Now that the environmentally deleterious effects of modern Western culture on the natural world have reached major proportions it has become crucial to explore innovative solutions to this dilemma. In this course novel perspectives derived from the intersection of anthropology and ecology are discussed. The primary perspective focused upon is the understanding that human culture and the natural world in which it is embedded are essentially communicative, or semiotic processes, which thrive upon diverse interaction and feedback. Preserving and restoring the Natural World thus shifts from protecting individual species and particular cultural practices to enhancing the communicative matrix of life and multiple cultural views of the environment. Through this understanding, students will learn to apply a more elegant, effective, and aesthetically pleasing perspective to the challenging environmental issues facing our contemporary world. An in-depth examination of the North American Prairie, along with a comparison of influences on the landscape by indigenous and modern Western Culture will serve as the particular region of focus.
Offered as ANTH 382 and ANTH 482.