[F&ES 649b] / 2017-2018

Interdisciplinary Waters

Credits: 3

Spring 2018: Not Offered

Apart from being a common factor in our lives, water occupies a prominent position in so many of today’s conversations, constantly on the first page of newspapers and increasingly one of the most common topics of conversation. Water is not new to science either: It is one of the central subjects, if not the subject, of several disciplines across the natural sciences as well as the social sciences and the humanities. The way in which water is thought of by each of these disciplines is substantially different, each science studying water from its set of presuppositions, methods, and theoretical bases. However, are all of those incommensurable, and unable to speak to each other?
Questioning this proposing, this graduate seminar proposes to examine water from different perspectives to arrive at an interdisciplinary way of thinking about the substance. We will tackle on water through multiple lenses and points of view, prismatically appreciating the complexity of the world as reflected in a single molecule, H2O. This approach aims to provide a method for studying (almost) any subject. Water becomes a tool to navigate the complex array of lenses through which we can analyze a wide variety of environmental topics. This course offers an exploration not only of water, but of different disciplines and their (possible) relations.