Environmental Anthropology

Number of ECTS: 6   Price: 720 €
Teaching Language: English Place: Building J
Bellaterra Campus, 08193 Bellaterra

Teaching Period: 26 June to 14 July

Contact: summer@uab.cat

Teacher: Pablo Dominguez (coord.) and Hugo Valenzuela

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Contents overview

Through an in-depth bibliographic review of some of the most representative works of the History of Environmental Anthropology, we offer an innovative analysis demonstrating how the different approaches to these relations have, through time, placed themselves along three main dimensions or axes: 1) The Material-Ideal; 2) The Individual-Social; and 3) The Quantitative-Qualitative. At the same time, we show how most attempts, even those most transversal ones, are engaged to a greater degree with different areas along these three dimensions that cluster in two main paradigms, one naturalist and the other humanist. We expose the problems that the existence of such oppositions is posing and then, in the quest for a solution to these problems we propose a combination of the main schools of thought that we distilled from our revision. We exemplify this synthesis at the end of the course with field cases concerning Indigenous peoples’ and Community Conserved Areas (ICCAs): www.iucn.org/content/indigenous-and-community-conserved-areas-bold-new-frontier-conservation.

Teaching methodology
Students are expected to participate actively in the class discussions, and therefore you MUST come prepared. Please do the relevant readings for each class and make notes of potential subjects or concepts for discussion, particularly related with your final essay to be submitted in session 10 and that will deal with the subject of your greatest interest in relation to Environmental Anthropology. It will be also expected that one or two students do an oral presentation on an assigned reading per class in order to collectively discuss them. You will find them useful for preparing future seminars, perfectionning your writing and for later in your career. Hence, the first half of the classes will involve a lecture by the teachers with the support of a powerpoint. The last half of the classes will be dedicated to the presentation by students about the two readings assigned per class and will open to a broader collective debate about questions that will emanate from these and/or relate with each student’s research interests. At the same time vídeo documentaries will be visualized and discussed collectively and field visits are also expected.

Week 1

History and Context
1.- a) Introduction to the course contents and methodology,
1.- b) Historical precedents: theories from antiquity to the present on human-environment interactions
2.- Principles of Bio-Physical Ecology
3.- Biological Anthropology and Human Evolution
Analysis of different schools of Environmental Anthropology
4.- Early approaches towards human-environment relations in Anthropology
5.- Cultural Ecology and its ramifications: Neo-funtionalism, Neo-evolutionism and Processual Anthropology.
Field visit.

Week 2

6.- Ethnoecology and Socioecology
7.- Traditional Ecological Knowledge
8.- Symbolic Ecology and the Ontological Turn
9.- Biocultural Diversity: resilience and co-evolution
Evaluations of individual oral presentations
10.- 30-minute oral presentations with PowerPoint on the written essay
Field visit.

Week 3

Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas (ICCAs)
11.- ICCA Environmental Conservation
12.- ICCA Local Values and Identity
13.- ICCA Present and Future
14.- Eco-anthropology for the study of an ICCA case study from the High Atlas Mountains
15.- Community conservation, Environmentalism and Political Ecology
Field visit.

Teaching / learning activities
Dialogue with the students, presentation of the contents and methods of the course + final discussion.
Lecture and student oral presentations and collective discussion.
Student oral presentations and collective discussion.
Lecture and eco-anthropological documentary and discussion.
Field visit.

20% of the final mark: Participative engagement and quality of student interaction during the classes.
30% of the final mark: 30-minute student oral presentation with a PowerPoint at the second half of each class performing an in-depth critical analysis of one of the readings assigned for that class.
50% of the final mark: 30-minute student oral presentation with a PowerPoint at the last class of the course performing an in-depth critical analysis of one of the subjects discussed in class.

Links and references

Berkes F., Colding J. & Folke C. 2000 - Rediscovery of traditional ecological knowledge as adaptive management. Ecological Applications 10 (5) : 1251-62.
Berlin (1992) Ethnobiological classification: principles of categorization of plants and animals in traditional societies. Ed. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 364 p.
Brossius J. P. 1999 - Green Dots, Pink Hearts : Displacing Politics from the Malaysian Rain Forest. American Anthropologist 101 (1) : 36-57.
Descola Ph. & Palson G. 1996 - Nature and society: anthropological perspectives. Routledge, London.
Dove M. R. & Carpenter C. 2008 - Environmental Anthropology. A historical reader. Ed. Blackwell, Singapore.
Harris M. 1982 - El materialismo cultural. Ed. Alianza, Madrid, 399 p.
Ingold, T. 2000. The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill, Routledge, 480 p.
Kroeber A. L. 1939 - Cultural and Natural areas of native North America. Ed. University of California Press, Berkeley, 242 p.
Latour B. 2005 - Politics of nature. Ed. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 307 p.
Lee (1979) The !Kung San: Men, Women and Work in a Foraging Society, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 526 p.
Lizot, J. 1993 - "Yanomami Natural Resource Use: an inclusive cultural strategy" in Tropical Forests People and Food. Edited by C. M. e. a. Hladik. Paris: UNESCO and The Parthenon Publishing Group.
Martinez-Alier, J., Anguelovski, I., Bond, P., Del Bene, D., Demaria, F., Gerber, J.-F., Greyl, L., Haas, W., Healy, H., Marín-Burgos, V., Ojo, G., Firpo Porto, M., Rijnhout, L., Rodríguez-Labajos, B., Spangenberg, J., Temper, L., Warlenius, R., Yánez, I. 2014. Between activism and science: grassroots concepts for sustainability coined by Environmental Justice Organizations. Journal of Political Ecology, 21: 19-60. http://jpe.library.arizona.edu/volume_21/Martinez-Alier.pdf
McKenzie R. D. 1924 - The Ecological Approach to the Study of the Human Community. American Journal of Sociology 30: 287-301.
Morán E. 1993 - La ecología humana de los pueblos de la Amazonia. Ed. Fondo de Cultura Económica, México, 325 p.
Rappaport (1968) Pigs for the ancestors : ritual in the ecology of a New Guinea people. Ed. Yale University Press, New Haven, 311.
Sahlins M. 1988 - Cultura y razón práctica. Contra el utilitarismo en la teoría antropológica. Ed. Gedisa, Barcelona, 243 p.
Steward J. H. 1955 [1973] - The theory of culture change. The methodology of multilinear evolution. Ed. University of Illinois press, Urbana, 244 p.
Toledo (1991) What is ethnoecology? Origins, scope, and implications of a rising discipline. Etnoecologica 1: 5-21.
Tomàs Huanca, Victoria Reyes-García, 2015. Cambio global, cambio local. La sociedad tsimane' ante la globalización. Ed. Icària, Barcelona.
Vayda A. 1979- Environment and cultural behavior: ecological studies in cultural anthropology. Ed. University of Texas Press, Austin, 475p
Viveiros de Castro E. 1996 - Images of Nature and Society in Amazonian Ethnology. Annual Review of Anthropology 25:179-200.
White (1949) The science of culture : a study of man and civilization. Ed. Farrar, Straus & Co., New York, 444 p.
Wolf E. 1972 - Ownership and Political Ecology. Anthropological Quarterly, 45(3): 201-205.