In this seminar, we examine how Western and non-Western cultures, both past and present, perceive and shape key environmental and social issues. Through readings, discussions and films we will evaluate the potential of environmental and cultural studies to address some of the most urgent contemporary problems. To work toward an understanding of what is today called environmental anthropology, we begin with an overview of material from fields which have served as antecedents and/or coevolving orientations, including the fields of cultural ecology, ecological anthropology, and human ecology. We will address questions of how people studied and perceived the ways in which human societies and various environments shape one another over time. We will also look at the environmental implications of human adaptations, and how these contribute to the issues of the day, including environmental stresses such as overpopulation, the depletion of natural resources, pollution of land, air and water and global warming.