Maritime Studies course descriptions

• MAST/MARN 1001E: The Sea Around Us (3 credits)
In this course, you will embark on an adventure, diving into the Life Aquatic with Professor Syma Ebbin. You will explore the sea around us from multiple disciplinary perspectives, examining the geological, chemical, physical, biological, and anthropogenic ocean. We’ll sample Long Island Sound’s waters and marine life aboard Project Oceanology, scavenge for coastal clues on the Avery Point campus, monitor the characteristics of our campus waters, capture and describe plankton, and observe the beauty in a grain of sand. This class offers hands-on aquatic experiences to enhance the learning experience.
(Description from Professor Syma Ebbin)

• MAST 1200: Introduction to Maritime Culture (3 credits)
MAST 1200 is an interdisciplinary, CA-1 course that is appropriate for students at all undergraduate levels, in all majors. MAST 1200 begins with an introduction to nautical terminology and the fundamentals of navigation. Through lectures, readings, and film, the course builds on this foundation to cover topics including maritime exploration, the history of whaling, the psychology of being shipwrecked, the history and status of the cod fishery, and the end of the age of sail. Assignments vary from traditional essays and exams to creative, aesthetic responses. In MAST 1200, students are introduced to maritime history and literature and develop their understanding of the maritime world and their place in it.
(Description from Professor Liz Kading)

• MAST 1300E: People and Society in the Maritime Environment (3 credits)
This course examines how individuals, groups, institutions, and societies behave and influence one another within the realm of the ocean environment. Students will analyze and understand interactions of the numerous social factors that influence behavior at the national and international level related to the ocean. Students will use the methods and theories of social science inquiry to develop critical thought about current social and economic issues and problems related to the ocean. In an increasingly interconnected global community of the ocean, different national perspectives on the use of the ocean must be understood. By exploring the human interface with the ocean around the globe, students gain appreciation for differences as well as commonalities among people who interact with the ocean. This course is an introduction to the interdisciplinary, study of maritime-related topics with an examination of the maritime physical environment and maritime cultures, history, literature, and related endeavors.
(Description from Professor Nat Trumbull)

• MAST 2101: Introduction to Maritime Studies (3 credits)
This course provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary study of maritime-related topics. It is highly experiential. Students have the opportunity to sail small boats, crew a schooner on Fisher’s Island Sound, work aboard the square-rigged ships at Mystic Seaport Museum, research and build a cardboard boat for Avery Point’s annual cardboard boat race, and participate in other hands-on experiences. Drawing on these hands-on encounters, students will investigate the maritime physical environment and maritime cultures, history, literature, and industries.
(Description from Professor Mary K. Bercaw Edwards; course is usually taught by Professor Helen Rozwadowski)

• MAST 2300E: Marine Environmental Policy (3 credits)
In this course, we take a deep dive into the policies that frame our relationship with the marine environment and its resources. If you are interested in how the ocean is governed, this class will introduce you to the historical and contemporary governance of marine/coastal resources and environments. Topics covered include ocean energy, climate change, marine biodiversity, fisheries and aquaculture, plastics & marine pollution, working waterfronts and sustainable solutions.
(Description from Professor Syma Ebbin)

• MAST/POLS 2460E: Maritime Politics (3 credits)
This course focuses on the political issues that derive from approximately 71% of the Earth’s surface being covered by water. We will examine how international conflict is escalating as countries compete for resources and navigation routes that are becoming newly accessible as Arctic sea ice melts from climate change. We will address the following question: if science is confident that these issues are grave, and humanity is not responding with cohesive resolve, how do we explain maritime politics? Some people answer by focusing on the distribution of power within an interstate system, while others emphasize the need for new or better institutions or pricing mechanisms. We will study the following topics so that you can develop your own answer to the course question: naval history and modern strategies and conflicts; climate change: how oceans are influenced by human-caused climate change (e.g. sea-level rise, worsening storms) and human impacts (e.g. displacement of coastal people, sovereignty extinction and refugees); international laws and institutions; fisheries management and sources of conflict; piracy.
(Description from Professor Frank Griggs)

• MAST/ECON 2467E: Economics of the Oceans (3 credits)
The Economics of the Oceans course is an exciting opportunity for students to explore the economic principles and policies that are related to the sustainable management of marine resources. Through the studying of empirical investigations, students will investigate real-world issues related to the use of natural resources and the provision of ecosystem services in the marine environment. The course will cover important topics such as maritime piracy, fisheries management, marine and coastal recreation, marine pollution, coastal land use, and marine protected areas (MPAs). Furthermore, with the growing concerns surrounding climate change, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the impacts of climate change on the ocean environment and the role of economics in addressing these challenges. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to articulate the role of economics and policy design in the management of marine resources, demonstrate an understanding of the dynamics of marine resource valuation and allocation, and discuss the application of economic research methods to contemporary marine and coastal resource management challenges. The class structure includes lectures, presentations, and interactive discussions, where all students are expected to participate actively. This course is an excellent opportunity for students to gain a comprehensive understanding of the economic principles and policies related to marine resources and prepare themselves for exciting careers in the maritime industry.
(Description from Professor Michele Baggio)

• GEOG 2500E: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) (4 credits)
Geography 2500 is an introductory course covering the theory and application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The course includes an overview of general principles of GIS and practical experience in its use. The lectures follow the general organization of the course textbook. The lab component mainly involves the use of the GIS software package, ArcView 10.8.2. Student flying of drones from the Avery Point campus will be featured in this course.
(Description from Professor Nat Trumbull)

• MAST/ANTH 2510: Methods and theory of Maritime Archaeology (3 credits)
The course introduces students to the development of the discipline of maritime archaeology since its inception with the excavation of the Cape Gelidonya shipwreck in 1960 to the present day. The course begins with discussion of the UNESCO convention for the protection of underwater cultural heritage, then looks at different protective legislations around the world. Students are introduced to the process of organizing a maritime archaeological project from the inception to the publication stages. Topics include, but are not limited to, reasons to excavate vs not, formulation of scientific hypotheses, testing in science, legal permitting, and organization of a project from funding through accommodation and organization of the excavation crew. Students are introduced to remote-sensing, core-sampling, search and identification, setting up a site, grid, mapping tools and techniques from trilateration through photogrammetry, artefact registrations, timber recording, shipwreck documentation and reconstruction. These techniques are taught both in lecture format and practice in the Maritime Archaeology Laboratory. Earlier, it was possible to teach students to use FaroArm, a 3d digitizing arm that has become the standard in maritime archaeology and knowledge in its use is frequently looked for by Cultural Resource Management companies. Unfortunately, a few years back, maintenance personnel entered the Maritime Archaeology Laboratory and damaged the $60,000. equipment.
(Description from Professor Kroum Batchvarov)

• MAST 3501: Sailors’ Skills for the Interpretation of the Maritime Humanities (3 credits)
This hands-on course provides students with the basics of the technical aspects of Atlantic seafaring to aid them in understanding and interpreting maritime records and archives. Students begin by exploring sail theory, rig and rigging, buoyancy, piloting and chart work, and the basics of marine propulsion systems. Unlike cadet training, however, these topics are presented to as to foster new critical perspectives on past mariners, their records and archives, and the interpretations of human seafaring. With these basics established, students then sail aboard the schooner Brilliant to practice their new skills and to critically evaluate assigned maritime humanities texts.
(Description from Professor Matt McKenzie)

• MAST/ANTH 3532/HIST 3209: Maritime Archaeology of the Americas (3 credits)
The course is lecture-based and covers chronologically the period from the first voyage of Cristoforo Colombo in 1492 to the end of the War of 1812. It investigates the history of the western hemisphere and its relationship with seafaring and maritime developments. The history is highlighted through the case studies of specific shipwrecks and their archaeology. It addresses issues of treasure-hunting vs responsible archaeological investigation and protection of the underwater cultural heritage. The course addresses topics of trade, African slave trade, naval warfare, piracy, nation-state building and the influence of maritime activities, while addressing the impact this expansion had on native populations. Students are introduced to characteristic, diagnostic material culture from the period.
(Description from Professor Kroum Batchvarov)

• MAST/ANTH 3532/HIST 3210: Archaeology of the Age of Sail (3 credits)
This is an upper elective course which studies the period from the fall of Constantinople in 1453 until the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815. Similarly structured to MAST3531, the course covers seafaring and European expansion of trade, naval power and colonialism. It investigates the transformation of naval warfare, seafaring, shipbuilding, and navigation and their influence on history. It addresses the trade companies and Empires in the East, colonialism, and the slave trade. History is illuminated through case studies of shipwrecks that characterize the specific periods and maritime endeavors discussed. The course addresses impacts upon native populations. The subject of protection of the world’s underwater cultural heritage is also addressed together with best practices in archaeology and research. Students are introduced to diagnostic material culture and its chronological borders.
(Description from Professor Kroum Batchvarov)

• MAST/HIST/AMST 3544: The Indo-Atlantic, 1350-1650 (3 credits)
This course analyzes European maritime expansion into early modern Atlantic and the Indian Ocean systems, focusing particularly on the maritime operational and cultural drivers of colonial expansion and invasion in Africa, the Americas, and the Indian Ocean realms.
[Note: the title of this course in the UConn online catalogue is “Atlantic Voyages: European Maritime Expansion, 1400-1650.”]
(Description from Professor Matt McKenzie)

• MAST/HIST/AMST 3545: The Modern Atlantic: 1650-1950 (3 credits)
Picking up from 3544, this course explores the maturation of what is known as the 18th-century Atlantic system linking African enslaved people, American climates and lands, and European markets and capital. Students also examine the effect of industrialization on movements of people and ideas across the Atlantic, and finish with the demise of that maritime system following World War II.
(Description from Professor Matt McKenzie)

• MAST/GEOG 3600: Global Dynamics of the Shipping Industry (3 credits)
We take an introductory look at the international shipping industry and the essential role it plays in the conduct of world trade and the growth of the global economy. Considering that ships carry 90% of all cargoes throughout the world, we quickly come to learn of the importance of the shipping industry to our daily lives. We start with the type and sizes of ships and the unlimited types of cargoes carried in them. We learn the economics of shipping and see how political events, economic forces, and unexpected disasters have an impact on the industry, as well as current issues such as arctic shipping, piracy, and environmental regulation. During the semester we engage in a stock project in which each student is given a fictional $250,000 to invest in publicly traded shipping companies. We follow the ups and downs of the stocks in the context of global events and thereby see the forces that influence the shipping industry. By the end of the semester, we have a better understanding of how the world turns.
(Description from Professor Peter Drakos)

• MAST/ENGL 3652/W: Maritime Literature to 1800 (3 credits)
This course explores works of the maritime literary tradition from classical texts to 1800, with particular attention to texts contributing significantly to the culture, history, and aesthetics of the sea. We will explore the nexus of ideas central to maritime exploration, focusing both on representations of travel and navigation as well as issues of politics, ethics, race, gender, and religion. We will begin by investigating early uses of the sea in literature and ways in which these works influenced later writings. We will also study how maritime metaphors and symbols circulate in travel literature, poetry, prose narrative, and drama, thereby expanding the scope of what we might consider literature of the sea. And we will ask how these works of maritime literature are differently shaped by the pressures of early colonial encounters, to inquire if these texts have something unique to say in recent discussions of “global” or “world” literature. Texts include Homer’s Odyssey, Beowulf, Shakespeare’s Tempest, Cavendish’s Blazing World, and lyric poetry of the sea.
(Description from Professor Debapriya Sarkar)

• MAST/ENGL 3653/W: Maritime Literature Since 1800 (3 credits)
For as long as history has been recorded, sailors have stepped on shore with a tale to tell. Until the laying of telegraph cables across oceans finally outpaced sailing ships in carrying messages in the 1850s, the sight of a sail on the horizon might be the first herald of news of many kinds: political, cultural, financial, or personal. The figure of the sailor as a storyteller stretches back beyond the earliest written records. The writers we will consider in this course inherited willingly or unwillingly the long heritage of these sailor storytellers. This course will examine the chronological development of a literature wherein the sea functions as physical, psychological, and philosophical setting. The course will begin by investigating early uses of the sea in literature and ways in which early works influenced later writings. It will continue with a consideration of the sea in contemporary literature. Through the use of literary theory and maritime history, the course will establish the context in which these works were produced as well as closely examining the works themselves. Texts include works by Frederick Douglass, Herman Melville, Rebecca Harding Davis, Joseph Conrad, Diane Wakoski, and the Fisher Poets.
(Description from Professor Mary K. Bercaw Edwards)

• MAST 4994W/AMST 3265W: Capstone Seminar (3 credits)
[Note: this course is taught by different professors in different semesters; the two descriptions that follow are from two professors who teach the course.]

Students develop, design, and execute a research project of their choosing in consultation with course instructor.
(Description from Professor Matt McKenzie)

This writing-intensive seminar introduces students to the field of Public History through studying the process by which decisions are made as to whether or not an artifact, particularly a vessel, should be preserved. The final projects for the course will benefit from the skills and knowledge base from those discipline tracks that comprise the Maritime Studies major (Anthropology; Economics; English; Geography; History; Political Science) and the American Studies major (Space, Place, Land, and Landscape; the United States and the World; Popular Culture and the Cultural Imagination; Intersectionalities; Politics, Social Movements, and Everyday Life; the Americas). Students will gain an overview of public history plus in-depth experience in museum studies. This course was originally created out of the cooperative relationship between the University of Connecticut and Mystic Seaport Museum and is made possible through support from both institutions. This course includes development of skills including research, oral presentation, writing in several genres, revision of writing, and sensitivity to different audiences.
(Description from Professor Mary K. Bercaw Edwards)