Course code:



MA - Intermediate/Advanced

Lab fee:


Ecology is sometimes considered a “subversive” subject: the more humans learn about the living world, the more we are challenged to re-examine many of our fundamental beliefs.

According to this perspective, ecology provides a complex mirror for humans. In its reflection we glimpse a different understanding of our place in the world. Age-old concerns return to consciousness: questions about insight and responsibility, the relation of spirit and matter, issues of meaning, purpose, and identity. In short, the science of ecology has given birth to an entirely new approach to psychology.

The purpose of this course is to examine a cross-section of new ideas along this interface. Some ideas will draw on clues from deep in our evolutionary past. Other questions will explore what we know from ecology about living more fully in the present—or ways that ecology can enrich our imagination of the future. Readings for this class will be drawn from primary sources in a variety of fields with a pivotal focus on the relationships of mind and nature. The course will be taught in an interactive, seminar style with participants sharing summaries of the readings—individually and in teams. Two short papers and one end-of-term longer paper are required. Preference will be given to students with background or strong interests in psychology and/or ecology.



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