Anthropology of Nature

Subject ANTH30009 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Jul-2015 to 25-Oct-2015
Assessment Period End 20-Nov-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 07-Aug-2015
Census Date 31-Aug-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 25-Sep-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
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:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Knowledge gained in completing any one of the following subjects:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1
Non Allowed Subjects: None
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:


Dr Victoria Stead


Dr Victoria Stead


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.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding that what people designate, think about, and experience as ‘nature’ may vary, and demonstrate knowledge of different approaches within anthropology to documenting, analysing and theorising this variation;
  • demonstrate detailed knowledge of the range of ways people construct understandings of, and organise themselves in relation to, their natural environments;
  • apply an independent and creative approach to analysing understandings of ‘nature’, based on an appreciation of the interplay between theory and ethnographic inquiry;
  • articulate the relationship between diverse and contested forms of knowledge and practice in relation to ‘nature’ and the social, historical and cultural contexts that produced them;
  • reflect on and discuss their own attitudes to ‘nature’, and how these are framed by particular cultural understandings and social contexts;
  • apply critical and comparative analytical skills to identify and address issues raised by the confrontation between different systems of environmental knowledge and practice, and how these shape changing attitudes to ‘nature’.


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 minimum Hurdle Requirement of 80% tutorial attendance. Regular participation in tutorials is required.

Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working 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:

Readings will be provided online through the subject's LMS site prior to the commencement of semester.

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
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Anthropology
Related Breadth Track(s): Understanding Nature

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