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SGS awards Daniel Mason course innovation grant for class on climate change and mental health

Daniel Mason

Daniel Mason

Sep 24 2020

Stanford Global Studies has awarded a Course Innovation Grant to Daniel Mason, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry in the School of Medicine, for his new course Global 150N: Climate Change and Mental Health. SGS Course Innovation Grants support courses that creatively engage students in learning about key global issues. 

“One of our priorities at SGS is to provide ways for students from across the university to learn about issues of regional and global importance, be it through coursework, internships, research opportunities, or study abroad,” says SGS Director Jeremy M. Weinstein, who established a series of Course Innovation Grants in 2016. “Our goal is to engage students with these topics—regardless of their field of study—to better equip them for the global issues they will encounter in their careers beyond Stanford.”

The impact of climate change is far-reaching, extending beyond immediate ecological effects and into a range of human experiences, including physical and mental disease. Global 150N will use an interdisciplinary approach to consider the interaction between climate change and mental health. Beginning with historical associations of nature and human well-being, the class will use a variety of textssome historic, some literary, some scientificto explore the effects of nature on the human mind. Similarly, the course will look at how human psychology influences our reactions to climate change, from grief, to climate change denialism, to action. The seminar has a significant out-of-doors component, including local ecosystem exploration, an applied study of "nature therapy," and field trips to sites where clinical work on the interaction of nature and mental health can be observed first-hand. Students will also have the opportunity to hear from several guests known nationally for their work in the areas of climate change and mental health.


Several courses that have received Course Innovation Grants in the past will be offered again in the 2020-21 academic year, including:

COMPLIT 100: Capitals: How Cities Shape Culture, States, and People

Adrian Daub and Dan Edelstein, Summer 2021

This course takes students on a trip to major capital cities, at different moments in time: Renaissance Florence, Golden Age Madrid, Colonial Mexico City, Enlightenment and Romantic Paris, Existential and Revolutionary St. Petersburg, Roaring Berlin, Modernist Vienna, and bustling Buenos Aires. While exploring each place in a particular historical moment, we will also consider the relations between culture, power, and social life.


GLOBAL 135: Around the World in Ten Films

Pavle Levi, Spring 2021

This is an introductory-level course about the cinema as a global language. We will undertake a comparative study of select historical and contemporary aspects of international cinema and explore a range of themes pertaining to the social, cultural, and political diversity of the world.


HUMRTS 108: Spanish Immersion Service-Learning: Migration, Asylum, and Human Rights at the U.S. Mexico Border

Vivian Brates, Fall 2020 and Winter 2021

Students will have the opportunity to apply their advanced Spanish language skills and knowledge from the class as remote volunteers with immigrant rights advocacy organizations. Students will be trained to work remotely to staff a hotline through with they can help monitor detention conditions, report abuse, and request support on behalf of detainees and their loved ones. They will also have a commitment to work on more projects such as providing interpretations or translations for attorneys or mental/health professionals working remotely with detainees or their families, and/or conducting basic internet research to substantiate asylum claims or fear of persecution. This community engaged learning workshop is open only to students who are concurrently enrolled in SPANLANG 108SL.


HUMRTS 114: Human Rights Practice and Challenges in Southeast Asia: Issues, Fieldwork, Career Paths

David Cohen, Spring 2021

The practice-oriented course will address the ways in which human rights initiatives are designed, developed, funded, implemented, and evaluated by the various actors and institutions that make up the complex landscape of human rights work. Students will hear from guest speakers who have successfully followed career paths in the UN, NGOs, academia, philanthropy, and development. Offered in the spring, the course will focus on the 10 Southeast Asian nations that make up the ASEAN region, with emphasis on the ways in which ASEAN human rights issues are connected to South Asia and China. 


LATINAM 177A: Mapping Poverty, Colonialism, and Nation Building in Latin America

Alberto Diaz-Cayeros, Spring 2021

This course is an introduction to the mapping of colonial and early independent Latin America as a lens through which students may learn about the process of colonization, state building, and the legacies of those processes on poverty and underdevelopment today.


POLISCI 46N: Contemporary African Politics

David Laitin, Spring 2021

Africa has lagged behind the rest of the developing world in terms of three consequential outcomes: economic development, the establishment of social order through effective governance, and the consolidation of democracy. This course seeks to identify the historical and political sources accounting for this lag, to provide extensive case study and statistical material to understand what sustains it, and to examine recent examples of success pointing to a more hopeful future.


POLISCI 140P: Populism and the Erosion of Democracy

Anna Grzymala-Busse, Winter 2021

What is populism, and how much of a threat to democracy is it? How different is it from fascism or other anti-liberal movements? This course explores the conditions for the rise of populism, evaluates how much of a danger it poses, and examines the different forms it takes.


SPANLANG 108SL: Advanced Spanish Service-Learning: Migration, Asylum, and Human Rights at the Border 

Vivian Brates, Fall 2020 and Winter 2021

Students will develop advanced Spanish language proficiency through examination of issues surrounding current immigration and refugee crises. There will be class discussions of Central American contexts, international treaties, human rights, and U.S. immigration law. Students should enroll in the companion course HUMRTS 108 to receive units for volunteer hours performed throughout the quarter, concurrent with class meetings and assignments. Service-learning opportunities will entail working directly with Spanish-speaking immigrant and asylum seekers in detention in the U.S. Due to COVID-19, all service-learning hours will be performed remotely. 


Visit Explore Courses for updated information about these courses.