Water covers over 70% of the Earth’s surface, and this fact is becoming increasingly salient to the vision and mission of Fairfield University.
As a site of travel, trade, precious resource, scientific study, and artistic imagination, water is a crucial focus for researchers across all disciplines. It is also the basis of many new global paradigms of study, as we shift from thinking about territory to thinking about the history of maritime travel, trade, and migrations that created the modern world.
In the humanities, Oceanic Studies and studies of the Atlantic Rim and Pacific Rim are transforming how we categorize socio-economic life, as we move from thinking about nation and continent, farm and factory, urban and rural to thinking about the trade routes, sea-dependent immigration/emigration patterns, trade-linked port cities, and forced transoceanic migrations that created the modern world.
Politically, control over water resources has become a source of geopolitical power, as in disputes between Israel and Palestine or Argentina and Uruguay.
In the sciences, “Water” presents a crucial, international focus on such issues as health and clean water access, sustainability, ecological and environmental study, and numerous emergent challenges in engineering. The biological and chemical sciences are, of course, central in the effort to think about human life as dependent on and defined by water and aquatic life. The possibilities in fields from religion to communication, to business are exciting, too, as we begin to think about “fluidity” as a creative principle, organizational structure, natural/physical condition, communicational strategy, and spiritual disposition.
Indeed, the possibilities are many, and the points of connection numerous.