APHB5502 Human Ecology

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
This unit examines the relationships of local ecology to human demography and social organisation. Plasticity in life history and social organisation is examined relative to the stability and sustainability of major subsistence technologies (foragers, horticulture, pastoralism, agriculture) with particular focus on mortality profiles, fertility patterns, familial composition and community structure. These are approached via the relative roles of disease outbreaks, famine and warfare, and mechanisms for fertility control in population processes. Human responses to transitions between major ecological/economic life ways are of particular interest. The unit follows a seminar format. One or two important journal articles are read critically for each weekly or fortnightly meeting. A written summarisation and critique are brought to the seminars as the basis of energetic discussion of the topical issues identified in the reading with respect to methodology, most important points, limitations, and implications to the wider topic of human ecology. In addition to leading and participating in seminar discussions, each student prepares a major semester paper developing some aspect of the unit's topical matter in relationship to the individual research interest. Seminars are anticipated to include 10 to 20 students.
Students are able to (1) critically evaluate and discuss the demographic processes important to human response to variations in local ecology; (2) search and manage literature and think critically; (3) effectively communicate their knowledge; (4) effectively lead/participate in scientific discussion emphasising critique of important aspects of published scientific work; and (5) identify and incorporate human ecology into a variety of areas in biological research.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) summaries of weekly reading and oral presentation of research paper; (2) discussion and leadership in seminars; and (3) a semester paper. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Debra Judge
Unit rules
ANHB3315 Human Evolutionary Ecology
ANHB3322 Human/Primate Social Organisation
ANHB3321 Biological Anthropology: Genes and Society,
by permission of the unit coordinator
Approved quota: 20—on a first-come, first-served basis
Contact hours
seminars: 24 hours (one 2-hour seminar per week for 12 weeks); presentations: 6 hours (during weekly seminars)
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
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  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.