[URBANTH-L]Greening the Academy - Anthropologists - Please assist

mckennab at umd.umich.edu mckennab at umd.umich.edu
Thu Aug 14 19:31:29 EDT 2008

Anthropologists -- Are you involved in greening your campus?

For example, have you worked with administrators to ban pesticides? Do  
you involve your students in environmental audits? Have you mentored  
students to get their dorms to buy organic? Have you organized  
teach-ins about environmental issues on campus? Are you involved in a  
campus sustainability program?

If you are involved in any manner ? curricular, administrative, and  
community-oriented ? I need your assistance. Please read this entire  
message and consider the three questions below.

I am writing the ?environmental anthropology? chapter for a book  
called ?Greening20the Academy,? edited by Richard Kahn and Anthony  
Nocella. It is already under contract by Syracuse University Press and  
will be published in 2009. All tolled there are 11 chapters including  
one on environmental philosophy (Steve Best), environmental sociology  
(Kashi Animashaun) and environmental geography (Donna Houston).

I want to be thorough and up to the minute and I cannot do this  
without your help. I shall do my very best to quote or attribute  
everyone who responds to me (provided that I use some of your material  
or if you were especially helpful).

We have read several books on the sustainability campus movement  
(referenced below) and now wish to complete our own. Anthropologist  
William Balee wrote a terrific chapter on this topic in 1996 in a book  
called ?Greening the College Curriculum? (Island Press: Washington  
DC). In summarizing the historical formati on and continued  
development of ecological/environmental anthropology Balee noted the  
importance of many, including some on this list, such as Crumley,  
Denevan, Lee, Moran, Rappaport, Redford, Sponsel, and Steward.

Over the past 12 years environmental anthropology has exploded with  
new journals, new initiatives, new ideas, and new forms of  
communication, including this listserv. How are these innovations  
being employed to make for a ?greener campus?? I?m reading as much as  
I can (newsletters, journals, book synopses) since I want to capture  
the strength and accomplishments of this incredible subdiscipline as  
it pertains to greening the campus. Our book will build on Balee and  
more recent texts such as ?Higher Education and the Challenge of  
Sustainability, Corcoran and Wals eds., 2004, Greening the Ivory  
Tower, Creighton 2004, Ecological Literacy, David Orr, 1992 and The  
Sustainability Curriculum, The Challenge for Higher Education, Blewitt  
and Cullingford eds., 2004).

Here are the key questions.

1) How are you -- or your anthropology colleagues -- involved in  
greening your campus? What are the successes/challenges? Are you  
involved in any international organizations that have a "green  
linkage", of consequence, to your campus? How so?
2) How has environmental studies become integrated and interpreted  
into the general discipline of anthropology?
3) In your utopian vision, how could anthropologists help create a  
spectacular ?green academy? that would serve as a world model?

Please email or call me with your insights. And please feel free to  
tell me what to read! More on the book idea is in the postscript.

Thank you,

Brian McKenna, Ph.D.
Department of Behavioral Sciences
University of Michigan-Dearborn
4025 CASL Building
(313) 593-5016 (work)
(517) 337-8913 (home)

Here is more on the book from the editors. . . .

?. . . . . .All signs now point toward only a greater and more central  
role for environmental studies on campuses. However, a kind of  
curricular crisis has begun to mount around this development all the  
same. On the one hand, research universities ? who incre asingly  
prioritize science and technology fields for their ability to generate  
grant monies and corporate connections ? often structure Environmental  
Studies as its own discipline, staffed primarily by scientists,  
housing it within a scientific institute or science field such as Life  
Sciences or Geology. On the other hand, liberal arts colleges are  
rapidly seeking to reinvent themselves in an age of decreasing  
enrollment, increasing costs and the professionalization of higher  
education's mission on the large. Consequently, one of the primary  
emergent raison d'etres provided by liberal arts colleges for their  
continued relevance is that they are institutions capable of providing  
a diverse spectrum of environmental education that can accord with the  
ethical cosmopolitan principles often cited as aims of humanistic  
education programs generally.

?. . . . . .We seek to advance a more critical and complex view of  
"ecoliteracies" by comparison that would specifically delineate  
disciplinary insights into: 1) functional/technical environmental  
literacies having to do with basic scientific and technological  
concepts that an informed citizenry should possess, 2) cultural  
literacies that speak to the ways in which different cultures inhabit  
their habitats/places as they develop more or less sustainable  
worldviews and forms of social organization, and 3) critical  
ecoliteracies into the ways in which powerful interests have  
historically defended the rise of various forms of unsustainable  
socioeconomic, political and cultural development or otherwise work  
currently to block the realization of a more ecologically diverse and  
healthy world. Additionally. . . . our book will demonstrate a  
multi-disciplinary awareness of the difference in environmental  
politics that is known as the Green (i.e., the preservation of nature)  
and Brown (i.e. the limitation of unsanitary and toxic living  
conditions) agendas.?

More information about the URBANTH-L mailing list