Human Nature: DNA, Race and Identity

W4321 Human Identity Seminar

Spring 2011

Wednesdays, 2:10-4pm

Hamilton Hall Room 401

Class Description

This is the third year that this Columbia Core Capstone seminar on Human Identity has been taught by colleagues from four different disciplines; Law, Religion, Science, and Medicine.

Format: The first hour of each class will be a presentation and discussion led by an instructor, the second hour will be an opportunity for the whole class to participate in an open and non-judgemental discussion of the topic at hand, focusing on at least one assigned paper. Laptops are welcome during the first hour (unless stated otherwise by the instructors) but students are asked to turn all electronic devices off in the second hour. Please keep all cell phones on vibrate if you must bring them to class. A 5-10 minute break will be held after the first hour. Please notify the instructors in advance if you must miss a class.

Grading will be based on class participation (15%); grades from three short response papers during the semester based on assigned readings (15% each, 45% total); and a graded research paper of 10-15 pages due at the end of the term Friday, May 13th (40%). All papers are expected to be handed in on time. Late papers will receive a grade no higher than a B.

Format for Response Papers: Students will be asked to write three short papers (approx 600 – 750 words, double spaced, 12 point font) during the course of the semester. Each paper should respond to a specific article, or set of articles relating to one subject, that appears on the required reading list. Papers must begin with a thesis statement of no more than 30 words, which the rest of the paper will illustrate, develop, or demonstrate on the basis of the texts. Example of a thesis statement: People who suffer physical and/or mental disabilities are due the same respect, consideration, and civil rights as fully abled individuals. References should be made within the paper; eg. (Johnson, 45) The first paper is due anytime during the first third of the semester but no later than February 9th. The second paper is due in the second third of the class but no later than March 2nd. The third paper is due in the last third of the class but no later than April 13th.

Format for Term Papers Term papers must involve research on a subject covered by the course. Keep in mind these are research papers and not response or reflection papers. Students are strongly encouraged to discuss their paper topics with instructors during the proposal and research phases. MLA or APA style only; 10-15 pages, double-spaced, 12 point font, one inch margins. No late papers.

Schedule of Classes

1. Introduction and Overview -January 19th

2. Sexual Reproduction Biological Basics-January 26th

3. Sexual Reproduction-Ethical Concerns-February 2nd

4. Dependency-Ethical Concerns-February 9th (First Response Paper Due)

5. Evolution-Biology Basics-February 16th

6. Psychopharmacology-Biology Basics-February 23rd

7. Dependence and Interdependence: A Psychoanalytic Perspective-March 2nd
(Second Response Paper Due)

8. Neuroscience and Law-Ethical Concerns-March 9th

9. The Obligations and the Limits of Free Will-March 23rd

10. Global Interdependence-March 30th

|11. Implications of the Application of the DSM: Living with Mental Illness-April 6th

12. Novel Traits-April 13th (Third Response Paper Due)

13. Discussion of Topics for the Final Paper-April 20th

14. Evaluations, Last Class-April 27th


Cynthia Peabody Director, Center for the Study of Science and Religion

Marya Pollack Assistant Clinical Professor, Psychiatry

Robert Pollack Professor, Biology

Marcia Sells Associate Vice President, Government and Community Affairs

Patricia Williams James L. Dohr Professor of Law