Graduate Fall 2020
FALL 2020 GRADUATE COURSES
Classes are listed alphabetically according to their first department listing. For the most up-to-date listings, check the Yale Course Search website. To add or remove a course from this list, email email@example.com
Histories of Postcolonial Africa: Themes, Genres, and the Phantoms of the Archive
This course is both historiographic and methodological. It is meant as an introduction to the major themes that have dominated the study of postcolonial Africa in recent years, and the material circumstances in which they were produced. We pay close attention to the kinds of sources and archives that scholars have employed in their works, and how they addressed the challenges of writing contemporary histories in Africa. We center our weekly meetings around one key text and one or two supplementary readings. We engage with works on politics, violence, environment and technology, women and gender, affect, fashion, leisure, and popular culture.
AMST 738 (12627)
Advanced Topics in Critical Human Geography
This course supports students in their exploration of more specialized literatures and debates in the field of human geography.
AMST 838 (12688) /HIST 749/HSHM 753
Research in Environmental History
Students conduct advanced research in primary sources and write original essays over the course of the term. Readings and library activities inform students’ research projects. Interested graduate students should contact the instructor with proposed research topics.
AMST 877 (10360) /HSHM 703/HIST 926
Problems in the History of Medicine and Public Health
An examination of the variety of approaches to the social, cultural, and intellectual history of medicine, focusing on the United States. Reading and discussion of the recent scholarly literature on medical cultures, public health, and illness experiences from the early national period through the present. Topics include the role of gender, class, ethnicity, race, religion, and region in the experience of health care and sickness and in the construction of medical knowledge; the interplay between vernacular and professional understandings of the body; the role of the marketplace in shaping professional identities and patient expectations; health activism and social justice; citizenship, nationalism, and imperialism; and the visual cultures of medicine.
ANTH 541 (10095) /F&ES 836/HIST 965/PLSC 779
Agrarian Societies: Culture, Society, History, and Development
Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan, Marcela Echeverri Munoz, Elisabeth Wood
An interdisciplinary examination of agrarian societies, contemporary and historical, Western and non-Western. Major analytical perspectives from anthropology, economics, history, political science, and environmental studies are used to develop a meaning-centered and historically grounded account of the transformations of rural society. Team-taught.
ANTH 542 (11668)
Cultures and Markets: Asia Connected through Time and Space
Historical and contemporary movements of people, goods, and cultural meanings that have defined Asia as a region. Reexamination of state-centered conceptualizations of Asia and of established boundaries in regional studies. The intersections of transregional institutions and local societies and their effects on trading empires, religious traditions, colonial encounters, and cultural fusion. Finance flows that connect East Asia and the Indian Ocean to the Middle East and Africa. The cultures of capital and market in the neoliberal and postsocialist world.
M 9:00am - 11:50am
An introductory graduate core course on the scope of social scientific contributions to environmental and natural resource issues. Section I presents an overview of the field and course. Section II deals with the way that environmental problems are initially framed. Case studies focus on placing problems in their wider political context, new approaches to uncertainty and failure, and the importance of how the analytical boundaries to resource systems are drawn. Section III focuses on questions of method, including the dynamics of working within development projects, and the art of rapid appraisal and short-term consultancies. Section IV is concerned with local peoples and the environment, with case studies addressing myths of tropical forest use and abuse development discourse, and with the question of indigenous peoples and knowledge.
ANTH 665 (13973)
Evolution of Human Diet
This course examines human nutrition and subsistence behavior from an evolutionary perspective. It begins with human nutritional literature and discussions of our biological requirements, then moves into comparison of modern human dietary ecology with those of other primates, especially our closest living relatives, the great apes. We then turn to literature that demonstrates the methods and theoretical approaches that are currently used to reconstruct past diets. As we begin to follow the evidence for changes in subsistence in the hominin lineage, case studies using these methods are integrated into discussions of how we know what we do about past nutrition. The course spends time on key issues and debates such as changes from closed-habitat to open-habitat foraging, the origins of meat-eating, the role of extractive foraging in human social systems, variation in hunter-forager subsistence systems, the origins of domestication, and the phenomenon of fad diets in industrialized nations. The course is delivered in a seminar-style format, with key readings each week that follow topical themes, with assessment based on in-class participation, critical essays, and a final research project.
ANTH 756 (10114) /ARCG 756
The Archaeology of Trade and Exchange
This seminar focuses on archaeological approaches to exchange and trade. As background, we review some of the principal theories of exchange from anthropology and sociology, such as those of Mauss, Malinowski, and Polanyi. The role of trade and exchange in different kinds of societies is examined by contextualizing these transactions within specific cultural configurations and considering the nature of production and consumption as they relate to movement of goods. We consider methods and models that have been used to analyze regions of interaction at different spatial scales and the theoretical arguments about the social impact of inter-regional and intra-regional interactions involving the transfer of goods, including approaches such as world systems, unequal development, and globalization. In addition, we examine the ways that have been utilized in archaeology to identify different kinds of exchange systems, often through analogies to well-documented ethnographic and historic cases. Finally, we consider the range of techniques that have been employed in order to track the movement of goods across space. These sourcing techniques are evaluated in terms of their advantages and disadvantages from an archaeological perspective, and in terms of how the best technical analyses may vary according to the nature of natural or cultural materials under consideration (ceramics, volcanic stone, metals, etc.). The theme for this year’s seminar is obsidian; students select some aspect of obsidian research for their final paper and presentation.
ANTH 772 (12067)
Cities in Antiquity: The Archaeology of Urbanism
Anne Underhill, Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos
Archaeological studies of ancient cities and urbanism. Topics include the origin and growth of cities; the economic, social, and political implications of urban life; and archaeological methods and theories for the study of ancient urbanism. Case studies include ancient cities around the world.
ANTH 773 (12157) /ARC 773/NELC 588
Climate Change, Societal Collapse, and Resilience
Collapse documented in the archaeological and early historical records of the Old and New Worlds, including Mesopotamia, Mesoamerica, the Andes, and Europe. Analysis of politicoeconomic vulnerabilities, resiliencies, and adaptations in the face of abrupt climate change, anthropogenic environmental degradation, resource depletion, “barbarian” incursions, or class conflict.
ANTH 963 (10461) /HIST 963/HSAR 841/HSHM 691
Topics in the Environmental Humanities
Paul Sabin, Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan
This is the required workshop for the Graduate Certificate in Environmental Humanities. The workshop meets six times per term to explore concepts, methods, and pedagogy in the environmental humanities, and to share student and faculty research. Each student pursuing the Graduate Certificate in Environmental Humanities must complete both a fall term and a spring term of the workshop, but the two terms of student participation need not be consecutive. The fall term each year emphasizes key concepts and major intellectual currents. The spring term each year emphasizes pedagogy, methods, and public practice. Specific topics vary each year. Students who have previously enrolled in the course may audit the course in a subsequent year.
Out of Date: Expired Patents
What if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had developed “soft infrastructures” and “living systems” for dealing with the changing flows of the Mississippi in and around New Orleans? What if Henry Ford had used soy protein for automotive parts and synthetic meats in the 1940s? Or what if South Asian nation states had adopted the Ganges Water Machine model in the 1970s to address critical water shortages in urban areas? What do these three, seemingly disparate examples all have in common? Each is based on a patent or series of patents that were never adopted for one reason or another. These are just a few of the questions that animate this course. Historians ask the why and the how, but they are rarely trained to visualize what a city, a meal, or a landscape might have looked like had a particular technology or living system been adopted. Rather than shy away from such counterfactuals, we will explore and seek to visualize these historical whatifs by taking a comparative, global perspective on the history of patents as visual and textual artifacts. No prior knowledge of the history of science and technology or architecture is required to enroll in this course.
ART 575 (13897)
Going Outside: Brainstorming, Swarming, Warming, Warning
“Radical means grasping things at the roots.”—Angela Davis. This class is a co-research, collective learning space for stitching together discourses that are fragmented and dispersed through disciplinary and structural boundaries. How can we go outside (in many senses) together, and stay with painting? We look at artists in the 1960s who were working outdoors, in-between, and de-centered—Ana Mendieta, David Hammons, Maren Hassinger—and Lucy Lippard’s writing on earth art, environment, geography. Can we make work addressing people through healing herbs and that decolonizes the discourses of botany, landscape, geology, climatology, and painting? How can we be with painting without walls, white or otherwise? I am teaching this class to learn alongside you, to learn things I do not already know. What I do know is that things are connected. Part of the violence is keeping them apart. We read essays from Wilding, by Isabella Tree, about an English estate returned to the wild; A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None, by Kathryn Yusoff; Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer; Elaine Scarry’s Thinking in an Emergency; and others. Projects and reading seminars are online, while group critiques and field trips to New England gardens, farms, and coastline allow us to be together for at least half the sessions.
ENGL 600 (10530) /ITAL 946/CPLT 658/MDVL 946
Early Modern Ecologies: Representing Peasants, Animals, Labor, Land
To what extent does writing about the land and depicting landscapes in early modern Europe reflect a new interest in engaging the boundaries between the human and non-human? What does it show about the commitment of artists and intellectuals to representing cultures and environments not necessarily their own? And how did writers and artists seek to legitimize their intellectual labors by invoking images of agricultural work? Since antiquity, artists have often chosen to make the countryside and its human and nonhuman denizens symbols of other things: leisure, song, exile, patriotism, erotic sensibilities, anti-urbanism. Early Christianity in turn embraced the desert—and the countryside— as a space for spirituality. We explore these origins, and turn to the early modern period when such interests exploded into poems, novels, plays, and paintings—a period that coincided with new world discoveries and new possibilities for ‘golden ages’ abroad. We read works by Virgil, St. Jerome, Petrarch, Shakespeare, Spenser, Milton, Tasso, Seamus Heaney, and others, and take at least one trip to a local gallery (New Haven or NY). Finally, we explore recent work in ecocriticism and environmental studies in order to grapple with ancient and early modern understandings of the natural world.
ENV 522 (13445)
Introduction to Environmental Social Sciences
The environmental social sciences shed light on how humans define, perceive, understand, manage, and otherwise influence the environment. Insights into the cultural, institutional, political-economic, and historic drivers of human actions are needed to describe and understand human-environment interactions as well as to move toward long-lasting and flexible responses to socio-environmental change. This basic knowledge course is designed to introduce students to a range of social science disciplines that are engaged in understanding the relationships between nature and society. Explicit focus is on how to mobilize the insights gained from environmental social sciences for natural resource management.
Environmental Justice/Climate Justice
In this seminar, we focus on the evolution and development of the environmental justice movement. We pay particular attention to its embrace of climate justice, and we ask what conception of justice is at play in both the environmental justice and climate justice movements. We begin with a legal and social-historical survey but quickly bring the inquiry up to the current moment. We explore the legal and policy developments that have followed the environmental justice critique. Each student chooses a particular movement (or one expression of it) and writes a paper bringing to bear all of the questions we raise in the seminar. (For example, how did opposition from environmental justice advocates lead to a reformed climate change initiative in California? Or what is the genesis of the Sunrise movement, and what legal or policy changes would be required to make it a reality?) The paper need not focus on a domestic response, because the environmental/climate justice critique is now global.
ENV 645 (13528)
Urbanization, Global Change, and Sustainability
Urbanization and associated changes in human activities on the land (land use) and in the physical attributes of Earth’s surface (land cover) have profound environmental consequences. Aggregated globally, these effects constitute some of the most significant human impacts on the functioning of Earth as a system. This class examines the interactions and relationships between urbanization and global change at local, regional, and global scales with an emphasis on the biophysical aspects of urbanization. Topics include urbanization in the context of global land use change, habitat and biodiversity loss, modification of surface energy balance and the urban heat island, climate change and impacts on urban areas, urban biogeochemistry, and urbanization as a component of sustainability. Emphasis is on management of urban areas worldwide or at national scales for planetary sustainability.
ENV 646 (13529)
Foundations of Agriculture and Environment
Agricultural systems have a profound impact on the environment, but also depend on environmental processes—such as climate and nutrient cycling—for continued productivity. Because of this two-way relationship, there has been a growing integration of environmental and agricultural sciences over the past several decades with growing recognition that designing and implementing agricultural systems that minimize environmental harm and benefit people is necessary to sustainable development. This course provides foundational knowledge of how agricultural and environmental systems are linked. The goal is to provide theoretical understanding of the important environmental and human processes, as well as practical experience interpreting these processes and applying them to real-world scenarios.
ENV 750 (13547)
Writing the World
This is a practical writing course meant to develop the student’s skills as a writer. But its real subject is perception and the writer’s authority—the relationship between what you notice in the world around you and what, culturally speaking, you are allowed to notice. What you write during the term is driven entirely by your own interest and attention. How you write is the question at hand. We explore the overlapping habitats of language—present and past—and the natural environment. And, to a lesser extent, we explore the character of persuasion in environmental themes. Every member of the class writes every week, and we all read what everyone writes every week. It makes no difference whether you are a would-be journalist, scientist, environmental advocate, or policy maker. The goal is to rework your writing and sharpen your perceptions, both sensory and intellectual. Enrollment limited to fifteen.
ENV 878 (13593)
Climate and Society from Past to Present
Discussion of the major currents of thought—both historic and contemporary—regarding climate, climate change, and society; focusing on the politics of knowledge and belief vs disbelief; and drawing on the social sciences and anthropology in particular.
ENV 959 (13647) /EPH 555
Clinic in Climate Justice, Climate Policy, Law, and Public Health
Robert Dubrow, Laura Bozzi, Marianne EngelmanLado
This course, an innovative collaboration between Yale School of Public Health, Yale School of the Environment, and Vermont Law School, includes students from both Yale and Vermont Law School. In the course, interdisciplinary student teams carry out applied projects that incorporate elements of climate justice, climate policy, and/or law with public health. Each team works with a partner organization (e.g., state agency, community organization, other nongovernmental organization) or on an ongoing project of the Yale Center on Climate Change and Health and/or the Vermont Law School Environmental Justice Clinic. A given team may include students from one institution or from both institutions, in which case team members work together remotely. The course meets weekly at Yale School of Public Health and Vermont Law School, respectively, connected by Zoom. It affords the opportunity to have a real-world impact by applying concepts and competencies learned in the classroom. This course should be of interest to graduate and professional students across the University and is open to Yale College juniors and seniors. In addition, this course is one of the options available to students to fulfill the practice requirement for the M.P.H. degree at YSPH and the capstone requirement for the M.E.M. degree at the Yale School of the Environment. Enrollment is by application only; check the Yale Center on Climate Change and Health website or the course’s Canvas site for more information.
ENV 980 (13947)
Social Justice in the Global Food System Capstone
This course explores social justice dimensions of today’s globalized food system, considering justice in terms of sociopolitical and environmental dynamics. We connect theory and practice through work with communitybased organizations working at the nexus of food, agriculture, and social justice. The capstone project work is grounded in food and social justice concepts examined through course materials and seminar discussions. We examine how governmental environmental strategies affect social equity in the food system at multiple scales. We discuss how land grabbing or food insecurity is connected to relative power on the global stage. We consider how phenomena such as structural violence and neoliberalization surface within the food system, and what this means for sustainability and justice—in urban and rural settings. We examine and debate concepts and practices including food sovereignty, agroecology, black agrarianism, and the right to food used to advance positive change. Through the capstone project, students have the opportunity to deepen learning and contribute to the work of community groups forging pathways for equity and justice in the food system, particularly among communities historically marginalized from mainstream economies and policy making. Project work includes meetings with organizational leaders to understand context and codevelop appropriate project approaches. Students work in groups to conduct in-depth research and analysis, and engage in additional professional and educational activities connected to the project. Student groups prepare a final presentation and report to be shared with the partner organizations. The course provides opportunities to develop competencies in analyzing global food system phenomena through social justice frameworks, and working within diverse settings on food and social justice issues, as practice for management, policy making, and other professional roles.
FILM 779 (12624) /ITAL 783
Italian Film Ecologies: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Landscape and the natural environment have never occupied “background” status in Italian film. Given the spectacular visual presence of its terrain—thanks to the relative proximity of mountain chains and the long seacoast—and given the pivotal importance of farming and pasturage in this traditionally agrarian economy, the synergy between the human and natural worlds has played a prominent role in Italian filmmaking since the very inception of the industry. Most recently, two developments have pushed this issue to the forefront of scholarly attention: the advent of ecocriticism, which found one of its earliest and most influential champions in Serenella Iovino, and the establishment of regional film commissions, grassroots production centers that sponsored cinematic works attuned to the specificity of “the local.” The course includes study of films that predate our current environmental consciousness, as well as recent films that foreground it in narrative terms. In the case of the older films, which have already attracted a great deal of critical commentary over time, we work to shift our interpretive frame in an “eco-friendly” direction (even when the films’ characters are hardly friends of the environment). Among the films considered are Le quattro volte, Il vento fa il suo giro, L’uomo che verrà, Gomorra, L’albero degli zoccoli, Riso amaro, Red Desert, Christ Stopped at Eboli, and Il ladro di bambini. We screen one film a week and devote our seminars to close analysis of the works in question.
HIST 913 (10358)
Geography and History
A research seminar focused on methodological questions of geography and geographic analysis in historical scholarship. We consider approaches ranging from the Annales School of the early twentieth century to contemporary research in environmental history, history of science, urban history, and more. We also explore interdisciplinary work in social theory, historical geography, and anthropology and grapple with the promise (and drawbacks) of GIS. Students may write their research papers on any time period or geographic region, and no previous experience with geography or GIS is necessary. Open to undergraduates with permission of the instructor.
HSHM 702 (11650) /HIST 931
Problems in the History of Science
Close study of recent secondary literature in the history of the physical and life sciences. An inclusive overview of the emergence and diversity of scientific ways of knowing, major scientific theories and methods, and the role of science in politics, capitalism, war, and everyday life. Discussions focus on historians’ different analytic and interpretive approaches.
REL 610 (20871)
Worship, Cosmos, Creation
This course explores the manifold intersections between practices of Christian worship and understandings of creation and cosmos. The specific intersections highlighted during the term include biblical, historical, visual, and musical materials as well as contemporary theological and pastoral reflections on practices of worship. The course seeks to engage the many voices of a “green” Christian faith that have emerged among scholars and practitioners of worship during a time of unprecedented attention to ecological and cosmological concerns. Area II.
REL 676 (12686)
Natural Theology and the New Animism
This seminar explores the question and status of natural theology in contemporary theology. We engage the question of a natural theology in relation to recent reflections on Animism. Two questions guide our exploration. First, what is the relation between visions of animacy and concepts of revelation? Second, how is knowing (God and self) constituted within and/or formed in resistance to visions of an animate and communicative world? With these questions we are seeking to examine the relationship between the idea of a living communicative God and a living communicative world, and the various effects of how one articulates that relationship. Area II.
REL 843 (12684)
Howard Thurman: Mysticism and Prophetic Witness
This course is devoted to the spirituality and prophetic witness of Howard Washington Thurman. Variously described as a mystic, prophet, philosopher, theologian, educator, pastor, and mentor to leaders of the civil rights movement, Thurman was one of the most significant twentieth-century religious figures in the United States. He left a legacy of writings, speeches, and sermons that articulate a spirituality integrating a sophisticated analysis of the inner life, mystical experience, a rich aesthetic of nature, and pointed social criticism on racism, colonialism, nonviolence, human suffering, and resistance to oppression. In this course we encounter Thurman’s work directly through some of his major writings and sermons. Through a sustained engagement with Thurman’s spiritual and social witness, we consider how he speaks to our own “inward journeys” and how spirituality and social action are integrated in our lives. Area IV.