History of Water on Earth – Human Needs and Impacts


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History of Water on Earth – Human Needs and Impacts

History of Water on Earth – Human Needs and Impacts


Emmanouloudis Dimitrios



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This module cuts across different academic disciplines in order to introduce various aspects of culture, geo-politics and ethics, related to water management. From the creation of first civilizations to the 21st century stakes, water has been the source of myths, policies, religions, conflicts, ethics, alimenting cultural differences but also intercultural cooperation leading to “water wisdom”.

The module aims to present different turning points of the mankind’s historical, cultural and spiritual evolution due to water management. During the course, we will overfly the symbolism, the sacredness, the legends and language components that create the cultural power of water. We will also visit the concept of “hydro-politics”, meaning the geopolitical dimension of water management, examining how water management influences conflicts and cooperation, public health or communities vicinity.

Learning Objectives

  • Examine case studies of water conflicts
  • Understand how water influenced cultural differences
  • Familiarize with water ethics discourse
  • Familiarize with cultural, intercultural and cross-cultural dimensions of the water use.
  • Water as a social and economic good
  • Water supply and sanitation systems throughout history
  • Water surplus led urbanization

Learning Goals

On completion of this module, students are expected to be able to:

  • Promote intercultural communication on water
  • Participate in debates on water-conflicts and water-management
  • Develop Water management and sanitation models in Tourism Development


6 credits


  1. David Groenfedt, Why Cultural Diversity Matters for Healthy Rivers, in Langscape, 4(1), 2015
  2. David Groenfeldt, When Good People Do Bad Things: Confronting Western Water Culture, in Anthropology News, January 2010.
  3. John M. Donahue, Barbara Rose Johnston, Water, Culture & Power : Local Struggles in a Global Context, Island Press, 1998
  4. Veronica Strang, Water : Nature and Culture, Reaktion Books, 2015
  5. Steven Mithen, Emily Black, Water, Life and Civilisation: Climate, Environment and Society in the Jordan Valley, Cambridge University Press, 2011
  6. Vuorinen H.S. (2007). Water and health in antiquity: Europe’s legacy. Environmental History of Water -Global view of community water supply and sanitation, P.S. Juuti, T. S. Katko and H. S. Vuorinen (eds.). IWA Publishing, pp. 49–71.
  7. Vujica Yevjevich, Water and Civilization, Water International, V.17, 1992

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Price : 550 $

Difficulty : Semester B’

Typology : Optional