In a marriage of earth science and history – and thanks to a grant from the PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies – Dawn Marie Hayes, associate professor in the Department of History, and Greg Pope, professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Studies, are conducting transdisciplinary sustainability research this summer.
They are assessing six representative monuments from Sicily’s Norman period (ca. 1060 – 1194) from a sustainability perspective -- asking questions about stone decay, landscape evolution, and natural (e.g. earthquakes, volcanoes) and human (e.g. pollution, construction, vandalism) hazards. This is set in a context of modern Sicily with its resource and socioeconomic challenges.
The work is a collaboration between sustainability science, medieval history and earth science whose findings will be featured in external grant proposals planned for 2017-2018. This work will expand understanding of the challenges confronting Sicily’s Norman heritage and, by extension, its potential for sustainable development through land/heritage management and cultural tourism that can encourage progress in this economically troubled region.