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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, a corporate resource, or a political pawn? Control of Water is at the crux of ethical issues such as: Can we “own” nature? Are water rights human rights?

We’ll examine conflicting beliefs and values, from corporate to indigenous, that shape how people think and talk about water. We’ll look at how clashing beliefs translate into actions, which translate into ecological effects, which arouse diverse political responses. The goal is triple: to learn about contemporary issues surrounding water; to learn about diverse ways of “telling the water story” to develop media and public sphere literacy; to apply this literacy to water issues that concern you.

How does this study fit into your degree? If you plan to live, you will need water. Each area addresses this need in its own way, and so will we:

ARTS: Water is used in producing arts & is an artistic topic; arts are used in water activism.
BME: Water is used in manufacturing, food production, energy production, and has become a product in itself.
CHS: Crucial to health, water is available with qualitative differences according to location, class, and race.
CULTURAL STUDIES: Water appears in cultural productions, and is a rich analytical object for understanding beliefs, values, interests, & issues.
HISTORICAL STUDIES: Settlement patterns rely on water; wars have been and still are fought over water rights.
HUMAN DEVELOPMENT: Water has implications for psychological & spiritual well-being.
INTERDICIPLINARY STUDIES: Water meanings, quality, and rights can be studied from multiple perspectives to yield new insights.
LABOR STUDIES: Workers, e.g. in Bolivia and India, have organized around water issues.
PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Local , national, and international bodies are embroiled in contemporary water policies.
SMAT: Science, math, and technology are employed to study the condition of the world’s waters.
SOCIAL SCIENCE: Water is a social & political issue of critical concern for contemporary society.

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 Online 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. Summer.

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