Course code:

HS2049

Level:

IM - Introductory/Intermediate

Lab fee:

950

Where is the largest population of humpback whales in the world, the largest caribou herd in North America, the only confirmed Viking settlement in North America, and Paleozoic water bottled for consumption?

The remote Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador presents a stunning landscape, an astoundingly rich ecological setting, and a tragic history of poverty amidst an incredible natural resource, the northern cod fishery, that was ultimately destroyed.

The province has been alternately invaded or occupied by different groups of Native Americans along with Norseman, Basques, French, British, and the US military, because of its strategic location and rich fishing and hunting grounds. One of the first and one of the last British colonies, this richest of fisheries produced a very class based society, composed of a wealthy few urban merchants and an highly exploited population of fishing families often living on the edge of survival. But within the past 50 years, Newfoundland society has been forced to evolve.

The provincial government looks towards oil and mineral exploitation to turn around the economy, while ex-fishermen consider eco- and cultural tourism with growing ambivalence. This then is our setting, and background, for an intense examination of the human ecology of this province; the relationship between humans and their environment, sometimes successful, sometimes otherwise, the struggle between the tenuous grasp of civilization and this marvelous, terrible place. To do this we will discuss various readings, examine case studies and review the natural and human history of this unique province. Our learning will culminate with a two-week trip to Newfoundland to examine its issues firsthand. Evaluation will be based on class and field trip participation, responses to reading questions, a field journal, and a final project.

 

Prerequisites:

Permission of instructor

Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.