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Anthropology

Featured Interdisciplinary Initiative

Climate Action Lab

Our mission is to reduce global heating by changing human behavior. We are social scientists—economists, psychologists, urban planners, political scientists, anthropologists, etc. First, we conduct applied research to test what leads people to change their minds about the climate and what leads them to change their actions. Then, we put these insights to work in partnership with communities and policymakers.

Research Areas

Past Climate Change

Researching how earth's climate changed in past eras by studying ocean sediment cores, ice cores and other scientific evidence.

Labs, Projects, Programs and Collaborations

Human Ecology Lab

The Human Ecology Lab brings students and researchers to explore the relationships between people and the environment through time. In particular, the lab focuses on understanding social vulnerability related to climate change.

Indigenous Futures Institute

The Indigenous Futures Institute (IFI) aims to recast the relationship between a legacy of unethical scientific practice and Indigenous peoples. By creating pathways toward participatory science through design-thinking, IFI brings together global Indigenous communities. These groups study, access and harness science and technology and intervene in producing knowledge. They dream up abundant Indigenous futures in an age of climate crisis, pandemics and the continued denial of Indigenous sovereignty.

Featured Researchers and Professors

Jade d’Alpoim Guedes

Associate Professor, Anthropology; Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Jade d’Alpoim Guedes' work combines climate science, archaeobotany, computational modeling and agronomy. She aims to understand how humans in high altitude and marginal environments adapt to climate change.

Thomas E. Levy

Distinguished Professor, Anthropology; Norma Kershaw Chair in the Archaeology of Ancient Israel and Neighboring Lands at UC San Diego

Thomas Levy has emphasized three approaches in his fieldwork in Israel and Greece to explore climate and environmental change in the eastern Mediterranean: shallow marine geophysics, sediment core analyses and underwater excavation.

Keolu Fox

Assistant Professor, Anthropology

Keolu Fox is a Hawaiian native affiliated with the Department of Anthropology, the Global Health Program, the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute, the Climate Action Lab and the Indigenous Futures Lab. Fox is co-founder of the UC San Diego Indigenous Futures Lab, a codesign laboratory centering on Indigenous guardianship, participatory science and design to advance sustainable development goals.

Steve Parish

Professor, Anthropology; Human Development; Global Health

Steve Parish has conducted research in South Asia and U.S. national parks. Since 2008, he has been involved in discussions at UC San Diego about climate justice and how to translate scientific knowledge into ethical action. Parish teaches other courses for the Climate Change and Human Solutions major, ANTH 110: The Climate Change Seminar and ANTH 115: Designing for Disasters, Emergencies and Extreme Weather.

Nancy Postero

Professor, Anthropology

Nancy Postero is a sociocultural anthropologist working on the intersection of race, politics and the environment. For the last twenty years, she has carried out research in Bolivia and followed the efforts of Indigenous people to gain sovereignty over their lands and resources.

Isabel Rivera-Collazo

Assistant Professor, Anthropology; Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Isabel Rivera-Collazo teaches about biological, ecological and human adaptations to climate change and directs the Scripps Human Ecology Laboratory. Rivera-Collazo is native to Borikén, Puerto Rico. Her work combines earth sciences, archaeology and marine ecology to understand social vulnerability to climate and environmental change, particularly through food and habitat security in coastal and marine areas.

Shirley C. Strum

Emeritus Professor, Anthropology; Director of the Uaso Ngiro Baboon Project (UNBP) in Kenya

Shirley C. Strum has spent five decades studying wild baboons and has pioneered new ideas about baboons, society, evolution and conservation. Strum’s interest in baboon socioecology and adaptation now extends to the impact of the Anthropocene. Baboons illustrate how society cannot be separated from the ecology and provide other insights about living in an Age of Humans. Strum teaches Conservation and the Human Predicament and Conservation and the Media: Film Lab for the Climate Change and Human Solutions Major.

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Academic Degree Programs

Graduate

Undergraduate Major

Undergraduate Minor

Climate Action Scholars Program

  • The Climate Action Scholars Program is an initiative of the Division of Social Sciences, with the courses cross-listed in the Anthropology and Urban Studies and Planning departments. In the two-course sequence, students examine the historical, structural and cultural roots of the climate crisis, its effects across diverse communities and ecologies, and the creative ways local people respond and build collective resilience.

Featured Courses

ANTH 106. Climate and Civilization

An introductory course that questions the whole collapse narrative while teaching students about the ways in which it has and hasn’t impacted humans

ANTH 108. Indigenous Peoples, Extractive Development, and Climate Change

Across the world, indigenous peoples’ lands and livelihoods are increasingly vulnerable to extractive development projects such as mines, gas wells, dams, logging, and monoculture agriculture, all of which increase the impacts on climate change. This class addresses the ways indigenous communities use cultural and political resources to negotiate environmental, market, and political forces. Can protecting indigenous ways of life provide alternatives for global climate change?