Anthropology | Sem in Cultural Ecology: The Amazon Crisis: Ecology and Development
E620 | 0482 | Moran


Since 1985 the entire planet has become concerned about the processes of
deforestation and "development" taking place in the Amazon Basin. Species
extinction, climatic modification, global warming/CO2 emissions, murder of
indigenous peoples and peasants, gold mining (with mercury poisoning of
the environment) are among the many concerns that have been given
attention by the media.

This course will provide an introduction and intimate view of the changing
ecology of the Amazon Basin and the impact of recent development efforts.
The instructor has worked in the Amazon since 1972 focusing on precisely
these issues: the impact of clearing the forest, the role of roads in
attracting people, the relation of people to the Amazonian environment,
the role of institutions in mediating that impact, and the political
economy and social ecology of the region.

We will read about the region's history, about its ecology, and about the
people who call it "home".  We will focus on recent impacts as a way of
understanding the fragility and/or resilience of different parts of the
Amazon. We will write short papers and one long paper exploring in greater
detail topics of particular interest to you. While the course will be
rigorous and demanding, the topic and the issues are compelling and
exciting. Required readings: S. Hecht and J. Cockburn, the Fate of the
forest; E. Moran, Through Amazonian Eyes: the human ecology of Amazonian
Populations; D. Cleary, Anatomy of the Amazon Gold Rush; Bieregaard,
Amazon forest Fragmentation; and L. Sponsel, Indigenous People and the
Future of Amazonia.

Course requirements differ for undergraduate and graduate students.
Shorter papers are expected from undergrads, substantially different
reading assignments also. A draft of the syllabus is available at
http://www.indiana.edu/~act URL address or homepage. Expect some
substitution in these readings to reflect changes in knowledge of the area
between now and then! This is the instructor's research speciality and
thus you will be exposed to the state-of-knowledge on these issues.
This course will be offered under the numbers E400 (section 0471), for
undergrads, and E620 (section 0482) and G517 (section 0346) for graduate
students. The class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30 to 10:45 am in
Student Building 150.

Instructor: Emilio F. Moran, Rudy Professor of Anthropology and Professor
of Environmental Sciences at Indiana University.