Dr. Jeremy Ball, History

Ecological History of Africa

During the course of the Valley and Ridge Faculty Development Workshop I decided to incorporate the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals as an integral component of course work in my course Ecological History of Africa. After introducing the goals, students will focus on goal #6 “Clean Water and Sanitation” as a sub-theme of the course. In addition to course readings about several of the continent’s watersheds (the Nile River, Lake Victoria, the Okavango Delta, and Lake Chad), students working in groups will create podcasts explaining the challenges to protecting a specific African watershed and policies in place to achieve sustainability. Additional course readings will highlight studies about the provision of potable water and sanitation in several major African cities. While learning about the importance of clean water and sanitation, students will partner with Dickinson’s Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM) to monitor the health of local waterways in the Cumberland Valley. This hands-on, place-based pedagogy is designed to reinforce students’ understanding of the importance of clean water and sanitation for human health.

Lastly, as a result of a visit to the College Farm, I’ve decided to consult with the farm managers to create a test plot of the African crops teff and yam. Students will visit the farm early in the fall semester to learn about the planting and lifecycle of the crops and then again in late October to learn about and participate in harvesting and processing the crops. The objective is to enhance students’ understanding of how human populations in Africa domesticated these two crops and the crops’ importance to the evolution of civilization.