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Anthropology and Climate Change
From Encounters to Actions
Susan A. Crate (Editor); Mark Nuttall (Editor)
416 pp. / 6.00 x 9.00 / Jan, 2009
Paperback (978-1-59874-334-0)
Hardback (978-1-59874-333-3)
eBook (978-1-61132-412-9)
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Related Interest
  - Anthropology
  - Environmental Studies

The first book to comprehensively assess anthropology’s engagement with climate change, this pioneering volume both maps out exciting trajectories for research and issues a call to action. Chapters in
"Another extremely good book is an edited collection by Crate and Nuttall (2009), which comprehensively explores the actual and the potential contributions anthropology can make to our understanding of climate change. Sociologists have much to learn from and emulate in this pioneering volume which maps out exciting trajectories for research and which issues a call to action too... Numerous suggestions on how to improve the engagement and impact of anthropological research are outlined, including how to work with research communities and in policy environments."

- Steven P. Wainright, Sociology

"Readers will benefit from the collective insight provided by diverse examples of how indigenous communities have fought to build or retain control over the resources, knowledge, and the lifeways that have sustained them through the 'becoming' of the ever changing world they inhabit. Climate researchers, policy makers, and students of all disciplines will find the narratives and insights within this volume both encouraging and thought-provoking as we all discover our role in 'imagining a culture of the near future that intelligently and responsibly' faces climate change and helping our research partners to negotiate successfully through this time. "

- Zareen Pervez Bharucha, Sibirica

"The chapters are written mostly by anthropologists for anthropologists, but physical scientists such as myself will find useful information and insights in several of the chapters. The primary audience for the book will be climate change researchers and students in upper- and graduate-level courses in anthropology and the environmental and social sciences. Each of the chapters stands alone, which is useful for class reading assignments...Understandably, anthropologists have not been as engaged as either physical scientists or biologists as participants in global warming research. To date, the impacts of global warming on humans have been relatively small, but as they intensify anthropologists with their expert knowledge of the human condition will find their voice. Crate and Nutall's well-referenced volume provides useful information and insight for researchers and students becoming interested in the field."

- Allan Ashworth, Journal of Anthropological Research

" There are some very good articles in this book, ranging from discussions of pedagogy, representation, methodology, and several key case studies of local and indigenous knowledge that span different parts of the world. The focus of the work is not limited to the Arctic or North America, and will ostensibly appeal to a variety of students. Because the diverse subject matter in this book points to the increasingly multi- and interdisciplinary nature of the study of climate change, a wide array of readers–in particular, scientists and social scientists–will appreciate this book for its contributions to the study of climate change. "

- Christopher Paci, American Review of Canadian Studies

"This effectively organized, crisply presented, and compellingly argued book is essential reading for everyone concerned about the impact of climate change on human communities around the world, and for readers of any background seeking to understand the unique and critical contributions of anthropology to these important questions. The list of contributors, with their highly varied interests and accomplishments, makes clear that anthropologists have been working on issues of environmental change and sustainability for decades, and that their contributions focus on precisely the kinds of questions that have been relatively neglected in the physical sciences of the environment. With its close attention to strategy and tactics, Anthropology and Climate Change will serve as a major resource for anthropologists looking for conceptual and practical tools by which they might refocus their work so as to contribute more effectively to these major debates of our day."

- Population and Development Review, Susan Greenhalgh

" The issues surrounding climate change loom large in the research agendas of many disciplines. Here, Crate (George Mason Univ.) and Nuttall (Univ. of Alberta) speak to fellow cultural anthropologists to illuminate realized and potential roles for them in this field. The volume contains three parts: "Climate and Culture," "Anthropological Encounters," and "Anthropological Actions." The book opens with four review chapters covering climate change in prehistory and recorded history, and earlier anthropological discourse relating to the environment. The areas of inquiry in anthropological climate change research are established as peoples' perceptions, knowledge, valuation, and responses or adaptations to the changes. Eleven short case studies recount field-based research worldwide. Most of the authors endorse livelihood analysis as a focus for climate change effects on indigenous cultures. The remaining nine chapters articulate active roles for anthropologists in policy making. New research topics, such as the consumer and car cultures, are introduced, as are ways to integrate climate change into interdisciplinary collaborations, curriculum development, and community outreach. Contributions are well written and documented, and they hold provocative ideas for research and action by students and professional anthropologists alike. Summing Up: Highly recommended. "


" This book is a leap forward in our understanding of how societies around the globe perceive and adapt to climate change from the perspective of their own unique socio-cultural framework. It introduces concepts which advance the discussions of human adaptations to climate change from the realm of an esoteric intellectual debate about past societies, to one of pressing and immediate relevance for our modern world. "

- Arlene Miller Rosen, UCL Institute of Archaeology and author of Civilizing Climate

part one are systematic research reviews, covering the relationship between culture and climate from prehistoric times to the present; changing anthropological discourse on climate and environment; the diversity of environmental and sociocultural changes currently occurring around the globe; and the unique methodological and epistemological tools anthropologists bring to bear on climate research. Part two includes a series of case studies that highlights leading-edge research—including some unexpected and provocative findings. Part three challenges scholars to be proactive on the front lines of climate change, providing instruction on how to work in with research communities, with innovative forms of communication, in higher education, in policy environments, as individuals, and in other critical arenas. Linking sophisticated knowledge to effective actions, Anthropology and Climate Change is essential for students and scholars in anthropology and environmental studies.

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