Course Cover ImageAnthropology 491: Ethnobiology: Traditional Biological Knowledge in Contemporary Global Context

Welcome to Anthropology 491: Ethnobiology—Traditional Biological Knowledge in Contemporary Global Context.

Ethnobiology can be conceived of as the study of the cultural knowledge of living things and the environment. In this course, we will begin with a consideration of the nature of ethnobiological knowledge and its similarities and differences from the understandings of contemporary science. The next section of the course will examine cultural knowledge of and main types of uses of plants. In this course, we will be covering uses of plants by contemporary peoples and peoples of the recent past, so we will not look at the rich archeological record of plant use and domestication of crops by past cultures. From there we will examine knowledge and use of animals, and end the course with a review of ecological knowledge, and contemporary issues. What is the nature of Nature, and how do people relate to the world around them? Ethnobiology draws on the insights of several academic disciplines, principally anthropology, biology, and geography. As an interdisciplinary field, connections between different forms of knowledge about living things and the environment are examined from a variety of vantage points in a comparative or global context.