Steven Munoz is a student at the Global Environmental History Master-programme
What is your background? Where do you come from?
I come from Los Angeles, California. I attended Mount San Antonio College where I received my A.A. degree and played on the collegiate water polo and swim team. I transferred to University of California at Riverside where I obtained my Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology; I obtained a Liberal Arts degree from University of California at Riverside (Sociology and Communication studies) and took Gender studies and Education policies at Lund University here in Sweden.
Growing up, we did not really study local history and climate; it is more a Western European Colonial narrative. I have a mixed heritage of Native American, African American and Mexican, and felt the lack of knowing my own history.
Why did you choose to study the master programme in Global Environmental History at Uppsala University?
I wanted to enhance my prior learning from UC, Riverside and to enrich my understanding of humans and the environment, seeing history not in a linear progression, but in a larger dimension.
My wife is Swedish, and so a university here sounded suitable. A degree from Uppsala University is highly valued internationally. I wanted a programme that dealt with global issues and the teachers and research being done here and the curriculum seemed like a good fit.
What are your impressions and experience from the master programme?
It has been very worthwhile so far! My cohort comes from such diverse places and have different perspectives and experiences that they bring with them to the classroom and group projects, that just the contact with them has been a transformative experience. The interdisciplinary courses cross boundaries and help us to use methods and theories, adding to the different perspectives.
Next week, we are going to Gotland to conduct fieldwork for my Conflict, Democracy and Facilitation course, and I am really looking forward to that.
Your internship - where and what will you be doing?
I will be discussing it with my supervisor, Anneli Ekblom. Something here or in Stockholm would be great, either this summer or next spring.
Do you already know the subject of your master's thesis?
Something like Humans and interactions over time among Californian Native Americans. There is a lack of awareness of our history, which I would like to rectify and communicate.
Would you recommend the programme to others?
Of course. I would recommend it to individuals interested in pursuing a global approach to history. The international experience, networks and different perspectives and opportunities for internships are amazing. CEMUS is a good component of this.
Your favourite course in the programme?
Historical ecology, I think. It is like diving into deep history, breaking down preconceived conceptions of history, dissecting events and showing perspectives of interactions between humans and the environment from a sustainability approach.
What do you see in your future?
If possible, I would like to get into the Ph. D-programme here, and then go back to California.
I anticipate utilizing my education to help build an understanding of historic events to students from underrepresented populations. A PhD from Uppsala would be extremely beneficial for this.