Studying Place by Metes and Bounds (ENV4232.01)

Miroslava Prazak

In New England, parcels of land were traditionally described in reference to specific existing landscape features—a system called “metes and bounds.” This course, grounded in the ecology, history and culture of the Bennington region over its 250-plus year history, explores human interactions with the biophysical environment to produce livelihoods as well as economic commodities from woolen underwear to carpenter squares and other manufactures for New England and beyond. How have these interactions shaped the area and how does their interplay constrain and enable its future? What features of social life and the natural environment have been, or should be, sustained? Fieldwork and practical exercises will provide an entry into the tools, skills and approaches to studying Bennington, a place of many horizons and boundaries.

Learning Outcomes:
To learn the basic research tools that cultural anthropologists use in conducting participant-observation research
To the different characters and utility of qualitative and quantitative approaches to data gathering
To learn how to observe, to interview, to organize and lead focused discussions, to collect life histories
To think critically about how anthropological research is done and in how anthropological projects are conceptualized
To write fieldnotes and reports
To design a research project or write a mini-ethnography

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: Previous work in SCT, permission from instructor (email:
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
W 2:10PM - 5:50PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 12
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: 4000 , All courses , Anthropology , Environment , Four Credit , Fully In-Person