Anthropology of Nature

Subject ANTH30009 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1x 2 hour lecture and 1x 1hour tutorial per week for 10 weeks. The lecture and tutorial programs are staggered and cover the 12 weeks of semester.
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours





Recommended Background Knowledge:

Knowledge gained in completing any one of the following subjects:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2013
Not offered in 2013
Non Allowed Subjects:

Students who have completed redefining Nature with the code 121-062 or 671-355 are not permitted to enrol in this subject.

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:

Subject Overview:

This subject explores anthropological understandings of ‘nature’, from a comparative ethnographic perspective. Engaging with a range of ethnographic and theoretical literature, it examines the diverse ways that humans come to know and think about the natural world, understand their place in relation to that world, and define what they mean by Nature, including human nature. Through a consideration of topics such as Traditional Ecological Knowledge’, patterns of land tenure and management, the power of anthropomorphism and the ‘naturalising’ of social differences and inequalities, students will develop an understanding of recent approaches to a key issue in anthropology – the relationship between Nature and Culture – and implications for the ways people interpret their roles and responsibilities in relation to other beings in the world.


Objectives: Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • Appreciate that what people designate, think about, and experience as ‘nature’ may vary.
  • have a knowledge of the range of ways people construct understandings of, and organise themselves in relation to, their ‘natural’ environments.
  • be aware of approaches within anthropology to documenting, analysing and theorising this variation.
  • be able to critically discuss issues raised by the confrontation between different systems of environmental knowledge and practice.

Two 500 word papers (17.5% each) due during the semester, an essay outline (5%) due in week 11, and a 3000-word essay (60%) due during the examination period.

Hurdle Requirement: This subject has a hurdle requirement of attendance at a minimum of 8 tutorials (ie. 80% of tutorials). Regular participation in tutorials is required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available from the University Bookshop at the beginning of semester. Set readings will also be available online, through LMS.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • have practice in conducting research and speaking articulately.
  • have practice in writing clearly in a variety of formats and reading with attention to detail.
  • have experience of systematically evaluating a body of empirical data and identifying its theoretical context.
  • have experience of methods of critical inquiry and argument leading to improved analytical skills.
  • have acquired awareness of issues relating to cross-cultural communication.
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Anthropology
Development Studies Major
Related Breadth Track(s): Understanding Nature

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