Course code:



IM - Introductory/Intermediate

Class size limit:


Lab fee:


Typically offered:

Upon occasion

This course offers a broad introduction to theories of adaptation to climate change and addresses the importance of understanding social and cultural factors when designing and implementing adaptation plans and policies. Climate change is a global phenomenon, yet adaptation to climatic changes will, in large part, be acted out at local and regional scales. In both the theory of adaptation and the implementation of adaptation policies, little attention has been given to the social and cultural factors that underlie and influence adaptation outcomes. Moreover, various forms of adaptation to climate change exist, and visions for adaptation are widely contested between individuals and groups who have diverse values, needs, and hopes for their futures. The contribution of anthropology through ethnography and mixed qualitative and quantitative methods to study individuals and communities can elucidate other factors that contribute to adaptation or maladaptation to climate change, including power differentials within communities and institutions, individuals’ well-being, and individuals’ visions for adaptation.

The course is divided into three units: (1) Conceptual and Applied Adaptation, which offers a broad introduction to the literature of adaptation in climate change and concepts of adaptive capacity and resilience, (2) Adaptation Strategies and Visions, which covers social and cultural values, visions, and strategies (such as livelihood diversification), and (3) Power Dynamics in Adaptation, which explores sociopolitical topics including poverty, migration, and social well-being. The course explores both urban and rural adaptation, but with a focus on rural, resource-dependent regions under the threat of climate change and globalization.

Students are evaluated on their participation and engagement in class discussion, reading responses, and three synthesis papers. The course emphasizes writing, and the reading responses will be the first attempt at a synthesis. I provide feedback which the students may use to write synthesis papers at the end of each unit. This is done to understand that writing and synthesizing is a process, and a skill which develops with time and practice..



Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.