Opinion
Tufts Occupy. Photo - Gaia Garden Tufts Occupy. Photo - Gaia Garden  

Outlandish college courses: The Dirty Dozen for private (non-Ivy League) schools

Stanford University, Environmental Earth System Science: The Global Warming Paradox III

Further discussion of the complex climate challenges posed by the substantial benefits of energy consumption, including the critical tension between the enormous global demand for increased human well-being and the negative climate consequences of large-scale emissions of carbon dioxide. Discussions will explore topics of student interest, including peer-reviewed scientific papers, current research results, and portrayal of scientific findings by the mass media and social networks.

Rice University, Environmental Studies: The Science behind Earth Global Warming and Climate Change

The course will introduce the students to the science behind last century Earth global warming in the context of the past records of global Earth climate variability and forecast of Earth climate in the next century.

Johns Hopkins University, Earth and Planetary Sciences: Conversation with the Earth

A discussion of current topics on Earth’s origin, evolution, and habitability. Topics will include extinction of life from meteorite impact, global warming, ozone depletion, volcanism, ice ages, and catastrophic floods, among others.

Carnegie Mellon University, Economics: Political Economy of Inequality and Redistribution

Three basic types of institution – markets, communities, and states (i.e. public governments) – determine the distribution of economic resources and opportunities in societies. The balance between these governing institutions has changed dramatically over time, at very different rates across societies. This course will begin with economic and political theory on why these differences over time and across countries may exist. Then it will survey some of these differences across both industrialized and pre-industrial societies and investigate their causes and consequences. Some of the questions the course will ask include the following: In the industrialized world, the public sector (government) plays a much larger role in Europe than in the United States. Why is this so? How does this affect the quality of everyday life for different classes of people? How have globalization and technological change affected the distribution of income and social policy in industrialized countries, and how does this affect the public sector? In some tribal societies, people have no access to markets at all. How does this affect distributive behavior within communities? Finally, what might be the ultimate causes of income inequality on a global scale? Are there prehistoric and environmental roots in the ways peoples of different societies live today? This course will examine these questions by studying theoretical and empirical research conducted by economists, economic anthropologists, political economists, and economic geographers on these questions.

 

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s final installment of The Dirty Dozen, which will cover public universities.

 

Kate Edwards is the program officer for chapter services for Young Americans for Freedom, a Project of Young America’s Foundation.