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.
An introduction to the way people throughout human history have understood, interacted with, and changed their physical and biological environment. The class begins with a survey of the different ways in which humans have gotten their livelihood at different historical periods, along with the ways that they have interacted with and changed their environment in doing so. After this, we proceed to examine three specific fields of environmental anthropology: ethnobiology, which concentrates on how people conceive of and use the animal, plant, and mineral resources in their enviroment; political ecology, which examines the ways in which political and economic arrangements of different societies affect human-environment interactions; and environmental justice, which looks at the ways in which economic, social, class, and racial inequalities affect the quality of the environment for different groups in society. The class concludes with a critique of the environmentalist movement through analysis of its social class basis in advanced socities, and suggests more humanistic alternatives for preserving the earth and its resources for future generations.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
This is a 200-person course, which means there will be lectures, films, illustrated talks, and so forth for at least half of each 2-hour session. Lectures will be closely coordinated with project activities to be undertaken in quiz sections, and with writing assignments both for the general course and for the writing links offered as ENG 198 through the Interdisciplinary Writing Program.
Read the assignments ahead of time, if possible; work closely with your instructors in formulating projects.
Class assignments and grading
There will be three writing assignments. These are problem-oriented, rather than fact-oriented, and will stress students' ability to formulate academic and practical problems, find solutions, and argue their cases persuasively in good English prose. There will also be a number of small projects of a non-writing nature to be completed and discussed in quiz sections.
2/3 on the quality of the three papers; 1/3 on the projects.