• Indigenous Sustainability



The Indigenous Sustainability concentration is concerned with the social, cultural, and physical wellbeing of Indigenous communities at the present and into the future. Students focusing on this concentration area will explore interdisciplinary topics from a systems perspective that holistically examine the interactions between food, health, education, economic, and political subsystems, within a historical context. Knowledge sources for sustainability are not limited to a single cultural or ideological perspective, and new ideas and experiences concerning issues of sustainability are taken into consideration. The concept of sustainability is of growing concern to many academic disciplines; new course offerings are regularly being developed across the University of Alaska system, and students interested in this concentration area will have the opportunity to work closely with their graduate committee to find and select the courses most relevant to their individual studies.

Please contact Mike Koskey for more details.


Potential Courses (subject to student and committee modification)

CCS/NRM/GEOG 656: Sustainable Livelihoods and Community Well-Being In this course we will review the basic principles captured within the notion of sustainability, and will look at the cultural practices and individual behaviors that enhance or degrade sustainable livelihoods and community well-being.  Emphasis is on understanding the historical context of ideas about sustainability, on 1 understanding the nature and magnitude of the social, economic and ecological dimensions of contemporary change, and the “best practices” currently in place for communities to respond effectively to change.  Case studies will be used from around the world and the framework is comparative, cross-cultural and geographic; the primary focus of the course, however, is on understanding problems, impacts and design solutions specific to high latitudes.

ED F681: Place-Based Education An examination of the relationship between local landscape and community and the development of human perception. Emphasis on the importance of the development of ecologically appropriate community-based educational programs in rural and urban schools. Priority placed on project-centered programs lending themselves to experimental learning opportunities. Includes literature review, discussion, curriculum exploration and design and on-site community exploration of active place-based educational programs. (3+0)

ED F619: Cultural Atlases as a Pedagogical Strategy The content of the course provides an in-depth look at how teachers can integrate technology and academics with oral traditions and offers a vehicle for helping communities define themselves and their unique cultural identity. Teachers will have an opportunity to guide their students through a positive collaboration with local culture-bearers, community members and educational personnel. The multimedia resources for this course provide numerous examples of cultural atlase and guidance on ways in which the rich oral traditions of Native people can be drawn upon in support of the school curriculum. Prerequisites: ANTH F242; or permission of instructor. Stacked with CCS F418; ED F419. (3+0)

CCS F492: ETHNOECOLOGY This course surveys the basic concepts of Ethnoecology, a field that began with the early work of Harold Conklin, Brent Berlin and others in the 1950s and 60s.  It has recently been the subject of new epistemological and methodological directions resulting from the rise of interdisciplinary linkages between and among the social, natural and the ecological sciences, and by new interests in Traditional or Indigenous Knowledge.  In brief, Ethnoecology for some is the scientific study of the way different groups of people in different locations understand the world around them, interact with the environment within which they live, and how these interactions and relationships are spatially structured and sustained over time. Through the course we will cover all basic areas of the globe, review methods and techniques for collecting and analyzing ethnoecological data, and draw examples from ethnobotany and ethnozoology, to name but two primary areas of interest. The new and emerging field of a different ethnoecology offers new insights into human-environment interactions, and of the sacred and secular relationship of people to place.

CCS/NRM/GEOG 454: COMPARATIVE FARMING AND SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEMS In this course we review: the basic principles of food systems geography by comparing various food production strategies, including organic, “alternative,” and industrial farming, crop and livestock production at local, regional and global scales; food and nutritional security, including poverty, hunger and equity in a context of the industrial food system; and through ethnographic case studies we explore cross cultural perspectives on culinary and dietary traditions, food preference, individual and cultural identity.

ANTH/BIOL/ECON/NRM F647 Global to Local Sustainability Explores the basic principles that govern resilience and change of ecological and social systems. Principles are applied across a range of scales from local communities to the globe. Working within and across each of these scales, students address the processes that influence ecological, cultural and economic sustainability, with an emphasis on northern examples. Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission of instructor.

ANTH/BIOL/ECON/NRM F649 Integrated Assessment and Adaptive Management An interdisciplinary exploration of the theoretical and practical considerations of integrated assessment and adaptive management. Students survey concepts important in understanding societal and professional-level decision-making. Students work as individuals and as a team to undertake case studies with relevance to integrated assessment and adaptive management. Collectively, the class builds a portfolio of cases and conducts an integrated assessment. Note: In case of enrollment limit, priority will be given to graduate students in the Resilience and Adaptation Program in order for them to be able to meet their core requirements. Prerequisites: Graduate student standing in a natural science, social science, or interdisciplinary program at UAF or another university; or permission of instructor.

MBA F642 Economics of Environmental and Business Sustainability This course is designed to examine the emerging role of the business and corporate sector in responding to the economic challenges of achieving social and ecological sustainability. The microeconomic theory used to model business behavior motivated by profit maximization is expanded to an accounting framework, referred to as the triple bottom line (TBL). The TBL consists of profits, people and planet. The TBL motivates companies to measure financial, social and environmental outcomes associated with their business operations. The course investigates alternative measurements for evaluating the performance of the economy and the business and consumer sectors. Special fees apply. Prerequisites: Must be admitted to the MBA program. (3+0)

PS F669 Arctic Politics and Governance This course traces current developments in Arctic politics and governance from multiple perspectives; exploring, interests, processes, and behaviors of Arctic state- and non-state actors, individually and collectively. The course surveys the formal and informal institutions that govern resource development, pollution, shipping, state-indigenous relations, and security. Prerequisites: PS F450, PS F452 or PS F454 or equivalent; graduate standing; or permission of instructor. A background in comparative politics and/or international relations is also recommended. (3+0)

Please contact Mike Koskey for more details.

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