Washington State University is located in Pullman, WA and was founded in 1890. There are about 21,800 undergraduates and 4,500 graduate students at this institution.


Plants and People (BIOL 401, 3 credits)
Relationships between plants and people, especially cultural and economic applications of plants.

Field Ecology 2 ( BIOL 463, 0-6 credits)

Field implementation of descriptive and experimental techniques to quantify the structure, composition, and interactions within natural communities.

 Environmental Anthropology (ANTH 210 )
This is a basic introduction to the anthropology of how people interact with their natural environment. Main topics for the course will be:

  • Ecological anthropology: the history of human adaptation on earth
  • Ethnobiology: Human cultures and their knowledge of nature
  • Political ecology: How politics affects communities and their environments
  • Environmental justice: Poverty, race, ethnicity, and the environment
  • A critique of environmentalism and a more humanistic alternative
Past Environments and Culture 3 (ANTH 370)
People and their environments from the Ice Age to modern time; archaeological, ecological, and biological data.

Ecological Anthropology (ANTH 457)
This course is intended for upper-division undergraduates and graduate students with some background in anthropology, biology, environmental studies, or cognate fields. The focus is on the ecology of non-industrialized societies, and in particular on the ways that humans adapt to and modify their environments, and how this process of ecological interaction shapes economic, demographic, political, social, and ideological aspects of people’s lives. Though the course is not focused on contemporary environmental problems of industrialized societies or the global system, the material we study provides insight into these topics, and they will be addressed directly in the final week. (Not currently offered)

Ethnobiology: Plants, Animals, and People (ANTH 458)
Culturally mediated relationships between human and natural environment studied in a comparative and evolutionary framework. How do peoples in diverse cultures recognize and name plants and animals and understand their relationship with nature? How is this traditional ecological knowledge applied in people’ s daily lives? (Not currently offered)

Historical Ecology (ANTH 461C)
This class is designed to explore the historical dimension of the environment, human adaptation, and cultural evolution. The class will critically evaluate arguments made in popular texts and the professional literature using archaeological, historical, and ethnographic evidence. We will seek to go below the surface of these accounts by looking at the primary anthropological and historical research that bears on the claims made and to develop a stronger understanding of how environment and culture have co-evolved and influenced each other in the history of human development. In the process students will come to better understand modern human-environmental dynamics as historically situated. Students can expect to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the role of human-environmental interactions in the unfolding of human history, both over long term of human history and the short term of decades and centuries. Case studies will be drawn from around the world.

Environment and Society in China(ANTH/SISEA 406)
This class examines the history and current state of the environment in China from the perspective of interacting environmental cultures and ethics of the state and various local communities.

Resilience in Socio-Ecological Systems(ANTH 525/HA&S 397B)

In recent years, ecological scientists and social scientists have begun to examine several ways in which their theoretical models are similar at a meta-level, and also to look at ways in which new theoretical concepts and models can apply to both fields. In particular, the concept of resilience, and the associated model of the adaptive cycle, originally developed by C.S. (Buzz) Holling, have promised both theoretical and substantive integration of social and ecological systems. This is an exciting time for scientists interested in cross-disciplinary interaction and in cross-fertilization between disciplines. It is also a time when it is becoming clearer and clearer that the [ecological] earth system and the [socio-political] world system are in danger of crossing a threshold of irreparable damage, and that the health and survival of one depends on the health and survival of the other. New concepts such as resilience theory are thus timely as well as intellectually exciting.

Culture, Ecology, Politics (ANTH/ENVIR 459)
Critical studies of race, class, and gender differences in environmental politics. The political-economic dimensions of ecological change. Contemporary environmental movements including the varieties of bioregionalism, deep ecology, ecofeminism, ecosocialism, environmental justice, and social ecology.

Environmental Sociology (ENVIR/ESRM/SOC 379)
Social processes by which environmental conditions are transformed into environmental problems; scientific claims, popularization of science, issue-framing, problem-amplification, economic opportunism, and institutional sponsorship. Examination of social constructs such as ecosystem, community, and free-market economy. Use of human ecology to assess whether the current framing of environmental problems promotes ecological adaptability.

Growing Stuff: Ecology, Economy and Politics of Resource-Extraction Ecosystems (ENVIR 450B)
This is a field-, reading-, and writing- intensive course on how humans modify and manipulate ecosystems to produce useful resources. Throughout, we emphasize a systems perspective, closely examining the ecological, economic, and political effects of the elements of each system on one another. We also pay attention to analysis of systems at different scales of space, time, and complexity. Our specific subject matter encompasses ecosystems in Washington State that are modified to produce and extract three kinds of resources: biofuels, shellfish, and milk products. Each three-week unit, including an all-day Saturday field trip, focuses on one of these three resource types. For each unit, students are required to read a series of articles, comment formally in class on some of them, go on the field trip, keep and turn in a field journal, and write a topical essay on an assignment dealing with problems of that type of resource system.