Middle Sea: Music, Biology and Policy


Fall 2014 and Winter 2015 quarters

Taught by

music composition
TBD--marine science hire
law and public policy, environmental law

Oceans constitute 70 percent of the globe's surface area. But as an international resource, a vast Middle Sea between nation-states, they have suffered a "tragedy of the commons"—overuse, depletion, pollution and degradation. What is the state of the stateless, yet vital, Saltwater Nation? We'll look beneath the surface, explore and survey the rhythms, ecology and many problems facing our planet's oceans, especially those caused by anthropogenic climate change. We'll learn how artists, scientists and public servants who conserve and manage natural resources all have vital roles to play in creating a sustainable future for oceans and the webs of life and culture in and around them.

Marine science is a fundamental part of this program. What is happening to our seas and the creatures that dwell within them? We'll take advantage of the marine environments surrounding our campus, including both estuarine and coastal habitats, and conduct extensive hands-on lab and field activities, as crucial ways to learn how scientific theories arise from accurate observations, reliable data and critical and creative thinking.

Oceans are unique from a public policy perspective. Because these bodies overlap national and international borders, they constitute perhaps the only regions where shared governance must occur. Overfishing is an inherently international issue, as is plastics pollution, albedo feedback (decreasing ice cover) and loss of coral reefs. How have differing cultures regarded and interacted with oceans upon which they’ve depended over the centuries? What issues portend for those cultures that intimately depend upon productive, healthy ocean ecosystems? What do the ways we treat and talk about our seas reveal about our own culture?

From sea chanties to paintings, novels to symphonies, art works offer ways to reach the heart and frame issues around sustainability in thought-provoking ways. We'll study art and music of different cultures, and also use tide tables and other data sets to create unique music. Students will sketch and photograph sea life, study the sounds and motions of waves and tides, read books and write papers, conduct research and work in small groups on presentations and projects, learn to analyze music and art and explore possible careers and directions for further study.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

oceanography, marine biology, law and public policy, music.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Required Fees

$200 in fall for overnight field trips.

Special Expenses

$35-$60 for musical instruments and art supplies.


Date Revision
March 12th, 2014 This program has been cancelled.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Fall); 16 (Winter)

Class standing: Freshmen ONLY ; 100% of the seats are reserved for freshmen

Maximum enrollment: 54


Course Reference Number not yet available.


Accepting New Students

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