Political ecology is an active interdisciplinary framework with foundations in anthropology, geography, environmental studies and the biological sciences. Its central contention is that our understanding of environmental issues and environmental change must include an analysis of the social, political, economic, and cultural context in which they are produced. Through a set of advanced readings in the social sciences, students in this course become familiar with the genealogy of this interdisciplinary approach, the keystone texts that inform contemporary political/ecological work, and the new directions that comprise the cutting edge of political ecology. Recurring themes in the reading list will examine indigenous peoples struggle over resources, the construction of nature through the capitalist lens, and an examination of sustainability in both discourse and practice. Students conduct original ethnographic research that builds upon these areas of interest.
Advanced coursework in anthropology, sociology, and/or international political economy is strongly recommended.