Future Programs

Spring 2018

Natural History and Urban Ecology of Manhattan

Director: Patrick Reynolds, Professor of Biology
Phone:  315-859-4723
Email:  preynold@hamilton.edu

New York City is rightly considered a commercial capital of the world, a crossroads that drives the globalization that characterizes civilization in the twenty-first century. It is the quintessential urban environment, where myriad dimensions of human culture meet and blend to form a fascinating mosaic. Similarly, the city is a collision of biological diversities and ecologies ­– of native and non-native species, of indigenous and man-made niches – that coexist within an environment that is far from our traditional sense of natural habitats or our understanding of how they function. This program will explore the unique environment of New York City from a biological perspective – providing a fundamental understanding of the urban anthropogenic biome, of how such an environment can be studied ecologically, and of the diversity of the non-human inhabitants of “The Big Green Apple.”

395S Special Topic:  Ecological Landscape and Urban Ecology

The recreation of historical landscapes and urban ecology are relatively new subfields of ecological study that are bringing insights to what are among the most poorly understood ecosystems on earth – those created by humans, where habitats are changed utterly from their original incarnations and where contemporary flora and fauna are dependent on the human activity that shapes their environment. That over half the world’s population lives in urban settings indicates the importance of these ecosystems to our understanding of the biosphere. This course will provide an introduction to historical landscape ecology, with focus on the development of the Manhattan ecosystem over the past 400 years, and will review the approaches of urban ecological study, using the city for field observations and to illustrate concepts. 

396S Independent Research

A tutorial resulting in a substantial paper that integrates experience and learning from the internship with an academic perspective and knowledge gained in the seminars or other tutorial readings.

397S Internship

Internship with a firm, organization, agency, or advocacy group appropriate to the theme of the semester. Students will keep a journal or other written account of the experience.

398S Seminar in Global Processes:  The Cosmopolitan Biodiversity of Manhattan

The flora and fauna of Manhattan reflect four centuries of environmental degradation, which includes the introduction of species from around the world. While likely bearing little resemblance to the original biodiversity of Manahatta island, New York City has greater species richness than might be expected, both through green spaces like Central Park but also in the creation of many microniches throughout the city. This course will build an appreciation of Manhattan biodiversity for all students, and explore its change as related to patterns of human migration and urbanization. It will also provide a deeper understanding of a particular group of plants or animals for each student through urban fieldwork, reference to existing inventories, interaction with New York City natural history organizations, and guest lecturers who have researched Manhattan biodiversity in varied ways.

Fall 2018

Topic:  The Economy of the Social Sector in the Global City

Director: Julio Videras, Professor of Economics
Phone:  315-859-4528
Email:  jvideras@hamilton.edu

New York City is home to many social entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations that aim to deliver creative, effective, and ethical solutions to local and global social problems. The social sector is an important contributor to the economy as a large employer and provider of goods and services. We will study social enterprises, the nonprofit sector, corporate social responsibility, and impact investing. The social sector has a long and vibrant history in New York City; we will learn about these topics from guest lectures and field trips to sites that illustrate past practices and current trends. 

College 395 Economics of the Social Sector 
(Prerequisite Econ 102)

We will study the philanthropic sector, impact investing, corporate social responsibility, and social enterprises. We will examine conventional and new models of philanthropy, how for-profit enterprises incorporate social values into their business models, benefit corporations, and the principles and practices of social innovation. We will also consider challenges to the concepts of social innovation and concerns about the commercialization of the public good.

College 398 Seminar in Global Processes: Innovation in the Social Sector

In this course we will examine how social enterprises and nonprofit groups that operate in New York City tackle local, national, and global problems. We will consider how the social sector focuses on replicability and scale to extend local solutions to global problems. Students will learn from enterprises and organizations in New York City and take field trips to sites that illustrate past and current practices in the social sector.

College 396 Independent Study

A tutorial resulting in a substantial paper that integrates experience and learning from the internship with an academic perspective and knowledge gained in the seminars or other tutorial readings.

College 397 Internship

An Independent Study supervised by the director of the Program in New York City and based on an internship with a firm, organization, agency or advocacy group appropriate to the theme of course.

Spring 2019

Topic:  The City as a Global Phenomenon

Director: Daniel Chambliss, Professor of Sociology
Phone:  315-859-4291
Email:  dchambli@hamilton.edu

For thousands of years, cities have been melting pots of peoples, economies and cultures. The explosion of truly international capitalist economies in the 21st century has produced global cities – New York, London, Tokyo – in which the attentive student can find at close range the intricate connections between how the world at large works and how macrolevel forces play out in the lives of individual people on the street, at work and in their homes. This program will offer students both a wide-ranging vision of how cities have developed throughout history and across the world, as well as allowing closeup studies of urban life.  Courses will be supplemented by a variety of group activities and field trips designed to explore the rich offerings of New York City.


This course will explore the phenomenon of cities, using both historical and comparative examples, including writings of Georg Simmel and Louis Wirth, Jane Jacobs, Herbert Gans, Harvey Molotch, and Douglas Massey, up to the recent pathbreaking work of Saskia Sassen.  Topics will include immigration, poverty, residential segregation, urban economics and the sociology of urban life. 


A tutorial resulting in a substantial paper (30 pages) that integrates experience and learning from the internship with an academic perspective and knowledge gained in the seminars or other tutorial readings.


Work experience during four days a week that includes a journal or written account of that experience.


This is a fieldwork course in ethnographic research, wherein students will spend time in various settings throughout New York City, learning how to systematically observe people in order to understand their lives. Students will choose many of the settings themselves, giving them a chance to get to know urban places and events they may be interested in. New York offers a vast range of interesting locales, giving students the chance both to learn about new places as well as practice these classic methods of social science research.

Contact Information

Karen Prentice-Duprey

(on behalf of the Program Administrator and Directors)
315-859-4634 315-859-4077 kprentic@hamilton.edu
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