Ecological Anthropology

Ecological Anthropology addresses the ways in which the world's cultures have adapted to and organized their environments across time and space. From the forest clearance practices of the pre-colonial Maya to the carbon footprint of local Sarasotans, students in this track learn to trace out the thick inter-dependencies among social practices, cultural values, and the bio-physical world. Within this track, the sub-field of environmental justice has drawn considerable interest among students who have in recent years turned their attention to the racial, class, gender, and international dimensions of both past and present environmental practices.

Previous students in this track have conducted tutorials, ISPs, and senior theses on a lively range of environmental subjects including ethnobotany in pre-historic Florida, indigenous resistance to oil drilling in the Ecuadorian Amazon, pesticide exposure among Hispanic farm workers in central Florida, and the institutional experiences of environmental refugees fleeing the disasters of the recent Haitian earthquake.

Students pursuing the track in Ecological Anthropology must complete the core Environmental Studies curriculum required of all ES students AND should be prepared to pursue a slash AOC in Anthropology. Interested students must discuss their plan of study with their potential faculty advisor no later than the end of their second year to see if he or she is available to sponsor an ES thesis. They should have completed a course with one of the Ecological Anthropology Faculty advisors by that point, for which they should have received a strong satisfactory evaluation.

Faculty resources in this sub-field include specialties in,Pre-Columbian and historic Latin America, contemporary sub-Saharan Africa, indigenous North America, historic Southwestern Florida, and the Middle East. Faculty have recently taught courses or sponsored tutorials on such topics of interest to ES students as Conservation and Indigenous Knowledge, Ecological Anthropology, the Colonial Encounter, Ancient Mesoamerican Civilization, and Political Ecology.

Faculty advisors include but are not limited to:

Anthony Andrews (Anthropology): Dr. Andrews, a specialist in the prehispanic and historic archaeology of the Maya area, regularly teaches introductory courses in archaeology and biological anthropology, as well as more specialized courses in Ecological Anthropology (with Prof. Dean), Method and Theory in Archaeology, Ancient Mesoamerica, History and Culture of Mesoamerica, Andean Prehistory, and Early Cultures of the Old World, all of which have ecological components.

Erin Dean (Anthropology): Dr. Dean, an Africanist and specialist in environmental anthropology, conducts research on community-based conservation in Tanzania and Zanzibar, and is widely interested in the relationships between human communities and the environment in the US and abroad. She teaches a wide range of courses that focus on or deal with environmental issues, including Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Ethnography: Theory and Practice, Ecological Anthropology (with Prof. Andrews), Development in an Anthropological Context, Contemporary Anthropology of Africa, East African Anthropology, Conservation and Indigenous Knowledge, and the Anthropology of Food.

Environmental Studies
New College of Florida
CGR 200
5800 Bay Shore Road
Sarasota Florida 34243

Phone: (941)487-4365
Fax: (941)487-4538