ENVI 134
The Tropics: Biology and Social Issues Fall 2021
Division III Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed BIOL 134 / ENVI 134

Class Details

Biology and Social Issues of the Tropics 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 and the tropical environment. Each section provides the science behind the issues and ends with possible solutions. The course highlights differences between the tropics and areas at higher latitudes. It begins with a survey of the tropical environment, including a global climate model, variation in tropical climates and the amazing diversity of tropical biomes. The next section focuses on human population biology, and emphasizes demography and the role of disease particularly malaria, AIDS and Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2). 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 interaction of humans with their supporting ecological environment and climate change. 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.
The Class: Format: lecture; Debate
Limit: 60
Expected: 60
Class#: 1041
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: two hour exams, a short paper, debate presentation, and a final exam
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Preference will be given to Environmental Studies majors/concentrators, students in need of a Division III or DPE requirement, and then Seniors, Juniors, Sophomores, and First Year students.
Unit Notes: Does not count for credit in the Biology major.
Distributions: Division III Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
BIOL 134 Division III ENVI 134 Division III
DPE Notes: This course highlights differences between the tropics and 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 different contributions to and impacts of climate change. For each section we highlight differences in power and the inequities of resource distribution. We then debate potential solutions to ameliorate these inequities.
Attributes: ENVI Natural World Electives
EVST Living Systems Courses
GBST African Studies Electives
PHLH Biomedical Determinants of Health

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