Anthropology | Environmental Anthropology
E527 | 30159 | Brondizio


Environmental anthropology is the general designation for the
anthropological investigation of human-environment relationships. This
field brings together interests in local, state, and global nexuses;
environmental values and religion; environmental cognition and
perception; resource management, land use, and global climate change;
people and parks and conservation initiatives; human rights and
environmental justice; gender, race, class, and ethnic dimensions, as
well as globalization and consumerism. This rainbow of foci is the
product of discussion, debate, and interdisciplinary
cross-fertilization over the last 100 years, in the course of which
paradigms have risen and fallen and that witnessed a changing social,
economic and cultural milieu with respect to both the practice of
anthropology and the nature of human-environment relationships.

This graduate seminar will discuss environmental approaches in
contemporary anthropology by unfolding the storyline of the field. We
started by discussing the formative period of the field in the early
20th century and the related theoretical-methodological debates, which
led to the evolution of Cultural Ecology and later Ecological
Anthropology. At different time periods three important trends
developed -- one dominated by an ecosystem-oriented approach, one by a
political economy-oriented approach, and the other by a symbolic
approach. These approaches developed with different degrees of overlap
into six main fields of contemporary inquiry which we will overview
during the seminar: Ecological Anthropology, Political Ecology,
Institutional Analysis, Historical Ecology, Ethnobiology, and Symbolic
Ecology and Environmentalism.

This seminar is based on readings, lectures, and class discussions.
Students will define the focus of a research paper early in the
course. Other activities include class presentation/leading
discussion, and preparation of short reports.