Anthropology (ANTH) 610

Environment, Traditional Cultures, and Sustainability (Revision 1)

Delivery Mode: Grouped study

Credits: 3

Prerequisite: ANTH 591 or other graduate course in anthropology or environmental students, or the permission of the professor are prerequisites for this course.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Program: Master of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies

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**Note: Students in Group Study courses are advised that this syllabus may vary in key details in each instance of the course. Always refer to the Moodle site for the most up-to-date details on texts, assignment structure, and grading.**


This course is a seminar which explores issues around the relationship of traditional cultures (the societies, their traditional ways of life, and their understandings of the world) with environments and with questions of sustainability. We will take up these themes first as general reviews of important concepts illustrated by case materials, and then we will review more extensively three broadly conceived "cases":

  1. the Nuu-chah-nulth of western British Columbia, Canada
  2. Arctic peoples and sustainability
  3. Indonesia and global connection

We will close with a synthesis of what we have learned and a consideration of ways forward, followed by presentation of student case studies in the final two weeks of the course.

Student Evaluation

To receive credit for this course, students must participate in the online activities, successfully complete the assignments, and achieve a final mark of at least 60 per cent. Students should be familiar with the Master of Arts—Interdisciplinary Studies grading system. Please note that it is students' responsibility to maintain their program status. Any student who receives a grade of "F" in one course, or a grade of "C" in more than one course, may be required to withdraw from the program.

The following table summarizes the evaluation activities and the credit weights associated with them.

Course Activity Weighting
Online Participation 50%
Case Topic Proposal 5%
Case Assignment 45%
Total 100%

Course Materials

The package you received should contain each of the items listed below. If anything is missing, contact the Course Materials Production division of Athabasca University. If you live in Edmonton or Calgary, we encourage you to call the Learning Centre in your city and use the automated telephone attendant to connect with Course Materials Production (the extension is 6366). If you live outside Edmonton or Calgary, but within Canada or the United States, you may call the automated attendant using Athabasca University's toll-free number, 1-800-788-9041 (extension 6366). If you live outside Canada or the United States, or if you prefer not to use the automated system, you may call Course Materials Production at (780) 675-6366. You may write in care of Athabasca University, 1 University Drive, Athabasca AB, T9S 3A3; or you may send e-mail to


  • Chatty, Dawn and Marcus Colchester. 2002. Conservation and Mobile Indigenous Peoples. New York: Berghahn Books.
  • Maida, Carl A. 2011. Sustainability and Communities of Place. New York: Oxford.
  • Turner, Nancy. 2005. The Earth's Blanket. Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre.
  • Atleo, E. 2004. Tsawalk: A Nuu-chah-nulth Worldview. Vancouver: UBC Press.
  • Lowenhaupt Tsing, Anna. 2005. Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Main Johnson, Leslie. 2010. Trail of Story, Traveller's Path: Reflections on Ethnoecology and Landscape. Edmonton: AU Press.

Athabasca University Online Materials

Course Home Page: You will find Course Information (including the Assignment File and other pertinent information) at the top of the course home page. You will also find your Study Guide presented unit by unit online. You will find your assignments and links to submit your work to your professor on the course home page.

Athabasca University Library: Students are encouraged to browse the Library's Web site to review the Library collection of journal databases, electronic journals, and digital reference tools:

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 1, September 1, 2012.

Updated April 03 2019 by Student & Academic Services