Online courses directory (2)
In this class, food serves as both the subject and the object of historical analysis. As a subject, food has been transformed over the last 100 years, largely as a result of ever more elaborate scientific and technological innovations. From a need to preserve surplus foods for leaner times grew an elaborate array of techniques – drying, freezing, canning, salting, etc – that changed not only what people ate, but how far they could/had to travel, the space in which they lived, their relations with neighbors and relatives, and most of all, their place in the economic order of things. The role of capitalism in supporting and extending food preservation and development was fundamental. As an object, food offers us a way into cultural, political, economic, and techno-scientific history. Long ignored by historians of science and technology, food offers a rich source for exploring, e.g., the creation and maintenance of mass-production techniques, industrial farming initiatives, the politics of consumption, vertical integration of business firms, globalization, changing race and gender identities, labor movements, and so forth. How is food different in these contexts, from other sorts of industrial goods? What does the trip from farm to table tell us about American culture and history?
For the first time in history, the global demand for freshwater is overtaking its supply in many parts of the world. The U.N. predicts that by 2025, more than half of the countries in the world will be experiencing water stress or outright shortages. Lack of water can cause disease, food shortages, starvation, migrations, political conflict, and even lead to war. Models of cooperation, both historic and contemporary, show the way forward. The first half of the course details the multiple facets of the water crisis. Topics include water systems, water transfers, dams, pollution, climate change, scarcity, water conflict/cooperation, food security, and agriculture. The second half of the course describes innovative solutions: Adaptive technologies and adaptation through policy, planning, management, economic tools, and finally, human behaviors required to preserve this precious and imperiled resource. Several field trips to water/wastewater/biosolids reuse and water-energy sites will help us to better comprehend both local and international challenges and solutions.
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