“The environment” has had different meanings for different people at different points in history. It can be a critically threatened set of processes and relationships, a harsh and threatening force, an unremarkable backdrop of everyday life, or even a non-existent concept all together. To approach “the environment” anthropologically, we not only examine the ways that environments shape and are shaped by human activities, but also examine how concepts such as the environment, nature, and wilderness have emerged historically, vary cross-culturally, and can serve certain interests over others. These two tasks are key goals for this course. Pursuing both will help us go beyond merely understanding environmental issues to also question the assumptions on which common understandings are based. One important shift in thinking we will try on, for example, is cultivating a better appreciation for the ways in which we are always embedded in environmental processes whether indoors, outdoors, in the city, in a forest, etc. Another key consideration in this class is politics. Today’s progressive environmental anthropology, like the broader field of sociocultural anthropology, embraces taking political positions, and actively seeks to create knowledge that can translate into political practice. With this consideration in mind, the class will focus a lot of attention on environmentalism in terms of different efforts to imagine and bring about better environmental futures.
Lee, Goeun, "ANTH 253A Environmental Anthropology Lee Fall 2023" (2023). Course Syllabi. 161, Scholarly and Creative Work from DePauw University.