New Course: Environmental Anthropology

We have Trevor Durbin here from Rice University this coming Fall and
he will be offering a course on Environmental Anthropology (ANTH 522
TU 5:30-7:55pm meets Oct 16th – December 11th).

Environmental Anthropology: From Local to Global

The Environment isn’t what it used to be and neither are the people
who interact with it. According to many respected scientists, we are
entering an age of global species level crisis. We are faced with the
consequences of global climate change, massive species extinctions,
ocean acidification, pollution, and other large-scale problems that
threaten vital infrastructure, food security, and the lives of many.
These problems have local manifestations and human faces. In general,
vulnerable populations such as women, children, and the poor will be
the most affected. In some places development projects may actually
cause more environmental destruction than climate change, at least in
the short term. The simple act of eating sushi may be putting entire
marine ecosystems at risk. Nearly everything, it seems, is connected.
In this course we will look critically at changing human-environmental
interactions at local, global and regional scales. We will look to
both the classics and new work in theory and ethnography to guide our
discussion about the current state of the human environment and what
it means for us as responsible human actors.

Trevor Durbin is concerned with the perception and imagination of the
environment, systems of expertise, bureaucratic practices, and the
environmental futures of oceans, coasts and islands. His dissertation
research focuses on the role of bureaucratic imaginations in three
early-stage initiatives to re-spatialize the Pacific Ocean at massive
scales and the political, socio-cultural, and personal frictions
between, and within, biodiversity conservation, commercial fishing,
deep-sea mining, and sustainable development. His ethnographic
fieldwork ranged across Samoa, the Cook Islands, Fiji, New Zealand,
and Kiribati and moved between regional international agencies,
national governments, and NGOs.


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