Sea Life and Sea Lives

Spring 2017 quarter

Taught by

We are all part of an oceanic commons that sustains and bonds all life . –Astrida Neimanis

What is the current condition of this commons, what is its past and future, and what do we have to do to sustain it? The fate of the planet and humanity is inextricably linked to the fate of the ocean, in terms of deep (both geological and bathyal) as well as human scales. In this program, we will consider the histories, science, and creative representations which serve as lenses on the health, productivity, resilience, and aesthetic value of the sea.

In laboratories, on the beach, and on the water, we will learn introductory methodologies in marine science. We will study the history and future of the sea as a resource for our food, energy, and water; a medium for transporting not just goods, but cultural domination; as an inhabitable space; and finally, as a place upon which humanity projects hopes, fears, and dreams. We will study literary and film representations of what it is to work the waters and how it is that the wealth of the sea is depleted, destroyed, sustained, and restored.

During our time on shore in Olympia, we will have weekly marine science lectures and labs. Two, day-long field trips will take us to ocean beaches and Native maritime communities. Finally, we will spend one week in the San Juan Islands, combining time on the water conducting marine science field studies from the deck of a tall ship, with time in shore-based marine laboratories.

Program Details

Fields of Study

field studies history literature marine science maritime studies

Preparatory For

marine science, maritime cultural studies, marine resource management/policy, environmental studies, sustainability studies, literature, and history.


Spring Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

First class meeting: Monday, April 3 at 1pm (Sem II D1107)

Additional Schedule Details

Field trips : Students should plan on two Friday field trips and to be away from campus for a field trip all of Week 8.

Online Learning

No Required Online Learning


$800 for museum entrance fees and a six-day field trip in the San Juan Islands.


2017-02-27Fee reduced (from $900 to $800).