ANTH5614 Ethnobotany
How have plants shaped human lives over time? How, in turn, have people influenced the lives of plants over the course of humanity’s existence on this planet? In this class, we will delve into human-plant relationships, examining how humans have relied on plants to meet our most basic needs, from our sustenance to security. In the process, we will look at how plants have become objects of techno-scientific manipulation and inquiry, resulting in a wide array of consumptive goods as well as thorny ethical questions and quandaries. In the second half of the course, we will consider how plants can be understood as subjects in their own right with distinctive capabilities and communicative forms that have allowed them to adapt to a range of conditions. Toward the end of the course, we will speculate about what might come next for botanical beings and our socio-cultural relationships to them, particularly in this era of human-induced environmental change. Finally, we will share our individual reflections on specific plants or human-plant relationships in an end-of-the-semester ethnobotanical exhibition that will showcase both student essays and art.

By the conclusion of the course, each student should be able to:

1. Discuss how culture shapes human perceptions of and relationships to plants.
2. Develop anthropological research questions about human-plant relations.
3. Produce creative reflections on one’s own personal relationships to plants through an anthropological lens.
4. Employ ethnographic and ethnobotanical methods to collect information about human-plant relations.

ANTH3623 Environmental Anthropology
This course serves as an overview of the subfield of environmental anthropology. In other words, it explores anthropological approaches to understanding the relationship between humans and their surrounding environments. During the course, we will draw from many prominent scholars that have shaped this subfield, tracing how perspectives in the study of human-environment relationships have changed and evolved over time. With case studies from Amazonia to the Arctic, this course will look specifically at how different human groups mediate their interactions with the environment through their social organization, subsistence practices, technology, religion, and cosmovision. We will also examine contemporary U.S. cultural practices and beliefs in relation to the environment, and several course assignments will engage with human-environmental problems of regional and national concern. Toward the end of the course, we will explore new theoretical and empirical developments in our understanding of human relationships to the environment, discussing specifically how climate change and the threat of global ecological crisis challenge are prompting collective rethinking of humanity’s place on Earth.

By the conclusion of the course, each student should be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of how culture shapes human perceptions of and interactions with the environment.
2. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of different theoretical approaches in the history of the environmental anthropology.
3. Apply theoretical concepts from environmental anthropology to describe and explain human-environment interactions.
4. Produce creative reflections on one’s personal relationship to the environment through an anthropological lens.

Past Courses and Syllabi:
ANTH2202H Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (Ohio State U.)
ANTH4525 History of Anthropological Theory (Ohio State U.)
ANTH3416 Peoples and Cultures of Latin America (Ohio State U.)
ANTH8891 Ethnography in the Anthropocene (Ohio State U.)

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