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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Stevan Harrell
SISEA 406
Seattle Campus

China's Environment

Analysis of contemporary environmental problems in China, including population, food, water supply, pollution, biodiversity, and environmental activism. Combines natural science and social science perspectives. Prerequisite: either ANTH 210, ENVIR 201, SIS 200, SIS 201, or SIS 202. Offered: jointly with ANTH 406.

Class description

The course begins with historical cultures of China and their relationships to their environments, and considers whether China in the 19th century was already undergoing a long-term environmental crisis. It then proceeds to the enormous environmental and cultural changes wrought by 20th-century modernization, revolution, and development. The course finishes with a survey of current environmental conditions and problems, and a critique of official and unofficial attempts to solve those problems.

Student learning goals

Learn about environment, culture, and society in China.

Through the study of China, learn concepts of environmental analysis and environmental anthropology.

General method of instruction

Lectures and discussions intemixed, some films, slides, sometimes use PowerPoint and sometimes not, give students a lot of opportunity to discuss problems. Also, paper assignments and comments on papers are a key element of learning in this course.

Recommended preparation

Should have basic familiarity with environmental studies concepts, and preferably some previous coursework or experience with China, though the latter is not absolutely necessary.

Class assignments and grading

Students will write on three out of a choice of 6 papers. Each addresses a problem germane to one of the topics covered in the course. Paper problems are based on lectures and readings for the class; students are not expected to do further reading to write the papers.

Grades for the course are the average of grades on the papers.


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 Stevan Harrell
Date: 10/10/2009