Undergraduate course

Current Anthropological Research: The Global Anthropology of Climate Change

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Objectives and Content

This course gives students an understanding of ongoing anthropological research, exemplified through a focus on projects conducted by the department's scientific staff, or guest researchers. The lecturer(s)'s long-term research agenda will define the thematic orientation of the course as well as the selection of relevant readings, and lecturers will draw upon their own empirical findings and involvement in theoretical debates.

Course theme autumn 2017:

Climate change is often said to be the greatest global challenge of our time. In December 2015, all 195 countries of the world reached a shared decision for the first time in history: this unprecedented consensus was the Paris Agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that concluded COP21, the 21st `Conference of the Parties' of the UNFCCC. But climate change is also a contested topic in contemporary political debate and activism, and disagreement over climate change can as such be seen as a prime manifestation of 'post-factual' conditions, in which the assumed truths of science are denied or cast into doubt. In the words of prominent climate scientist Mike Hulme, climate change is `an environmental, cultural and political phenomenon which is reshaping the way we think about ourselves, our societies and humanity's place on Earth - and it is something on which humans disagree. Meanwhile, ethnography from every corner of the world increasingly conveys messages about how local people perceive, suffer from, react and respond to, and express existential uncertainties from the tangible effects of global warming. The course takes these arguments and observations as its starting point, and examines how anthropology is responding to the empirical and analytical challenges represented by worldwide consequences of climate change: from the melting ice of the Arctic to the rising seas of the Pacific, and in the meeting rooms of global conferences. Climate change is simultaneously a local factor of environmental change, a scientific field of advanced study, and a global political discourse. While anthropologists have traditionally been familiar with the localised places of human settlement and activity where people tend to experience the surrounding environment of mountain, forest, savanna, river or ocean in rather direct ways, the character of climate change as both local environmental experience and global discourse requires new anthropological approaches that range beyond the local and that connect many different levels of scale. In this, anthropology has a potential for expanding into a channel for interdisciplinary relationships - integrating perspectives on global climate change that range across the natural and social sciences and humanities, from poetry to oceanography.

Learning Outcomes

A student who has completed the course should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


  • provide an overview of the field of study addressed in the course, with particular reference to its history and theoretical and methodological debates in social anthropology


  • explain the current state-of-art of research in the field of study addressed in the course
  • explain the various methodological and theoretical considerations that must be taken in order to further develop the field of study

General competence

  • apply key concepts and perspectives from the course and its field of study independently, in the understanding and analysis of local and global processes
  • apply an understanding of the correlation and difference between empirical data, theory and analysis in text production

Access to the Course


Teaching and learning methods


Compulsory Assignments and Attendance


Forms of Assessment

Take home exam, 7 days. Words: 3000

Grading Scale


Subject Overlap

SANT280-9 (5 ECTS credits overlap)

Assessment Semester



Department of Social Anthropology


Contact Information

Department of Social Anthropology

Fosswinckelsgate 6

5007 Bergen

E-post: advice@sosantr.uib.no

Home page: http://www.uib.no/antro/

Phone: 55 58 92 50

Exam information

  • Note that the time may change up until 14 days prior to the day of the examination. The location will be published 14 days ahead.

  • Type of assessment: Take home exam

    Submission deadline
    30.10.2017, 14:00
    Withdrawal deadline
    Examination system
    Digital exam