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Unit Overview


This unit aims to introduce students to anthropological and sociological perspectives on human engagements with the natural environment. It draws on case material from societies around the world to illustrate a variety of environmental beliefs and practices. The unit familiarises students with the main theoretical currents in environmental anthropology and provides them with perspectives for thinking about human interactions with the environment. It encourages students to think analytically about the values and knowledge that human communities, urban and rural, hold about landscapes, plants and animals. The unit is relevant to students from a range of disciplines including agriculture and the environmental sciences. It provides students with some insights into the range of skills and background knowledge necessary for applying their anthropological training to environment-related research topics. It encourages students to think about career options, professional development and transferable skills while also providing a theoretical grounding in environmental anthropology and/or sociology.

6 points
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 elective

Students are able to (1) demonstrate an understanding of key conceptual issues in the fields of environmental anthropology and/or sociology with a special focus on landscape and place; (2) demonstrate knowledge of ideas related to the study of local and global environmental issues and related ethical considerations; (3) demonstrate an ability to engage with, critique and understand theoretical approaches used by social scientists to study human–environment interactions; (4) demonstrate an ability to understand, investigate and discuss the application of environmental anthropology and/or sociology; and (5) develop a written and oral capacity to present clear, lucid, well-documented arguments, drawing on both theory and empirical or ethnographic material relevant to this unit in a collegial manner and setting.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) lectorial participation; (2) assignments; and (3) in-class exercise. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Assistant Professor Mitchell Low
Unit rules
any Level 2 ANTH unit
ANTH2238 Environmental Anthropology
Contact hours
lectorials (combined lecture/tutorial/workshop format) 30 hours
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.