Environmental Anthropology (L6066)

30 credits, Level 6

Spring teaching

This module considers the cross-cultural study of relations between people and their environments. Like the focus of many environmental movements, much recent work in ecological anthropology has been crisis-driven, but whilst covering this literature the focus will be broader, taking a wider perspective including the context in which the research itself is being done. Current work on the human dimensions of deforestation, or global climate change, for example, can be informed and strengthened by an understanding of the century-old intellectual lineage of the underlying issues. The module will therefore cover the evolution of environmental anthropology, using ethnographic exemplars that relate to contemporary environmental issues, whilst at the same time probing debates such as the Nature-Culture trap and beyond; humanity and animality; the nature (ontology) of nature, including anthropologies of air, earths, fire and water; historical and anthropological challenges to equilibrial ecological reasoning; and anthropologies of climate and climate change.

This module will be assessed by a 7,000-word dissertation.


33%: Lecture
67%: Seminar


100%: Written assessment (Dissertation)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 36 hours of contact time and about 264 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: