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2017 EVOS SUMMER COURSES

Summer Session info here

 

BIOL 105/EVOS 105/ANTH 280F - Evolution for Everyone (Online)

An online version of the flagship course for Binghamton University’s EvoS program. in this course you will learn about evolution as a subject that applies to all aspects of humanity in addition to the rest of life. Teaches the basic principles of evolution; why evolution provides a unifying framework for the study of biology and humans; selected topics showing how various aspects of human behavior may be studied from an evolutionary perspective, from mating to religion. Each module consists of readings from the primary scientific literature, online seminars, and (whenever possible) participation in an actual experiment. In this fashion, students will actually do science rather than just learning about it. Finally, students will have an opportunity to choose a topic of their own to study from an evolutionary perspective. A highly interactive course, grading is based heavily on class/assignment participation, e.g. discussion board postings, question sets, and a semester-long research project. There will be two take-home exams.

 

Dr. Rick Kauffman has been an instructor in the Evolutionary Studies program for seven years. He has been teaching for more than thirteen years across the full range of formal & non-formal learning environments—a zoo education department, as a NYS-certified 7-12th grade life sciences teacher, a university biology and evolutionary science instructor, and a number of formal and informal indoor and outdoor education programs. His research emphasizes the utility of evolutionary theory as an applied science to address a wide range of practical problems, to inform evidence-based policy and practice at the individual, local, and global scales. His primary research topics tend to focus around: 1) education, and 2) enhancing the quality of life for individuals and communities. 

 

BIOL/EVOS 452 - Cultural Evolutionary Theory

Studying culture as an evolutionary process vastly expands the scope and relevance of evolutionary science, not just for understanding the human condition but also for improving it in a practical sense. From this perspective, the course introduces students to modern evolutionary thought with an emphasis on how ideas from the cultural evolutionary sciences may assist our species in transitioning to more sustainable modes of existence and provide novel insight into relevant cultural movements (e.g. Permaculture, Transition Network, Intentional Community, etc.).

 

Ian MacDonald is a senior graduate student in David Sloan Wilson’s lab and past instructor for several EvoS courses, including Evolution for Everyone, Evolution and Human Behavior, and Current Topics in Evolutionary Studies. His current research focus is on quality of life and social dynamics within the North American Intentional Community movement, and, more generally, how evolutionary theory can organize the scientific study of such ‘alternative’ cultures.

 

BIOL/EVOS 456 - Evolution and Human Behavior

 This course will provide an advanced understanding in human behavior. Why do we eat more in dim lighting? Has contraception stopped human evolution? Are human naturally monogamous? Is religion an adaptation? How does culture evolve? There are five distinct fields of evolutionary studies that analyze human behavior and at times arrive at contradictory answers. Why does this occur? What are these different fields of evolutionary studies? The goal of this course is to understand the merits of different schools of thoughts that take an evolutionary perspective on human behavior, to understand their inter-relationship and finally to wonder whether a unified field of evolutionary human behavior studies is in sight?

 

Sudhindra Rao (Sud) is a grad student in the Wilson Lab and has a strong teaching experience in introductory and advanced fields of biology. He is currently involved in research in the field of health and nutrition from an evolutionary perspective. His other areas of interest are human behavior, cooperation, philosophy of biology and understanding the nature of suffering or in Darwin’s words ‘the struggle for existence’.

 

BIOL/EVOS 480Q - Science of the Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet, caveman diet, or the hunter-gatherer diet has reached a fad-level status. From cookbook authors to movie stars and athletes, everyone seems to be talking about it. Paleo-diet was first proposed in 1985; however, only a handful of studies have tested this diet in a scientific manner. A hypothesis that doesn’t stand the test of scientific scrutiny will usually go extinct. And yet the paleo-diet hypothesis has been around for 30 years and is becoming popular. The main objectives of this course are to study: the scientific evidence behind this hypothesis, if there is one-universal Paleo-diet or multiple Paleo diets, and how could evolutionary theory inform human nutritional science? Finally, how does a scientific idea originate and develops, and why do some scientific ideas go extinct?

 

Sudhindra Rao (Sud) is a grad student in the Wilson Lab and has a strong teaching experience in introductory and advanced fields of biology. He is currently involved in research in the field of health and nutrition from an evolutionary perspective. His other areas of interest are human behavior, cooperation, philosophy of biology and understanding the nature of suffering or in Darwin’s words ‘the struggle for existence’.

 

BIOL/EVOS 483R - EvoS Seminar Series (Online)

The EvoS Seminar Series Online is a virtual version of the traditional EvoS Seminar Series. With the new online environment, we are placing an extra emphasis on science communication. Instead of written responses about the assigned papers, students will create video blogs which combine their commentary with footage from the seminar.

 

Maximus Thaler is a graduate student in the Wilson lab studying the evolution of cooperation in humans. He works with the Federation of Egalitarian Communities, a network of 100% income sharing communes. Maximus is passionate about science communication and manages several youtube channels.

 

 

 

David Sloan Wilson, Director
Susan Ryan, Program Coordinator

For more info, contact evos@binghamton.edu

Last Updated: 5/15/17