Living Well: The Anthropology of Sustainability

Fall 2017 quarter

Taught by


What can we learn from past and current cultures about how to best live on this planet? How have people throughout time met their basic needs, and what systems appear to be more sustainable than others? What are your own goals for sustainable living today?

From foraging cultures of the past, to off-the-grid communities or urban neighborhoods of today, we will explore cultural approaches to life that demonstrate prudent use of resources while maintaining thriving, healthy communities. Students will build vocabularies, analyses, and hands-on skills in the fields of both anthropology and sustainability.

Student work will include careful reading, reflection, and critical analysis based on program materials. Readings will include ethnographic studies of various cultural groups, as well as guides for contemporary sustainable living. Students will design and craft their own ethnographic interviews, focusing on sustainability and justice change agents in the local area. The program will include field trips to local communities where students can interact with people building intentional, sustainable communities. Additionally, a community partnership component will enable us to connect with local initiatives, apply our knowledge, and offer something to the community. We will spend some portion of each week in a community partnership setting.

Program Details

Fields of Study

anthropology sustainability studies

Preparatory For

community development, sustainability, and anthropology


Fall Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online


$150 for entrance fees, supplies, and overnight field trips.