Course code:



M - Intermediate

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • HS - Human Studies

Lab fee:


Typically offered:

Upon occasion

This course will examine how members of Maine’s remote coastal and islands communities live in relationship to the ocean. Their connection to the nearby and distant waters is defined by everyday uses such as fishing, lobstering, and wrinkle harvesting as well as deeper historical relationships rooted in many generations of people doing everything from sailing schooners around the world to harvesting shellfish in the same cove over centuries. This class will teach students how to use multi-disciplinary research methodologies to document, map, and analyze both contemporary and historical uses of the ocean. Using coastal and island communities as sites for collaborative community-based research the class will contribute to wider discussions about a process known as Ocean Planning that seeks to create processes to plan how communities, stakeholders, industry and the government build a long term vision of how the spaces of the Gulf of Maine might be used. Students will work in teams to produce a geo-referenced story about a particular place in the ocean off the coast of Maine that has meaning and an emotional connection to a community told in an interesting and compelling way. This information will help give island communities a stronger voice in ocean policy and in decision making processes for siting large scale projects in the nearby ocean environment. The class will draw on methodologies developed around North America to document the everyday uses and interactions people have with the local environment using oral historical and biographical mapping to provide a sort of snapshot of current uses as well as soliciting histories of how those patterns have changed over time. The class will include a substantial fieldwork and field trip component that will require additional times outside of the class schedule. Students will be evaluated on class participation, active engagement in field research settings, short assignments as well as a final project. The class is appropriate for students with a range of backgrounds, however, experience with historical or community-based research or GIS mapping would be helpful.


Preference will be given to students who have previous community-based research experience or other academic background directly relevant to the course.

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