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Fall 2018

The Environmental Psychology of Care


David Chapin (The Graduate Center, Environmental Psychology)
Tomoaki Imamichi (LaGuardia Community College, Social Science)

Thursdays, 11:45am-1:45pm
Course Number: 63320
Listed in: Interdisciplinary Studies; Environmental Psychology; Women’s and Gender Studies; Earth and Environmental Sciences

The Environmental Psychology of Care
This course takes an interdisciplinary approach in exploring the relationship between care and the physical environment—how care (and the absence of it) is reflected in the physical environment and the physical environment can support care. The course will focus approximately two-week segments on the following topics:

Experiencing Places of Care.
Taking advance of the diverse settings and opportunities of New York City, this course includes field trips (such as Roosevelt Island, a Japanese Tea Room, and a guerrilla garden), phenomenological experiments (e.g. traveling with a stroller or suitcase through different environments), and guest speakers (possibly from the Adaptive Design Association and the Ramapough-Lenape Nation).
Understanding Care by Exploring Environments of anti-care.
We will focus briefly on concepts of power and how they are actualized in issues such as racism, class distinctions and the like; techniques of exclusion, exploitation, deflection and distraction. Who benefits?

The Architecture of Care: Caring for the Community.
Through readings, visual examples, and discussions, we will explore and analyze how the built environment enables and disables people, and what caring environments entail. Some of our focus will be on institutional settings, but we will also look carefully at everyday environments—environments designed for diversity and inclusion which allow people with diverse abilities, different cultural backgrounds and possible conflicting needs to feel welcome and participate in society.
Sustainability by Design: Caring for Our future.
How do architecture, urban design and policies of justice lead to more sustainable practices? We will consider innovative new building techniques and designs, as well as existing models of neighborhoods, global cities, and cultural traditions.

Environmental Attitudes of Care.
We will investigate different ideological and philosophical approaches with implications of how we relate to the environment, ranging from existential approaches of “being-in-the-world” to concepts of “dwelling” and wabi-sabi (an appreciation for imperfection and the aged) and how these attitudes can be manifested in practice, objects and the built environment.

Contemporary Issues of Care.
We must also consider care (and the lack of) in the evolving context of virtual environments, screen-life, and technological advances such as “care-giving” robots and “artificial emotions.”

Working in small groups, we will expect each class member to actively apply concepts from the class to a project defined as significant by the group.

Disability, Culture, and Society


Joseph Straus (The Graduate Center, Music)
Julia Miele Rodas (Bronx Community College, English)

Wednesdays, 2-5pm
Course Number: 63321
Listed in: Interdisciplinary Studies; Music; Women’s and Gender Studies

Syllabus (pdf); public events series

Like the fictions of gender and race, disability is a cultural and social formation that sorts bodies and minds into desirable (normal) and undesirable (abnormal, sick) categories. Regimes of representation in literature, art, music, theater, film, and popular culture—the ways that bodies and minds constructed as disabled are depicted—both reflect and shape cultural understandings of nonconforming identities and extraordinary bodies, affecting the lived experience of people understood as disabled, often in negative ways. Drawing on examples from the arts and popular culture, this course will interrogate the many ways disability identity has been confined to rigid and unproductive social, political, and aesthetic categories. It will also explore a significant counter-tradition in which disability is seen as a significant artistic resource and a desirable way of being in the world. Topics will include: the medical and social models of disability; narratives of disability; disability and performance; disability writing (memoir and fiction); narratives of overcoming; the histories and cultures of autism, deafness, blindness, intellectual disability, and madness. We will pay particular attention to the intersection of disability with other more familiar tropes of human disqualification, including race, gender, and sexuality.

Mind the Gap


Ann Kirschner (The Graduate Center)
Guest lecturers, TBA

Tues, 6:30-8:30pm
Course number: 63322
Listed in: Interdisciplinary Studies; MALS; Political Science


Coming soon to your neighborhood…Driverless cars. Stores without cashiers. Supermarkets stocked with food that was harvested by robots and delivered by drones. Restaurant with automated burger flippers. Classrooms stocked with virtual reality headsets and no teachers. Nursing homes with comfort care e-surrogates. Hospitals with virtual doctors. Brain-computer interfaces that cure blindness and fix spinal cord injuries.

Sometimes called the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or the Second Machine Age, we are on the cusp of an era in which artificial intelligence, automation, genetics, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing, to name just a few, are transforming how we live, learn, and earn. In previous eras, major shifts in technology created as many new jobs as they destroyed. Are we doomed to a period of massive unemployment and social unrest? Or is this the new utopia?

Mind the Gap will address this question: As we think about the range of possibilities — from the utopian to the dystopian — what are the policies, technologies, and social systems that should be anticipated today to ensure positive outcomes for the future? The course will examine the historical role of work, the outcomes of previous technological shifts, and the ethical dimensions that should inform our planning for the future. The focus will not only be on technology but on drivers for change, the context in which they are taking place, from changing demographics to globalization to climate change.

The course assumes that technology is not created in a vacuum, that the future is a page not yet written, and that we have a window of time in which business, government, and the individual can proactively adapt and shape a better future.