Anthropology (ANTH) 335

Ecological Anthropology (Revision 2)

ANTH 335

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online (with eTextbook)

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: ANTH 275 or equivalent.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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ANTH 335 has a Challenge for credit option.

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This is a third-year course that focuses on important human ecological relationships, through examining ecological principals and thinking (and their limitations), and the interrelationships of environments with cultures and ways of life. The course emphasizes both analyses framed in terms of Western understandings of environmental parameters, and local understandings of environment and environmental relations. This course could also provide a good grounding for ANTH 491 (Ethnobiology) or for ANTH 499 (Medical Anthropology), or courses in Human Geography or Environmental Studies. It would also be useful for students who focus on Archaeology, as it provides a historical examination of human/environment relations, and complements efforts to understand these relationships in archaeological contexts. ANTH 335 also includes contemporary topics in human/environment relationships with a focus on environmental sustainability in the context of climate change and progressive build-up of toxins in global environments.

Course Outline

The course consists of the following ten units.

  • Unit 1: Introduction: What is ecological anthropology?
  • Unit 2: Ecology: Basic concepts and introduction to human ecology
  • Unit 3: Bringing culture together with ecology
  • Unit 4: Ways of making a living without agriculture: hunting, gathering, fishing
  • Unit 5: Ways of making a living: beginnings of food production and horticulture
  • Unit 6: Pastoralism- making a living with animals and dilemmas in a world of boundaries
  • Unit 7: Agricultural Societies
  • Unit 8: Industrial agriculture, urbanized societies and global networks
  • Unit 9: “Sustainability,” “environmentalism,” and contemporary human ecological issues
  • Unit 10: Summary and Review—Ecological perspectives on human social and cultural life

Learning Outcomes

  • To develop a familiarity with relationships of human societies and environments through understanding of human ecology, culture and adaptation
  • To develop a sense of the relationships of economic activities and ecological relationships in a range of human societies


To receive credit for ANTH 335, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least D (50 percent) and a grade of at least D (50 percent) on the midterm and final examination. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1
Key Definitions
Assignment 2
Case Study
Midterm Exam 30%
Assignment 3
Research Paper
Final Exam 40%
Total 100%

The midterm and final examinations for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Moran, E.F. People and Nature: An Introduction to Human Ecological Relations. (2nd edition). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2017.

Haenn, N., R. R. Wilk, and A. Harnish. The Environment in Anthropology: A Reader in Ecology, Culture, and Sustainable Living. (second edition) New York: New York University Press, 2016.

A print version of the eText may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.


Sutton, M.Q. and E.N. Anderson. Introduction to Cultural Ecology. Lanham, MD: Altamira Press, 2014. (Print)

Johnson, L. M. Trail of Story, Traveller’s Path: Reflections on Ethnoecology and Landscape. Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University Press, 2010. (PDF)

Other Materials

The course materials also include readings, a study guide, and course information. The course Moodle site contains links to electronic readings and other resources.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

ANTH 335 has a Challenge for Credit option consisting of Assignment 1 (20%), Assignment 2 (20%), mid-term exam (30%), and final exam (30%).

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, March 6, 2019.