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Registering for classes is always a daunting process, and next semester seems particularly stressful. With the delayed registration process and many departments still finalizing next semester’s courses, it seems harder than ever to find classes that are interesting, relevant, and new.

However, despite these strange circumstances and an even stranger year, there are a plethora of new or updated classes for the spring 2021 semester, including many courses focusing on contemporary events. If you’re looking for an interesting class to take next semester, check out Spectrum’s compilation below.

Introductory undergraduate course

Epidemiology UN1010 COVID-19 Pandemic This lecture consists of 14 one-hour guest lectures to provide students with a comprehensive class on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Religion UN1320 Losing My Religion This lecture focuses on the differing meanings of “religion” and how loss and religion are interconnected, especially during global crises.

Advanced undergraduate course


Asian Studies-Religion BC3115 Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? This lecture studies The Problem of Evil, also known as the field of Theodicy, which investigates and justifies the existence of God in troubled times such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Comparative Literature: Russian UN3312 Thinking Bodies: Literature, Film, Performance This lecture examines the effect of embodiment on human knowledge.

Earth and Environmental Sciences BC3026 Birds, Plants, and Land-Use Dynamics This lecture studies how birds and plants are affected by climate change and land-use issues.

Earth and Environmental Sciences BC3027 Urban Ecosystems This lecture focuses on ecosystems within cities and human interactions with them.

English BC3170 Literature and Science 1600-1800 This lecture examines scientific and literature “revolutions,” studying the two types of movements in relation to each other.

Spanish BC3180 Between Science Fiction and Climate Fiction This lecture explores the connections between science fiction and Latin American climate change fiction.


Anthropology UN3665 The Politics of Care This seminar discusses the meaning of care from various perspectives, in different locations, and across time frames.

Anthropology UN3893 The Bomb This seminar examines the social impact of the nuclear bomb during World War II and the Cold War.

Center for Study of Ethnicity and Race UN3304 Race and Aesthetics in Cinema This seminar explores the intersection of race and aesthetics in cinema through several theoretical frameworks.

Center for Study of Ethnicity and Race UN3305 Provincializing Prohibition The War This seminar focuses on how the government’s war on drugs is connected to creating a demand for drug commerce.

Center for Study of Ethnicity and Race UN3964 Maya Guatemala-Neoliberalism & Resistance This seminar studies the Maya people of Guatemala and the history behind Indigenous political action in the context of contemporary issues.

English UN3789 American Nature Writing to 1900 This seminar studies works from the American literary canon of authors experiencing the natural world, later noting how these experiences impacted their political views.

History BC3505 Pandemic Tales: Curated Conversations with Migrant Workers In this seminar, students are trained to interview Filipino migrant workers from the organization Damayan about how the pandemic has impacted their lives and work. The class culminates in a collaborative podcast or website for Damayan’s use.

Human Rights BC3851 Human Rights & Public Health This seminar explores health disparities, including what drives them, how they impact people, and how to address them with systemic change.

Psychology BC3156 Political Psychology This seminar studies the intersection of psychology and politics, especially in the perspective of average citizens.

Psychology UN3624 Adolescent Mental Health This seminar examines mental disorders and their ties to adolescence.

Religion UN3208 Aaahh Real Monsters Critical Monster Studies This seminar examines how monsters are formed, imagined, represented, and more.

Theatre UN3144 Ecologies of Transmedia Performance This seminar discusses the use of new platforms and technologies in theatre performances, culminating in a transmedia exhibition.

Women’s Studies UN3655 Gender and Public Health This seminar focuses on the connection between gender and health, in gendered power dynamics and in social processes.

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences seminar open to qualified undergraduates

Africana Studies GU4321 Pandemics of Harlem This seminar focuses on plagues in Harlem in the 1990s, including AIDS, drug addiction, and obesity.

Comparative Literature & Society GU4323 Utopia and the Pandemic This seminar examines the idea of a utopia from several authors and its relationship with the isolation people face during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Comparative Literature & Society GU4325 Abolition Medicine This seminar discusses the history of medical racial violence and the future of anti-racist public health systems.

Comparative Literature & Society GU4732 Matters of Life/Death This seminar discusses philosophies on life and death and their implications on COVID-19 and systemic racism.

Comparative Literature & Society GU4800 Advanced Topics in Medical Humanities This seminar discusses the use of medical humanities for activism and highlighting social inequities during pandemics.

History GU4727 The History of the End of the World This seminar studies the history of apocalyptic events, human behavior with risks and danger, and the connection between past and current forms of “the end of the world.”

Linguistics GU4173 Hyphenated Minds This seminar focuses on the vocabulary of thoughts in bilingual people.

Middle East GU4239 Medicine and Disease in the Pre-Modern Islamic World This seminar studies figures in history who played a role in health care from the ninth to 14th centuries.

Psychology GU4242 Evolution of Language This seminar focuses on how language has evolved and how it differs from animal communication.

Psychology GU4880 In Service of Equity This seminar studies emotional and cognitive development in the context of policy and inequities.

Religion GU4517 After the Human This seminar explores the consequences of technological advancement in relation to human bodies, begging the question of what succeeds the human.

Staff writer Ariana Novo does not have much room in her schedule for next semester but might get to take an interesting course this summer. She can be contacted at Follow Spectator on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec.

Columbia Barnard Class Course Spring Spring 2021 COVID-19 BLM New Updated Semester Pandemic
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