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Center for Distance Learning Home > Distance Learning Catalog > Communications Humanities and Cultural Studies >

Course Description:

Water is life. Without it, nothing grows. Fresh water is in jeopardy. What to do about this depends on who’s talking. Is it a sacred trust, or a chemistry problem? Is it our patriotic right, or a political pawn? Is it a human right, or “blue gold,” the latest corporate frontier? http://video214.com/play/e0ExL6KrIji7s4uHohnEZA/s/dark

These different kinds of “water talks” raise the question: who decides who deserves what? This course questions cultural assumptions about “deserving” and explores how these play out as narratives about water. Control of Water is at the crux of ethical issues such as: Can we “own” nature? Are water rights human rights? A resource in and of itself, water distribution also involves contemporary approaches to resources generally, from fuels to run bottling plants, to petroleum to manufacture bottles, to metals in caps, to packaging and transportation technologies, and so on.

We’ll examine a range of verbal and visual cultural productions that tell conflicting tales of water, promoting divergent values and beliefs with a variety of narratives, from corporate to indigenous. We’ll look at how clashing cultural beliefs translate into actions, which translate into ecological effects, which arouse diverse political responses. The goal is triple: to learn about multiple aspects of contemporary issues surrounding water; to learn about the relationships between diverse ways of “telling the story” in order to develop media and public sphere literacy; to apply this literacy to water issues in our own neighborhoods.

This course will employ a range of resources, from visual media to literature, and a variety of activities, from collaborative cultural analyses to independent research, to address public policy concerns. Therefore it fits in varied degree programs. While it meets the Humanities General Education requirement, students can use this venue to explore Literature, Media, Cultural Studies, history of diverse cultures and places, Social Theory, the intersection of public discourse with Environmental Studies, or some marketing aspects of business.

Important Note: this course was renamed effective the January 2015 term and was formerly offered as Water Talks: Rights & Cultures. Students who have successfully completed 253424 should not enroll in this course.

Note: You will be required to rent DVDs or stream several videos for this course.

This course fully meets the General Education requirement in Humanities.

This online course is offered through the Center for Distance Learning. You can take this as an individual course or as part of an online degree program, with term starts in March, May, September, November and January. View current term offerings and all online courses. Click here to register for online courses.

Other Areas: The Arts | Business, Management & Economics | Community & Human Services | Communications, Humanities & Cultural Studies | Educational Studies | Historical Studies | Human Development | Labor Studies | Nursing | Science, Math & Technology | Social Science
Liberal Study
Upper Level
Credits: 4
Meets General Education Requirement In: Humanities-Full

Term(s) Offered (Subject to Change) : Spring 1.

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