Intended for the non-scientist, this course explores the biological dimensions of social issues in tropical societies, and focuses specifically on the peoples of tropical regions in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Oceania, and the Caribbean. Tropical issues have become prominent on a global scale, and many social issues in the tropics are inextricably bound to human ecology, evolution, and physiology. The course highlights differences between the tropics and areas at higher latitudes. It begins with a survey of the tropical environment of humans, including major climatic and habitat features. The next section focuses on human population biology, and emphasizes demography and the role of disease particularly malaria and AIDS. The final part of the course covers the place of human societies in local and global ecosystems including the challenges of tropical food production, the importance of organic diversity, and the interaction of humans with their supporting ecological environment. This course fulfills the DPE requirement. Through lectures, debates and readings, students confront social issues and policies from the perspective of biologists. This builds a framework for lifelong exploration of human diversity in terms of difference, power and equity.
Format: lecture; debate
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
two hour exams, a short paper, panel preparation, and a final exam
seniors, juniors, sophomores, and first-year students, in that order
does not count for major credit in Biology; does not satisfy the distribution requirement for the Biology major
Difference, Power, and Equity
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
This course highlights differences between the tropics and areas at higher latitudes. For each section we focus on difference--different natural habitats and biodiversity, different patterns of population growth, different human disease profiles, different types of agriculture and impacts of climate change. For each section we focus on differences in power and the inequities of resource distribution. We then debate potential policies to ameliorate these inequities.
ENVI Natural World Electives
EVST Living Systems Courses
GBST African Studies Electives
PHLH Biomedical Determinants of Health