S4 Courses and Workshops

S4 affiliated faculty offer a wide range of graduate courses in spatial thinking, research applications, and spatial analysis. These courses can be combined in different ways to meet the needs of students in different disciplines. Below are listed many of these courses and also some suggested sequences of courses. These could be of value to students in any S4-supported discipline in the social sciences, health sciences, or humanities, particularly those who intend to include a major emphasis on spatial questions in their dissertations.

Specialized workshops are offered periodically throughout the academic year and will be listed here as they are scheduled.

Foundational courses

SOC 2610. Spatial Thinking in the Social Sciences. John Logan, normally offered every other year. This course provides an overview of applications of spatial analysis across the social sciences with an emphasis on how spatial concepts are understood and used.

SOC 2612. GIS and Spatial Analysis for the Social Sciences. Rachel Franklin, normally offered every other year. Introductory, graduate-level course focusing on spatial analysis methods and applications in the social sciences.

Note: S4 organizes the GIS Institute, a two-week GIS training workshop for Brown University graduate students, faculty, and staff, normally offered twice annually. For some students the GIS Institute provides a sufficient introduction to GIS and spatial methods, but we highly recommend the semester-long course for most students.

Advanced courses in spatial methods

SOC2960G. Spatial Data Analysis Techniques for the Social Sciences. Luc Anselin or staff, normally offered every other year. Survey of spatial data analytical techniques with emphasis on the analysis of cross-sections of point and areal data. It introduces source software for spatial statistical analysis, such as the various specialized packages included in R, the PySAL library for spatial analysis in Python, and the GUI-based GeoDa and GeoDaSpace software.

SOC2961A. (new course). Advanced Spatial Data Analysis Techniques for the Social Sciences. Luc Anselin or staff, normally offered every other year. Builds upon 2960G, and broadens the topics covered to the analysis of dynamic (space-time) phenomena as well as models for discrete dependent variables.

SOC2961B. (new course). Applications in GIS. Rachel Franklin, normally taught every other year. Intermediate GIS and spatial analysis course.

SOC 2960S. Methods for Analyzing Clustered and Panel Data. Margot Jackson, normally taught every other year. Introduction to multilevel and time-series models, including issues of neighborhood effects and spatial clustering.

PHP 2604. Statistical Methods for Spatial Data. Cici Bauer, normally offered every other year. An introduction to the use of Bayesian models for spatial analysis, accessible to students with extensive statistical background.

GEOL 2330. Advanced Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems. Jack Mustard, normally taught every other year. Strategies and the physical principles behind the quantitative extraction of geophysical and biophysical measurements from remotely sensed data. Advanced methods of digital image processing and data integration. Introduction to GIS and methods of integrating remotely sensed data into a GIS.

Disciplinary offerings

AMST 2220B. Culture, Politics and the Metropolitan-Built Environment. Sandy Zipp, normally offered every other year. A historically and culturally oriented overview of changes over time in the structure of the U.S. metropolis.

ANTH 1201. An Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis for Anthropologists and Archaeologists. Parker VanValkenburgh, normally offered annually, open to undergraduate and graduate students. Introduction to the concepts, techniques, and the histories that motivate geographic information systems and their employment in anthropological and archaeological scholarship.

ANTH 2201 (new graduate course). Archaeology in the Digital Age. Parker VanValkenburgh, normally offered annually. In the 21st Century, digital tools are as integral to archaeological research as the trowel and the field notebook. This course combines essential training in digital archaeology with critical discussions of how digital methods are impacting the conceptual dimensions of archaeological research. Topics include topographic survey, GNSS, tablet-based recording systems, database design, digital photogrammetry, and intermediate level archaeological GIS. Demonstrated proficiency in ArcGIS or open-sourced GIS software (the equivalent of an introductory course, preferably Anthropology 1201) and previous archaeological field experience are prerequisites.

NEW!     ANTH 2590. Space, Power, and Politics. Parker VanValkenburgh. This course critically examines the politics of space and landscape from an interdisciplinary perspective. After reading key texts in political philosophy and cultural geography, we explore themes in recent scholarship including the spatial production of sovereignty, capital, and political subjectivity and the evolving role of digital cartography in public culture and politics. Case studies are drawn from archaeology, art history, ethnography, cultural geography, and history.

ECON 2420. The Structure of Cities. Nate Baum-Snow, normally offered every other year. This course covers the basics of land use theory, demand estimation and hedonic methods, sorting across political jurisdictions, applied econometric methods for spatial data, transport mode choice, housing, segregation, and place-based policies.

ECON 2410. Urbanization. Matt Turner, normally offered every other year. Advanced land use theory, sources of productivity advantages of size and density, systems of cities and New Economic Geography models.

PHP 2325. Place Matters: Exploring Community-Level Contexts on Health Behaviors, Outcomes and Disparities. Akila Keita, normally offered every other year. Theories and findings related to the effects of local environments on health outcomes.

SOC 1871W. Geographical Analysis of Society. Rachel Franklin, normally offered every other year. Covers theories/concepts and related analytical tools that facilitate understanding of spatial organization of individuals, societies, and economies.

SOC 2960C. Urban Sociology. John Logan, normally offered every other year. This course introduces the analysis of urban development as a social and political process, where space and place are important at multiple scales: neighborhoods, cities, regions, nations.

SOC 2960R. Urbanization in a Global System. John Logan, normally offered every other year. This course covers similar material as 2960C but in an explicitly comparative framework and emphasis on the international and national systems within which cities are embedded.