Answer 3 of the following 5 questions (plus the bonus question for graduate
section) in clear, concise essays. Each essay should be 500-700 words and use proper citations
drawn from the course readings, films and lectures. The essays should have a clear thesis
statement or argument that is built on throughout the essay and supported by specific examples and well-cited evidence. Because these are short essays, focusing on writing concisely is of paramount importance. Over the three essays, you must draw on at least 12 unique articles or books from the course thus far (15 for graduate students). In addition to the 12 citation minimum, you are encouraged to incorporate other course materials such as films and lectures or other readings to further strengthen your essays.
1. Compare and contrast ethnographic, cognitive, and a third approach to ethnoecology
(e.g. political, participatory, or linguistic). What methodological and theoretical
assumptions inform these approaches? Ground your essay in the approaches as they are
employed by particular authors.
2. Ethnoecological knowledge and practice offer both tangible and intangible benefits for
human communities. Drawing on examples and arguments from the authors we’ve read
this semester, make an argument for the importance of either tangible or intangible
impacts of ethnoecological knowledge on human cultures and societies.
3. Who should own ethnoecological knowledge? Describe the main debates surrounding
the politics of knowledge and intellectual property rights and provide evidence to
support your argument.
4. Using the principles of folk classification as described by authors we read this semester,
explain how folk classification systems influence broader cultural beliefs and practices,
particular as they relate to understandings of natural environments and nonhuman
species. Consider taboos, under/over differentiation, the role of humans and nonhumans
or other concepts in your answer.
5. How can local ecological knowledge inform social-ecological systems conservation and
management? Discuss several case studies where local ecological knowledge has
influenced or has the potential to influence conservation practice and identify key
patterns and challenges across these cases.
6. What is a forest? How do you know when you are in a forest? Using theoretical and
methodological tools from the articles and media covered in this course, make an
argument for the conceptual boundaries of “forests” including a discussion of the origins
and validity of your belief.
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