ANTH 620h

Seminar in Nature/Culture/Power

This graduate seminar is an in-depth exploration of anthropological engagements with the environment, ecological science and the political economy of nature. The course is arranged around the following major subjects of study: (1) the nature/culture divide and the (European and Western) historical underpinnings of the study of human-environment relations (2) agrarian studies, political economy and the world system; (3) post-structural political ecologies; and (4) contemporary multidisciplinary engagements with Science and Technology Studies (STS) approaches, anthropological engagements with place, terrain and territory, and new ecologies of the Anthropocene.   The course will provide students with the opportunity and space to explore their own interests in anthropological and critical engagements with nature and culture, and culminates in a writing workshop for course participants.

Books we have read in the course include:

Besky, Sarah. The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India. California Studies in Food and Culture No. 47. Berkeley and London: University of California Press, 2013.

Crosby, Alfred W.  Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Fairhead, James, and Melissa Leach. Misreading the African Landscape: Society and Ecology in a Forest-Savanna Mosaic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Gordillo, Gastón R. Rubble: The Afterlife of Destruction. Duke University Press, 2014.

Li, Tania Murray. Land’s End: Capitalist Relations on an Indigenous Frontier. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2014.

Locke, John. Two Treatises of Government: And a Letter Concerning Toleration. Edited by Ian Shapiro. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2003 (1689).

Ogden, Laura. Swamplife: People, Gators, and Mangroves Entangled in the Everglades. University of Minnesota Press, 2011.

Pachirat, Timothy. Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2011.

Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt. The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton University Press, 2015.


Picture credit: After Pieter Bruegel the Elder. c 1560. Landscape With the Fall of Icarus. Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Belgium.



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