide (Fall 2015)

Eduardo L. Cadava - Paulo R. Carvalho - Eyal Weizman

This course explores the relations among colonial history, contemporary conflicts, and climate change by examining the political, legal, epistemic, and aesthetic challenges this kind of violence initiates. Reading colonial and urban histories against meteorological and climate data, we use environmental modes of detection and imaging in order to reveal tropical forests to be archaeological resources in which patterns of human intervention and violence can be read. The Amazon is not only an ecological threshold, but also a political one, and it continues to bear the traces of the deadliest land conflicts in Brazil.

Combining an architecture studio with an experimental humanities lab and using a combination of archival resources, colonial era literature, field research and remote sensing mapping technologies, we will travel to the Amazon during the fall break to conduct onsite investigations and to devise novel "testimonial strategies" to corroborate and expand the investigations of the Brazilian Truth Commission

Spring 2016 (Anticipated offerings)

WWS 571c Global Challenges of Infection, Burden & Control, Adel Mahmoud & Bryan Grenfell

WWS 586d Topics in STEP: Global Environmental Governance, Michael Oppenheimer

WWS 586e /CEE Energy Policy and Energy Technologies, Fabian Wagner, Visiting Prof

WWS 594-- Info Technology and Public Policy, TBD (half term)