Fall 2010

  • Culture, Environment, and Sustainable Living

In this seminar, we examine how Western and non-Western cultures, both past and present, perceive and shape key environmental and social issues. Through readings, discussions and films we will evaluate the potential of environmental and cultural studies to address some of the most urgent contemporary problems. To work toward an understanding of what is today called environmental anthropology, we begin with an overview of material from fields which have served as antecedents and/or coevolving orientations, including the fields of cultural ecology, ecological anthropology, and human ecology. We will address questions of how people studied and perceived the ways in which human societies and various environments shape one another over time. We will also look at the environmental implications of human adaptations, and how these contribute to the issues of the day, including environmental stresses such as overpopulation, the depletion of natural resources, pollution of land, air and water and global warming.

Introductory Level

  • From an Indigenous Point of View

Using the novel as ethnography, this course examines world cultures through literary works of authors from various parts of the world. We explore the construction of community in precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial times; independence movements; issues of individual and social identity; and the themes of change, adaptation and conflict.

Intermediate Level

  • Exploring the World Through Research

How do social scientists gather primary data for the study of social life? This workshop course provides an opportunity for students to learn and practice the fundamental non-positivist research techniques necessary to study of social phenomena, namely interviewing, participant observation, and focus group discussions. Workshops and field projects will provide the opportunity for students to use these techniques on topics of their own interest. Methodological and theoretical perspectives will be examined, as will methods for recording, analyzing, interpreting and writing up qualitative data.

Intermediate Level


Spring 2011

  • Bennington Studies Term

Miroslava Prazak became a student at Bennington for the Spring 2011 term. During this time she studied documentary film-making and produced a short piece dealing with the work of PAVE(Project Against Violent Encounters), a Bennington County advocacy organization dedicated to helping the victims of domestic violence.

Click to view Mirka’s PAVE Documentary Video