Ecology 213: Population, Environment and Social Structure

4 Units, Offered Winter Quarters, Even years
Course Instructor:

1. Course format: The aim of this course is to examine the relationships linking human population and the environment, taking into account the complex interactions associated with technology and social structure. Perspectives are drawn from human ecology, demography, and sociology. Empirical studies focus mainly on historical and contemporary agrarian societies; industrialized societies will be included whenever possible. Given the state of knowledge, the emphasis will be on how to conceptualize the problem rather than on how to organize known facts.

2. Prerequisites: At least one course in population or human ecology, or in environment and resources.

3. Text used:

Boserup, Population and Technological Change
Goldstone, Revolution and Rebellion in the Early Modern World
Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population
McNeill, Plagues and People
United Nations, Populations, Resources and Environment
Selected articles

4. Mode of grading: Letter grade; Active class participation, including leading discussion one week. Brief reading notes for four of the last eight topics. Short (e.g. 10-15 pages) pager applying course perspectives to some aspect of population and environment in California (organized as a group project).

5. Topical outline:

I. Perspectives and Historical Studies

a. Population and environment (Malthus)

b. Population and technology (Boserup)

c. Environment, social structure and mortality (McNeill)

II. Population Responses to the Environment

a. Social adaptation: A case study (Goldstone)

b. Mechanisms of population response (articles)

III. Contemporary Impacts of Population

a. A global overview (United Nations)

b. Population and environment in industrialized countries (articles)

c. Population and environment in the 3rd world (articles)

d. Tropical deforestation (papers from 1992 conference)

Registrar's Ecology Course Descriptions