From climate justice and food sovereignty to Standing Rock and Extinction Rebellion, today’s anthropologists engage many important debates related to culture and environment. This course introduces how we understand human ecology and environmental issues “from the bottom up”, in the context of rooted histories and living cultures. Looking at case studies of resource extraction, climate change, biodiversity conservation, agricultural adaptation, ecotourism and attempts to “green” the economy, we will explore how ethnographic methods support indigenous and local perspectives around the world, as people perceive, challenge and reshape the global processes and structural inequalities that affect them and their home places.
- Learn about contemporary environmental issues, by reading a range of anthropological case studies.
- Grasp the insights and value of ethnographic approaches to the study of culture and ecology, and perceive the methodological discipline necessary to the production of these studies.
- Understand and apply key concepts used in qualitative analysis to synthesize and organize complex information about culture, ecology, and political economic systems.
- Appreciate how the asymmetries of power and vulnerability are evident not only in the impacts of environmental problems, but can also be reproduced by our frameworks for problem-solving, unless we pursue rigorous critical reflexivity as well as direct collaboration with affected communities.
- Recognize the ethical orientations embedded in anthropological research and participate in its commitment to dismantling the persistent legacies of colonialism, racism, and social inequality.