The Food and Environment Focus, within the General Track for an ENV certificate, is the first food-related course of study created at PU. It was created by Mike Celia, the former director of High Meadows Environmental Institute. From the site:
Suggested sequence of courses for students who wish to focus their study of the environment in the area of Food and the Environment.
One core course: ENV 200A-F: “The Environmental Nexus”
One advanced food or agriculture course: ENV 303: Agriculture, Human Diets; or a suitable substitute.
Three electives from the Generalist Track list; two of these three courses must be from different academic divisions and should be at the 300-level or higher.
Click here to see the list of ENV undergraduate courses for Spring 2022 semester. Beyond the ENV certificate, here’s a collection of courses that either use food/food systems as part of scholarly inquiry or as a way to illustrate/amplify course topics. Some of the courses are one-time-only and some are ongoing. If you teach, or took, a course that needs to be included, please send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
AAS 223; ENG 232
Literature, Food, and the American Racial Diet
Food, like books, is the site of our greatest consumption of and most vulnerable encounter with “otherness.” This course explores how “taste” informs the ways in which we ingest or dispel racial otherness. Through novels and cinema largely in Asian American and African American cultural production – and in the Asian and African diaspora– we study how the meeting of food and word inform categories such as race, nationhood, gender, ecology, and family, and class. Topics include: “Transcendental Primitivism,” “Modernist Orientalism,” “Chocolate Women on the Edge”, “Parenting/Consuming”, “Ecology and the Humanimal,” and more.
EBE 202/ARC 208/EGR 208/ENV206
Designing Sustainable Systems – Applying the Science of Sustainability to Address Global Change
Integrating the process of design and system thinking with an understanding of fundamental environmental and societal principals of sustainability is necessary to enact sustainable societal changes. This course starts with a study of the science related to sustainability and how open-ended sustainable development problems can be addressed through a process of design, and leads to a major group design project focused on devising and demonstrating an opportunity for sustainability on campus. Fabrication, simulation, sensor and graphical tools will be incorporated into the design process learning and deployed in precept.
CHV 310; PHI 385
Peter A. Singer
Should we be trying to live our lives so as to do the most good, and if so, what would that involve? Does a human embryo have a greater claim to protection than a chimpanzee? Should we be able to choose to end our own life, if we are terminally ill? Are we ethically required to limit our greenhouse gas emissions? What is an ethical diet? Are we justified in eating animals? Why should we act ethically, anyway? You are encouraged to question your own ethical beliefs on these and other issues, and to explore the extent to which reason and argument can play a role in everyday ethical decision-making
Africans Feeding Africa
Explores 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.
Seminar in Italian Literature & Culture – Italy: The Land of Slow-Food
Combining an analysis of Italian literary texts with works of visual art, this course studies the art of cookery in relation to people’s environment and history. From Middle Ages to the 21st-century (Dante, Boccaccio, Michelangelo, Goldoni, d’Annunzio, Magris), topics will explore the conceptual preconditions that in recent years have generated the Slow-Food movement, its recycling of its own old traditions as well as its worldwide impact. This course examines food as a window into gender, class and traditions, where food is defined in terms of nutritional health and taste as well as social and ethical phenomena, such as the value of nature.
ANT 204; ENV 208
Food and Power
Carolyn M. Rouse
Why do we drink “venti” coffee out of paper cups? Why is sugar consumed in large quantities in some parts of the world? The mundaneness of having to eat every day hides the powerful role of markets, ecologies and culture in shaping our consumption choices. From slavery to contemporary artisan and fair trade markets, food choice and food taboos offer us a way to express our ethical and cultural identities. Using several key anthropological theories, this course explores food economics, environmental sustainability, and consumption at the nexus of desire and repression.
Hormonally Active Pollutants
A large number of common chemicals designed for one purpose are now known to have a second, completely unexpected ability to mimic or interfere with estrogen or testosterone. Examples include bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates that leach from many plastics, DDT and other pesticides, and tributyltins in marine anti-fouling paints. Many of these end up as personal or environmental contaminants. There is growing evidence that exposure to hormonally active pollutants can interfere with health and reproduction in both humans and wildlife. This seminar examines landmark discoveries, explores current research, and looks at emerging regulatory action.
Science, Society & Dinner
Kelly Caylor and Craig Shelton
A course featuring hands-on culinary lab classes and resultant communal dinners that illustrate and amplify lectures in science, engineering, public policy, humanities and social sciences — while teaching students self-reliance and food literacy. Dinner labs were supervised by Associate Professor Kelly Caylor (CEE-ENV) and taught by him and other faculty across campus. Working closely with each instructor, Chef Craig Shelton, as a guest lecturer, co-taught each class. Chef Shelton, Yale ’82 MB&B (molecular biophysics and biochemistry), is a five-star chef/farmer/restaurateur and a James Beard Best Chef award recipient. Students under Chef Shelton’s direction, prepare curriculum-specific meals together to exacting standards, learning basic (and not-so-basic) technique, background and critical thinking as applied to gastronomy, culinary theory, seasonality, palate development, human physiology and across academic disciplines. (The course drew 98 first-choice applications for 15 spots – setting a record in the freshman seminar offices; it now awaits a new faculty lead, since Prof Kelly relocated to UC-Santa Barbara.) The course was supported by the Gordon Douglas MD’55 and Sheila Mahoney Fund for food systems education, and the Shelly and Michael Kassen ’76 Freshman Seminar in the Life Sciences.
Investigating an Ethos of Sustainability at Princeton
Students meet with faculty and staff of diverse expertise to examine global sustainability issues and how they manifest locally on the Princeton campus. For the final assignment, students propose demonstration-scale sustainability recommendations for campus with the overall goal of strengthening the sustainability ethos at Princeton.
The Environmental Nexus
Steve Pacala, Rob Nixon, Marc Fleurbaey, Lori Gruen
Introduction to the scientific, technological, political, ethical and humanistic dimensions of the nexus of environmental problems that pose an unprecedented risk at mid-century: food and water shortages for 9 billion people, climate change, biodiversity loss. All sections of ENV 200 will meet together for lecture each week, but students will enroll in one of six possible precepts that will meet separately and pursue a particular disciplinary focus and earn credit for the corresponding distribution area.
- 200A: Welfare economics of environmental policy, the treatment of uncertainty, inter- and intra-generational inequalities, complications arising from variable and changing population size, valuation of the environment, valuation of life, equity criteria, co-benefits and economic discounting.
- ENV 200B (STL): Greenhouse gases, analysis of carbon isotopes, carbon storage in trees and soils, climate models, methane emissions, each student’s energy use and carbon footprint, agriculture, satellite remote sensing and fresh water availability.
- ENV 200C (EM): Individual ethics, citizenship, cosmopolitan duties of humanity, fairness and equity, responsibility and the ethics of civic engagement. What is each student’s personal responsibility to help solve problems of the Environmental Nexus? Introduction to normative analysis.
- ENV 200D (QR): Mathematical models and calculations that underpin our understanding of the Environmental Nexus, from global models of the climate, carbon and hydrologic cycles, to economic models that predict optimal mitigation policies.
- ENV 200E (LA): Imaginative challenges of the Environmental Nexus, and the international cast of artists and writers who, through environmentally engaged images and storytelling, are reframing the emergencies of the long term that stretch our imaginative capacities.
- ENV 200F (STN): Comprehensive scientific introduction to the Environmental Nexus. The precept will focus on climate, greenhouse gases, the carbon and hydrologic cycle, scientific agriculture, biodiversity and its effect on ecosystem function, and mitigation technologies.
Agriculture, Human Diets and the Environment
Food fuels us and our diets connect us with nature at many scales. Yet most of us poorly understand how food is produced and how production processes impact our diets, health, livelihoods and the environment. By the course’s end, students will better understand the ethical, environmental, economic, social and medical implications of their food choices. Food production methods ranging from hunting, fishing and gathering to small and large scale crop and animal farming will be examined through lenses of ethics, ecology, evolutionary biology, geography, political economy, social dynamics, physiology, climate change and sustainability. Each week a movie is previewed prior to class. Class involves a mix of lectures, interactions with foods, role playing, writing and number crunching and discussions of the movies and conversations with authors of key readings. (For this course, Dining Services was contracted to provide some samples of curriculum specific foods, as well as snacks).
Consuming America: Five Food Puzzles
This seminar examines closely five persistent puzzles in the American food system and provides students with an opportunity to discuss, debate, and evaluate possible solutions to issues of food insecurity, food-related disease, farm labor, regulation, and the environment. Through these sets of puzzles and problems students will consider class, race, and gender disparities as well as themes of paternalism and judgment, food as a human right, and concepts of freedom.
CEE 471/GEO 471 /URB 471
Introduction to Water Pollution Technology
Peter R. Jaffé
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.
The Land Crisis for Food, Climate and Wildlife
People have plowed up, cut down and otherwise heavily manipulated more than 75% of the world’s land, and the degree and extent of this manipulation continues to expand to meet rising demands for food and wood products. This course will explore the consequences for biodiversity and climate change, the drivers of change and scenarios for the future. Students will think through the complex issues behind conservation planning for biodiversity and gain understanding of what is known and not known about the global carbon cycle.
AMS 419; ENV 419
American Agrarians: Ideas of Land, Labor, and Food
For agrarians, farms and fields are prized over boardrooms and shopping malls. Agrarianism values hard work, self-sufficiency, simplicity and connection with nature. For some today, it is a compelling antidote to globalization and consumerism. This course examines American agrarianism past and present and its central role in our national imaginary, tracing the complex and contradictory contours of a social and political philosophy that seeks freedom and yet gave way to enslaving, excluding, and ignoring many based on race, immigration status, and gender. A focus will be on new agrarianism and movements for food, land, and social justice.
Consuming America: Food, Fiction and Fact
This course uses food studies as a lens for understanding how it is we know what we know and how different kinds of arguments and narrative choices work to sway our ideas about fact, fiction, and knowledge. Food is a particularly useful site for examining the line between fiction and fact because the field of food writing is saturated with arguments from across the ideological spectrum, and these arguments matter for people daily as we decide what to eat. How can we make sense of research, history, science, and spin to decide what to purchase at the grocery store or grab from the dining hall? The seminar will consist of two units that move through a wide range of writing on two topics in food studies: meat production and labor. The units take their inspiration from two classic American novels: Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Students will consider these works of fiction in conjunction with other forms of writing including journalism, history, science, social science, and government documents. As a class, we will delicately sift and winnow fact and fiction in an effort to understand our contemporary food system. This course will involve Community-Based Learning. Students will complete one investigative project that closely examines their personal food consumption. We will visit at least one farm to discuss issues of meat production with a local farmer. We will also host guests.
CEE 587; ENV 587
The course provides the theoretical bases for a quantitative description of complex interactions between hydrologic cycle, vegetation and soil biogeochemistry. The first part of the course focuses on modeling the water, carbon and energy dynamics within the soil-plant-atmosphere system at timescales ranging from minute to daily; the second part incorporates rainfall unpredictability and provides a probabilistic description of the soilplant system valid at seasonal to interannual timescales. These concepts are important for a proper management of water resources and terrestrial ecosystems.
CHV 310; PHI 385
This course will challenge you to examine your life from an ethical perspective. What should your goals and values be? To live ethically, is it enough to obey conventional moral rules, or should we seek to do the most good we can? For citizens of wealthy nation like the U.S., living in a world in which there is also extreme poverty, what might that involve? Other questions to be discussed include: what we should do about climate change, the ethics of what we eat, the moral status of animals, abortion, euthanasia and the claim that all human life has equal value. One or two other topics of current interest may be added during the semester.
Health Economics 1
Examines health issues in both developed and developing countries. Specific topics include the evolution of health over the life course; the fetal origins hypothesis; the two-way links between socioeconomic status and health; the impact of social safety nets on health outcomes; environmental threats to children’s health and development; health insurance and its effects on health; the industrial organization of health care delivery; and the relationship between health and economic growth.
Life on Earth: Chaos and Clockwork in Nature
The purpose of this course is to delve into the theory of change that lies behind a number of Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDG) adopted by many world leaders in 2015. While many of the goals focus on issues of social justice and the elimination of poverty, many have environmental connections. Students will study how the interactions among them and how meeting aspirations of some are likely to impact meeting the targets of others, especially those focused on climate and the environment. We look at case studies across the spectrum, either with SDG action plans and/or which have incorporated them in their national plans.
EGR 488; ENT 488
Designing Ventures to Change the World
John D. Danner
This course looks at the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – poverty, gender inequality, disease, poor water, illiteracy, etc. – through the lens of social-impact entrepreneurial ventures, exploring whether and how entrepreneurs can meaningfully address those issues in ways that complement governmental and charitable efforts. First, we will consider the SDGs themselves, second, we will focus on the challenges and opportunities reflected in one or two specific SDG-related settings of interest to students, such as energy, women’s health, sanitation, or a relevant global business like coffee.
ENE 318; CBE 318
Fundamentals of Biofuels
What are biofuels, and why are we making them? What are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation biofuels? What is the controversy surrounding the food versus fuel debate? Will thermocatalysis or genetic engineering improve biofuel production? Can we make biofuels directly from light or electricity? These are some of the questions we will answer through engaging discussions, primary literature readings, and hands-on experience in making biofuels. In precept we will make bioethanol from corn (beer) or molasses (wine), biodiesel from cooking oil, and oil from algae. Grades are based on participation, an oral presentation, and three short lab reports.
ENE 321; CEE 321; ENV 371
Resource Recovery for a Circular Economy
Z. Jason Ren
The course will focus on emerging science and technologies that enable the transition from our traditional linear economy (take, make, waste) to a new circular economy (reduce, reuse, recycle). It will discuss the fundamental theories and applied technologies that are capable of converting traditional waste materials or environmental pollutants such as wastewater, food waste, plastics, e-waste, and CO2, etc. into valued-added products including energy, fuels, chemicals, and food products.
ENE 475 PSY 475
Human Factors 2.0-Psychology for Engineering, Energy, and Environmental Decisions
Human Factors 1.0 studied how humans interact with machines and technology, bringing engineering and psychology into contact in the 1950s and giving rise to theories of user-centric design. This course will cover recent theoretical advances in cognitive and social psychology, especially in human judgment and decision making, that are relevant for engineers and choice architects as they address technical and societal challenges related to sustainability. Such psychological theory (human factors 2.0) can be creatively applied to designs decision environments that help people overcome present bias, loss aversion, and status-quo bias.
ENV 304; ECO 328; EEB 304; WWS 455
Disease Ecology, Economics, and Policy
Bryan T. Grenfell
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.
Topics in Environmental Studies: Building American Style: Land-Use Policies and Rules
Deborah Popper and Frank Popper
Americans have built and preserved an astounding variety of environments. The course examines the evolving complex of incentives and regulations that drove the choices of where and how places developed. It focuses on the emergence of land-use and environmental planning as a way to encourage or discourage growth and to mitigate or intensify its environmental, social, and economic effects.We will examine the latest tools for building and protecting the American landscape. Case studies include Southern California, New Haven, the American Great Plains, and others. Analysis will be from historical, policy-oriented, and predictive perspectives.
Topics in Environmental Studies: American Environmental History
Deborah Popper and Frank Popper
Explores the diverse connections between America’s national development and natural environment. It examines how the U.S. originated, then expanded to cover a continental land mass, and the ways that expansion changed the nation. It analyzes how, why, and with what consequences major parts of the U.S. economy–for instance, farming, energy, services and government–have grown or in shrunk. It looks at how and with what results the U.S. has incorporated different ethnic and racial groups. It shows how, why, and with what outcomes it has historically globalized and conducted its foreign policy, and offers insights into current landscapes.
ENV 367; GEO 367
Modeling the Earth System: Assessing Strategies for Mitigating Climate Change
This course is an introduction to earth system modeling for students interested in global environmental issues. Students will use a “compact” or “reduced” earth system model, including the ocean, the land and the atmosphere, to examine how the system responds to human activities and natural climate variations. In small groups, they will design mitigation and geo-engineering scenarii (reforestation, carbon capture, emission limitation etc.), test their impact using the model and analyze and discuss their results. This course is designed to give students a critical thinking about climate models, their strengths and their limitations.
Economics of Immigration in the US: Past and Present
The United States is often seen as a land of opportunity for immigrants. Yet, both in the past and the present, heated debates about migration policy loom large in public discourse. This class will discuss major issues in the economics of immigration: who migrates; who returns home; processes of economic and cultural assimilation; and the effects immigration may have on the economic opportunities of native-born workers. We will consider two main eras of US immigration history, the Age of Mass Migration from Europe (1850 -1920) and the recent period of migration from Asia and Latin America, along with U.S. border closings in the 1920s.
GEO 102A; ENV 102A; STC 102A
Climate: Past, present and future
Which human activities are changing our climate, and does climate change constitute a major problem? We will investigate these questions through an introduction to climate processes and an exploration of climate from the distant past to today. We will also consider the impact of former and ongoing climate changes on the global environment and on humanity. Finally, we will draw on climate science to identify and evaluate possible courses of action. Intended to be accessible to students not concentrating in science or engineering.
ANT 203 Economic Life in Cultural Context
This course explores the social and cultural contexts of economic experience in the US and around the world. It considers how the consumption, production, and circulation of goods–today and in times past–become invested with personal and collective meanings. It pays special attention to symbolic and political dimensions of work, property (material, intellectual, and cultural), wealth, and taste (i.e., “needs” and “wants”). Additionally, participants do a bit of anthropological fieldwork by drawing everyday experiences systematically into conversation with more familiar academic and media sources.
ANT 272; AFS 272
Intoxicating Cultures: Alcohol in Everyday Life
Alcohol is not just an intoxicating drink, but an “embodied material culture” embedded in our experiences of everyday life. What does our relationship with alcohol reveal about individual and collective identities? What does it say about the social and economic realities of a globalized world today? Drawing from literature in anthropology, alcohol studies, and social theory, this course asks students to think critically about the relationship between alcohol and culture in both their own lives and in the lives of others. Readings primarily focus on alcohol production and consumption in Africa.
ARC 386; URB 386
The Zoning of Things
V Mitch McEwen
Zoning has preemptively defined what is possible to build, occupy, and design in the largest cities in the United States for over one hundred years. In the 21st century, zoning also enters cities and regions as a means of interpreting and defining effects of climate change, parameters of protest, movement of water, and economic investment. This course introduces students to zoning as an urbanistic tool related to representation, classification, and design. Readings investigate zoning as a form of both ideation and technology.
ENV 302; CEE 302; EEB 302
Practical Models for Environmental Systems
Humans are increasingly affecting environmental systems throughout the world. This is especially true for activities associated with energy production, water use, and food production. To understand the environmental impacts, quantitative modeling tools are needed. This course introduces quantitative modeling approaches for environmental systems, including global models for carbon cycling; local and regional models for water, soil, and vegetation interactions; and models for transport of pollutants in both water and air. Students will develop simple models for all of these systems, and apply the models to a set of practical problems.
ENV 377; CEE 377; SAS 377; URB 377
Sustainable Cities in the US and India: Technology, Policy & Entrepreneurship Pathways
An interdisciplinary exploration of our quest for urban sustainability in different parts of the world. We will: 1) Explore the concept of sustainable cities, focusing on systems that provide food, energy, water, mobility, housing, waste management, and public spaces to more than half the world’s people that live in urban areas today; 2) Compare and contrast cities in the US and India, understanding their diverse contexts and current baseline in terms of infrastructure, environment, economy, health, wellbeing and equity. 3) Explore pathways to a more sustainable future, including technology innovation, policy and social entrepreneurship.
ENV 381; JRN 381; URB 381
Climate Change as Threat (and Opportunity) Multiplier
The US Department of Defense has called climate change a ”threat multiplier,” referencing military bases inundated by sea level rise and increased global political instability from extreme weather events. But every aspect of life on earth, for humans and other living creatures, is changing because of a rapidly warming planet. This class will explore everything from the state of songbirds to the national security concerns of war hawks to agriculture to urban design to storytelling to social justice. The aim is to understand how climate change exacerbates existing struggles and how innovative climate solutions might help ease them.
Eating, Growing, Catching, Knowing: Historical Perspectives on Food, Science, and the Environment
D. Graham Burnett
The sourcing, preparation, and consumption of food (and drink) represent essential aspects of human culture, even as these activities have long had massive implications for the planet. Science and technology are deeply implicated in the history of changing diets, and industrialized agriculture has profoundly shaped both human populations and global environmental conditions. This course aims to introduce students to a range of recent writings that take up these problems, with an emphasis on scholarship in history and history of science.
AMS 398; DAN 312; GSS 346
FAT: The F-Word and the Public Body
The fat body operates at the conjuncture of political economy, beauty standards, and health. This seminar asks, How does this “f-word” discipline and regulate bodies in /as public? What is the “ideal” American public body and who gets to occupy that position? How are complex personhood, expressivity, health, and citizenship contested cultural and political economic projects? We will examine the changing history, aesthetics, politics, and meanings of fatness using dance, performance, memoirs, and media texts as case studies. Intersectional dimensions of the fat body are central to the course. No previous performance experience necessary.
ATL 497; VIS 497
Princeton Atelier: The Art of the Olfactory
Nothing triggers memories like smell. Momentary, fleeting, and at times unexpected, one scent can conjure up the warmth of a grandparent, or the heat of a first kiss. The sense of smell is one of our oldest, yet most under-utilized and least understood scientifically. The human nose can differentiate over a billion smells, yet in our vision dominated, industrialized society it is one of the first attributes to get sanitized away. Smell has deep anthropological and cultural associations, rife with politics. This course will investigate the role scent can play in communicating complex intellectual and emotional ideas.
CBE 411; MOL 411
Antibiotics: From Cradle to Grave
Mark P. Brynildsen
From treatment of infections to prophylactic use following surgery, antibiotics have transformed healthcare since their discovery and distribution. However, poor management of this medical resource has seen resistance whittle down their efficacies, and it is now recognized that antibiotics can disrupt the microbiota that keep us healthy. This course will use lectures, lab demonstrations, guest speakers, and primary literature to introduce how science, engineering, medicine, and policy have shaped the current age of antibiotics, which is characterized by a variety of treatment options, MDR bacteria, and a weak pipeline of new agents.
CEE 207; ENV 207
Introduction to Environmental Engineering
Ian C. Bourg
The course introduces the basic chemical and physical processes of relevance in environmental engineering. Mass and energy balance and transport concepts are introduced and the chemical principles governing reaction kinetics and phase partitioning are presented. We then turn our focus to the applications in environmental engineering problems related to water and air pollution.
CEE 334; SPI 452; ENV 334; ENE 334
Global Environmental Issues
This course examines a set of global environmental issues including population growth, ozone layer depletion, climate change, air pollution, the environmental consequences of energy supply and demand decisions and sustainable development. It provides an overview of the scientific basis for these problems and examines past, present and possible future policy responses. Individual projects, presentations, and problem sets are included.
Special Topics in Civil and Environmental Engineering: The Climatological, Hydrological & Environmental Footprints of Cities
Elie R. Bou-Zeid
This course examines how cities modify their environment, with a focus on the grand urban challenges of the 21st century related to climate, water, and pollution. It starts with an introduction to the challenge of urbanization and how the population and size of cities can be quantified and modeled. We then examine heat, air and water flow in cities, focusing on how they induce urban heat islands, exacerbate floods, modify power consumption, and reduce thermal comfort. We conclude the course with an examination of how buildings and cities can be designed to be more sustainable and sensitive to their climate.
CHV 321; ENV 321; SPI 371
Ethical and Scientific Issues in Environmental Policy
Peter Singer and David Wilcove
This course will discuss policy issues relating to the environment, using several case studies to provide a deeper understanding of the science and values involved.
CHV 395; PHI 399
The Ethics of Eating
We are what we eat–morally as well as molecularly. So how should concerns about animals, workers, the environment, and the local inform our food choices? Can we develop viable foodways for growing populations while respecting ethnic, religious, class, and access differences? The goal of this course is not to prescribe answers to these questions, but to give students the tools required to reflect on them effectively. These tools include a knowledge of the main ethical theories in philosophy, and a grasp of key empirical issues regarding food production, distribution, and disposal. Includes guest lectures, instructor-led small-group sessions.
Economics of the Labor Market
Orley C. Ashenfelter
To provide a general overview of labor markets. Covering labor force participation, the allocation of time to market work, migration, labor demand, investment in human capital (education, on-the-job training, man-power training), discrimination, unions and unemployment. The course will also examine the impact of government programs (such as unemployment insurance, minimum wages, or a negative income tax) on the labor market.
EEB 308; ENV 365
Students will learn to identify, understand, and (perhaps) reconcile conflicts between human activities such as farming, forestry, industry, and infrastructure development, and the conservation of species and natural ecosystems. We will also explore the role of biodiversity in providing critical ecosystem services to people. We will examine these topics in an interdisciplinary way, with a primary focus on ecology, but also including consideration of the economic and social factors underlying threats to biodiversity.
Ecology: Species Interactions, Biodiversity and Society
Robert M. Pringle
How do wild organisms interact with each other, their physical environments, and human societies? Lectures will examine a series of fundamental topics in ecology–herbivory, predation, competition, mutualism, species invasions, extinction, climate change, and conservation, among others–through the lens of case studies drawn from all over the world. Readings will provide background information necessary to contextualize these case studies and clarify the linkages between them. Laboratories and fieldwork will explore the process of translating observations and data into an understanding of how the natural world works.
Seeds are ubiquitious. We eat them. We plant them. We blow them in the wind. But do they need saving? Seed saving practices sit at the center of an intensifying debate about biodiversity, food sovereignty, intellectual property rights, and the future of our species. This course will explore the oft-overlooked complexity of seeds and the people who are working to save them with special attention to intellectual, scientific, ethical, and practical challenges. Readings will range from history and literature to social analysis, journalism, and science writing.
Global Health, Food Security, and the Environment: An Introduction to One Health Policy
Laura Kahn, MD
This interdisciplinary seminar focuses on global health, agriculture, food security, and environmental sustainability. Basic epidemiology, public health and policy, history of food safety and security, climate change, essentials of zoonotic diseases, the politics of antibiotic resistance, and the national and international organizations that oversee health, agriculture, and the environment will be discussed.
GHP 413; ENV 413
Planetary Health: A Critical History
Heidi A. Morefield
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the importance of human-environmental interactions and the challenges of large-scale medical care into sharp relief. While this pandemic moment renders the inequalities, inefficiencies, and neglect built into our global health system visible, these features have longstanding histories. We will critically examine the historical actors, institutions, value systems, and policy decisions that led to the present climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic and the unequal burden it imposes on some populations relative to others. We will elaborate on the implications of a shift to the idea of planetary health.
HIS 432; ENV 432
Environment and War
Emmanuel H. Kreike
Studies of war and society rarely address environmental factors and agency. The relationship between war and environment is often either reduced to a simple environmental determinism or it is depicted as a war against nature and ecosystems, playing down societal dynamics. The seminar explores the different approaches to the war-environment-society nexus and highlights how and why the three spheres should be studied in conjunction. The objective is to assess how and why environmental and societal factors and forces caused and shaped the conflicts and how in turn mass violence shaped societies and how they used and perceived their environments.
The Political Economy of the United States
Nolan M. McCarty
Many of America’s problems are economic in nature, yet politics make the solutions elusive. In a new lecture course “The Political Economy of the United States”, this conundrum is explored in detail. We seek to explicitly understand the links between economic outcomes and political processes. Among the concepts explored are special interest influence, the role of money in politics, and regulatory capture. These concepts are brought to life in discussions about key issues and debates such as wealth taxation, the monopolization of social media, and the political effects of economic shocks and de-industrialization.
PSY 338; NEU 338
From Animal Learning to Changing People’s Minds
We will take a modern, integrative view of animal learning phenomena from experimental psychology, analyzing them through the lens of computational models of reinforcement learning and current neuroscientific knowledge. The goal is to explore how theoretical concepts apply to every-day attempts to change people’s minds, and how computational modeling is a useful framework for understanding human behavior. To maximize learning and skill acquisition, the course will include group work and class presentations, and will follow the ‘teaching without grades’ method, primarily motivated by progress towards your own goals, rather than by grades.
SPI 306; ECO 329; ENV 319
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. These 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.
URB 385; SOC 385; HUM 385; ARC 385
Aaron P. Shkuda
This seminar introduces the study of gentrification, with a focus on mapping projects using GIS (Geographic Information Systems) software. Readings, films, and site visits will situate the topic, as the course examines how racial landscapes of gentrification, culture and politics have been influenced by and helped drive urban change. Tutorials in ArcGIS will allow students to convert observations of urban life into fresh data and work with existing datasets. Learn to read maps critically, undertake multifaceted spatial analysis, and master new cartographic practices associated with emerging scholarship in the Digital and Urban Humanities.
Hydrology: Water and Climate
Analysis of fundamental processes in the hydrologic cycle, including precipitation, evapotranspiration, infiltration, streamflow and groundwater flow.
CEE 311; CHM 311; GEO 311; ENE 311
Global Air Pollution
Students will study the chemical and physical processes involved in the sources, transformation, transport, and sinks of air pollutants on local to global scales. Societal problems such as photochemical smog, particulate matter, greenhouse gases, and stratospheric ozone depletion will be investigated using fundamental concepts in chemistry, physics, and engineering. For the class project, students will select a trace gas species or family of gases and analyze recent field and remote sensing data based upon material covered in the course. Environments to be studied include very clean, remote portions of the globe to urban air quality.
CEE 344; ENV 344
Water, Engineering, and Civilization
A modern view of water resources, from the physical and engineering principles appealing to CEE students to the broader historical and social aspects of sustainable development of interest to the environmental sciences and humanities. Teams of students will develop interconnected design projects on water distribution, hydrologic hazards, and sustainable use of soil and water resources, with emphasis on interdisciplinary communication among stakeholders. Guest lectures will cover some of the historical, political, and legal aspects of the works, complemented by a visit to the world-renown hydraulic infrastructure of the Catskills-NYC aqueduct.
CEE 477; ENE 477
Engineering Design for Sustainable Development
This course will focus on the sustainable design of urban wastewater infrastructure. Students will learn the principals of biological wastewater modelling and will use software packages and other design tools for design and upgrading existing water/wastewater treatment systems, including new processes that incorporate energy and resource recovery. The projects are considered from concept development to detailed design with special considerations on sustainability and resilience. Guest speakers from academia and industry will be invited to present the new advancements in research and technology.
ECO 355; ENV 355
Economics of Food and Agriculture
This course uses microeconomic analysis (specifically, tools drawn from demand/supply analysis, development, trade, and public economics) to study issues related to agriculture and food. These include the role of agriculture in the global economy and in economic development; biofuels; the Green Revolution and GMOs; agriculture and the environment/climate change; agricultural trade and trade disputes; hunger, famines and food aid; and food insecurity and obesity in the U.S. The course assesses whether farm, food and nutrition policies in poor and rich countries, including the U.S., address current challenges.
ECO 385; CHV 345
Ethics and Economics
Thomas C. Leonard
Introduction to ethical issues in market exchange, and in laws that regulate it. How ethical commitments evolve, and influence cooperation. The moral dimension of low wages, outsourcing, “fair” trade, price discrimination, and banning sales of sex, blood, organs and other “repugnant” goods. The nature, causes and consequences of economic inequality.
ENE 202; ARC 208; EGR 208; ENV 206
Designing Sustainable Systems: Understanding our Environment with the Internet of Things
Forrest M. Meggers
The course presents anthropogenic global changes and their impact on sustainable design. The course focuses on understanding the underlying principles from natural and applied sciences, and how new basic Internet of Things digital technology enables alternative system analysis and design. Material is presented in 2 parts: 1) Global Change and Environmental Impacts: studying our influences on basic natural systems and cycles and how we can evaluate them, and 2) Designing Sustainable Systems: synthesizing the environmental science with new IoT in an applied design project.
Climate scientists have long agreed that climate change is real, potentially dangerous, and caused largely by humans. Despite these warnings, however, policymakers have still not taken significant action to limit greenhouse-gas emissions–in part because scientists talk mostly to each other, in technical terms most of us cannot understand. That is where science communicators come in. This class will give students the basic scientific knowledge; the narrative ability; and the technical skills to translate climate science into compelling stories, largely in video, that can help lead to greater public understanding of this crucial issue.
Divided We Stand: Economic Inequality and its Discontents
Thomas C. Leonard
The nature, causes, and consequences of US and global inequalities of income, wealth, happiness and life expectancy. US economic inequality has surged since 1980. Women earn less than men, African Americans earn less than whites, rural workers earn less than metropolitan workers, the bottom 50% earns less than the top 1%. Why? What can policy do to reduce inequality? How does inequality affect justice? Is poverty or inequality the more serious problem? Is inequality intrinsically bad or bad chiefly in its consequences? Do moral obligations to reduce inequality extend beyond national borders or stop at the water’s edge?
Fighting for Health: Illness, Iniquities, and Inequality
Leslie E. Gerwin
Why do Americans struggle to be healthy? The coronavirus pandemic has amplified the inadequacies of America’s public health system: social disparities, dystopian politics, and structural racism interfere with government responsibilities, accurate information for individual decisionmaking, and access to health services. We will examine the policies and politics that animate modern challenges to the public’s health, including those exposed by the current pandemic and other challenges such as drug use: opioids and tobacco; vaccines; access to health care; environmental justice, among other topics.
Allan M. Rubin
An introduction to natural (and some society-induced) hazards and the importance of public understanding of the issues related to them. Emphasis is on the geological processes that underlie the hazards, with discussion of relevant policy issues tied to reading recent newspaper/popular science articles. Principal topics: Earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, tsunami, hurricanes, floods, meteorite impacts, global warming. Intended primarily for non-science majors.
PSY 317; GHP 317
Nicole M. Avena
The objectives of this course are to understand the bio-psycho-social/processes that influence health-related behaviors, health and wellness, and health-care delivery. Topics to be examined are the psycho-physiological and socio-cultural bases of health and illness; pain; adaptation to chronic illness; stress; personality and illness; death, dying, and grief; substance use; obesity and nutrition; health promoting behaviors; patient adherence; physician-patient communication; and health care utilization.
REL 214 CHV 215
Religion, Ethics, and Animals
Shaun E. Marmon
How have religious traditions addressed the relationship between human and non-human animals, and between non-human animals and the divine? What is the connection between representations of dominion over animals in religious texts, and the subjugation of women, the “racial” other, and marginalized peoples? Our focus will be on the ways in which non-human animals, real or imagined, have figured in the religious and moral traditions, as well as the cultural practices, of the Middle East and the west, from ancient times to the present. Course includes guest speakers and engagement with animal welfare groups that focus on religion/animal welfare.
Introduction to American Popular Culture
This course engages critically with the artifacts and archives of contemporary American culture, inviting students to view, read, and create these artifacts with an eye toward what they tell us about how the United States represents itself and its citizens through various genres including theatre, musicals, film, TV, music, graphic and written novels, games, and the internet. Who are the heroes and villains in contemporary U.S. pop culture? How are family, work, and romance represented across races, genders and sexualities? How are economics and social class portrayed? Do the narratives we consume still promise an American Dream?
ANT 403; AAS 403; GHP 403
Race and Medicine
Why do certain populations have longer life expectancies? Is it behavior, genes, structural inequalities? And why should the government care? This course unpacks taken-for-granted concepts like race, evidence-based medicine, and even the public health focus on equalizing life expectancies. From questions of racism in the clinic to citizenship and the Affordable Care Act, ‘Race and Medicine’ takes students on a journey of rethinking what constitutes social justice in health care.
Food, Culture, and Society
This course explores the central role of food in everyday life in US and global contexts. Using a comparative global perspective, we will address key questions about histories of food production and consumption, the ways in which food production and distribution differentially affect the lives of those working in the food industry and those consuming food. We will think through how global shifts in food production and distribution impact human lives on national, local, and familial levels.
ARC 492; URB 492; ENV 492
Topics in the Formal Analysis of the Urban Structure: Environmental Challenges of Urban Sprawl
Mario I. Gandelsonas
As part of the search for solutions to climate, water and energy challenges in a rapidly urbanizing world, it is crucial to understand and reassess the environmental challenges and potential of the exurban wasteland. This interdisciplinary course aims to add theoretical, pragmatic and cultural dimensions to scientific, technological, and policy aspects of current environmental challenges, in an effort to bridge the environmental sciences, urbanism and the humanities focusing on the transformation of the Meadowlands, the large ecosystem of wetlands, into a State Park.
MOL 250; GHP 360
Food, Drugs, and Society
Jeffry B. Stock
The current environment in the US for the use and abuse of foods and drugs will be examined from a scientific fact-based perspective. Historical, economic, marketing, political, and public health drivers will be considered. Specific topics include government dietary recommendations (food politics), dietary supplements (from Vitamins to herbal extracts), pharmacology and ethical drug development (sulfa drugs, NSAIDS, etc), addiction and substance abuse (alcohol, nicotine, stimulants, opioids, etc), Alzheimer’s disease and the problem of long-term care in an aging population, and Psychedelic drug use and abuse (psilocybin, mescaline, LSD, etc).
NES 316; HIS 311; HLS 371
Global Trade before the Modern Period
To what extent is globalization a new phenomenon? This seminar considers the flow of people (free and enslaved), commodities, and manufactured goods across Europe, Africa and Asia, with a focus on the human and qualitative dimensions. We will touch on the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean basin, the overland Silk Roads and the Atlantic world; the time-span ranges from the ancient Greeks to the eighteenth century; among the trading diasporas we will consider are Jews and Armenians. Readings include classic and newer studies as well as merchant correspondence and sailors’ logs.
PHI 351; CHV 351
Adam J. Lerner
This course examines ethical tradeoffs that arise in environmental policy making. We begin by discussing various aspects of the environment that could give it value: abiotic features, non-sentient organisms, animals, species, biodiversity, ecosystems, existing humans, and future humans. The second half of the course explores how individuals and groups should go about protecting the most valuable aspects of the environment. Particular topics include: geoengineering, genetic engineering, family planning, carbon offsetting, global climate policy and inequality, endangered species, invasive species, land restoration, and space exploration.
PSY 345; NEU 325
Sensation and Perception
Jonathan W. Pillow
This course will provide an introduction to the scientific study of sensation and perception, the biological and psychological processes by which we perceive and interpret the world around us. We will undertake a detailed study of the major senses (vision, audition, touch, smell, taste), using insights from a variety of disciplines (philosophy, physics, computer science, neuroscience, psychology) to examine how these senses work and why. We will begin with physical bases for perceptual information (e.g., light, sound waves) and proceed to an investigation of the structures, circuits, and mechanisms by which the brain forms sensory percepts.
VIS 324; ENV 312
The Visible Wild
Students will learn techniques of wildlife surveillance photography using remote cameras to photograph animal populations on and around Princeton’s campus. The photographs and apparatus will be considered as both ecological research and works of art. As such, the methods and results will be critically examined for population index studies as well as philosophical ramifications. A final exhibition of the images will highlight the secret wilderness of the area while posing questions about our relationship to non-human animals and the narrative ramifications of the gaze of surveillance photography.
CLA 247; HUM 249; STC 247: ENV 247
The Science of Roman History
Janet E. Kay
Roman history courses usually cover the grand narratives based on the more traditional, literary evidence. Usually these courses leave no room for discussing how knowledge is created and the new and different methods for studying ancient history. This course instead looks at different questions to shed light in fruitful collaborations between scholars from different fields. Students will engage with STEM as they consider humanistic questions. Through different case studies and hands on activities, students will learn about different scientific, technological and mathematical methods and how knowledge of the past draws on multiple disciplines.