Anthropology of the Environment

Course Number: 
Donald Moore


The course surveys anthropological perspectives on environmental topics and examines differing constructions of nature, culture, and difference. Approaches usually covered include cultural ecology, political ecology, environmental history, environmental justice, environmental racism, feminist environmentalism, the geography of hazards, and other recent developments in the interdisciplinary field of Environmental Politics. The course seeks to ground distinctive conceptual approaches in diverse geographies, histories, and environmental challenges in the Global South and North—as well as in rural and urban contexts. It emphasizes the integration of theory, analysis, and empirical research (including ethnography); and it poses critical questions to students regarding their own relationships to advocacy, activism, and environmental justice. Special attention is devoted to colonial and imperial circuits through which globalized forms of environmentalism emerged. In turn, the course closely examines postcolonial struggles and contemporary conflicts that have politicized relations among environmental resources, rights, and cultural identities. Such analyses necessarily entail investigating relationships among contemporary practices of environmentalisms, conservation, and sustainable development in relation to: humanitarianism and human rights; militarism and violence; political economy, poverty, and inequality; gender, generation, and property claims; resource rights, access, control, and ownership; biodiversity and biopolitics; indigenous territory, sovereignty, and transnational social movements; National Parks, Protected Areas, and competing understanding of wilderness; Climate Change debates; so-called natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina; and articulations of environmental justice, livelihood struggles, and imaginaries of alternative futures.


This course meets the Social/Cultural core requirement or may be used as an elective. 

101 2251 College
TTH 3:30-5


Anthropology 3 or consent of the instructor.

Recommended Background: Anthropology 3 or a similar introductory background in Socio-cultural Anthropology or one of its allied fields or disciplines.