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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Linda E. Storm
ANTH 210
Seattle Campus

Introduction to Environmental Anthropology

Introduction to human/environment interactions from various anthropological perspectives. Intellectual history of anthropological approaches to environment, emphasizing the mutual interconnectedness of people and nature. Survey of evolutionary models; cultural ecology; systems approaches; indigenous knowledge; ethnoecology; nature and the state; political ecology; ecofeminism; and environmentalism.

Class description

Questions to be address through the quarter include:

What is nature? In what manner is it meaningful to say nature is culturally constructed? Does the biophysical world cease to exist because people canít agree on a definition of nature? How do different cultures and societies vary in their definitions of nature? Are human cultures uniformly destructive in their relationships with the natural environment? Have some cultures developed strategies to inhabit places without degrading the environment? Can biotechnology create an environmentally sustainable form of agriculture? What is the "patenting of life?" Does it threaten the traditional lifestyles of indigenous communities and farmers? What is environmental justice? How do race and other social and cultural differences affect human experience of ecological degradation? The course will focus on two interconnected problems: (1) the study of the biophysical environment as a factor interacting with human inhabitation of places and (2) the ecological politics that emerge when different groups clash over the definition, organization, and control of the natural environment.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Daily, 1-hour lectures M W TH and F and student discussion sections on Tuesdays.

Guest Lecturers from various sub-fields in Environmental Anthropology will cover topics including: The "Pleistocene Overkill" hypothesis; Ethnobiology, Ethnoecology and traditional ecological knowledge; Indigenous Peoples leadership in documenting traditional ecological knowledge and traditional resource management practices; Anthropogenic Ecosystem Management and Anthropogenic Change; Political Ecology of Environmental Issues; Conceptions of Nature and how they are culturally embedded and situated.

Students will work in teams with assistance from Teaching Associates to develop a term poster project, oral presentation and 5-7 page brief of a selected topic from those covered in class.

Recommended preparation

Read assigned text or articles before the lecture. Set aside a couple of hours each night to complete readings to keep up with readings through-out the quarter. Come prepared to discussion sections with a question that the readings or lectures spark. Work collaboratively with student colleagues on term projects - beginning by the 2nd week of class.

Class assignments and grading

Take home mid term and final exams (35% each)

Team Term projects (posters, oral presentation & 5-7 page brief) (30% course grade)

See course web site for detailed syllabus -

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Linda E. Storm
Date: 01/26/2002