Note: This course is an “optional course” of the Food & Sustainability Studies curriculum. It may be taken individually. You do not have to be enrolled in the Food Studies Program to take this course. However, priority will be given to students participating directly in the Food & Sustainability Studies Program during initial enrollments.
This course will confront water related issues through a combination of discourses including anthropology, food studies, and environmental sciences. It will explore the central role of water in human civilization, both past and present, and consider the future implications of our current water use trajectories. Course modules will address the functioning of ecosystems and the well being of the environment, industries and the economy, agriculture and food production, and recreation and tourism. This course aims to recognize ways in which water influences our lives and to explore the entangled interdependencies and linkages between water and human activities. The course will take a critical look at water sustainability through various lenses including food systems, terrestrial and marine resources and other industries. Subjects will begin at international levels before narrowing to national, regional, and local levels in Italy. Throughout the course, students will be asked to analyze their personal water footprints and explore ways to minimize personal water usage, and consider strategies for broader water conservation efforts.
Learning will be guided using diverse methods: lectures with in-depth discussions, a service learning and community outreach project, and a field trip to Lake Trasimeno. Through the outreach and service learning project, students will refine qualitative research methods as well as be asked to consider the ethical implications of research on human subjects.
This course will ask students to:
- Understand the interdependencies and inter-linkages between water and trade, development, and the environment;
- Identify inter-linkages between energy, food, land use, and water;
- Analyse and compare the cultural and biological significance of water;
- Examine the political use of water;
- Explore how water use has shaped Italy and Italian culture;
- Develop innovative strategies for promoting sustainable water use in one or more areas of land use, food and energy, including at the consumer level.
Service Learning Research Project Description
Students in this course will collaborate with POST Science Center (Perugia Officina della Scienza e della Tecnologia). The POST Director and students will develop and lead an interactive scientific laboratory and discussion in English for Italian high school students in order to explore the water footprint and the long-term sustainability of a watershed.
Mandatory course reader