Food is an essential part of University of Michigan student life, but have you even wondered what UM students ate in the past and where the food served on campus comes from? This seminar examines changes the food system that has fed UM students in Ann Arbor over the past 150 years and the ways that food is helping create a more sustainable campus. We explore all aspects of the food system from production to waste. This seminar includes a variety of engaged learning experiences, from historical research on early 20th century UM student scrapbooks to a tour of the South Quad compositing facility. Students will have opportunities to learn directly from the people who are helping make the university food system more local and sustainable.
Cutting-edge science meets ancient artifacts as archaeologists unlock the mysteries of the human past. This course uses examples from around the world to demonstrate how we study “prehistory”—the time before written records, from our early ancestors to the development of major civilizations. We’ll talk about techniques used to collect archaeological data, what these data can and cannot tell us about the past (both of which are sometimes surprising!), and how we interpret what prehistoric lives were like.
Have sensationalized stories about archaeology, such as claims about Atlantis and Ancient Aliens, intrigued you? In this course we explore extraordinary interpretations of archaeological remains that are popular subjects of news stories but considered fringe ideas by professional archaeologists. By investigating these fantastic claims, including ones that have proven to be correct, you will learn to be critical consumers of information about the past and to distinguish science from pseudoscience. You will also learn how archaeologists examine the lives of ancient people, as you hone your ability to identify fake news and frauds.
From the Iliad to Alexander the Great, ancient Greece to the collapse of Rome. Why do civilizations rise? Why do they fall? This course begins with the Minoans and Mycenaeans, Europe's first civilizations, which formed during the Bronze Age. In both cases, their origins and the reasons for their collapse are unclear. Climate change? Earthquakes? Plagues? Invasions and warfare? Whatever the cause, the challenges met by Bronze Age people appear strangely familiar to us. We face similar challenges in our modern world. Click here to learn more!
When archaeologists encounter the funerary remains of an ancient society, they view not the haphazard scattering of discarded items found on normal archaeological sites, but rather a series of carefully composed statements, that were intentionally created by the past community. As such, funerary customs provide not only insight into the death practices of past societies, they also can provide a basis from which to investigate a broad range of important social and anthropological questions, stretching from social organization, gender relations, and social inequality, to health and disease, diet, and genetic affinity. This seminar will explore the differing ways in which communities handle the dead, and will then investigate how the unique character of funerary evidence can be used to enable archaeology to rigorously address social and cultural issues in the past.
Are you serious about archaeology? Want to give it a try? This course will teach you the methods employed by archaeologists in both the field and the laboratory. You will learn how to conduct field surveys, map a site, undertake excavation, and pursue laboratory analysis of artifacts. This is a hands-on course that will entail actual fieldwork, including digging. Click here to learn more!