Undergraduate Course: Anthropology and Environment (SCAN10066)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Why do human cultures engage differently with their natural environments and how do they understand processes of environmental sustainability and climate change? This course examines anthropological approaches to diverse human understandings of and interactions with their changing environments, and it brings an anthropological approach to understanding the socio-cultural, socio-political, and socio-economic implications of environmental challenges and related development, conservation, and human rights issues.
a. Academic Description
This course examines anthropological approaches to diverse human understandings of and interactions with their changing environments and brings an anthropological approach to understanding the socio-cultural, socio-political, and socio-economic implications of environmental challenges and related development, conservation, and human rights issues. Introductory sessions critically examine the history of anthropological entanglements with the environment and anthropological models of human-environment relations: from ecological determinism to cultural constructivism and phenomenology, and the anthropocene. The remainder of the course explores problem-centred and solution-driven approaches to pressing environmental problems with socio-cultural, socio-political, and socio-economic implications.
b. Outline Content
Indicative sessions include:
* History of anthropological entanglements with the environment: from ecological determinism to cultural constructivism, phenomenology, and the anthropocene;
* Anthropological models of human¿environment relations;
* Native/non-native species and anti-immigration politics;
* Belonging and migration: metaphors of rootedness and uprooting;
* Ethnobotany, medicinal plants, and intellectual property rights (IPR);
* Horticultural therapy in healing processes;
* Nature, biodiversity, and urban landscapes;
* Organic farming, pesticides, and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs);
* Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and the Tragedy of the Commons;
* The international politics and economics of resource extraction;
* Cultures of (renewable) energy;
* Local responses to global climate change;
* The paradoxes of militarised landscapes;
* People and parks: Terrestrial and Marine Protected Areas;
* The broken promises of ecotourism.
c. Student Learning Experience
The course as a whole - including the reading list and key readings, lecture topics, ethnographic and documentary films, class debates, online discussions, case studies, and essay topics - has a wide geographical scope, drawing on diverse examples from around the world.
The course entails a weekly two-hour session divided into a lecture and participative group work, and a fortnightly one-hour seminar for close discussion of key readings. Participation - i.e. contributions to group work and seminars, plus submission of short reflections on the weekly discussion readings - is assessed (10%).
Students are also assessed via two pieces of coursework: a mid-term short case study in the style of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or consultancy report on the environmental and social implications of a development project (20%), and an end-term longer summative essay in the form of a discursive anthropological essay engaging with the relevant bodies of anthropological literature and makes connections between theory, research, and public policy (70%).
This is a cross-disciplinary course rooted in anthropology, and is open to students with backgrounds across the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Visiting students should have at least 3 Anthropology courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Students will engage with the long history of anthropological engagements with environment, from ecology and ethnobotany to climate change in the anthropocene
- Students will critically examine a range of anthropological approaches to diverse human understandings of and interactions with their changing environments
- Students will evaluate the contributions made by professional anthropologists as internal advisors, independent consultants, or academic critics of environmental conservation projects
- Students will learn to apply insights from environmental anthropology to related development, conservation, and human rights issues
- Students will bring anthropological perspectives to bear on their understandings of the socio-cultural, socio-political, and socio-economic implications of environmental challenges and debates
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||RESEARCH AND ENQUIRY
apply different theories to the interpretation and explanation of human conduct and patterns of behaviour;
recognise and account for the use of such theories by others;
judge the value and relevance of empirical evidence and theoretical argument and interpretation in social science;
identify and design ways of solving problems with a social and cultural dimension;
question cultural assumptions;
discuss ideas and interpretations with others in a clear and reasoned way;
apply anthropological knowledge to a variety of situations.
|Keywords||Anthropology; Ecology; Environmental Sustainability; Environmental Change; Climate Change; Anthropoc
|Course organiser||Dr Laura Jeffery
Tel: (0131 6)51 3865
|Course secretary||Mr Ewen Miller
Tel: (0131 6)50 3925