Global Challenges in Interdisciplinary Perspective: Water Conflicts, Water Cultures

The details
Philosophical, Historical and Interdisciplinary Studies (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
13 September 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA T700 American Studies (United States),
BA T7P3 American Studies (United States) with Film,
BA MT2R Criminology and American Studies,
BA L903 Global Studies,
BA L904 Global Studies (including year abroad),
BA L905 Global Studies (Including Placement Year),
BA L908 Global Studies (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA LR04 Global Studies and Modern Languages (Including Year Abroad),
BA L910 Global Studies with Politics,
BA L911 Global Studies with Politics (Including year abroad),
BA L912 Global Studies with Politics (Including Placement Year),
BA L913 Global Studies with Politics (Including Foundation Year),
BA L914 Global Studies with Human Rights,
BA L916 Global Studies with Human Rights (Including Foundation Year),
BA L917 Global Studies with Human Rights (Including Placement Year),
BA L918 Global Studies with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad),
BA L933 Global Studies with Business Management,
BA L934 Global Studies with Business Management (Including Foundation Year),
BA L935 Global Studies with Business Management (Including Placement Year),
BA L936 Global Studies with Business Management (Including Year Abroad),
BA R104 Global Studies and Language Studies,
BA R105 Global Studies and Language Studies (Including Foundation Year),
BA L994 Global Studies with Latin American Studies,
BA L995 Global Studies with Latin American Studies (Including Foundation Year),
BA L996 Global Studies with Latin American Studies (including Placement Year),
BA L997 Global Studies with Latin American Studies (including Year Abroad),
BA L990 Global Studies and Latin American Studies,
BA L991 Global Studies and Latin American Studies (Including Foundation Year),
BA L992 Global Studies and Latin American Studies (including Placement Year),
BA L993 Global Studies and Latin American Studies (including Year Abroad),
BA C900 Global Studies with Sustainability,
BA C901 Global Studies with Sustainability (Including Foundation Year),
BA C902 Global Studies with Sustainability (including Placement Year),
BA C903 Global Studies with Sustainability (including Year Abroad),
BA V5L5 Philosophy, Ethics and Sustainability,
BA V5L6 Philosophy, Ethics and Sustainability (Including Foundation Year),
BA V5L7 Philosophy, Ethics and Sustainability (Including Placement Year),
BA V5L8 Philosophy, Ethics and Sustainability (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

This team-taught capstone module explores a number of real-world challenges currently confronting the globe from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Through guest lectures from experts in different disciplines, students will be presented with a range of global challenges. In the discussion seminars and in their assessments, students will analyse historical causes and consider strategies to tackle particular challenges.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To provide students with a grounding in the challenges facing the globe today.

  • To explore issues related to global challenges and be able to relate those issues to the relevant political and social contexts.

  • To stimulate students to develop skills in written communication through the capstone project and through oral communication and debate in seminars.

  • To encourage students to think and write in both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary ways.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a familiarity with, and an understanding of the material considered on the module, specifically the challenges facing the globe.

  2. Draw connections between a diverse range of written forms produced in different geopolitical contexts.

  3. Distinguish critically between different methodological and disciplinary approaches to the issues in question.

  4. Write in an informed, critical and argumentative manner on the material covered by the module.

  5. Define the task in which they are engaged, process large volumes of information and exclude what is irrelevant.

  6. Compare and evaluate different arguments and assess the limitations of their own position or procedure, thinking critically and constructively.

  7. Write and present verbally a succinct and precise account of positions, arguments, and their presuppositions and implications.

  8. Be sensitive to the positions of others and communicate their own views in ways that are accessible to them.

  9. Think ‘laterally’ and creatively (i.e. to explore interesting connections and possibilities, and to present these clearly rather than as vague hunches).

Module information

Access to water is one of the most urgent global challenges facing us today. Vital for health and well-being, as well as integral to indigenous cultures and industrial processes, water is a threatened commons and contested commodity. In this module, we will explore global and local case studies that highlight challenges of scarcity, contamination, privatization, and climate change, and the cultural importance of bodies of water for diverse communities. We will examine water-related problems, such as economic and urban development, grassroots activism, political conflict, community relations, heritage and well-being. The module will engage with local rivers, such as the River Colne which borders the campus of the University of Essex.

The module is taught by academics from across the University, whose contributions encompass a wide range of fields including policy-making, politics, law, social sciences, the arts and sciences. It will also involve meetings with stakeholders and organizations in the wider community.

This methodology is designed to encourage you to develop a holistic and informed approach to research, project development, teamwork and inspirational leadership that will prepare you for the world beyond your degree.

Among the topics covered by the module are indigenous struggles over water rights at Standing Rock; legislative innovations that provide legal personhood to rivers; grassroots responses to hydropower and industrial development; social movements and art-based activism in response to dam building; the importance of fishing traditions to local Essex identity.

For final year Global Studies students, we recommend combining this module with the spring term 15-credit dissertation module Dangerous Ideas: Manifestos as Social Criticism.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • One 1-hour lecture per week.
  • One 1-hour seminar per week.

There will also be a Reading Week when no teaching will take place, exact week to be confirmed.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   500-word text response     0% 
Coursework   1000-word individual report    20% 
Coursework   3000-word research project    80% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Lisa Blackmore, email: lisa.blackmore@essex.ac.uk.
PHAIS General Office - 6.130; isugadmin@essex.ac.uk.



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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