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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Eric A Smith
BIO A 475
Seattle Campus

Environmental Impacts of Small Scale Societies

Examines the environmental impacts (positive and negative) among prehistoric and historic/ethnographic small-scale (hunter-gatherer and horticultural) societies worldwide, and debates these impacts, within a theoretical framework provided by evolutionary ecology and biogeography. Offered: jointly with ENVIR 475.

Class description

There is an ongoing debate on the impact (both positive and negative) of hunter-gatherer and horticultural societies on their resources and landscapes, with implications for current issues in conservation biology and related fields. This course, team-taught by an archaeologist and an ecological anthropologist, examines the prehistoric and historic/ethnographic evidence and arguments bearing on this debate, within a framework provided by theory from evolutionary ecology and biogeography.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

The format of the course will involve a combination of lectures by the instructors, and seminar discussion and presentations by students.

Recommended preparation

Enrollment is limited to a maximum of 15 graduate students and seniors, on a first-come basis. We are eager to have students from a variety of relevant academic backgrounds and programs. To be considered for enrollment, please email one of the instructors (easmith@u.washington.edu or grayson@u.washington.edu) with the following information: * your major and class standing (senior, etc.) * your relevant academic & experiential background * your reasons for wanting to take this course

Class assignments and grading

Each student will prepare a research paper on a selected topic relating to the course. This will be presented formally to the entire class near the end of the quarter. In addition, email submission of discussion topics, and active participation in seminar discussion, are expected.

Grades will be based on the research paper, the classroom presentation, and discussion participation.


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 Eric A Smith
Date: 05/22/2008