This five-day course will acquaint participants with the approaches, methods and analyses used by ethnoecologists who are researching contemporary issues in the relationship between humans and the environment.
The approaches include:
- community-based management of natural resources
- co-evolution of cultural diversity and biological diversity
- ethnobiological classification
- historical ecology and landscape modification
- indigenous peoples and protected areas
- transmission of traditional ecological knowledge
- agrobiodiversity and subsistence
The course will draw on the instructors’ field research in North America, Mesoamerica and Southeast Asia, and on case studies of researchers who are active in other parts of the world. We will explore a variety of approaches that guide data collection including cultural consensus analysis, cultural domain analysis, and social network analysis. Participants learn techniques for collecting and analyzing ethnoecological data, along with an introduction to various software packages. Methods derived from cognitive anthropology include freelisting, paired comparisons, rankings, pile sorting, and triad tests. Methods from ecology include biological collections, landscape valuation, plots, transects, and diversity indices.
Complementary topics include: 1) negotiating community research agreements and obtaining prior informed consent for ethnoecological studies; and 2) ethical approaches to making ethnoecological data public.
No previous research experience in human/environment interactions is necessary. Participants will be using free software during the course, but will need a laptop that can run Windows-based programs. Appropriate clothes and footwear may be needed during short outings to the field.