ENVIRONMENTAL ANTHROPOLOGY IN THE MEDITERRANEAN

Anno accademico 2019/2020 - 1° anno - Curriculum Tema+ European Territories: Heritage and development

Modalità di svolgimento dell'insegnamento

Classes will consist of lectures, field visists, discussions, guest lectures, and written assignments. The first part of the class will be taught in a lecture format, and the second half will consist of a class discussion of the assigned reading material, complimented by occasional on-site visits. We will randomly draw upon the news and contemporary issues and discuss them in relation to our readings/course themes. Students are encouraged to raise issues based on experiences from their own lives/background, and relate them to the themes explored in this course.


Prerequisiti richiesti

The following book is required as a preparatory reading to be done BEFORE the beginning of the course: Matthew Engelke, "Think Like an Anthropologist", Pelican Books, 2017.


Frequenza lezioni

Attendance in all lessons is mandatory. A maximum of three classes can be missed, provided that student emailed me in advance. All deadlines must be met. Students who are unable to meet a deadline should notify me beforehand by e-mail with a legitimate reason. Doing the readings prior to class is mandatory. This course is designed in a seminar style and students are expected to do all the readings and raise relevant issues. Most class time will be devoted to discussing the issues raised in the readings.Students’ general attendance in class, consistence, punctuality, participation and overall contribution significantly shape their overall assessment and class participation grade. You may be called on if you are not an active participant. The use of mobile phones and smart phones is not allowed during class. The use of laptop computers for personal purposes (emailing, surfing, messaging etc.) is also not allowed.


Contenuti del corso

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Course objectives
This course aims to provide students with critical anthropological understandings of environemntal issues in the Mediterranean. In particular, students will:

  • Become familiar with key analytical concepts and critical anthropological theories related to the ideas of Mediterranean, Environment, Heritage;
  • Have a more thorough understanding of various forms of heritigization (of environmental and cultural assets) in the Mediterranean in historical and cross-cultural perspectives;
  • Learn how to critically reflect on contemporary debates over sustainability, natural conservation, heritage construction;
  • Acquire an informed reflection about the politics, modalities and moral aspects of environmentalism in the Mediterranean area;
  • Be capable of critically engaging with representations of the environemnt and its heritigization in the press, popular culture and media;
  • Reflect on the challenges of the anthropologists’ potential engagement in public discourse and trasformative social practices.

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Course content
This course will explore anthropological analyses of environmentalism and heritage conservation in the Mediterranean. It will offer a critical perspective of natural and cultural heritage interventions by focusing on key analytical concepts, theories and field visits. During our seminars we will study specific ethnographic cases and examine environmental problems as lived experience. We will also explore the historical and cultural contexts of nature/culture conservation activities in the Mediterraean through on-site ethonographical practices. The course is designed around a set of key questions and challenges in the anthropological study of environment and culture, and invite students to quickly move towards applying them to real-world cases. Environmental anthropology is the study of the relationships between human populations and environments. In this course we will pay particular attention to ways that human groups have adjusted to the environments in the Mediterranean, cultural and environmental changes (both natural and human-induced), and problems and controversies that stem out of these changes. We will also examine how industrialized environments that some populations have been restricted to limit their ability to live a healthy lifestyle, and explore strategies that may provide alternatives. We will always try to understand the cultural values that motivate people to behave as they do, variations that lead to competition fro alternative behaviors, and conflicts that result from top-down processes of environmental exploitation and land grabbing. The course is also designed to take into consideration global environmental trends and heritage consumption strategies, and the ways they are negotiated and manipulated by different interest groups, such as environmental organizations, development agencies, policymakers and local people.



VERIFICA DELL'APPRENDIMENTO

Modalità di verifica dell'apprendimento

Course evaluation will be based on students’ participation (overall participation, facilitation, and 3 reader responses), field commentaries, and a final report. Assessment will based on the following requirements (all requirements must be completed in order to qualify for a passing grade in the course):

 

Participation (20%)
The classes run seminar-style and students are expected to actively participate, demonstrate understanding of the readings and also respect for their peers. All students must complete the readings on time, and be prepared to discuss and/or present them in class, highlight passages for analysis, and raise questions for debate. Apart from the readings, in class we will discuss articles, blogs, videos and images. I will occasionally upload such material on Studium and students are expected to read/view it and be prepared to participate in a debate/discussion in class. Students are also encouraged to suggest such material themselves and bring it to class. Apart from general attendance and contribution, participation in class will be assessed by: a) group facilitation – in class presentations, and b) 3 reader responses for the entire course.

Group facilitation
At the beginning of the course, students will sign up to function as facilitators for the discussion on the readings of a particular seminar. They will be called on in the respective class to give a 15΄ presentation. The other students will be invited to critique and add to the presentation. Depending on the size of the class, these may be group presentations. Please note that group presentations mean that the students of a group must work together; everybody must read the assigned readings; and the group must produce a common presentation. The presentations must address the following issues: What is the main argument and goal of the article/chapter? What evidence is provided for the argument? Do you consider the text’s argument solid? Why or why not? What is the analytical prism through which the objective/ research question of the article is addressed (key concepts, theories)? Try to relate the text to other readings/themes of our course. Try to end your presentation with a couple of open-ended questions for the class.

Reader responses
Reader responses consist of 1-2 paragraphs where students will describe their reaction to one or more of the readings of the respective week. These responses are NOT summaries of the articles, but require critical and analytical thinking. Responses will take no more than 30 minutes to write. Reader responses will not be graded but they will add to the overall evaluation of your course participation. You will be asked to write 3 reader responses for the entire course. Assessment will be based on the students’ ability to demonstrate critical analytical thinking and elaborate on their ideas.

 

Field commentaries (20%)
During the course we will partecipate to field visits and students will be asked to write commentaries on them. These commentaries must not be merely the summaries of the activities/visists, but critical reflections. Students will be randomly invited to present their commentaries to the rest of the class during the course. The field commentaries must be submitted approximately one week after the respective visit.

 

Final report (60%)
The final exam is a 10-12 pages report, that sould follow a structures provided by the teacher at the end of the course. In their report, students will draw upon the theoretical and ethnographic analyses that we discussed throughout the seminars. Please note that in-depth analysis and critical thinking are expected rather than the superficial referencing of academic work. This report will consist of questions and the answers will take the form of an essay. The questions will pertain to the readings, field visits and class lectures covered in the course. The exam will be judged on the basis of pertinence and substantive quality, domination of the assigned material, critical insight, logical coherence, and conciseness of expression. Students will receive the grade for their written assignments, and feedback approximately 15 days after the deadlines. Individual feedback sessions can also be arranged upon the request of a student and after an appointment.

 

N.B. Students are encouraged to contact me and discuss their ideas and the material they study during the semester. You can also consult me on additional bibliography related to your interests.