Anthropology of Sustainability
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Undergraduate Studies
Department: Social Sciences
Course Number: NANT 3647
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Anthropology
  • Sustainability
  • Social Sciences
It seems as if everywhere you turn, discussions about sustainability have taken center stage. Flipping through the New York Times over the course of one weekend, you’re likely to come across articles about sustainable development, sustainable consumerism, sustainable jewelry, sustainable budgets, sustainable suburbs, sustainable tourism, and Sustainable South Bronx. In recent years, anthropologists have begun to tease apart what “sustainability” means in these varied contexts; to explore different visions of sustainability around the globe; and to ask critical questions about free-wheeling uses of the term “sustainable.” This course provides students with an introduction to the anthropology of sustainability and explores sites that include northeastern Siberia, rural Japan, downtown Kenosha, and sub-Saharan Africa. Our readings examine topics that range from debates in Harlem about “green urbanism” becoming “environmental gentrification” to discussions among members of Occupy Everywhere about whether decentralized, new-media-based social movements are more sustainable. Final projects enable students to write about a sustainability issue of their own choosing.
Course Open to: Degree Students