Social Science of Development and Conservation
This course is designed to provide M.E.M., M.E.Sc., and doctoral students with the opportunity to master the essential social science literature on sustainable development and conservation. Social science makes two contributions to the practice of development and conservation. First, it provides ways of thinking about, researching, and working with social groupings—including rural households and communities, but also development and conservation institutions, states, and NGOs. This aspect includes relations between groups at all these levels, and the role of power in these relations. Second, social science tackles the analysis of the knowledge systems that implicitly shape development and conservation policy and impinge on practice. In other words, we analyze communities but also our own ideas of what communities are. We also examine our ideas about sustainable development and conservation. Finally, we attempt to look at development and the institutions that implement it from the perspective of communities. The emphasis throughout is on how these things shape the practice of sustainable development and conservation. Case studies used in the course have been balanced as much as possible between Southeast Asia, South Asia, Africa, and Latin America; most are rural and Third World (largely due to the development and conservation focus). The course includes readings from all noneconomic social sciences. Readings are equally focused on conservation and development. The goal of the course is to stimulate students to apply informed and critical thinking (which means not criticizing others, but questioning our own underlying assumptions) to whatever roles they may come to play in sustainable development and conservation, in order to move toward more environmentally and socially sustainable projects and policies. The course is also designed to help students shape future research by learning to ask questions that build on, but are unanswered by, the social science theory of conservation and development. No prerequisites. This is a requirement for the joint F&ES/Anthropology doctoral program, and a prerequisite for some advanced F&EScourses. Open to advanced undergraduates. Three hours lecture/seminar.
Online Course Information: