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This blog is a discussion regarding the very broad trans-disciplinary topic–People and the Environment. We will be writing it as part of a class, Anthro 4020/5-Exploration in Anthropology: People and the Environment, which I am teaching at CU Boulder.

Course description

There is neither a place on the globe nor a time in history in which humans did/do not interact with the environment. Understanding these complex relationships can help us to better understand both the modern and historical situation and can provide clues into many current issues of both scholarly debate and general concern.

This course will provide an interdisciplinary exploration of the complex and diverse interrelationships between humans and the environment.  We will explore fundamental questions regarding these relationships and their relevance to both historical and modern issues. Drawing on case studies and theoretical work, we will explore issues of duality/non-duality in how different cultures and scholars perceive(d) and communicate(d) about the environment, the role of resiliency and conversely what creates resiliency, what factors drive human interactions with their environments, how different values and factors affect the study of these relationships, and how these relationships affect issues of war and peace.

Readings will draw on theoretical work and case studies examining both historical and modern systems. Four geographic regions (the Western U.S., the Amazon (particularly the Peruvian and Colombian Amazon), Bhutan/Southern Asia, and Cyprus/the Mediterranean) will serve as focal points throughout the course.

We will devote significant time to developing practical familiarity with the relevant methods for these types of studies and ways to communicate about these issues. Assignments will include local field investigations and the development of a broader literature and theory-based project related to a topic of each student’s interest.

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