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Anthropology and the Environment:
Topics in Political Ecology
Amity A. Doolittle
This is an advanced seminar on the relationship between society and the environment, specifically focusing on literature from the growing field of political ecology. Political ecology is based on the belief that environmental conflicts and management cannot be studied without careful examination of the pertinent political, cultural and historical factors. The field of political ecology has grown in response to other phases in the scholarship surrounding mankinds place in the environment. Specifically political ecology draws on the scholarship from the fields of human ecology and political economy. Rather than focusing on the supposedly closed relationship between a society and their ecosystem (as human ecologists tend to) or solely on events occurring in the larger political economy and their effect on the environment, practitioners of political ecology try to explain environmental conflicts in terms of the particularities of place, culture and history. The nuances of local level details are set in relation to larger events occurring in the broader political economy since both local and non-local factors influence the decisions of a resources user. The field is predicated on the assumption that our environmental problems are often common, but their causes are complex and changing therefore solutions must be specific to time and place.
Course Requirements and Grading
Attendance in class, completion of all readings and active participation in seminar discussions is expected. Many of the readings are complex and require careful consideration (total of 20% of grade).
Each week a small group of students will be responsible for preparing a short critical presentation of the readings. Presenters should not summarize the readings but should explain central concepts and comment on what they see as the strengths and weaknesses of the material. Presenters should offer questions to provoke seminar discussions. All participants will be responsible for two class presentations (total of 20% of grade).
Students will write a short (1-2 page, double spaced) weekly commentaries on the readings. These commentaries will be circulated via email before class and a hard copy is to be handed in to the instructor. Each student should submit six commentaries to complete the course (total of 35% of the grade).
A final research paper in which the student critically and closely engages an aspect of the material considered in the course. The paper should be 12-15 pages in length. A 2-page outline is due in the third week of the class; a 5-page update with an attached abstract and bibliography is due in the sixth week of the class. Students should develop papers in consultation with the instructor (25% of grade).
Week One: Human Ecology, Part I
Approaches from Anthropology
Steward, Julian (1977) Evolution and Ecology. Chicago: University of Illinois Press. Chapters 1 and 2, pp. 43-67.
Rappaport, Roy (1967) Ritual Regulation of Environmental Relations Among a New Guinea People, in Environment and Cultural Behavior: Ecological Studies in Cultural Anthropology. Andrew Vayda, ed. Garden City: The Natural History Press.
Week Two: Human Ecology, Part II
Human Ecology Applied
Rambo, Terry and Percy Sajise (1984) An Introductions to Human Ecology Research in Southeast Asia. Laguna, Philippines: University of the Philippines. Introduction and Chapters 1 and 2, pp. v-39.
Vayda, Andrew (1983) Progressive Contexualization: Methods for Research in
Human Ecology, Human Ecology 11( 3): 265-281.
Week Three: Political Economy
Nature in a World System
Hopkins, Terrence and Immanueal Wallerstein (1984) World Systems Analysis: Theory and Methodology. London: Sage. Chapter 1 and 4.
Wolf, Eric (1982) Europe and the People Without History. Berkeley: University of California Press. Chapter 11.
Week Four: Political Ecology: Combined Perspectives from
Human Ecology and Political Economy
What is Political Ecology?
Moore, D. S. (1996). Maxism, Culture, and Political Ecology: Environmental Struggles in Zimbabwes Eastern Highlands. Pp., 125-147 in Peet, R. and M. Watts, Liberation Ecologies: Environment, Development, Social Movements. London: Routledge.
Bryant, Richard (1992). Political Ecology: An Emerging Research Agenda in Third World Studies, Political Geography 11(1): 12-36.
Week Five: State Interventions, Part I
Resource Control, Conflict and Resistance
Dove, Michael (1983). Theories of Swidden Agriculture and the Political Economy of Ignorance, Agroforestry Systems 1(1): 85-99.
Neumann, Roderick (1992). The Political Ecology of Wildlife Conservation in the Mt. Meru area of Northeast Tanzania, Land Degradation and Rehabilitation 3: 85-98.
Peluso, Nancy (1993). Coercing Conservation: The Politics of State Resource Control, Global Environmental Change 3 (2): 199-218.
Week Six: State Interventions, Part II
Neumann, Roderick (1996). Dukes, Earls and Ersatz Edens: Aristocratic Nature and Preservationists in Colonial Africa, Environment and Planning 14 (76-98).
Grove, Richard (1993). Conserving Eden: The (European) East India Companies and their Environmental Policies on St. Helena, Mauritius and in Western India, 1660-1854, Comparative Studies in Society and History 35 (3): 318-351
Law and resource control
Zerner, Charles (1994). Through a Green Lens: The Construction of Customary Environmental Law and Community in Indonesias Maluku Islands, Law and Society Review 28 (5): 1081-1121.
Hahn, Steven (1982) Hunting, Fishing, and Foraging: Common Rights and Class Relations in the Post-Bellum South, Radical History Review 26: 37-64.
Week Seven: Local Knowledge, Part I
Reading Indigenous Transformations
Alcorn, Janis (1981). Huastec Noncrop Resource Management: Implications for Prehistoric Resource Management, Human Ecology 9 (4): 395-417
Agrawal, Arun (1995). Dismantling the Divide between Indigenous and Scientific Knowledge, Development and Change 26 (3): 413-439
Fairhead, James and Melissa Leach (1995) Reading Forest Histories Backwards: The Interaction of Policy and Local Landuse in Guineas Forest-Savanna Mosaic, Environment and History 1 (1): 55-92.
Week Eight: Local Knowledge, Part II
Local Resource Control in Marginal Areas
Dove, Michael (1993) A Revisionist View of Tropical Forest Deforestation and Development, Environmental Conservation 20 (1): 17-24, 56.
Corry, Stephen (1993). The Rainforest Harvest: Who Reaps the Benefit?, The Ecologist 23 (4) 148-53.
Frossard, David. Forthcoming. In Field or Freezer?: Some Thoughts on Genetic-Diversity Maintenance in Rice. In Dove, M. P. Sajise, and Doolittle, A. eds. The Institutional Context of Biodiversity Conservation in Southeast Asia: Trans-national, Cross-sectoral, and Inter-Disciplinary Approaches.
Week Nine: The Development of Development
Development Interventions and Discourses of Development
Cowen, Michael and Robert Shenton (1995). The Invention of Development, Pp. 27-43 in J. Crush, ed. Power of Development. New York: Routledge.
Ferguson, James and Larry Lohmann (1994). The Anti-Politics Machine: Development and Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho, The Ecologist 24 (5): 176-182.
Escobar, Arturo (1991). Anthropology and the Development Encounter: The Making and Marketing of Development Anthropology, American Ethnologist 18 (4): 658-681.
Week Ten : What Is Participatory Conservation and Development, Part I?
Community and Conservation: Protected Areas
Agrawal, Arun and Clark Gibson (1999). Enchantment and Disenchantment: The Role of Community in Natural Resource Conservation. World Development 17 (4): 629-649.
Neumann, Roderick (1997). Primitive Ideas: Protected Area Buffer Zones and the Politics of Land in Africa, Development and Change 28: 559-582.
Brosius, Peter, et al. (1998). Representing Communities: Histories and Politics of Community-Based Natural Resource Management. Society and Natural Resources 11: 157-168.
Week Eleven : What Is Participatory Conservation and Development, Part II?
Participatory Development and Conservation
Peters, Pauline (1996) Whos Local Here? The Politics of Participation in Development, Cultural Survival Quarterly 20 (3): 22-60.
Orlove, Benjamin (1991). Mapping Reeds and Reading Maps: The Politics of Representation in Lake Titicaca, American Ethnologist 18 (1): 3-38
Mosse, David (1994) Authority, Gender and Knowledge: Theoretical Reflections on the Practice of Participatory Rural Appraisal, Development and Change25 (4): 497-526.
Week Twelve: Gender and the Environment
Schroeder, Richard (1993). Shady Practices: Gender and the Political Ecology of Resource Stabilization in Gambian Garden/Orchards, Economic Geography 69 (4): 349-365.
Carney, Judith (1993). Converting the Wetlands: Engendering the Environment: The Intersection of Gender with Agrarian Change in the Gambia, Economic Geography 69 (4): 349-365.
Agrawal, Bina (1997) Environmental Action, Gender Equity and Womens Participation, Development and Change 28:1-44.
Week Thirteen: Debates and Discourses
Discourses of Deforestation
Bryant, Raymond (1996) Romancing Colonial Forestry: The Discourses of Forestry as Progress in British Burma, The Geographical Journal 162 (2): 169-178.
Brosius, Peter (1997). Endangered Forest, Endangered People: Environmentalists Representations of Indigenous Knowledge, Human Ecology 25 (1): 47-69.
Alcorn, Janis (1993) Indigenous Peoples and Conservation, Conservation Biology 7 (2): 424-6.
Redford, Kent and A. Stearman (1993) Forest-Dwelling Native Amazonians and the Conservation of Biodiversity, Conservation Biology 7 (2): 248-55.
Redford, Kent (1991) The Ecologically Noble Savage, Cultural Survival Quarterly15: 46-48.