Political Ecology: Critical Approaches to Anthropology of the Environment and Socio-Ecological Change

School of Consciousness and Transformation ANTH 6384 3.00

In the last century we have entered a period of unprecedented environmental transformations leading to what many scholars believe is the biosphere ‘on the brink’. In this landscape of uncertainty and change, heated debates over environmental conservation, land use, and livelihoods dominate the contemporary socio-political arena. This course explores political ecology as an interdisciplinary approach to understanding socio-ecological processes of change. We start with an examination of the political stakes and dynamics of environmental access, management, and transformation. Through critiques of scholars and communities, we will challenge understandings of nature, resource use and degradation that have resulted as a consequence of colonialism and uneven capitalist development. The class will pay particular attention to political ecologies of our increasingly urbanized world, asking the questions: where does society end and nature begin? And, how are movements and communities reframing and constructing socio-natures in resistance? In so doing, our intention is to arrive at Robbins’ conclusion that “politics is inevitably ecological and ecology is inherently political” (2012).

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