Introduction to Culture and Natural Resource Management
General Catalog Course Title:
Introduction to Culture and Natural Resource Management
Terms Offered:
Fall 2016
Spring 2016
Fall 2015
Spring 2015
Course Thread: 
Humanities & Environment
Course Thread: 
Sciences and Society
Instructor: 
Finney, Carolyn
Instructor: 
Spreyer, Kurt

This course explores ideas and practices of natural resource management by different cultural groups in the United States. We trace the historical experiences of five groups – European Americans, African Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans and Latinos – in relation to the use of land and other natural resources since the 19th century. We start with the contention that natural resource management is premised upon culturally distinct approaches to relationships between humans and nature, and associated social and economic systems. Furthermore, these relationships are informed by struggles between individuals and groups over access to and control of land, water and other resources. Who has the power to name and claim resources? How is this power mediated by social, historical and economic processes? In particular, we will explore the role of race, ethnicity and other forms of identity in struggles over control and use of natural resources and in maintaining particular natural resource management practices. For example, how have racial differences shaped Indian rights to forest resources in northern California or African American ownership of farmland in the rural South? We will be using the themes of narrative, representation, ownership and identity to investigate the complex relationships between humans and nature, and the importance of these relationships in shaping social relations and landscapes.

For more detailed information about classes, please visit the UC Berkeley Online Schedule of Classes.