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WINE, WICKED PROBLEMS, AND WAYS OF LIFE: UNTANGLING CULTURAL DISCOURSES OF ADAPTATION IN ANDALUCÍA, SPAIN

Bruns PhD Defense Invite_edited.jpg

After nearly three years, I'm excited to share my dissertation passion project with a public audience.​ Please join me on Tuesday, 23 July at 11.00 CDT/18.00 CEST either in person or online:

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If you've been following my PhD journey, you know that I’ve been studying wine—and yes, drinking it, too—not as a product, but as a communication ritual that offers a rare glimpse into a cultural practice that is at risk due to climate change. My dissertation explores the cultural practice of winemaking in the Spanish community of Andalucía.

 

Andalucía is a southern Spanish coastal region with a prolific history and diverse geography.​ Andalusian wines are world renowned, with the region perhaps best known as the birthplace of the iconic Sherry wine. Unfortunately, global climatic changes have placed Andalusian winemaking in a perilous position, forcing members of this community to confront how, if at all, to adapt their cultural practices for a new climate reality.

 

To understand the dynamics of this adaptation decision-making, I have spent nearly three years learning from wine producers, wine regulators, tour guides, bartenders, professors, and countless others who each have a unique perspective on where the Andalusian climate is currently, where it’s headed, and what must be done if Andalusian wine is to survive. Over the course of this research journey, I’ve also toured wineries, strolled city streets, walked museum hallways, and hiked through grape fields to gain a deeper understanding of what makes the cultural practice of winemaking meaningful to this community.​

My dissertation interprets the many conversations, experiences, and types of knowledge I've encountered during my time in Andalucía through five "radiants of cultural meaning": Place, Practice, Feeling, Identity, and Relating. Although the final product represents only one version of one community's climate adaptation story, I hope that it will show how addressing climate change is about more than just identifying degree differences—it’s about adapting ways of life.

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