Cultural Anthropology

Our cultural anthropology faculty explore the twined interactions between human cultures and the environment to elicit vital understandings of adaptive strategies that apply to current and future issues of sustainability, conservation and preservation. Undergraduate and graduate students participating in this research are active on five continents and Oceania. Faculty and students engaged in conservation research are examining the social context and trade-offs implicit when outside agencies seek to protect nature. Those approaching their subject ethnoecologically and economically are examining land rights, livelihoods, and decision-making in relation to natural resources on both cognitive and household levels. Faculty and students oriented by political ecology examine the relationship of land rights and livelihoods to policy and social organization. Our faculty are first and foremost ethnographers, but also include a solid array of contemporary qualitative and quantitative methods including textual analysis, remote sensing, analytical cartography and GIS, and a wide variety of participatory techniques.

Current research includes

  • Livelihood decision-making in rural Madagascar
  • Adaptation to climate change in Céara, Brazil
  • Conservation of native landrace plants and livestock in the American South
  • Culture, history, ecology, and conservation among the Wounaan of Eastern Panama
  • Water security and the policy of decentralization in Mexico