Course Website Locator: pih520-01

Harvard School of Public Health

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Spring 2 2008

Dr. R. Levins
2.50 credits
Lectures, seminars. Two 2-hour sessions each week

This course is a sequel to Human Ecology, PIH 253-fall II. It will be run as a semi-seminar course with about 1/3 lecture, 2/3 student-led discussions and reports. There will be a common core of general readings and then students will read different selections to contribute to the discussion.
Themes: The Eco-social Distress Syndrome, a multidimensional imbalance between our species and the rest of nature against the background of the conflicting demands for a rising and equitable standard of living for all and the constraints of sustainability.
Each kind of society has its own pattern of relations with the rest of nature including resources, waste, microorganisms, pests, habitats, climate and demography and its own ways of generating knowledge giving rise to distinct patterns of knowledge and ignorance.
Each habitat (natural or anthropogenic) provides human societies with its own constraints and opportunities and its own health spectrum.
Different strategies of development have differential effects on all of these. In order to span a wide range of alternatives situations, the course will be organized around selected geographic areas (the Lake Victoria basin, Thailand or the Philippines, Central America and the Caribbean), habitats (tropical forests, semi-arid savannas, coastlines, cities), health problems (malnutrition, malaria, cholera, emerging viruses) and development strategies for resource use, agricultural development, national science strategy (neo-liberal, nationalist, socialist) with an emphasis on the less familiar approaches, and international efforts to reconcile development with ecology.
Course notes: Minimum enrollment required. (5.06)


Course evaluations are an important method for feedback on the quality of course offerings. The submission of a course evaluation is a requirement for this course. Your grade for the course will be made available only after you have submitted responses to at least the first three questions of the on-line evaluation for this course.

Spring 2 2007

Dr. R. Levins
2.50 credits
Lectures, seminars. Two 2-hour sessions each week

This course is a sequel to Human Ecology, PIH 253-fall II. It will be run as a semi-seminar course with about 1/3 lecture, 2/3 student-led discussions and reports. There will be a common core of general readings and then students will read different selections to contribute to the discussion.
Themes: The Eco-social Distress Syndrome, a multidimensional imbalance between our species and the rest of nature against the background of the conflicting demands for a rising and equitable standard of living for all and the constraints of sustainability.
Each kind of society has its own pattern of relations with the rest of nature including resources, waste, microorganisms, pests, habitats, climate and demography and its own ways of generating knowledge giving rise to distinct patterns of knowledge and ignorance.
Each habitat (natural or anthropogenic) provides human societies with its own constraints and opportunities and its own health spectrum.
Different strategies of development have differential effects on all of these. In order to span a wide range of alternatives situations, the course will be organized around selected geographic areas (the Lake Victoria basin, Thailand or the Philippines, Central America and the Caribbean), habitats (tropical forests, semi-arid savannas, coastlines, cities), health problems (malnutrition, malaria, cholera, emerging viruses) and development strategies for resource use, agricultural development, national science strategy (neo-liberal, nationalist, socialist) with an emphasis on the less familiar approaches, and international efforts to reconcile development with ecology.
Course notes: Minimum enrollment required. (5.06)


Course evaluations are an important method for feedback on the quality of course offerings. The submission of a course evaluation is a requirement for this course. Your grade for the course will be made available only after you have submitted responses to at least the first three questions of the on-line evaluation for this course.

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