Spring 2023

Wine, History and the Environment

Listed in: Environmental Studies, as ENST-402  |  History, as HIST-402


Rick A. Lopez (Section 01)
Anna M. Martini (Section 01)


(Offered as HIST 402 [TC/TE/C] and ENST 402.) Wine is as old as civilization, and is deeply wedded to religious and secular traditions around the world. Its production has transformed landscapes, ecosystems, and economies. In this course we examine how wine has shaped the history of Europe, North Africa, the Americas, and, increasingly, China. Through historical readings, scientific study, art, and class discussion, students will learn about such issues as the environmental impact of wine; the politics of taste and class; the organization of labor; the impact of imperialism and global trade; the late nineteenth-century phylloxera outbreak that almost destroyed the European wine industry; and the emergence of claims about terroir (the notion that each wine, like each culture, is uniquely tied to a place) and how such claims are anchored to regional and national identity. We will get our hands dirty with soil sampling, learn the basics of sediment analysis in the laboratory, and have a go at fermentation. Required field trips might include the taking of soil samples and planting of vines at Book and Plow Farm and a visit to a nearby winery. There also might be an optional multi-day oenology trip to New York’s Finger Lake district. Students who are using the course as their research seminar for History or LLAS will have one extra workshop each week to focus on the design and execution of an independent research project.

Limited to 20 students. This is a research seminar open to juniors and seniors. Spring semester. Professor López and Professor Martini.

How to handle overenrollment: Priority will be given to junior and senior History and Environmental Studies majors and those who need the course to complete their research seminar requirement in History or LLAS.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Research seminars require independent research, including the framing of a research question, and the identification and analysis of relevant primary and secondary sources. History majors must write a 20-25 page, evidence-based paper.

ENST 402 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM BEBU 203
Th 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM BEBU 203


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2023