The course will focus on the interaction between humans and their natural environment, with emphasis on culture as the primary medium through which nature is perceived and understood. Ultimately, it is through culture and its ability to adapt, regenerate, and change, as a system of meanings, that humans will (perhaps) be able to survive the drastic changes their environment is going through. The course will give an overview of the basic concepts of the field of human ecology, as well as theories of subsistence-systems and the social organisations whose understanding is important for the analysis of human-environmental interaction. Actual cases, both historical and contemporary, will be used to evaluate these theories and other ideas about how human-environment interactions take place. These cases will largely be from Iceland, but students will be encouraged to bring in their experience and knowledge of other cases that relate to the course's theoretical approach. In general, discussions, student presentations, and field-trips will play a central role in building up a body of knowledge relevant for this course. This is particularly so since any academic body of knowledge is constantly being remade, and all those involved should make a contribution. The course will introduce other research fields related to human ecology, such as political ecology, environmental history, cultural ecology, and environmental anthropology, to name a few. The course will also introduce theories of the values, beliefs and knowledge through which the natural environment is perceived, lived in, adapted to, and ultimately changed.
Application deadline for the whole Master's Program: April 15th for EU/EEA citizens and February 15th for citizens outside of the EU/EEA
Application for only this course: please contact Martha Lilja Marthensdóttir Olsen (email@example.com)