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Courses Related to Water

The following list includes Mount Holyoke courses thematically linked to the college-wide focus on water this spring. Students, click on the course number to find the course in the Mount Holyoke College Course Catalogue. For more general information, click on the course title. Click on the professor's name for a profile of the faculty member.

Course Number Course Title Professor
Artst 280s (01) Ecological Art: Imaging and Writing Water
A.Rosenthal
Env St 321 (01) Conference Course- International Water Issues and Politics
S.Postel
Geog 204 Human Dimensions of Environmental Change L.Savoy
Geography 205s (01) Mapping and Spatial Analysis T.Millette
Geog 217  African Environments G.Kebbede
Geol 227 Groundwater A.Werner
Geol 250  The Biosphere M.McMenamin
Hist 301 Food and Famine in African History H.Hanson
Pol 242 Oil and Water Don't Mix: Geopolitics, Energy, and the Environment S.Jones

Art Studio 280s (01) Ecological Art ("ecoart") works across disciplines and within communities to re-envision ecological relationships and develop creative possibilities for sustainability. Ecoartists partner with scientists, urban planners, historians, landscape architects, and others to reclaim landfills, restore wetlands, and reconnect people to where they live. This course will survey the dynamic field of ecoart and the ecological thinking that informs it. Then students will collaborate on an ecoart project addressing the campus-wide theme of water. Students from all disciplines are welcome; no art experience needed. See http://www.studiotara.net/water for more information.

Environmental Studies 321 (01) Water scarcity now poses serious constraints on food security, ecological health, and regional peace and stability in many parts of the world. This course examines the history of water development, the signs and consequences of water scarcity today, and the emerging politics of water. Case studies (e.g., the Everglades, Middle East rivers) provide an opportunity to grapple with real-world problems. A key focus is the interplay between technologies, policies, institutions, and law in confronting water challenges.

Geography 204 Using case studies from Africa, Asia, North and South America, and Europe, this course examines the interactions between human institutions (such as political and economic structures, science and technology, class and gender systems, and cultures) and the environmental/earth systems that provide their contexts and have been impacted by them. The course will provide a forum to analyze the environmental consequences of a variety of land-use systems, resource use, and development projects and explore possible alternative strategies of human-environment relations that could create a balance between human needs and environmental constraints.

Geography 205s (01) Provides a comprehensive introduction to maps, including their design, compilation, and computer production. Introduces students to the principles of abstracting the Earth's surface into a map and using maps and cartographic databases as spatial analytical tools.

Geography 217
The course provides an integrated analysis of biogeography, environmental change, and hydrology within each of the biomes found in the African continent: forest, savanna, desert, coast, wetland, mountain, and Mediterranean environments. It also discusses the impact and significance of human activity on African environments by exploring debates about soil erosion, desertification, biodiversity and depletion, and conservation and development.

Geography 227 The demand for and the contamination of groundwater resources are major societal concerns. To better understand the dynamics of the groundwater system, we cover topics including the hydrologic cycle, surface and subsurface hydrology, groundwater resource evaluation, and groundwater geotechnical problems. Students prepare weekly problem sets, a term paper, and an oral presentation. Many of the homework problems involve computer applications.

Geology 250 The biosphere has a pronounced geochemical influence on the Earth; indeed, life has been called the greatest geological force. In this course, we will study the chemistry of life through geologic time and examine its influence on the formation and weathering of rocks, on the composition and temperature of the atmosphere, on the accumulation of gas hydrates and other hydrocarbon resources, and its role in the initiation of naturally occurring, water-mediated nuclear reactors. We will also take a close look at the Biosphere concept of Vladimir Vernadsky, the Gaia hypothesis, and Hypersea theory, and the ways in which these concepts inform our understanding of life's geological impact.

History 301 This course examines African patterns of production over the long term and the transformation of African food systems in the last century as a basis for critiquing current development and environmental management strategies. We will establish the links between famine, drought, and food entitlement using case studies and carefully examine sources on the colonial period and more recent development undertakings in order to document the consequences of various interventions on people's access to productive resources.

Politics 242  Following the collapse of the USSR and the Gulf War, Central Asia and the Caucasus became new centers of geopolitical rivalry. The new states are a source of energy (oil and gas) for Western powers and a vital transit corridor between Eastern Europe and China. While a new "Great Game" is being fought between Western, Far Eastern, and Middle Eastern powers for control over energy pipelines, the region is threatened by environmental catastrophe and water shortages. Is the new oil industry a source of prosperity or an instrument for further exploitation, corruption, and instability? How important are the new states to the West's strategic energy interests?