Jeremy Trombley

Environmental Anthropology


Environmental Anthropology

For discussion, connection and collaboration in the field of environmental anthropology

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Comment by Josh Reno on May 29, 2009 at 1:54am
Here is a question for the new group, just to be provocative: I don't know a single person doing environmental anthropology that isn't also studying political economy in some form. So why are there already two groups on OAC - one environmental and one economic?
Comment by Josh Reno on May 29, 2009 at 2:17am
I like that. Topical and structural (reminds me of Heidegger's ontic and ontological distinction).

But are we not preserving a neoclassical distinction between "the economy," "nature," and "society" by doing this? Since none of us proposed this division in the first place, why do we want to adhere to it so badly?
Comment by Josh Reno on May 30, 2009 at 12:56am
I am also very interested in Ingold's work - perhaps we could discuss it further in the "Theory" forum that Jeremy nicely set up. The phenomenologically-oriented philosopher Edward Casey actually criticizes the concept of "space" for some of the very same reasons that Ingold criticizes "environment" and "nature." His point isn't to do away with space - which I think he rightly sees as ultimately indispensable - but to emphasize the importance of place, following Aristotle, Husserl, and Merleau-Ponty. I am not sure to what extent these perspectives are compatible.
Comment by Richard Owens on May 30, 2009 at 4:45am
On the discussion between ecological and environmental anthropology I believe both approaches are currently being used a great deal. The differences i believe stem from the theoretical debates previously mentioned on this list-serve. I simplify the differences based in part on the type of data being collected. I believe ecological anthropology is run largely on quantitative data and environmental anthropology on qualitative. Although the differences are possibly more on how much significance is placed on quantitative data. Most archaeologists I know prefer the ecological anthropology and likewise many cultural anthropologists are drawn to the term environmental anthropology. In this sense I see the differences as political and theoretically motivated. In the aftermath of post-structuralism there was a lot of doubt placed on objectivity and data driven ecological anthropology. Political ecology has become an important methodological approach for environmental anthropologists. This approach I believe has strongly criticized the validity of quantitative data. Personally I have been educated in socio-biology during my master's degree and now I have been trained in both environmental and ecological anthropology approaches. I think using a blend of these approaches can offer a better sense of culture and nature interactions. A sample of N=1 hardly seems worthwhile, and yet I have witnessed dissertation defenses using such an approach.
I enjoyed reading through the list of important authors posted on this list-serve and wanted to add my 2 cents. By the way I am using political ecology, economic and agricultural approaches to my research. I find all aspects useful in understanding my field site.
Comment by Josh Reno on May 30, 2009 at 5:18am
Richard, thank you very much for adding your valuable perspective to our discussion, which had been rather haphazard up to this point. I would only add that for critics of the approaches you mention, it was not quantitative data that was perceived to be the problem, per se, but rather the varieties of scientism and reductionism motivating the interpretation of such data. Rightly or wrongly.
Comment by Richard Owens on May 30, 2009 at 7:17am
Yes I agree.
Comment by Richard Owens on May 30, 2009 at 7:38am
I am working in the Northwest highlands of Vietnam studying 3 ethnic farming groups. I am measuring investment activity now that farmers have land use rights. This is a little complicated by the fact the state owns all the land, but farmers have access to property rights. According to the liberal paradigm people are more likely to invest sustainably to their land. The liberal paradigm goes back Adam Smith and is the foundation of capitalism and Western Civilization. So I am here to measure the activities of a non-western culture. How about yourself?
Comment by Richard Owens on June 1, 2009 at 11:56am
That is interesting about the Vietnamese student. I think it is relatively unstudied but there have been some other studies on it here and in China. I think Vietnamese students are somewhat rare in the US. So its great to know one is coming to your museum. I have not visited W. Virginia yet.
Comment by ESWARAPPA KASI on September 19, 2009 at 7:11am
I am Dr. Eswarappa Kasi is currently Guest Faculty and taught a course titled ‘Tribes and Other Backward Communities in India’ to Integrated Masters (IMA) Students in the Special Centre for Integrated Studies (SCIS) and Department of Anthropology, University of Hyderabad, India during January- May 2009 Semester.
In the coming semester (July-December 2009), I will be teaching a course titled ‘Fieldwork and Research Methods’ to Integrated Masters (IMA) Students in the Special Centre for Integrated Studies (SCIS) and Department of Anthropology, University of Hyderabad, India.
PhD Topic: “An Anthropological Study of Livelihoods: A case of Two Sugali Settlements in Ananthapur District of Andhra Pradesh”.
Link to my PhD Thesis:
M.Phil Topic: “Developments and Change due to Sericulture: A Village Study” in Chittoor District. The study analyzes the upliftment of rural Livelihoods (sericulturists) of Kotha Indlu village, as a result of Implementation of Development programmes, as part of M.Phil.

Masters Dissertation: “Life Cycle Rituals among the Koyas of Boddugudem: An Ethnographic Study”. The study is conducted in the village of Boddugudem in ITDA, Bhadrachalam, to find out the role of life cycle rituals and their belief systems in their daily life activities, as part of MA course.
My new book based on my M.Phil Work is being published titled as ‘ANTHROPOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT IN A GLOBALIZED INDIA: AN ETHNOGAPHY OF SERI-CULTURE FROM THE SOUTH’, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Isbn13: 978-1-4438-1345-7, Isbn: 1-4438-1345-1
Book Link:
This book seeks to portray sericulture as a crop enterprise which is emerging as one of the foremost significance for theoretical and methodological understandings in the disciplines of sociology and social anthropology in India. Thus, anthropological analysis of sericulture and its emergence in development literature gives us an idea of the activity leading to further theoretical and critical studies. Anthropological understanding of sericulture and its development, as studied by scholars of different disciplines across the states of India, is therefore thoroughly explained. Sericulture is best suited to a country like India where manpower and land resources are in surplus. It generates direct and indirect employment in various ways. More and more farmers in India have taken up sericulture activity which, once confined to only five states, has now spread to almost all the states of India. Sericulture also creates gainful employment for women and aged people at home with minimum risk. Thus, the analysis clearly establishes the importance of sericulture over other agricultural practices in the generation of fresh employment opportunities in rural areas. Further, it is shown that as a predominant sector of rural development, stability is the vital requirement for sericulture enterprise.

Special Issue Editor- MAN IN INDIA Journal:
2009 Jointly with (Dr. R. Siva Prasad) Special issue Theme on ‘Issues and Perspectives in Anthropology Today’ for the Journal MAN IN INDIA, (Vol. 89, (I &2) 2009). In this anthology, we have taken a specific device to highlight the trends of research in anthropology and through which multifarious human dimensions conditioned by present day circumstances principally in Indian Contexts which have been explored.
Edited Books:
1) Dimensions of Social Exclusion: Ethnographic Explorations, jointly with K.M. Zoyauddin , Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, (http://www.c-s- Exclusion--Ethnographic-Explorations1- 4438-1342-7.htm). Isbn13:978-1-4438-1342-6, Isbn: 1-4438-1342-7
2) Ethnographic Discourse of the Other: Conceptual and Methodological Issues, jointly with Panchanan Mohanty, and Ramesh C. Malik , Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing (
ISBN: Isbn13: 9781847185839, ISBN: 1-84718-583-5 (Hardback)
ISBN 13: 978-1-4438-0132-4, ISBN: 1-4438-0132-1 (Paperback)
Edited Books (In Press):
1) Jointly With (Ramesh C. Malik) ‘Theory and Practice of Ethnography: Readings from the Periphery’ Rawat Publications, Jaipur, India.
The book Theory and Practice of Ethnography is an anthology of research papers contributed by illustrious scholars from India and abroad. Theoretical and empirical layout of the Ethnography, Language, Literature, Culture, Rethinking History and Social Development are significantly accentuated in the present book. Ethnography is highly entertained in the search of the concept of the other which is elaborately discussed in the book. The main emphasis of the contributions highlight the deprivation-economic, social, cultural and linguistic among the marginalized groups of Indian society mainly; women, tribal, and the downtrodden. Ethnography is both a process and a product, in this direction, the entire exercise in this volume focuses on applying the different methodological tools of ethnography.

2) ‘Rethinking Developmental Discourse in the 21st Century India’, New Delhi: Serials Publications, 2009.
In order to understand the dynamics of development in the 21st century India, an attempt is made in the book to address the themes which cover the range of theoretical and empirical understandings in the field of interdisciplinary works of scholars drawn from across the disciplines. Thus, it makes a link between field experiences and the classroom debates and discussions. The book also tried to portray the debates of contemporary developmental discourse and how far are they reaching to the common man or the poor in the contemporary Indian Society.
Comment by Liz Olson on September 21, 2009 at 1:54am
CFP, SfAA 2010 (Merida, Mexico).

The Biodiversity Conservation Industry in Mexico: Perspectives, Trends, and Challenges

Ideological and material forms of globalization are germane to the biodiversity and conservation industry of Mexico. Biosphere Reserves in Mexico present a community-oriented development paradigm that is intended to achieve conservation of resources while empowering rural and marginalized communities. This session focuses on the cultural, political, and environmental dynamics within Mexican Biosphere Reserves and other protected areas by considering: the formation of protected areas; the process of doing research and collaboration within Biosphere Reserves; local resistance to protected areas; and the emerging roles of Biosphere Reserves in global markets. The examples presented highlight actual, and potential, functions of NGO’s, wildlife management policies, Eco-tourism, and traditional knowledge.

Interested participants should contact the session organizers as soon as possible, but not later than October 1, 2009, with an intent to participate. Final abstract and conference registration are due by October 15, 2009.

Session Organizers:

José E. Martínez-Reyes, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
University of Massachusetts-Boston

Elizabeth Olson, PhD
Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts
University of California, Merced


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