Health, Development, Environment

tarot cardRelationships among humans, non-humans, and their environments leave significant traces in our bodies, cultures, and landscapes. How can we begin to understand the complex ways that a group's sense of well-being is cultivated -- or threatened -- through specific projects of medicine, economy, conservation, or industry? How does culture influence the experience of illness and possibilities for achieving a good life? What are the implications for action and engagement, when we consider the ways in which sickness, poverty, toxicity, and even "nature" itself, are historically produced? Anthropologists working on these problems begin by questioning: that is, we do not take health, development or the environment as self-evident or 'natural' forms. Instead, we look comparatively and critically at health, development and the environment, to understand the ways in which these arenas shape human experience, often in uneven ways. Examining relationships that go beyond the human, to involve plants, animals, and landscapes, helps anthropologists reconsider the role of "the human" in diverse pursuits for well-being. The HDE cluster involves anthropologists researching and teaching in arenas of global health, political ecology, ethnobotany, eco-tourism, critical development studies, landscape studies, disaster, violence, and political economy, in a variety of places around the world. We consider science and technology historically: that is, as particular cultural forms that have ascended to dominance in some situations, through global systems of knowledge, capital, and empire. We use ethnographic, archaeological, bioarchaeological, and biological field methods to understand how these broader systems of power shape human subjects while also creating fertile ground for resistance and transformation of those global systems.


Example Courses

  • Landscape Archaeology
  • Primate Conservation
  • Human Evolution
  • Politics of Ethnicity
  • Human Reproduction from an Evolutionary Perspective